Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery






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Saturday, June 28, 2008


Yet Another Reason I Hate My Brain

Whenever I'm reading a novel featuring a sad-sack main character--y'know, a loser, someone pathetic, someone who just can't stop fucking up--I always find myself dwelling on all the ways I'm like him.

It's yet another example of how far up my own ass I'm capable of crawling and I hate it.

I'm nothing like these characters, really. For example: Unlike Miles from Rex Pickett's Sideways, I haven't fucked up my relationship, I have never resorted to stealing money from my mother and I would have the moral courage to flat-out refuse to be involved with a friend's infidelities.

Plus, I know shit about wine.

But somehow, my stupid brain manages to latch onto some detail and so, instead of just enjoying the novel, I'm depressing myself. This is why I should just stick to newspapers. Even on my worst day, there's not way I'd end up comparing myself to, say, Robert Mugabe.

Friday, June 27, 2008


Life on Mars

The last 24 hours or so has seen some good news and some bad news. Let's take a look.

The good news is that NASA's Mars probe has done some soil analysis which shows that the dirt on Mars contains nutrients capable of supporting life. This is, to me, especially good news considering that I may very well wish to leave the planet in the not-so-distant future.

This is because of the spate of not-so-good news.

For example, the Supreme Court, in a move foreshadowed by their various reactions when the case was argued before them, ruled this week that individuals have the right to bear arms. This is kind of new, in that the court has never been this specific in its interpretation of the Second Amendment, which links the right to bear arms with the need for a ready militia, leaving open the possibility that the Framers simply meant that every state should have a National Guard, or similar group, that had guns and was separate from the armed forces controlled by the federal government.

This new ruling is a wet dream for the NRA, who finally get the big return they've been hoping for from their investment in George W. Bush. In addition to all the other damage that fucker has done, he plopped down two conservitards who tipped the balance enough to do this.

This ruling means that bans on hand guns, like the one that had been in place in Washington, D.C., are now unconstitutional. Great. So localities that are plagued by gun violence will now have that much tougher a time getting the guns off the streets. Thanks, George!

Also fueling my desire to live on a different planet is the situation in Zimbabwe, where the presidential election went forward today, even though the opposition candidate dropped out. Why did he drop out? Because Robert Mugabe's regime was killing the opposition's supporters. Yay, Democracy!

I like to think life on Mars will include fewer megalomaniacal dictators and handguns. I hope it will also include more ginger ale, which I intend to push as the planet's official beverage. Viva Mars!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Hairshirt Summer Horoscope

Aries: This is going to be a hot, uncomfortable summer, Aries. And you'll need to just get used to that. Shaving your balls will not make you feel any cooler. Especially if you're a woman.

Taurus: Explore your musical side this summer, Taurus. You could learn to play a new instrument or memorize songs off of a favorite new album, or just hum ominously when you're staring down strangers in your doctor's waiting room.

Gemini: As you sit in your apartment, bitter and resentful because you can't afford the gas to go anywhere, try and take some comfort in the memory of that one time when you had a couple of friends in town and actually needed a car as big as your fuel-inefficient SUV.

Cancer: Spend some time outdoors this summer, Cancer. And just to clarify: by "outdoors", I don't mean "under the bedroom window of your ex, who's with someone new and trying to move on with his/her life so stop being such a creepy stalker." Hopefully that was evident in the original sentence.

Leo: Hey Leo, here's a tip for beating the summer heat without busting your summer wallet: spend as much time as you can in the public pool. Just try to avoid the ones with all the urine and polio.

Virgo: Use your time off this summer to explore an exciting new activity, like rock climbing or sex with someone you're not paying.

Libra: A broken leg may ruin some of your fun summer plans. Fortunately, you just may discover, through your binoculars, that your neighbor is a sinister wife-murderer whose evil plans you'll foil with the help of your fiancee, Grace Kelly.

Scorpio: Is a hot summer romance in your future, Scorpio? No.

Sagittarius: No matter how lame this summer is, what with all the crappy reality shows and the inevitable late-season collapse of your favorite baseball team and the hornets that will infest your home in late July, at least you'll spend the entire season knowing that it's your last summer in George Bush's America.

