Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ed McMahon ran up some debts. Hadn't worked in a while, made some bad investments, was in danger of losing his home. So, he goes to visit a billionaire friend and accidentally slips and falls, hurting his neck. He decides to sue the guy.

Then he goes to the hospital to get his neck fixed. Here the doctors do something wrong, so he decides to sue them too.

I don't know about you, but if I see him heading toward my place with a giant check, I'm telling him to get the hell off my lawn.

There's an article in today's New York Times about how science is striving to build the perfect athlete.

I say slap a better cap on this dude and we're pretty much done.

The Brotherhood of the Traveling Pants

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is a huge entertainment franchise. It started off as a best-selling book, then the sequel came out. They made a movie about it, and it was such a hit that sequel is coming out too. It's a cash machine that will surely be around for many years to come.

All this may make you wonder, then, why the producers haven't tried to further expand the franchise. I mean, why wouldn't the premise work for guys as well? I've taken the liberty of writing that book's first page, but if Hollywood shows any interest I will happily write the rest.

Winnemuck University is a sparkling green diamond on the north coast of Michigan, smack dab in the middle of what's got to be the prettiest corner of the whole wide world. Lake Winnemuck is blue as a sapphire, the answer to a prayer for thirsty birds or exhausted college students looking for a carefree break. Winnemuck Mountain, a couple miles out of town, is dotted with majestic pines and just aching to be climbed. Every night as I walk back to my dorm, there's always a family of deer munching on the grass, or a passel of raccoons on a scavenger hunt, and they all pause to wink goodnight to me.

Seems like most of the incoming freshmen are just plain folks like me. Some thought they'd expand their horizons, leaving that small town with one main street and one street light to see what else the world held. Others were looking to escape the unfriendliness of big cities, seeking refuge in a place where nobody's going to look at you funny if you stop and watch the world rush past. Seems like whatever you're looking for, Winnemuck is the place to find it. Heck, they even say that on the sign that welcomes you into town.

One afternoon my philosophy professor decided he'd rather go hiking than teach, so I got back to my dorm room about five minutes after I left. I swung the door open and saw Ryan, my roommate, laying on his bed looking as guilty as a possum in grandma's pie cupboard.

Wait, I thought. Are those my -- Ryan cut off my thoughts midstream.

"You will absolutely never believe this," he said excitedly. "I saw your pants hanging in the closet, and I thought, wow, those are incredibly small! But then I took them off the hanger and held them up against me, and all of a sudden they looked almost average size. I put one leg in and it wasn't too snug, so I put the other leg in and it fit too! All of a sudden I was wearing them! I thought, wow, that is freaky. I mean, these could almost be mine."

I looked at the pants and saw his point. There's a huge disparity in our heights, so you'd think the pant cuffs would be mid-calf on him. But there they were, just hovering over his socks.

"If I really yank on the waist," Ryan continued, "I can get the zipper about halfway up. But buddy, look at us! You're little, and I'm huge! Would you ever have guessed they'd fit so well? It's like there's something almost spiritual about it. Is it so crazy to think, like, there's some magical force in the universe telling us that no matter how different we are, no matter where we come from or how we were raised, we're all absolutely identical in some weird way?"

"Well, maybe," I said, soberly pondering his words. "Okay, it's possible. So why's my jockstrap on your head?"

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Repeat Wednesday: Lying in the Sun

It seems like every time I go on vacation I have to explain my sexuality to somebody, and it’s starting to piss me off. It starts when I make hotel reservations. “We don’t have a fitness center,” the clerk says, “but we have a lovely garden. I’m sure your wife will appreciate that.”

A friend and I want to go to one of those debauched, all-inclusive resorts, to lie in the sun and have sex with total strangers. “Sandals is a great couples resort,” the travel agent chirps, “but it’s not much fun for single men!”

I’m in Boston and need to see leather, so I tell a cabdriver to take me to the Eagle. “You don’t you wanna go there, bub,” he advises, in a seemingly-helpful tone. “That bar’s for gay guys.”

By far the worst was at a hotel in the south of France. A paramour and I were celebrating our two-month anniversary, so I’d booked us a suite at a converted convent. Behind the desk was a tiny old woman in a threadbare black robe who looked like she’d been abandoned by the last inhabitants. She pulled up our reservation, her hands shaking like a chilly chihuahua. “But someone has made une erreur,” she said. “You are two men, but you have zee room with one bed only! I will change for you at once.”

Mark and I froze like snowmen as tension crackled in the air. Now, call me crazy, but I’d happily have gone with separate beds. They’d probably be big enough for two, and we could always push them together. I’d rather sleep in the bathtub, in fact, than explain homosexuality to some dried apple of a woman who’d given her life to Jesus. Mark, however, wasn’t going to let it slide. He’d bore her to death discussing everything from prepubescent gender identification to courtship rituals among the Chippewa before he’d cave in. In three and a half hours, I predicted, she’d be swinging from the rafters by her rosary.

He stepped up to the counter like a speaker headed for a podium. “We asked for one bed when we made the reservation,” he said, “and it wasn’t a mistake. You see, the common assumption that everyone is heterosexual is a political rather than a biological tenet, and the truth is -- “

His words veered into a yelp as my foot thwacked the back of his knee. I pulled him into a huddle where I mimed “tiny” and “nun” and, well, everything short of “I’m trapped in a box!” He exhaled hard and backed away and I approached the desk. “See, I was in the Army,” I said, “stationed in Korea. There was a shortage of beds, so everybody had to share. For nine years I slept in tight quarters with other men, and I got so used to it that now I can’t sleep alone.”

“Oh, le pauvre!” the woman gasped, looking like Macaulay Culkin at age one hundred ninety. “I am so sorry!”

“It’s not that bad,” I said defensively. “I mean, we do that ‘Those aren’t pillows!’ routine at least once a night.”

We got the room we wanted but even before we left the lobby Mark was yelling at me. “Coward! Why did you always have to lie? How are things ever going to change if everyone keeps dodging the truth?”

“I’m on vacation,” I protested. “I didn’t drag us here just so we could explain to Sister Bertrille that we like to touch each others’ willies.”

He smacked the button for the elevator. “So what was your excuse yesterday?”

He had a point there. I told my landlord it was fine to drop by unexpectedly, told my mom I had to hang up because a football game was on TV, and told Mark I thought it really was room odorizer when I bought it.

It took an hour or two for the argument to dissipate, but like all lies it kept coming back to haunt us, always in that Tiny Nun form. We ventured to the fitness center for a quick workout, and there she was cleaning the equipment. “Messieurs,” she twinkled, admiring our physiques, “how zee ladies must sigh over you!”

Mark glared at her. “As Alfred Kinsey discovered in the 1950s, approximately ten percent of the male population would similarly sigh over -- “

I was afraid Tiny Nun was going to grab a dumbbell and pound herself out of her misery so I jumped in. “Next to saving the whales,” I barked, “that’s our goal in life!”

We’d gone eight hours without speaking when I suggested marking our anniversary with champagne. Mark cracked a smile, but it vanished when the skinny figure appeared at our door. “Do we celebrate?” she sang, Dom Perignon in her bony claw.

