Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Thanks for That

Time Out magazine interviews Ashley Jensen, star of Extras and Ugly Betty:

Yes, if Walt Whitman and Michelangelo were alive today, they'd be watching Ugly Betty and going, "Oooh, girlfriend is fierce!"

Riiight. Like he'll forget about casual sex in a whole country full of bushes.

The hardest part about adopting a new child, the couple say, is getting it to stand amid a plywood recreation of its native land while singing "It's a Small World After All."

[Via Gawker]

Monday, September 29, 2008

Pizza Hut Hopes Their New Slogan Doesn't Oversell The Food

Thanks for That

TV GUIDE: I bet you had plenty of gyno chat on The L Word. Did you think twice about joining that lusty lesbian drama?

SARAH SHAHI (star of Life): No, I was broke.

You think Gawker's snarky? It's official: nobody's gonna steal the Miss Bitchy 2008 title away from us gays.

This -- the opening of an opinion piece in the Advocate -- is hands down the stupidest thing I've read recently. For twenty years they've been nagging everybody to come out. If all gay people were out, the logic goes, straight people would realize we're everywhere. They'd suddenly notice that some of their friends are gay, some of their coworkers are gay, some of their favorite celebrities are gay, and slowly homophobia would disappear.

In reality, though, it isn't exactly a walk in the park. If you come out in high school, what do you think the football team is going to do -- scurry up and give you a hug? Are your fundamentalist Christian parents suddenly going to join PFLAG? Up until now, most of the celebrities who slipped out of the closet were rewarded by unemployment, so needless to say the rest have been reluctant to leave. Sure, America hasn't minded when a few established stars -- Nathan Lane, David Hyde Pierce, Ian McKellan --- came out, but that's like three little doves of hope set against Ellen's massive Hindenburg.

And now the Advocate offers a friendly little message to a couple of celebrities who just came out. "Oh, puh-leeze, girlfriend! You think we didn't know?"

What assholes.

The article goes on to say they're "appreciative" of celebs who come out, but that sometimes it's "too little too late." Really? Well, apparently the news came as some surprise to the rest of America. You want to see anguish? Go to a ClayMates message board. Right now they're organizing a bus trip to Clay's house, where they'll scream "NO, CLAY, NO!" for eight days straight before setting fire to themselves. Needless to say, some of these people are going to stop buying his records, if only because they keep melting in their hands.

Homophobia is the problem, not Lindsay or Clay's reaction to it. If there's ever been a case of blaming the victims, buddy, this is it.

So, Advocate, I've got some advice for you. I'm hopeful it's not too little too late. What works for your Fire Island-visiting, MDMA-popping, no-white-after-Labor-Day-wearing selves doesn't work for all of America, so do us a favor and shut the fuck up.
The American people took their time, weighed the evidence, slowly and thoughtfully examined both sides of every issue and finally made up their minds.

A woman who's spent more time skinning moose than reading newspapers, who has been certified witchcraft-free by her church, who doesn't believe in evolution, who believes the world was created 6,000 years ago, in six days, complete with Adam and Eve and a talking snake, who believes dinosaurs lived side-by-side with cavemen, who believes she will meet Jesus in her lifetime, is scarier than a black man.

Stay tuned to 2032 when we learn how crazy somebody has to be to balance out a Jew.

Friday, September 26, 2008

This is just too easy

It's a corn maze.

Of Sarah Palin.

Doesn't look too difficult to navigate, since there isn't much inside that head.

Sarah Palin corn maze
I took part in a really great protest yesterday against the proposed bailout. We started near Battery Park, in downtown Manhattan.

There were probably five or six hundred people, with another hundred members of the press. Channel 9 news said there were "dozens." Thanks, guys! Maybe learn to count during the next commercial break. Do I need to add they're owned by Fox?

The most popular chants were "You fucked up; suck it up!" and "The bailout is bullshit; you broke it, you bought it."

The Billionaires for Bush know how to demonstrate in style. Great slogans on those signs: "No banker left behind," and "I helped create the mortgage meltdown and all I got was this $700 billion bailout."

People in costume always make a lot of impact. These guys did a terrific job. Greed kills was their message. Though I kept hoping they'd jump up and pretend they were trapped in a box.

I love this costume. Was obviously homemade, and paired with the natty suit it was kind of spooky. I'm not sure I get the point, though, since I really really love bacon.

We marched down Wall Street, ending at Federal Hall where there's a giant bronze statue of George Washington. This was around five so a lot of people were getting off work, and they seemed pretty freaked out by us. There were a few confrontations. Dudes in suits get pretty defensive when you threaten their paychecks.

Somebody stuck a sign in George's hand that said BAILOUTS ARE BULLSHIT. If he were alive that's what he would have said.

This is pretty much the message of the day.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Text of President Bush's Speech Last Night

Due to the heinous actions of a terrible few, our beloved country finds itself in the midst of a terrible crisis, and we need to take action very, very soon. To delay would threaten the heart of our great nation. Yes, in a perfect world we'd have have time to debate and discuss. We'd sit around and thoughtfully consider all the consequences, weigh all the alternatives, compare and contrast all the pros and cons.

But now, my friends, we don't have that time. We need to take decisive action, and we need to act fast. It wouldn't be an overstatement to say that our very way of life is at stake.

And so, in these difficult times, I must ask you to trust your leaders, to stand behind your elected officials, when we come together as a bipartisan group and declare, we must attack Iraq right now.

Oh. Wait. I mean, we must give all your money to rich people right now.

Contrary to what media elite have told you, the seven thousand dollars that you personally will be paying out won't just go down the drain. You'll get some really swell things in return.

-- You'll get five thousand dollars worth of mortgage-backed securities. Now, the media elite keep trying to convince us that these things are worthless. I'll admit that bankers have tried to sell them to everybody on the planet and nobody bought. But where other people see crisis, I see opportunity. If we just sit there and wait until the housing bubble blows up again, we'll get some of your money back.

-- You'll help keep your neighbors in homes they can't afford. They're not to blame for the situation they're in. They simply wanted to take a part in the American dream: buy something cheap, then flip it to some sucker a couple months later and pocket massive piles of cash. You'll get the satisfaction of knowing that your money will keep a poor family in a nicer house than yours.

-- You'll keep rich people in jobs they don't do very well. This in particular lies close to my heart. We'll even forward you an Instant Message from a banker's daughter, like Muffy Armitrage of Greenwich, Connecticut, thanking you for helping her daddy keep his job, and not forcing her to choose between her Mercedes and Patches, her Shetland pony.

But, my friends, this isn't all bad news. I've saved the best for last. If we act today, my friends in the banking industry have agreed to give us another forty billion dollars in questionable mortgage-backed securities, absolutely free. We just have to pay shipping and handling! How can they offer such an incredible deal? I'm thinking heck, if they were any good at math, we wouldn't be in this mess in the first place. But don't give them time to reconsider: go for it! Run to the phone right now, call your Senator and say, count me in! I want my worthless securities! I want to keep poor people in nice homes! And most of all, I want to help a little white girl keep her pony.

That, my friends, is what America is all about.

Thank you for listening, and God bless.

This video proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that some people have been spreading vicious lies about poor Sarah Palin. She has, in fact, been certified witchcraft-free by an ordained minister. Have we seen anything like this from the Democrats? No. It almost seems like they're afraid to tie Joe Biden's hands and feet and toss him in a lake.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My sister B. A. -- no, it doesn't stand for Bad Ass, though it probably should -- called me. I don't usually listen to what she has to say, since it usually involves her newest outfit or what her three-year-old is up to now. When the kid starts hacking into vice presidential email accounts I'll start listening, but for now I'll be checking my fingernails and scanning the TV Guide.

