Thursday, April 30, 2009

What is that, $6.50? They're like $9 a pack around here.
Riwin Jirapolsek sure loves his little Maltese. And what better way to show it than present little Kanune with a tiara valued at $4.2 million dollars? The tiara, made of 14-carat gold and a fistful of precious stones, is decorated with 250 carats of emeralds and diamonds.

Sure, the dog was grateful, but dude could have saved $4.199999 million by just smearing peanut butter on his groin.

Tourism Tips

Frequently when you're in a foreign country, crazed crowds of people will appear with notable figures held aloft. Sometimes these will be political figures, sometimes celebrities, sometimes sports stars. Feel free to join the crowd and support whatever body part is near you, but never shoulder-slam the natives and scream out, "I've got ass!"

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

It's the Pig That's Causing the Problems, Really.

New York Times: Are you a member of the Alzheimer’s Study Group, whose chairmen are Newt Gingrich and Bob Kerrey, who are trying to devise a national plan for conquering the disease?

Maria Shriver: You sound like my mother. You think I’m not doing enough. I’ve got four kids, three of whom are teenagers and one of whom is 11, and I have a full plate as first lady of California. I also have two sick parents. I have a miniature horse and three dogs and a pig. That’s why I can’t be on the Alzheimer’s Study Group.

I didn't even recognize her without clothes or makeup.

Egyptian health officials ordered the slaughter of the roughly 300,000 pigs in the country as a precaution against swine flu, even though no cases have been reported here. The government responded similarly by killing every bird in the country during an outbreak of bird flu.

I'm thinking things could get ugly if they ever get Asian flu.

The folks at Feminist Outlaw have an agenda. They want to break off the shackles of the patriarchy by showing that "responsible nonmonogamy can be a healthy lovestyle with lots of community support." To that end they're holding a Polyamory Party complete with burlesque and musical performances.

"The party will be filmed for the award-winning docuseries MTV True Life: I'm Polyamorous, which has an audience of ten million, mostly teenagers, so it has tremendous potential to open minds!" says the invite. "Come mingle with the New York sex-positive community and enjoy a great free party with amazing performers!"

Why are events like these important? "Our sexually repressive society is evolving, especially as same-sex marriage debates raise the question of what constitutes a family and a valid love style. . . . When we brave criticism to be public positive examples of queer people, polyamorous people, trans people, people into BDSM, sex-positive people of all varieties, we broaden perspectives, we change minds, we let people know that sex-positive people free of shame are NOT immoral and NOT a minority, and we change society! I'd like to show this happy sexual revolutionary culture in New York with a vibrant party full of people and performers."

Oh, but if you're middle-aged, find something else to do. "[T]he party is a gathering for under-40 (or under-40 looking!) folks because we're displaying the youth polyamorous/ polyfriendly community." You know: MTV viewers think old people are gross, and nobody wants to fuck dudes who look like their parents.

Anyway, see you all there! Death to the patriarchy!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: Senator Arlen Specter to Change Party Affiliation to Democrat

"And this isn't just to jump on any old bandwagon," says Diego, his new life partner.

Now that gay pride time is almost upon us, I'd like to take this opportunity to discuss how we can best further the cause of gay rights and eventually achieve our goal of total equality.

In the past, gay pride parades have been wide open to any individuals who wanted to attend. While this practice was laudable in its inclusiveness, it led to unfortunate results. We want America to see computer programmers and accountants who just happen to be homosexual; they're shown Pablo from Puerto Rico with casava melons stuffed in his sarong.

To this end, then, I suggest we modify the rules for this year's parade. This year let's only offer attractive images to the media, so they can't show what we don't want. Rather than see this as discrimination against some of our community, though, we should see it as confirmation that we recognize the deviousness of the right-wing media and are prepared to deal with it like adults.

I've made a list of some groups that would present positive images and sorted them into an order that I think would make an exciting parade. If you feel like one of the categories below describes you, please go to your local parade and join that group.

    1. Men who look like Hugh Jackman

    2. Women who look like Portia De Rossi

    3. Gay and lesbian bluegrass fans

    4. Polyamorous or bisexual people walking boy-girl-boy-girl

    5. Fully-clothed, rugged men who show their affinity for the leather lifestyle with stylish belts or ten-gallon hats

    6. Women of appropriate body weight wearing dresses and riding Vespas

    7. A gay and lesbian marching band where the women play wind instruments and the men play drums

    8. Clowns who can make balloon animals for the kiddies without simulating oral sex on all the pink balloons

    9. Ruddy, weathered cowboys WHO WEAR PANTS UNDERNEATH THEIR CHAPS

In addition, the following two groups are specifically asked not to attend:

    1. Mothers With Mullets

    2. St. Propecia's Drum and Basket Corps

If any participant feels he or she needs to throw souvenirs at the crowd, make it country music CDs or "WWJD?" keychains rather than condoms or nude photos of him or herself.

Now, needless to say, we can't actually forbid anyone from attending. But please, follow these guidelines. Really queeny types who are determined to take part should rent a bus or other large vehicle where most of their bodies will be hidden from public view. Similarly overweight or extra-dykey women. We do have one hard and fast rule, however: you may NOT roll the windows down. All we need is one ear-piercing shriek from a pink scarfed-screamer and all our hard work is shot to hell. If you're a male and effeminate, or butch and female, or have a penchant for metallic shorts and disco music, you're probably better off staying home. Hey, the view's better on cable TV anyway, right?

Thanks for reading this, and pass it on. I look forward to a parade full of attractive, fun people that I can watch with pride.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Scientists have started testing a new kind of erectile dysfunction drug that unlike current drugs works almost immediately. Instead of swallowing a pill, you rub a chemical directly on your penis.

