Friday, January 30, 2009

Two Mistakes

Every time Richard opens his mouth he makes two mistakes. "I absolutely love Picasso's works from his purple period," he declares at the art museum, staring in admiration at a tiny, colorful work.

These pronouncements always stop me in my tracks, because I never know which mistake to address first. In this case I say, "Actually, Picasso never had a purple period. And that picture in particular is a Mondrian."

"Oh," he says. He nods his head like he's suddenly semi-educated, when in reality he's just moving on to his next mistakes. He doesn't seem to realize how hard it is to talk to him. When somebody makes one mistake, the human brain can easily decipher it. One mistake is glaringly obvious: Ellen Degeneres is married to Portia de Rossi, not Tia Carrera. Narcissus aren't orange, they're white. One can't actually dodge taxes by diverting some of their income to a 10K. The brain decides whether or not the err is worth correcting, and that's the extent of that.

When someone makes two mistakes, though, additional parts of the brain are required, because the conversation receptor is thrown into overload. A dialog starts ping-ponging inside the head. It's like the NYPD caught a naked man holding up a liquor store and then couldn't decide whether the case should go to Violent Crimes or Vice. "Have you seen that movie with Roma Downey Jr.?" Richard asks. "Hawaiian Tropics?"

I have to mentally list all the possible permutations and then rank them by the likeliest. Does he really mean Roma Downey? Probably not. Nobody's meant Roma Downey in quite some time. No, odds are it's Robert Downey Jr. But he never made a movie about tanning lotion, right?

Meanwhile, Richard is standing there blissfully, not a thought in his head.

Now, I kind of like Richard. He's attractive and fun and professional, three qualities I've rarely found before, let alone in the same man. But I can't help but wonder. Making one mistake at a time marks you as an ordinary, fallible human. What does two at a time say?

Still, he's my man for most of December. I bite my lip when he tells me he has a crush on David Beckham, the rugby player who's married to Scary Spice. I sigh sadly when he announces that Oreo cookies are made by leprechauns. I watch in silence as he pours champagne into a martini glass that has colored salt around the rim.

And still, somehow, we make it into bed. The usual way, pretty much: we go out to dinner, drink a bottle of wine, go back to his place and start making out. "I bet you've got a big dick and you know how to use it," he whispers into my ear.

I say, "Oh, just shut up and lie down.""

Inserting a Pause Into an Interview with Alan Cumming

"I'd like to see Obama naked. I think great leaders, charismatic leaders and men who are so confident and who have achieved so much, usually have big penises. I think there’s a correlation between the level of confidence, the level of the way a man can hold a room and the way he conducts himself in life, with his penis size — with his comfort with his penis size.

"So much of male psyche is taken up with how big your cock is; it’s a huge deal in our lives, and so when you’re confident about your penis size, it shows.

"Well, just look at him. Just the way he’s so kind of elegant and very confident in his body and himself.


"Also, someone told me that they worked out with him in a gym in Chicago, and it was big."

(New York Magazine, via Queerty)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

And just to ward off other future invitations, she also said she'd never help scientists get a spacecraft to Pluto, accept the Nobel Peace Prize, or lead a group of singing, dirndled children across the Alps.

Wow. New York Times headline, and what a doctor once told me in bed.
Oh, thanks for the Superbowl recipe, Thrillist. Looove reading this kind of stuff first thing in the morning:

My menu's going to be slightly different, though. I just sent you the recipe for Roman's Zipper-Down Sausage Au Jus. Hope it arrives around lunchtime!

Photography Lesson

In my quest to become a World Class Photographer, I've started finding incredible photographs online and then trying to duplicate them myself. Using the works of the masters as a model, I figure I can learn their techniques, and once I've learned their techniques I can start to develop my own voice.

For my latest lesson I decided to venture into the world of food photography. I scoured the internet until I came up with this amazing photograph:

Is that incredible? I mean, this Turkey Bacon Guacamole sub is absolutely gorgeous. It's plump and fresh and you just want to grab the thing and take a bite out of it. I found the photo on the Quiznos website, so I figured I'd go to Quiznos to get one of those sandwiches and see what I could do.

When I got home, I unwrapped the sandwich and set it on a table, then got out my Canon. Hmm: if there's one commonality to all brilliant photographers, it's that they make their hard work look easy. I spent several hours trying to capture the essence of my sandwich, but this is the best I could do:

I keep examining the two photos and trying to figure out what I did wrong. Is it the black background that makes the sandwich pop? Is it the lighting? Do you think their photographer used a tripod? Flash?

As much as I try to deny it, the truth is clear: there's a pretty stark contrast between the two photos. Quiznos would probably never hire me to take pictures for their website, even on a freelance basis.

Well, I knew it'd be a long road to becoming a great photographer. Ordinarily I wouldn't mind taking that kind of journey, but I ate that sandwich about half an hour ago and now I'm not feeling so well.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Want to dump that billionaire boyfriend now that the financial downturn has turned him depressing? Dating a Banker Anonymous is the support group for you.

Dawn Spinner Davis, 26, a beauty writer, said the downward-trending graphs began to make sense when the man she married on Nov. 1, a 28-year-old private wealth manager, stopped playing golf, once his passion. “One of his best friends told me that my job is now to keep him calm and keep him from dying at the age of 35,” Ms. Davis said. “It’s not what I signed up for.”

She's mad now that he can't afford bottle service, and he's on edge since he had to cut the masseuse to part-time. I'm thinking this should be added to the wedding vow as an exception to all that "death do us part" shit.

Heckling the L. A. Times' Interview with Ted Haggard

Q: Have you been attracted to people of the same sex all your life?

A: Yes, I have. But not to the exclusion of women. I think women are beautiful and I’m attracted to women, and I have thoroughly enjoyed my relationship with my wife. And according to the national statistics, our relationship is more vibrant than average heterosexual monogamous couples.

Because how many other couples sit up at night drinking Brandy Alexanders and giggling about what they'd like to do to George Clooney?

Q: So do you think of yourself as homosexual or bisexual? How do you identify yourself?

A: What my therapist says is that I am a heterosexual with issues.

Second place? Chick with a dick.

(L. A. Times via Queerty)

It's obvious this gimmicky new website is run by a female. It's called "I Bang the Worst Dudes," and is fueled entirely by its furious feminine readers who are just itching to tell their tales. Here's a representative one:

How do I know a chick's in charge? Because a dude would call this site "Christ, Are Women Freakin' Idiots?" I mean, c'mon -- what's this girl really saying? "He was rude, and crude, and violent! He was such a jerk! And then when we got naked at his place he was just horrible!"