Out of the blue, though, she stumbled onto something interesting. "I went to the opera last night and it was a total disaster. God, all the screeching and histrionics. And that was just the gay guy next to me."

She paused here for laughter, but I was absorbed in a hangnail I'd found. "I read in Cosmo how it's such a great pickup spot," she continued, immune to my silence, "because it's all culture and rich folks, and they're right. It's perfect. If you're a HORNY GAY DUDE."

My ears perked up like Lassie's do when Timmy falls into a well. "I was completely surrounded by them," she continued. "Like Indians circling the stagecoaches. Except instead of scalping you they'd scissor-cut and blow-dry your hair. Such a waste! Well-dressed, handsome. And they didn't give me a second look." Sigh. "There goes a hundred bucks, right down the drain."

In my mind I batted around a sympathetic reply, like, "Wow. You could have bought fifty sippy cups!" but I'd spent the afternoon cleaning the bathroom and figured I'd debased myself enough for one day. Instead I told her I suddenly remembered an appointment and I went straight to the Metropolitan Opera's website. B. A. wasn't kidding about the prices. Two hundred bucks for the good seats here. But I couldn't be stingy if I wanted to find a good man, and I could never spend my life with a dude from Standing Room. Their reviews for "Salome" said Karita Matilla caused a sensation the last time she sang the role, so that settled it.

One ticket for "Salome," please. September 23 is fine.

Well, September 23 turned out to be opening night, so the patrons were dressed to the hilt. The women -- of a certain age, assisted by the wonders of plastic surgery -- wore gowns and million-dollar jewelry, and the men looked dapper in their tuxedos and Brylcreemed hair.

I mingled excitedly with the crowd. Why hadn't I thought of this? Stupid me had been hanging around bars. Hang around bars and you'll meet alcoholics, the saying goes. Hang around opera houses and you'll meet rich dudes, I realized, so I cruised for all I was worth. I smiled, crinkling my eyes like Tyra taught me. And I didn't get one single interested glance in return. The men ranged in age from forty to eighty, and even the guys with canes and Coke-bottle glasses didn't look back. Desperate, I stopped in the bathroom. All eyes forward. No surreptitious glances. No offers to shake me dry.

Suddenly the lights flashed and everyone scurried for their seats. I filed into the eighth row, right next to a fiftyish man. I put him through my mental calculus: nice looking + confident expression - balding + tuxedo - white beard + expensive watch = BOOK THE FREAKIN' CHURCH. I took my seat and started to leaf through the program before deciding there wasn't a second to waste. "I heard this Salome caused a sensation the last time she performed. She must really be great."

"She is," the man replied in Sean Connery's voice. Then he leaned closer, and whispered: "I hear she's shaved tonight."

My eyes darted toward the stage as I processed his words. There was no way I could get them to come out right. Her legs? Her face? I decided to just repeat the word. "Shaved?"

He winked, like he was confiding a secret. "Her pussy. Last time around she had a great big brown bush, but this time around she's shaved bare."

A thousand questions took flight inside my head. Why was this man fixated on a soprano's genitalia? How did he know such details of its current state? How loudly do people scream when you projectile vomit on them? And most importantly, when I should have been debating Maria Callas and bel canto and La Scala with another homosexual, why was I discussing pussy with an old straight man?

Curiosity throttled my desire to find a suitable mate. "How do you know all this?" I asked.

"She gets naked at the end of the Dance of the Seven Veils," he said. "And I've got friends who've seen her rehearse."

All of a sudden it hit me. All the pieces fell into place. That's why this gay mecca was wall-to-wall with heterosexual men. That's how this soprano "caused a sensation" the last time she sang the role.

I assumed they meant she had a good voice. Nope. She flashed New York the beav.

The lights went down and the opera started, and sure enough Karita showed New York her glory. At the end, she got five curtain calls. One or two had to be in appreciation of her voice, but the rest seemed directed at her pruned bush.

I wandered out amid eight thousand contented, heterosexual faces and took the subway straight to the Dugout. No matter how much the world is changing, I reassured myself, there's still one place in America that will always be pussy-free.

"Help me," I said to the doorman. "I saw pussy tonight." And even before I got inside I had a cold compress on my head and a martini in my hand.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Okay, I'll admit it. I'm an intellectual. I turn in to PBS because regular TV is way too stupid for me. "The King of Queens"? "According to Jim"? Please. Insults to my intelligence. Enough of the fat, funny men paired with gorgeous, stick-thin women.

So, I heard about a new show on PBS called "Spain: On the Road Again," where Mario Batali and Gwyneth Paltrow take a food holiday in Spain. I'm watching excitedly when the thing premieres. Willie Nelson sings the theme. Establishing shots of Spain. Mario and Gwyneth in a convertible Mercedes.

I see the two of them sitting in the car together, and think, "Wait."

Unfortunately, it's straight downhill from there. Willie rattles on for a good thirty minutes. Why on earth did somebody think this song was appropriate? It conjures up drug-addled tramps in tour buses, but we've got the 21st century Grace Kelly in a convertible Mercedes. What, was "Highway to Hell" spoken for?

Two other people show up for the trip. They follow the pattern. Mark Bittmann is an accomplished chef and food columnist, but if his shoulders were a boat his head would be underwater. Claudia Bassols is a gorgeous, exotic actress. Clearly, this is a world where men are meat and women are parsley.

They all pile into the Mercedes and hit the road. They're all such amazing friends, you know the sparks are going to fly.

"Do you speak a lot of languages?" Mark asks Claudia.

"Yes," Claudia says.

"Cool," Mark replies.


"Anybody wanna eat?" Mario asks.

The next morning, the Mercedes magically multiplies. Mark and Claudia motor off in their own car, and bizarrely the camera follows. Their conversation veers between Spanish language lessons and food.

"How do you say, 'I love the sky' in Spanish?" he asks her. He's a journalist for a major newspaper.

"Me gusto el cielo."

"Me gusto el cielo," Bittmann says.


"How about if we get something to eat?" Claudia asks.

The next day, the couples divide by sexes. The men go to a cheese farm. The women bond over the local equivalent of General Foods Hazelnut Mocha. "How do you say 'I need a hot stone massage' in Spanish?" Gwyneth asks.

"Necesito un masaje con piedras calientes," the human Spanish dictionary replies.

"Oh," Gwyneth says.


"Let's find the guys and get lunch," Gwyneth says.

It doesn't get any better when Mario and Gwyneth are alone. They're both recognized by the local townspeople, though, which is partly what we tuned in for. If we can't have excitement, we'll settle for glamour. A crowd of schoolchildren spot Gwyneth and yell. She smiles but doesn't even hit the brake.

"Have you ever been to Spain before?" Mario asks Gwyneth.

"Nope," Gwyneth says.

"I have," Mario replies.


"How about if we get something to eat?" Gwyneth asks.

In the end, it's a simple recipe. One song, played ad nauseam. Beautiful car, stunning countryside. Four theoretically interesting people with every interesting topic apparently off-limits. No Coldplay, no Chris Martin, no funny-named kids. Still, I might tune in again next week, just hoping they'll venture into an orchard and suddenly discover they have absolutely nothing to say.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Well, at least we've all learned a valuable lesson. We've seen firsthand the kind of chaos that can result when there's no regulation, no rules, no script. When the people in charge don't provide any oversight, when they just hand over the reins and say, "Do whatever the hell you want, but try not to screw up too bad."