Of the seven rats tested, four showed signs of extreme arousal, two showed signs of moderate arousal, and one really wanted a scientist with a mustache.

Miss California: We Need to Be More Tolerant of People Who Say Gays Suck

The woman who won't go away calls for tolerance of anti-gays.
The New York Times business section is a great place to find advice from top executives. In Sunday's paper, Richard Anderson, chief executive of Delta Air Lines, tells how he hires his subordinates:

You want to know about their family. Where they grew up. What their parents did. Where they went to high school. What their avocations were. How many kids they had in their family. You know, what their whole background and history is.

I learned that from a C.E.O. I worked for. The C.E.O. wouldn’t really spend that much time on the résumé, but spent most of the time wanting to know everything about the person’s life, family, what they liked, where they liked to go on vacation, what their kids were like. And it gave you a really good perspective about who they were as people.

Actually, this interview gives a pretty good perspective of Mr. Anderson.

He's relatively boring, he's not particularly smart, and he's very probably breaking the law, because it's illegal to ask many of these questions during a job interview.

Bernie Madoff's pants don't just cover up legs that nobody in their right mind wants to see, according to the New York Times. No, they symbolize everything that's wrong with the world. In an article about the financial meltdown's impact on the super-rich in Palm Beach, Florida, they talk to David Neff, the owner of an upscale men's store. Mr. Neff smartly named his store Trillion to prepare shoppers for his $6,800 jackets and $800 shirts.

Bernie Madoff was a frequent customer at Trillion, and one day he dropped in and fell in love with a pair of pants. The store didn't have his size, so they called Italy and ordered a pair. Worsted spun cashmere that "doesn't pill," "doesn't wrinkle," "feels like the skin of an exotic pet." $2000.

Unfortunately, Mr. Madoff was arrested before the pants arrived. When Mr. Neff heard, he sprinted for the phone to charge Mr. Madoff's credit card, but by then it was too late. The card was cancelled. And now the unclaimed pants hang on a rack waiting for somebody who wants "plain-looking charcoal gray pants" and has $2000 to blow.

The Times reporter says the pants are the perfect symbol of the financial crisis. Just a few short months ago, buying them might have seemed a little extravagant. But now, really, you'd have to be nuts.

We're less high-minded and more bitter. For us the pants will symbolize the economic meltdown in another, more concrete way.

Madoff used to be rich and smug and untouchable, living in a hyper-rich world the rest of us couldn't even imagine. Now that he's headed off to a jail cell, though, anybody who's even remotely curious can get into his pants.

Friday, April 24, 2009

This afternoon NBC held a lunchtime party promoting their "Locals Only" coverage. It was all very secretive: lunch would be served from a pushcart, like those wheeled stoves you see parked on every street corner in New York piled high with pink chicken. David Chang -- one of New York's very finest chefs, and the only one who can serve a meal for under $500 -- would man the grill. The top-secret location would be provided at the last minute, and guests were assigned a code word to gain access.

Reality turned out just as mysterious as I'd imagined. A velvet rope cordoned off a parking lot, with black-suited bouncers keeping the riffraff out. One attractive young woman took our orders -- chef's choice for me, vegetarian for Raoul -- which were forwarded to Chef Chang at the pushcart. An erstwhile maitre d' led us to seats at a picnic table.

Now, I've always been a picnic kind of guy, but in the past that's meant wilderness, not Soho intersections jammed with curious bystanders desperate to get in. When they discovered that a code word could gain them access, they ran through the dictionary. "Antelope?" one guessed. "Artichoke? Avocado?" Three strikes, you're out. Next!

I got lamb, both gamey and crusty (those are great in everything but a man), with sides of beets, greens, and white rice. Raoul got a vegetarian bun with noodle salad and something like rice fries. Diners descended like locusts on everything from foie gras to lobster, and there was nearly a fistfight over whether the duck was a confit or rillettes. ("Confit, you bastard!" I screamed.) Dessert was Chef Chang's legendary donut ice cream.

Despite my reservations, the sunny weather, the friendly crowd, and the spectacular food won me over. Sure, there wasn't a river, but there were taxis streaming by. There weren't any trees, but there were street signs and traffic lights. And there weren't any squirrels, but happily stuffed and sated I tossed toast points at the curious onlookers who scurried after them with delight.
Jay Leno has been hospitalized for food poisoning, forcing NBC to air a repeat of the Tonight Show last night. Until they can determine the exact culprit, Burbank health authorities are warning residents to avoid Slurpees, corn dogs and Slim Jims.

Twenty-one horses died mysteriously in Florida on Sunday. State veterinarians, unsure whether the cause is a medical error or some deranged, horse-hating psychopath, and are questioning local pharmacists and Madonna.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

When Michael Bloomberg first ran for office, we were intrigued. "He's worth billions," we thought. "He doesn't need a job, or money. So, he's got to want to help us, right?"

We feel so stupid in retrospect. No, he didn't need a job, or money. He needed a playground. Billionaires get tired of going to the same ten fancy restaurants every week. Billionaires hate seeing Dollar Stores, or poor people. Billionaires get bored when their neighbors don't even have a million in the bank.

The second he got into office he started redesigning the city for his peeps.

Zoning changed, and changed again, until developers could throw up literally anything. On every block, seemingly every month, another brownstone was torn down and replaced by ten cement-block stories of luxury condos. Affordable apartments were converted into luxury condos. Even parks -- with trees, and jogging tracks, and baseball diamonds -- were ripped out and replaced by luxury condos, restaurants selling hundred-dollar hamburgers, billion-dollar stadiums selling $100,000 season tickets.

The middle class moved out and the rich moved in. The city became a playground for millionaires, and Mayor Bloomberg smiled.

