Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Four News Items That Should Not Be News

1. Annie Lebowitz Wins Praise From the World's Pedophiles By Duping Miley Cyrus Into Baring Her Back

The news media are all over the euphemistic map: she's naked, according to the Melbourne Herald Sun. She's nude, according to the Daily Telegraph. She's topless, according to the Post Chronicle.

Which, if I remember correctly, means Halle Berry, Uma Thurman and Julia Roberts showed up topless to the last Academy Awards.

The New York Post declares her "half naked." Um, which half, dudes? The upper back? Fractions have changed dramatically since the last time I took math.

2. Obama's Pastor

One small quibble with this scandal: the pastor's right. Needless to say, then, I'm not thrilled to hear Obama denounce him. (Yeah, blame poor blacks for being "divisive.") Still, let's remind ourselves: the Republican candidates would be tearing each other apart too -- if they could have found two people worth voting for.

(For those who haven't heard, McCain also has a crazy pastor he's aligned with. Like Obama's pastor, John Hagee married the couple, and baptized their kids. He also said gays caused Hurricane Katrina. The media doesn't care, though, since the dude is just anti-gay.)

3. Bush Says Pain From Economy Defies Easy Fix

He says this every week. In fact, it's about all he does say. I'm not sure why, since he's responsible for it. It's kind of like a four-year-old running up to you and proclaiming, "I did a doody in my pants!" Maybe it's his way of reassuring us that he's in touch with the American people. But hearing it week after week, it reminds me of a commercial.

A cute young couple are languidly rowing across a lake when the boat springs a small leak. The woman whips a tampon out of her purse and stuffs it in the hole. It swells up and stops the leak. Disaster averted!

Bush is the girl who waits until you're knee-deep in water and then says, "There's a hole in the boat. There's a hole in the boat. No, really: there's a hole in the boat."

4. Governor Spitzer's Hooker Sues "Girls Gone Wild" for Misrepresenting Her Video Footage

What, it makes her look smart?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Why I'm Convinced the Jimi Hendrix Sex Tape is Real

Towards the end he says, "Excuse me while I kiss this guy."

Why a Handsome Young Missouri Farmer Agreed to Appear on a CW Reality Show

Because even when a guy has all the latest farming equipment, sometimes all he wants is a hoe.
Over the last couple days I've gotten literally hundreds of emails all saying the same thing: Roman, I just saw Harrison Ford on Access Hollywood. Believe it or not he was getting his chest waxed, supposedly to draw attention to world deforestation.

Roman, why is Harrison Ford getting his chest waxed like deforestation?

10. Because like trees, grasses and lichen, Harrison Ford's body hair converts carbon dioxide to oxygen.

9. Because after a country is deforested, it looks much better in an open shirt.

8. Because timber companies will frequently clear a forest just to make it easier to apply sunscreen.

7. Chest hair is great at preventing runoff, if you know what I mean.

6. Because after they're done sawing, lumberjacks will usually offer to prune your eyebrows for free.

5. Because like trees, Harrison Ford's chest hair provides a home for literally thousands of species of wildlife.

4. Because when you cut trees down, they frequently scream "KELLY CLARKSON!"

3. Because when trees are allowed to grow wild in a country, it can be difficult to find its nipples.

2. Because when I think hard wood, I think Harrison Ford.

1. It's an allegory: once its chest has been stripped bare, all the earth will have is pubes.

Monday, April 28, 2008

There were something like ten cool neighborhoods in Tokyo that I absolutely had to visit, so I figured ten days would be enough. All my friends warned me about temple burnout, where after your third or twelfth or fiftieth you just can't drag yourself into one more, but I never got enough. Each one was more stunning than the last, suffusing me with Buddhist bliss.

This being the off season, I was more or less alone at a lot of these temples, particularly during the week. To save on electricity they have a button you press that turns on the lights for a minute or two. You admire the shoji screens, gaze at the artworks, marvel at the peaceful, loving, frequently enormous Buddha sitting on the altar. The lights click off and you stand there convinced that this is the most perfect place on earth.

In one quiet blue-collar neighborhood, I stumbled upon an enclave of three temples, and wandered over to the smallest one. I could barely make out silhouettes in the darkness, so I hit the button to turn on the light.

And saw this thing staring at me. Larger than life-size, maybe five feet away. I've never been scared more shitless, and I was married to an Italian.

The plaque just had a paragraph in English, basically saying this guy is the King of Hell. Which got me to wondering: of all the gods to choose from, why would somebody pray to him? There's a god of the harvest, a god of travel, a god of attractive, inexpensive shoes. Why would somebody drop their hard-earned yen into Freaky Dude's donation box? He's pretty much the opposite of Jesus, and if we had a telethon for him on American TV he'd pull in less than Jerry Lewis. You wouldn't catch Grandma pledging her Social Security dollars to fuel his fires for another day.

I asked a couple people about him afterwards, but everybody pleaded ignorance. I'm thinking maybe he's a cultural embarrassment they don't want to admit to, like Hallmark cards or Kathie Lee Gifford. But after a few days thought, I realized he made perfect sense. People are always telling us gays that we're hellbound, so why do we keep trying to forge a relationship with the good guys? The Bible says it's harder for gays to get into heaven than it is to disable a camel with a plastic fork and six Rolaids, so why on earth do we try? Why don't we write off God as a total loss and start kissing up to the other side? Even if our donations and prayers to this guy don't buy us entrance into the VIP area, rubbing elbows with Rock Hudson and Oscar Wilde and Michelangelo, at least they might get us out of an eternity spent in a bunkbed under Ernest Borgnine.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Why Your Mom Always Told You To Chew Twenty Times Before Swallowing

Spot the Odd Discrepancy in a Major News Story

'Darth Vader' Attacks Jedi Church Founder
Dark Lord Could Face Jail Time for Striking Back

In what may be the first intergalactic hate crime, a man dressed as Darth Vader attacked the founder of a Jedi Church in Wales.

According to reports, Arwel Wynne Hughes, 27, was wearing a black trash bag when he jumped over a garden wall screaming "I am Darth Vader!" and beat Barney Jones and his cousin Michael with a metal crutch.