Well, okay -- I respect the sentiment, but there's no way a kid that age should be smoking that much weed.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sunday was Robert Burns' birthday. Now, it's not like ordinarily I keep track of stuff like this, like I've got a World's Greatest Poets Calendar where useless trivia about Yeats or Thackeray is shared. "Even well into her fifties Maya Angelou could solve a Rubik's cube in twenty seconds," it'd offer on one day. "Did you know Ted Hughes was a whiz with a hacky-sack?" it'd ask on the next.

No, I only know this because there's a Scottish pub two blocks from my apartment, and they decided to mark the occasion. A sign in the window said they'd be reading poetry, playing Scottish music, and serving free whiskey all night long. Such is the power of that last item that I happily ignored the first two.

I got to the party ten minutes after the doors opened, and the place was already jammed to the rafters. Revellers were laughing and dancing and downing drinks like they'd just crawled through the Sahara. I fought my way through the crowd to the bar and ordered a whiskey. With the first sip it all came back to me: how do people drink this stuff? It's like sucking a charcoal briquet through a mouthful of moss. Well, I thought as I choked it down, until I earned some money or pubs started celebrating Charo's birthday with free Cuervo, this was what life held for me.

In the back a trio played those happy airs that make bonnie Scotch lassies dance in circles with their fists on their hips. Surprisingly, I enjoyed it. I claimed an empty spot nearby and watched them play as I drank. And drank. And drank. But after a couple hours, just as I was really warming to the place, I noticed an odd irritation. The pub was slowly emptying out, but it seemed like every ten seconds somebody'd shove past me and nearly rub my clothes off my body.

What's the attraction? I wondered. The free alcohol is up front. The bathroom is over there. This is a quiet corner. Why are all these folks pushing their way past?

And then I realized something. All the pushing and shoving was being done by one person: a nice-looking, middle-aged guy. "Excuse me!" he said with an apologetic smile. Two minutes later: "Pardon me!"

The first eight times his hand slid along my stomach. And on the ninth it stopped for a quick rest on my dick.

Now, I wasn't entirely thrilled with this guy. I'd have preferred him to introduce himself to my face rather than my dangly bits. And while he was handsome, he had that Keanu Reeves kind of androgyny where you catch them in a certain light and start picturing them in a two-piece swimsuit.

No, it was the party that made me do it. The music was great, the drinks were plentiful, the people were friendly. I wanted to celebrate the festivities in some way, and nobody wants to see a tall guy dance. The next time he pushed past, my eyes met his, and I nodded when he tipped his head toward the bathroom.

I waited a discreet ten seconds before following. He locked the door behind me, then pulled me into an embrace. I felt myself being swept away by the feel of his hard body, his slim musculature, the softness of his lips on mine.

And then I looked up in the mirror and saw our reflection. (1) Dude had a ponytail, and (2) dude wasn't wearing pants.

I don't know why I was so surprised. New York is full of minorities who do all sorts of crazy minority stuff. Throw a Robbie Burns night and naturally folks will show up in Scottish garb. My eyes slid in horror down his pleated plaid ass to slender, hairless legs where garters held up socks.

I pushed him to arm's length, desperate to reassess the situation. And that's when I noticed the sporran across his stomach. You know, sporran. It's like the fannypack your grandma wears to carry her coupons and reading glasses to Wal-Mart.

Well, I thought, it's a little awkward. I mean, toss in a mug of General Foods Hazelnut Mocha and it's like making out with a soccer mom. Still, I pressed myself against him and tried to forget. We kissed for another minute, then he spun around and braced himself against the sink. "Hurry!" he whispered. "We don't have much time. Lift up my skirt and take me from behind!"

And my penis deflated like the Hindenburg, though with substantially less rope. I anxiously appraised his waiting form. He's a man, I told myself. He's hot. I want to do this.

I squared my shoulders and decided I'd screw him like men have been screwing women since the beginning of time.

I told him that I loved him, then asked if I could borrow a thousand bucks.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Today's column is dedicated to my old friend, Ralph Baumgarten.

It all started at Dodger Stadium. Ralph and I were watching the Dodgers whomp the Orioles when we decided to head inside and get a snack. "I'd like a Dodger dog," I told the food-service clerk, prompting Ralph to roll his eyes.

"We're in Dodger Stadium," he complained as we headed back to our seats with our food. "What other kind of dog are they going to give you? Dude, if you were in Chicago, would you go to an Italian restaurant and order Chicago-style pizza? Of course not, because in Chicago all pizza is Chicago-style. Whenever you're in a place and you want something named after the place, you don't ask for it using the whole name."

I didn't mention it, but I'd actually run into this problem a few times in the past. Once in a Berlin deli I asked for German potato salad and everybody looked at me like I was nuts. Then at a fish shack in Maine I ordered New England clam chowder. "As opposed to?" the waitress asked.

Still, I wasn't going to completely concede. "I don't think it's a hard-and-fast rule," I replied. "I mean, maybe sometimes it's true, but there are probably a few exceptions."

"Suit yourself," Ralph countered. "But that's the way I've always done things, and every single time it's worked. I get what I want, and I don't look like an idiot. I go to Poland and order a sausage. I go to Belgium and ask for a waffle. I go to France and order fries."

I clammed up, now determined to find exceptions. I called him back a few days later with a belated reply. "Sure, but could you go to Russia and order a salad with dressing?" I asked. "Or go to Chile and ask for a pepper? Could you go to a California sushi bar and just ask for a roll? Could you go to a Spanish sex shop and buy some fly? If you were wherever Eskimos live, would they have a frozen treat just called 'Pie'?"

He thought for a second, then told me to go fuck myself and hung up. We didn't speak for many years after that, each convinced we were right. Then the news came to me this weekend that his stubbornness finally did him in.

He was staying at a hotel in China when construction in the basement set the building on fire. His room filled with smoke and a bell labeled "FIRE DRILL" warned him to get out, but Ralph just ran out one side of the building and ran right back in the other side.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Scottish police have spent $350,000 on 22 unsuccessful court cases against a male stripper. The force alleges that Stuart Kennedy, 25, is impersonating a police officer when he does his "naughty cop": routine at bachelorette parties.

What? You're not a real policeman? Well, sorry to bother you, Officer Dangler of Squad 69.
Si Burgher's shaggy eyebrows hadn't been trimmed in 72 years, and were so long he had to brush them every morning. Finally on Sunday the former jeweler raised $1,600 for charity from people who paid to take turns trimming the hairs.

Ironically, the charity is called Support the Disgusting.