Sadly, the story doesn't end here. Turns out all the creative accounting that supported this playground was just a house of cards. The financial industry collapsed, and all the Wall Streeters lost their jobs. And now all those "luxury" condos are empty shells, and all those smart new restaurants and shops are for lease.

Does Bloomberg scurry away in shame? Not a chance! You don't get to the top of the financial heap by having a conscience. He's the bus driver who falls asleep at the wheel, then asks for overtime pay to cart away the bodies. Now he's spending a stack of cash on campaign commercials, airing wall-to-wall on primetime TV nine months before his second term expires.

(Sure, the voters agreed on a two-term limit for him, but he overturned that law knowing for sure they were wrong.)

His campaign message is clear. He can fix this mess.

"For today's new challenges," the commercial's narrator says, "Mike Bloomberg's five-borough economic opportunity plan will create or save 400,000 jobs. . . . [There will be] a focus on creating new, high-value jobs in biotech and green technologies, and help for middle-class families struggling to make ends meet."

Which, you know, sounds okay. Until you realize: hey, he's the guy who created this mess. We're struggling because Bloomberg screwed us. Besides, if he could do anything, why hasn't he? We've lost 85,000 jobs since August. We're expected to lose 181,000 more jobs this year.

And what's he done? So far this year the city's career centers have found jobs for 5,000 people --with wages averaging below the poverty level.

He watched as Wall Street criminals build their own Gotham City, and as it crashes around us he says he can help people trapped in the rubble.

Um, no thanks. We've learned our lesson. Now we're stuck with a city for rich folks, but there's no rich folks left.

Welcome to Mike Bloomberg's New York. Would you like fries with that?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I'm a little fed up with pop culture today. It's overwhelmingly stupid, and if I wanted to deal with overwhelmingly stupid I'd be dating Octomom, thanks.

First there's Miss California. What a courageous soul! Refused to sell out her beliefs for fame. I can't wait until the media gets tired of her and she has to ramp up the persecution to extend her fifteen minutes. "You know," she'll call into Howard Stern, "I don't like the darkies either, and now they won't let me on Dancing With the Stars!"

Then there's this Cougar TV show with Vivica A. Fox. News flash: first, this "trend" peaked with Furbys; and second, the word is OFFENSIVE. What do you call an over-the-hill woman who desperately tries to prove she's still attractive by buying the attentions of young men who eventually leave her, deciding they'd rather screw firm young flesh than earn cash? A cougar. And what do you call a middle-aged man who rents the attention of attractive young women? A MAN.

America's teens are squealing for Adam Lambert. Attractive, cool, amazingly talented. Sticks his trademark shriek in every song. Which works for, like, "Highway to Hell," but doesn't necessarily fly in "If I Can't Have You." Makes the audience a little wary when the singer sounds like he's going to slash his wrists with a Cure CD and then strangle somebody's cat.

Last but not least is this Susan whatsername. Eighteen billion YouTube hits. Believe it or not, this unwritten headline is sweeping the galaxy: UGLY WOMAN CAN SING.

You know the producers purposely mess her up before she goes onstage so she'll look even more like a train wreck. "Here," they say, "let me fix your makeup" -- and then they smear it with the back of their hands. "Here," they say, "let me fix your hair" -- while they muss it into a tumbleweed. "And gosh, you look absolutely gorgeous." Pause. "But put on this dog blanket just for luck."

And now we're a nation of soul-searchers. UGLY WOMAN MAKES WORLD RECONSIDER THEIR BELIEFS. "For all these years we've thought only attractive people could sing," we moan while smacking our backs with thorny branches. "Oh, if only we could turn back time!"

Is this really true? If an ugly dude with a guitar showed up at one of your parties, would you refuse to let him sing? "Honestly," you'd say, "we'd love to listen, but your nose could be a ski jump." Hey, I'll concede that I'm partly responsible for the economic meltdown, but you can't blame me for Mariah Carey.

Eager to jump on this fabricated bandwagon, a porn company has offered Susan a million bucks to star in a dirty movie. Let's hope she's no Miss California, and next month we can all head to the local multiplex to catch Britain's Got Tail-Entry.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

So last week I'm flipping the TV channels, and I stop at CNN to see what's up. This dude in a suit is talking about those tea parties the Republicans are having to protest high taxes, and how stupid everybody looked. He says the Republicans are going nuts now that they don't hold no offices, and he says they're "searching for their voice."

Then this Anderson Cooper guy says, "It's hard to talk when you're tea-bagging."

Now, everybody on the show laughs at this, which confuses me. I mean, I'm pretty sure I could toss stuff into the Pacific Ocean and talk at the same time, and I wear Velcro shoes. My friend Joe Bob nearly chokes on a chicken wing, but he says it just went down the wrong way. Anyway, I forget all about it until I'm reading this Christian website, World Net Daily. This Joseph Farah guy is boiling mad about this exact same thing. He says Anderson Cooper told a dirty joke, and we should all be really pissed off. "'Tea-bagging' is known in the homosexual subculture as a practice involving a particular form of oral sex," he says.

Heck, even I know what he's talking about here, and I had a moustache in second grade. I mean, there's only so much you can do with a naked man and your mouth, and polishing the knob's already got a name.

Anyway, now I'm boiling mad too, and I'm gonna write to the President and my congressman and tell them so. Anderson Cooper should be fired, or at least be forced to explain to us what he's talking about. But first I'm writing to you, Mr. Farah. Thank you for sharing your knowledge of gay sex with us on the internet. Just yesterday Joe Bob asked me if I'd ever thought about felching, and I'm beginning to think that it ain't shootin' birds.

