Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery






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Friday, June 29, 2007


I'm Pot for Teacher

This is just wrong, people. Seriously, seriously wrong.

Apparently, a 31-year-old teacher in California is in deep, deep guano after the parents of a 14-year-old student at the junior high where she works accused her of smoking pot with their child. And I have to say, if she goes to jail for this, it'll be a goddamn travesty of justice.

First off, it's California. You can't not smoke pot in California. The weed is just so cheap and plentiful that it's practically a crime if you don't spark up every now and again. My grandma would've been blowing bong hits left and right if she'd lived there.

Secondly, do I seriously need to point out here that this lady teaches in a junior high? You've gotta do something to make your life tolerable when you're dealing with seventh/eighth graders all frigging day. Personally, I stash delicious homemade cream puffs all over the building so that I'm never more than a few steps away from a delicious pick-me-up. But, hey, one teacher's cream puff is another teacher's blunt.

Additionally, has no one considered that this is actually a touching example of a teacher trying to bond with a student? Maybe this kid was a problem in class; throwing paper, playing with a cell phone, hitting other kids with a ruler. Many teachers try to deal with behaviors like this by coming up with a reward system, something like, "three days of good behavior in a row and you get pizza." So maybe this kid was just really, really good. Maybe this teacher had finally achieved a break-through with her student.

But, no. In this era of No Child Left Behind, when standardized test scores are all that fucking matter, we're willing to assume the worst about a teacher who was thinking outside the box.

Well, I say, "Bravo, teacher!" If it's helping your students, you smoke all the goddamn chronic you can get your hands on. Just as long as you don't sleep with them.


The Return of Ask Hairshirt

It's back!

After six lazy months during which I was just too lazy to either write anything or take the link off this page, Ask Hairshirt has returned and will, from here on out, be a regular weekly publication.

So, if you know anybody that's got some issues they need resolved, send 'em my way and I'll help them in a loving and constructive manner.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


Bitch, Bitch, Bitch

I promise that I'll try to stop bitching about having to teach summer school. I swear. Unless the actual task of teaching it becomes so hellish that I can't concentrate enough on any other subject to string together a coherent sentence, I will do my very best to suck it up and not burden anyone reading this with my gripes about classrooms in July.

That said, I'm so very bummed this morning about having to teach summer school.

Up until yesterday, I thought that I at least got to enjoy a four day weekend before being forced into the company of kids who couldn't learn what they needed to in ten months but are now expected to grasp it in one and a half. Then I found out--as I was getting ready to leave, mind you--that we have professional development today. So I have to drag my ass up to the Bronx at 9:00.

I'm going to throw out an analogy here. But first, let me just explain something to any of you outside the teaching profession who may not be able to cast your memories back to your school days: there is no greater joy, truly, than waking up on the first day of summer vacation and realizing that you have two months ahead of you during which you do not have to work. But during which you'll still get paid. There is an emotion that must be akin to the sense of awe and wonder that Moses' people felt when they first looked down into the valley and beheld Canaan. It fucking rocks.

Now to the analogy: Waking up on the first morning of summer vacation, then realizing that you have to teach summer school is a lot like farting during orgasm.

It's still kind of cool and all, but the transcendence of the experience is just shot to hell. Oooo! I don't have to work as much! Hooray! I only have to deal with a handful of resentful children! Yippee! I get two whole weeks off in August!

The thing is, folks, that teachers really have a fairly tough job. Maybe not so much in tony, well-funded houses of education where the tax base allows them three indoor pools and an annual student trip to Tibet, but in high-needs schools where half the population feels free to break the keys off of the aging class computer just so they'll have something to throw at each other, (not making that up, people) just getting through the school year can be spiritually and emotionally exhausting. There are a great many teachers who, without time to recharge and heal their wounds, would wind up with felony manslaughter convictions.

Okay, now, having laid all that out there; having spewed forth my depression and hate, I will henceforth shut the fuck up about it and do my best to make this a quasi-positive experience. The purpose of summer school is, after all, to help kids who need some extra guidance. Plus, if I don't stop bitching, I'm very certain my wife is going to beat me to death with the tripod she uses when she's constantly doing extra photography work on the weekends after a week of commuting four hours a day to deal with complex environmental issues.

So from here on out, I'll do my best to be Captain motherfucking Sunshine and smile my way through a month and a half of working half-days four days a week. Goddamn summer school.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


The Hairshirt School's Out Today Horoscope

Aries: You're beautiful and smart and witty.

