Thursday, February 25, 2010

And Now, A Word From Our Sponsor

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And Now, A Word From Our Sponsor


Surprise the sports fan in your life with our Japanese specialty, Don Mattingly Don. This fun treat starts with a bowl of freshly-steamed Japanese sticky rice mixed with eel and avocado, covered by an outfield of tasty okra sauce. The infield is made of sushi-grade tuna, and we won't blame you if you're tempted to steal home. All the bases are squid!

So, drop by Go Restaurant at 30 St. Marks Place in New York City and tell them Roman sent you. Then get ready to enjoy America's Favorite Pastime -- in a bowl!

Repeat Thursday: Sugar Frosted Flake

I'm moving to a new apartment, so it's total bedlam here. In the meantime, here's a classic from the vaults.

---------

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

"Come home with me," he said.

"I couldn't," I replied.

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

"I'll get my coat."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Most of my friends are crooks, which can be a bit awkward for a semi-honest man. I find myself continually wondering, How sociopathic do they have to get before I'll raise a red flag?

My friend Andrew owns a jewelry business, and he hired our mutual friend Charlotte to work for him. Charlotte is a bit carefree and self-centered, to the extent that he fired her two weeks later claiming she stole five thousand dollars worth of gems. "How can you still be friends with her?" he quizzed me. I didn't really have an answer, other than the fact that I couldn't exactly believe everything my friends believed. Like there are ghosts, and karma, and people who can touch their toes.

Lots of people warned me about Stephanie, but she was too exciting to resist. Every week she had another fabulous party, was featured in another national magazine. She started a spa on a shoestring by convincing unemployed people to work for her for free, promising them actual jobs after the place took off. The spa instantly hit the big time but the paychecks never showed, and she just replaced everybody with new rubes as the old ones stormed off. Soon her staff was massaging everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow to the mayor, and the money was rolling in. Like all fads, though, this one eventually faded, and a week after Christmas I got a call.

"Roman," she said, "I'm closing the spa. Can you meet me there at two a.m. and help me strip the place?"

I said sure, despite some reservations. I mean, a lot of people close businesses, right? And she was the owner, so obviously she could take whatever she wanted. We loaded a rented truck in the dark of night, then papered over the windows and left a sign, per her lawyer's instructions, saying she was closed for redecorating. When I finally got into bed as the sun came up I was congratulating myself for being such a good friend. A good friend with a new Persian rug and $1,400 worth of toiletries from her gift shop.

Not two days later she called me. She was moving to another city, in a rather hurriedly fashion, and she wanted to take her car. Since she was also bringing two dogs, though, she needed somebody to come along. "I'll pay for everything," she promised. "And we can stop anywhere you want."

What can I say? I'll agree to just about anything, which explains my carefree expression and resistance to most vaccines.

I knew Stephanie well, so I wasn't surprised when I ended up doing all the driving while she played with the dogs in the back. When we stopped for gas, though, she asked me to pay half of it. When I saw a billboard advertising the best smoked-ham sandwich in Pennsylvania, I headed for the offramp. "WHERE ARE WE GOING?" she screamed. "Who said you could get off the freeway? Am I your hostage or what?"

And that night at our first motel, when I said I wanted to take the car and explore, she said, "Roman, I've got eighty thousand dollars worth of jewelry hidden under the spare tire. You're not taking that car anywhere."

And that's when it hit me. Hi, I'm RomanHans. Count me in among the rubes.

The next morning was somewhat frosty, but then came the coup de gras. Somehow, in an undistinguished part of the south, we drove right past the gates of Dollywood. Right. Past. My jaw dropped. As an ardent lover of kitsch, these were the Pearly Gates. I immediately threw a U-turn and headed for the parking lot. "I'm going to Dollywood!" I shrieked with delight.

Stephanie stared at me blankly. "So, I'm just supposed to sit in a hot car with two dogs?"

I argued. I repeated her promises. I yelled. And I caved in. We covered another two thousand miles without speaking a single word. She actually followed through on one promise, though: after I dropped her off at her new place, she bought me a ticket to fly back to New York.

When I got home, there were hundreds of messages on my answering machine. Evidently Stephanie had left behind a mountain of unpaid bills, and had even stiffed her employees for massages that they'd performed. They knew I was her friend, so they came to me looking for her. The message that really bothered me, though, went a little something like this.

"Hi, Roman," a husky voice said, "my name's Mike. I'm trying to contact Stephanie, and I hear you're a friend of hers. I bought eight thousand dollars in gift certificates as Christmas presents for my friends, and a week later the spa closed down. Needless to say, I'd like to speak to her. If you can give me her phone number or address, I'd appreciate it. I work for the Yankees, and I'd happily give you a pair of season tickets."

To make a long story short, I went for it. I even took the high road and turned down the tickets, though if he'd worked on Broadway I'd be watching Mary Poppins right now. In the end, I decided you should believe everything your friends believe. Now I think cauliflower is awful, Baltimore is fun town, and cave men had dinosaurs for pets.

And my friends know you need to watch your back if you keep a gay man out of Dollywood.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010



There are many, many reasons why one might like About.com. When I do a Google search, About.com usually turns up in the top ten results, but I think twice about going there. Some people might have ten reasons for not wanting to go to the About.com website, and some might have a hundred, but I have only one.

1. The reason I don't like to go to About.com's website


There's an odd phenomenon I've been noticing more and more recently. People who don't nearly have math degrees from major universities like myself have been making preposterous pronouncements about the odds of certain things happening.

Ryan Seacrest told the 24 American Idol semifinalists that they had a one-in-twenty-four chance of winning the title.

On Extra, Christoph Waltz (of Inglorious Basterds) said his odds of winning the Best Actor Academy Award were twenty percent -- because he was up against four other guys.

When four people were left on last season's Survivor, Jeff Probst announced that whoever won the Immunity Idol would have a one-in-three chance of winning a million dollars.

One in three. News flash, Jeff: Russell, the Cajun backstabber, could win the Kentucky Derby but his chances of prevailing on Survivor wouldn't pass one in a million twelve.

This kind of idiocy is why these people are wealthy and famous, while I can finish medium-difficulty Sudoku puzzles and I have a blog.

See, here are the cold, hard facts: when you're in a competition, the outcome depends more on your ability than the number of competitors. One simple example will show that.

The Dalai Lama and Donald Trump just happen to die on the same day. Both float up to the Pearly Gates where they're met by Saint Peter. "Bad news, guys," Saint Peter says. "We're just about at capacity. In fact, we have room for only one of you."

