Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery






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Thursday, October 30, 2008



And now I take it all back, as I just had the most entertaining five minutes I've spent in years, sitting with my kid on my lap, watching his face as he pooped his diapers. Holy God, it was beautiful.


The Spawn

So I've re-read my previous baby entries and I've realized they sound a trifle Mary Poppins. In the interest of full disclosure, then, I should say:

Even though I love my son with all my heart, these first couple of weeks have not been without moments that make me question my suitability as a human being, much less as a parent. The Kid is not an absolute perfect silent angel. In fact, he's had some ear-splitting crying spells that have made me wonder if he is, in fact, a demon.

Like tonight, when my poor wife, who's had to deal with the bulk of the baby's colicky fits, wakes me up and tells me that she's falling asleep even as she's trying to rock the baby, and that she needs me to take a shift. And, since apparently my default setting when awakened out of a R.E.M. cycle is utter dickishness, I find myself inexplicably angry at my wife and resentful of my poor little son.

This is, truly, one of the most effective tools at promoting self-loathing I've ever come across. Realizing that you're capable of--even for a moment--hating your kid? Why, I've never felt so positively Hitlerian.

Having said all this, I'd like to go on record that I've read the books and I know that I'm not alone in having these moments, and I'd ask that people refrain from leaving any sort of "Don't worry so much" or "This rough patch won't last that long" comments and please just let me wallow in this for a bit. In about an hour, I'll be back to focusing on how utterly adorable my kid is and all will be right with the world.

He is awfully goddamn cute.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Heroes...and Why It Sucks Balls

I'm a giant geek. That's not news to anyone.

I'm a drooling fan-boy who's been reading comics since the fifth grade and shows no signs of slowing down. Which means that I love super-heroes. I do, I confess. Batman, Superman, Flash, Green Lantern. I'll gladly spend an entire weekend reading about them. Sadly.

Because of my super-love, I was instantly hooked on the first season of Heroes. Loved it. Loved every second of it, even if the season finale was actually an utter letdown.

The second season, as all right-minded people agree, blew like a toothless hooker. They introduced lame ass characters (Eye-Goop Girl and her brother, Lame Boy) and put their existing characters in moronic situations (Mohinder and Parkman as My Two Dads?). I chalked it up to a nasty sophomore slump and limped through to the last few episodes, which picked up somewhat.

Which brings us

Great googly moogly, this show sucks. Sylar is a hero? Mohinder is Jeff Goldblum in The Fly? There's another one of those fucking Ali Larter sisters? Jesus weeping Christ, people. We've got more poorly-used time travel. We've got increasingly unfunny use of Hiro and Ando. We've got characters switching sides more frequently than in a game of Red Rover.

Watching last night's crapfest, in which the Columbian eye-goop chick basically forgives Mohinder for pasting her to a wall with his super-vomit, I was struck by a notion: they're no longer using real writers. Seriously, watch next week and see. I'm convinced they've gotten rid of their dues-paying members of WGA and are, instead, giving a handful of action figures to a few of the producers' kids. The kids play with the action figures, the producers tape it and transcribe it directly to that week's script.

Think about it: "Okay, now you're my brother!" "And, and now I've got you prisoner." "Nuh-uh, I'm escaping." "Well now I've got your powers."

They've stopped ripping off classic comic book plots and started ripping off ten-year-olds' home-made manga.

Count me out. Alert me if they introduce a character who's power is to write intelligent scripts.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Jesus Fucking Christ, Are Skinheads Stupid

So this "plot" to kill Barack Obama...

Coupla dipshits talking big and pulling their puds over their "master scheme" and the media just goes right along and plays it up like they're the second coming of Al Quaeda. These are two sad, sad little morons who couldn't successfully kill a roach, but now they're all over the TV. Have you read what their "plan" consists of?

Wow, are these guys pathetic. It sounds a lot like my uncle Arnie's "plan" to make a million dollars.

"This is what I'm gonna do, see. I got an idea for this invention which lets you keep a can of beer cold in your truck for up to ten hours without using ice. Without ice, ya get me? So there's this guy at the Sud Bucket who told me he knows a fella in the Patent Office. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna cut the guy from the Sud Bucket in for forty percent of the operation and we're gonna patent this motherfucker and we're gonna sell it to the guys at Ronco or Home Shopping or one of those and we're gonna get rich. Whoa, hang on. 'Scuse me, li'l buddy. I think that last Miller High Life mighta stirred something up in my gut, 'cause it sure does feel like I'm about to yak."