Gay and selective: Tintin should have begged God to make Captain Haddock gay and selective.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The company that makes the popular Beanie Babies has a pair of lifelike Beanie dolls named "Sweet Sasha" and "Marvelous Malia." The Sasha doll has pigtails and wears a pink dress over green leggings. The Malia doll has a ponytail and a long-sleeve shirt with capri pants.

Both dolls have bronze skin and "real doll hair," according to spokesperson Tania Lundeen, and like all Ty products will be produced in a limited edition.

Ty says the pair have already outsold their predecessors "Jägermeister Jenna" and "Bacardi Barbara."

(Via Jossip)
So, last week the unconventional or "fringe" religious community was in an uproar over the latest holy figure sighting: Jesus and Mary in a Lava Lamp. We'd seen the pair in toast, on tortillas, and in omelets, but this was a first. The media dutifully reported the story, calling it a "miracle" and an "amazement" and a "UL-listed blessing."

Then this week, a chicken in southern Croatia laid this egg:

And what's the unconventional religious community's reaction? It's "weird. It's "odd-shaped." It "looks like a potato."

I'm like, HUH? Folks, take a look at this thing. If I'd recognize my own face, I'd recognize MARY. Tiny head, swan-like neck, big nurturing body. That's the exact same figure from the Lava Lamp! So she put down the baby Jesus for a second. She's like, "Look, I don't always haul the kid around with me! I'm a person too!"

And how does the world react?

They say, no, you're not. You're just an egg that made some Croatian chicken squawk like its ass was going to explode.

So -- sorry, Mary. Better luck next time. Some of us received your divine message, but to everybody else apparently you're the Andrew Ridgely in this Wham! UK.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

In Texas, ex-President Bush immediately lodged a protest. "Is he saying I'm not responsible?" he asked. "Is he saying I'm not an accountant?"
Who says we don't need another hero? Not me, and not the folks at the World Superhero Registry, where everybody's got a mask, a tight spandex outfit, and a motto like "I am here to chew gum and kick ass, and I'm all out of gum!"

Joke if you want, but don't come crying to the Red Arrow when you get your directions mixed up. Did I mention tight spandex, fighting evil, and tight spandex? Dude doesn't need to show me which way is down.

Second Place in the Inauguration Poetry Contest

Don't feel bad for Broken-hearted,
who came to shit but only farted.
The person that I really pity
tried to fart but came out shitty.
Bob May, who played the robot on TV's Lost In Space, died on Sunday at the age of 69.

Eight minutes later, Will Robinson was hit by a bus.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Live Blogging the Inauguration at LegoLand

It's truly a red-letter day here at LegoLand in sunny Carlsbad, California. In contrast to the million-plus celebrants in Washington DC, there are just five people here: two tourists from Finland, a guy selling ice cream from a little cart, Trisha Hightower, the park's Vice President in Charge of Everything Yellow, and this intrepid reporter, who couldn't get a ticket to the real thing. Still, the atmosphere is electric, and I'm not just talking about the twinkly purple lights on Fairy Island. Trisha says the last time she remembers so much excitement here at LegoLand was when an eight-year-old from Toledo, Ohio stomped the dome of the Taj Mahal after discovering the park had sold out of Strawberry Dora the ExploraPops.

The reason for all the furor? LegoLand is staging an exact replica of Barack Obama's inauguration except at a scale of half an inch to five hundred feet. In contrast to the hundred thousand staffers at work in our nation's capitol, Mike Stansfield is running the entire show. As the inauguration progresses, Mike will move the blocky little figures on and off the tiny yellow dais while solemnly voicing what he guesses are the participants' words. Just judging from his National Anthem, I'm thinking Mike's never going to be an impressionist.

You could have heard a pin drop when Mike wheeled in a tiny red Dick Cheney, but seeing as how the 100,000 figures are made entirely of plastic, it's been pretty quiet anyway. They reacted similarly when Mike's opening prayer went, "Blah blah Jesus, blah blah God, this is Rick Warren OUT!"

I'll keep you posted with more updates as the day progresses. Yes, it's not quite as exciting as the real thing, without the celebrities or fireworks or marching bands, but I'll only be fighting four people to the exit when the whole thing wraps up, and I'll bet none of those fancy-asses in DC paid $42 for a motel room that included an all-you-can-eat waffle bar.

Am I Missing Something?

Tom Cruise says plotting against Hitler in his latest movie Valkyrie fulfilled a childhood fantasy. "I've always wanted to kill Hitler. As a child, I used to wonder why someone didn't stand up and kill him," Cruise told reporters Sunday.

One bright summer morning when I was a kid I actually did attempt this. I bought a plane ticket to Germany, armed myself with a briefcase full of plastic explosives, and forged an identity card that would get me deep within the inner circles of the Nazi party.

Then I realized that Hitler had been dead for, oh, forty years, and I had a snowball fight instead.
RomanHans is nothing if not a guy who seizes opportunity. For instance, sometimes I'll see a dude who's so good looking I've got to say something just in the distant hope sparks will fly. As a public service, though, I figured I'd pass along a few opening lines I've tried that didn't exactly ignite a hot conversation.

I don't recall ever seeing a tuna sandwich that looked so doggone awesome.

I was just thinking that if I was homeless and somebody gave me a dollar I'd want to pay them back in some way.

Sigh; and to think I'd finally get my massage certification if I just found one more volunteer.

I don't know why, but I've always had a Larry Craig kind of stance.

I've always said that wrinkles are really happy memories pulling your skin toward the ground.

Last night there were naked dudes fucking in all these bushes and nobody even gave a second glance.

That pendant is just so awesome, and -- wow -- your chest is sooo smooth.

It has been four years since my last confession, but I wouldn't have waited nearly as long if I'd known there were priests as hot as you.

Your virile jawline is more interesting than any old movie.

After you guys are done fighting the fire, do you need somebody to wash your smoky clothes?

Wow, officer: the blue of your uniform exactly matches the color of my balls.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Ten Stupidest Things People Said to the Crew of Flight 1549

-- I saw The Cable Guy on an airplane a few years ago, and I'm thinking you people got the better deal.

-- Were you, like, serving goose on the plane, and maybe that flock threw themselves at you because they were mad?

-- I'd like to thank all you flight attendants on America's behalf: namely, Donna Dent, age 51; Sheila Dail, age 57; and Doreen Welsh, age 58.

-- I'm a reporter for Channel 7. If people have nine lives like cats, how many have you used up and how?

-- I was a passenger in first class. Does this mean my massage is off?

-- So, are there like five thousand tiny bottles of alcohol at the bottom of the Hudson today?

-- Did you actually see the giant hand of God close around the plane and lower you to safety?

-- I swear, the next time I take a plane flight, I'm going to listen to all the bullshit you stewardesses say.

