Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery






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Tuesday, September 30, 2008


What Can Brown Do to Inconvenience You?

With all the financial gloom and doom fouling the air of our great nation, you'd probably think that my corporate hatred would be directed at the crooked investment banks that have used the country's poor and naive as their own personal ATMs. And I do hate them. They should each be given a thousand paper cuts and then dipped in a mixture of goat piss, lemon and salt.

But there's a company I despise even worse. That would be UPS. Ye Gods, they suck so very much ass.

Let's start with the fact that they're so fucking moronic that they feel the best time to deliver a package to a private home is about ten in the morning...because most people don't work during the day?

Then there's their apparent self-importance. They have things to do, man. They can't be weighed down by pointless shit like maybe giving their customers an approximate time of delivery. That would be like clipping the wings of an eagle, man! Would you clip the wings of an eagle?

I hate UPS so much I once wrote a sketch in which an idiot UPS driver gets the shit kicked out of him by the entire cast. Good, cathartic fun.

One thing I'll say I do appreciate is UPS's automated phone service. It's one of those voice-response dealies that asks you to say what you want instead of just punching buttons. Which is nice because I can curse my head off at the fucking computer, allowing me to release my hatred so that I can be more pleasant to the poor customer service people who, while employed by a company that is the embodiment of pure evil, are not actually responsible themselves for my situation.

Why am I bringing this up now? Because I apparently missed 3 delivery attempts and now have to shlep up to the fucking Bronx with--literally--a note from my wife saying it's okay for me to pick up our Diaper Dude.

Fuck you, UPS. Fuck you with a wart-covered goat dick.

Monday, September 29, 2008


Back to the Drawing Board

Well that didn't work.

So where is Henry Paulson supposed to go from here? The stock market didn't like hearing the bad news from Capitol Hill, so if Paulson and his gang want to avoid the doomsday scenario they've been predicting, they need to switch to Plan B. Which is what, exactly?

Actually, my sources in the Treasury Department (of which I have many) tell me that Paulson has put together a number of options. Here are a few samples from the list:
  • A really, really fucking big bake sale. Paulson figures they may be able to use the old tried and true PTA stand-by to raise $700 billion, especially if they sell pies by the slice instead of whole.
  • State naming rights. Nobody's all that crazy about this one, but you have to imagine it would raise a lot of cash. I don't know, though. Chicago, Pepsi's Illinois just sounds clunky.
  • Buried treasure. This one's George Bush's idea. He claims he found a map to Bluebeard's Buried Gold when he was a kid. Some of his aides have hinted to the press that the map may actually be a place-mat from Long John Silver's.
  • Check-kiting. There have been those within the Treasury who think we should just write a bad check to cover the whole thing and then hope we get paid before anyone tries to cash it. It should be pointed out that that's kind of what got us in trouble in the first place.
  • Risky Business II. One of Paulson's undersecretaries is a big Tom Cruise fan and suggested that we might want to open up the White House to a group of high-priced call girls who could then give half their profits to shore up the economy.
  • Human pinatas. The caps on corporate executives' salaries was one of the more popular provisions of the bail-out package. A lot of people think they should take this several steps further and allow people to buy raffle tickets for the opportunity to tie one of these captains of industry up and beat the shit out of him with a baseball bat. I'd buy one.
They could, of course, try adding in some protection for consumers who were victims of predatory lenders, but that approach is a little too common-sensey to play in Washington.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Back in Business

And now I'm typing my very first post from our new MacBook.  Huzzah!  Thank you, credit card!

Happy Saturday!

Friday, September 26, 2008


P.C. Go Boom!

So, another long blog silence, but still not because of baby D-day. Nope, there's an entirely different reason why I've done gone mute this week. Our computer kicked it. To paraphrase Jean Shepard, there was a spark of light, a whiff of ozone and our computer was plunged into darkness.

I don't entirely know what happened to it. I basically stood there in my bear pelt, hitting the CPU with the shin bone of my enemy and grunting. Didn't help.

So now we're in the process of getting a new one, 'cause ours really is a lost cause. If we took it into a repair shop, they'd probably giggle and titter before straightening up and telling us it would be cheaper to buy a new one. So we're skipping the middleman and searching for our next computer.