Capricorn: Not a good summer for you, Capricorn. In fact, there will be only two days all summer that you don't step in dog shit. So you probably want to avoid flip-flops.

Aquarius: This summer, Aquarius, you'll get reacquainted with your two greatest childhood passions: cotton candy and tooth decay.

Pisces: Summer might be a little rough for you, emotionally, Pisces. Especially around July 11th when your faith in the universe is horribly shaken following the realization that Meet Dave is not the comedy masterpiece for which you'd prayed. You're a dumbass.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Carlin on Religion

It's the next day and I'm still missing George Carlin, so here's some video:

Monday, June 23, 2008


Shit Piss Fuck Cunt Cocksucker Motherfucker and Tits

So George Carlin died.

Carlin was perhaps the greatest stand-up comedian ever. His love of wordplay is unmatched except possibly by William Shakespeare (and I'm not even kind of joking with that.) He was a hero of mine.

I bought one of his greatest hits albums "for my dad" when I was maybe twelve and promptly appropriated it for myself. I listened to so much Carlin in my formative years that I can, to this day, pretty much recite "Baseball and Football" word for word.

If you've never heard any of the man's stuff, do yourself a favor and go download some right now. Seriously, go ahead. I'll be right here, listening to Occupation: Foole.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Indy Cred

Just to reassure Beigey that the world is not as evil as he thinks, I wanted to take a moment to state that my wife and I finally went to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull today. (Goddamn, that's a long title to type.)

Anyway, I liked it a lot more than all those reviews led me to believe I would. It did not suck. It was not even remotely on a par with the last few chunks of film George Lucas crapped out. It was, in fact, very enjoyable and deserves extra special kudos for bringing back Karen Allen, the most awesomest Indy-girl of them all.

For the first time in a long time, I watched Harrison Ford in an action movie and didn't spend 80% of the film thinking, "Jesus, he's old and he looks so tired. Why don't they let him rest?" The film, actually, dealt with his age very well, I thought, and gave us exactly what an AARP-belonging Indy should be.

And, yeah, the whole space aliens thing was a little dumb. But do we really think magic God's footlocker that contains a bunch of pissed-off ghosts makes more sense as a plot device? I say thee nay.

Was it the best of the bunch? Probably not. But is was better than half of the other turds floating in the multiplex toilet this summer. (An analogy my wife will most likely groan aloud to read.)

So, all in all, I'm glad I went in with lowered expectations and I'm also glad I didn't let this one slip out of the theaters before I caught it.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


School's [Still Not] Out for Summer

Pop quiz!

The most utterly pointless thing in the world is:
A) The Pope's testicles
B) The EPA under Bush
C) The Hills
D) The last two weeks of the school year

If you chose D, give yourself a cookie!

Sweet cargo-shorts-wearing Jesus, this is the worst time of the school year. Not so much because of the student behavior (which gets somewhat more rambunctious as they start to smell the freedom headed their way). No, these two weeks suck such massive amounts of canal water because fucking nothing gets done.

Well, wait, that's not entirely true. Field trips get done. I've had classes that were out three out of the last four days. And "moving up" ceremonies get done. 'Cause it's important to celebrate the milestone of finishing fifth grade. Let 'em know it means something. And there's also packing up of room libraries and "Senior" Prom and blah blah blah.

But for me, the end of the school year mostly means a lot of sitting on my ass. My grades have been done for awhile now. The faculty knows it. The kids know it. The administration tells us we need to pretend that we're still factoring the work the students are doing into their grade, but the kids are not that dumb.

So getting them to do anything is nearly impossible.

That's when you have a class. Because of the aforementioned field trips and ceremonies and stuff, I've had a very empty schedule this week. Yesterday, I taught zero periods. Nada. Every class was out of the building for one reason or another. I cleaned out my filing cabinet. All day.

The end of the year is coming and that's nice and everything and I suppose it's nice for the kids when they don't have to work so hard and all that. But having no real work to do makes time go slower than Bush's synapses.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Black Gold! Texas Tea! What Cheney Puts in His Enema Bag!

Well you knew it was coming, didn't you? I sure did. With gas prices climbing to record levels, it was only a matter of time before Bush and all his oil-making buddies started calling for more drilling.