-- As a tribute to the bravery of the Flight 1549 crew I stomped eight geese today.

-- Captain, my name's RomanHans. I'd really like to shake your hand . . . or any other body part you want.

Friday, January 16, 2009

157 People Nearly Killed by Hudson Hawk

I'm a huge fan of capitalism, and it's not hard to see why. With the system set up to make profit, corporations work hard at innovation, and that innovation drives the world. Take detergent, for instance. Back when our parents were important they bought these huge, embarrassing bottles of Leave it to Beaver shit like Duz or Dreft or Dringo. The bottles used more petrochemicals than a Pinkberry store, plus you needed a 4x4 to get them home. In any other country they'd have said, well, that's good enough for us, but not here in the good old USA.

The folks at Procter & Gamble looked at these bottles and saw opportunity: to "green" the product, and make some cash. See, Tide was losing market share by the minute. You know how your mom picked out what she bought? She'd calculate the unit cost for all the available options, dividing the price by the weight, and she'd buy whatever was the better deal.

Well, Tide had been overpriced for years, and getting costlier. They'd been coasting on their reputation, and the cool orange bottle. They realized they had two options: either lower prices, or somehow don't let anybody compare.

Naturally they went for #2.

I first notice it a couple months ago. Rite Aid's ad says Tide is on sale, but instead of giving the size in ounces, now it lists it in loads.

Yeah. Loads. Now, try comparing. 200 ounce Drish or "32 load" Tide? Which one's the better deal? Numbers dance in your head as you realize they've rendered all your consumer shopping knowledge useless. This is the future, you realize. Next Chevy will announce car warranties that cover 21,627 sprixls or 8.4 jalwonx, whichever comes first. Next we'll be gauging the relative cheapness of 63 qatals of Sunny D against 149 palanki of Juicy Juice.

I'm skeptical, just judging on bottle size. I'm thinking there's something seriously wrong when a freakin' laundry detergent costs more than Armani for Men. Like an alcohol-based tonic with base notes of Chinese bergamot and Tahitian ylang ylang should be cheaper than viscous blue shit that smells like some research chemist's version of a Mountain Spring.

But then I see their commercial on TV and their brilliance hits me. "You know what's in those big bottles of detergent?" they ask. "Water. Tons and tons of water. But who wants water? You aren't a camel."

They pause so I can mentally agree.

"Our scientists with advanced degrees made a breakthrough: we sucked all the water out of Tide, so now the bottles can be small. Small means less plastic, and less effort to lug around. The next time you buy detergent, then, which are you going to choose? The huge pink bottle that makes you look like a Hispanic cleaning lady, that'd make Al Gore puke up his seitan, or the fashionable little blue bottle that fits in your Judith Lieber clutch? Save the world! Green the earth! Get ultracondensed Tide the next time you go to the store, and pay more for a whole lot less!"

I don't even pause to put on a jacket: breathlessly I sprint all the way to the store. I want to pay more for less! I shove aside all those oversized baby-seal killers and proudly grab new ultracondensed Tide. It's gorgeous -- so small, and so confident. The only size they have is 412 loads and it's $1,204, but I've got to have it, and I'm pretty sure I've got that much available across my four Discover cards. I daintily pick it up between my thumb and forefinger, amazed they can pack that much cleaning power into a bottle the size of leprechaun lubricant. As my credit cards clear and the casher looks at me with profound admiration I say, "Well, it looks like I, RomanHans, am saving more plastic than any other asshole on the planet today."

I skip all the way home, excited almost to the point of nausea, and then I use it and all hell breaks loose.

See, I've always been carefree with detergent. If my clothes are dirty, I'll toss in an extra capful or two without even thinking twice. With new ultracondensed Tide, though, measuring it makes nuclear science look like eating cheese. There are microscopic marks inside the cap for Small Load, Large Load, and Holy God That's A Lot of Clothes, and the marks are a fortieth of an inch apart. With shaking hands I try to fill it to the bottom line but this stuff has the texture of coconut pudding.

It doesn't move. I hadn't thought of this. In college I was a chemistry major, so I know that with thick liquids, surface tension can overcome gravity, and --AIEEEEEEEE!

Well, it finally moved.

As I watch my disposable income for the next three years gush across the top of my washing machine I realize I'm just not prepared for all this wonderful. Obviously I need some kind of sophisticated measuring device, like a triple-beam balance, or a spectrometer. Rather than trying to pour it I'll need a long-handled spoon, preferably chromium-plated, and something to help me read the markings, like a monocle.

One day soon, I think as I head back to the store, I too will be able to use the miracle that is ultracondensed Tide. Until then, I have exactly five dollars to spend over the next eight weeks, and thirty pounds of dirty clothes. With tears in my eyes I pick up a thirty pound bottle of Suavitel, then circle by the bottled-water aisle and realize that I can just swing three splarks of Evian.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The good news is, baby Hitler was taken away from his parents.

The bad news is, he was last spotted near Poland.

What Idiots Believe

If it gets cold anywhere in the universe, global warming does not exist.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Gotta send a quick shout-out to Cornerstone Promotion. They sent me an invite to their Flights of the Conchords screening party last night, I RSVPd, they confirmed. I got there before the doors opened and didn't get in.

I cornered one of their representatives. She looked like Lindsay Lohan would if she had to armwrestle dudes to get drugs. "Sorry," she said blithely. "You should have gotten here earlier. We have a capacity of two-fifty but got a thousand RSVPs."

"You confirmed four times the building's capacity?" I asked. "Isn't that a little crazy?"

She shrugged, shoving strawberry eyebrows up an impressive forehead. "Well, we'd only have confirmed five hundred except we thought it'd snow."
President Bush decided to close out his second term with an unusual display of honesty: the belated acknowledgement that yes, he'd made a few mistakes. While left-wing liberals may be disappointed that there weren't any major disclosures, some of the revelations gave us amateur historians a deeper insight into the man's character.

-- Wore Oil of Olay throughout 2008 thinking it'd turn him into a matador.

-- A rider he attached to a bill outlawing gay marriage also made it a felony to own a Cockapoo.

-- In the fall of 2006, he asked Blair Underwood for the hand of his daughter Carrie.

-- Authorized the funding of a three-billion dollar supercollider thinking it was some kind of cocktail.

-- Once went to a hardware store to buy a bottle of Liquid Electrician.

-- Still thinks Seabiscuit is a vegetarian snack.

-- Throughout the whole of his first term, he thought WMDs were his doctors.

-- When a reporter asked how it felt to be the worst president in history, he replied, "But I did pretty good in English, right?"

-- Once bought a frappuccino thinking it was an Italian monkey.