Taurus: Everybody loves being near you!

Gemini: Your career is about to take off.

Cancer: Love is just around the corner!

Leo: Spread the sunshine! Buy a puppy!

Virgo: Give a stranger a hug!

Libra: Don't forget to tip your waiters. Giving feels great!

Scorpio: Been wanting to buy a house? Go for it! Worry about where you're getting the money from later!

Sagittarius: Maybe other people see you as manic, but you and I know you're just full of zip!

Capricorn: Your shit smells like rose petals.

Aquarius: Even if you did strangle that cheerleader, you probably had a good reason for it.

Pisces: Yeah, you're still pretty much kind of a douche.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Governmental Gonads

Today, the CIA released a large number of classified documents pertaining to missions in the 50's, 60's and 70's that fell outside the scope of legal U.S. intelligence purview. The files were gathered together in 1973 at the request of then-CIA chief Jim Schlesinger after he was disturbed to learn of a CIA connection to the Watergate break-in.

Now, I suppose that the aspect of this story that ought to disturb me is the fact that it took thirty-four goddamn years for the CIA to release this information. I guess the contents of the files--detailing missions to assassinate Fidel Castro and test LSD on U.S. citizens without their knowledge or consent, among others--are fairly fucking disturbing, too.

But the thing I'm really freaked out by here is the decision to call these files, collectively, "the family jewels". What the hell is that supposed to mean?

Was Schlesinger saying that these files were so sensitive that they were like testicles? Did he mean that, like one's nutsack, the files were something best not waved around in public? Or are we to understand that these files are hairy and can work up a bit of a funk about them if they're not taken care of?

Anyway you look at it, I think they should have come up with a better name for these goddamn things. Something like, "The 'Oh, No You Di'n't' Files". Something like, "Shit That You Won't Believe". Something like, "Here's One To Make the Conspiracy Theorists Feel Justified".

Something that doesn't make me think of sweaty balls.

Monday, June 25, 2007


In Today's Class, We're Studying Naps!

I'm just going to come right out and say this: the New York City school system puts the "tard" in "fucking retarded". Now, I'm not even referring here to the big policy decisions with which I disagree, like using an air compressor and a rubber tube to blow standardized tests down our throats until they've filled every micrometer of our digestive system right down to tip of our descending colon. I'm not talking about the fact that they're in bed with--fellating like there's no tomorrow--the textbook publishers to the point where we change literacy curricula whether we need to or not just so the execs at Houghton Mifflin can make payments on their third houses.

No, I'm bringing up the idiocy of the NYC Dept. of Ed. solely as it relates to their moronic decision not to end the school year on a Friday.

So convinced are these jaggoffs that quantity equals quality that they make the stupid move--year after year--of extending the school year that extra little bit by making students stick around until a Wednesday.

What the living hell do they imagine is going on those last three days? Seriously. The eighth graders "graduated" a week ago. The kids have received the results of their standardized tests and so are aware of whether or not they're going to the next grade. Most kids have caught on to the fact that teachers turned in their final grades a couple of weeks ago, making any work they do now completely extraneous. The most useful thing any of them are doing is helping teachers take down their bulletin boards, a task that apparently takes five students an hour to do when any teacher could get it done in four minutes.

Why, then, do we put ourselves and our students through this charade? Is the school board truly concerned that students haven't gotten to play enough games of 7-Up throughout the school year that they want to make sure we have plenty of time for it in June? Are the kids getting enough educational stimulation from their field trips to see Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer to justify keeping the buildings open those seventy-two extra hours?

It just doesn't make sense to me. So I'm saying right now to Joel Klein and the rest of the DoE's Grand Poobahs: Here's a quarter. Buy yourself some goddamn common sense and end the school year on a Friday.

And while you're at it, let's get to work on mandatory school-based masseuses for worn out teachers.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


Judge Not, Lest You Wear a Thong Yourself

I don't know what it was like where you live yesterday, but New York City saw one of the most gorgeous goddamn summer days imaginable. Sweet eyebrow-tweezing Christ, it was beautiful. Blue skies, mild temperatures, not a sign of locusts; just a lovely day. So we took advantage of it by heading out to Coney for the annual Mermaid Parade.