Trump looks back and forth between the Dalai Lama and Saint Peter. "WOOHOO!" he finally shouts. "I GOT A FIFTY-FIFTY SHOT!"

Monday, February 22, 2010

I'm Not Going to Buy These Pants, But I May Go In For a Fitting

Sigh. Today's rant starts about half a mile down.

































































Okay, TV commentators, SHUT THE FUCK UP already. Yes, figure skating is gay. Who gives a fuck? It's an incredible sport, whether or not its participants wear spangly fringed ponchos. But no, the Heterosexual Sports Police keep yammering away, saying something has to be done. We can't have a gay sport! All those triple-toe-looping homos need to butch it up, because an effeminate sport is a total embarrassment!

Like the audience cares. Like there's really butch dudes sitting in the audience going, "I'm not going to throw my congratulatory teddy bear at Johnny Weir: he's just way too gay!"

Well, here's a question for the Heterosexual Sports Police:

Which is gayer: figure skating or football?

Figure SkatingFootball
DescriptionPopular winter sportA game of inches
ObjectiveStellar performancePenetrate the end zone
PreparationSkate a lotLift weights in tiny shorts while your partner screams "PUSH IT! PUSH IT!"
UniformLeather, spandexCutoff shirts with shoulder pads
Title holdersJohn Curry, Viktor PetrenkoPackers, Bears
Popular movesLutz, Salchow, AxelTouchback, Hail Mary, Quick kick
Common mistakesFallingHaving too much motion in your backfield
MakeupMaybe a little mascaraChunky wedge of Maybelline at top of cheekbones
What you do after a good performanceCheerDance with ball
Typical conversation between athletes"That quadruple loop was massive!"
"Thanks!"
"I'm going to make a pass at you!"
"I'll be waiting with open arms!"
And in the end:Smitten teenage girls throw flowersTime to hit the shower, girlfriend!


FROM the moment it was announced on Feb. 2, Meryl Streep’s 16th Oscar nomination — best performance by an actress in a leading role for “Julie & Julia,” in case your attention has been otherwise occupied — seemed both richly merited and a bit redundant. Of course she would! How could she not?
Does this New York Times opening paragraph make any sense at all? It sure wasn't!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Major Rap Star Frightened by Wizened Old Man's "Vulcan Grip"

Responding to charges that he attacked 72-year-old presidential candidate and grandpa Mitt Romney, rapper Sky Blu released a video today stating he was the victim. Blu sat in front of Romney on a flight from Vancouver to Los Angeles, and reclined his seat before takeoff -- which, as every flyer knows, is strictly forbidden. Mr. Romney "loudly" told him, "Sir, sir, put your seat up," before reaching forward and grabbing his shoulder.

Gordy says in the video that he punched Romney in response to his "condor grip," as a sidekick play-acts the scene and adds: "Vulcan grip."

English Lesson

Today's phrase: "There's more where that came from."

"TMWTCF" is a handy phrase that all students of English need to memorize. You might think that the abbreviated "There's more" would be sufficient for most situations, and the following four words are just extraneous, but a quick examination in context shows why they're required.

Say you're at a dinner party, and you've just had a piece of pie. Your host looks at your plate, nearly licked clean, and he says, "There's more!"

You want to shout, "Oh, yes, please!" but something deep inside stops you. Sure, there's more pie -- but from where? Is this secondary pie of the same quality as the first pie, or just some backup, emergency pie he found by the side of the road?

If the host had used the phrase "There's more where that came from" his guest would be spared the linguistic headache and instead merely has to ponder whether he wants it à la mode.

Other similar phrases, in decreasing order of specificity, are "There's more in that general neighborhood," "There's more of a kindred ilk," and "There's more, but we're fuzzy as to its provenance."

Every time you turn around, Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah song is blasting in your ears. Rufus Wainwright covers it, half the American Idol contestants belted it, and k. d. lang sang the hell out of it at the Olympics opening ceremony. It was pretty spectacular: her crystal-clear tone, her languid phrasing, her perfect diction.

Oh. Oh, we thought.

Oh.

Well, in Cohen's defense, it's not like there's a bucket of rhymes for eighty-syllable words. With every line ending in "ya," though, it didn't exactly strike us as Joyce Kilmer returns. In fact, see if you can tell which of the following lines were written by Cohen and which we made up while we were brushing our teeth.

(1) I tried my best but I just can't outdo ya.
(2) But you don't really care for music, do ya?
(3) I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool ya.
(4) I told her, You can go -- I won't gumshoe ya.
(5) Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew ya.
(6) When he fights you know he'll really kung fu ya.
(7) But if I did, well really, what's it to ya?
(8) Stay away from Macy's, they'll just muumuu ya.



ANSWERS:1, 4, 6, and 8 are fake.
Run, you stripey bastard -- RUN!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Art Project Answers Question, "What Do Fat People Look Like Hanging Upside-Down?"

Burger King is about to launch a new product called funnel cake sticks. According to Ben Wells, their CFO, they are "uniquely positioned to drive both profitable dessert and breakfast sales."

Yes, that's right: they're either dessert or breakfast. Reason #487 why the terrorists hate us.

Mike Kappitt, one of their Senior VPs, agrees. "Yeah," he says, "we obviously have a lot of activity happening in our pipeline against breakfast."

Okay. Cool. I'll keep an open mind. Note to Mike, though: when you work at a place like Burger King, you should avoid phrases like "a lot of activity happening in our pipeline." Hope this helps!

I never actually believed in anal bleaching. I thought it was an urban myth, like Richard Gere and the gerbil, or Tom Cruise being straight. In fact, it turns out there's a spa in New York where they claim to have invented it, and apparently they have quite a following.

"I didn't know how people were going to react from this unusual treatment," said Enrique Ramirez, owner of face to face nyc, which is a pretty misleading name considering they're not looking deep into their customers' eyes. "I was extremely surprised how New Yorkers especially, reacted to this. I received tons of letters accusing me of being sick!!! Many writers and bloggers made fun of me as well. I wanted to take it back but, I stuck it out and eventually all the negative comments and press went away. I now have a good amount of Anal Bleaching cult following."

So, in the end, was it a smart move or not? "I truly believe that I lost some clients from this. During the Fall of 2007, I was in many Manhattan magazines so I really couldn't hide it. I even removed it from our web site for a few months until the storm ended. A few regular clients did comment in a negative way when anal bleaching was introduced and suddenly they disappeared with no explanation."

"No explanation"? Just as a public service, I'll provide one for the man.