Yes, I'm talking about the Emmy Awards.

I guess we should have seen it coming, since they went aggressively stupid a year or two back. Before then they gave out maybe fifteen awards a year, and they went to great performers. Lucille Ball, Mary Tyler Moore, Dick Van Dyke. Now there's like six hundred awards, and every show on TV gets ten or twelve. There's Best Use of Veal in an Italian Cooking Program. Best Sauté with a Slotted Spoon. Which explains why, if you're keeping track, Giada di Laurentiis has won as many Emmys as Carol Burnett.

30 Rock is a great show, but even Tina Fey probably wonders how it got forty-seven nods. Was there a nomination for each individual joke? Are there awards for Oddest Slogan on a Trucker Hat, or Best Use of a Vest by a Supporting Character?

Obviously they're trying to get the Emmys to seem less elitist, to get their brand name out there. Because before this, how often did you hear about the Emmys? Maybe once a year, for the award show. Now every time I put on the Food Network, there's a commercial screaming about their latest win. "Tune in at eight tonight for Bobby Flay's Throwdown, five-time Emmy winner for Best Grilling by a Guy with Ginger Pubes!"

Still, they slid a few more rungs down the Smart Ladder with last night's show. My jaw dropped at the very beginning. Five reality show stars hosting? What, was everyone with a personality previously engaged? They struggled in vain to start a conversation. America's best reality programming hosts.

If I were Jeff Foxworthy, I'd have shot myself in the head about three minutes in. "Well, the Academy didn't necessarily snub me," he says as he puts his whiskey down and strolls over to the gun rack. "But I'm not quite as good as a guy who says 'Open the case!' forty times a night."

Even amidst all this awkwardness, the presentation to Tommy Smothers stood out. Hell, even those of us who have heard of the Smothers Brothers still don't know which is which. It's like knowing who's Cheech and who's Chong. Tommy Smothers is singlehandedly responsible for free speech! they gushed. He pushed the envelope when nobody else would! He spoke up when nobody else had the nerve!

And then he gets onstage and says, "Peace is good, ignorance bad." Did this used to pass for controversy back in 4,000 B. C.? Because nowadays, it wouldn't stand out in a Madonna song. It didn't make sense. Was he afraid of offending somebody? They just said he used to be outspoken, and even got fired because of it. What's he afraid of now? They'll cut off his Meals on Wheels? Switch off his LifeAlert?

Despite this stiff competition, the winner of Worst Comedy Bit by Seniors goes to the Laugh-In tribute. Get a bunch of geriatric patients to re-enact a forty-year-old comedy show -- yup, that's a recipe for hilarity. "Here's what you do," the producer tells the excited oldsters. "When I give you the cue, you throw open the little doors, stick your head out, read your lines off the Teleprompter, then pull back and shut the doors."

"That sounds kind of complicated," Jo Anne Worley admits.

Alan Seuss nods. "My grandkids applaud if I put my pants on right-side out."

It was, to be polite, a train wreck. Still, it was entertaining, in a Britney-on-the-VMAs kind of way, so I'm guessing it'll be a category for next year's show: Best Performer to Move a Couple Annoying Flaps Out of the Way and Thrust Their Face into a Hole.

I can't wait to hear Jeremy Piven's acceptance speech.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Every summer, ten or fifteen people told me about the Miracle that is Tomatoes. You absent-mindedly fling a few little seeds onto a tiny plot of dirt -- or on a square of cement, a manhole cover, the hood of a car -- and return a couple days later to a truckload of ripe, juicy fruit.

In April I went to some odd art event where a woman was handing out seedlings of heirloom tomatoes. "The environment needs different varieties of tomatoes," she told me. "Please, take a plant."

"I can't," I said. "I'm not ready for that kind of responsibility."

"Sure you are," she said, thrusting the tiny thing into my hand. "Congratulations! You're a dad."

I sighed and took the little seedling home. Obviously it was my time. God couldn't have made it more clear that Farmer Roman needed to make room in his life for something else. I bought a big bag of soil and a fancy terra cotta pot, and I moved the little guy into his new home.

Almost immediately, though, I realized something was wrong. He didn't grow. He yellowed. Gone was the happy little seedling I was given. He became just a shadow of his former self. In desperation I checked the soil bag and saw something I hadn't noticed before.

There was a warning label. On a bag of DIRT.

"DON'T USE THIS IN POTS!" it veritably screamed. "It's for GARDENS! This is GARDEN soil!"

It totally confused me, printed in bold red type. I got the wrong kind of fuckin' soil? There are different kinds of fuckin' dirt? Confusion turned to anger, and anger turned to concern. My little seedling was in trouble, and it desperately needed my help.

I ran to the garden store and checked all the bags of soil: yup, some were for gardens, and some were for pots. I got their most expensive potting soil and transplanted the poor little sprout. The next few nights I barely slept. I kept him out of drafts, dribbled fertilizer around his base. I waited. And waited. I tended to the little guy like Cuban nurses tend to sick Castros. And slowly, very slowly, his color came back. He grew a quarter inch, then a full inch, then sprouted a new pair of leaves.

From that point on, there was no stopping him. By June he was two feet tall. I beamed with pride at his amazing achievement, then stupidly went back to the garden store to gloat. His contemporaries were five feet tall and veritably dripping with fruit.

All of a sudden it hit me: my plant had a problem. He was a grade or two behind. I had a Differently Abled Plant.

What was the problem? I wondered. Nature, or nurture? Was he genetically an inferior seedling? Had his brief residence in substandard soil crippled him for life? I kept watering and feeding him, but knowing he'd never be as good as the other plants, all the passion was gone. Sure, he was doing his best, but he was stunted. Angrily, jealously, I pictured all my neighbors happily eating their tomato sandwiches and cooking up spaghetti sauce.

I did my best to be proud of my little plant. Every day I'd offer him encouragement. Look, I crowed, you're growing! August came. Gosh, you're nearly three feet tall! September. Wow, look at all your leaves! I lived through the summer with a mixture of regret and shame. While everybody else had a picture of their plants proudly displayed on their desks, mine was in my wallet. "Hey, Roman, you've got a tomato plant too, don't you?" clueless friends asked.

"Do I?" I replied, searching the ceiling as if trying to remember. I'd pull out the one lone photo and watch as their curiosity gave way to embarrassment. "Well," they'd belatedly offer, "it certainly does have a nice branch!"

"I don't think I've ever seen such an attractive leaf!" somebody else would chirp.

One day I decided I couldn't take it any more. At the garden store their tomato plants were fifty percent off, since summer was coming to an end. It was time for my little plant's circle of life to be complete. I put on gloves, grabbed a garbage bag, and went outside to pull him up.

I had a hand around his trunk when I spotted them. Small and gnarled, but unmistakable. Tiny. Yellow. Flowers.

FLOWERS! I screamed. FLOWERS! I veritably danced around the thing, like relatives at a Greek wedding. My little plant is making FLOWERS!

With a swell of pride it hit me: all my hard work had paid off. Sure, I'd had to adjust my expectations. He hadn't given me bushels of fruit like all the neighbors' plants. But he'd given me what he could. He wasn't sad, or sick. He wasn't defective. He was different. He wanted to flower, not grow fruit.

I put away the gloves and brought out the MiracleGro. I must have snapped at least a hundred pictures.

Flower away, dude, I thought. Flower away.

I love my little gay plant.