Now, if you've never heard of the Mermaid Parade, I should pause to tell you that it's your basic irreverent cavalcade of creative types and exhibitionists, like the Solstice Parade in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood or an average Thursday in Provincetown.

And so you have all sorts of people in outlandish costumes, many playing off the mermaid theme. You've got your groups making political statements against the development of Coney Island by some douchebag who wants to build condos on the boardwalk. You've got your gay drill teams warming up for the next day's Pride Parade. But mostly you've got people who like to drink in the early afternoon and walk around with their naughty parts very nearly hanging out. (Or actually hanging out as the case may be.)

All this scantily-claddedness caused a couple of different responses in me.

The first was the very common challenge of trying not to look at all the twenty-five year-old women with their boobs very much on display because I'm a very happily married man who neither wants to anger his wife nor seem like some creepy old pervy dude who stares. This is not exactly easy, even for someone with the very best intentions.

The second response was physical recoiling at the vast numbers of people who were showing off bodies that no sane person would ever want to look at. Love handles spilling over their swimsuits. Unimpressive genitals displayed in horrifyingly tight speedos. Back hair so thick that you'd think you were looking at Angelina Jolie in A Mighty Heart. Basically, they looked like I'd look if I tried wearing their outfits. Or worse. Some of these revelers made me look like a veritable Cary Grant in comparison.

I'm looking at these people and I'm thinking, "Why?" Why would you go out of your house dressed like that? Why would you want people to see your flabby skin--even if you've painted it blue--hanging down out of your bikini top? Who wants to see a Phillip Seymour Hoffman look-alike in a loin cloth?

My revulsion eased up gradually and I began to feel a kind of admiration for these folks. I mean, there's no goddamn way a gal who weighs three hundred pounds can not know what she looks like in her version of the Princess Leia Slave Girl outfit. If she's got eyes, she knows she's making an aesthetically questionable choice. But she doesn't give a shit. She doesn't give a moldering rat turd that people might make fun of her on their dumb-ass blogs. She spends not a moment considering that she perhaps shouldn't be seen in public without pants. She (or he, 'cause there were just as many guys in this category) wants to feel sexy and have fun and is happy enough with herself that it doesn't matter what society thinks.

And that's awesome. I wish I were comfortable enough with myself that I could walk around unironically in a pair of tighty-whities. I don't want to be so goddamn brainwashed by our society norms that I can only stand to look at (or do my best not to look at) twenty-somethings who appear to have stepped off the page of an Abercrombie and Fitch catalogue. Fat-ass people in spandex shorts aren't doing anything bad to me, so why should I fear them? I shouldn't. And I won't.

I'm going to do my best from here on out to change my perspective. If someone's happy with themselves, I ought to be happy for them. Even if they look like they're carting around a gallon of small-curd cottage cheese in their utterly visible thighs.

Friday, June 22, 2007


A Mighty Poodle-Head

Y'know, this may, in very point of fact, be the greatest goddamn movie ever made and Angelina Jolie may win the Oscar, the Golden Globe and the Nobel fucking Peace Prize for it, but I can't go to see this thing because I can't look at her like this and not be completely and utterly distracted by the fact that she looks like she skinned a goddamn poodle and stapled the hide to her scalp.

I don't mean to be insensitive here, because I think Daniel Pearl's death was an abomination. Really, I do. And Marianne Pearl was, I'm sure, very courageous in the face of this horror and all. And Angelina Jolie is, I realize, using her star-power to get a project made that might otherwise have languished in development, as most people don't dig spending their summer movie bucks watching a dude get decapitated unless it's Bruce Willis doing the cutting while he smirks and says something like, "I really know how to get ahead" or something else equally pithy.

But did they have to go for verisimilitude in regards to Ms. Pearl's hair? Wouldn't the film have played just as well, the story been just as moving, if they'd gone with a hairstyle that more suited Ms. Jolie? Maybe something that still paid tribute to Ms. Pearl's Afro-Cuban heritage without making the viewer think that Ms. Jolie was paying homage to Samuel L. Jackson's look from Pulp Fiction?

Maybe I'll be to view and enjoy this film someday when it's released on DVD in a version for which they've digitally covered Ms. Jolie's hair with a sombrero.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Hairshirt Summer Horoscope

Aries: Since you're in prison, this summer will be alot like the winter, except the dude anally raping you will be sweatier.

Taurus: Nature calls! You'll find yourself involved in a lot of outdoor activities this summer, Taurus. Mostly pissing behind bushes.