Here's a hint:

How to Make the SATs Gay Friendly

"Oh my gosh," Roman said as he took off his Harris tweed coat and hung it on the wooden coat rack by the Starbucks door. "I have had a crazy day! First I went to a Naked Brothers concert at Madison Square Garden, then I caught a double feature of The Naked City and Naked Gun. Afterwards I took a cab to Times Square to see the Naked Cowboy, and then I ran home to catch 'The Naked Chef' on TV."

"Ohmigosh," his friend Marco exclaimed after he settled into an overstuffed chair and adjusted his shorts. "You've probably seen more penises today than I've seen in my entire life!"

How many penises did Roman see?

Answer: One. C'mon, you know what guys named Marco are like.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Meet you about five feet thataway. ↓

According to the New York Times, most Americans would like to be able to contact their doctors via e-mail, but fewer than a third of U.S. doctors use e-mail to communicate with patients.

''People are able to file their taxes online, buy and sell household goods, and manage their financial accounts,'' said Susannah Fox of the Pew Internet & American Life Project. ''The health care industry seems to be lagging behind other industries.''

Now that major health insurers are starting to compensate doctors for email, the practice is on the upswing. Doctors are particularly anxious to take advantage of the internet's intricate system of abbreviations and shorthand as a major time-saving device. If you plan on emailing your doctor, here are some of the symbols you'll need to know.

:-©Say "ah."
:^VTurn your head and cough.
:- 7Are you still smoking?
: ^∃You really should see a dentist about those teeth.
€ :-)Your scalp seems to be rejecting your hair transplants.
oΖ —<It seems you've broken both your arms.
:-QMy guess is it's a cold sore.
o|³—<I usually don't recommend breast implants, but in your case I'll make an exception.
→ 8 |Did you know you have an arrow sticking out of your head?
o|0<Well, you could lose a little weight.
o|@ <You're pregnant.
? : )You've got what killed Elvis.
∴¦-(You've sustained a bit of gunfire to the head.
¦ ^ ⇐This medication may leave you feeling slightly dizzy.
←ωHave you noticed any side effects from the steroids?
;)You're slowly going blind in your right eye.
: {-I've never seen anything like it in my life.
o| Ξ <I'm afraid the last time we operated on you we may have left a scalpel behind.
⊗ :- |Have you ever heard the term "lobotomy"?
:≈)I'm sorry, Mr. Jackson, but it appears your nose has fallen off.
:-XLet me take a wild stab at it: have you eaten any Cheetos recently?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I'm confused. The Republicans can't find a second candidate worth serious consideration but its the Democrats who look bad fighting it out? How come we're hearing a lot of "Barack and Hillary take the gloves off!" but no "Jeez, a major political party couldn't come up with any competition for Cranky Constipated Grandpa"?

It's official: Star Jones and her husband Al Reynolds are getting a divorce. The blame, evidently, goes to the media. "We made an error in judgment by inviting the media into the most intimate area of our lives, and I hold them fully responsible for our breakup. We were soulmates; there's no doubt about that. I know I'm going to sorely miss gazing into those dark, sexy eyes, seeing the muscles ripple in those broad shoulders, feeling the heartbeat beneath that manly chest. We'd planned on raising children together, and now I don't know if I'll ever find such a fine, upstanding, masculine role model again," Al reportedly said.
Never give money to people who are better dressed than you are.

A Roman Catholic priest who floated off under hundreds of helium balloons was reported missing Monday off the southern coast of Brazil. Rev. Adelir Antonio de Carli lifted off on Sunday afternoon with a helmet, a satellite phone, and a parachute. He soared to an altitude of 20,000 feet before he lost contact with the ground.

I think this disproves the old "When your time comes" theory. Looks like sometimes God grabs you just because you're nearby.

"Basic Instinct" director Paul Verhoeven is writing a biography of Jesus that claims Judas didn't betray him, and that his father was probably a Roman soldier who raped Mary during the uprising in Galilee.

Because sometimes you don't get enough publicity making movies where Jewish women fall in love with hunky SS dudes.

"Brokeback Mountain" director Ang Lee is returning to the gay genre with a movie revolving around the Woodstock music festival. The story will be based on the colorful life of a Greenwich Village-based interior designer who headed the Bethel, New York Chamber of Commerce and issued the permit for the legendary 1969 concert on his neighbor Max Yasgur's farm.

Rainbow: Don't try and fool me no more, Country Joe; I know what it means! Arlo Twist. Arlo Nasty! You didn't go up there to listen to Sha Na Na!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Using Safari to upload pictures to Blogger? The odds are just slightly better that you'll win a million dollars on "The Moment of Truth" and leave with your dignity intact.

A mail carrier is credited with saving a one-year-old girl's life by catching her after she fell out of a window in Albany, N.Y. Lisa Harrell was directly beneath the second-story window when she saw the baby emerge, and next thing she knew it fell right into her arms.

The postal worker said she was standing there because she saw the one open, unattended window and figured she had to be at work.

Texas Begins DNA Tests on Polygamist Sect Children

The score so far: Mormon dudes 17, Woody Allen 6

The amazing Alex Balk found this picture:

Me, I think there's an even bigger story:

Cheney, Chaney? There's definitely something weird going on there.

Monday, April 21, 2008

This collage is from a New York Times article entitled On the Street | Men's Ironclad Fashion, but I'll be damned if it doesn't look like headshots from a guy who wants to be Brandon's dad on the new Beverly Hills 90210.

With their fingers on the pulse of the baby boomers, today's New York Times offers a special section on how to have a comfortable retirement. Save yourself fifteen laborious minutes by skimming their three main tips:

1. Don't spend a lot of money.

2. Become a partner in a law firm and stick those occasional windfalls in the bank.

3. If you own two motels, one worth at least $650,000, think about selling them and living off the proceeds.

See how simple it is? And you were worried! Thanks to the Times, the Marie Antoinette of newspapers, now we can all sleep at night.