Look, I fear as much as the next guy that some crazy redneck fuckrag is going to take out the very man who's about to lead our country through one of the biggest crises we've faced. I just don't think it's going to be a couple of douchenuggets like these.

Friday, October 24, 2008


Bard, Baby, Bard

I promise that, after this first week is over, I'll start writing about shit other than my son, but for the time being, as we've spent 99% of our time since Monday here in the apartment, we've been eating, drinking and breathing nothing but baby. It's been All-Kid, All the Time.

Isn't it odd that every parent feels the same way about their kid? (There may be a few assholes who are indifferent to their off-spring, but I don't want to meet them.) We all think that they're the greatest thing since macaroni met cheese.

I was trying to think of a way to express the way I feel about my kid. I was playing with some Hamlet finger puppets when it hit me. Now, you've got to remove the context from this quote, as, in the play, it's attributed to the murdered King Hamlet in reference to Gertrude, his wife. Prince Hamlet, talking about how his dad felt about his mom, says that his dad loved her so much, "...[t]hat he might not beteem the winds of heaven visit her face too roughly."

Now, other than my illiteracy at not knowing what the hell "beteem" means, that about sums up how I feel about the Kid. So, when I'm up at 3:30 in the morning, with this kid red-faced and wailing at me, either because he's got a gas bubble lodged somewhere painful or because he just dreamed he was going through the birth canal again, my fatigue is trumped by my wish that I could just wave a wand and make it all better.

I explained all this to him last night and he seemed to get it.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Lesson Learned

Another important milestone in the life of a father.

Today, I made my first panicky, moronic call to the pediatrician. Happens in the life of every first-time parent, I'm sure, but it doesn't make me feel any less like a dipshit.

Quite simply, it occurred to me today that, while I've changed a whole mess of poopy diapers, I'd only changed one which you could call urine-soaked. Also, I've only ever been hit by one stream of pee during a changing.

So I went to the books. And the books say that there might be a delay before your child starts peeing, that delay should not be terribly long and, if your kid hasn't started peeing by the fourth day (we're on Day 5) you should call your doctor immediately.

So I did. After which my mother-in-law pointed out that disposable diapers are incredibly absorbent these days that it might be hard to tell if there's pee in there. This was confirmed by my very patient doctor, who told me that it's a lot better to check the weight of the diaper, as urine-less diapers tend to be very light.

So, bottom line: pee-filled diapers are heavy and I'm an idiot. Good to know.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Paranoia Will Destroy Ya

So, apparently, there's this whole other aspect of new parenthood, aside from the unbridled joy and the mind-boggling fatigue. (And those two in and of themselves are more than enough to occupy one's time.)

What I haven't heard mentioned much is the sudden, semi-constant, horrific fear that something is wrong with your kid. There are noises and behaviors that you come to fairly quickly identify as indications of hunger and/or feces. But there are others that are harder to interpret. And when you're presented with one of those that doesn't go away quickly enough, your mind starts going to all kinds of awful places. "Holy shit! He's kind of shaking in a weird way! Start the car, we're going to the emergency room!"

We were taking him to his first pediatrician visit yesterday and we were trying out our carrier for the first time. He fit in it nicely and was sitting snugly right up against my chest, but I couldn't really see him breathing. So of course I start freaking out that he's too snug, too tight against my chest and he's suffocating. Happily, I can report that he was fine. In fact, he was uber-comfy.

On the way home, I was sitting on the bus next to the kind of old lady you see all the time in New York. Loud, not entirely clean-looking, possibly drunk. She asked how old he was and congratulated us on him. Meanwhile, I was just praying she didn't get her old, drunk germs on my brand new baby.