ME: Well, see you tomorrow. I'm heading to the spa.

A COWORKER: That sounds like a great idea. Which spa are you going to? The only one I know around here does that creepy anal bleaching stuff.

The Los Angeles Times thinks that because a sea creature is boneless it will burrow through miles of plumbing into your toilet and bite you in the ass.

Interesting. But, you know, they're pretty much calling jellyfish idiots.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


DOCTOR: Roman, I'm going to prescribe some Symbicort for you. I think it'll take care of the problem.

ME: Okay. By the way, I've got a heart condition and high blood pressure.

DOCTOR: What?

A Short Personal Note

A lot of my fans write to me and say, "Hey, Roman, you look so hot in that photograph.  Is that really you?"  And I say, yes, it certainly is.  In fact, I'm even better looking now.  I've been watching my diet so now you can see even more of my ribs, and when I inhale my abs are totally defined. Hell, I weighed more than this when I was a Cub Scout, and now I can shop at Baby Gap. So SUCK THAT, FATTY! If you watch what you eat and were born with amazing genes you don't need to exercise.

Meanwhile, mutual friends tell me that my ex has gained five pounds. Sob. I miss him so much! I love him so much! NOT! Roman's no chubby chaser. I'm not eating dinner with a dude who looks like he's saving food in an extra chin. Stuffing muffins in your face to forget what you used to have, Marvin? That's too bad. It's unfortunate it didn't work out between us, Marvin. Wait: I mean, SUCK ON THIS, FATTY!

Also, a lot of times people ask me how I manage to have it all. I'm usually way too busy to think about it, but when I do I really am startled by how far I've come.  I own my own condominium, in a very desirable part of town. My blog is incredibly popular, and frequently it takes me to some of the hottest events in New York. Famous celebrities (who I'll do the honor of leaving anonymous) read me on a daily basis. I'm making quite a name for myself in the blogging field. And I'm only 26! Yes, I know, you've got all this too, but you're twenty-nine. That's pretty good. That's impressive. Yawn. Well, I tried! SUCK ON THIS, BEE-YOTCH!

What's really ridiculous, then, is that I'm single. I guess it's because my standards are so high. I mean, maybe I could amuse myself with a man who wasn't as great as me, but he could satisfy me for a lifetime. God, the men I meet are so shallow and trivial, I can hardly stand reading their tweets.

When I finally meet a man who interests me, he never asks me on a second date. I guess I'm too intimidating. They don't have enough self-confidence, so they feel like nothing in my shadow, or they get intimidated by how much I've accomplished in such a short period of time. My heart really goes out to these guys. I almost --

Oh, what the hell. SUCK THAT, LOSERS!

Anyway, I've got to go now. As you can imagine, I've got a busy life. I'm expecting a very attractive man for lunch, and -- God, I didn't notice, but he's like twenty minutes late. Huh? Hasn't texted me, hasn't tweeted. He's not on Facebook. What the fuck?

Goddammit: some people are just jerks.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Breaking News: They Do NOT Teach Fifth-Graders About Gay Excrement Wiggling in New Hampshire

New Hampshire State Rep. Nancy Elliott last Tuesday:
I heard yesterday from a mother that in fifth grade in Nashua, they were given as part of their classroom instruction naked pictures of two men showing a presentation of anal sex. . . . They are showing our fifth-graders how they can actually perform this kind of sex. . . . [W]e're talking about taking the penis of one man and putting into the rectum of another man, and wiggling it around in excrement. . . . I see it as a real affront to our citizens that their children are subjected to this. And so I think that it is important that we revisit what we did. We made a mistake. We should repeal [gay marriage].
Today:
I am compelled by the fact that the statement cannot be verified that I withdraw the statement I made in committee last Tuesday regarding the Nashua schools. I was told shortly before the hearing on HB 1590 that what I later said had happened and I firmly believed it to be so. It is for that reason and because of its relevance that I brought it up to the committee. I would have never said anything in the performance of my duties as a state representative that I did not believe was true or relevant. . . . I am withdrawing what I said regarding the Nashua schools. I would like to apologize to Judiciary Committee, the Nashua public schools and its employees and the speaker as well as anyone else affected by what I said. I will try much harder in the future to verify fully my statement.
Maybe email Nancy and suggest another line of work. nancy_elliott@elliott-controls.com

Jokes for Old People

Today Gawker has a video of a guy trying to set the world record for the strongest kick to the groin.

Doesn't look that all that incredible to me, but I used to teabag Brian Keith.

A Scottish brewery has made the world's strongest beer: a 41% brew called Sink the Bismarck.

The BrewDog brewery made headlines last year when it unveiled a 32% beer called Tactical Nuclear Penguin. It set the world's record for most potent beer until Schorschbrau, a German brewer, released their 40% strength Schorschbock.

Sink the Bismarck was created to wrest that record back.

Some anti-drinking groups have expressed outrage, but BrewDog's managing director James Watt defends his drink. "It is important that you be careful with this beer and show it the same amount of skeptical, tentative respect you would show an international chess superstar, clown or gypsy," he says.

Raoul is spending more and more time at my apartment, and I need to start thinking about whether I want this to be a relationship. He's fun, he's great, he's sexy, but in the back of my mind I realize he has a fatal flaw. He has the attention span of a caffeinated poodle. He'll be doing something -- fixing his hair, texting a friend, eating lunch -- and he'll see Lady Gaga on TV, or hear a car honk, and his brain will erase like an Etch-a-Sketch. Three days later I'll discover a hair brush in the oven, or his cellphone in the medicine cabinet, or half a sandwich adding a salami scent to every article of clothing I own.

There's one little item he misplaces consistently: my dishwashing sponge. I know it's petty, but it grosses me out. Leave it on the side of the sink, and it air-dries. Leave it in the sink, and it rehydrates every time the faucet is turned on. It puffs up just a little larger until it looks like a swollen blue turtle laying there. At some point it turns gross and slimy, and I can barely bring myself to squeeze it dry and put it back in its proper place. It makes me question my personality. All of a sudden I'm the queasy gay lifeguard who won't give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to a dude with zits.

I try to phrase my complaint so it doesn't sound like an attack. "Raoul," I say, "wet sponges gross me out. Can you try not to leave the sponge in the sink?"

He shoots me the look your dog would make if you asked it to make you a mojito. "I don't leave the sponge in the sink."

I hadn't expected that answer. I expected either "Oh, okay!" or "Get a life, asshole." It's early in the relationship, when you're still finding these things out. I say, "Oh, I guess it must be me," and I try to forget the whole thing.