Hi. My Name is Roman and I Read a Woman's Magazine.

I knew I shouldn't have. But Cosmopolitan's provocative cover sucked me in, then I got involved in an article. Next thing you know I'm checking out my Sex Horoscope and calculating my bra size.

Still, everything was fine until I decided to try some of the self-help tips. Any other guys tempted to try them, read this warning first.

Men find fingernail jewels entrancing!

Not the men I ran into.

Grandma was right -- briskly brush hair one hundred strokes a day.

I wish they'd spelled it out and said STAY AWAY FROM THE BALD SPOTS.

Sit across from your lover at a restaurant and midway through the meal announce that you don't have any panties on.

Raoul wasn't thrilled, but it got an extra napkin and a complimentary baked apple from our waiter, Steve.

During dinner slowly slide your foot up your lover's leg, and gently caress the genital area.

Raoul didn't appreciate this either. Maybe women do it softer, or slower, or aren't wearing size thirteen biker boots.

If you've got a moustache, bleach it.

I have to admit it looked kind of cool, but the handlebars pretty much disappeared.

Organize your cosmetics by season.

Foot powder has got to be summer, right? Is Clearasil winter or spring?

Surprise him with a "treasure hunt." Leave a trail of clues starting at the front door . . . ending with you naked on the bed!

Take it from me: Unless you're in terrific shape most guys would rather have beer. After a twenty-minute buildup it's disappointing to find a flabby guy with lesbian hair.

At the ballgame tantalize your lover by eating a hot dog suggestively.

Raoul became intrigued as I gently kissed the warm wiener, rubbing my moustache along its beefy length and lapping softly at the salty meat. His eyes grew wide I butterfly-flicked the bun, and then, with a groan of ecstacy, slowly slid the sausage down my throat.

It would have been far more impressive if I hadn't screamed when it squirted juice in my face, or needed the Heimlich maneuver to get it out.

During those trying hormonal times, drink feminine tea to relax your system and nourish your uterine tissue.

This was the last tip I tried, and absolutely the worst of all. I decided to wash my car the same day, and the clerk at Rite Aid gave me the Glare From Hell when I bought a giant sponge and FertiliTea. The stuff was expensive and absolutely revolting. I'd have carried it and Cosmo right out to the trash except I still squish when I walk.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Who's the Boss?

What if Bruce Springsteen acted like another musical Boss?

1969 After a record-setting string of top-ten hits capped by an appearance on the “Ed Sullivan Show,” Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band undergo a tumultuous break up.

1975 Bruce has two solo hits, then disappears.

1976 The New York Times reports that Bruce has married a Swedish billionaire. They seem to have nothing in common but Bruce disagrees: they both wear clothes, eat food, and have opposable thumbs.

1978 A bored Bruce kicks off a comeback tour. While performing “Born to Run” in Philadelphia, though, he storms offstage, complaining his harmonica is out of tune.

1985 Bruce stars in a film version of the musical “Annie.” Worried about his recent weight gains, his contract stipulates that Sandy must be played by an Indian elephant.

1986 Max Weinberg dies penniless in Detroit.

1988 The command Bruce screams at his hired help becomes the title of an unauthorized biography: “Call Me Mr. Bruce!”

1989 Michael Jackson undergoes the first of sixteen surgeries to enlarge his nose.

1996 The audience at a Las Vegas performance is mystified when Bruce repeats the words “Thank you!” and “I love you!” eighty-seven times, then exhorts the audience to hug.

1999 At an awards show spectators are shocked when a coy Bruce, while playfully bantering with rapper Jay-Z, reaches over and gently caresses the crotch of his Versace jeans.

2000 Bruce decides to reunite with the E Street Band. For the eighteen-week, 47-city tour Clarence Clemons is offered $210 and a hug.

2002 The reunion tour begins, with the E Street Band consisting of Julie Budd and Weird Al Yankovic.

2003 While performing at yet another empty arena Bruce criticizes the original E Street Band for opting out. “It’s not about the money!” he complains. Ticket prices top out at $650.

2007 Virtually unknown to the younger generation, Bruce appears on “American Idol” doing what he does best. He tells his fans to hug, touches Ryan Seacrest’s crotch, and then falls engrossed in the undulating hemline of his gold lamé caftan.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Stupid people are lucky. They wander around blithely, not noticing anything around them. They stop dead at the top of escalators, stunned immobile by the tiny brain trying to process all the new sights. They hold up the line at Gristede's looking for that penny they just know they have. And when the subway car inevitably lurches, their Starbucks always falls on the well-dressed stranger with the Dostoeyevsky novel in hand.

They've having a great time. The smart people trying to avoid them? Really, not so great.

The smart people have another disadvantage: they continually reassess themselves, always questioning which side they fall on. If they were truly smart, would idiots have so much control over their lives? Would they spend eight hours reassuring a worried eBayer that the ceramic duck he paid five bucks for will arrive at some point in time?

My friend Janice emailed me on Monday saying a hairstylist friend desperately needed models. I'm smart enough to ask a few questions: is he really a full-fledged stylist? Is he good? Does this "modeling" involve looking fierce, or a catwalk? She answers the questions to my satisfaction and I agree to let Victor cut my hair.

"So are you a student here?" is the first thing I ask him, since smart folks know their friends lie. "No, I'm a stylist," he says. "But my boss says I need to work on my communication skills."

"Oh," I say, and I await further details.

None come. "Beards look so cool when they're short, don't you think?" he says in almost a non sequitur. "Like 'Miami Vice' five o'clock shadow."

"Yeah," I reply, "but I don't have a chin, and -- " and even before I finish the sentence, my beard is gone.

I stare in the mirror. Victor stares back at me. He's glowing. I'm not.

"Let's get back to those 'communication skills,'" I say.

When you possess a presentable head of hair, you don't understand how much damage a sad one can do. Now you wander the streets, searching every face: do I look as bad as I think? You glance into every reflective surface: have five minutes in a plastic chair really transformed an attractive middle-aged man into a wash-and-wear lesbian? You try to keep your spirits up. Change is good. Different is interesting. And then you go home and lay on your bed and think, I'll just stay here until it grows back.