I'm assuming this goes away after awhile and I won't actually spend the first few months of our son's life calling the pediatrician every four or five hours in a pan beccuse he farted in a way I've never heard. Otherwise, this is going to be a long, long parenthood.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Non-Baby Bits

Even with an all-night poop-cleaning session going on in the Hairshirt household, I'm still managing to keep abreast of goings-on in the outer world. For instance, let's talk about a few things I heard on our local NPR station this morning:
  • The Takeaway (still the lamest NPR show this side of the disastrous 1996 experiment, Carl Castle's Reggae Hour) featured an interview with a man they described as Pakistan's "former permanent amabassador to the U.N." Call me crazy, but if he was the permanent amabassador, shouldn't he still be doing the job? Permanent is permanent, people. He should still be sitting in General Assembly meetings, even after he's a moldering corpse. Otherwise, they should have called him "Ambassador for the Time Being, I Guess, to the U.N."
  • The local news had a short piece on one business that's booming, despite the economic crisis: apple sales. They portrayed it as good, kind of cute news. I see it as a horrific omen of lingering economic disaster. Think for a minute, here. Movies about the '30s. Movies about the impoverished class in pre-revolutionary France. What's the one thing they always show? Someone on the street trying to make a living selling apples to other poor people. We should not celebrate the apple-salesmen, we should fear them.
  • One NPR headline that caught my attention was yet another uptick in the polls for Barack Obama, with some giving credit for the bump to the endorsement by Colin Powell. I loved what Powell said, especially the bit about the correct response to accusations that Obama's a Muslim being, "So what if he was?" Man, wouldn't Colin Powell make a great Secretary of State? Oh, wait.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Now, I'm a Dad

It had to happen. And now it has.

I faced down my first poopy-diaper. And I fucking won, people. That diaper full of tarry crap will think twice before it darkens our door again.

I think I may be so sleep-deprived that I'm hallucinating. For instance, I'm pretty sure that Mahatma Ghandi is floating over our computer now, drinking a milkshake. So that's worrisome.

Onward, my friends! Into the unknown!



Kind of an odd incident at the hospital last night. It was very late--this was around 1:00 in the morning--and the new mother sharing the room with my wife was trying to go to sleep, so we turned off the lights on my wife's side of the room; thought we'd be as considerate as possible.

So we pulled the blinds and we turned off the light above the bed...and the room was still completely brightly lit. We were baffled. No lightbulbs going, no candles burning and yet I could read the small print on an insurance form.

Eventually, we figured out--and this was quite a shock to us both--that the sun shines out our son's ass. Who knew?

Saturday, October 18, 2008


All Hail Thee, Hairshirt, Jr.

Yes, yes. You must now, all of you within reading distance of this blog, now and forever, swear your undying devotion to that greatest of all living beings in this or any other universe, my brand new son, the Kid. He is the Alpha and the Omega. Kneel before him, unworthy hordes.

Friday, October 17, 2008


Pimply Irresistable

I hate my body. I hate my mind, too, but that's neither here nor there at the moment.

What I'm hating about my body right is the fact that I'm now thirty-eight years old and I still get acne. Wasn't that supposed to end a long, long time ago? Wasn't that why I let that dickhead dermatologist pump me full of that fun, fun drug, Accutane?

Alas, I'm still prone to heinous skin-bumps.

Like the one currently sitting beside my nose. Now, this is not a normal, pop-it-and-it-goes-away zit. This is a deep-embedded cluster. It makes for a giant red bump. One that stays and stays and stays.

What this means is, from here to the end of time, pictures of me with my newborn son--I'm going to go ahead and guess that he'll be born sometime in the not-too-distant future--will feature the aforementioned disgusting, ugly zit cluster. Great. My beautiful glowing wife, our adorable little child and me with my pizza-face. Huzzah.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Baby Come [Out], You Can Blame It All on Me

So at this point, we're thinking of changing tactics. We're thinking we might need to offer the baby a signing bonus to get him out of my wife. This evening, I'm going to wave a blank check in front of her belly and tell him to name his price.

Seriously, the last four days have seemed longer than the entire first forty weeks. I'm beginning to think the kid just doesn't like us.


My wife keeps telling me that I just need to shift my thinking and just pretend that the due date is a week and a half from now, keep myself from feeling so anxious to get this show on the road. Yeah, that's not working.