This Week's Creepiest NY Times Intro

From Daddy Knows Least:

One day you have a child who loves kicking a ball and grows his hair ridiculously long so he can look like a South American soccer star. You coach his teams, watch his tricks and even travel to the World Cup in 2006, where your favorite image is of him standing at a urinal in Frankfurt with his pet ball sitting obediently at his side.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

INTERVIEWER: But what about Europe?

JOHN MCCAIN: What about me, what?

The good news is, if McCain is elected we'll get to see classic exchanges like this on Letterman.

I'll bet if the interviewer had said European, McCain would have checked his pants.

(via Joe.My.God)

Today's Sponsor: Classes USA. We Teach Real Good!

Celebrities in the Animal Kingdom: Rumer Willis

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

See, this football player had a blog.

He wanted to post a picture on this blog. Evidently he got confused, though, and he ended up posting the wrong thing.

A full-color shot of his dick.

Let this be a lesson: never call a dirty photo MyLittleFriend.jpg.

(Via Queerty)
You never you know when average, ordinary life will turn into magic. You put together all the ingredients you think will work and hope. Coney Island. Mojitos. Boom box.

Nothing. Boredom. Ennui.

And then on your average Tuesday night, all the pieces fall into place. You wander down 14th Street and spot six Snow Whites holding picket signs in the window of Diane von Furstenburg. It's some art piece, so they're loaded with attitude: fists on hips, cracking gum, checking the time on nonexistent watches. One winks at you. You're making time with peeved Disney characters.

You walk past the MILK gallery next. An opening? Sure, I like champagne. Nice people, interesting art. Oops, got a party to hit. Lifebeat: the Music Industry Fights AIDS is celebrating the publication of an autobiography by Pepa, from Salt N'. Somebody doing something worthwhile in NY? They need all the support they can get.

The club, Home, is nice. Lots of dark wood, banquettes, twinkling votive candles. Crowd runs the gamut of all ages and colors. Hey, is that Joe My God? He's a hunky little sparkplug. You're so excited you forget to gush, like meeting Michelangelo and the first words out of your mouth are, "So, what's new?" Aaron? Good to meet you. He's ridiculously tall, like God enjoyed making him so much he didn't want to stop. Handsome. Too much to talk about, between blogs, bears, and Berlin. Joe is the Rain Man of pop music.

An artsy young couple approach pushing the NY Burlesque Festival. Yeah, we're just three guys who love to see tit. Another vodka tonic? Sure. It's only my fourth. The DJ puts on MIA's Paper Planes, and now the puzzle's complete.


The next hour is a blur. At one point I head back to my table to try to write down the elusive formula. Six Snow Whites, two champagnes, four vodka tonics, Joe & Aaron, Paper Planes? I could probably duplicate that.

Magic turns a person magnetic. Everyone around me has something to say, and for a change it's not "You've got falafel stuck in your teeth." I'm dancing on air when I head outside and see a small crowd standing outside a Chelsea sushi bar. They're not casually milling around like they're waiting for a table: all eyes are focused inside.

I pause and glance in. An attractive foursome sits in the front window. Nice looking group, but none of them ring a bell. I spot a couple slightly effeminate guys, so I approach them. "Somebody famous in there?"

They shake their heads. "Nope," one says. "Nobody," confirms the other.

"Oh," I reply. And just as I start to leave, a woman at the front table turns. "Is that Beyoncé?" I ask.

"Well, yeah," one guy says. "Of course there's Beyoncé," agrees the other.

And just like that, real life is back.

They're right: that is a miserable post.

Crossword Puzzle for Republicans


1. What causes global warming, with 49 Across
5. Judging from all the Palin revelations, this must be very low
9. One of Sarah's kids, or a sporting event
11. "Thinker" sculptor
12. A useless, rusty old vehicle
16. A title Palin didn't win
19. Kansas University (abbrev.)
20. After fishing, crystal meth and oil, this is Alaska's primary industry
21. What you call two cars on the road to Wasilla
25. "9/11. 9/11. 9/11. Did I mention 9/11?"
26. National Library of Education (abbrev.)
27. Indefinite pronoun
30. "Et __, Brute?"
31. Louisiana State University (abbrev.)
32. Dry as a desert
35. Where you buy groceries
37. Institute of Russian Irrigation Investment (abbrev.)
38. Street (abbrev.)
39. What Palin will be riding on after November 4
40. Some number math geeks keep harping about
41. Snorkeling attraction near the Philippines
42. With lots of this, you don't need experience
47. The feeling you get when McCain speaks
48. Common activity upon spotting a plummeting star
49. What causes global warming, with 1 Across

1. Gran Turismo Racer (abbrev.)
2. Spanish gold
3. Levi doesn't want to be one
4. Poli ___ (abbrev.)
6. To urge or impose with authority
7. How McCain lies
8. Difference between a pitbull and a soccer mom (aside from pitbulls don't make their puppies eat McDonalds)
10. Bristol's favorite movie?
14. Sarah Palin is a _____ mom
15. Either you're for it or you're _______ __
16. Medieval war club
17. Crazy theory that says monkeys magically transformed into people
18. Palin has talked to this many world leaders
22. MPAA classification
23. Body part George W. uses to make decisions
24. If something happens to her, it's time to find a girlfriend
28. Small bird with colorful plumage
29. Biblical sign of the end times
31. To feed or fatten
32. He told fables, like Mark Twain or Darwin
33. Word you say before you have sex, after "I"
34. What selfish kids scream
36. A girl's name, like Elm or Birch
37. Alaska residences
43. Alliance for a New Humanity (abbrev.)
44. Inertial Navigation Unit (abbrev.)
45. I think Palin has a kid with this name
46. ___ and hers

Answers posted tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Quantity Over Quality Tuesday

"I was sitting at a table at Allen & Company with Wendi Murdoch, Barry Diller, Diane von Furstenberg, Anderson Cooper and Sergey, and we were talking about tongue curling," [Anne] Wojcicki recalled. "Barry cannot roll his tongue, but Anderson Cooper can do a really complicated four-leaf clover."

When asked for comment, Cooper winsomely declared, "They're always after me lucky charms."

An Italian man returned home from work early -- to find his wife in bed with the local priest.

The angry husband stormed into the local bishop's office in Chioggia, near Venice, and demanded an explanation. Later police had to be called to calm him down, reports the Daily Telegraph.

The priest insists he was just showing the woman how Moses parted the Red Sea.

So, Dr. Phil and his wife go out to dinner. Leaving the restaurant, they're swarmed by paparazzi. Dr. Phil, clearly excited by all the attention, strolls over to the valet parking area, passing a black man who wishes him a good night.

Dr. Phil hands him a twenty, gets into the car, and starts to drive off.

Whereupon the valet taps on his window and asks him to pay the bill.

In his defense, the valet was Hispanic. Phil probably thought he was just there to trim the shrubs.

A Chinese farmer is baffled after he bought a duck that has feet like a chicken and is scared of water.

Fu said he noticed the duck acting differently, and examining the duck was surprised to discover it didn't have webbed feet. "It never went with the other ducks to swim in the river," he explained.

Fu said he really loved the duck, serving it with black bean sauce.

Monday, September 15, 2008

George Takei and his longtime partner, Brad Altman, were married Sunday in a multicultural ceremony at the Japanese American National Museum that featured a Buddhist priest, Native American wedding bands, a Japanese Koto harp and a bagpipe procession.

The honeymoon was marked by champagne, flowers, and repeated cries of "Captain, she just can't take any more!"