Gemini: Geminis can look forward to a joyful and exciting summer, until August when you inexplicably become addicted to crack and wind up face down in a gutter. So enjoy July.

Cancer: With blueberry season coming up, Cancers should start going through their recipe files so they can make fresh and delicious desserts for everyone. Unless, that is, Cancers want something bad to happen to their loved ones. It's their choice, really: Blueberry Cobbler or little Timmy in the hospital. Tick, tock, Cancers.

Leo: A bad cold starts Leo's summer off on a sour note. Hey, it's better than the Herpes you're going to be getting in October.

Virgo: The working out you did all spring is finally going to pay off, Virgo! At last, you get to put on that bikini and strut your stuff on the beach! Where you'll quickly realize that you should've gotten a wax to go with your newly thinned thighs, as you're sporting a Don King in your nethers.

Libra: Be cautious during the second week of July, as you may find yourself compelled to talk in a ridiculous French accent.

Scorpio: For your big summer vacation this year, maybe you ought to consider going to another country! Someplace exotic! Someplace exciting! Someplace that doesn't have an extradition treaty with the U.S.

Sagittarius: For you, the absolute best time of year is here. Long nights sitting on the porch with a tall glass of iced tea, the baseball game playing on the radio as you sob uncontrollably. It's magic.

Capricorn: Take advantage of summer-time cultural events, Capricorn. You should be enjoying outdoor symphony concerts, Shakespeare in the Park, or even just looking at pretty pictures in the US Weekly you can't read because you're illiterate.

Aquarius: Remember, Aquarius, more hours of daylight means more time for you to stand on the street corner, flipping off traffic.

Pisces: This 4th of July, Pisces, you must refrain from taking so much acid that you singe off your eyebrows getting too close to the amazing sparklers. The doctor said that if it happened again, you'd need a transplant.

Friday, June 15, 2007


Mr. Mopey-Pants

Sometimes, when I'm not feeling the least bit funny--like today--it helps to think of something pleasant. So I'm trying that. I'm imagining Alberto Gonzales being forced to testify before Congress wearing nothing but a thong and a rainbow wig.

Nah, that ain't working. Maybe I'll just go eat a cookie.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Dast Ist Crazy-Making

There are a number of people who are already of the opinion that I'm not well in the head. But I came very close to actually losing my mind today. Seriously, I thought I might very well go utterly mad.

I was limping around the apartment (had that ingrown toenail problem taken care of yesterday, so my feets is a mite achey) and I picked my phone up off the coffee table to check if I'd gotten any messages. I hadn't, because who the fuck calls me ever, but I noticed that the phone could use some charging.

So I walk from the living room to the kitchen, I move some stuff out of the way on the counter, I plug the charger into the outlet--at which time I bump a plastic bottle that falls loudly into the sink--I go to plug my phone in and I find that the battery cover has fallen off my phone.

Now, I realize that there's nothing all that necessarily crazy about the battery cover falling off one's phone. Otherwise, our psychiatric institutions would be about 9000% fuller. But here's where it starts to get vaguely Serling-esque.

I figure that, since the phone was whole when I picked it up off the coffee table, the back has got to be in the immediate vicinity. Somewhere between the living room and kitchen, my logic went, was where the battery cover had to be.

I know how to troubleshoot, so I worked the problem logically. There was a clatter of sorts when I bumped the plastic bottle, so the battery cover most likely came off at that point and was in the sink. So I cleared the dishes and silverware out of the sink. Nothing. I took the plates, plastic containers, utensils and cheese doodles off of the dish-drying rack and put them away. No battery cover. I looked on the floor all around the sink. Found a bunch of dog hair and some peach skin with dog hair on it. But no battery cover, with or without dog hair.

So okay. It has to be in the living room. On the couch. Under the couch. Between the cushions. Under the coffee table. Under the stack of papers on the coffee table. In my shoe. On the coat rack in the ski parka I haven't worn since 2004. No. No to all the above.

Then I'm thinking that maybe I remembered the sequence of events wrong. Maybe I put the phone in my pocket on the way to the kitchen instead of carrying it in my hand. So I look in my pockets, but turn up nothing except for some lint. I look in my pockets again in case the batter cover was maybe hiding behind my Listerine breath strips. Uh-uh. But I'm out of breath strips.