Sure, maybe the kids didn't need to read about it, but they'll probably stop running around the neighborhood yelling "WHO WANTS TO TEA-BAG ME?" in a week or two.

(Via Joe.My.God)

Gender Identity and Dysmorphia in Hollywood Marketing

April in Paris, Metro Goldwyn Mayer's smash hit of 1952, offers a window into the sexual identity and politics of that distant era. Doris Day stars as an all-American chorus girl who's mistakenly sent to chic French capitol in place of an older, more established actress with a similar name.

In the poster for this film, Ms. Day is a literal whirlwind. As the star, she appears dominant, front and center -- but hovering at her heels are clear depictions of the female's bifurcated role in society. To the left, three scantily-clad showgirls stand, awaiting male approval. To the right, a showgirl is hoisted into the air (and metaphorically celebrated) by two athletic males. Below, an attractive dancer is literally bent over backwards by her mate. If these images hint at the contradictory roles of Ms. Day's carefree career woman, the muted hues and monochromatic coloring clearly communicate their concern.

Meanwhile, to the right, Ray Bolger tries to get a look at her vagina.

Everybody else in the world: "Maybe just slide that wedding back a month or two."

Monday, April 20, 2009

During last night's Miss USA pageant, Miss California appeared confused about the state of gay marriage in the U. S. "Well, I think it's great that Americans are able to choose one or another," she declared. "Um, we live in a land that you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage." She went on to say, though, that "In my country and in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman."

After being told that she was slightly misinformed, she attempted damage control. "When I'm out of the country or without my family," she clarified, "I think I believe something else entirely."

(Via Joe.My.God)

According to the New York Times, President Obama keeps in touch with the American public by reading some of the mail he receives. Mike Kelleher, the director of the White House Office of Correspondence, chooses ten letters a day from the thousands that pore in, hoping to give the president a sample of what is on American minds.

Bush used to study ten letters a day too. And by the end of his second term in office, he could write down every single one except Q.

My friend Jon has cancer that luckily is being controlled by drugs. Occasionally I go to the doctor with him to provide moral support. The doctor -- thirtyish, in good shape, attractive even without the six-figure income -- tells Jon the drugs are still working fine, but Jon reports a side effect.

"I used to have some chest hair," he says, "but after I started taking these pills it completely disappeared."

"Maybe I should take some," the doctor jokes. "I've got more chest hair than I need."

"I had some hair on my back, too," Jon continues, "and even that's gone now. I'm, like, smooth as a baby's bottom above the waist."

"My back is pretty well covered," the doctor admits. "It doesn't bother me, but it drives my wife absolutely nuts."

I'm annoyed, I'm horny, I'm depressed. "Tell us about your ass," I say.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Sometimes you have to draw a circle because saying "HEY! LOOK AT HIS PENIS!" would be far too crass.

Wow. Look how great Rupert Everett looks, says Dr. Brian S. Glatt in Star magazine. Adios wrinkles! Goodbye gray hair. Gone are all those outward signs of masculinity or intelligence. Hello Just For Men, Botox, chin implant. What a transformation.

Supposedly he did it because he wants to be a leading man, and I think it works. Somebody's all set for Night at the Roxbury II.

(Via Towleroad)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

PIAS Intercosmex, the company that brings you Fiberwig, is proud to announce the release of Tiny Sniper, a new breakthrough in eye cosmetic.

Tiny Sniper may look like ordinary mascara, but it blows the competition out of the water. Tiny Sniper doesn't just smear a thin, blah film on your eyelashes: Tiny Sniper takes aim and shoots glossy black excitement at your eyes!

It's so easy a junior marksman could do it. Simply grasp the extended grip cap and fix those tired lashes in Tiny Sniper's crosshairs. Even before those haggard hairs can run for cover they're laid out cold with rich, thick mascara that never clumps.

The ultra-fine angled brush lets you annihilate those lashes with one quick sweep, or take your time and pick off those puppies one by one. Tiny Sniper shows no mercy, decimating the little dudes that might evade some of those other brands.

Tiny Sniper is small enough to fit in any handbag, so you can do quick touchups anywhere -- in the cafeteria, on a clock tower, high atop the Texas Book Depository. You've got the right to bear arms: now your eyes can make them beg for mercy too!

Look for Tiny Sniper at or Sephora, and keep an eye out for these other fine Fiberwig products:

Tangerine Blitzkreig
Fingernail Napalm
Cheekbone Hamas

Apricot IRA

Oh, puh-leeze. Yes, it's arty, steamy, erotic. But all I could think of was, hey, dudes need to drill a bigger hole.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

When the Food Network caught Robert Irvine's fibs it couldn't have been more obvious. Originally his program, "Dinner Impossible," started with an impressive rundown of his credentials. "Robert Irvine has cooked for thirty years, serving fourteen presidents and eighteen Russian Tzars. He's owned thirty-nine four-star restaurants, invented quiche, and baked Prince Charles and Princess Di's wedding cake.

"Now we're going to pose an impossible cooking challenge to him. Can he do it, or is this Dinner Impossible?"

But then the rumors start popping up in newspapers saying that some of this stuff wasn't exactly true, and the next week his program started like this:

"Robert Irvine has done a lot of cooking. He made some onion rings once, and actually baked bran muffins without using a mix. Now we're going to pose an impossible cooking challenge to him. Can he do it, or is this Dinner Impossible?"

See, it turns out all those claims were, er, slightly exaggerated. Mr. Irvine, um, made a typo. Naturally the Food Network was furious. The next season's host was Michael Symon, winner of their "The Next Iron Chef." Mr. Symon proved to be as exciting as fava bean confit, though, so the producers brainstormed for replacements for Season 3. "Who do we know that's charismatic, manly, dynamic?" they asked themselves. Pause. "Hey, how about that liar guy?"