Last words of the engineer who ran a red light and crashed an L. A. commuter train:

I've never heard of this Thomas L. Friedman dude, but he was pretty great on Letterman the other night. He talked about how oil drilling wasn't a solution to anything, despite what the Republicans said. He said the "Drill baby drill!" chants that Giuliani led at their convention were roughly equivalent to standing outside Bill Gates' house twenty years ago and chanting "Carbon paper, carbon paper!"

Smart as he is, though, Mr. Friedman is completely wrong on one point. He thinks Republican politicians are wicked puppeteers, and their followers are clueless victims. This is absolutely insulting, and I personally will not stand for such ridiculous talk. Republicans are determinedly, passionately dumb! Portraying them as bumbling idiots is like saying Lance Armstrong likes to pedal around once in a while. Republicans take pride in their stupidity, guarding it like a Jason Giambi home run ball. They happily seize any initiative to break new boundaries in imbecility, and grab the stupid bull by the horns in their quest to be dumber than any other people in human history.

Remember when, late in 2004, we suddenly began to realize that the Idiot Bush had an actual chance of being re-elected? We couldn't believe it. All over the world the cry went up. "Ve have to stop zeez eediots!" the French declared. In England, they formed groups to write INDIVIDUAL LETTERS to swing voters in red states, saying things like, "Cheerio old chap! Just wanted to let you know that your chums across the pond think you'd be a Grade-A moron to put that imbecile in office again. Pip pip!"

Sylvia Browne could have predicted this campaign would backfire. The red-state folks were already calling anybody with a grade-school diploma the "liberal elite." How did we think they'd react when people actually sat down and wrote them letters saying they were too stupid to vote? The red-staters didn't see folks concerned about America's future, but busybodies telling them what to do. They took these letters as calls to arms, as divine messages from God saying their stupid lifestyles were in danger. If they wanted their home-schooled children to have the same God-given freedom to shop at Wal-Mart and watch Jack Black movies, they'd have to take action fast. They organized, they networked, they proudly marched to the polls with their banners held upside-down. "We'll show y'all!" they declared. "Now we're really gonna vote for Bush!"

Flash-forward four years later, and we find ourselves in the same boat. "How can 59 million Americans be so stupid?" the (UK) Daily Mirror asked on its front page last week. It's a good question, but it begs another: exactly who is stupid here? Regardless of IQ points, the definition seems set in stone. Smart people figure out a way to control others. I don't care if you read David Foster Wallace in between yoga and grad school: if your actions prompt a redneck to vote for a moron, you're not smart in my book.

What we have to do is convince the red-staters that we're just as stupid as them. With just two months left before the elections, that means we need to tear down all the boundaries of incompetence and go for the Guinness record. When asked about Bush's record, our candidates can't just cobble together a feeble reply: they should proudly declare that they have no idea what the dude been doin'. For qualifications they'll reminisce about being named Mini-Golf Champion of their high school. When asked about vision they'll bring out their hunting rifles. And they'll parade their pregnant and unwed teens around as proof that they're incompetent parents, and their families are pure white trash just like all the rest.

What? Sarah Palin? Really? Oh.

Well, cheerio, mates, and here's to 2012.

Friday, September 12, 2008

That's Reassuring Part Four

Mickey Rourke, the 51-year-old star of 1980s hits "9-1/2 Weeks" and "Angel Heart," told Reuters this week that "The Wrestler" is "the best ... movie I've ever made."
People are always writing to me and asking me to publicize their websites here. I'm usually way too busy to bother, but I just couldn't turn down the folks at Rhyme Zone. Their comprehensive rhyming dictionary is invaluable to the poet or songwriter. As a part-time poet myself, I might have spent hours searching for rhymes for "chalice," "carousel" and "bitch" if they hadn't told me there weren't any. Hell, I'd probably have the malice of a caramel witch.

Instead, I can just type in any word -- like "growth," for instance -- and in no time flat I've got a classic poem using three of their perfect rhymes.

I'm falling behind in my quest for growth
due to my affinity for sloth.
But today I met a man of the cloth
and he gave me a book by Goethe.

Change. That's what a McCain/Palin administration promises.

Sure, on the surface we may look like the same old thing. We're members of the political party that gave you George W. Bush. In fact, he spoke at our convention, and most of the folks who work for us also worked for him. Our speeches were all written by folks who wrote for him. But if you really, truly want somebody to steer this country in the right direction, you need to vote for folks who'll barely put a hand on the wheel.

Don't get me wrong: Sarah and I are positively, definitely going to change things around here, but it won't be that risky kind of change. It'll be a subtle, barely-perceptible change, like adding lime to Bud Light. We won't fiddle around with health care or the economy or global warming or the war. God's doing a fine job with those, so we'll keep our hands off. But where activist politicians have intervened, we'll fix it. Abortion. Civil liberties. Gay rights. Maybe we'll send our soldiers in Iraq some pork scratchins instead of potato chips.

That's not scary, is it? We're not biting off more than we can chew, and you're not handing over this country to somebody who might mess things up. Let's face it: if that other dude's vision was any good, he'd have a wife who owned quarter-million dollar earrings. He wants to turn the car around. But hell, after eight years of Bush, who says we've got the gas to get home?

Besides, we'll level with you. You've had eight years of Cheney as VP. Are you sure your voting machines even work? Sure, they'll click and whir and lights will go off. You'll part that curtain knowing that your vote has been cast. And it has! You've definitely voted for somebody. Slide that lever next to the Republican ticket, though, and you'll know you're getting who you asked for.

And when Sarah and I take office, that barely-perceptible change will start. We're going to hit the ground running. This will be a whole new administration like "Let's Twist Again!" is a whole new song. We're going to totally gut the White House and rebuild from the ground up, but to start off we'll just move a stuffed moose into the Oval Office and then sit down and have a brew. This country is headed in a completely wrong direction, so let's veer slightly to the right and then check the map another four years from now.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Once upon a time an old woman named Martha owned a store where she sold thimbles and faucets and orange rope. One day a man came by selling stuffed animals, and Martha bought one.

She put Quackers the Duck in her front window, and two minutes later somebody came in and bought it.

The next day when the salesman came, Martha bought Quackers the Duck and Peanut the Elephant. She put them in her window, and two minutes later somebody bought those too.

"How everyone loves these little animals!" Martha said to herself, and the next time the salesman came she bought five. Two minutes after she put them out, one man bought them all.

A few days later Rick, an unemployed juggler, saw people scurrying from the store with their arms full of Beanie Babies. "What's going on?" he asked one.

"That old shopkeeper don't know shit!" the man said. "She's selling these things for two bucks each, and they're pulling down fifteen on eBay."

Rick checked the prices online, and he raced right back to the old woman's shop. "Lady," he said, "you're sitting on a gold mine here. I got a foolproof way both of us can make lots of money. Just put me in charge of the store."

The old woman loved Rick's enthusiasm. "Well, sure!" she said. "In fact, I'm so confident you're going to do a great job I'll give you half the store when you retire."

"Thanks!" Rick said. "But could you give me eight million dollars instead, in case the place goes bankrupt while I'm in charge?"

"Okay," the old woman said.

Rick took every penny the old woman had and bought Beanie Babies. He bought Brownie the Bear, Derby the Horse, and Nana the Monkey. He bought Punchers the Lobster and Chilly the Polar Bear. He paid a dollar each, but charged eight dollars in the store. Still, they flew off the shelves. Rick bought himself a new condo and a brand new car.

Rick went to the bank and told them the story. Dollar signs lit up their eyes. They lent him a million dollars so he could buy a million Beanie Babies. He sold those, and bought himself five more houses with the proceeds. And then he went to ten more banks and borrowed ten million more dollars. He bought half the Beanie Babies in the world and put them in the store.