“We most certainly do,” Mark snapped in his frostiest tone. “We celebrate that despite the patriarchal intolerance of same-sex, transgendered, and bi relationships -- “

Tiny Nun glanced frantically at our open windows but sensed they weren’t high enough to do any real damage. I hollered over him. “We celebrate a wonderful city, a wonderful hotel, and a WONDERFUL FRIENDSHIP!” I screamed.

The little woman vanished like fog, leaving lukewarm champagne and the shards of our relationship behind. “You know what?” Mark said after swigging his glass in one gulp. “I don’t think this is going to work.”

“I know,” I said, “I know. I’m a great guy, but you’re not ready for a relationship.”

He shook his head. “No, I’m ready for a relationship. Just not with a liar like you.”

I thought about protesting but he just might have nailed me. The more I thought about it, though, the madder I got. Sure, I lied occasionally -- but always for a good cause. I tried to make people feel better. I tried to spare their feelings, so they didn’t have to dwell on how stupid they were. Did that make me evil? Did that damn me to an eternity of singlehood? By the time our bottle ran dry I’d convinced myself: I wasn’t the James Gandolfini in this relationship.

After two more days passed without a word we wandered out to the hotel terrace for coffee before the flight home. We nearly jumped out of our seats when the Catholic Freddy Krueger materialized with a basket of pastries. “Still eet eez only zee two of you?” she quizzed, eyebrows springing up like McDonalds’ arches. I watched as she scanned the grounds expectantly, as if at any moment Catherine Deneuve and Jacqueline Bisset were going to burst in wearing big floppy hats and give both of us wet French kisses. And I decided I’d had enough.

Mark fired up again, using words like “ontology” and “taxonomy” and “fin-de-siecle,” but Tiny Nun had a butter knife and she looked like she could use it. I picked up a breadstick in my right hand, a bagel in my left, and pointed the former at the latter. “Babe,” I said, “I’m only going to explain this once.”

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

How does Bush's Justice Department fill job openings? By investigating the candidates' backgrounds. By analyzing their experience.

And by Googling their names along with the words "gay" and "homosexual."

"With liberty and justice for all." The Pledge of Allegiance: making us laugh since 1776.

I liked Mike Jones (pictured below). He's the dude who took down evangelical leader Ted Haggard. Sure, Mike's a hustler . . . but who else are you going to find exposing right-wing hypocrisy? Professional tap dancers just don't get through all those closed doors.

Now, though, comes startling news. According to Queerty, Michelangelo Signorile is reporting that Senator Larry Craig "put his tongue up Jones' butt hole."

Oops. Should I have warned you first?

I have a few problems with this disclosure. First, I don't like people playing "Can You Top This?" with themselves. It looks desperate, and cheap. It reminds me of Paris and Nicole coming back for another season of The Simple Life: "We're going to be really stupid this year!"

Second, how is it Mr. Jones just happens to have sex with every famous closeted Republican? It's like an arsonist turning up at every fire. He's become the gay Al Sharpton, lurking in the shadows, ready to jump up at the hint of scandal and shout, "Hey, he did me too!"

And last, did we really need to know the details? Let's compare and contrast Jones with a heterosexual hooker, Ashley Alexandra Dupré. We thought she was trash, walking the streets in sequined hotpants. But did she dish the details? When she talked to the press, did Eliot Spitzer's pasty white ass become a permanent mental picture in our minds? No, he's out of office, she got a book deal, and everything's right with the world.

If Mr. Jones is trying to expose hypocrisy, saying they had sex is enough. Further details cloud the waters. Is he going for shame? Is he bragging? Telling the world that another right-wing Republican is a hypocrite helps us. Announcing "And he's not just gay -- he's a buttlicker!" doesn't exactly swing new heteros over to the cause.

I'm on the second DVD of Mad Men, and I absolutely love it. Those ad dudes are confident and crazy and farther out there than Motörhead. They wake up to a tumbler of Scotch and a cigarette, spend the day drinking, smoking and bullshitting, and pass out in the wee hours of the morning with a nightcap in one hand and a secretary's bra in the other.

And they still weren't strange enough to create a commercial for gum where the flavor lasts so long somebody actually has to punch you in the stomach to get you to spit the old piece out.

The first time I saw this I thought WTF? A scantily-clad wrestler follows a dude to a supermarket to bear-hug him, forcibly pressing clueless white dude flesh against sweaty middle-aged muscle?

It's like they've found a way to look into my dreams.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Jailhouse Rock

Every week Time Out New York magazine sends their Etiquette Police out onto the streets of New York to write faux tickets to people who offend their sensibilities. Usually they're on track, with their targets chastized for spitting, littering, or wearing pastels.

Last week, though, these "police" -- a writer named Laura Leu -- proved themselves as reliable as real police, with this startling Sean Bell moment:

CRIME: Obstruction by height

If you're over six feet tall, then fee-fi-fo-fum those giant femurs to the back of the crowd!

VIOLATOR: Nate from Brooklyn

From 50 yards away, I could see Nate's noggin bobbing heads above a sea of short people at Williamsburg's McCarren Park Pool. Hell, people in Queens could have spotted the 6'10" titan. Know what they couldn't see? Headlining band the Hold Steady. "I'm more of a passive jerk, because I shift every now and then to not totally block people," explained Nate, who went on to make excuses for his view-hogging agenda. "It's hard for me to find jeans that fit, so I should be allowed to stand in front for concerts." Or you could just wear shorts and not be a band-blocking behemoth!

Let's paint a picture. Roman is a huge El Guincho fan. He gets to the concert hours early so he can be close to the stage. He trowels on the sunscreen and bakes patiently, waiting in the hot sun for them to appear. Finally, the time comes. One by one the band members straggle onstage, and Roman yells his delight.

Just then, though, six girls with bleached blonde hair and halter tops come sidling up. "Excuse me," says the one with the Jon Bon Jovi tattoo as she cracks her gum. "We just got here, and we can't see. We think you should move."

Polite by nature, Roman slides back and lets the girls move in front. Now he's standing directly in front of another short person. Whereas before he was blocking a quarter of the man's view, now he's blocking one hundred percent. He feels a sharp tap on his shoulder. "ARE YOU SHITTING ME?" the muscular, tattooed guy asks.

So Roman continues walking through the "sea of short people" behind him. Obviously they've all arrived after he did, but he's reluctant to press his "view-hogging agenda" so he keeps going until he either spots a large crowd of other folks who are SIX FOOT EIGHT or he hits the back wall, whichever comes first.

Today, it's the back wall. And now, instead of being close enough to see his idol sweat and smile and play his favorite tunes, Roman is next to four drunken white women the doorman let in because they're hot and three fat guys in cheap suits who are apparently in the music industry. "I DON'T KNOW WHO THE FUCK IS PLAYING TONIGHT," one of them screams to be heard over the music. "MY BOSS MADE ME COME. BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN I CAN'T SPEND THE ENTIRE CONCERT TALKING ON THE PHONE!" Even though he can't see the band or hear the music, Roman counts his blessings. I mean, if the joint had windows and curious people were looking in, he'd have to move outside, right?

Obviously intelligent thought is evading Ms. Leu, so I'll offer it here. If you don't want to stand behind a tall guy, DON'T STAND BEHIND HIM.