Having now looked every place the batter cover could conceivably be--from the starting point of my living room to kitchen trek to the end and all points in between--I look in the same places again. And again. And again, each time a little more desperate.

It had to be there. Logic dictates that things don't just disappear, so either it was someplace I'd looked and I'd just stupidly managed to overlook it or I was hallucinating in the first place and my phone never had a battery cover. And you throw into this frustration the added pressure that I can't afford to buy another phone at this moment. I felt like I was losing my grip on reality. Which was relatively tenuous to begin with, let's be honest here.

After putting the dishes back in the sink and then taking them back out again and then literally crawling the entire route from coffee table to sink on my hands and knees with my face at carpet level, I decided to just go into the bedroom, sit down at the computer and try to find out how much Verizon is charging for replacement battery covers. I was figuring such a think would probably run me about $875.

Just as I'm about to sit down, I look on the floor by the computer and I spot the battery cover. Which you'd think would be just a huge, huge relief. Except that I swear the cover was on the phone when I picked it up in the living room.

Now my working theory is that my dog slipped me a Mickey, pried the battery cover off my phone, dropped it in the bedroom and then helped himself to a bowl of kibble before I woke up. It's the only explanation that fits.

Saturday, June 09, 2007


Da Doo Doo Doo

I really hate my mind. I mean, sure, I get some enjoyment out of it from time to time when it, say, shows me a picture of Dick Cheney in assless chaps. But it more often just annoys me.

One key way my mind pisses me off is when it insists on fixating on a piece of music. This happens to a lot of people, I know, and I don't know how many of them blame the music itself. Kind of stupid, if you ask me. The music can't help being catchy, can it?

Now, I don't know if it works the same for everybody, but there are two ways that I get a song stuck in my head. There's the organic way, in which I hear a song somewhere (on the radio, from a passing car window, in a porn flick) and then it just lingers with me long after it's over.

The other way, which is more frustrating and the reason that I so deeply hate my brain, is when a song just pops in there out of nowhere. I may not have heard the song for fifteen years, but a random synapse fires somewhere beneath my scalp and suddenly I'm humming "Hello Dolly."

Actually, "Hello Dolly" rarely finds its way into my head, because even the tiniest association with Carol Channing is automatically rerouted to the joke section of my brain so I can get a chuckle from the "I don't remember having corn" story.

Anyway, I got a song stuck in there yesterday and it got me thinking about the music that tends to pop into my cerebrum most often. This is, again, the completely unbidden, have-not-just-heard-it music, the sudden appearance of which seems to have no rhyme or reason. There are about five of them.
  • Alouette--This is the one that I got stuck on yesterday. My elementary school music teacher, Mrs. Gorby taught this to us when I was in second grade and it's given me cause to hate her ever since. It's just such a happy little tune that lingers in the mind like herpes. And the kicker here is that it's a song about ripping a bird's head off. Who the fuck wants that floating through their thoughts ad nauseum?
  • London--This is a song from They Might Be Giants' Venue Songs. Another bouncy little slice of happiness. And it's so goddamn annoying, because my friend Beigey taught me a trick a long time ago to rid myself of earworms; he said any song can dislodged in your head by thinking of a They Might Be Giants song. And this usually does the trick. I'll hum a few bars of "Purple Toupee" and it acts as a palette cleanser. But it doesn't work so well when the song you're trying to get rid of is by TMBG.
  • The Theme from The Godfather--Oh, this one haunts me. The worst thing about it is that you can perform it in so many ways. You can whistle it. You can hum it. You can do a full-on vocalized "Da da dee da da da dee da da da da dum." And it's just such a cool fucking song that part of me doesn't want to get it out of my head.
  • Let It Snow--This holiday classic doesn't generally piss me off that badly. It's a very pleasant song. What I hate about this one is that I often find myself singing it in, say, May. And I have to stop myself and say, "No, goddammit! The weather outside is not frightful. It's seventy-five with scattered showers!"
  • Mona Lisa--This one's my dog's fault. In a way. I started singing it to him shortly after we got him a few years ago, changing it to "Momo-cito" and ad libbing lyrics. So now I sing it to him periodically and then spend half an hour trying to stop thinking about it.
I wonder if other people hate their brains as much as I hate mine.

Friday, June 08, 2007


Let's Discuss My Toes!