My in-laws are in town now. They flew all the way from Seattle, arranged a 10-day hotel booking so they could help us out with the kid. It'd be a real shame if they flew back without meeting him. Hey! Maybe that's the way to go about this. Maybe I should try a little intra-uterine guilt tripping.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Utterly Unnecessary Self-Justification

Lately, a lot of my reading has consisted of books I checked out of the library. This is good for a number of reasons, among which are that, in times of economic uncertainty, it makes less and less sense to drop $24.95 on the new Nick Hornby novel--an example I use not because I'm under the mistaken impression that Hornby has a new book out (he doesn't) but because he's an author whose work I generally like but who has written a few books for which I've regretted paying full price--instead of putting that money toward, say, food. There's also the reason that, if you buy a book, you are basically contractually obligated to finish it. You're doubly moronic if you not only throw money away on a lame book, but then don't even have the guts to get all the way through it. (Few things have tormented me like the copy of The Autobiography of Santa Claus, which sat on a shelf mocking me for two years. Jesus, what a chunk of shit.)

Checking out a book from the library has allowed me the freedom to not finish a book if I can't stand it. For instance, it was a real slog trying to make myself take interest in A Confederacy of Dunces. I tried. It's a "classsic", after all. But I just didn't care for it.

I've brought the same completist attitude toward my television viewing. If I started out liking something enough to tune in, I've often just kept it on the DVR and choked down episodes I didn't actually like. It's even worse if it's a show that I know I'm supposed to like.

Which brings me to Mad Men.

Now, I started watching this show last season, not because of the critical acclaim, but because the advertising campaign made it look so cool. And it's a good show. It's soapy, but not hideously. It's got all kinds of nifty period details. It's got some solid acting.

But it's also got a lead character who repeatedly cheats on his wife. I can't abide that. I don't know why, precisely, but I've always had a hard time watching movies or TV shows with cheating characters. It just bugs me. My wife dragged me to watch Unfaithful a few years back and it was torturous. It's pretty simple, folks, if you're that unhappy in your marriage, you leave. Otherwise, you keep it in your fucking pants. I just lose all sympathy for a character when they cheat.

So the lead character in Mad Men, who is an interesting, complex character, well-played by a guy who was nominated for an Emmy for the part, is a philanderer and it ruins it for me. I'm so bugged by it that the entire season has been sitting in my DVR queue, unwatched.

I've finally made the decision that I'm just gonna erase them. Good TV or not, it's not like I'm paying for it, so why should I feel like I have no choice but to watch? Fuck it. I'm gonna watch a bunch of Laverne & Shirley re-runs instead.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Baby Update

No baby yet. However, we have made a decision about the name. Given where we are in this process, we've decided to call our son Godot.

That is all.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Farewell, My Lunchly: A Jose Amador Mystery

Chapter One:

Noon. A fall day, brisk like underwear fresh from the salad crisper. Jose sat at his desk and looked out the window at the guy crapping in the alley across the street. This was the world he lived in. One day, you're having tea and scones that your butler serves on a silver tray with doilies; the next day, you're wiping your ass with a stock certificate you found in the trash.

Jose took another bite of his sandwich and washed it down with bourbon. The bourbon was like a three-dollar hooker: it was cheap and toothless, but it did its job. The sandwich was iffier. Stale bread. A hunk of aging tomato. Two mayonnaise packets he'd found in a drawer he hadn't opened since he moved in. Hard times.

Times like these, a man could get desperate. He could start thinking crazy thoughts. Thoughts like, "Look at me! I'm cra-a-a-zy!"

Jose forced another bite of the sandwich down his throat. It went down like a glue-covered ass on a sliding board. It took two swigs of bourbon to dislodge it.

The office door swung open and there she stood. She was a tall dame, with legs and a torso, just the way Jose liked them. Her hair covered her head and her lips looked like they could form words. As she walked toward him, she didn't have a noticeable limp. She was his type all right. And that usually meant danger.

Jose wiped some mayo off his chin. "Pardon the sandwich, doll-face. Normally, I go to the Yacht Club for lunch, but I seem to have misplaced my membership card."

The dame sat down. "Just like a broad," Jose thought. She took off her hat and fixed Jose with a look like one of those velvet paintings of the kids with the big eyes. Or maybe dogs playing poker. Jose wasn't an art critic.

"I need your help, Mr. Amador," she said. He'd been right about her lips.

Jose refilled his glass with bourbon. "You're lucky, sweetheart. My help just happens to be for sale." He'd come up with that line two months ago and this had been his first chance to use it. "I get twenty-five dollars a day, plus expenses."