These didn't sell quite as fast. In fact, only a hundred of them sold that day. Rick wasn't worried, but he'd made friends with lots of other shopkeepers who were. "I'm a little too heavily invested in Beanie Babies," his friend Stan said. "Would you buy mine for just five dollars each?"

"I've already got a lot," Rick said.

"How about if I pay you a million-dollar 'commission' to keep for yourself?"

"It's a deal," Rick said.

Now Rick had twenty houses, eighty cars, and a hundred million dollars. The old lady's store had thirty million Beanie Babies on its shelves. Some of the newer ones, though, weren't that exciting. Rick didn't see the attraction of Trudy the Toaster Oven. He didn't know why anybody would buy Lonnie the Linoleum Floor. He thought you'd have to be an idiot to buy Preston the Posturepedic Mattress.

And so did everybody else.

That day, not a single customer came in. Nor the next day. Nor the day after that. And now Rick too got worried. "How am I going to pay back all the loans?" he asked himself. He told the bank owners about his problems, and they realized if they didn't want to lose all their money, something desperate had to be done.

They called President Bush. "I'll fix this mess!" he declared.

The President phoned Rick that very minute. "You and your friends should be ashamed!" he said. "This is the height of irresponsibility! Look at all those debts you've run up! Our taxpayer dollars will pay back those loans, because we know deep down that Beanie Babies will become valuable again, and if the old lady goes out of business we won't have any place to buy thimbles or faucets or orange rope. But as of today, you're out of a job. You and your friends must take your millions of dollars and go back to one of your homes!"

"Oh," Rick said. "Okay."


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

This just in from the McCain campaign headquarters: "Any talk about lipstick or pigs will be considered a direct attack on Sarah Palin. Similarly, any mentions of leading horses to water, teaching pigs to dance, or fat ladies singing will also be considered personal slurs."
Hurricane Ike hits Lake Tina

Repeat Wednesday: Why I don't read the classics

I’ve been reading way too much trash recently -- books with sex or drugs or violence and no redeeming value whatsoever. The last book I finished was about a gay vampire who had other things on his mind than sucking blood. Try checking that out of the library without a fake moustache and dark glasses. After being both embarrassed and bored, I figured I'd read something respectable for a change. I’d seen most of the classics on “Masterpiece Theater” and they didn’t seem all that difficult so I figured I’d get one of them. To speed things up, though, I’d skip over Kenneth Branagh's lines.

I ended up with “Pride and Prejudice.” It’s one of those books you mean to read but never do, and halfway through the book I understand why. Like a PBS miniseries it’s interesting in theory, but after more than a couple minutes in reality it just bugs the pants off you.

For one thing, I expected intrigue, intelligence, and wit, but instead got a Victorian potboiler on the level of “All My Children.” Austen uses plenty of big words in Ye Olde English, but I’m still pretty sure the first printing had Fabio’s great-grandfather in a torn pirate shirt on the cover.

The book concerns several hundred people, all related, who alternately love and hate each other with the skill of Italians. At the center of the story are the Bennets: Mr. Bennet, Mrs. Bennet, and their daughters. Lots of daughters. The number is never specified, and it seems to change by the hour. We start off with Elizabeth and Jane, then page by page discover Lydia, Beth, Kitty, Mary, Lizzy and Eliza, though someone smarter than myself may discern that four of these could refer to the exact same person.

The big romance is between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, a guy who doesn’t even get a first name until page 187. There’s a roadblock flung in their path: we’re supposed to think that Mr. Darcy is unforgiveably rude because he went to a ball and only danced twice. That’s rude? the guys reading will ask. Hell, if he showed up in his underwear, guzzled scotch from a bottle and asked the hostess to pull his finger maybe she’d have a case. Then we learn that a dance lasts fifteen minutes, that you have to book them like appointments with the cable guy, and that dancing with the same woman twice is roughly equivalent to proposing marriage. Under these conditions even Fred Astaire would be hanging around the buffet table stuffing rumaki in his gob. Besides, that’s unforgiveably rude? That’s an obstacle to a relationship? Once I forgave a hubby who had sex with a preoccupied paraplegic.

The characters hook up and break off straight out of daytime drama. Miss Bingley likes Mr. Darcy, Mr. Darcy likes Elizabeth, Mr. Bingley likes Jane but seems destined to marry Countess De Burgh’s daughter (his cousin) to unite their estates. Elizabeth ought to marry Mr. Collins, her cousin, but since she hates him she pawns him off on Charlotte Lucas, the only character who’s not a relative. There are like eight sets of cousins who consider each other for marriage, yet for some reason they’re more concerned with estates and property than bearing children who have bat ears and duckbills.

Adding to the overall confusion is the language barrier. Shew, sallad, chuse -- maybe these words used to be English, but now they sound like parts of a snail. When they play “Vingt Un” I’m not sure they need playing cards or a plastic mat with colored circles on it. I have no clue what a “quadrille” is, and in the book it seems to alternate between being a dance and a board game. A major plot point hinges on how the Bennet estate is “entailed.” I’m guessing it’s not the opposite of what a butcher does to a bunny.

Here are some of the convoluted phrases Austen uses, and what I determined they meant through hours of research:

“It is more than I engage for, I assure you.”“Huh-uh."
“Dare I say my eye might have misjudged the possibility?”“Really?”
“I see no occasion for that.”“Whaaa?”
“That is not an unnatural surmise.”“Maybe.”
“Upon my honour I have not the smallest of objections.”“Oh. Okay.”

Now, I don’t mind a little wordiness as long as the author keeps it all straight. Austen, though, turns the whole exercise into a word problem. There are forty countesses in the book, yet rather than referring to them by name she gives the name of their house. “’I visited your relations at Lancashire,’ the Countess of Marscapone exclaimed while her own thoughts dwelt on her sister at Longhorn.” Everyone has three or four cousins with the same name (Colonel Fitzwilliam and Fitzwilliam Darcy meet on page 252, much to my astonishment). And everybody’s got more aliases than Puffy.

Austen loves to throw all sorts of folks into a room and not tell you who she’s talking about. Pronouns, adjectives, past participles -- I‘ve never seen so many things dangling, and I spent one Christmas at a nude beach. Here’s a typical scene among the Bennet sisters (remember there are somewhere between five and forty of them). See if you can tell who’s talking, and who they’re speaking of:

“Tell me, dear Lizzie,” enquired the younger Miss Bennet of her sister, “who is it that you are fondest of?”

“Methinks she shall chuse herself!” a flaxen-haired lass cried, and her two elder sisters tittered.

Elizabeth looked at her older sister with fine eyes mingling incredulity and agitation. “Why am I thus subjected to this undisguised air of discivility? Whilst my desires burn brightly within my bower they are of no small importance to yourselves, and I fear you shall render them like insects ‘neath a hasty hobbled boot.”

Silence hung in the air, then the girl leaning against the mantle-piece spake. “Beth, you are over scrupulous, I assure you; her intent was not so bold.” She turned to the woman nearest the bird. “What say you, Kitty?”

The tallest sister who isn’t Lydia froze with mortification. “Indeed, madam, I am not Kitty,” she observed. “Kitty stands indifferently by the balustrade, nearest the girl who’s allergic to cheese.”

The woman with the bean-shaped mole and crinoline knickers pressed the back of her hand to her forehead. “I foresaw the return of this confusion within a fortnight,” she cried, and with the girl who’d recently returned from the dentist fled the room, fatigued.