I flip through the magazines that piled up while I was attractive and find an item I can't resist. Joe.My.God is taking part in a reading at Rapture Cafe. I'm a big Joe fan: I envy his lifestyle, his humor, his endless supply of hunky friends. I wonder how he can post so much interesting stuff every day of the week. He'll brighten my day and make me forget I have lesbian hair.

"Scottie," the first reader, discovers he loves the limelight about five seconds into his story. Asides start to fly. "God, I should tell you about another part that I didn't write down," he says. Joe, sitting two rows in front of me, is surrounded by a buzz-cut bear entourage. Every five minutes he hustles outside for another cigarette. Bored, his photographer snaps another picture of Scottie, who's saying, "Wait -- I just remembered another part I left out."

I have hundreds and hundreds of mental buttons that make my blood pressure skyrocket with even the slightest push. Most fall under the general heading of Idiocy, and this guy's story is up to its neck in that. He meets a new man who's perfect, and he falls head over heels in love. Oddly, though, this declaration is followed by an endless line of incidents that don't sound particularly lovable. "Walter" can't cook if there's somebody else in his kitchen. At a restaurant he screams until Scottie forks over two dollars for his share of the bill. He's big, butch, and hairy . . . and has a different pair of nonprescription glasses for every day of the week. He won't leave home without his spandex, lime-green scarf.

We listeners sit rapt, waiting for the inevitable: "I thought, 'That's just too weird,' so I never called back." "I told him it was over, and went home and cried." "I ran away screaming and swore I'd never pick up a man in a bar again." Instead what we get is, "And then the next night -- "

Finally on one of these nights, they fall into bed together. "I'm a wolf," Walter declares, and he sniffs Scottie from head to toe.

"A wolf?" Scottie asks. "How are you a -- "

"SHHH!" Walter barks, then he resumes sniffing.

Scottie lays there as Walter sniffs him from head to toe. Isn't love wonderful? Scottie thinks. And then when Walter howls his orgasm, Scottie starts to think about settling down. "I love you!" he declares. "I love you with every fiber of my being!"

"I'm not ready for a relationship," Walter says. "We wolves don't like to settle down."

Scottie falls silent as tears slide down his face. The audience sits there, frozen. What to say? What to think? Should we race onto the stage and give Scottie a hug?

He continues. "And then the next night when we were in bed --" and that's when I get up to go.

I've been completely wrong, I decide. I'm an idiot. An idiot in denial. Going to a gay erotica reading and being surprised that it's crap. Being unhappy with a free haircut. Not realizing it's easier to get through Tina Turner's entourage than Joe.My.God's. Nope, I'm as stupid as the rest of them, and it's time to let my freak flag fly! I scurry out of the cafe with the thrill of nascent discovery, proudly looking left while running right, and I plow right into somebody's startled arms.

Big. Butch. Hairy. Can it happen that quickly? I wonder. Is the universe already rewarding me for embracing my true self? Words are exchanged, then phone numbers, and now I've got myself a date.

I think she might be a lesbian, but I'll let her worry about that.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Repeat Wednesday: Sugar Frosted Flake

I met Trevor bar-hopping one night. He was a few years older than me -- heck, a few hundred years older -- so I tried to lose him, but he was incredibly persistent.

"Come home with me," he said.

"I couldn't," I replied.

"It's just a small penthouse. Ten thousand square feet in Chelsea, overlooking the Hudson."

"I'll get my coat."

Almost instantly we became an item. My usual boring life vanished as I got swept up in a whirlwind of fast cars, expensive restaurants, and rubbing elbows with the rich and famous. My mom always said it was just as easy to fall in love with a rich man as a poor one, but I thought it was easier to fall for a wealthy guy. He was cultured. He was refined. He didn't wear underwear twice. How could anybody resist?

A determined, confident lawyer, Trevor leapt into commitment headfirst. Waking up the morning after our first date I found myself alone in a bedroom the size of a football field, walls of glass on three sides. "Had to go to work," a note on the Noguchi table read. "Make yourself at home. See you tonight. P. S. The alarm is on so you can't leave."

Naturally, I was horribly annoyed. I felt like a goldfish in a bowl, a bird in a cage, a Fabergé egg, though I'd only pleased a couple members of the Russian royal family. But as I wandered the endless hallways dotted with tasteful Italian statues, passing room after room stuffed with armoires, wet bars, and Renoirs, I felt my anger fade. By the time I counted bathroom number eight I never wanted to see real life again.

The kitchen was vast and industrial, with more chrome than a Cadillac dealership, and the fridge was stocked like Balducci's. I smeared some brie with caviar and headed to the rec room, where a flat-screen TV covered the one non-glass wall. I'd never let myself be "kept," I decided as I watched a King Kong-sized Julia Child chop garlic larger than my head. But I could be cute and appreciative until chickens colonized Mars.

That first date lasted eight days, with just a quick pause for breath before the second: Trevor whisked me away to his home in the Hamptons. When he hosted a pool party, though, so I could meet his friends, it spiraled straight down the toilet. There were 50 of us: Trevor, me, and 48 other folks who, one by one, either congratulated me on my "catch" or suggested innovative ways to suck the poor sap dry.

"You know what you should do," one attractive man suggested, "is have an early birthday. That way you'll get a present whether or not he lasts until the real thing."

"Make up a sick aunt in Brooklyn," a thin young guy in Speedos advised, "so you can get out occasionally and sleep with someone attractive."

"Two words," a Leona Helmsley-type whispered. "Hot chocolate. It masks the taste of everything from Rohypnol to Beano."

I figured another intergenerational couple would understand, but once December wandered out of earshot May cut to the chase: "Getting him into bed was the easy part," he disclosed. "Now you've got to get into the will."

Eventually Trevor's sister sidled over and took my arm. "I can't believe the hateful things people are saying," she said. I felt like kissing her, but then she glanced over at Trevor, who was flipping burgers in his tiny swim trunks, and guffawed. "I mean, look at that eyesore. You'll earn every penny you get!"