My feet suck. Seriously, they suck 31 flavors of ass. I've always been a fairly healthy person (not talking life-style; I'm fully aware what a flabby fat-ass I am.) I've never had any major surgery. Never had any lengthy hospitalization. Never got to know my doctor so well that I exchanged Christmas cards with his staff.

The one thing I've had issues with...

Okay, I suppose that it would really be two things I've had issues with, seeing as how they come in pairs and all. The two things I've had issues with are my feet.

The absolute worst thing my feet did to me was plantar warts. That blew. They weren't really all that painful, but when I got them removed, the doctor gave me shots in the sole of my foot and that is the worst pain I've ever felt in my life. Even worse than that time I had to sit through an episode of According to Jim. I actually screamed. And, folks, I'm an insanely macho guy, so I only scream when something is excruciatingly painful or if I get an owie.

The plantar warts were just a one-time thing, though. The semi-recurring problem I've had throughout the years is ingrown toenails. What a stupid, stupid problem to have.

If you pay attention in seventh grade health class and clip your toenails like they tell you (straight across, goddammit) then you're going to be just fine. But I'm a rebel. Don't try to tell me how to maintain personal hygiene, fucker! I've always cut the nails on a curve.

I know. I really shouldn't be writing about this on a blog. I should've sent out a press release to alert the public about my preferred method of toenail upkeep.

The point is, when you're an idiot and insist on cutting your toenails on a fucking curve, you give yourself ingrown toenails. This is something I've done twice before in my life and you'd think I'd've learned my goddamn lesson.

It happened to me in high school. The podiatrist who took care of me that time got all tricky and deadened the side of the nail, which left me with an oddly-shaped Franken-toe which I often feel the need to hide, like a retarded Kennedy. He also sent me away with crutches, which I had to use at school for a couple of days. You have any idea how embarrassing it is when people ask you, "Hey, what happened? Did you break your foot or something?" and you have to respond, "No. It was an ingrown toenail." One of the many, many reasons I didn't get laid in high school. That and the mullet.

It happened again when right after I graduated from college, but this was a more conventional foot doc and he just did a little quick snipping and sent me on my way wearing a Chuck Taylor with the front hacked off.

And now it's happened again. It's happened again and I've done my level best to ignore it as long as possible, which is really fucking stupid. It makes it worse, you see, to ignore the problem. I've gone running on it. I've had students step on it. I've had it bleed in my shoe so that the scab stuck to my sock when I was getting ready for bed. That's sexy.

So I broke down today and called the doctor. I'm hoping I didn't leave it so long that the doctor has no choice but to amputate. 'Cause that would suck.

Thursday, June 07, 2007


Meet the Intellectual Midget

There are a great many people out there with massive brains. Huge, muscular cerebrums full-to-bursting with pulsing dendrites capable of contemplating over fifty-thousand different philosophical theorems per second. These brainiacs use their massive intellect to ponder the nature of the universe or to calculate the rate of galactic expansion. They read scientific journals and Kierkegaard and Jung. Their bookshelves are filled to the brim with the great novels of our civilization, which they meditate on in their leisure hours, musing on the commentary on the human condition contained within.

I'm re-reading the Harry Potter books in preparation for the July release of Book 7. I've read them all at least a few times. They take me, on average, three days, tops. They are the literary equivalent of Cheetos.

And I've got orange powder all over my brain.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Super-Concise One-Word Hairshirt Horoscope

Aries: Beef.

Taurus: Linty.

Gemini: Needledick.

Cancer: Prolapse.

Leo: Stallone-ish.

Virgo: Gargle.

: Smelt.

Scorpio: Felony.

Sagittarius: Spleen.

Capricorn: Celibate.

Aquarius: Pope-tastic.

Pisces: Herpes.

Monday, June 04, 2007


The Stairs and Their Accepted Uses

Walking my dogs five minutes ago. I open our door and start down the steps. There's a lady sitting on our stoop with a bunch of bags around her. A passerby warns her, "Big dogs comin' down." The lady grabs her shit and stands up, panicky. She looks anxiously at me, "Which way you going?" I give her an admittedly curt, "Out" and walk on by.

Strolling back to my apartment, I see she's no longer on our stoop. She is, however, sitting about five stoops down from ours and I'm made aware of this fact when she calls out to me, prompting the following exchange:

LADY: I ain't on your stoop, so you can't say nothing.

ME: What? I didn't say anything in the first place.

LADY: Harassing me. I just sat down!

ME: Lady, I'm walking my dogs. It had fuck-all to do with you!