And so, kind reader, to cut a long story short, I’m giving up. At page 274 I’m bidding a final “fare thee well” to the Bennets and the Bingleys and their fourteen hundred cousins and returning the book to the library, where it can be admired from a great distance. Tonight I’ll enjoy a respite from such obfuscation in my bed-sit chamber, neither playing nor dancing a quadrille with the one I hold in fondest regard who isn’t me.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The scandal's been brewing for a while, but now it seems like it's finally hit the fan. Heteros have been infiltrating the world of gay softball, and now a team's been disqualified from the Gay World Series for having too many straights.

Frankly, I think the whole thing's ridiculous. THIS IS A GAY SPORT LEAGUE. WHICH MEANS, THERE'S NO STRAIGHT DUDES IN IT. Heck, I'd only let bisexual dudes join if they were total sluts. The main reason these groups exist is so there's at least one place in the universe where all the dudes are doable. And we're going to let heteros screw that up? To slap away our wandering hands and update us on Betty Sue waiting in a dirndl at home? If we liked being insulted by heterosexuals, we'd go to church on Sunday, thanks.

We need to keep our gay softball teams gay, if only for our youth. I mean, picture this: fresh-faced young Raoul joins a gay softball team. In a slow-motion montage he goes from clutzy incompetent to balletic Mike Piazza, and in the end his team snags the Gay Pennant.

The exuberant athletes fall all over each other in the locker room, where champagne sprays everyone until the uniforms go transparent. Eyes meet. Scorching looks are exchanged. Clothes are torn off and men break into twos and threes in the shower area.

Raoul looks at Tony, the shortstop he's been admiring all season, and his heart flutters. He sees Moet foam on Tony's wire brush moustache and slowly moves in.

Tony notices and turns away. "Good job, dude," he says, pulling on his Dockers. "Now I gotta go home and tell Brenda and the twins."

This is, in a word, the killing of the Gay Dream: that one day we'll join some gay athletic organization, and what happens in the locker room will make porno films look tame.

So, I'll go out on a limb and say we need to organize and fight this. I've been trying to write up some protest signs, but I'm not getting very far. I've come up with a couple slogans -- "WHO WANTS TO HIGH-FIVE A NAKED STRAIGHT DUDE?" and "KEEP THOSE HUNKY HETEROS AWAY FROM OUR GAY BALLS!" -- but then my mind wanders and I wake up half an hour later with paper towels stuck to my stomach.

Travelocity: Just Slightly More Useless Than Men's Nipples

Welcome to Travelocity.com. Where and when would you like to travel?

Roundtrip, New York to Paris, any time November or December.

No problem! We have lots of fares. Here's a flight on Air India for $500.

Air India? Christ. Well, if I have to, fine.

Oops. That flight is no longer available. How about another Air India flight for $552?


Damn. That flight isn't available either. How about another Air India flight for $559?


Hey, here's a calendar for January, February and March of next year. The fare is available any day! Pick the day you want!

Great. January 3, 2009 would be great.

Sorry, that date is not available. And we checked four days around that date and they're not available either. Please choose another date.

Uh, how about January 8?

Sorry, that date is not available. We checked four days around that date and they're not available either. Please choose another date.

January 13? January 17? January 21? January 24? January 28? February 2? February 6? February 12? February 19? February 23? February 27? March 2? March 6? March 11? March 17? March 21? March 26? March 30?

You know what? We're idiots. You asked for a cheap flight in November or December, and here we pulled a calendar for 2009. And then it turns out the price you wanted isn't available any day at all! Gosh. We're sorry! Hope we didn't entirely waste your last hour. Wait -- no, I guess we did. Well, tune in to the Amazing Race and you can look at foreign countries. Come back next time you don't want to go anywhere!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Our nation is in the clutches of a violent culture war. Some of us believe in the America of the past, where people were free to celebrate their religions and enjoy the land that God gave us. But there's some folks in those blue states who think they're better than us just because they have college degrees, good jobs, and pants that reach their shoes. It's like they've declared war on us. They've thought about it long and hard, and they've decided that we have to stop exercising our rights to hunt, and fish, and park our cars on our front lawns. They think they can tell us what to do, think they're better than us, just because we've got a few Buick parts on our Ford Fiestas and all our kids' names start with the letter J.

But I'm here to tell you, that ain't happening. Our forefathers founded this nation as a safe haven away from pinch-assed twits. When they wrote the Declaration of Independence, they created a land where people would be free to pray, to raise their families, and to eat things they find in the road. We've tolerated these extremist viewpoints for too long, and today I'm telling them enough is enough. It's time we stuck some Gold Toe socks in some of these overprivileged mouths.

I for one am sick of hearing their ridiculous opinions about marriage, evolution, and global warming. The world is heating up? Hey, that's fine with me! I'll go trade my snowmobile for a jet ski.

This country was invented as a place where the majority rules, and the majority has put up with this garbage for far too long. The time has come where we stood up and said, we're dumb, we're proud, and we're in the majority, so WE WIN. This land is ours now. And all the rest of you -- you blue-bloods with your newspaper subscriptions and tassels on your shoes -- can move to France or Canada, where you can go to all the museums you want, and make oatmeal from scratch.

It's true: I'm dumb and proud. I'd rather watch NASCAR than PBS. I'd rather hang around with my friends and family than any high school graduates. When I pray at night, I ask God to help the Denver Broncos before my kids. And I'm proud to say I think we can bring this nation back to its natural greatness. I think we can turn America back into a place where we aren't ashamed to raise our kids. Where we don't have to hide our Wal-Mart clothes and our Supercuts. Where we won't be embarrassed to buy pork scratchins and Red Bull with food stamps. Where we can go to Indian restaurants and nobody will laugh if we order maize. Because when my time comes and Jesus finally calls me home, I want to tell him with pride that the only poem my Johnina, Jancie, Jo Cee and Jaelle know starts with "Here I sit, brokenhearted."

This is a pledge I make to you, and I promise I will uphold the faith you showed by electing me president of these United States, in the Year of Our Lord 2012. I may not know much, but I'll do what I can to spread our message far and wide, to all 48 states and all those places where the pickle-faced foreigners live.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Fashion Week

Donatella has been up sixty-two hours straight with her preparations for Fashion Week, and she's four pounds overweight besides. The latest in a string of phone calls certainly doesn't help.

DONATELLA: Oh, God, another model cancelled! I need six more bodies for our runway show at two this afternoon. Sanders, call these girls and see if they're available. Money is no object!

SANDERS (checking list): Donatella, these aren't models. These are diet pills.

DONATELLA: Oops. Wrong list!

See if, like Sanders, you can tell the difference between contestants on America's Next Top Model and diet pills.

a. Jenascia
b. Meridia
c. Xiomara
d. Alli
e. Zylene
f. Anchal
g. Xenical
h. Ambreal
i. Hoodia
j. Atalya
k. Acomplia
l. Lipovox
m. Furonda

ANSWERS: a. ANTM Cycle 2. c. ANTM Cycle 2. f. ANTM Cycle 7. h. ANTM Cycle 9. j. ANTM Cycle 10. m. ANTM Cycle 6. All the rest are diet pills.
I'm not sure what my brain is trying to tell me, but it seems to be in the neighborhood of "Find a good psychiatrist."

I had two weird dreams last night. In the first, I was a member of a men's choir, and we were singing live on the radio. We were standing on bleachers, in formation, and the choir director ran between the rows holding the microphone. He'd stop in front of the next singer and whisper his part to him.