Luckily Robert Irvine was available. In between jobs. Just won the Pillsbury Bakeoff, getting ready to cater the Pope's granddaughter's Sweet Sixteen. This week he's back on TV like nothing ever happened, but the viewer can sense the change. Gone is the aura of toasted walnuts and browned butter. Now we just smell tired crap.

Okay, with a pinch of nutmeg.

The debut episode is a promo for MTV's Extreme Games, because what could be hipper than a roomful of balding dudes julienning squash? (Yes, I know it's something like XtrEeM GaMeZ, but I'm too lazy to Google it.) Mr. Irvine has just seven short hours to concoct and cook an "XtrEeM meAl" for two hundred "XtrEeM aThlEEts." Can he do it? Can he finish in time?

Oh, puh-leeze, I'm thinking. I could cook a meal for two hundred people in two hours, with all three of the hunky assistants tied behind my back.

Which, you know, I'd be willing to try.

Mr. Irvine seems to know he's running on empty. He dashes off a halfhearted menu:

XtrEeMly Cheesy Soup
XtrEeMly Crunchy Macadamia-Crusted Salmon
XtrEeMly Red but Not XtrEeMly Spicy Curried Chicken
XtrEeMly Fruity Tuna
XtrEeMly Room Temperature Pineapple Watermelon Salad
Espresso with XtrEeM Mini-Marshmallows

He musters a weak smile for the camera and we all can think is Oh. My. XtrEeM. God.

I didn't make it to the finish line, but I'm pretty sure I know how it'll go. One of the hunky assistants will drop a tray of Fruity Tuna, a volunteer will scorch the XtrEeM wonton skins. But somehow Mr. Irvine will finish dinner in time. All the bleached-blonde XtrEeM athletes will sidle up to him in their rad Oakley sunglasses and say, "Whoa, dude, that XtrEeMly Saucy Smoked-Salmon Lasagna was gnarly! Catch the XtrEeM GaMeZ on MTV!" Then they'll give Irvine a congratulatory snowboard, and he'll slide off into the sunset.

We faithful viewers bid our fond farewells knowing how next week's show will begin. "Robert Irvine has done a lot of cooking. He made some onion rings once, and actually baked bran muffins without using a mix. He took eight gold medals at the Winter Olympics. Now we're going to pose an impossible cooking challenge to him. Can he do it, or is this Dinner Impossible?"

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

If you're a member of a minority group, it's ridiculously easy to find out if white people are racist or not. Just say "What?" to them twice in a row.

They say something, you say "What?" They repeat themselves, you say "What?" And now, whether they want it or not, the truth will come flying out.

I discovered this while shopping at Mitsuwa, a fantastic Japanese market/mall just across the river in New Jersey. I love everything about Japan -- the food, the culture, the people -- so I hang out there every chance I get. I eat noodles or curry at one of the restaurants, buy shiso and miso and sake at the supermarket, and smell all the air fresheners at the Pimp My Asian Car store. All the while wondering, why do I live in the U. S.?

Naturally, the last thing I suspected was that I was racist, until I was confronted face-to-face with the cold, hard facts.

At the supermarket the cashier rang up all my stuff, and I handed her a credit card. She swiped it through the machine, then shook her head. "Declined," she said.

"That's weird," I said. "Well, I have a lot of other cards, so at least one of them's gotta work."

Here came her first "What?"

"I have a lot more credit cards, so let's try another one."

Second "What?"

In a nanosecond my brain sprinted off on its own, reaching a decision without any conscious involvement from me. "Must speak in manner she'll understand," it decided. "Speak the way Asians speak."


Okay, maybe it wasn't quite that bad. Maybe I exaggerate. But I definitely dropped all the extra words, and changed it all to present tense. It's the thought that counts, and the thought offended the pants off me.

The second it was out of my mouth I realized I'd done something horribly wrong. Something so wrong, in fact, that adding "ching chang chong" to the end wouldn't have made the least bit of difference. I immediately corrected myself: "I have more cards you can try," I said.

The clerk smiled politely as I wished the ground would open up and swallow me. Did I honestly think I had to drop all the prepositions from my sentence before Japanese people could understand me? Did I seriously think this woman became befuddled encountering the first-person singular preposition? The way I was talking made Jackie Chan sound like Gore Vidal.

I scurried off as fast I could, determined never to return, with a stern resolution in my head never to darken a foreign doorstep with my stupidity again.

I'd like to say that I learned something from this, but really I'm not so sure. Can you generalize from an isolated, spur-of-the-moment aberraton? Can a person be racist against people they love? And once you've decided you're racist, what can you do to stop?

Now that I know about the secret, though, I'm absolutely dying to use it. After a couple well-placed "What?"'s, would people start calling me "girlfriend"? Thrust a hand on a hip and call me "bitch"? With my luck they'd probably see the gray hair and repeat themselves, loud and slow, and that would just make me feel even worse.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Ohmigod, people! So some of us downloaded Wolverine illegally. Christ, just let it go!
Steven keeps emailing to ask when we're going to have our "session."

Session. Evidently that's what folks into S&M call "having sex."

The more I think about it, the more the word creeps me out. I mean, I don't like those Pepe LePew guys who are always asking when we're going to "make love," but there's got to be some middle ground. "Session" is so cold. Psychiatrists have sessions. Courts are in session. When we're talking about getting naked, I don't want to picture Dr. Phil or Judge Judy hanging around. "Session" doesn't give the impression that we're sharing something intimate. In fact, I get the idea that halfway through I'll be chained to a rock with a ball-gag in my mouth, and he'll be like, "It's 12:15 and I've got some email to return. Why don't we resume around 2?"