And a side note: Quoting fairy-tale giants to tall people is like cracking munchkin jokes to midgets. Ms. Leu, go fee-fi-fuck yourself.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Well, folks, we're down but not out. It seems Barack Obama visited the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem this week, and like many visitors he left a written prayer to God. Some unscrupulous journalists grabbed the note the minute Obama left and published it in their newspaper. Now it's spreading like wildfire around the world.

Sigh. It's not good.

A few years ago I started frequenting gay chat rooms. I know there's a stigma attached to looking for men online, but I think it makes perfect sense. It's a lot easier than cruising the bars. If I get lucky enough to find somebody I think is attractive, they have to think I'm attractive, and then we've got to iron out who's going to do what to whom. That's not exactly child's play when you're surrounded by a ring of Tiny Admirers and ABBA is blaring in your ear. With computers you can do this in the privacy of your own home, where there's better music and cheaper beverages.

I'm not exactly getting a clamorous response, though -- in fact, I haven't managed to meet a guy yet. Somewhere between discussing our sexual identities and agreeing on terminology to negotiate intimacy, my prospective partners disappear.

I don't exactly share the whole truth with my friend Steve, but I admit to some discontent. I show him the JPG I've been sending out. I think I look pretty good, though my niece and Minnie Mouse are distracting.

Steve shakes his head. "That's definitely part of the problem," he says. "You're looking for a man, not Rosie O'Donnell."

He leads me to the bathroom, stands me in front of the mirror, and suddenly I'm the first contestant on "Extreme Makeover: Homosexual Edition." He stipples my face with Preparation H to tighten the loose skin. He strips off my shirt and coats me with bronzer, then paints fake ab lines on my stomach with a mascara brush. He slides a lit cigarette between my fingers. "Nothing's hotter than self-destruction," he explains. I offer to scrape away at my wrists with a broken beer bottle but he says nobody wants to screw Alanis Morissette.

I hardly recognize myself when he's finished. I look gorgeous, but not even close to me. "Nobody expects honesty in photos," he says. "It's a tool to get in the door. And once you're inside, buddy, nobody's going to throw you out." He poses me with my arms crossed and my fists pushing my biceps out. I smile, and he barks at me. "Lose the happy," he instructs. "Happy's the opposite of hot."

The new photos are dark in every sense of the word, but I have to admit they're damned sexy. We pick out the best, and Steve photoshops my email address onto it, to make sure my fans can find me. I send it out to a couple guys I've been talking to on the chat boards of Exactly four days later I turn on my computer and find I've got thirty-nine emails.

"Hi," the first writes. "I found your picture on You're a totally smokin' dude. Do you want to get together and screw?"

I go to the website and confirm that one of my penpals has shared my picture with the rest of the world. Well, that isn't necessarily horrible, I decide. I mean, it's not exactly polite, but at least I'm not naked. My relatives won't run across it. And it sure is getting a response.

Still, there's one minor problem. Though the picture hasn't changed, the filename has. I called it "NiceNTallInNY," and now it's "RoostersAFuckinHotExCon."

All the replies have pretty much the same message, only differing in the attached photos. I pick out the hottest and answer it. "Trust me," I warn, "I'm nowhere near as good-looking in real life."

Half an hour later my email pings. "Hey, Rooster's smokin' hot and modest," it reads. "So, my place or yours?"

My place, I tell him, but my conscience still nags. "Honestly," I say, "my name's not Rooster and I'm not an ex-con. I have a good job, a degree from a major university, and a two-year-old Peekapoo named Snowflake."

The reply comes almost instantaneously. "On the lam, huh? Well, I'm down with that. I won't tip off the feds to your pad."

We agree on nine o'clock that night, and Randy rings my doorbell right on time. He's not inside five seconds before he's totally naked and greased up like a chicken. The sex, to put it bluntly, is mind-boggling. Birds sing, flowers bloom, Jesus waves a friendly hand at us. Randy is a veritable slave to my desires, throwing himself wholeheartedly into pleasing me. We stumble from room to room, coupling in a different position on every horizontal surface. I push him into positions that professional figure skaters would eschew.

"So, you like me?" he asks when we pause to catch our breath. "You wouldn't trade me for a pack of cigarettes?"

"Not a chance," I say. I laugh. He laughs. And when my roommate comes home half an hour later, he learns you can't believe a word the Rooster says.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I saw the new Brideshead Revisited movie last night. It really surprised me, given the mediocre reviews. It reminded me of some of my favorite bloggers: the visual genius of Rabbit Meets Hat, the intellectual reserve of Daily Blague, the spirituality and witty banter of 1904.

It's a bit long and convoluted, with Charles, the clueless protagonist, stumbling haplessly through a seemingly-unrelated sequence of scenes: boredom, gay sex, betrayal, straight sex, lots of old people blathering on about Catholicism. Play it backward and it's pretty much the story of my life.

Meanwhile, wannabe film critics can already learn important lessons from the new hosts of At the Movies, Ben Lyons and Ben Mankiewicz.

Lesson #1: Be related to somebody famous.

The world's first sand hotel has been finished on a beach in Dorset, England. The hotel, with no roof and no plumbing, will rent rooms starting at £10.

Well, I think it's a waste of money. I don't need to fork over nearly twenty bucks a night to wake up with crabs.

Madame Tussauds in London unveiled a wax likeness of Amy Winehouse on Wednesday afternoon. The figure is amazingly lifelike, complete with her signature beehive, thick black eyeliner, and tattoos.

The singer's parents, Mitch and Janis Winehouse, attended the unveiling, but the controversial 24-year-old did not. Her father said she was working on a new record but would probably drop by next month.

Which means there's still some time to see it before she decks it for staring at her.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The New York Times Has Its Fingers on the Pulse of America

O, shiny shield! Withhold thoust fickl' judgment and reflect solely mine face, so that I might detect whether the verdant spin'ch resideth between my teeth.

Wait. Are you trying to tell me "furrier" can be a noun?
That second film on Blockbuster's list sounds almost good enough to catch in a theater. Sometimes a TV just can't capture all the magic.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who do stunts like this, and those who desperately clutch the sides of their chair when they see pictures of stunts like these.

This guy is about to base jump off the Giant Jesus in Rio de Janeiro.

The row of spikes is what draws my attention. "I bring the light of God's love to the world!" Jesus seems to be saying. "But I ain't no home for fuckin' birds."

Repeat Tuesday: Off to See the Whizzer

A urinal, for those who don't know, is a big bowl stuck to a wall and attached via pipes to plumbing. Usually they're mounted at the average man's groin level, but in the spirit of equal opportunity, most bathrooms also have one that's lower down, for boys or dwarves or whoever has genitalia that isn't too far off the ground.

Now, I've got no problem with tiny humans, but these things piss me off. Look at it from my point of view: if all the urinals are taken except for this one, what the hell am I supposed to do? I can either pee in something that's located just south of my ankles, or I can stand on the sidelines and wait.

There are a thousand reasons why I won't use the thing. First, I'm not a child. I don't ride on the motorized elephant that's outside the local supermarket, I don't splash about in kiddy pools, I don't order off the kid's menu at Denny's. And I'm not about to pee in a kiddy urinal either. I'm old enough to be a daddy, so I'll use the daddy facilities, thanks.