I broke free of her grip and stormed into the house, Trevor toddling close behind. "I'm sick of these people," I said, tears welling in my eyes. "Every one of them thinks I'm after your money. It's like I have to be a gold digger just because I wear ugly clothes, cut my own hair, and buy my cologne from Rite Aid."

That last one froze Trevor in his tracks, so I continued to the bedroom alone. I changed into street clothes, threw my stuff in my suitcase, then cleared my toiletries out of the bathroom. I stumbled outside and got in the limo, but before I could tell the driver where to go Trevor had jumped in beside me, fully clothed.

"I hoped we could ignore the differences between us," I said, "but your friends don't seem willing to try. Why are they so suspicious? Why can't they see us as a couple, as two men in love, instead of old and rich paired with young and for sale?"

"Roman," he said, taking my hand in his, "it's nothing personal. Everybody makes assumptions, rich and poor alike. It's just the way people are."

"That's where you're wrong," I said. "It's the greedy who think we're all after money. It's the conniving who suspect us of plots. It's the backstabbers who think everyone's after them. I'll go hang out with poor, stupid, lazy people if that'll stop me from being insulted."

I don't know why this made me think of McDonald's, but it did. My stomach started growling, so I told the driver to head there, and we rode in silence until the golden arches appeared. "If you set one foot in there," Trevor warned, "it's over between us."

"I know," I said, nodding gravely, "but that's how it's got to be. This is my world. Here, I know I won't be judged."

Trevor followed me inside, resigned to my decision. "At least let me pay for you," he said, "as my farewell gift." I gave him a hug, for the last time inhaling the woodsy cologne that cost more than my education. When I let go, he stepped up to a register and bravely faced the geeky clerk. "I don't want anything, but I'd like to pay for him." The clerk looked to me for my order, punched it in, and read the total aloud, his pubescent voice cracking.

Trevor and I exchanged one final glance. I'd miss him, as strong feelings intermingled with my love of his wealth. But I knew what I was doing was right. Maybe these people weren't rich or fun or creative or smart, and maybe they had to move their fingers in the air to read the menu, but they wouldn't damn someone based on appearance. We were below pride, with our farts and flab and turquoise fannypacks. This Dorothy was back in his Kansas.

As Trevor fished the bills from his wallet the clerk looked at the two of us -- him in his tailored finery, me in my humble attire. His mouth twisted into a scabby pink smile and he scratched the top off a zit. "I love it when folks buy food for the homeless!" he said.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A construction worker's bid to curse the New York Yankees by planting a Boston Red Sox jersey in their new stadium was foiled Sunday when the home team removed the offending shirt from its burial spot. All of New York sighed with relief as construction workers removed the jersey from two feet of concrete in a stadium corridor, assuring the team a great future in their new home.

Team management said they've been in contact with the Bronx district attorney to explore the potential criminality of the act as well as possible legal action against the worker.

Because if there's one big problem afflicting the Bronx today, it's people putting hexes on shit.

A U. S. man has been acquitted of smuggling iguanas from Fiji in his hollowed-out leg. But Jereme James, 34, was found guilty of concealing and possessing Fiji Island banded iguanas and could still face up to 20 years in prison, reports the LA Times.

The defense won over the jury with their slogan, "If there's a lizard in his prosthetic, it must be genetic."

Chelsea Clinton "wowed" the gays at Portland's Red Dress Party, an annual dance where almost 2,000 attendees -- mostly gay men -- don red gowns and disco dance.

Clinton “moved heaven and earth” to make the event, according to a reporter. She quickly became the party’s focus, drawing the attention of even the event’s top-billed musical act, rockers Storm Large and Her Balls. Large dedicated one of her more famous songs, “Ladylike,” to Hillary Clinton.

Meanwhile, there wasn't a Bush to be seen. And if I know the kind of guys who go to these things, I mean this in a couple of ways.

Ten Things People Say When They See the New Incredible Hulk

There's a new Incredible Hulk on the horizon, and he's undergone a crazy transfiguration. Gone are Lou Ferrigno's cheap wig and pre-steroid muscles: this dude got every vein and corpuscle showing, and when people run into him, this is what they say.

10. It's his own fault for flying American.

9. Didn't he used to be all "Ho ho ho" and "Everybody eat my niblets"?

8. When did Barry Bonds turn green?

7. I slept with him a couple weeks ago and I've still got alfalfa sprouts in my teeth.

6. Well, I'm a color consultant, and I say he's chartreuse.

5. I dunno; I can't really be impressed by a guy who can't burst out of his pants.

4. Great! I get to see my first superhero and the dude farts brussel sprouts.

3. That leprechaun must have a really, really, really tiny dick.

2. That guy rubbed against me on the subway and left, like, hollandaise on my skirt.

1. Somebody getting furious and tearing off their clothes. Welcome to New York!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Employees of the "Dr. Phil" television show posted bail for a central Florida teenager jailed for taking part in a videotaped beating of another teen, a spokeswoman for the show’s host confirmed Saturday. Staff members of the talk show helped Mercades Nichols — one of eight teens facing kidnapping and battery charges in the case — post bond this weekend in anticipation of having her detail the assault on their television show.

Left fuming at the prison was fellow TV personality Rachael Ray, who'd spent three hours baking a file into her Shoop-Shoop Twinkie Surprise.

Danny DeVito will woo Kristen Bell in his own inimitable style in Disney's romantic comedy "When in Rome."

Bell ("Forgetting Sarah Marshall") plays a love-starved New York curator who steals magical coins from a famous Roman fountain but soon finds herself in a bizarre situation when she is pursued back to New York by a band of aggressive suitors -- the very people whose coins she took. DeVito will play one of the suitors.

Leave it to Disney to make a fantasy like this. A short, old, unattractive man chasing after a gorgeous young woman? Hell, you won't see that outside of any bar.

A Dutch student has provoked an international incident by posting on YouTube a clip of him flashing his penis at the Taj Mahal. The student was suspended after teachers found out about the incident, which happened during a school trip to India. The school apologized to the Indian ambassador and is considering legal action against him for damaging their reputation.