I've been curious about S&M since I tended bar in my teens. To drum up business one night the owner played the movie Born to Raise Hell. It was certainly eye-opening to a timid kid who wouldn't have mailed a letter without a nine-digit zip code. All I remember is one scene where a hunky guy in a leather harness is tied to a tree and somebody punches him in the stomach until he pukes.

I appreciated the wry insouciance and the countercultural flair, but to this day I haven't seen anything less likely to turn me on, and I watch "The View" every day.

Still, every once in a while I reconsider whether or not I want to get involved. S&M folks couldn't be more open and outgoing, to the point where you wonder if they're "recruiting" like the right-wingers say all us homosexuals are. At least once a year the local organization holds an open house with mummifications and crucifixions and everything, showing off their skills to the curious public like the sheep-shearing girls at Appleton's Amish Village, except in studded harnesses and leather caps instead of dirndls and bonnets. I find them interesting and always politely clap between acts, but at no point do I think, Oh God, I wish that was me immobilized beneath that Saran Wrap.

I like the masculinity. I like the camaraderie. I like the clothes. But I've tried and tried and I just never get that SCHWING! when somebody pokes me with a cattle prod.

Still, I've been toying with the idea for so long that I'd probably give it a shot, except I'm pretty sure Steven is the wrong guy. First, I don't have the confidence in him that I'd want in my master. I've been over to his place for dinner a couple times, and he just picked up food off of serving platters with his hands. Didn't use forks or spatulas or anything. And I'm thinking, you know, when your master clamps your nipples together and then flogs you with a cat o'nine tails, you probably can't say stuff like, "Dude, you sterilized all this shit beforehand, right?"

What it comes down to, though, is I just don't trust Steven, and that's the straw that broke the camel's back. He's the kind of guy who, when you run into him, is all "Hey, we gotta have a session! We gotta have a session!" and then you don't hear from him for eight years. He isn't trustworthy. He doesn't inspire confidence. And confidence is what I need to break down the last bit of my reserve. Because, you know, I've had guys who wouldn't stop kissing me before, and that would be a lot more annoying if they were holding pliers.

Frommers: The Best There is for Travel Advice

I'm going to Vermont in June, so I'm looking for a good mid-priced hotel where I can stay. Google pointed me to Frommer's, the acclaimed masters of travel for nearly forty years. Here's their advice, in its entirety:

Well, I don't know. Maybe there is just a fine line between sleeping on the ground in a tent and a Marriott.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Repeat Friday: Surprise

I have to do something. Every morning I wake up and it's like my eyebrows have grown just a little bit bigger, until they threaten to consume my face. It looks like two squirrels are scurrying across my forehead, and very soon there's just going be to one. Years ago, though, after an overzealous afternoon with a razor blade, I learned that shaping and tweezing your facial hair is like trying to remove your own gall bladder. This time around, I decide, I'll let a professional handle it.

I don't exactly keep up with the trends, but I know about threading. I've seen it on the news, where an Asian woman wielding something like dental floss wraps a coil around a stray hair and yanks it out, faster than the blink of an eye. While I run my daily errands I pass eight or nine threading salons, and I slow in front of every one. I feel my eyebrows swelling until I can barely keep my head up. I think, why don't I just go in and get it done?

You hear all these rumors about New York metrosexuals, but I'm the only guy in the salon I finally choose. There's so much estrogen in the building, in fact, I feel like I've accidentally stumbled into Pinkberry. Mercifully, the procedure is quick and painless. Five minutes and fifteen dollars later, the woman passes me a hand mirror. My eyebrows are far apart and half their original size. The delicate arch makes me look ever so slightly surprised.

I look at the woman. She looks at me. "Well, I think they look good," she says.

I race to the bathroom of a nearby Bed Bath & Beyond and survey the damage. They could definitely be worse. They're certainly not that 30s Jean Harlow brow, the thin Sharpie squiggle dancing below the hairline. They could almost pass for natural. Still, the arch is sharp enough to change my default expression. I'm no longer bored. I'm not exhausted. If I keep my face entirely still, I'm somewhere between inquisitive and questioning. Add in even the slightest additional surprise, though, and I look like a man fleeing Godzilla.

I run my remaining errands as I struggle to keeping my face utterly placid. Inquisitive eyebrows aren't such a horrible thing, I discover. They have the attitude that I don't, second-guessing every word I hear.

I stop at a fruit stand for a mango and some strawberries. "That'll be twelve dollars," the man says. I look at him. He looks at me. "Okay, okay," he snaps. "Maybe it's just ten."

I drop in Designer Shoe Warehouse to see what's new. There's a pair of Ecco shoes I almost like but they're clunky, and they only come in brown. "Those are absolutely perfect," a clerk says. I look at her. She looks at me. "If your girlfriend's named Rainbow and you wear fringed vests," she adds.

By the time I head home it's late, and the subway is deserted. Still, a middle-aged man sits down right next to me. His suit is cheap, his hair's thinning, his moustache nearly hides his mouth. "You should be a model," he says, just out of the blue. "I mean, you are absolutely gorgeous. You've got an amazing face, and it looks like you've got a really hot body. You could be, like, in one of those Calvin Klein ads, just wearing underwear. David Beckham's got nothing on you."

I look at him. He looks at me.

"Well, I wouldn't turn off the lights when I fucked you," he says, so imagine my surprise when he did.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Need More Attention? Here's How To Get It.

Need more attention from the hubby? Pick up Bjorn Franke's Imaginary Affair toolkit. It'll do wonders to spark up that dull love life. "What, this? I must have, er, tripped and slid across the rug."
A certain minority group has decided to take a different path through life, which is their prerogative. But now they want society to change to accept this odd lifestyle, and I say they can go to hell.