Second, hitting this thing is more challenging than I like my bodily functions to be. If you've ever been in a men's restroom, you know the problems we have with aim. A urinal is a good-sized target, but when it's three feet away from your equipment you'd might as well be aiming at passing blimps. It's like that carnival game where you fire a water pistol at a clown's mouth, and a balloon blows up out of its hat. When the clown is level with the pistol, you've got yourself a contest. Balloons blow up, one pops. Lower it a couple feet, though, and everybody on the midway goes home with wet shoes.

Unfortunately, waiting for a normal urinal isn't as easy as it sounds. Picture this: I'm in a bathroom with three urinals, two at average height. There's a cop at one, a longshoreman at the other, and nobody at the third. And then there's me. Standing behind these guys and whistling.

Any rocket scientist observing this scene will piece it all together, but these guys won't. There are usually dividers separating the urinals, so these two guys know there's a urinal that's available but they can't see that it's lower than the rest. As they stand there busy with the task at hand, they're getting increasingly leery of the guy who apparently doesn't have to urinate but just dropped by to window-shop.

Now, I have to say, I don't mind watching. I like bathrooms. There's attractive men, no women, partial nudity. It's like a cocktail party without hors d'oeuvres or music. Being tall is an an asset for once, since my eyes are well above the dividers. I don't exactly make it a habit to check out the neighbors, but a guy's got to look somewhere, right?

If urinals are heaven, the stalls are hell on earth, because tall dudes have the opposite problem there. We've got a clear, unobstructed view of something nobody in their right mind wants to see. It's like driving by a car crash: we don't wanna look we don't wanna look we don't wanna look -- oh, what the hell. A split-second's weakness and a lifetime with a snapshot of a squatting midwesterner burned into my brain.

Even if we manage to control ourselves, we still get into trouble. Our seated neighbors see our shadows fall over them, see the head that's suspiciously high off the ground and suspect the worst. One careless moment and we end up on "America's Most Wanted," making ninety percent of the country feel sick.

What's a simple task for average-sized people, then, becomes Mission Impossible for us. We bend our knees, scrunch our heads down, and inch down the center of the stall, fingers crossed. We pry a paper cover from the dispenser, position it on the seat, pull down our pants and maneuver onto the toilet, all in a room that's maybe half the size of a closet while keeping our heads less than five feet off the ground.

Chinese acrobats would cry uncle.

Regardless of what kind of an athlete you are, you're doomed to fail. Since you're bent at eight joints, you're taking up four times the room. You turn around now and your ass rubs the door. You spear your shoulder on the coat hook, and bang your knees on the toilet paper holder. You watch in horror as your pants rub against the toilet seat, and you leave feeling like you slow-danced with Paris Hilton.

It's that dirty kind of feeling that requires pointy surgical tools to erase.

Last week I had lunch with my sister at the Waldorf, and after she left I stopped by the bathroom to freshen up. My head momentarily popped up over the divider, and I was startled to see a similar one right next door. The face was chiseled, bronzed and handsome, and even higher up than mine. "I'm not looking!" the man assured me, hiding his eyes behind a hand.

"Buddy," I said, chuckling, "I have so been there."

He glanced over at me warily. "Yeah," he confirmed, "I should have guessed."

"Shoot, at least once a week somebody wants to punch my lights out because they see me up here. I'm minding my own business, but because my face happens to be higher than the divider everybody thinks I'm a Peeping Tom."

A wave of relief splashed across his face. "Hell, I've had guns pulled on me," he confessed. "How crazy is that? Like I want to see these guys. Like they're dancing Swan Lake on the toilet or something."

Despite my apprehension I started to laugh, and with a lusty chuckle he joined in. When our eyes met again our embarrassment had turned into something else. "Hey," he said, in a voice so low it rattled the stalls, "would you like to get a cup of coffee?"

What the hell, I thought. At least if it worked out I could tell friends we met at the Waldorf. "Sure," I said. "I'll meet you outside."

I left my stall, heard him zip up, and then the door to his stall swung open. When he jumped down he couldn't have been five feet six.

I'd like to say I ran screaming from the place, but I decided to give the guy a chance. I mean, I've always said men needed balance in their lives, and he'd demonstrated his beyond the shadow of a doubt.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Grandma's Hearty Drug Recipe

Ohmigod. I am like totally in shock. I just found out that my Grandma -- my favorite Nana who always sent me a roll of pennies every year for my birthday, even when I was twenty-four -- was a major hophead. I still can't believe it. I mean, the woman played bingo, went to early bird dinners, wore shawls. But the evidence is absolutely indisputable.

Somebody told me about the No Slang website designed to alert adults to the new drug terminology kids use these days, and a lot of the words rang a bell with me. Finally I placed them: Grandma's Hearty Baked Potato Soup recipe. I put it through their drug slang translator and still can't believe my eyes. The woman was a veritable Robert Downey Jr. of the senior set.

Well, at least that explains her glassy stare and her constant smile. Ohmigod -- and why everybody used to rave about her cooking at those church potlucks.

Hearty Baked Potato Soup

    3 lbs. potato, cleaned
    1 bunch broccoli
    1/4 cup butter or margarine
    6 cups water
    medium onion
    small spoon seasoned salt
    4 oz. cheese, shredded

Dice the potato. Microwave until baked. Chop broccoli. Microwave until limp. Cut the onion into cubes. Melt the butter in a pot over medium heat and add onion. Fry 30 seconds until softened. Add water, potato, and broccoli, and cook through. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve alone or topped with anything that sounds good to you.

Hearty high on marijuana LSD Crack cocaine

    3 lbs. LSD, cleaned
    1 bunch Marijuana
    1/4 cup Marijuana;Cocaine or margarine
    6 cups Blunts; methamphetamine; PCP; a mixture of marijuana and other substances within a cigar; Gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB)
    medium 1 oz. of crack cocaine
    small 1/16 ounce of heroin; paraphernalia used to prepare heroin for injection seasoned Heroin
    4 Inhalants. Heroin, shredded

Dice the LSD. Microwave until high on marijuana. Chop Marijuana. Microwave until limp. Adulterate drugs the 1 oz. of crack cocaine into Marijuana tablets; crack cocaine. Melt the Marijuana;Cocaine Connected with drug suppliers LSD Marijuana over medium The police or narcotics officers and add 1 oz. of crack cocaine. Marijuana cigarettes dippedConnected with drug suppliers embalming fluid, sometimes also laced with PCP; Crack Cocaine 30 Second inhalation of crack from a pipe until softened. Add Blunts; methamphetamine; PCP; a mixture of marijuana and other substances within a cigar; Gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB), LSD, and Marijuana, and Drug manufacturer;A term used to refer to cocaine or a drug environment heroin with water; heating heroin to prepare it for injection through. Season to Heroin; small sample of drugs with Heroin and Marijuana; opium; methamphetamine pepper. Serve alone or topped with anything that sounds PCP; heroin to you.

Friday, July 18, 2008

This just in from Google:

Rapper 50 Cent's fans are outraged now that the results of a court-ordered drug test have been released.

As part of an agreement forged during custody hearings for his 11-year-old son Marquise, the rapper born Curtis Jackson reluctantly agreed to undergo urinalysis. On Friday morning the court announced the results of the test, and now his fans are beside themselves.

"I'm just in a total state of shock," a fan who called himself Chaco X declared. "This dude is supposed to be a role model for our children. Now how are we supposed to look up to him? He goes on and on like he's this hot shit, and now you tell me he's clean?"