Unfortunately, now that Pandora's box has been opened, an avalanche of evidence comes tumbling out. Every day I find six or seven things where they don't belong, and it becomes crystal clear: either I'm going senile, or my prospective boyfriend has a habit that I really need to break.

I decide I have to be absolutely positive before I confront him. One morning I race around the apartment while he's still in bed. I run through every room, check every surface, examine the interiors of every drawer, closet, and kitchen appliance. I confirm that everything is in its proper place. I get in the shower, and I give him some time. I shampoo, rinse, repeat. I loofah. I deep-condition my hair. After twenty or so minutes, I towel-dry and spritz myself with cologne. I gel my hair and blow-dry.

And when I emerge from the bathroom, I discover there's half an banana on my bureau, and the magazine I was reading is on the TV. The toaster oven is on full-blast, though it's empty, and his socks are in the fridge. My flashlight is lit and the sponge is in the sink.

That night while I'm making dinner I decide I'll try again. I'll broach the subject before I get too mad and explode. I set a pot of water on the stove to boil, and chop up the broccoli into florets. I'll be totally nonconfrontational, I tell myself, and we'll settle the issue like adults. I flip open the lid on the trash can and toss in the broccoli stalks. I leave the lid up while I'm cooking, since there's a lot more trash to come.

Raoul appears just as the water starts boiling. I dump in the pasta and toss the box in the trash. "Raoul," I say, chopping up the carrots next, "can you do me a favor? You seem to have a short attention span, and I don't like having to clean up after you. Can you try to remember to leave things the way you found them?"

He shoots me a confused look. "I do," he asserts. "Always." He swipes a broccoli floret and takes a bite out of it, then grabs my spoon and stirs the pasta. His broccoli, I notice, is now lying on the counter, where it's doomed to spend the rest of its days. When he's sure the pasta isn't sticking he drops my spoon in the sink and then grabs a carrot stick.

"It's okay," I say. "I'm sure you're just distracted, and don't notice you're doing it. Maybe if you just paid more attention." I dump the vegetables in with the pasta and stir them with a new spoon.

"I'm not scatterbrained," he says defensively. "I'm constantly aware of what I'm doing, and I don't leave any kind of trace." He pointedly drops the end of his carrot stick into the garbage can.

"It's just little things. Insignificant things. But, you know, they add up, and eventually they turn into something big."

He furrows his brow. He still doesn't know what I'm talking about. "I totally get that," he snaps. "That's why I take pains to leave everything exactly the way I found it."

Everything's cooked, so I drain the pot and dump a jar of spaghetti sauce on top. "Okay," I concede, and I fling the empty jar at the trash can. After it's left my hand I realize he's closed the lid. The jar thumps into the white plastic, then careens off and smashes on the floor, sending shards of sharp glass and spurts of red sauce onto everything within fifteen feet.

I glance over at him, and his confused look is intact. "I guess I'm just being paranoid," I say.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Uh, You Know The Guy HUNG Himself, Right?

From yesterday's New York Times:
Commentators were not to be blamed for defaulting to cliché when characterizing Alexander McQueen, who died on Thursday, apparently by suicide. And they were not altogether mistaken in referring to him as fashion's designated bad boy, a reliable pain in the neck.

The Smartest Thing I've Heard In Weeks

"Sassy comic" Sarah Silverman on marriage in yesterday's USA Weekend:
I'm interested in having and finding that person for life, but marriage is barbaric. I wouldn't be a part of it, especially now. Why would anyone want government involved in their love? I think it's a disgusting club to be in where people who love people of the same sex aren't allowed.
The more I hear about Andrew Young, John Edward's chief aide, the more fascinated I am. I mean, he started off as the right-hand man of a presidential candidate, yet somehow that job description morphed to "searching Mr. Edward's mistress' apartment for tapes of them fucking," then "making a fortune with a tell-all book about what a skeeze he is" and "fighting with the judicial system about handing over that tape."

Here's one of the best parts of that book:
. . . a number of videotapes, including one marked "special," which had the tape pulled out and seemed intentionally broken. . . . I couldn't resist. With scissors, a pen, and some scotch tape, I fixed the cassette. . . . As I pressed play, [my wife Cheri and I] saw an image of a man -- John Edwards -- and a naked pregnant woman, photographed from the navel down, engaged in a sexual encounter. The images were recorded with the somewhat steady assurance of a professional, and the senator's performance was ironically narcissistic. . . . As compromising images of a former presidential candidate and current contender for vice president flashed on the screen, Cheri and I dropped to the floor, and watched, speechless. . . . We debated turning it off, but neither of us could actually press the button. It was like watching a traffic pileup occur in slow motion -- it was repelling but also transfixing.
See what I mean? Every little detail just adds further questions. First, any idiot knows you don't mark porn videotapes "special." That's like writing "VALUABLES" on your box of valuables just before the moving men come. No, you write something incredibly boring on it, so nobody will give it a second glance. Mine are marked "Going to the Star Wars convention dressed as Jango Fett" and "Learning yodeling with Chester and Drew."

Second, how come my porn tapes never made anybody collapse to the floor?

And third, how do you make a sex tape that's not narcissistic? Repeatedly scream, "Oh, baby, take the annoying thrusts of my perfectly ordinary dick!"?

Maybe we can answer some of these questions if we reenact the scene. Cheri knows her husband Andrew is helping John Edwards in his run for the presidency. One day she greets him at the door when he comes home from work.

CHERI: Hi, honey! How was your day?

ANDREW: Extraordinary. Amazing. Unbelievable. When I first decided to get into politics, as a small boy on my father's knee, this was the kind of day I dreamed about.

CHERI: Oh, sweetie, that's wonderful! Did you help pass a bill that will aid the impoverished? Did you meet a political leader you hold in high esteem?

ANDREW: Not even close. I searched John's girlfriend's apartment and I found a broken tape of them fucking!

He shows her the videotape.

CHERI: Wait. You found a broken sex tape and you TOOK IT? What on EARTH were you thinking? You could -- hang on. If it's broken, how do you know it's a sex tape?

ANDREW: It's marked "Special." What, like it'll be highlights from The Jay Leno Show?

CHERI: Well, whatever it is, you stole somebody else's property, and that's not right. You could ruin a marriage, destroy a reputation, and publically humiliate a terminally-ill woman. You know what you have to do now, right?

ANDREW: Absolutely. Clearly. Indisputably. (PAUSE) You got any scotch tape?