-- Had to destroy two million copies of the New York Times after a reporter asked what kind of underwear he wore and he answered, "Depends."

That's Classic TV

If there's one redeeming moment that I'll remember forever out of the million-plus hours I've wasted watching American Idol, it'll be Ryan Seacrest's sudden realization that you can't high-five a blind guy.

Advertisement, 3rd Avenue at 12th Street

Sure, New Yorkers will snap the heads off the Hill family, but Bernie Madoff is totally safe out of jail.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I don't know why I find this Times columnist's nickname so repulsive. I mean, we're all baggers, aren't we? Some of us carpet, some of us tea.

Amy Winehouse Tries to Get High on Life; Discovers It's Barely the Equivalent of Half a Valium

Sigh: the folks at the New York Times must be ecstatic. They've discovered another newsmaker who makes everybody happy. "Pastor Mark" Driscoll is a nouveau-Calvinist minister with a foul mouth and R-rated YouTube videos.

Needless to say, the article is straight out of the Tiger Beat school of journalism. Pastor Mark is "unconventional," as if he's more Russell Brand than Anita Bryant in Diesel jeans. His retro views are "cool," he looks "hip." They repeatedly mention "indie rock," and even the URL contains the word "punk."

Odd, considering his beliefs. I mean, I don't think the members of Pavement ever told their girlfriends that God wants them to submit to men. I'm pretty sure the Sex Pistols didn't think stillborn babies spent eternity burning like shiskabobs in hell.

He's described as "hypermasculine." Yeah, in his "fashionably distressed jeans," with baby face, hands tentatively in pockets, and Madonna microphone across his mouth. He looks like an audience member at Austin City Limits who's going to text his friends when Hootie & the Blowfish take the stage.

That last flattery seems to be prompted by Pastor Mark's irritation with the modern portrayal of Jesus "as a wuss who took a beating and spent a lot of time putting product in his long hair.” Jesus has been transformed into "a Richard Simmons, hippie, queer Christ," a "neutered and limp-wristed popular Sky Fairy of pop culture that . . . would never talk about sin or send anyone to hell."

The words slide by without a comment from the starry-eyed writer. It's clear from his words that Pastor Mark is an idiot. But it would have been nice if, presented clearly with the evidence, the writer had dropped her flirtation for a minute or two and called him a homophobic, misogynistic asshole too.

The second stupidest article in the Times today surely has to be this piece in which a doctor complains that a lot of kids today have no manners.

You know what? I don't care if they swear, flip me off, or kick me in the shins with their little plaid Keds. They're not even in the same league as dudes who charge me $200 and keep me waiting an hour to jam a finger up my ass.

Monday, January 12, 2009

This afternoon Judge Ronald L. Ellis turned down prosecutors' request to
have Bernie Madoff's bail revoked. Since the press is offering few details on the subjects, let's imagine the way it must have gone.

PROSECUTION: Judge, the people of New York would like to petition the court to have Bernie Madoff's bail revoked.

DEFENSE: Your honor, jailing my client would be unfair. He is already being watched around the clock, plus he's posted ten million dollars in bail.

PROSECUTION: Mr. Madoff has stolen fifty BILLION dollars. That's like a man who stole five hundred dollars posting a dime.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: And a goddamn stolen dime!

JUDGE: Quiet in the courtroom! Mr. Prosecutor, if you want me to revoke Mr. Madoff's bail, you'll have to prove that he is either a flight risk or a security risk.

PROSECUTION: Judge, the man has stolen more money than anybody in the history of the world. You really think he's going to spend his final years in jail? Plus, look at that crazy smile. The man obviously thinks our judicial system is a joke.

DEFENSE: Objection! Mr. Madoff has always had a freaky smile.

Mr. Madoff smiles wanly. In the audience, men scream and women faint.

PROSECUTION: Your honor, last week Mr. Madoff attempted to transfer over a million dollars worth of jewelry to his family and friends, violating the terms of his bail. Clearly he doesn't believe that laws apply to him.

JUDGE: Well, I see your point, but the court needs to give this careful consideration. After all, when you can afford to hire the very best lawyers, you deserve a judge who'll give your case serious thought. (PAUSE) Mr. Madoff, do you promise not to send any more valuables to your friends and relatives via U. S. mail?

MADOFF (thinking): Lemme just get this clear. You haven't said anything about FedEx, DHL, or remote-controlled animals?

JUDGE: No, I haven't.

MADOFF: Your honor, I can live with that.

JUDGE (banging the gavel): The request is denied, and court is adjourned. (PAUSE) Let's get out of here: I just saw a rat run by wearing a tiara.
Plain, everyday TV programs turn quite surreal when you fast-forward them half-smashed on martinis. Which, really, is the only way to watch an awards show.

Mostly I paused the Golden Globes for speeches: Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, Colin Farrell. Otherwise, the few times I stopped it was because I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I thought I saw Christopher Walken trying to break out of a straitjacket, but it turned out to be Renee Zellweger in some fashion-forward gown. Gepetto pounding nails into Pinocchio was actually Paul Giamatti eating dinner. And a big white bird regurgitating worms into the mouth of a baby bird was really Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore presenting an award.

Otherwise the only thing I remember is the name Al Schwartz in the credits. Maybe it's because of all the Holocaust movies they featured, but I was absolutely startled that a professional man in Hollywood hasn't done something about that name. We must have argued about it for half an hour.

"It's patently, obviously offensive!" I said.

"You're always imagining offensive things in the trivial," said my friend Dak Cowe.

Yes, that's right: here at Perdue we're committed to offering your family a wide variety of processed poultry items made from absolutely nothing but real ingredients.

What do we mean by "real"? We stand behind the very strictest dictionary definition, ensuring that everything that goes into our vast array of fine products will exist in a quantifiable state, with measurable mass and gravity, as certified by scientists with advanced degrees. Our team of crack quality control inspectors will check and double check every single product that arrives in our warehouses, ensuring that they exist in a stable state in both time and space before allowing them to proceed to your plate.

But that's not all. We also make a solemn promise to you that we will never ever use any imaginary, mythological, or phantasmagorical ingredients in anything that we sell. We refuse to adulterate our delicious FUN SHAPETM nuggets with leprechaun meat, nor any part of elves, fairies or trolls. We maintain a strict hands-off policy in regards to any fantastical creatures, whether they live in the sea, beneath bridges, or under mushrooms at the bottom of your garden.

We promise every ounce of protein in our turkey meatballs is from some form of poultry, untainted by the flesh of centaurs, griffin and djinn. We swear that our deli Sandwich BuildersTM are devoid of any meat taken from abominable snowmen, sea monsters, or unicorn. While other companies might spot the body of a succubus by the side of the road and scrape the flesh from its winged haunches to serve as low-cost filler in their breaded chicken nuggets, we at Perdue will just clutch our rosaries to our chests and drive right on by.