Self-described "ex"-fan Marmaduke DeSantes agrees. "He's a hypocrite, plain and simple. How are we supposed to believe all those stories about getting shitfaced on weed and beans when we find out he's not on any of that shit? Next we'll find out he plays golf every Friday with, like, Ty Pennington."

Some of his supporters expressed disbelief. "There's gotta be something wrong," long-time fan Heather Anstruther declared. "Maybe he fixed it. Maybe he swapped his wizz with, like, some kinda Mormon or something. There's no way my man ain't using some kinda shit."

But others declared zero tolerance. "Are you kidding me?" Johntaysia Morales of the Bronx asked after hearing the news. "He ain't on anything? No PineSol, no Mentholatum, no AquaNet? Oh, man -- that's it. I'm gonna start listening to Lil Wayne."

Thursday, July 17, 2008

In his first major address at an Australian youth festival, Pope Benedict XVI warned that the world was being devastated by humanity's "insatiable consumption." He appealed to his audience to make religion the focus of their lives, and warned of the hazards of materialism.

On the bright side, he added, "I think that people are starting to see that commercialism -- the pursuit of money and cars and things like that -- doesn't bring them happiness."

The pope then shuffled offstage to riotous applause, pausing only briefly to bitchslap a bishop who accidently scuffed his Gucci loafers.
Cleaning out the closet yesterday I came across some old correspondence. Sigh: I was so angry back then, and it all seems so silly now.

Dear Mom and Dad:

How are you? I am fine.

I warned you about this place. I said I'd rather not go to camp if this was the only camp that still had a vacant spot. But you said it would be fun. You said all camps were basically the same, and that I could meet all sorts of different kids here. Well, the only kids here are fat kids. Surprised? I'm the only skinny kid at Fat Camp.

It's not even close to fun here. Last night we sat around a campfire and made S'mores. Out of rice cakes, Rye Crisps and Ex Lax. Then this morning we sat around writing supportive letters to Kirstie Alley.

I can't eat. If I have one more carrot stick, I'll burst. I can't sleep. I'm in a lower bunk, and every time the upper bunk creaks my life flashes before my eyes. There's a water shortage, so they won't let anybody jump into the pool.

Sorry about the shaky writing. It's the vitamins they give us. Christ, they must think my ass is a pincushion. Anyway, got to go. Dodgeball starts in fifteen minutes.

Clear off space on my trophy shelf.

Your son,

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I'm the opposite of an early adapter. I don't own a cellphone. I haven't got a laptop. You'll see Wilma Flintstone with an iPod before I've got one. So when I passed the Apple store the other day, buying an iPhone was the last thing on my mind. I was headed to Chelsea Market. I buy all my fruits and vegetables there, mostly because it's the only produce stand in New York City that butts against a bakery and a fudge shoppe.

There was a long line of people standing outside the Apple store, which reminded me that the new iPhone was making its debut. Normally I'd have laughed at all these idiots and kept walking, but there was something odd about the people in line:

They were all holding enormous black umbrellas emblazoned with the Apple logo.

My eyes went wide and my heart started to pound. Ohmigod, I thought -- they're giving away umbrellas. They're giving umbrellas to all those poor saps waiting in the blazing sun to buy phones. That is so typically Apple, I thought, as I scurried to the end of the line.

Now, I blame New York for this. The city's so expensive and the residents are so poor, they've become zen masters at earning a shady dollar. It was just a matter of time before, just by osmosis, I picked this up, and now a small part of my brain whirs in the background during every waking hour, searching for schemes where I can make a few bucks without doing a lick of work.

I figure I'll stand in line for a few minutes, somebody'll give me an umbrella, and when they've wandered further down the line I'll leave. These things were obvious quality: huge circumference, heavy black fabric, vent and stained-wood stem. They'd pull down enough on eBay to buy me a pineapple, or maybe a quarter pound of fudge.

The scheme starts unraveling the second I'm handed the umbrella: "We don't have enough, so we're asking people to share," a harried employee says. Even before I get the thing over my head, there's a muscular black guy and a shapely Russian blonde thanking me for getting them out of the sun.

I have one major personality flaw: what I see in the future is startlingly different from what actually transpires. Martin -- the black guy -- tells me the line is three and a half hours long. Stella -- the Russian -- says the time will fly. I'm holding an umbrella over their heads and waiting for something I don't want when like an Apple publicist she starts detailing what's so great about the phone. Martin goes next, and then they both look at me.

I crack under the pressure. "I don't really want a phone," I admit. "I just wanted the free umbrella."

They both laugh, and Martin rubs my back. He's a lot friendlier than a handsome guy should be, I decide. I rub his back too.

An hour later I decide this is ridiculous, even for me. I don't want, and can't afford, a new cellphone. But I've fallen head over heels for Martin, and I desperately want to get him in the sack. "You're really a cool guy," I tell him. "How about if we get together when this is all over?"

"Sure," he says. "I'll program my number into your phone."

Stella was right: the hours fly. By the time we get to the door, I've decided I might actually like the thing. Now I can walk at a snail's pace down the center of the sidewalk while texting shallow nonsense to my friends. Now I can stand at the top of every escalator while trying to decide what song is appropriate for my mood. Now I can scream my current whereabouts to people who probably don't care.

As we shuffle inside, a clerk asks for the umbrella back. It was just a loaner, he says, and he wants to pass it on to somebody else in line. I tighten my grip on it and usher my two new friends inside. "If I cared about people," I whisper to him, "would I be buying your phone?"

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

How To Tell If Your Olive Garden Waitress Has Posed For "Playboy"

-- When you tell her you've got reservations she says the doctors have pronounced her clean.

-- You ask if she likes minestrone and she says, "Buddy, if you got enough money, I don't care how big you are!"

-- You compliment her on her overstuffed ravioli and she says she's still making payments on them.

-- You ask what the chef's specialty is, and she snaps, "Well, it sure ain't foreplay."

-- She sucks all the salt off your breadsticks.

-- When you ask her what linguini is, she licks her lips and says it's her second favorite noodle.

-- You ask how the gnocchi are and she says "They're still a little tender, thanks."

-- You tell her there's no cream in your cannoli and she says, "Well, let's wait ten minutes and try again."

-- When you ask if she has shaved parmesan, she says it's not really your business but she always gets a Brazilian wax.

-- She offers to show you what "al dente" means but you'd have to pull down your pants.

(Via Alex Balk.)

Monday, July 14, 2008

The James Brown Auction

Christie's auction house is selling off part of James Brown's estate this week, so there's a few roomfuls of his stuff on display at their Rockefeller Center digs. Being a huge JB fan, I had to pay my respects.

There's something weird about going to a place that sold a Monet for 86 million dollars last month and seeing the words to "Sex Machine" painted on the wall.

His furniture tended toward the shiny.

Here's a nice still life.

There were three display cases holding correspondence. James dumped a lot of women via the U. S. Postal Service.

He had a lot of clothes. I don't blame him one bit. Sometimes an ochre checked bolero waistcoat won't capture your mood like a pumpkin-colored one will.

Who wants to settle for a forest-green jumpsuit with scoop neckline and SEX rhinestone detail when you really feel like apricot today?

I begged an employee to let me try on a floor-length mink valued at eighty thousand dollars.