The video is pretty fuzzy, but I was absolutely awestruck by the pearly-white wonder.

And the Taj looks pretty cool too.

When did newspapers start printing garbage? I mean, didn't they have some semblance of truth at some time in the recent past? Here's reason #756 why I'm not religious: because religious people are the worst liars around. God wants them to lie if it promotes His purposes, they reason, so they spread them thicker than any atheist would.

I offer as evidence Michael Daly's smug little article in Thursday's Daily News, headlined "Our moral victory: No papal scalpers in evidence online." Mr. Daly scoured Craigslist in both New York and Washington D. C., and while D. C. had overpriced tickets on offer, there were none for sale in New York.

Mr. Daly takes it as a blessed sign, like the Virgin Mary performing cartwheels around the sun. "Apparently, not everything in New York has its price after all. . . . Craigslist on Wednesday had any number of people pleading for tickets to the papal Mass on April 20 at Yankee Stadium. But there was not one online scalper offering tickets."

Yes, he declares, this is "proof we really are more upstanding" than D.C. And we all finish the story with a lump in our hearts: I mean, if even the lowly, hard-hearted scalpers recognize that it's wrong to scalp tickets to His Highness, there's got to be hope for all of us, right?

Um, not quite. Because there's one small flaw to this story. TICKETS TO SEE THE POPE ARE NON-TRANSFERABLE. In fact, in a high-tech bid to stem off scalpers, the Archdiocese of New York posted a warning to this effect on that very same Craigslist, posted two days before this article hit print.

""It is important to note the following," the ad says. "Tickets to all events are free. Any tickets for sale on websites or through ticket brokers are fraudulent; Individuals who request tickets will be required to provide name, address, and date of birth; All tickets are NON-TRANSFERABLE. Adult ticket holders will be required to show government issued photo identification at the entrance to the event."

How'd you miss that, Mr. Daly?

So, in the end this isn't quite the moral victory Mr. Daly sees. In fact, it's straight out of the Emily Litella School of Journalism, deserving to be appended with a quavery "Never mind!" But while I'm sure this article will provide comfort for the logic-deprived faithful, to those of us with brains it bolsters our case. Because if writers will fabricate this kind of heartwarming fodder for third-rate fishwrap, what lengths would they go to for a Book?

Friday, April 11, 2008

"Excuse me, miss? Is there another seat available, like over by the crying baby?"
According to a new survey, President Bush's already historic low public approval rating has sunk even further.

Just 28 percent of Americans approve of the overall job he is doing. His previous record low in the poll was 30 percent last month. In another record low, only 27 percent are happy with his job on the economy, which threatens to enter a recession.

To put this into perspective, if he were a movie he's just slid past Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns and is fast approaching Drillbit Taylor.

The Elkhorn Valley Packing Company has issued a recall of 406,000 pounds of frozen cattle heads after it was discovered that the tonsils had not been completely removed, according to a company spokesman.

Tell you what: if it complains of a sore throat, I'll take it to the doctor. Okay?

And Roger Clemens is still passing baseball's drug tests.

Audience Participation Friday

Residents of the historic English village of Lunt have launched a campaign to change the village's name because vandals keep defacing their road signs.

The pranksters constantly change the village's name to an extremely rude swear word, reports the Daily Telegraph, and the villagers are fed up.

After much discussion they finally reached a consensus, and on May 1, 2008, the town's name will be formally changed to _____________. (Answers in comments, please.)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Gawker has a stalker sighting of Ivanka Trump at the airport with an unidentified male. She's pretty but has a rectangular bottom, he's "a very inbred English-upper-class-looking public school boy."

High up in the west wing of Trump Castle, Donald Jr. is crying quietly into his NASCAR bedspread, sobbing "Why don't they ever recognize me?"

In today's New York Times:

Norman Mailer had written his own obituary in 1979, said his son John Buffalo Mailer. The novelist's death supposedly occurred sometime in the future after his 16th wedding and 15th divorce, when he owed millions of dollars in alimony, child support and back taxes. Included were fake quotes from the likes of Andy Warhol and Truman Capote. ("He was so butch!")

Hey, I can make up fake quotes too!

"All of God's children have special gifts. Norman Mailer must have been illegitimate." -- Mother Teresa

"He'd take twelve thousand words to tell somebody he was on fire." -- Joyce Carol Oates

"Hey, I'd live with Eliot Spitzer if he had forty million bucks." -- his wife, Norris Church Mailer

"Whenever he thought the press was ignoring him, he'd stare in a mirror and ask himself, 'What would Hemingway do?'" -- his son, Stephen Mailer

"Who?" -- Paris Hilton

"I'd have shot myself back when I first noticed I was losing my talent but I wasn't old enough to buy a gun." -- Norman Mailer
According to The New York Post, Paris Hilton is going to star in a movie about a biotech company that repossesses organs when their recipients fall behind in their payments.

This'll be a real acting stretch for Paris. She's never touched a poor guy's organ before.

Suddenly Justin Timberlake's Dick in a Box Falls to a Distant Second Place

(Thanks to Yet Another Steve)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

All You Need to Read of the New York Times' Piece on Chris Matthews

At one point, Matthews suddenly became hypnotized by a TV over the bar set to a rebroadcast of “Hardball.” “Hey, there I am — it’s me,” he said, staring at himself on the screen. “It’s me.”

(Actually, the rest is pretty funny too.)
The trains in New York are horrible. They're jammed like sardine cans. Everybody's screaming into their cellphones. People spit, pick their noses, and even clip their fingernails, which gets really gross when they fly near your lunch.

The good news? Somebody is finally suing about it. The bad news? The plaintiff is a lawyer who, every morning, stakes out five adjacent seats because he has a "bad back."

Things have gone totally haywire under President Bush's watch. Up is down, in is out, good is bad and black is white. Now evidently prices have risen so high that a farmer can make more money growing things than having the government pay him not to.
What is with those crazy Muslims? Some cartoonist draws a perfectly harmless picture of Mohammad and they totally freak out. Maybe they think they're looking strong and committed, but to the rest of the world they just look nuts. They look ignorant and out of control, like religious zealots prone to dementia. The rest of us just shake ours heads, thinking, "Dude, it's only a picture, right?"