LADY: You came down right after I sat down! I just sat down!

ME: Okay. Have a nice night.

LADY: I'm homeless! How am I supposed to have a nice night when I'm homeless?

ME: You got me on that one.

I just, I can't fucking stand the fact that I'm the prick here when I was simply trying to walk my dogs. Now, if I'd walked my dogs and then thrown their feces at the lady, she would have had a very real complaint. But I'm pretty certain that part of my rental agreement stipulates that I can go in and out of my apartment.

I'd have a lot more compassion for the homeless if some of them weren't such assholes about it.


I Second That Guantana-motion

Maybe you heard, but a judge threw out charges today against a kid accused of killing an American soldier with a grenade in Afghanistan. The guy was fifteen when he was captured; he's now twenty. He's been sitting all that time in Guantanamo. The army just got around to trying him, using their spiffy new Military Tribunal system which now--apparently--may need to be chucked.

The dismissal of the charges boils down to the classification of these detainees. The military tribunals were set up to try "alien unlawful enemy combatants," but these guys have all been classified simply as "enemy combatants."

This is a problem I've seen over and over again in the Bush administration. For example, four years ago, they classified Saddam Hussein as an "imminent threat to the United States" when they really meant to call him a "dude we want to kill." They classified the war in Iraq as a something that would last "sixth months at the longest" when they were actually trying to say, "without end, amen."

These things happen, though. We all get tongue-tied and put things into words we didn't really mean to use. For instance, I often refer to George W. Bush as a "fucking douchebag" when, in my head, I was thinking, "utterly moronic motherfucking crusty-ass douchebag." Two completely different things, see.

Anyway, today's ruling is bad news for said fucking douchebag and invalidates his plan to try the men imprisoned at Guantanamo using the military tribunal system. Which brings up the question, how exactly are you gonna try 'em, George? Are they going to have to sit there for another five years in total violation of the principals of due process that were a bedrock on which this country was founded? Are they going to go another five years as an example of the way America flouts international law? Are we going to continue to piss all over the Geneva Conventions so that our enemies feel no need to abide by them in their treatment of our soldiers in future hostilities?

Maybe the time has come to take a good look at who we've actually got rotting in the Caribbean and look toward possibly setting some of them free. What say you, douchebag?

Sunday, June 03, 2007


Another Reason to Hate Ted Nugent


Let me see if I can relate this story without getting too graphic.

No, I don't believe I can, so refer to the warning above before deciding whether or not you wish to continue.

Still here? Okay. Very warm night last night. Sleeping in just my boxers. The sheets were too stifling, so I'd tossed them off by the time we woke up this morning. Our cat was on the bed, which is uncomfortable when it's hot and humid. My wife dumped him off and we laid there readying ourselves for the difficult task of getting up.

If you or your loved one sleep in boxers, you know that things sometimes flop out. Not in any pornographic kind of way; just there's that gap and your junk is sometimes exposed.

Long story short, the cat jumps back up on the bed; I go to dump him off my side; I'm lifting him over myself and he's not happy; he flails a bit with his claws and I end up with a cat scratch on a very sensitive part of my anatomy. An extremely sensitive part of my anatomy. I don't think I can stress how sensitive this part of my anatomy is.

After the initial cursing and resisting the urge to chase the cat down and kick him repeatedly even though it wasn't his fault, I walked as gingerly as possible to the bathroom and washed the affected area with antibiotic soap, praying that it wouldn't develop some kind of infection. Because Jesus skate-boarding Christ, I don't want to think about what that would feel like. I knew a guy whose cat got him a good one on his arm when I was in college and he looked like he'd come down with leprosy. And that was on his arm, people.

No sign of infection so far. I have, though, been completely aware of the scratch every second all day. And I can't get the guitar chords from "Cat Scratch Fever" out of my goddamn head.

Saturday, June 02, 2007


The Heat Is Getting to Me

I want some goddamn rain, people. And I want it now.

All week, living in New York City has felt something like living in an armpit. It's hot. It's sticky. And the nasty smells that make New York so special are greatly enhanced by heat and humidity.

I will be putting in our air conditioners this weekend. Goddammit.

See, this is why I think George Bush has pissed all over legislation to curb global warming: he and his buddies in the power industry have got to be making a fortune off of all the extra air conditioning we poor bastards are having to use. It's a giant conspiracy! Soylent green is people!