"I won't do the splits," I swore. "I won't squeal, then spin on my heels and collapse on the ground in an attack of sheer funkiness."

In the end she turned out to be a real bitch. I hope I get a judge who understands the legal omnipotence of fingers crossed.

Friday, July 11, 2008

There are literally hundreds of email newsletters that want to tell New Yorkers what to do. Daily Candy, Flavorpill, Going, and Nonsense NYC are all hip and fun, sorting through the billions of events held daily in New York and offering up the cream of the crop. They proclaim what's hot and what's not, and somehow manage to support themselves with inoffensive little ads hidden in between the advice.

And then there's ThrillList.

I've been suspicious about them for a couple weeks, since they offered some odd sartorial advice. Every female here under the age of eighty is a designer, so it takes a unique point of view to single out this beachwear as New York's best:

This isn't a hip New York newsletter, I realized: this is email from my Cousin Ted. This is some idiot "entrepreneur" trying to pretend he's not pushing crap to hipsters for cash. But no! ThrillList can't be swayed by advertising bucks:

That promise is stretched to the breaking point with today's ThrillList. While every other newsletter is touting four a.m. Burning Man fundraisers in Tribeca lofts, ThrillList watches the sun go down and draws a blank. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Wait -- isn't Denny's open?

Because, you know, what else is there to do here after midnight except stare at tourists under fluorescent light and eat food that'd make your dog throw up?

Definitely not on yesterday's ThrillList were the hundreds of gallery openings in Chelsea last night. I'm a huge David Wojnarowicz fan, so I scurried straight to P. P. O. W. for their tribute to him. It was about as good as most tributes are, meaning it looked like Gay Art School Crap compared to the original. With embarrassing art and a block-long line for Ocean Spray and vodka, I hit the road.

Just a few doors down, at the Moti Hasson gallery, something called Micki Pellerano was performing at their opening. Usually when musicians can't plan they instruments they just smile and strum them, a la Josie and the Pussycats. With avant garde art, though, you crank those suckers up to eighty and smack away with cement blocks. Wearing diaphanous robes and pastel-colored pillowcases over their heads, this combo bashed away like mad.

A few heads turned when one robe opened to expose a pair of utterly stunning breasts, but mine spun when a bandmember pretended to stab another with a letter opener, tearing away his clothing and exposing the perfect New York penis. It had a coiffured little curl of pubic hair resting atop it, like what you'd imagine Bridgitte Nielsen has downstairs. The barebreasted woman then took a white dove outside and set it flapping off into the Chelsea night.

"Seen it, seen it, seen it," somebody yawned.

"That's how I lost my virginity," came the reply.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Repeat Thursday: Greasy's the Word

Here's a test to see if you have oily skin: Wash your face with soapy water, then an hour later blot it with a paper towel. If you don't see any traces of oil, you have normal skin. If you see small spots, your skin is oily.

I do this and it looks like I've been draining bacon.

My skin's always been lousy, prompting nothing but lies from my parents. It's a phase, they said. It’ll calm down with time. I guess I should have been suspicious, because they also said "One day you'll be glad you saved your virtue!" and "Everybody loves guys who play the banjo!" Now that I'm nearly middle-aged, though, I've got zits popping up inside of wrinkles. I'd think about getting a face lift but worried what would happen when the doctor pulled. It'd look like thousands of little champagne bottles popping open, like a tiny QE II was pulling out of port.

Needless to say, everybody born with good skin has advice. Some of them tell me to wash more, like that never occurred to me. Like I started rubbing myself with isopropyl alcohol and Clearasil and Chevron with Techron before actually considering soap. Soap didn’t work. It just provided a nice, clean environment where the zits could flourish.

When I tell them soap doesn't help, they accuse me of overwashing. Yeah, that’s a nice change of pace. That’s like what gardeners tell you when your plants die: “What an idiot you are!” they say. “You’re obviously giving them too much or too little water. You need to start watering them either more or less or they're all going to die!”

This makes me want to get involved in these people’s lives. I’d go over to their houses while they’re cooking, and taste the food. “Eww,” I’d choke. “This pot roast is horrible. It needs either more or less salt.” My mouth would drop open when they tried on new clothes. “That makes you look absolutely gorgeous,” I’d gush. "Or like the hooker in an old Fellini film.” I’d lure them into bed, then lay there appalled. “Sorry,” I’d say when they asked what was wrong. “You’re either painfully slow or waaay too fast.”

The problem with overwashing, supposedly, is that it irritates the skin. But, you know, it’s already breaking out. What else is it going to do -- call a lawyer? I tried to be nice. I pampered it. I gently buffed it, lightly bathed it with hypoallergenic lotions. Now I’m far beyond that: I’m sleeping with Stridex pads taped to my face. I’m scrubbing every hour with a paste made from kerosene and ground Swedish furniture, and hoping that eventually the pain will make those little oil factories in my skin scream “OKAY! OKAY! We’ll STOP!”

There’s exactly one piece of advice that’s helped, and that’s to drink more water. For six years I've been guzzling eight glasses a day. I'm getting just as many zits as ever, but since I'm in the bathroom all day long I get to watch them from the minute they’re born.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


It's not easy making money for charity. Nobody wants to fork over their cash for nothing: they want a plaque, a goody bag, an evening's entertainment in return.

So, charities have been forced to get creative. They write names on rubber ducks and release them in a river, and first across the finish line wins a prize. They have Vegas nights, with the usual gaming tables, and whoever wins the most fake money wins a genuine gift. They have bachelor/ette auctions, where attractive people strut around onstage to prompt bids from singles who wouldn't mind spending a few hours with them.

Several years ago, some gay men in Los Angeles decided to hold a leather-themed bachelor auction to benefit charity. They rented a bathhouse, lined up attractive volunteers, and publicized the event as a "slave auction." It proved a rousing success. The place was jammed wall to wall, donations piled up by the bucketful, and a great time was had by all.

Until the police arrived.

I was a volunteer on the Gay Community Services Center's suicide prevention line, and I was working that night. At around three a.m. I got a phone call. I couldn't believe the man was serious. The auction had been raided, he said. Over a hundred police officers had burst in, with Police Chief Ed Davis in the lead. They'd brought battering rams, helicopters, and dogs. Dozens of men were arrested.

And charged with slavery.

Slavery. You know. Owning somebody against their will. Forcing them to work for you. Beating them when they don't. Selling them when their work is done. Doesn't exactly match up with scantily-dressed volunteers dancing lasciviously and begging people to buy them, but maybe these cops had never seen Roots.

"Lawrence" was absolutely frantic, pleading for my help. It was a madhouse, he said, and the police were beating up the arrestees. They needed lawyers. They needed doctors. And they needed a certain priest.

Father Richard lived near the Center, Lawrence said, and he asked me to fetch him and send him to the police station. I closed up shop and went. I walked as fast as I could up Highland Avenue, went left on Hollywood Boulevard, and found his apartment building in the shadow of Mann's Chinese. He opened the door tentatively, unsure who'd want him at three-thirty in the morning. I told him what happened and he said he'd go.

I went back to the Center and sat by the phone until my shift ended, around six a.m. I had plenty of time to wonder about what had happened, since I didn't get another call. Was it really just a simple auction? Why would somebody hold a "charity" event at a bathhouse? Why were a hundred policemen needed to arrest two hundred men? Being young and reasonably sheltered, I couldn't get the pieces to fit.