The dame's eyes fell, like a Twinkie dropped off a roof. "I'm afraid I don't have any money, Mr. Amador. You see, I invested my life savings in a donut farm."

Jose knew this story. It didn't have a happy ending and its character development was spotty. "I'm sorry to hear it, baby. I'm not going to be able to help you." Jose didn't work for free. Not since he got burned by a bunch of orphans with polio.

A single tear raced down the dame's cheek, like a slinky descending a staircase, only wetter. "I'm desperate, Mr. Amador. Would you be willing to accept payment in vaginal intercourse?"

Jose was about to tell the dame that sex was as useless in his office as a Discover card, when all of a sudden, the mayonnaise from his sandwich decided to make an escape attempt from his digestive system. His stomach lurched like a nun on a bender.

The dame saw that something was wrong. "Mr. Amador? Are you okay?"

Jose fought it. He fought like the National Guard on Mississippi River sand-bagging duty, but the tide of vomit was too strong. His sandwich and the booze it had been swimming in burst out of his mouth and landed in a warm splatter on the dame's chest.

She stared at him in numb horror as he picked a chunk of tomato out of his teeth. "You just got lucky, sweetheart. I don't normally take charity cases, but I can't turn down a lady covered in my own puke. Tell me your story."

Looking back on it later, Jose would come to regret accepting the Case of the Regurgitation-Covered Client.

Happy Birthday, Beigey!

Friday, October 10, 2008


Letter to My Son #2

Dear baby,

So you're still not here, little guy. Today is your due date, but you seem to be having a good time in Mommy's uterus, because you haven't come out yet. No worries. We know you'll emerge when you're ready and we'll be happy whenever that is.

One thing, though. Mommy's a little concerned that you might come out on Monday. Normally, going into labor on a Monday wouldn't phase Mommy at all, but this coming Monday is Daddy's birthday and Mommy is of the opinion that little boys really need their own birthday.

See, I had been thinking it would be kind of cool to share a birthday, but I understand where Mommy's coming with this. I wouldn't want to deprive you of the joy of having your very own special day.

I want you to understand, then, that--if you did happen to be born on Monday--October 13th will be your special day. See, I've had thirty-seven birthdays. That's a lot. I don't really need any more, to be honest. I'm not that big a fan of cake.

Additionally, I'm heading toward the age where people start giving you "over the hill" gag gifts which they mistakenly believe are funny. Y'know, I get why people would want to make fun of someone's advancing age, mining humor out of our inability to deal with our own mortality. I get that. I just don't think that mylar balloons with the Grim Reaper holding a cake are necessarily the height of wit.

Anyway, whenever you're born, it's going to be relatively close to my birthday. And people are going to be tempted to bring cards for me to your birthday party to save time. Rest assured, tiny son, I will slap the card out of their hand and punch them in the sternum and tell them that this party is all about you.

In fact, pretty much everything your mom and I do over the next eighteen years or so will be all about you. Now get your ass out here so your mommy and I can start with the hugs and such. (And Mommy would probably be less worried about your future happiness if you could come on a day other than Monday.)


Thursday, October 09, 2008


Hairshirt Horoscope

Aries: You're thrilled to find that the brisk fall air makes urinating in an alley even more enjoyable.

Taurus: A long-anticipated event may finally arrive this week and you will find it easier than you might have expected. Also, you'll be cleaning another human being's ass a lot.

Gemini: Somebody close to you may be hiding a secret. And not a cool secret, like, "Oh, surprise! I just bought you a car!" or something. This is more like, "Oh, surprise! I gave you herpes!" Still, it's always nice to be surprised.

Cancer: You're super excited today because you're pretty sure that the American version of Life on Mars is going to be even better than the original. You're also a Cubs fan, so...yeah.

Leo: Your nesting instincts take over this evening, and they're really, really strong, so don't be surprised if you find yourself gathering twigs and hay, forming it into a bowl shape and then cementing it in place with mud.

Virgo: Try as you might to justify it to yourself, you know, in your heart, that it's never really okay to throw roast beef on someone's car from an overpass. Even if it's thinly sliced.

Libra: Important events are likely to happen this week, Libra, so you'll probably want to avoid dropping acid, as it'll be a lot easier to deal with things if the walls aren't melting.