So, first McCain makes his li'l energy speech to a bunch of Texas-style douchewads, paying the tiniest bit of lip service to conservation, and now the Cavity-Creep-in-Chief does him one better by calling for new offshore drilling and the rape of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. 'Cause, y'know, if those fuckin' animals are gonna get all whiny that we're ruining their homes, why don't the little fucks try gettin' a job and buying a place like the rest of us?

This just pisses me off. Truly. And I worry that most Americans don't have the interest and/or brainpower to stop and ask, "Gosh, Bush spent his life in the oil industry and McCain is desperately trying to raise money from oil barons. I wonder if that's influenced their thinking on this issue?"

Folks, it's as clear as the smirk on Bush's face: oil is a finite resource and the use of it is not good for the planet. For the sake of the generations to come who won't have the chance that we do to stop climate change; for the security we'd achieve by lowering our dependence on truly vile nations who sell us oil (except for you, Canada! You rock!); for the money the average person can save with alternately-fueled cars; for all these reasons, we need to tell the oil industry to go fuck themselves and implement a Manhattan Project for alternative energy.

This is something I can see Obama doing. Can you see it coming from McCain?


Hairshirt Horoscope Special Edition

At the insistence of my wife (who's six months pregnant and, at this point, has weird hormones giving her odd ideas) this week's horoscopes will share one of several themes: space travel, chocolate or Gossip Girl. Yeah, I know, but at least she's not eating pickles and ice cream.

Aries: With the Space Shuttle fleet rapidly approaching retirement, you're struck with a brainstorm: purchase the shuttle Atlantis, park that sumbitch in Florida and turn it into a theme restaurant! You could call it Spacey Bob's!

Taurus: Great wealth will come your way if you'll only stop forcing your poor husband to watch Gossip Girl.

Gemini: The Summer Solstice is this Friday. And why are you so excited? More daylight in which you can eat chocolate!

Cancer: You're no longer as young as you used to be and it's time you woke up and realized that. You're far too old, for example, to be attempting to build your own jet pack to let you fly through space. You're also too old to watch Gossip Girl.

Leo: Yes, chocolate has anti-oxidants, but that doesn't mean it's "perfectly healthy" of you to eat forty-five Mallomars at a goddamn time.

Virgo: You see yourself as a Serena, but you're really more of a Blair. I don't know who the hell those people are, but they're apparently on Gossip Girl.

Libra: Aliens are on their way to Earth right now, with the specific intent of kidnapping you and taking you on an interstellar journey. So put on some clean underwear, you slobby fuck.

Scorpio: The world is not ready for your Edible Chocolate Deodorant. Besides, dude, it's just a fucking Hershey bar in a wrapper you whipped up on Photoshop.

Sagittarius: Hey, you remember when President Bush announced that he was instructing NASA to figure out how to send astronauts to Mars? You think he was high when he said that?

Capricorn: The only thing more annoying than your constant criticism of everything your co-workers do is those stupid fucking haircuts on Gossip Girl.

Aquarius: This week, Aquarius, you need to recall the advice your grandmother gave you when you were a child: "Kiddo, sex toys made of chocolate are only a good idea in theory." Your grandma had absolutely no idea what was and wasn't appropriate conversational material for kids, did she?

Pisces: This is a great week for you to either journey to space or eat chocolate, but a lousy week for you to watch Gossip Girl. Seriously, though, is it ever a good week to watch Gossip Girl?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Old Age: Nature's Nair

As if back issues and the fucking forest of grey that's sprouted in my beard weren't bad enough, one of the things I've been most dreading has finally been fully realized: I've developed the hairless legs of an old dude.

I've never been particularly hirsute, but I've always had a light dusting of fuzz on my gams. Now it's all gone. I look like a single gal on Date Night. It's pathetic.

Varicose veins can't be far behind. Then I'll inexplicably find myself wearing calf-covering black socks with shorts.

Fight it all you want, people, but it appears that we're all headed for the same sad place.