In the meantime, I took one of the hard drives out of our computer and put it into our old one, which we stopped using nearly three years ago, but which was still, pathetically, sitting in our bedroom. I Frankensteined the long-dead and the near-dead together and we're limping along with this until we can get something a little less sad.

And so, I may or may not be able to write much about John McCain's bizarre/dumb attempt to throw himself on the economic grenade. I might not get to share with you my sadness that my Washington Mutual account has been sold to Chase, a bank with which my past experiences have been as pleasant as a cheese grater to the scrotum. I might not get to wonder in print just where they're hiding Sarah Palin these days.

But once we get our new computer, whoa, Nelly! I'll be blogging up a storm! And then we'll have a newborn baby a week or so later and I'll be too tired to wash the feces out of my hair, let alone sit and type. Good times.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Less Miserable?

I'm by no means what you'd call a student of history, but I've read a bit here and there. Take the French Revolution. Oppressed people rising up to overthrow a decadent aristocracy. Chaos taking over and people marching through the streets with heads on pike staffs. I've never really understood how human beings could reach that sort of irrational level.

Then I watched Henry Paulson today on This Week.

Again, I didn't major in economics, but I think even a layman like myself can see that our current financial clusterfuck was created in large part by the massive deregulation set in motion by Reagan and the conservatives who've had the bulk of the political power for the last two-and-a-half decades. Wall Street and friends were freed to make as much money as they wanted without all that pesky government oversight and, oh brother, they did.

Now, even hypocritical assholes like John "Remember the Keating 5" McCain are trying to distance themselves from this mess while at the same time refusing to hold their corporate buddies accountable.

So you can imagine how my blood pressure shot through the fucking roof this morning as I listened to Hank Paulson explain that there simply wasn't time to make sure that this legislation bailing out A.I.G. and sundry other financial entities included provisions to put a cap on executive compensation. In other words, a bunch of assholes got to carjack the American financial system and crash it into a wall to see how cool airbags look when expanding and now they get out of going to jail while we're stuck with a trashed Chevette.

Lame analogy, but you get the point.

And not only do these douchebags get to keep their diamond-encrusted platinum parachutes, but Paulson says we shouldn't be doing anything to help out the people who got suckered into taking out loans they couldn't really afford.

Listen, I understand the meaning of personal responsibility. I do. But when you approach a relatively unsophisticated person--let's say someone who has, at best, a high school education--who's spent their entire life eking out a living in one crappy, low-paying job or another and you tell that person that you can give them the chance to buy their own home; if you set things up so that, if this person doesn't know enough to dig a little past the shit you're feeding them to find out what actual risks they're taking; when you do all this because it helps you and your company make a shitload of money no matter what happens to the borrower, then the little guy isn't at fault. You (the predatory lender) are.

But that's not how Paulson sees it. He said--and I'm quoting--"We want to help people who want to stay in their homes and have the financial ability to do so." He said that these borrowers don't want to "stay in their homes and face up to their responsibilities." Yes, you're right, Mr. Secretary. Most of these lazy fucks only bought their homes because they were hoping to get kicked out of them. Who wants to stay in their home?

So I can kind of understand now what drove the mobs during the Reign of Terror to drag assholes like Paulson up to the platform and introduce him to Lady Guillotine. I'm not, mind you, saying that I honestly feel that violence is the solution here. But let's try to keep things somewhat equitable here and not just take care of the wealthy while suggesting that the victims of predatory lending practices should just eat cake.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Don't Get Around Much Anymore

The baby's still in my wife, folks. I hope both of my readers weren't thinking that Joe, Jr. popped out prematurely, my exhaustion keeping me from sitting down to whip up frothy little commentaries on the world as we know it. This is not the case. No, my silence here is mostly an unexpected by-product of moving our desk--and the computer perched atop it--to the living room.

In days of yore, when my wife was unwinding on the couch, I could sneak off to the bedroom and spend some quality time with you, my internet friends. Now, with the our bedroom converted into a Quiet Zone, I'm forced to stay out here and interact with my wife. Bizarre!

So I'm currently ignoring her to take a moment or three and bring the universe up to date on our happenings. We've recently been to a breast-feeding class, which featured an instructional movie from Australia. Because, apparently, stateside videos are just not mammar-ific enough. Naturally, I leaned over to my wife a couple of minutes into the thing and whispered, "A dingo ate my breast milk!" Crickets. I heard crickets. Not a Meryl Streep fan, apparently.