Scorpio: It's great that you have such an appreciation for art, Scorpio. It'd just be a little greater if all the "art" you "appreciate" didn't involve "barely legal lesbians".

Sagittarius: While the rest of the country shudders with fear at the state of our economy, you, Sagittarius, are giddy with optimism. This is because your family's store sells wearable barrels and business is better than it's been since 1939.

Capricorn: Sure, you like lasagna. But do you like it enough to bake the world's largest lasagna and then climb inside it for a nap?

Aquarius: World of advice for the next time you find yourself on the dance floor: the Hand Jive has lost a lot of its cachet and you look nowhere near as cool as you think.

Pisces: You have a wonderful way with plants. Your home is a verdant paradise thanks to your gardening prowess. But you should avoid contact with humans, 'cause you're also kind of a dick.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Mincing Words

Just a quick word about John McCain's use of the English language:

I've been hearing the same quote from last night's debate over and over this morning and there's something about it that just bugs the shit out of me. Talking about taxes, McCain said--and I might be paraphrasing slightly, 'cause I'm too fucking lazy to look this up--"Senator Obama's tax proposals are like nailing Jello to a wall. There's been five or six of them and, if you wait around awhile, I'm sure there'll be more."

So, what the hell is McCain saying here? Is he saying that, once you nail Jello to a wall, you can't stop until you've nailed up five or six bowls of it? Is he calling Obama a compulsive Jello-nailer? I'm just not at all sure how precisely the simile he uses fits in with the sentence that follows.

Perhaps, if he wanted to go with a food analogy, he should have said something like, "With Senator Obama, tax proposals are like Lay's Potato Chips. I bet he can't have just one!" Or maybe, "For Senator Obama, tax proposals are like Chinese food. Half an hour later, he wants to write another one." He could also have said, "I need my food cut up into tiny little pieces, because I'm elderly and can't swallow well."

Although that last one probably wouldn't have gone very far toward proving whatever the hell point he was trying to make.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008



So tonight, we've got the second presidential debate between Barack Obama and Ol' Cranky-Pants. I'm hearing a lot of different opinions on how things are going to go down. John McCain, they say, is excellent at town hall-style debates, the very format we'll be seeing this evening. Since the topics on tap tonight are supposed to be domestic policy and the economy, some pundits feel that Obama might have an advantage. All this guess-work. Tsk.

All you need to do to predict the events of tonight's debate is read on, folks. Because we here at Hairshirt are proud to have on our payroll half a dozen of the country's most accurate psychics, who have spent the last forty-eight hours in a deep trance, peeling back the veil on the murky future so that we can benefit from their amazing precognitive powers.

Here then are some hightlights from the Hairshirt Psychics Debate Predictions:
  • John McCain will open by thanking Tom Brokaw, Belmont University and " opponent, the gay, radically-Islamic abortionist/terrorist."
  • Tom Brokaw will spend about fifteen minutes in the middle of the debate on a wildly off-topic rant about The Greatest Generation.
  • A "completely random, unscreened" audience member will thank Senator McCain for his service in Vietnam, then ask how his years as a P.O.W. have affected the way he looks at the way Democrats in congress never get anything done.
  • Barack Obama will answer a question about charter schools by speaking entirely in belch and will still sound more trust-worthy than McCain.
  • A poorly-disguised Sarah Palin will attempt to distract Barack Obama from the rear of the auditorium by blinding him with the reflection from her wrist watch.
  • John McCain's bladder control issues will be thrust into the spotlight when he wets himself during a particularly passionate answer about activist judges.
  • Half of the audience watching the debate on FOX will change channels half-an-hour in when they finally realize they aren't watching House arguing with Foreman.
  • Bored with yet another question about the economy, the candidates will stop debating after forty-five minutes and just start playing with a hacky-sack.
Enjoy the democratic process, folks!

Monday, October 06, 2008


It's Like Jenga, Only More So

We are now a couple of days past 39 weeks. What that means is that this baby could come literally any minute. Or we could be waiting seven days from now. So, all this way, nine months worth of pregnancy, and now we have endgame.

My wife called me twice today while I was teaching a class. I ran over to the classroom teacher--who happened to be in the room, working on her grades--and I fairly yelled, "Listen, my wife's due to give birth soon and she's calling me and I need to step out in the hallway and take it so I need you to watch the class and I'll be right back and I'm sorry, 'cause I normally wouldn't do this."