Friday, June 13, 2008


Watch What Happens (to the Withered Husk That Used to Be Your Soul)

Take a moment. Think of everything you see when watching an episode of Top Chef. Let me be more specific: think of all the really kind of annoying things you see when watching an episode of Top Chef. I love the show. I love it so much that I put up with all the annoying things. And there's a whole fucking lot of them.

You've got the rampant product placement. I understand that the ability to work that much product placement into a program makes it more profitable and therefore more likely to enjoy a long life. And I can usually filter it out pretty well, even when the contestants' voice-overs have obviously been scripted to include such out-and-out commercials as "So we went to Whole Foods, which was awesome, because they have the most fantastic vegetables you'll ever see." Even with my filter on, though, it gets to me.

There're also the requests that you text your opinion about one or another utterly inane topic. "Who do you think smells more like split-pea soup? Text 'A' for Dale; text 'B' for Lisa..." I like texting and I think it has a place in everyday life, but if you're so fucking text-happy that you need to text a worthless opinion about an idiotic question, then I'm going to go ahead and hope that you're texting it while driving 90 miles-per-hour on a very icy mountain road.

And then there are the constant annoying ads for other Bravo shows. Kathy Griffin is okay in small doses--I mean, I really do find her stand-up funny--but I don't need to watch her debase herself for fame over and over and over. They have a show with an OCD guy who flips houses. We're living in a post-sub-prime world, Bravo. How about a Very Special Episode in which he defaults on three mortgages and commits sepuku rather than go to prison? There are "Real Housewives" from Orange County and New York and they all have one thing in common: they should die. Add to that craptacular list Work Out and Shear Genius and Tim Gunn Whores Himself for an Extra Paycheck.

Now, take all of this and put it together in one excruciating program and you've got Bravo's A-List Awards. I'm actually of the opinion that the main reason the network came up with this idea was that they wanted to be able to demonstrate the totally redefine the word "pointless." It's an awards show. And they give awards to...I don't know, a little of this and a little of that. Seriously, it's like Best Supporting Actor and Best New Restaurant. There is absolutely no need for this show. But it gives them a chance to drag all their reality celebritards out on stage and plug their shows and encourage people to text their opinions of the color of their feces or something while they flash a Chrysler logo on the screen.

It is, honestly, something that, if I had to sit through more than ten minutes of, I fear my brain would throw a clot just to spare me the agony of what I was seeing. I have a theory, in fact. I'm pretty sure that the new M. Night Shyamalan movie The Happening, in which people around the world start inexplicably committing suicide is going to have a shocking twist ending where it's revealed that all these people were watching The A-List Awards.

I'd rather watch DVDs of the entire run of Mama's Family.

Thursday, June 12, 2008



I walk up and down my street a lot. Not in the pacing sense of walking or anything, 'cause that's a long goddamn pace. No, I mean, between my treks to and from the train station, my trips to the good bodega (the one right around the near corner from us is utter crap; it really is) and my thrice-daily dog walks, I burn a lot of shoe rubber on this particular stretch of road.

So I feel I have a certain level of expertise in regards to the various sensations on my block. I know how the street sounds in summer when there are leaves on the trees versus in the winter when you've just got naked branches banging together. I'm sensitive to which trees are delicate and should not be peed on by dogs nor drunks. And I've got a handle on the smells on my block.

I bring up this subject because there's a particular smell on my block that has lingered for months and months and is grossing me out/pissing me off/piquing my curiosity.

I've written before about the school across the street from us and how their garbage tends to leave disgusting piles of sour milk and food scraps which look something like the collected vomit of a dozen or so bulimic models from over a two-week period. Well that's still around. It's not going anywhere.

But now there's a new lingering presence near the school and my uncertainty over just what the fuck it is makes it that much worse.

There's no visible source for this smell. It's in a spot with a slight indentation and water tends to collect there, so there's that. But water collects in a lot of spots in the city and most of the other spots don't smell like Satan's taint. This is a smell for which you can prepare yourself, but which will still seize hold of your nostrils and rape them like a sorority girl at a frat party.

I've never gotten a whiff of a rotting corpse before, but this smell is something like what I imagine that odor to be in my most hideous olfactory-inclusive nightmares. But where could this body be hidden? And don't dead bodies eventually reach a point where the maggots and worms have made off with everything that's stinky?