A few days later, Lawrence dropped by the Center while I was there. He was a nice-looking, middle-aged man. He thanked me for my help on Raid Night, and told me again how crazy it was. He said the raid had cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars, but now every charge against every man had been dropped.

Before he left, he asked me if I wanted to go out with him. Evidently he was innocent, but there was still no way that I could. I mean, imagine being in a relationship with him. Getting that phone call in the middle of the night. Hearing he's been arrested for slavery.

Heck, I've dumped old boyfriends because they bought shirts without consulting me.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

My best guess is, the little turd is talking about how much he's enjoying just sitting on the sidewalk on such a nice, sunny day, and the dog is exhorting him to run to freedom, lest he'll be scooped up in a plastic bag just like his little brother.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Gay History Minute

Gays are shortchanged in terms of history. Blacks have a whole History Month in February, and a lot to celebrate: the underground railroad, Sojourner Truth, the end of slavery, Martin Luther King. Jewish history goes back thousands of years, with some of its top stories even making the Bible.

And then there's the gays. We've got Stonewall. And . . . and . . .

Well. That was quick!

See, here's the problem. Progress with most minority groups involves speeches, or protests, or sit-ins. But some of the biggest strides made in gay equality were made by dudes who just wanted to get laid. These aren't exactly inspiring, heartfelt stories you can teach second-graders: "It was a man named Barney Fluehardy who filed the protest with the ACLU, because he thought, dagnabit, red-blooded Americans have an inalienable right to hide in bushes and service hunky truckers."

Two names that should be boldfaced in our history books are John Lawrence and Tyron Garner. They're the couple who overturned the Texas sodomy laws. Since the details didn't make the history books, it's impossible to confirm the real story, but here's the oral history being passed around. (All dialog is fabricated.)

John Lawrence and Tyron Garner meet in a gay bar in Austin, Texas, and pretty soon they become serious. They are both intelligent, attractive, and politically active, and they hate how gays are second-class citizens in Texas. They live under constant threat of the oppressive sex laws: the police can burst into their homes at any time, hauling off even two consenting adults for "crimes against nature."

One night the pair are celebrating their first anniversary at a fancy restaurant when Mr. Lawrence touches on the subject. "I hate how the law forces us to live in fear," he complains. "But I'm not afraid! I want to tell the whole world that we're in love, and if they don't like it they can go to hell! I want to challenge the sodomy laws, and tell America in no uncertain terms that we have an inalienable right to express our love."

"I applaud your bravery, darling," Mr. Garner replies, savoring the grassiness of his Chardonnay. "But that's impossible! I mean, how could we get the police to arrest us while we're making love?"

Mr. Lawrence chuckles. "Yes, I guess you're right," he replies. The question circles his mind until the waiter brings their crème brûlées, and finally a bolt of inspiration hits. "I've got it!" he barks. "When we're in bed, we'll call the police and say there's a disturbance. They'll have to come out! We'll say there's a burglar skulking around outside."

Mr. Garner's face lights up. "And we'll leave the door open! They'll have no choice but to come in and investigate, and they'll find me with my dick up your bum. Then we'll get to the Supreme Court, and we'll get to fight for our love!"

Mr. Lawrence gasps in amazement. "That's why I love you, my darling," he declares. They ping their wineglasses together as a question darkens Mr. Lawrence's glow. "Wait. Your dick up my bum?"

The pair enlist a sympathetic neighbor to call the police, since being old-school gays Mr. Lawrence and Mr. Garner aren't used to phoning people while they're having sex. And the plan works like a charm. Two officers enter the house with guns drawn, and in the bedroom they find Mr. Garner's penis inside a rather testy Mr. Lawrence. The pair are arrested entr'acte and dragged to jail, where presumably they're put in separate cells. They doggedly fight their case for five years, all the way to the Supreme Court, and in 2003 the sodomy law is overturned.

You'll never see this episode reenacted on Law and Order. This is a story you'll never see on some network's Gay History Minute. This will never be made into a movie starring Will Smith and Tom Hanks.

No, it's folks like Rosa Parks who get all the press. Who get sculptures in public parks, and their faces on stamps. Maybe I'm biased, but I think Mr. Lawrence and Mr. Garner are even braver than she was.

Because when Ms. Parks decided it was time to change history, she just had to sit on a chair.

Friday, July 4, 2008


Jesse Helms Decides He's Had More Than Enough
I've procrastinated long enough. Now there are two -- yes, two -- thinly-veiled double-entendre ditties in Billboard's Top Ten regarding lollipops. As an aspiring songwriter, I think it's about time I turned my talents toward that milieu.

You're a hot little tramp so I'll give you a treat
from my little candy store on Fellatio Street.
You can suck this confection from Frisco to Salinas --
Guess you know that I'm talking 'bout my penis.

Lollipop, lollipop, finest on earth,
what it lacks in length it makes up in girth.

Won't get no sugar high when you're suckin' my sweet,
won't kill your appetite with my yummy treat.
Jawbreakers are great but if you want some more skin,
I got an all-day sucker with extra foreskin.

Lollipop, lollipop, hot wings and fries,
Yup, my treat ain't circumsized.

It's sweet as honey and it won't rot your teeth;
pull off the wrapper and suck what's underneath.
Suck that thing from New York to Dayton
like a chocolatey Snickers ejaculatin'.

Lollipop, lollipop, better move in quick;
Leave a mess on the floor before you even get a lick.

It don't melt in your hand like all those limp ones,
but if it melts in your mouth you'll get flu-like symptoms.
Get your lips all frothy like you got rabies;
if it touches your cooch you'll have Sugar Babies.

Lollipop, lollipop, creamy fillin',
my next store will sell penicillin.

Lollipop, Lollipop© 2008 Roman Arnold Hans
For local or worldwide rights contact Frederick Yates LLP, Stamford, CT

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Hello RomanHans! Welcome to, your own Personalized Earthlink Page!

We know you didn't want to come here. You wanted to check your email, but when you logged out we automatically dragged you here to show you a whole bunch of ads. But it's fun, no? It's informative. Is this face cream better than Botox? Learn about the product! Learn about the controversy! Learn that the answer is No, Of Course Not!

Anyway, just relax while the page slowly fills in. It's your page, after all! Sure, there's no way you can get rid of any of these ads, so the whole "personalized" claim is a bald-faced lie. But why don't you forget about that and let the page complete? See, this isn't one of those websites designed by some entrepreneur Mom in Utah that displays some purple text and a picture of a homemade candle or two, a website that finishes loading a tenth of a second after you hit RETURN. No, this site is much more involved than that. We need Java and Flash and C++ and Visual Basic to fill up all the areas on "your" page. We've got applets that start cotlets and cotlets that start DLLs, in a never-ending loop designed to sell you stuff. Sure, after ten minutes you're sitting there wondering why logging out of your email turns your cursor into an endlessly spinning wheel, and has apparently contacted to get something or other, but we're in charge of your computer now so just sit there and let it go. Luxuriate in the fact that hitting a simple "Sign Off" button can fire up enough software to guide the Starship Enterprise to Uranus and back.