This made for a rather sheepish re-entry, when I had to tell the teacher, "Yeah, my wife called me twice in a row because she needed an address."

I'm thinking now that maybe we should set up a definite signal, like maybe she'll send me a text that says, "I'm in labor, dumbass. Get your buns home pronto." That's fairly unambivalent, right?

Friday, October 03, 2008


Winky, The Spunky Li'l Candidate

There really were a number of reasons to hate Sarah Palin's performance in last night's debates. For starters, there was her declaration to Gwen Ifill that she'd be answering the questions on her note cards, not whatever happened to emerge from Ifill's mouth.

Then there was her omnipresent evocation of Ronald fucking Reagan. Y'know what, Sarah, he was actually kind of an overrated douchebag. Why not confine him to your masturbatory fantasies and not shove him down the debate audience's throats.

Particularly grating was the oft-repeated "maverick". "It's a great idea to put the Maverick of the Senate into the White House." "I'm a maverick!" "We're a team of mavericks!" Fuck you, governor. James Garner is Maverick, you're a couple of assholes who want to keep us buried in the same bullshit we've been swallowing for the last eight years.

But Palin wouldn't know about that, I guess, because she hates nothing more than looking back. She dodged Biden's comments about what got us into Iraq by saying we shouldn't be examining our history. She professed not to care what caused global warming in the first place, which would seem to be a necessary bit of knowledge if we want to reverse it. There's a quote, governor, that I like: "Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it." I'd look up who said it originally, but I know that'd just piss off a forward-thinker like yourself.

I think I might have an idea of why she wants to keep the country from taking a good, hard look at where we've come over the last eight years. This idea hit me as I was watching her try to Matlock her way around the issues last night ("Golly, I'm just such an outsider, I don't quite unnerstan' how y'all talk.")

After the fortieth time she mispronounced "nuclear"; after the second time she threw out that obnoxious, self-satisfied fucking wink; after watching her stand up there and gosh-shucks her way through everything they'd crammed up her ass to say; after all that, it hit me: Palin is George W. Bush with a vagina.

Do we truly want George W. Bush with a vagina anywhere near the fucking White House? I'll let you work that one out for yourselves.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


To Everything, Term, Term, Term...

I didn't vote for Michael Bloomberg. The first time he ran, I lived in Yonkers (insert shudder-take) and the second time he ran I voted for whoever the fuck the Democrat was because I'd heard that Bloomberg, Inc. was not necessarily the best company to work for if you were a pregnant lady and that didn't sit well. I didn't think I'd have to worry about voting for him a second time, 'cause New Yorkers voted for term limits awhile back.

So this is where I step back and talk for a moment about the idea of term limits. What a stupid fucking concept. I thought they were a moronic fucking idea when they first reared their head (much like Putin apparently does, according to a certain Veep-idate) and I still think they're moronic all these years later.

Hey folks, a democracy alread has built-in term limits. They're called elections. If the voters are unsatisfied with an elected official, vote them the fuck out. Why do we need to be legally unable to re-elect someone with whom we're happy? Why should someone's reward for doing a stellar job for his/her constiuents be that they're out of work after a couple of cycles?

I get the reasoning behind the concept, I suppose. "Those darned entrenched incumbants! They're so corrupt and nothing short of a hurricane can dislodge them from office! Boo!" But why not just take all that anger and money you're throwing toward getting term limits passed and put it toward the campaign of the guy running against the aforementioned awful incumbant? Why do you want to put a brick wall in the path of someone everyone agrees is okay?

Which brings me back to the Mayor of New York. Over the past few years, I've grown to kind of like Mike Bloomberg. He's not a bad guy, from what I can see. And a lot of people seem to like him. So I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing that he wants to run again. In fact, I'd probably vote for him this time.

The problem comes in that the man is trying to work with City Council to get rid of term limits that the voters put in place without going through the voters. That makes a lot of people around here angry. They're very protective, you see, of their stupid, moronic laws.

So this is going to be interesting to watch. Will Bloomberg's popularity be enough to make people overlook a little subversion of the will of the people? Or will the people crush the dreams of this poor billionaire who just wants to give a little back? Hell of a story.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


Letter to My Son #1

Dear Son,

So, at this point, you're not born and we haven't fixed upon your name yet. We will, don't worry. You won't be going into your second month of life sans appellation or anything. In fact, we have several likely candidates, but your mommy wants to be certain before we go affixing an identity to you willy-nilly.