My writing skills are not such that I could do a description of this smell justice. It smells like Dick Cheney's soul. It smells like the realization that you just had sex with your grandma. It smells like the death of hope and all that's good in the world. And it will not go away.

Fortunately, it only hits you for a half-dozen yards or so and then you're past it. So that's nice at least.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Hairshirt Horoscope

Aries: Wow! Jessica Alba and Tori Spelling both had babies in the same week! It's times like this that your vicarious living is so awesome you can almost forget that you don't actually have your own life!

Taurus: Do your best to stay cool in the hot weather. Maybe you could fill your bathtub with Slurpees and take a brisk, albeit sugary, soak.

Gemini: You think you're so fucking great, Gemini? Well just remember: Jeffrey Dahmer was a Gemini, too. Not so high and mighty now, are you?

Cancer: This is a good week to be kind to animals, Cancer. Like for instance, maybe you could finally remove that bear trap from your dog's leg. I mean, it's been weeks!

Leo: You know why things aren't going so well for you Leo? Because you like to live your life by asking the question, "What would Knight Rider do?" I think you need a better question.

Virgo: No matter how bored you get during a slow shift at the Japanese restaurant where you work, please refrain from dipping your privates in the tempura batter. This is just a good rule to live by.

Libra: A relative who lives at a distance may be trying to get in contact with you this week, Libra. But they're not rich, so I wouldn't bother picking up the phone if I were you.

Scorpio: The reason that members of the opposite sex continue to avoid you is that you have yet to figure out that successful small talk does not generally focus on a history of one's sinus problems.

Sagittarius: Now that you've graduated with a degree in geology, you're ready to take the world by storm. But you should come up with a different plan than your current one: getting rich off your screenplay for a set-in-a-cave action flick about a dashing spelunker that you're planning to call The Spelunker.

Capricorn: A kiss lies in your future this week, Capricorn. A delirious, passionate, heart-pounding kiss. This will be immediately followed by the worst, most awkward sex in the history of humanity. So, win some, lose some.

Aquarius: Remember, Aquarius: bodies in motion tend to stay in motion. Bodies sitting at a bar knocking back shot after shot of Jim Beam tend to stay drunk.

Pisces: Wondering if it's time to do your laundry? Here's a simple test: if your clothes are so stiff with filth that they will not bend, you may want to go ahead and get some Tide.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Summer Reading Project

I love summer. I love summer in part because it's a great time to read. Is there anything better than stretching out on the grass in the park with a good book and just reading for hours? Okay, well, setting aside things you do when naked.

Now, I tend to be a big re-reader. I like to go back and read books again and again. It's like visiting an old friend. If that friend were really short and had writing all over them. This drives my wife crazy. A person can only read so many books in a lifetime, I believe the thinking goes, and the more you re-read, the fewer new reading experiences you can have.

So I'm going to do my best to include a lot of new stuff this summer. I've got a full list of requests in to the New York Public Library.

I want to read Steve Martin's Born Standing Up and I want to read The Chris Farley Show. Y'know, because I enjoy show biz memoirs/bios.

But mostly I want to continue my summer tradition of catching up on books that I really should have read by now. So I've put in requests for Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow and John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces. I'm going to attempt to plow through David McCullough's John Adams.

I am, though, always in need of more ideas. So I'm reaching out. I want to know what I should read. Give me some ideas. I'm not saying I'll get to all of them. Especially if they're stupid. But I will pick three suggestions and let you know how I liked them. If I liked them.

I thank you in advance for your help in this matter.

Monday, June 09, 2008


It's Too Darn Hot

Yup, still hot. A fact made infinitely worse by the fact that I work in a New York City public school where the air conditioning is not working in about half the building. (The A/C works just fine during the winter, when it sometimes inexplicably turns on full blast.)

To make matters worse, the crappy little fan I keep in my stuffy little office just kicked the bucket today. I very nearly spent two hours sitting at my desk without pants. (This is absolutely untrue; my pants remained on and stuck to my legs for the duration of the day, people.)

I'm thinking of showing up to work tomorrow wearing a kilt. Worn old-school style.

Sunday, June 08, 2008


I'm Melting!