Perdue Farms: You'll be putting something in your mouth. You have our word on it.TM

Friday, January 9, 2009

Caving Into Relentless Questioning, Vince McMahon Admits He's Not Going to Cave in to Relentless Questioning

From a Congressional investigation into steroid use in professional wrestling comes this exchange with WWE Chairman Vince McMahon:

David J. Leaviss [senior investigative counsel]. In your trial, in the trial of Dr. George Zahorian, you admitted to having used steroids on at least one occasion.

Mr. McDevitt [Vince McMahon's attorney]. That's false.

Q You didn't admit to using steroids?

Mr. McDevitt. He didn't even testify in his trial. He didn't have to testify in his trial. We whipped the government's ass in 19 days without putting a witness on. Get your facts right. He didn't testify in the trial.

Q Is it true that your lawyer in that trial, Ms. Laura Brevetti, submitted that you had received steroids from Dr. Zahorian for personal use?

A I believe so.

. . .

Q Several witnesses that have contacted the committee as part of the investigation have shared their perception that you may be using steroids or other performance enhancing drugs.

Mr. McDevitt. Fine. Do you have another question? We're not commenting on that.

Q Several witnesses have shared their perception of that and they have told us that in their view this perception weakens the Wellness Policy because it creates a sense that steroid use in the WWE is tolerated. Mr. McMahon, have you used steroids since 1996?

Mr. McDevitt. Stop. Do you have any other questions? Do you have any other questions?

Mr. Leviss. So you're instructing him not to answer.

Mr. McDevitt. Do you have any other questions?

Mr. Leviss. I do.

Mr. McDevitt. I don't have to instruct him. These are voluntarily.

Mr. Leviss. Sure.

Mr. McDevitt. Do you have any other questions?

Mr. Leviss. I do.

Mr. McDevitt. What are they?

Mr. Leviss. Is he not going to answer that question?

Mr. McDevitt. I'm not going to allow you to harass this man. How is that pertinent to anything about whether this wellness program works? And you came in here today professing you have an open mind and you're telling me that you didn't have this in mind when you wrote this list? Bullshit.

Mr. Leviss. I just finished telling you that there are witnesses who have expressed to the committee their perception ‐‐

Mr. McDevitt. I don't care about what your unnamed witnesses have said about your perception. You can take them and do with them what you want.

Q Mr. McMahon, have you used human growth hormone since 1996?

Mr. McDevitt. Do you choose to answer those questions to these people, Vince?

Mr. McMahon. No.

Mr. McDevitt. You now have your answer.

Q You're choosing not to answer the question or are you saying, no, you have not used it?

A I'm choosing not to answer the question.

Q Have you used any other performance enhancing drugs since 1996?

A I'm refusing to answer the question.

Q It wasn't clear to me on the steroid question whether ‐‐

Mr. McDevitt. Well, too bad if it wasn't clear. Do you have any other questions?

Ms. Safavian. We have not asked for names of any individuals in this investigation.

Mr. McDevitt. No, not one person.

. . . .

Q I would like it to be clear. I asked whether you've used steroids since 1996, and I'm not clear whether you're choosing not to answer that question or not?

A I'm not answering your question.

Mr. Leviss. Okay. Thank you. Anything else? Do you have anything else?

Ms. Safavian. No, we do not.

Today's Screenwriting Lesson: Hancock

The script for Hancock earned its writers four million dollars. What qualities, exactly, made it worthy of such largesse? Read through the excerpt below and note the finely detailed characterizations and plot details that are the hallmark of a professional's prose, and see the finely-tuned flow of tension, conflict, and resolution that mark the money-making script.

Jason Bateman's first wife dies while giving birth. Years later, fate deals the saintly single dad another soulmate and the perfect replacement mom in Charlize Theron. But then Hancock, the Dysfunctional SuperheroTM, barges into their lives and threatens to split them apart. What's Hancock's story? Why do he and Charlize keep exchanging longing glances? Is he -- gasp! -- going to break this blissful union of two souls apart?

CHARLIZE THERON: I can't keep this a secret any longer, Hancock. You and I are the last two in a long line of superheros. We were made by the Gods in matched pairs, but for some reason if we spend any time together we'll physically weaken and eventually die. In ancient Mesopotamia we helped build the pyramids, and we nearly died. We kept Krakatoa's lava from spreading to Java, and we nearly died. We steered the comet Kahotek away from planet Earth and we nearly died. Right now we're both getting weaker. We're no longer immune to bullets or fire, and in fact even a well-placed punch could take us out. Hancock, we've been kind of friends for over three thousand years, but if we want to live another three thousand years one of us must seek his fortune elsewhere.

HANCOCK: Oh, okay.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Bernie Madoff realized his scheme was falling apart. What he hadn't spent he'd lost in bad investments, and investors were getting suspicious. He decided he had to act fast.

So he wrote out checks to his relatives for every penny that was left.

Bernie Madoff belongs in a jail cell. With O. J. Simpson. And a long blonde wig stapled to his head.
Big promotion on Amazon. Win the tie that Jennifer Aniston wore on the cover of GQ!

You know, the one she gave to David Letterman on his show last week.

One word, Jen. Uncool.
My friends confuse me sometimes. Like, out of the blue, my friend Michael sent me a copy of Boys in the Band. "Thought you'd find this interesting!" said an attached note.

For a nanosecond I thought, jeez, that's nice.

And then, why the fuck did he think that?

You know Boys in the Band, right? For gay people it's like Saw, Scream, and The Ring all rolled up into one. A bunch of panty-waisted, pansy-assed queens have a birthday party, which naturally means limp wrists, paisley ascots, and verbal abuse. I first saw it in the 70s, and couldn't believe it. Like some bitchy critic said, every word is a lie, including "and" and "the." They parade the latest in gay apparel -- short shorts, tank tops, berets -- and run to the bathroom to snort coke and slather on another layer of wrinkle cream. A stripper appears, stirring dissent in the ranks. Back off, you old faggot! This queen's paying for that cowboy-hatted hottie to make me temporarily forget the Middle-Aged Gay Hell of Fading Looks. Drinks are drunk and speeches are made about how we all hate ourselves.

Thanks, Michael! I'll try to fit this in on Sunday night!

I flip the box over and over in my hands. It's impressive, and weighty. I'm looking for a sticker that says something like "Now, with more self-loathing!" Included on the disk are three "featurettes." There's audio commentary. It's been remastered. What, grainy images of stereotypical self-hatred just weren't good enough? Now we can see our mincing butt-bandits in HD? Cool! And now if we get through the whole thing without killing ourselves, we can flip to the outtakes.