I thought it might be a good idea to lay down a record of sorts so that you have some idea of the context into which you were born. Or rather, into which you will be born, as we're still at least a few days shy of the actual event. Your mommy's doctor seems to feel that you'll be arriving by or before your due date, which means we--knock wood--will have the privilege of meeting you within the next nine days or so.

Your mommy, I'm sad to say, has just come down with a cold. You've probably noticed. I imagine you're hearing her sneezes and maybe thinking there's an earthquake or something along those lines. Don't sweat it. We're giving her orange juice and soup and all that jazz.

In the wider world, we're a day away from the Vice-Presidential Debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin. My sincere hope is that, by the time you're old enough to read this, your response to the last sentence will be "Sarah who?" and not, "Yes. That was the turning point that led to the End Times." Your mommy and I will be watching the debate, which means that, even in the womb, you'll be able to hear me screaming at the television and possibly kicking over a chair.

You will, of course, already be here by Election Day. I bet you'll accompany your mommy and me to the polls, where you'll get to see what ancient voting machines look like. By the time you're old enough to vote, we'll hopefully have a better system that isn't run by evil bastards like Diebold whose machines are used to skew results to the highest bidder.

The baseball playoffs are starting. You don't know this yet, but you're going to be a Cleveland Indians fan, despite not growing up in Ohio. In fact, you already have a whole bunch of Indians clothing. I'm optimistic that, by the time you're old enough to really follow the sport, the good people of Cleveland will have demanded the removal of Chief Wahoo as a mascot or, even better, completely changed the name of the team to something less racist--like, say, the Cleveland Crackers--so that you won't have to feel conflicted as a fan. Also, they'll hopefully suck less by then. But I don't hold out much hope for that.

What else is going on? Oh, right. Phish just got back together. I'm pretty sure you're not going to have a penchant for jam bands, so this shouldn't affect you. And if you ever do get a yearning to "go on tour," please remember that your dad is deathly allergic to pachouli and drum circles.

Love you already,


Hairshirt Horoscope

Aries: It's rocky financial times like these that make you so very glad you went into a good, stable career like prostitution.

Taurus: The next couple of weeks promise smooth sailing, with nothing on the horizon that might cause you, for example, to want to rip your husband's testicles off because he said/did something stupid while you were in labor.

Gemini: Your ego may take a bruising this week, Gemini. But, no matter how incredibly stupid you're feeling, take comfort in the fact that you're at least smarter than Sarah Palin.

Cancer: An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but not if you cut the apple into very small slices and wrap each slice in five pieces of bacon.

Leo: You're feeling pretty good about yourself this week, Leo. That's mostly because you remembered to say, "Happy Rosh Hashana" to that one guy at work who you think might be Jewish. He isn't, but I'm sure he still appreciated the gesture.

Virgo: People love being around you, Virgo. Maybe that's because you're a warm and loving person and maybe that's because you always carry around a large bag of Twinkies that you freely dole out to anyone who asks. Either way, life's pretty sweet.

Libra: Libra, you are the coolest thing to ever happen in the history of the universe. It should be noted that this horoscope applies only to tiny Libra who's due to emerge from my wife's uterus in the next couple of weeks. Other Libras are nice and all that, but not actually that cool.

Scorpio: This is a good time for artistic pursuits, Scorpio. So make sure you take a sharpie with you the next time you sit in a bathroom stall.

Sagittarius: You may be finding that your memory is not quite what it used to be, Sagittarius. In fact, if you cast your eyes downward, you will see that you left the house this morning without remembering to put pants on.

Capricorn: You're in a weird mood this week, Capricorn. Which may go a long way toward explaining why you decided to wrap duct tape around your junk.

Aquarius: Aquarians in relationships may find themselves feeling a touch insecure this week. A quick and easy way to bolster your confidence in your appeal is to write your significant other a note in which you ask them to "check this box if you find me hot." Trust me, this got me tons of play in elementary school.

Pisces: You're feeling really bad for Alberto Gonzales this week, largely because you've always harbored a secret desire to fire a bunch of attorneys for partisan reasons.