CHERI: Andrew, I meant THROW THE THING AWAY. Get RID of it. Nobody on EARTH should see that tape.

ANDREW: Darling, think about it! The man was a presidential candidate. He might have ended up leading this great nation of ours. We're witnesses to one of the darkest moments in history, and I'm holding an actual physical manifestation of the stunning collapse of a man whose sociopathic immorality knows no rational bounds. It's like Kafka, Dostoyevsky, and Dickens all rolled up into one.

CHERI: Oh. Okay. (TWO MINUTES LATER) Holy cow, look at that dick.

Friday, February 12, 2010

I've wanted to go to the Smithsonian Museum of American History for years. It's America's basement, a treasure trove of cultural history. They've got Fonzie's jacket, Archie Bunker's chair, the ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz. I'm picturing a twisty maze of passages as far as the eye can see. You go down one aisle and there's the set from Happy Days, and a mannequin dressed as Robert Conrad in Wild Wild West. Make a right and there's the original Yoda puppet next to the Partridge Family bus. So finally I book a train ticket and reserve a hotel room.

I pick the Residence Inn because it's gotten good recommendations on TripAdvisor, it's inexpensive, and the location is good. When I check in, I decide I've made a good choice: the desk clerk, who is handsome and friendly, not only upgrades me, but he tells me I get dinner too.

"It's served on the second floor from 6 to 7:30," he says. "Tonight we're serving Lazy Lasagna."

I thank him and head off to explore the city. I'm sure I'll have way too much to see and do, so there's no way I'll get back to the hotel for that tiny window of opportunity. Over the course of the day, though, that Lazy Lasagna starts haunting me. What is it, exactly? I picture boiling vats of noodles, a cauldron full of a parmesan bechamel, a tray stacked high with grated mozzarella and ricotta, and a bowl of oregano-tinged tomato sauce. I'd dutifully stack the ingredients, layer after layer, and stuff my face until extra virgin olive oil seeped out my pores.

And somehow I find myself back at the hotel at exactly 5:59. The door to the community room swings open, I grab a plate, I slide off the cover of the Lazy Lasagna and gasp at what I see inside.

Elbow macaroni in tomato sauce. On the side, there's the cheese that comes in a green can.

As I ladle a small serving onto my plate, I pinpoint my problem. I'm optimistic, and I have an overactive imagination. Which means I'm always disappointed. By pretty much everything.

My first boyfriend tried to tip me off to this. "You shouldn't expect anything," Roger said. "That way you're pleasantly surprised." His words sounded profound to me, but much stupider as I deciphered them. "Wait," I thought, "so I can't expect ANYTHING from him? Civility? Cleanliness? A warm hug after a hard day?" I pictured waking up on Christmas morning, handing him his presents, and finding nothing to open in return. "Unrealistic expectations!" he'd chide.

As I sit there trying to convince myself I'm not stupid, with three of the fattest people I've ever seen diving into the "lasagna" at tiny, separate tables, my face reddens. I had a right to expect better, didn't I? It's totally bait-and-switch. You can't toss in a wacky adjective and get yourself off the legal hook.

You can't try to sell your old Schwinn by calling it a Blind Man's Mercedes. You can't sell Stetson cologne by dubbing it the Straight Dude's Acqua Di Gio. You can't advertise a Backroads Tour of Tuscany and then drop people in Beirut. I feel like inviting the hotel manager over to my house for a Chronic Exaggerator's Turkey Dinner. I'd throw a chicken wing at him and then tell him to fuck himself.

I shovel down enough to fill me up, and then all the carbs and a massive snowstorm convince me to stay in for the night. The next morning, bright and early, I run to the Smithsonian. It'll be incredible! I think. What a treasure trove! I'll be there for hours and hours, engrossed in the riches and overwhelmed by nostalgia.

When I get there, I can't believe my eyes. It's a tiny room, smaller than my apartment, and exactly as they said. Exactly. There's Fonzie's jacket, there's Archie Bunker's chair, and there's the ruby slippers.

And that's about it.

I head back to the hotel, pack up all my stuff and head downstairs to check out. Washington is all about saying one thing and doing another, evidently, even up to the presidency. I feel like whipping out my dick and slapping the clerk in the face with it. "It's the poor man's American Express," I'd insist.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Dear Grammar Police,

Thank you for being one of the many informing me of my heinous grammatical error. Just for future note, when I say things like "Methinks thou doth protesteth too much," odds are I'll have made ten or twelve mistakes, because I'll have just randomly made up most of the words.

Unfortunately, I know very little about ancient, dead languages, and I do not plan to learn more. My head is already full of languages that sexy, living men speak -- like un peu de français, poco de español -- so unfortunately I may never be able to decipher the words that a priest might yell when he came.

Your obedient servant,
RomanHans
You notice there's something wrong with Washington, DC even before you've gotten downtown. You drive through a slum you'd never have expected. The few people you see walking around are poor and black, and the restaurants -- just a step up from shacks, really -- serve black-identified food like jerk chicken and barbecue.

A mile later, all this becomes a memory as you cross a line into Whitesville that's so sharp you expect a border guard. Now, all of a sudden, every hotel, every store, every restaurant is upscale and white. Every face is upscale and white.

You look around, and at some point it hits you: if the Republicans and Democrats can't even fix up the city they live in, what hope do they have with the rest of the U. S.?

There are two main themes you pick up in Washington: one, we've made some truly dreadful mistakes for which we're truly sorry. And two, is this a great country or what?

I'm not sure how to answer that second question surrounded by so much evidence of the first. In the Smithsonian Museum of American History there's a section of the Woolworth's lunch counter from Greensboro, North Carolina where four black students staged a sit-in after waitresses refused to serve them. There's a replica of a slave cabin, and a floor plan of a bus station complete with separate black and white waiting rooms.

And mere feet away there's the enormous flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the Star Spangled Banner. Feel that national pride stirring yet?

On my tour of the Capitol building, the guide repeatedly referred to slavery and the fight for civil rights, and pointed to exactly one bronze bust of Martin Luther King among the hundreds of marble white people as proof of how far we've come.

They're sooo sorry. What an embarrassment! But ain't this a wonderful land?

I can't merge the facts in my head. I'm guessing they think our problems have been solved, or that at least we're capable of correcting them. But then you look at the lily-white faces of the pages scurrying by, you look at the pale faces of every man who struts by in an expensive suit, you notice the conspicuous absence of any reference to homosexuality, and you wonder how anybody can claim anything has changed.