Days later, I'm still wondering why Michael gifted me. Now, I'm not saying we should forget about this film, but it belongs in a drawer at the Gay History Archives marked HORRIFYING rather than in somebody's DVD player. It should be stuck in a time capsule along with enormous cellphones and Don Rickles.

Because why, exactly, would somebody want to watch it? Has time given it some campy charm? Are all the minority groups going postmodern? I'm wondering if black people are exchanging copies of Roots or Mandingo. With flowery little notes attached: "After you pick up your dry cleaning and have a glass of Chardonnay, take a look at how white dudes used to buy and sell our folks!"

Curiosity gets the best of me and I give Michael a call. I casually steer the conversation around to the DVD, and how surprised I was to get it. "I thought you could use the fashion tips," he declares.

Girlfriend's always been a bitch.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Police in Australia are hunting an intruder who broke into a love boutique and had sex with three different inflatable dolls. The intruder then dumped the dolls in a nearby alley.

Police officers have taken DNA samples, fingerprints and pictures of the crime scene.

First to be questioned? Goldilocks.

Another Christian Lies For God

A week into the New Year and we're already knee deep in bullshit. Originally I was going to call this "Christian Author Steals Story to Praise Jesus, Make Cash," but the shit goes far deeper than that.

Seems Neale Donald Walsch, the best-selling author of something called Conversations with God, posted an inspirational story on a religious blog about a Christmas pageant he'd seen. Unfortunately, it turns out this exact tale had been printed ten years earlier in a magazine called Clarity. Written by somebody else.

Mr. Walsch makes odd excuses, saying he must have received it in an email and then "internalized it as [his] own experience.” The story's author, Candy Chand, doesn't buy it. “I have strong issue [sic] with anyone who would appear to plagiarize my work and pretend it is his own,” she scolds.

Well, Candy, I'm going to call bullshit too. Your story is absolutely preposterous, and I'd sooner believe in Herman Rosenblat's apple-tossing little girl or Charlie Crist's heterosexuality than this ridiculous BS.

In the story, a "Winter Pageant" is held in one of those secular public schools that long ago abandoned Our Saviour Jesus Christ. "Because our public school system had long stopped referring to the holiday as 'Christmas,'" Ms. Chand writes, "I didn't expect anything other than fun, commercial entertainment - songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes, and good cheer. So, when my son's class rose to sing, 'Christmas Love,' I was slightly taken aback by it's bold title."

Candy, I'm slightly shocked that Jesus hasn't taught you the correct use of apostrophes. But more importantly, I'm startled by the song choice. You say the school system sucked all the Saviour out of the holiday. So, what's this tune about? I can't find any mention of it online. Is it about opening presents with family? Drinking eggnog with friends? Drunken snogging with Santa? It's odd Google has never heard of any tune called "Christmas Love."

As the song concludes, the kids whip out cards that spell out the title. Yeah, we've all seen this before. Donnie and Marie do this in all their TV specials just in case somebody's taking notes. In a serendipitous turn of events, though, the seventh little girl gets her card upside down, making the kids' message read "CHRIST WAS LOVE."

"A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen. In that instant, we understood the reason why we celebrated the holiday in the first place. Why that, even in the chaos, there was indeed a purpose for all the festivities."

Oh. My. God. How sweet. How heartwarming. Well, EXCEPT FOR THE BUDDHISTS, MUSLIMS, AND JEWS in the audience. They were left out, as always. But God Himself forgot about them, so why the hell shouldn't we?

Meanwhile, I'm absolutely positive a friend of mine went to this exact same performance, but she said the kids got all the letters mixed up. They turned their cards over and spelled out SMOVE CLIT RASH. Well, the entire audience broke out laughing, and then everybody realized there is no god.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I'm having a hard time reconciling these quotes from Ann Coulter's latest whiny crapfest:

[V]arious half-black celebrities insist on representing themselves simply as "black" -- the better to race-bait their way to success. Actress Halle Berry, singer Alicia Keys, and matinee idol Barack Obama were all abandoned by their black fathers and raised by their white mothers. But instead of seeing themselves as half-white, they prefer to see the glass as half-black. They all choose to identify with the fathers who ditched them, while insulting the women who struggled to raise them.

In any event, divorced mothers should be called "divorced mothers," not "single mothers." We also have a term for the youngsters involved: "the children of divorce," or as I call them, "future strippers. . . . " Single motherhood is like a farm team for future criminals and social outcasts.

Translated: Ann is very sensitive to slights against single mothers.

The bitches.

Halle, Alicia, Barack, I'm nothing if not supportive. Next time I see you dancing in a club, I'll stick a buck in your g-strings.
Katie Holmes, fresh off her success in All My Sons on Broadway, is set to appear in the new musical Finding Neverland, based on the romantic tear-jerker film about James M. Barrie and the birth of Peter Pan.

Katie's got the role of a lifetime ahead of her. Inspiring a wee, light-in-the-loafers lad who acts like he's from another planet? You don't get that kind of part everyday.

We've got Bernie Madoff, and we've got him good. The con man who stole more money than everyone else in the history of the world, added together, is getting what's coming to him as we speak! Smartly, the wise men in charge of this case have chosen to let him simmer in his own juices rather than just throw him right in jail. How humiliating it must be for him to see those fifty-million-dollar Picassos he bought with his tainted cash. How he must flinch when lowering himself into that two-million-dollar gold-plated hot tub financed by his evil deeds. How he must burn with shame knowing that the servants who bring him those multicourse dinners are paid with ill-gotten bucks.

I want to beg for mercy for the poor man, but I know I must resist. He deserves his fate, though I wouldn't wish that fate on anyone. Home detention is far, far worse than any jail in teaching a man the error of his ways. I know most of us would vastly prefer getting anally raped than having to face ourselves every morning in an eighteenth-century handcarved Chippendale mirror.

Poor Bernie made his bed and now he has to lie in it, doomed to reflect on the error of his ways and browbeat himself over the choices he's made.

Well, and hide a million dollars' worth of jewelry in mittens and send them to relatives.

Alas, his scheme was uncovered and the packages intercepted. Ha! The American justice system prevails again, catching some of his ill-gotten goods before they reached their intended targets. There is no mercy for poor Bernie! The man must be dying of embarrassment in his penthouse right now.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Okay, maybe I'm gullible, but I didn't suspect for a second that a sinister plot was afoot. No, instead I mentally applauded these two pop culture icons for breaking the relentless bounds of peer pressure and disclosing their deepest, darkest secrets: Bill admitting he's homosexual while misspelling his last name, and Britney declaring that her vagina is oversized and dentally-gifted.