New York City is hotter than Paul Prudhomme's asscrack and just about as pleasant. We've got us a heatwave. As wonderful as this town is, it's a lame place to be when it gets hot. All of the disgustingness of the typical NYC sidewalk takes to the air when the humidity reaches the levels it's reaching today.

My wife and I took a run/walk down by the Hudson this morning and, even at 10 AM, the heat was oppressive. We're talking Francisco Franco oppressive. So we stood in line in the sweltering heat to take advantage of the free kayaking that can be had along the Hudson in the summer months. And it was relatively refreshing, except for the fact that pregnant ladies aren't good at standing in sweltering heat and then exerting themselves in a kayak.

So we crawled back to the subway and dragged ourselves home, where we will stay. With the air conditioning up to Arctic. 'Cause fuck heat.

Friday, June 06, 2008


Letter to a Thirteen Year-Old Me

Dear Joe,

I just wanted to take a moment to apologize. I know you're disappointed in me. I know I've become something you wouldn't even recognize. I know that, right now, as you stare twenty-four years into the future, you're horrified, repulsed, sickened by my actions. And I'm sorry. I'm so very sorry.

It's just that, well, you see, the weekend Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull opened, I was busy. I really didn't have the time to take in an opening night showing. Additionally, I'd just dragged my wife to the opening weekend of Iron Man two weeks prior. (I know you don't like Iron Man all that much, but you're going to have to trust me on this.) You're not allowed to force a lady to fight the crowds every week for a movie in which she's only half-interested at best. That's one of the many things about relationships that you'll start to learn. In about a decade, 'cause that's how long it's gonna take for you to actually have one. Yeah, you're not gonna get much action, kid.

Look, I know how saddened you are that I actually saw the Sex and the City movie before Indy, but there's things you just don't understand. Movies cost $11.50 now. It's not like where you live, a magical world full of shitty but cheap twin cinemas where you can catch a matinée for three bucks. Hell, we pay fifteen dollars for fucking snacks. You don't go to a movie on a whim. It's an investment.

Also, and I know you're going to have a really hard time believing this, but the George Lucas of my world kind of sucks. Remember how totally fucking lame you thought the Ewoks were when you saw Jedi last year? Well, pretty much everything he does now is Ewokish. And, since he's half of the Indy creative team, the new movie, from everything I've heard, half sucks. So that hasn't lit a fire under me to go see it, either.

I realize how sad this is going to make you. You, with your love for Indiana Jones so strong that you like to pretend the sliding board at Grandma and Grandpa's lake is a death trap you have to escape. Hell, you love Indy so much you'll eventually force your parents to buy you both a bullwhip and a leather fedora. Jesus, you're lame.

Anyway, don't worry. I'll go to see the new Indy movie eventually. I promise. Maybe to celebrate the end of the school year. Oh, right. I probably should have told you that I teach, so you're basically stuck spending time with Junior High School kids for most of your thirties. Good luck with that.

Yours in self,

Thursday, June 05, 2008


In Brief

I just need to take a moment to acknowledge that it's relatively humiliating to have Blockbuster call you up to inform you that you've kept Road House so long that you're being charged for the price of replacing it. I swear to God, I've only watched it the one time.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


Hairshirt Horoscope

Aries: You need to put the pain of the past behind you, Aries, and move on. Eventually, the healing will begin and you'll find it easier and easier to live in a world where Lisa made it into the final three on Top Chef.

Taurus: Romance is in the air, Taurus! But you can get rid of it with a little Febreeze.

Gemini: It's great that you're finally finding the courage to pursue your dream of getting up in front of an audience and doing a stand-up routine. However, you need to take a moment and ask yourself if your brother-in-law's funeral is really the best venue.

Cancer: The hostess of the party you ruined this week was absolutely right. Pumpkin pie is horribly out of season and you shouldn't have brought it and she was completely justified in slapping you in the face.

Leo: A nice relaxing foot massage would be wonderful right about now, wouldn't it, Leo? Well, maybe someone better cut their fucking toenails so that the poor masseur/masseuse doesn't get his/her poor goddamn hands sliced to ribbons.