On my way out, I close my eyes and crank up my iPod. I want to go back in denial. It's like going to your interior decorator's home and discovering that all of his furniture is from Ikea.

On the plus side, I don't think I'll ever see a better likeness of Ralph Kramden.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


"In Brazil, I lived in constant fear for my life," says twenty-seven-year-old Augusto Pereira de Souza, a gay man who won asylum in America after convincing the Department of Homeland Security that his life would be in danger if he returned.

Brazilian authorities said his homosexuality was unnatural, his effeminacy was repulsive, and he didn't use enough spangles in his Carneval costume.
Valentine's Day must be near, because all New York Times stories have turned to thoughts of love.


Here, naturally, my eye was drawn to "all kinds of peculiar sexual activity," since that was my major in college. I nearly clicked through, but then I saw the part about "February's Life-form of the Month." Sure, maybe you think it could be interesting, but you'll see when the calendar comes out.


See these women? The Times says they took a walking tour of the Lower East Side that focused on foods thought to be aphrodisiacs. If you should happen to spot them, then, be aware they are at large and presumed horny. Stay at a safe distance unless you are a trained professional experienced with women who've hit the snooze alarms on their biological clocks forty thousand times. Even if they're wearing Faberge eggs on chains around their necks, it's best to look at the sky and slowly back away, because God knows the awesome scarring power of speckled cleavage.

And in a shoo-in for next year's Pulitzer Prize in investigative journalism, the Times finally steps up to the plate and answers the question we've all been buzzing about for the past week:

What foods make you horny, baby?

Apparently the Times has decided that if magazines like Cosmopolitan can recycle "Make Your Man Explode With Passion!" every month, and Men's Health can reprint "Sexy Abs in Four Seconds a Day!", then they can regurgigate this "Erotic Food" thing every Valentine's Day.

Applying rigorous scientific principles to their research, they break sexy foods into categories. Some foods are sexy because they increase blood flow, like garlic. Some are sexy because they smell good, like cinnamon. Others, like figs and cucumbers, are seen as erotic because of their resemblance to the male and female sex organs.

Which comes as something of a surprise to me, because I've always been a bit embarrassed about the Smyrna I'm packing downstairs.

Some foods are sexy, says Dr. Meryl S. Rosofsky, because they require "sucking and slurping seductively," like oysters. Interesting? No, I didn't think so either. In fact, I'm calling the police right now, telling them to be on the lookout for a brainy-looking chick who's watching kids eat Oreos.

Foods like watermelons and donuts are sexy because, due to nature's odd design, they offer the perfect cavity for penetration.

Okay, the Times actually skipped this category, but I'm more of a stickler for detail.

Amy Reiley, a restaurant consultant and cookbook author, says Mexican food is the hottest, in more ways than one. "Guacamole . . . offers a silky foil to crunchy chips, a cool, slippery and sexy topping for spicy burritos and tamale pies."

I'm reading the highlights to Raoul, my short-time companion, and I slowly find the room heating up. I'm picturing an oversized burrito diving into a warm tamale pie, with a thin layer of guacamole moistening its entrance.

Raoul isn't buying it. "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard," he says. "Food is food and sex is sex. You're never going to get a man hot by showing him your nachos."

"Well, Dr. Ruth says the most unexpected things can make you horny, because 'the most important sex organ lies between the ears.'"

Raoul rolls his eyes. "Only if your balls are on my neck," he says.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Joe Rogan Confronts Locker Room Stalker


Joe Rogan claims that whenever he changes clothes in the locker room of his gym, this baby-faced kid always scurries over so he can check out Joe's "hog." And rather than confront the guy and discuss the topic -- you know, like an adult -- Joe ambushes him on film.

And now that film has gone viral, to eternally shame the kid on YouTube.

C'mon, Joe -- doesn't the story sound a little familiar? A geeky little fan attaches himself to hunky athletes? Methinks thou dost protest too much, and that was before you stuck Astrud Gilberto on the soundtrack.

Did President Obama just attack Taiwan?

What Is This Picture For?


(1) It's from the halftime routine of the Merry Mousers, a precision group of cheerleading bloggers

(2) It's a police photo shot when a drunken Ruby Keeler robbed a Circuit City store

(3) It's from an ad for the new Laptop Flower Bazooka, bought by Barbara Corcoran on last week's Shark Tank

(4) It accompanies a New York Times article about what kinds of newspaper articles people email to their friends.

Monday, February 8, 2010

This afternoon NBC New York held their annual "Locals Only" promotion where some of the world's top chefs serve food to the masses from catering trucks. Last year's star was David Chang, with a picnic party in 90° weather on Houston Street. This year there were four stars, and with the wind chill it had to be ten degrees. Working shifts from 10 to 6 were Alain Ducasse, Paul Liebrandt, Daniel Boulud, and Michael White. I was lucky enough to sample the cooking of Monsieur Boulud.


Mr. Boulud couldn't have been more congenial. He greeted his guests with a warm smile and a platter of food. Dazzled by the hubbub I'll admit I was distracted, but I thought I heard him make a double entendre about shoving an enormous sausage into my mouth.

No, I thought. Couldn't be. Mr. Boulud has been a charcutier for decades now. He couldn't still enjoy those jokes.


The man definitely had a way with meat, though. My sausage was thick and juicy, full of gamy flavor and topped with lots of fresh mint.

My short-time companion Raoul ordered the Croque Monsieur. Hot and cheesy and crusty and sharp, it was definitely one of the best things either of us have ever tried.


As the crowd buzzed and the paparazzi snapped, Raoul and I dug into our desserts: raspberry-topped white chocolate mousse, or pane cotta, or goddamn iles flottantes for all I know. Delicious, but round spoons don't work with square corners.

I could have sworn I heard Mr. Boulud joke with another guy about sausage, this time actually using the word "fellatio." Doesn't seem possible, since the man positively bubbles with charmant, but his t-shirt says "Eat My Sausage," so what do I know?


We heard someone go off the menu and order a Croque Madame. "It's a Croque Monsieur without the fellatio jokes," announced Raoul.

Tonight on Undercover Boss: "Sometimes the Master Really is a Nice Guy"
On Friday, Elin Nordegren went to the Gentle Path sex rehab clinic where her husband Tiger Woods has been staying for the last few weeks. She reportedly met him with open arms and accompanied him back to their family home, says RadarOnline.com.

She was moving very slowly, though, because her pockets were filled with gold.