But alas, it turned out to be an exquisite hoax.

Bravo, David Sedaris Jr.! You caught me. Now go forth into the world with your sly satire! Bathroom stalls everywhere await.

Instructions I Never Finished Reading

Stir one bag of powdered green slime with 200 gm water, now mix in plastic germs. Slide off top of head, introduce slime, replace top. Make sure puppy mouth closed tight before pour in slime.

Now fun is soon to arrive! Open sick puppy's mouth and await drooling to commence. Using small metal tweezers, attempt to extract colorful germs without touching strange green drool. Remember this: when tweezers touch drool, you get powerful shock that makes fingers smoke and smell odd.

Have fun play time with Shocking Sick Puppy Drool. And look for these other toys by the Bandai Toy Company:

Something Seriously Wrong with Rabbit
Ha Ha We Have to Shoot My Horse
Why Does Happy Cat Keep Eating Human Flesh

Bush Sr. Says Jeb Bush for President!

Somebody give this guy a bag of bread crumbs and leave him by a pond.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The New York Times is so relentless in its praise of Billy Elliot on Broadway that I feel like I should toss a little more fuel on my fire.

The play is about the sheer beauty of dance, but the producers don't actually believe that's enough to entertain us. In one pivotal scene, Billy dances with his adult self. It's more kitschy than beautiful, with Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake blasting our eardrums tinnily, and it takes a couple inexplicable turns. First, acting in tandem, the characters bring out chairs and set them spinning. They hold one corner of the chair's back and spin it like a top on one leg. Call me crazy, but I don't recall this move from Swan Lake. You half think after the next tour jeté they're going to start spinning plates on sticks. This kid could be the next Nureyev if he could juggle flaming clubs.

Then, halfway through this dance Billy starts flying -- you know, soaring across the stage attached to a cable -- to express the sheer joy he feels.

Wait, we think. Dance isn't good enough to express joy?

Mostly, though, when confronted with this adult male dancer, we start to wonder if Billy's made the right choice. The man's definitely been in this for a while. He knows what he's doing. But frankly, he looks a little weird. He's prissy. He's darting from one side of the stage to the other, posing like a Chelsea gym bunny. We expect him to do a set of dumbbell curls before getting a protein shake at the juice bar. He's in a skin-tight leotard, with a dance belt so huge it looks like he's smuggling bratwurst onto the stage.

He leads Billy around the stage like -- okay, I'll say it -- a gay Pied Piper, doing jumps and leaps and waving his arms like Liza Minnelli, and rather than be thrilled to see what Billy will turn into with the proper training we start to wonder if he's made the right choice. Um, aren't there any accounting classes in Wales?

The kid does nothing but dance, and at some point you wonder if that's good. You picture him in any other class in school:

TEACHER: Billy, what's three plus four?

BILLY: Beats me. Wanna see me tap-dance down stairs?

His dancing is so incessant it seems to have overwhelmed normal human emotion:

POOR MINER: Billy, we miners have no hope for the future. If we don't get killed in cave-ins, they're going to close and we're all going to starve. Sure, we thought you were a poofter a few minutes ago, but now we realize you're blessed by Sweet Jesus to have such an amazing skill, because it's that skill that's going to buy your way out of this hellhole. Please, take this fifty cents that I've saved up over the last thirty years, and when you go to London to join the Dance Academy, buy a croissant and think of me.

BILLY: Okay. Watch me pirouette!

In the end, we're not quite as happy as the producers want us to be. Billy's leaving his family and friends to pursue his bright new future, soon to turn into a prissy dude in skintight tanktop and kielbasa shorts. All the miners have been transformed from proud, strong men to politically-correct metrosexuals who're probably heading to Connecticut Muffins when the curtain falls. Look! they shout, twirling around the stage in XL tutus. We're not cretins! We're supportive, fun-loving miners secure in our masculinity who finally see the beauty in dance!

I leave the theatre thinking about the show I really want to see. Somewhere in West Hollywood an odd little boy is born to a fashion writer and a theater critic. The couple want the kid to follow the family profession, but he startles them with his skill at unclogging stuck drains. Eventually the community rallies around him -- "Damn it, kid, I wish I could do something people needed instead of just writing about winter caftans for Men's Vogue" -- and the kid moves to Rialto to open up a Roto-Rooter franchise.

Because, hell, I'm all for the arts, but it's about time somebody stood up and said, hey, you know all those professions that regular people do? They're nothing to freakin' sneeze at.

Give me that, Broadway, and I'll spring for opening-night muffins myself.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Heartfelt Wish for the New Year from RomanHans

The more I think about it, the more this Herman Rosenblat business pisses me off. You probably already know he's the latest writer caught fabricating a spectacular memoir. But do you know how the whole ball got rolling? He entered a contest the New York Post ran searching for the best love story. Mr. Rosenblat wrote a "quick couple paragraphs" about an "angel" who visited while he was imprisoned in a concentration camp. A cute little girl in a red dress appeared at the barbed wire fence with bits of food to keep him going: an apple, a piece of bread, a bit of cheese. These offerings provided him with nourishment but primarily gave him hope and the strength to carry on. Torture was no match for this selfless little angel who proved to him that deep down inside people are basically good at heart. Naturally when he ran into her again some years later he jumped at the chance to marry her, and their life together has been truly blessed.

Naturally this heart-warming little story won the contest, and Mr. Rosenblat got an all-expenses-paid night on the town, complete with candlelit dinner, a limo, and tickets to a Broadway show. And the next thing you know Oprah's heard about it, and he gets a free trip to Chicago to be on her show.

Then comes the book deal, and the movie rights.

It's ironic: Mr. Rosenblat defends himself by saying he invented the story to give people hope, but instead the stunt seems to stomp it out. I enter a lot of essay contests, and I've yet to win one. Now I know why. I mean, what chance do us truth-tellers have when other people enter with impossible lies?

Still, despite the human failings we see here, I hold out hope. While my chances of transcending the dire human condition seem squashed like the dirt beneath that little girl's fictional feet, something tells me that my steadfast commitment to honesty will eventually find its reward. Call me naive, call me simple, but despite the fact that every new day seems to bring more proof to the contrary, my new year's resolution is to hold onto that optimism, to never let go of that belief that people are basically good. And one day soon, once the rest of the world comes to the realization that truth alone is the righteous path, the phone will ring for me, too, and an excited voice will announce that I've won an essay contest with my truthful tale of meeting Diego, the guy who tenderly tickled my balls at a Miami Beach gang bang.