In civilized Christian countries, we're proud to say we have freedom of speech, and a picture can't generate such an outcry. Well, unless somebody makes the apostles look gay.

A Taiwanese inventor has created a tandem bicycle where two people can cycle while facing each other.

This seems really, really stupid to me. I mean, if God had wanted us to see our partners sweaty and suffering, He wouldn't have invented doggy style.

QUEEN LATIFAH: "I've always seen size a little differently than the rest of the world. Since I've been on Jenny Craig I've lost over five percent of my weight and increased my activity, which can really reduce my risk of health problems. So when people ask me, 'What size are you?' I say, 'I'm a size healthier.'"

TRANSLATION: "I ain't losing ten pounds for no bitch-ass million dollars."

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

From the New York Post's Page Six Magazine cover story about Paulina Porizkova:

WRITER: "Her smile is infectious, its signature front tooth gap a charming quirk rather than a blemish."

ART DIRECTOR: "It's a blemish."

Let me get this straight. For years we've been tormenting Michael Jackson for his sleepovers with teenaged boys. Yet during that same time, there's been a polygamist compound in Texas where fifty-year-old men have been MARRYING teenage virgins, and nobody's said a word?

What exactly was Michael missing -- religion, or bonnets?
Oliver Stone is getting ready to film "W," a biography about the president, and the Hollywood Reporter sent copies of the screenplay to four Bush biographers for their comments.

In the film, Bush is portrayed a foul-mouthed, reformed drunk obsessed with baseball, Saddam Hussein and his conflicted relationship with his dad. One expert criticized the script, saying it made the White House look like a fraternity full of yes-men where nobody knew anything and everybody had ridiculous nicknames.

When reporters asked the White House for comment, Skippy, Wanky and Mr. Farkles totally agreed.

In the film, James Cromwell plays George Bush Sr. He was the farmer in Babe, so this'll be different for him. In Babe he raised a pig who did something with his life.

Monday, April 7, 2008

My suggestion to the Olympic Committee: next time around either don't let the games take place in a country that practices torture -- yes, that crosses the U. S. off the list -- or use one of those joke re-lighting birthday candles for the torch.

I am seriously enjoying the protesters, and applauding them from afar. What's up today, guys? Attacking the runner with a giant gold snuffer?

Dear Ban:

This is a picture of my living room. There's the white wicker chair I bought from Pier One, the plastic lamps that double as cocktail tables, the IKEA bookcase showcasing my collection of miniature motor vehicles fashioned from beer cans by impoverished Hispanics with lots of spare time and tin snips.

Here's my living room again, but in this picture Snowball, my invisible cockapoo, is wearing a tiny, invisible fez and twirling an invisible Hula Hoop around his waist.

This is a picture of my bedroom. There's the wall hanging my sister made out of colorful bits of laundry lint, and the lighthouse my mom painted for me during a long afternoon at My Name is Mud. Next to it are the silk flowers that my sister sent me in sympathy after she saw the lighthouse.

Here's the same room, but in this version Raoul, my invisible boyfriend, is wrestling with an invisible alligator. An invisible marching band cringes in horror while playing Fleetwood Mac's Tusk. On the wall, an enormous invisible plasma TV plays The Invisible Man.

Last, here's a picture of my favorite black t-shirt.

And here's my favorite black t-shirt after I put it on and it got completely coated with Ban Invisible Solid, which offers 24 Hours of Invisible Freshness.

Hope this helps,
Time to pry the gun from Charlton Heston's hands.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Repeat Friday: Stripping Grammar Naked

Once in a while, somebody will ask me where I learned to write. Sometimes I tell them about the year I spent under John Rechy at Princeton. Sometimes I tell them about the short-story classes I took with Edmund White, or the sabbatical at that writer's colony off the woodsy coast of Nantucket.

And sometimes I tell them the truth: that I learned everything I know from sitting naked in front of my computer and reading lots and lots of godawful porn.

Experts know the best way to learn what's good is to study what's bad. For instance, I learned how not to cook Mexican food from Taco Bell, what not to wear from Wal-Mart, and how not to have sex with ex-husbands 1, 2 and 4. Desperate to find the very worst in writing, I cruised the sleaziest internet porn sites, searched Google for every four-letter word, and scrutinized every fan-fiction site where Spock and Sulu ever touched.

To save you time, though, and from discovering your belongings heaped on the doorstep by an intolerant boyfriend who knows about Internet Explorer's "History" file, I've compiled the most miserable writing I've found in many hard years of study. If we take a moment to examine these examples and see what mistakes were made, we can use that knowledge to write up some rules that we can use to improve our own work.

(1) He had nice thick chest hair that covered his entire body.

The first thing we learn is, never eat breakfast while surfing porn sites. Because while chest hair can be reasonably fetching on, say, a chest, when it creeps over to the forehead or the elbows it can make Jim Belushi spew up his Sugar Pops. It doesn't take an expert to realize chest hair is best confined to the upper torso, in much the same manner that toenails should remain in the vicinity of the feet.

(2) Jim grabbed his ass through his tight shorts and said, "I want you bad."

From this awkward construction we learn that if there are two or more males in your story, avoid using the word "his." Your dramatic scene will turn farcical if the reader thinks your hero is grabbing his own body parts and expressing his feelings of desire. Similar examples include the following:

-- The stranger wrapped his hungry mouth around his mushroom head.
-- Standing at the side of the bed, Gustavo grabbed his ankles and lifted them high into the air.
-- Slowly Maury worked his lips down to his stomach.

(3) All night long Carl slept, sprawled naked across the bed, and Max approached with anticipation.

What we learn here is, modifiers in the first half of your sentence also apply to the second. We’ve got a scene that’s probably eight hours long, which means Max moves about as slowly as gay rights.

(4) Brad's endowment was throbbing so hard Joshua thought it'd explode.