So, after making fun of President Obama for using a teleprompter during his State of the Union speech, it turns out Sarah Palin is no Suze Orman either. In fact, like a teenager cheating in history class, she actually wrote notes for her Tea Party Convention speech on her hand. Other websites have struggled to read her scrawl, but we here at World Class Stupid deciphered it using advanced computer techniques.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Important Notice for All Professional Offices Operating in the State of New York


Cat Fancy magazine can be yours for just TEN DOLLARS a year!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Action Alert

Dear Super Bowl Sponsor,

During this Sunday's Super Bowl, CBS plans to run a commercial paid for by a Christian extremist group called Focus on the Family. This commercial will celebrate the far-right religious beliefs of Pam Tebow, the mother of Tim Tebow, a devoutly-religious football player who apparently hasn't noticed the Bible's proclamations against touching pigskin.

In this commercial, Ms. Tebow will tell the story about how, while she was in the Philippines and pregnant, she became ill. Her doctor said the medication she needed would harm her fetus, and he advised her to abort it. She refused . . . and today that fetus is world-renowned for flinging footballs across grassy fields.

It's a heartwarming story, and it's unfortunate that Ms. Tebow apparently made it up. The Center for Reproductive Rights has declared Ms. Tebow a liar, because abortion has always been illegal in the Philippines, and a doctor would be imprisoned for recommending one.

In the past, CBS has refused to run ads for gay businesses with the excuse that they are controversial. Somehow, though, this far-right proselytizing has slipped through the cracks.

Since CBS refuses to pull the ad, you must pull yours.

We will be watching the Super Bowl this Sunday, because if you give CBS your support, we cannot give you ours.

Sincerely,
RomanHans


Hyundai

GoDaddy (website hosting service)

Doritos (FritoLay)

Electronic Arts (videogames)

Papa John's

Audi

Monster.com (as a jobseeker)
Monster.com (as an employer)

Email Budweiser and Bud Light at info@farrelldistributing.com, or phone 800-DIAL-BUD

Email Matt Ferguson, CareerBuilder President and CEO, at matt.ferguson@careerbuilder.com

Call Coca-Cola at 800-GET-COKE

Call Honda at 800-999-1009
Homosexuals Are Recruiting Our Helpless Heterosexual Youngsters, Says Baptist Group Snatching Orphans From Haiti
Sarah Palin Wants Smaller Government That Somehow Senses When She's Made Improvements to Her Property

Two full-sized, two-story log homes -- one complete with workshop and sauna -- have been built on property partially owned by Sarah Palin. Somehow, though, the Alaska government didn't notice, and she apparently didn't tell them. But last Thursday they did an aerial survey, noticed the new buildings, and now they want back taxes from her for a higher property assessment.

Naturally, Sarah's all, "Hey, I'm an American, and Americans don't have to tell Big Brother Government what they're doing on their own land," but the Alaska government's all, "Well, of course you do, you idiot. You're required by, like, law."

Thursday, February 4, 2010

James O'Keefe is an asshole, let's make that clear from Word One. He's an overprivileged white "conservative activist" who's trying to shut down what little help there is available to the poor. He lies through his teeth to show the system can be abused, somehow extrapolating that into claims it should be abolished.

His misanthropy is obvious from his very first "prank." "Pro-life activist" Lila Rose pretended she was pregnant, and O'Keefe played her boyfriend. They went to Planned Parenthood and asked about abortions, pretending not to know it was too late to be legally done.

Yes, you got it: they actually pretended Ms. Rose was a desperate teenager for the sole purpose of shutting down an operation that helps desperate teenagers.

What does Mr. O'Keefe apparently think the Planned Parenthood caseworker should have said? "Oh. Too bad. Sorry. Missed the window. Enjoy your kid!" But no. The worker said something like, "If you gave me a different conception date, we could probably get you that abortion."

Which, of course, is horrifying! Is against the law! Planned Parenthood should be SHUT DOWN!

And, in fact, they nearly were. That simple exchange, those two liars with a hidden camera, led to lawmakers in a state halfway across the country trying to end a $721,000 contract with Planned Parenthood, and the Orange County Board of Supervisors cut nearly $300,000 from Planned Parenthood's budget.

Thanks to James O'Keefe and Lila Rose, desperate teenagers who don't lie will get fucked by the government too.

Mr. O'Keefe didn't stop there. He decided he'd show the world that some Planned Parenthood staffers are bigots. He phoned various offices claiming he wanted to donate money, but he specified that the money had to be used to fund abortions for poor minority women. He found exactly two Planned Parenthood staffers in Oklahoma and New Mexico who agreed to his terms.

Seconds later the press releases came screaming out: PLANNED PARENTHOOD WANTS MONEY TO KILL BLACK BABIES! "Racist Donations Welcome We Abort Black Babies!" "Planned Parenthood has no shame in accepting donations to purposely abort minority populations," wrote the ever-present Ms. Rose.

Now, I've got a few problems with this stunt. First, it's a little hypocritical using cries of bigotry to reduce aid to minorities. These are poor women who want to terminate pregnancies, so it's a bit of a stretch trying to spin it into racial genocide. Planned Parenthood isn't exactly going to hang out on the sidewalk going "Psst!" to black teens with baby bumps.

Second, Oklahoma and New Mexico? Exactly how many offices did Mr. O'Keefe have to phone to find two people who didn't hang up on him? Apparently, it doesn't matter. In Idiot Republican-world, one bad apple should cut the funding to the entire tree.

In an incident that's missing from his Wikipedia page, Mr. O'Keefe applied for a license to marry a male friend in Massachusetts. We're not gay, they both repeatedly told the clerk. We have girlfriends! We're straight! We just want the health benefits.

Get the pattern? Abuse a system that helps people in order to shut it down. Sadly, this stunt went nowhere. Maybe because if marriage license clerks were also the Love Police, Republican senators would be denied trophy wives.

And now Mr. O'Keefe is in trouble for pretending to be a telephone repairman at Senator Mary Landrieu's office. What were he and his friends are doing? They claim it was harmless. They claim it was a prank. Her right-wing constituents didn't like her left-wing attitudes, so when they couldn't get through to her, they wanted to see if something was wrong with her phone.

Yup. That's right. And, you know, if President Obama doesn't answer your email, that gives you the right to break into the White House.

In Mr. O'Keefe, we realize the Republican party has hit new lows. Clearly their idiocy is unbounded, and they're hoping the rest of the world is as stupid as they are. To them, "Gotcha!" journalism is when a reporter asks what newspapers you read, not when you break into a politician's office to tap telephones. They have no clue how to fix the system, so they'll just tear things down.