I'm speaking, of course, about parents. You know, those heterosexuals who fuck one night and then nine months later think the sun shines out of their ass. Somehow, while the rest of us are struggling to achieve equality, they've actually eked out a few special rights for themselves, and it's about time this came to an end.

Why is it cheaper for kids to go to the movies? Judging from the ones in my neighborhood, my ass fills up less of the seat.

How come when some chick with a stroller struts down the street we're all supposed to leap out of the way, but when I'm walking nobody yells, "Hey, clear the way! Tall guy coming through!"?

Plus, you don't see me getting banged all night and then six months later expecting dudes on the subway to give me their seats.

Last, we've got one very important rule that holds together the thin fabric of our society: you can't just whip out your erogenous zones any time you feel like it. There's a place in our society for breasts, and that's behind fabric during the daytime and behind pasties at night. Breast-feeding is immoral and illegal, and there's no place for it in public life. You don't see me whipping my dick out any time I want to give my baby a drink, and it doesn't make one bit of difference that he's French and thirty-six years old.
Sigh; two weeks after I finish a course of antibiotics I'm still totally fucked up. I guess I should have known this in advance, but I didn't realize that antibiotics would kill all the probiotics in my body. Adios to every benefit I got from eight thousand dollars worth of Activia.

I didn't realize how much I needed these guys. See, probiotics are like the customs agents that live in your colon. They stand there, arms crossed, examining everything that comes by for something the body can use. Carrot chunk? Just pull that puppy over here so we can suck all the Vitamin A out of it. Spinach leaf? Thisaway.

And now they're all dead, and everything I eat just gets waved right on through.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Animal rights group PETA is contacting celebrities and asking them to change their names to focus a spotlight on animal cruelty and abuse. In a letter to the Pet Shop Boys, they write

By agreeing to change your name to the Rescue Shelter Boys, you would help raise awareness about the cruelty involved in the pet trade and encourage your millions of fans to consider giving a home to an abandoned or unwanted animal from an animal shelter. So, what do you say?

While the Pet Shop Boys haven't committed to any action, Heidi Klum's husband has already agreed to their request and will henceforth be known as Sea Kitten.

(Via Joe.My.God)

Some people say gun owners don't need that kind of firepower, but sometimes you meet a particularly recalcitrant deer.
From the subway ad for Single Husbands by Mary Morrison:


Well, as they said about Harry Potter: it doesn't really matter if it's crap, just that it gets idiots to read.
Whenever people ask me what I do, I say "As little as possible, in every room of the house." Because the thing is, nobody's got the right to have expectations when I already shot them down.

Still, some dudes get mad anyway. They say, "Well, I thought you were going to do something," or "I didn't think you'd just lie there."

Tough. I tell them, "Hey, I wasn't exactly excited when I met you, and that was before I saw you naked."

A Joke

So all these New Yorkers are mad because a couple fried chicken stands renamed themselves after Obama. Everybody's furious, saying it's insulting and racist and rude.

Me, I think it's just sour grapes. They're jealous that it's just a couple chicken joints, while Bush got a whole league named after him.

Why I'll Always Be a Luddite

In real life you don't have to wait twelve minutes for your yellow pages to load.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A "debate." The New York Times thinks this is a "debate."

Uh, no. Here's a debate: should Madoff's jailers actually fling horseshit onto him every day of the 150 years he serves, or just make him wear women's clothing and spit in all his food?

His London restaurant La Noisette just closed.

He sold his "glittering" restaurant on L. A.'s Sunset Strip less than a year after it opened.

His restaurant at London's Savoy hotel has shut down while the hotel is refurbished.

He sold his restaurant at Prague's Hilton hotel.

His restaurant at London's Connaught hotel closed.

His plans to open a restaurant in Berlin have been shelved.

Gordon Ramsay is "concentrating on Australia and South Africa," a spokesman says.

I'd say slap a slice of melty cheese on everything, but dude's probably a little touchy about cooking tips.

I wouldn't waste half as much time surfing the internet if articles didn't pretend to be about roller coasters when they aren't.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Miscellaneous Travel Thoughts

I spent five days in the Alps. The cold was unbelievable. I froze straight through to the bone, and every step I took was an inhuman effort. At night we built fires, and huddled together for warmth. C'mon, how hard would it be to post English instructions on the fuckin' air conditioner?

Songs in which you'll find words that'll be helpful while you're traveling in Germany:

-- Cabaret ("Vilkomen, bienvenue")
-- Danke Schoene

Songs that aren't so helpful:

-- 99 Luftballons

It seems like every time I go somewhere I discover something that I guess should have been obvious but comes as a real surprise. When I went to the Bahamas, I didn't realize all the residents were poor and black. When I went to Montreal, I didn't realize all the street signs were in French.

And when I went to Barcelona, I didn't realize that everybody there smokes. Two or three cigarettes at a time, just in case one goes out. I couldn't wait to go: I'd read all those rapturous reviews about how great the tapas bars are, but they didn't mention that the restaurants are so smoky you'll have to take the waiter's word for it that he brought you food.

Barcelona was my first stop for a three-week tour of Europe. I pack light, so I didn't have a heck of a lot of clothes, and only had one coat. So my choice was, eat at one of those terrific places where all the locals go, burn out my sinuses and smell like an ashtray for the next three weeks, or live on takeout sandwiches and attack those cretins every chance I get.

Barcelona! Assholes. They're so freakin' lazy even the restaurants close for lunch.

Okay, I'll end this on a positive note. You're got to applaud the Europeans for one innovation. They've got a surefire answer to the question, "How can I get my kid to eat multicolored meat?"

Friday, April 3, 2009

Somebody needs to tell that bitch Madonna to mind her own business. Why's she always poking her skinny nose into places where it doesn't belong?