The problem here is painfully obvious: Don't frighten your reader with images from Japanese horror movies. You've spent hours conjuring up the perfect picture, then you go and spoil the mood:

-- Chuck's erection grew so hard it could have knocked over Hitler.
-- I'd never seen an ass pounded so relentlessly, and I watch Bill O'Reilly.
-- His equipment, trapped in those thin white shorts, looked like my grandma in her bra.

(5) Max took out Walter's penis and played with it.

Watch out for the words “took out.” While you may assume it’s equivalent to “bared" or "uncovered,” the reader may opt for another meaning, like “to remove from a box.”

(6) I really wanted to have sex with him. After I finished my french toast, I slid over next to him and brought it up.

Here we've got a confusing pronoun -- in this case, the word "it." The writer is hoping he can refer all the way back to his previous sentence, but instead the reader stops at the closest noun, which just happens to be "french toast."

Other regrettable examples are:

-- My wife and I made love on the deck of our pristine white yacht, then I tied her to the pier and went home.

-- Cooper and I took the dog for a walk. I couldn't resist the way his ass swayed back and forth, so I dragged him behind a bush and took him from behind.

(7) He grabbed hold of his meat and pulled out a condom.

This sentence shows that sometimes there's a weird synergy between different parts of your sentence. Either half of this line is fine by itself, but put the two together and it sounds like a magic trick.

Similar missteps include:

-- I squeezed the bartender's nipple and he refilled my empty glass.
-- Wayne rubbed Raoul's butt until Barbara Eden appeared.

(8) On my knees, Stephen grabbed my head and guided it toward his groin.

This is what's called a "dangling modifier," because the writer has misplaced a clause. Rather than being turned on, the reader pictures a Cirque du Soleil-style attraction. Re-read your articles searching for sentences like:

-- Covered with mayonnaise, Roger took a bite of his sandwich.
-- Engrossed in the newspaper, his penis lay there quietly.
-- Nearly at orgasm, Puddles the dog trotted in.

Well, we've just barely scratched the surface, but today's lesson has to come to an end. Remember, there are serious side effects to reading too much porn. You start to feel inadequate by constantly comparing yourself to these perfect, unreal images, and your self esteem can suffer as a result.

Honestly, though, I swear to you: usually I can go on for hours.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Last year the company that manages the Eiffel tower -- the Societe Nouvelle d'Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel -- announced a competition to temporarily alter the monument's unmistakable silhouette. Architectural firms were invited to submit entries to celebrate the tower's 120th anniversary by creating a new deck that would accommodate the hordes of tourists waiting to get to the top.

According to the British newspaper The Guardian, Serero Architects of Barcelona, has been named the winner with this addition.

Bob Hawley Associates of Dallas, Texas was dubbed the loser, offering this uninspiring plan.

Madonna says she and Guy Ritchie aren't divorcing. In fact, she says, they still sleep together every night, though they both have BlackBerrys under their pillows.

You've got two naked fifty-year-olds in bed together. Yeah, it's a vibrating cellphone that's making them shake their heads.

A beauty pageant is being held in Abu Dhabi - for camels. Ten thousand camels will compete against each other for the chance of winning more than eight million dollars in prize money and up to 100 cars and other prizes.

And you thought the Miss America losers drank a lot afterward.

Donald Trump has announced a new project where he'll take a common street whore and try to turn her into a high-class society woman.

When his daughter Ivanka heard the news, she reportedly said, "Dad, you're getting married again?"

Oprah Winfrey plans to dedicate a show to her cocker spaniel, Sophie, who died last month from kidney failure. The episode, to air next month, will be a scathing indictment of greedy dog breeders and an expose of puppy mills.

Coincidentally, Entertainment Tonight is also going to do a show about unscrupulous breeders just out to make piles of cash. But theirs is going to center around Heather Mills.

A new study by Marine biologists says that in the octopus world there's jealousy and murder plus lots of wild sex. They said male octopuses guard their mates so jealously that sometimes they strangle their rivals to death. They also saw some male octupuses that swam "girlishly" while hiding the dark stripes that marked them as male.

So if anybody asks you, "What's gay and has eight arms?" there's an answer other than 'NSync.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Great Minds Think Alike

Interview questions for John Krasinski and Renée Zellweger:

Movies Online: "How was working with Clooney the director vs. Clooney the actor?"

Teen Hollywood: "Was there any appreciable difference between Clooney the actor and Clooney the director?"

Star Magazine (April 7, 2008 p. 13, not online): "So, who was more difficult to work with: Clooney the actor or Clooney the director?"

USA Today: "What does Clooney the actor says [sic] about Clooney the director?"

The Cranky Critic: "So how does Clooney the actor feel about Clooney the director?"

The Wave: "So how does George Clooney, the director deal with George Clooney, the actor?"

The New York Times: "Who would you say is dreamier, George Clooney the actor or George Clooney the director?"
People ask me all the time, Roman, what are some of your favorite things to do in New York? Just to save time, I found a map of the city and drew on some of the highlights. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The New York Times is optimistic about the secretary of housing and urban development's resignation. "[Alfonso] Jackson’s resignation clears the way for Mr. Bush to name a top-caliber successor," they say.

Yes, it certainly does. It also clears the way for Wolverine of the X-Men to replace our government with a mutant tribunal and then control the galaxy with a space-based network of Energy Javelins. But something tells me that's not going to happen either.
Looking for a post office? Postage rates, or how to file a change of address? The first place you should turn is to the new U. S. Postal Service website. Here you'll find everything you need to know to get that letter or package speeding along its way.

Our new website has been designed with you in mind, to make it quick and easy to get the information you need. If you need a ZIP code, for instance, simply click on "Find a ZIP Code," and you'll be taken to this page:

Just type in the street, city, state abbreviation and zip code, and our superpowerful computers will search through literally trillions and trillions of gigabytes stored securely in our databases to find the zip code you need. There! That wasn't difficult, was it?

Mailing has never been easier with the new U. S. Postal Service website. There's a reason our lines are so long.TM