Then my wife had a non-stress test. What an interesting concept. You'd think it would be the total opposite of the stress test, maybe involving a simulated beach and some daiquiris. Not the case. Everything went well, though. The nurse used two "really"s before she said good. So that's nice.

And we had another sonogram, which was a bit of a letdown, because you can't take awesome pictures when everything's so cramped in there. We did get a decent shot of the kid with his hand near his nose, probably already hoping, prenatally, that he can avoid having my nose-bump when he grows up.

All of this has seriously been eating into my ass-sitting-on time, which has left me cranky and irritable. Not that different from my usual state, I suppose.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


They're Like a Rock Band, But They Don't Get Laid

Busy. I'm just rrrrrreal goddamn busy at the moment. We're taking breastfeeding classes, we're washing/putting away the baby's clothes, we're meeting with pediatricians, we're checking out the new fast food vegetarian place near 72nd.

I'm so busy I've barely had time to keep up on all things political. So I've had to get by on skimmed headlines and The Daily Show.

Which is why I've been so goddamn happy that a couple of my best pals have been doing such a great job of distilling the daily election craziness down to a fine syrup. Which I then drink through my Crazy Straw.

Seriously, go check this site out. Satisfaction guaranteed unless you're wrong enough to like McCain, in which case you'll probably want to stay the fuck away, as they may disabuse you of some mistaken notions you hold about Ol' Jowly.

Thursday, September 11, 2008



I watched Sarah Palin's interview on ABC tonight. I didn't really want to watch. I wasn't planning to watch. But I was stuck near a laundromat TV and it was on, so I took my earphones off and gave a listen.

And, I don't know, maybe it's my prejudices keeping me from seeing utter brilliance when it's sitting across from Charlie Gibson, but I thought she seemed kind of like a dipshit. For example, when asked about her stance on American response to Israel's more controversial actions toward its Middle East neighbors, Palin said, "I don't think we should second guess the steps Israel takes to defend itself." Then Gibson asked a follow-up question, to which Palin responded, "I don't think we should second guess the steps Israel takes to defend itself." Then Gibson asked for some clarification on the point and Palin shot back, "I don't think we should second guess the steps Israel takes to defend itself."

Oh, dear God, I hope she repeats this kind of performance as we race toward November. Let the implosion begin.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


You Can Put Lipstick on an Asshole, But You Won't Want to Kiss It

Seriously? Holy, shit, the Republicans are really going overboard in their attempts to deflect attention away from Sarah Palin's inexperience, wacked-out viewpoints and whatever the hell other problems there are with her.

I suppose this sort of utterly moronic shit is to be expected and I just hope Obama calls them on it and doesn't bend over and take a swiftboat up the ass. Jesus fucking Christ, I hate Rovian politics.

Sunday, September 07, 2008


If I Could Keep Time in a Bottle, I'd Pour That Shit a Little More Slowly, Thank You Very Much

So last night, for the first time, I converted the time left until our baby is due...and it ain't that many. As of this morning, we've got 33 days left. Days, people! Holy fuck!

I got the crib up yesterday, which is yet another cause to freak out, even though the goddamn thing has been sitting, unassembled, in our hallway since April. We drove up to Connecticut yesterday and picked up a glider (which, for those unaware, is like a rocking chair, only smoooother). It's now sitting in the bedroom as well. With the computer now in the living room--that's right, I'm no longer writing this from the back of the apartment; you could probably tell, couldn't you--our bedroom has transformed into a very peacful, quiet place. Almost...too quiet...

My wife, who's been the one actually being pregnant these past eight months or so, is, I think, more than ready for the kid to get here. Visions of being able to actually go for a run dance in her head. Thoughts of being able to see her feet tantalize her.

And, to be honest, I'm just as anxious to have our son here and start getting to know him outside of the occasional intramaternal thumping. It's just that there's so much to be ready for and I don't know how prepared I am. Then again, is anyone who's not a completely anal, type-A prick ever totally ready for this? Quien sabe?

Anyway, 33 days, 5 weeks, a little over a month; however you want to say it, he's coming like Tropical Storm Hannah. Here's hoping he won't leave me quite as drenched.