Naturally I'm talking about the way she buys foreign children in Malawi. You wonder why the world hates America? You got a prime example right here. Why does this woman think she can blithely plow her way into a government building and randomly grab a kid, like she's shopping for free-range beef at Whole Foods? She thinks that just because she has enough money to support it she can take it home with her. Is that unbelievable? What kind of egomaniacal hubris makes her think these kids don't already have parents that they love?

My God, sometimes she doesn't even wait until after they've had their daily teaspoon of rice.

Well, you say, so far she's just been pulling kids out of orphanages. What difference does that make? See, Malawi has a different sort of child-care system. In Malawi, all the kids in orphanages have families. Orphanages are really more like day-care centers, or even summer camps, where you can park a kid while you're, say, redecorating your hut, or fattening up the rat for Thanksgiving dinner. They're a convenient way to get the kids out of your hair for a year or two while you're trying to earn enough to buy a cup of flour.

It's different, but it's quite an efficient system. See, with these types of orphanages, the Malawians do away with the tyranny of parenthood, because having a child doesn't have to be a life-long sentence. Any time you want you can drop your kid off at a state-supported center, and every morning you can decide whether or not you want him back. Parents can spend many wonderful years in peace and quiet without ever giving up the right to say, "Hey, I want David back now that that rich old white woman wants him!"

Okay, so the orphanages aren't particularly easy on the children. I mean, they know they've got relatives on the outside, and it's not particularly reassuring to them to know that they're in this strange environment because Grandma doesn't want them until they're six. But with all the activities in these orphanages, they soon forget. They play Swat the Dung Beetle and Who's Eating Dirt and pretty soon they're oblivious to the world -- and prime targets for every white woman who happens to have a spare room and a sandwich or two.

Really, it's the most unimaginable hubris. I mean, how would Madonna feel if a rich African man burst into an American orphanage and pulled out three or four children just because he wanted to give them a better life? Doesn't sound quite so altruistic now, right?

Obviously life in Malawi isn't perfect. There is hunger and disease. But the biggest problem by far is keeping meddlesome rock stars out of orphanages, and stopping rich people from buying these children. They are not commodities. They are not possessions. They're living, breathing beings who may be wanted by their parents one day soon.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Public Art in Barcelona

Barcelona is an important cultural centre and a major tourist destination with a rich cultural heritage. The city is perhaps unrivaled in the world with its vast treasures of public art.

One can't mention Barcelona without talking about Antoni Gaudi. Gaudi was an architect famous for his unique and highly individualistic designs. Many of the city's buildings bear his modernist stamp. This photo shows details of his work in Park Guell.

Joan Miro was also a Barcelona native. Various examples of his work can be found around the city, and his Foundation is one of the city's most exciting showcases of contemporary art. This piece is titled Woman and Bird.

And then there's this untitled work on La Rambla, by an unknown sculptor.

This piece breaks from Barcelona's art nouveau history with its implacable realism. In stark contrast to the layered nuance of the Mona Lisa, this man's face just says he wants to take a crap.

In this masterpiece of stone masonry, the toilet has the pure lustre of porcelain, the toilet brush bears the dull matte of plastic, and the lowered khakis are a symphony of tight wrinkles. The toilet tissue looks like at any moment it might unspool and fly away.

If you're lucky, you'll wander by when the piece makes a farting sound and then waves at its butt with the newspaper.

Clearly Barcelona is the throne of Europe's contemporary art scene, where tomorrow's movements start today. If you've ever thought about visiting, it's time to shit or get off the pot. Barcelona is waiting: isn't it time you dropped in?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I have decided to pursue my goal to become a Russian gymnast.

No longer will I stumble through life with no direction or self-control. No longer will self-indulgence and excess rule my life. No, steely concentration will be my mantra as I focus single-mindedly on this pursuit.

Together with my brother Dmitri, we will become a team that will turn the gymnastics world upside-down. We will perform routines the likes of which no one has ever seen, blithely contorting ourselves into death-defying positions that make ordinary gymnasts run screaming to their mommies.

Of course, it won't be easy. Our typical day will consist of four hours of weight training, three hours of flexibility lessons, and six hours of gymnastics. After all that grueling work, when our bulging muscles are exhausted to the point of collapse, we will retire to a local bar where we will knock back vodka like it's water and girls will blush in our testosterone-drenched presence. They'll search for every excuse to touch our rock-hard biceps, but we'll push them away. There's no place for females in the rough-and-tumble gymnastics world.

Audiences will gasp in disbelief as we strip off our warm-up suits and show off bodies that look like anatomical charts. Women will swoon with desire and men will sob with jealousy. My arms will be like steel cables: flexible, yet strong. My shoulders will be broad and muscular. My abdomen will look like it's sculpted from marble. My legs will be like tree trunks, unyielding sinew that will support my brother in our signature Chinese Pagoda move. Every fiber of our beings will burn with fury as we take positions no other duo has even dreamed of and, indeed, do things that God Himself never meant the human body to do.

We will work relentlessly to perfect each new position, and there will be no place for either shame or privacy to distract us from our goals. My trembling fingers may rest mere centimeters from my brother Dmitri's groin, but with our cold-hearted focus neither of us will care. With ropy veins bulging I will support Dmitri solely by the buttocks as he attempts the death-defying Iron Cross. Audiences might chuckle uneasily, unaccustomed to the blasé way we macho men handle each other's rock-hard bodies, but the titters will die in their throats when through sheer force of will and muscular power we contort our bodies into positions that'd make Michelangelo weep with joy.

And pretty soon we'll be rich and famous and our names will be on everyone's lips.

So c'mon, Dmitri -- just put on the tights, okay?