Virgo: Remember, Virgo: gossip goes both ways. And speaking of "going both ways", guess what I heard about the new girl in accounting...

Libra: It's a great week to be a budding Libran art collector! A Libra who knows where to look can truly enhance his/her collection this week. And, no, I'm not counting the dumber Libras among you who consider it a good idea to mount and frame particularly witty Bazooka Joe cartoons.

Scorpio: Big changes are afoot, Scorpio. But to really take advantage of them, you're going to need to figure out what the hell "afoot" means. You're so pretty.

Sagittarius: It's not okay for you to drink mustard straight from the jar.

Capricorn: This is a week for intense thinking, Capricorn. And you will spend it mostly thinking about how it's just a little creepy that Bob Dylan says that someone makes love like a woman, but breaks like a little girl. Seriously, doesn't that sound just a tad pervy?

Aquarius: Be careful when putting on your shoes this week, Aquarius. I won't say exactly when, but there may be a morning when a piece of your footwear contains one or more pieces of poo.

Pisces: It's just plain wrong that you find William Shatner kind of hot when he's doing those "Priceline Negotiator" commercials.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


A Tale of Two Couches

So last week, my wife and I were walking to the train from our scan appointment. We're strolling past an apartment building and I notice that someone's dumped a couch on the street.

For anyone who lives someplace where this practice is not...uh...practiced, I'll take a moment to explain. New York City has no alleys. Or, to be more specific, Manhattan has maybe two alleys and they're up in the 130s, not down where we were walking on the Upper East Side. Because of this lack of alleys, garbage gets tied up in bags--not, like, super-strong bags that are impervious to damage and keep the garbage inside or anything; just bags--and set out on the curb, where they're picked up by sanitation workers, after all the neighborhood cats have had a chance to rip into the bags and drag a few chicken bones and a diaper or two out of it.

Sometimes, though, you're getting rid of something too big to put in a garbage bag. Something like an old computer monitor or your grandma or...a couch. So you just set that big ol' thing out there and maybe someone comes along and says, "Hey! A grandma! I could use one of those and this one's free! Score!" and then they get a friend to help them shlep it back to their apartment. If that doesn't happen, the sanitation workers come along and dump it into their truck, where it gets smashed into little couch fragments and tossed into a landfill.

I explain this simply to make you aware that there's nothing unusual about seeing a couch sitting on the sidewalk. What was unusual was that this couch was our couch. I don't mean to say that someone had broken into our apartment, taken our davenport, driven it to a spot a block away from our OBGYN and then dumped it. Rather, I'm saying that this couch looked exactly like our couch. Well, almost.

The truth is, this looked exactly like our couch, but in much, much better condition. There were no cat claw marks on the arms. There was no stain on one cushion because I dropped a tiny bit of chocolate on there without realizing it and then sat on it with my warm ass until it melted permanently into the fabric. It looked like our couch maybe three years ago. It looked like our couch in our couch's salad days.

And someone was throwing it out.

I won't say that there wasn't a span of time, brief in the grand scheme of things, but not insignificant, when my wife and I both actually seriously considered getting a couple of friends and hauling this sofa to our home to replace it's sadder-looking cousin. My wife very well might have, at the least, grabbed a couple of cushions. But then I reminded her about New York's current bed bug problem, which has rendered pretty much all upholstered street furniture suspect.

Someday. Someday, we'll get a new couch and our cat will be too old to fuck it up. *sigh*

Monday, June 02, 2008


It's (Going to Be) a Boy!

The results are in and our first child will be a masculine child, to paraphrase Luca Brazi. And he's apparently a stubborn little cuss. Twice in the past two weeks, we've gone in for an ultrasound and he's made sure to position himself so that they can't get all the pictures we need.

My wife, meanwhile, is not enjoying the June heat here in the city. Neither am I, frankly, seeing as how it's accompanied by so much humidity and stick-to-your-skin grime. So the air conditioners went in a little early this year, which is kind of a bummer, as I usually like to see just how long I can hold out. This often lasts until our dog gets so hot he grabs my beard trimmer and starts shaving his fur off.

So there's your pregnancy update. I'll be sure to keep everyone appraised as to just how uncomfortable my wife gets. That should be fun.