You thought you were smart switching to cable internet, huh? Sorry! Don't think we didn't notice all the bandwidth you've got. We know you can download a meg a second with cable, so we figured we'd might as well take advantage of it. Now instead of just one tacky line like "Need shoes? Click here!" we can actually download a thirty-second clip of a guy modeling wingtips, and you've got to sit there and watch.

Let's face facts: we're in it for the money. It's not enough that you pay us $43 every month for internet access; we've got investors clamoring for more. So, we created "RomanHans' Personalized Web Page," and you go there after you sign out of your email whether you want to or not. But c'mon -- it's not that bad. Basically, the page is divided into forty tiny panes, and we're fetching them one by one, but most of them just take a few seconds to load. Look, one's already finished! Now you can know there are scattered showers in Memphis, Tennessee. Wasn't that worth the wait?

Honestly, this is a wonderful service we're offering you, whether you want it or not.

Have you heard about this new Sarah Jessica Parker movie? We've downloaded forty meg of it to Pane #6 in case you haven't. Move the ever-spinning-wheel within eight inches of that little window and we'll fire it up. Look, there's Mr. Big shirtless! Now who wants to eat lunch?

Sorry for the delay here. Pane #18 is taking longer than usual to load. It shows you the hot new trends in fashion today, but sometimes the folks in China don't return emails as fast as they should. We'd skip ahead and start on Pane #19 but we're not so good at multitasking. Chen will probably be back in a second; they dock his pay if he doesn't eat his chicken-foot soup fast enough.

See, there -- he's back. Everybody's wearing leiderhosen! That's important enough to suck up four more minutes of your life.

Just in case you haven't had time to read today's paper, Pane #23 has some headlines from Yahoo news. Did you know in Peru today a donkey was born with two heads? That'll be an interesting tidbit to share with people at work today, provided you ever get to leave.

Roman, we sense that you're getting tense. Why don't you relax and see a movie tonight? Take a look at Pane #31 for all the films playing in your BROOKLYN neighborhood! It'll just take three minutes to load.

Coffee beans, dating services, Geico, L. L. Bean, the University of Phoenix, AT&T, Netflix, the Weather Channel . . . well, as much as we hate to admit it, that's all the ads we've got for you today. Still, we've saved the best for last. Isn't this adorable? A woodchuck is scurrying back and forth across Pane #40, dodging the crosshairs! Shoot him and win an iPod! Go ahead!

Wait, did we say you'd win an iPod? What we really meant was "open a whole new bunch of windows." Now you've done it. Just between you and me, some of those pages are slow.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I'm pissed. Being dirt poor, I rely on family, friends and people unembarrassed by freeloaders for most of my fun in my life. Also I always keep an eye out for contests involving travel, because that's the only way I can afford to leave my house.

When "The Boulders" -- some high fallutin' Arizona resort -- announced a Cactus Naming Contest, then, I gave it weeks and weeks of thought. I memorized those prickly little guys, scouring every corner of my brain for an appropriate name. When I finally sent in my entry, I thought I had it sewn up. A few weeks later, though, they announced the winners, and my name wasn't on the list.

Within seconds my disappointment gave way to disbelief. Here's one of the cactuses they named:

The winning entry? Applause. My entry? Clap On. Give it to me straight: which is the better name? Any encouragement whatsoever and I'm going to tell them to suck on this guy:

Applause to "As the World Turns" for showing the world what gay relationships are really like. There's that initial attraction, tentative displays of affection, negotiating intimacy, and then Cyndi Lauper shows up.

According to a new study, men and women feel very differently after taking part in one-night stands. The next morning, most women express regret. Most men think their partner looked a lot hotter when they were drunk. Read all about it in this month's Journal of the Totally Obvious.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Out of Scope

Max and I had long passed the point of inevitability: shirts were unbuttoned, erogenous zones were pawed, pants were unzipped and slid down to ankles. We waddled over to his bed and collapsed on it and, just for custom's sake, I removed all the clothes that still clung to us and slid towards the center on the bed.

Max leapt up and ran for the bathroom but returned mere seconds later. He hadn't flushed the toilet so, being of a curious nature, I started to wonder exactly what he could have done. Fluffed his hair? Pumped up his pecs? I looked for clues as he got back into bed but didn't notice anything difference. That is, until foreplay resumed.

We kissed passionately and sloppily -- almost wrestling, locking our legs in tight. After our mouths were wet and panting, I started that inevitable slide from his face down to somewhere more interesting. I made a token stop at his neck, a casual visit at his shoulder blades, and then a brief call at his right nipple. A gentle flick, a small tug, and then a bite, just to show that I meant business.

And all of a sudden I noticed my mouth was minty fresh.

I lapped hesitatingly at the little brown circle, just to double-check. There was something unmistakeably green and sticky there. Without betraying my suspicions I casually wandered over to the other nipple and noticed it too had a questionable sheen.

I licked. Mint. He'd coated his nipples with Scope.

Just to gather more details, I skipped about ten minutes ahead in the program and tongued his belly button. I tasted sweat. Licked his hip and tasted sweat. Went back to his nipple and found eight-hour minty freshness.

What the hell was going on? Was he hinting? I wondered. Was it my breath? Would I find a roll of dental floss tucked beneath his scrotum? A box of Crest WhiteStrips stuffed up his ass?

Now, obviously this was a petty matter, but it was enough to throw me off. I'm barely functional as is, so even something as small as a penny can derail my entire train. I can hardly manage to eat in public, so if I go to a restaurant with slightly elongated forks I can do serious damage to myself. Heck, I just about pass out whenever I start wondering about how I remember to breathe. My mind had moved somewhere else now, and it was obvious from other body parts that the rest of me was going along.

It was all too much. "Sorry," I said, leaping out of bed and throwing on my clothes. "I just remembered there's somewhere else I have to be."

The next day my friend Gary had a rational explanation. "There's something wrong with you," he said solemnly, like I'd actually listen to a guy eating a chocolate croissant. "You're so egotistical, thinking everything everybody does is in direct response to you. If he put Vaseline on his ass, you'd run home screaming that he thought your dick was dry."

"That is never going to happen," I assured him. "I moisturize."

He shook his head and swallowed another bite. "Let's think about mouthwash for a second. It's alcohol and it's mint, so what does it feel like in your mouth? Tingly? Refreshing? Verging on painful? Now imagine how it'd feel on an erogenous zone."

I'd never been one to venture into sexual eccentricities, being consumed with pure vanilla coitus for 99% of my life. But this discussion intrigued me, and spurred me toward further exploration. I spent the next few days locked in my bedroom with a liter-sized bottle of Scope, dribbling it onto my palm and then slapping it on every inch of skin within reach. It was the most spectacular aphrodisiac, turning even my own clumsy touch into something magical. The birds sang, the sun came out, every cell in my body tingled with delight. I called Max back and profuse with apologies worked my way back into his bed. We both made dashes for the bathroom before we got into bed and an hour later simultaneously exploded with mint-scented ecstacy.

Needless to say, we quickly became inseparable. We barely left the bedroom, going through Scope like water, and for several weeks I had the freshest breath in fifty states. I thought he could be the one, until the inevitable occurred. One day I got off work early and dropped by his place unexpectedly. He met me at the door with a guilty look on his face and Listerine on his breath.

I spun on my heels. "I went to the dentist!" he yelled after me, but by then I was back in my car and too furious to care about exactly whose nipples he'd licked.