Saturday, September 06, 2008


It's Made from Corn!

I was watching the Food Network this evening (which I don't usually do, but there was fucking nothing else on and I was lured in by a tie-in with Bon Appetit, a magazine whose annual Thanksgiving issue is some of the best food porn I know) and I was struck--and by struck, I mean goddamn appalled--by a commercial.

There's this couple sitting on the grass and the woman leans over and hands the guy a popsicle. The guy turns it down, pointing out that it has high fructose corn syrup in it. The woman says, "So?" and then goes on to point out that it's "made from corn," has an acceptable amount of calories and is fine "in moderation." Then, shamed at his foolishness for doubting how truly good-for-you high fructose corn syrup really is, the guy takes the popsicle. I don't know if he actually eats it or shoves it up his ass, but that's not the point.

The point is how fucking sickening it is that the folks behind a junk-food ingredient that pretty the entire world has agreed is not good for you have the balls to try telling us that they're not so bad at all. "It's made from corn, people! Everybody loves delicious, healthy corn! Don't listen to those jerks who want to scare you!"

I suppose it's to be expected. How many commercials did we get from R. J. Reynolds, telling us about how they turn their factory into a home for crippled children after a flood or how they're leading the way in helping people quit cigarettes.

Well, I'll tell you what, when the president of the Corn Refiners Association, the lovely people who sponsored this commercial, volunteers to spend an entire year in a cage, consuming nothing but corn oil, just to prove it's safe for the rest of us, I'll reconsider my opinion on what utterly loathsome douchebags they are.


A Little Tense

Just a quick question:

Is anyone else utterly fucking annoyed by historians who speak about their subjects in the present tense?

"This is when Hitler decides that he wants to take over all of Europe. So he starts off by buying a used tank, cheap."

It's the past, people. It's got its own special fucking tense.


Hairshirt Theater Presents...

In honor of Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, I present now a new one-act play about the wonders of abstinence-only sex education. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you:

Young Love.

(Nan and Olaf sit talking with Georg.)

GEORG: So you two have been together for how long?

NAN: Three wonderful years.

GEORG: But you’ve never had sex?

NAN: Oh! (Covers her ears)

OLAF: No, no. We don’t like to say that word out loud. It offends Jesus.

GEORG: Sorry.

OLAF: See, procreation is great for perpetuating the species and all that, but why on earth would anyone want to do it who wasn’t married?


NAN: Mr. Asimov—

GEORG: Please, call me Georg.

NAN: Okay, Georg. You see, most people spend so much time thinking about sin and pursuing sin that they’re all but consumed by it. We take all of that energy and thought and put it into glorifying Christ.

GEORG: So you don’t do anything?

NAN: Well…

OLAF: I mean, we are human.


OLAF: Not to tell secrets out of school, but, uh, we do get in some pretty intense hand-holding.

NAN: Olaf! You make me sound like some kind of whore!

OLAF: Sorry, dear.

GEORG: Hand-holding?

OLAF: (Sotto voce) Ungloved.

NAN: Oh now, that is enough.

GEORG: But that’s it?

NAN: Of course.

OLAF: What more do you need?

GEORG: But, I mean, don’t you ever miss…y’know…other stuff?

NAN: No!

OLAF: That’s the great thing about abstinence-only (muffles word) sex education. We literally don’t know what we’re missing. If you never learn about that sort of dirty stuff, then you can’t ever be tempted by it, can you?

GEORG: No, I suppose not.

OLAF: Darn straight!

NAN: To tell the truth, I just feel sorry for all those poor people out there who spend their day thinking about nothing but naked breasts or bouncing buttocks.

GEORG: Well, it doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for prayer, that’s true…

OLAF: (Staring in horror at a rising bulge in his trousers) Oh no.

NAN: What? Olaf, it’s not happening again?

GEORG: What? What’s happening?

OLAF: Naaan! Make it go away!

NAN: I cast thee out, Demon Lust! (She whacks Olaf’s crotch with her purse.)

OLAF: Aaaiigg!

NAN: Is it gone?

OLAF: No, darnit. I think it liked it.

NAN: Get the holy water!

OLAF: Quick! Quick!

(Nan pulls a bottle of holy water from her purse and dumps it on Olaf’s crotch.)