He ran to the first guy. "Fa la la," he whispered in his ear. "Fa la la!" the guy sang.

He ran to the second guy. "Tra la la!" he whispered. "Tra la la!" the guy sang.

He ran over to me. "Squip-bap-diddly doo; oh wanka wabba bop larba langa shoo-wop," he said.

In the second dream, I worked in a nice office, with a big desk in front of a huge picture window and a beautiful view, and really, really had to go to the bathroom. Somebody had told me I could just go on top of my desk -- like it had a really good drainage system -- so I started to. And the very second I did, the door flung open and about fifty people ran in. "There's a glacier moving around outside!" one of the secretaries yelled, totally oblivious to my actions, and everyone scurried over to my window to watch.

I tried to stop going but couldn't, and by now the desktop was a veritable lake. I nearly spoke up when a couple of my visitors casually plopped themselves atop it but didn't want to draw attention to myself.

Needless to say, when I woke up I had to go to the bathroom. I checked outside for glaciers first.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A filthy-minded reader sent me this UK headline:

I guess we Americans should be happy we just get Orange Alerts.
Police in Port St. Lucie, Florida are on the lookout for a cross-dressing man who snatched a 74-year-old woman's purse. They're depending on a strange clue. The suspect left behind a condom filled with water he had been using as a fake breast.

Police are processing the condom for fingerprint and DNA evidence.

Bristol Palin's boyfriend Levi said, "Hey, don't look at me."

Here's all the sex education you need, kids. Bang a governor's 17-year-old daughter and get set for life. Get an invitation to the Republican National Convention. Have their candidate for president greet you like his long-lost son.

Just don't mention how you didn't want to get married, and never wanted to have kids.

Man, and I thought donating money to sleep in the Lincoln bedroom was disgusting.

The Republicans complain the Democratic candidate has no experience, then draft a VP who'd be a trainee at McDonalds. They rant on and on about family values, then scream sexism when you ask how their moms can ditch their kids. They declare Bristol Palin off limits, then drag her baby daddy onstage for their convention.

Welcome to the Bullshit Express.

The good news is, I've figured out how to get a legal abortion after McCain and Palin send America back to 1952. Just tie some antlers to your fetus and go for a jog around the White House.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Random Thought Wednesday

My boyfriend Raoul is horrible at washing dishes. I put up with it for a while. Hinted. Rewashed his dishes. Then I gave up. Now when I bring him dinner I say, do you want your dessert on a plate that had spinach on it, or a plate that had mashed potatoes on it?

Raoul is an optometrist. He's got a lot of pet peeves, but the worst is giving an eye exam to mothers. He asks them "Which is better, A or B?" and they always say “I like them both exactly the same.”

Still, I'm no prize. I'm part of a happy couple like Trix is part of a balanced breakfast.

You can tell what men are like in bed just by looking at their cameras. Some men have simple, straightforward Kodaks. Some men have intricate machines with lots of attachments and toys. Me, I’m strictly point-and-shoot.

I’m plagued by self-doubt. Life is a journey from one place to another, but I have absolutely no clue what direction to go. I find myself really envious of animals sometimes. Like, sea turtles return every year to the spot where they were born. Birds have some kind of inner compass telling them exactly where to go for each of the seasons of the year.

Dogs, you accidentally lose them in New Jersey while you’re driving across the U. S., they’ll find you. They’ll follow your scent through swamps and wheat fields and then tap on your front door starving and shivering six months later.

Me, I'd have second thoughts. I’d be sitting in some field in Kansas, thinking, you know, maybe that’s just fried chicken I smell.

Whenever I get sick, everybody wants to give me advice. Maybe because I’m sick I get cranky, though, and I think, man, that's the stupidest advice I ever heard. Like they say I should drink hot beverages. Drink hot tea, or hot soup. And I think, right. I’ve got some virus or bacteria multiplying in my stomach, where it’s like two hundred degrees and regularly flushed with acid strong enough to clean my pool, but if I suck down half a cup of Progresso Minestrone and all of a sudden all these viruses are going to go, NO! NO! NO! NOT MINESTRONE! AIEEEE!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Five Stupidest Things I've Heard This Week

1. In Sunday's New York Times, right-wing columnist William Kristol used the word "inexperienced" to describe both Palin and Obama. On Friday, the Associated Press announced that "Palin's age, inexperience rival Obama's".

Rival. According to Webster, a competitor or equal. Palin: governor of Alaska for 1 1/2 years. Obama: senator in Illinois for eight years. Five times longer. In a state with nineteen times Alaska's population.

I'm looking forward to other headlines in the right-wing press like "Helen Mirren and Carmen Electra love acting!" and "World's scientists close in on cancer vaccine, freeze-dried falafel mix!"

2. In July 27's New York Times, actor/game show host/right-wing columnist Ben Stein asks himself why the economy isn't in worse shape. Among the answers he cites Bush's federal stimulus package: that is, mailing checks to nearly everybody in America.

When Barack Obama suggests a stimulus package that includes tax credits to lower- and middle-income workers, though, all of a sudden it's a sign that he's unqualified to be president. Now it's "Obama's Questionable Stimulus Plan" and a sign that "his knowledge of economics may not be as extensive as his legal background." "Do we really want to increase federal indebtedness to stimulate consumption, anyway?" Stein suddenly asks.

(He also criticizes Obama's attacks on oil companies: "And why does Senator Obama think oil companies make excessive profits?" Um, maybe because last year, as gas prices hit records, they made more money than any other company has ever made since the invention of dirt?)

3. The Republicans hadn't planned on discussing Bristol Palin's pregnancy, but were forced to because those Godless liberal bloggers were spreading the most horrible rumors!

Fine. Two questions. (1) When were the Republicans planning on discussing the pregnancy? Was the baby going to pop out at McCain's inauguration? (2) If they can't handle bloggers, then they can't handle shit. This complaint translates roughly to "Those bad, bad people keep saying mean, mean things!"

4. There's nothing wrong with Sarah Palin wearing a t-shirt that says "I may be broke, but I'm not flat busted." Heck, Obama's probably worn funny t-shirts too!

Uh, okay, maybe he's worn funny t-shirts. Maybe something like "Beer is the proof of an all-knowing God." But see, Palin's t-shirt was about her tits. She specifically called attention to them and objectified herself. That t-shirt, then, is roughly equivalent to Obama wearing underwear that declares it's Home of the Whopper.

5. Bristol Palin's commitment to her unborn child is the sign of a strong family and a commitment to family values.

And absolutely not a sign that while her mom was preaching abstinence Bristol said, "Hey, bitch, shut your trap! I'll do whatever the fuck I want."

Monday, September 1, 2008

Why Madonna would make a better vice president than Sarah Palin:
Her husband thinks she's qualified for the job.

Why Nicole Richie would make a better vice president than Sarah Palin:
Her mother-in-law might actually vote for her.

Why Britney Spears would make a better vice president than Sarah Palin:
None of her daughters are unmarried moms.

Why Lindsay Lohan would make a better vice president than Sarah Palin:
She's never worn a t-shirt that read "I may be broke, but I'm not flat busted."

Why Carmen Electra would make a better vice president than Sarah Palin:
As a beauty pageant contestant, she didn't peak at Miss Whale Blubber 1996.

Why Jerry Springer would make a better vice president than Sarah Palin:
When he ran for mayor, he got more than 909 votes.

Why Dick Cheney would make a better vice president than Sarah Palin:
Some of the things he shoots survive.

Why Pamela Anderson would make a better vice president than Sarah Palin:
She can hold an awkward position for longer than half an hour.