NAN: Get thee behind me! Get thee behind me!

OLAF: No, no! Say something besides that!

NAN: Now your trousers are all clingy!

OLAF: Run! Run! There’s a monster in my pants!

(They run off.)

GEORG: Think I’ll go rent some porn.



Live Rent-Free!

Let me start by saying that I have never seen Rent. I have never had the tiniest little fucking bit of desire to see it. I entertained a microsecond of consideration of seeing the movie, until I realized that the actors playing struggling artists in their twenties were now in their mid-thirties. The bits of it that I have seen on cable or as the cast sings "Seasons of Love" while riding a giant turkey in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade have assured me that, were I to see it, I would have to tie my arms to the theater seat to keep me from strangling myself.

I know a number of people who have great fondness for the show, and I respect that opinion, even if it's something I have to overlook to maintain respect for them.

So I was a little shocked and a little appalled upon finding myself feeling really sad when I heard this report on WNYC about how Rent is closing after 12 years. Why, I wondered, would I find anything the least bit moving about the expiration of a musical for which I've never felt any emotion rising above the level of contempt?

I mean, I'm cynical enough that any overly earnest musical theater worship makes me a bit cringe-y. Yes, I was raised performing in musicals at local community theaters and I know how fun they can be and I have an appreciation for their place in American theatrical history and I'm even capable of enjoying them on occasion. But the kind of reverence I see in the eyes of a twelve-year-old girl as she warbles her way through "Defying Gravity" always triggers my gag reflex.

Why, then, would I care the tiniest jot that the cast of Lil' Abner from the East Des Moines High School Drama Club will no longer be able to travel to New York to sit in rapture as their heroes portray early-90's clichés?

I sat down to think about it--because nothing fascinates me quite as much as crawling up my own ass to learn how I tick--and I came to the conclusion that it's simply one more thing that makes me aware of the passage of time. I went to college with a guy who was in the original workshop of the show. I was new to Seattle when the thing opened on Broadway.

More than that, Rent was the first musical that was squarely aimed at Generation X. Like Friends, Rent is--like it or not--kind of a touchstone for people my age. And that age is increasing all the goddamn time. So the fact that the show has been around that long and is now closing is yet another road sign on my trip to senior citizenship.

Of course, they'll probably do a revival in about a year and a half.


No. Just, No.

"Hey! I've got an idea for a show!"

"Okay. Hit me."

"So, we do Grey's Anatomy, but with young, hot lawyers!"

"Keep going..."

"And we get the kid from Saved by the Bell!"

"I think I'm smelling something..."

"Wait! Wait! But we give him long, limp brown hair so he looks sensitive!"



Hey Mo'!

Condoleezza Rice has gone to Libya to meet with Libyan president Moammar Kadafi. I really don't care very much about this visit, even though it's a break-through of sorts in that she's the first Secretary of State to visit the country since John Foster Dulles.

No, the only reason I'm mentioning the story is that I saw the following picture of Kadafi and realized that I think they should do a movie about him and they should get Albert Brooks to star.

That is all.

Friday, September 05, 2008


Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity-Jig

I feel pretty lame. I decided, you see, to kind of take the weeks of the Conventions off from posting. And I did my best to pretty much ignore huge chunks of the DNC and every single horrifying fucking second of the RNC.

I'd be feeling much better about myself if I was the kind of guy--let's say this kind of guy--who took the time this year to watch what the Republicans were saying and analyze it. But I'm not. Or at least, not this year.

It's not that I don't know how very important this election is. It's not that I'm burying my head in the sand and unaware of what's going on. But I have a kid on the way, y'know? Should I really risk giving myself a heart attack by watching Giuliani and Thompson and most every other G.O.P. fuckhead who spoke this week? There's only so much out and out lying I can take.

So, no. Instead of listening to Sarah Palin and her voice--which, much like Joe Lieberman's, kind of makes me want to pour cement in my ears to block out the sound--I watched Project Runway. Instead of checking out the P.O.W. stories of John McCain, I watched Andy Roddick get thrashed at the U.S. Open. (Fucking Serbian bastard!)

And I'm glad. 'Cause fuck those guys.

Oh, and if you were too lazy and/or disinterested to click on the link to this blog above, go there now. It's good stuff!