Meet James O'Keefe, their wrecking ball.

When gays are allowed to adopt, you know he'll be there. "I am an avowed homosexual who would like to take fourteen white babies," he'll write on his application. "I hope it's okay if I continually hit them with sticks."

When Don't Ask, Don't Tell is finally repealed, you know he's going to enlist in the Army so he can play grab-ass in the shower. "That darned liberal Congress approved it!" he'll cry, camera hidden in his feathered turban. "Now show me that sweet tushie, you hot hunk of man-meat!"

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Still in DC until tomorrow, so here's another repeat.

----------

I was browsing through socks at a famous department store when my nose began to run. Since I don’t carry tissues with me I sprinted for the men’s room -- four flights up, left at Women’s Undergarments, through the tunnel near Shipping and across the catwalk past the “High Voltage” locker. The place was empty and I wasn't going to be there long so I didn’t lock my stall door, but the toilet paper holder only dispensed like a sheet at a time before slamming on the brakes. I’d wrestled out maybe five mangled sheets before somebody else walked in.

Footsteps approached the bank of urinals across from me, a zipper unzipped, and somebody let loose. While he was going at it the door opened again, and pretty soon there was so much splashing I expected neighborhood kids to scamper around the pair wearing swimsuits and water wings.

I decided to give up on the toilet paper and make due with what I had. I wiped my nose with some, stuffed the rest in my pocket, and when I was ready to go I noticed the place had gone quiet. I’d have heard if anyone had gone anywhere -- to the faucets, to the mirror, or straight out, like typical males -- but there was nothing. I poked my head over the stall door to see what was up.

Two guys were standing at the urinals, but they were definitely not peeing. The guy on the right, wearing tight Levis that framed his butt nicely, was more interested in the guy next to him than any bodily function. His eyes caressed the man’s stubbled jaw and then slowly worked their way down, and to my surprise the other guy followed suit. I popped my head down as they turned to case the joint, and when I popped back up I guess they figured they were alone, because both their facial expressions and their arm movements had become more animated.

“Can I help you with anything?” the guy on the right asked, his eyes fixing on his neighbor’s bits.

“Yeah, man,” the other guy said gruffly. He turned from the urinal, bolstering his equipment with both hands. “Suck on this,” he commanded. “SUCK IT!”

Now, this seemed a little coarse to me, but the guy on the right didn’t agree. He sank to his knees and started to zero in on the target. Maybe I needed to be a little rougher, I thought. Whenever I broached the subject on dates I approached it circuitously, touching on everything from recent gains in sodomy laws to a Woman’s Right to Choose. And the response I always got was somewhere between “No, thanks” and “Huh?” This was an exchange I needed to see.

I stood there transfixed, like Dian Fossey coming across a particularly interesting pair of apes. Unlike Dian I didn’t really want to just hang back and take notes, but I’d intruded on people having sex before and while they’d screamed a lot of things “Why don’t you join us?” wasn’t one. Before the demanded sex act had even begun, though, the bathroom door swung open again, and both men leapt back to their peeing positions. The intruder, a pale old man whose purple track suit made him look like a dachshund in a Chivas bag, shuffled to the urinal between them and after exchanging a resigned look the two guys zipped up, flushed and fled.

In the days to come I thought a little about public sex. I’d always felt it was something like dogs licking their balls: I mean, you can’t really blame them for doing it, but I’d rather not see it near my feet at the mall. But then I thought, what the heck’s wrong with it? New Yorkers can ignore the guy blowing snot rockets at our shoes, and the drunk with his pants around his ankles harassing us for change, so why can’t we ignore two hot guys going at it? Is there something about public sex that’s particularly obnoxious, or are we all just timid dogs afraid of our own balls?

A week or so later, this experience still fresh in my mind, I met my friend Gail at a fancy restaurant. I got a little tipsy and halfway through dinner noticed a handsome man at the next table excuse himself and lumber toward the bathroom. I followed, thinking I’d “accidentally” run into him there, but he veered off at the telephones and I entered the bathroom alone.

There was a nice-looking guy standing all by himself at the mirror, and I hoped this could still be my lucky day. I headed to the urinals and while most guys flee after their privacy’s been interrupted this one didn’t. He fixed his hair, then brushed invisible lint off his jacket, and though he was dressed like he had some important job he was obviously in no hurry to leave.

I could feel myself being watched while I pretended to go, and when I casually glanced over my shoulder he was looking at me and smiling. He was being pretty brazen about the whole thing: washing his hands, again fiddling with his hair, pacing back and forth. He was ready for action. I mean, damn, he was even holding a towel.

It’s now or never, I thought, swallowing hard. Time for this dog to start licking.

I looked at him again, this time trying to wink lasciviously while simultaneously coaxing my bits away from aloof. He inched slowly toward me and his eyebrows slid up. “Can I help you with anything?” he said, his tone implying a laundry list of possibilities.

Yeah, buddy, I thought. I’ve heard those words before. “You sure can,” I said, in a low but still possibly believable voice. I swung around, pushed my pants down and grabbed my dick. “Suck on this,” I said, shaking it up and down to make my point crystal clear. “SUCK IT!”

I grabbed his crotch for emphasis, feeling around for his genitals and then clamping my hand tight around them. He looked down for a second, seemingly unhappy at this turn of events. “Uh, guy,” he said, his ruddy face reddening. “You know I’m the men’s room attendant, right?”

I thought he was going to slug me so I flew out of there. He stopped chasing me after I flung him a twenty. But he deserved it: I mean, I gave the coat check girl two bucks and didn’t even touch her hangers.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I'm headed to Washington DC until tomorrow, so here's a popular little number from the vaults.

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I’ve been reading way too much trash recently -- books with sex or drugs or violence and no redeeming value whatsoever. The last book I finished was about a gay vampire who had other things on his mind than sucking blood, and just try checking that out of the library without a fake moustache and dark glasses. I figured it was time to read something respectable for a change.

I'd always been curious about Jane Austen, so I picked up “Pride and Prejudice.” It’s one of those books you mean to read but never do, and halfway through the book I understand why. Like a PBS miniseries it’s interesting in theory, but after more than a couple minutes in reality it just bugs the pants off you.

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

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

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

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

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

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





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


Now, I don’t mind a little wordiness as long as the author keeps it all straight. Austen, though, turns the whole exercise into a word problem. There are forty countesses in the book, yet rather than referring to them by name she gives the name of their house. “’I visited your relations at Lancashire,’ the Countess of Marscapone exclaimed while her own thoughts dwelt on her sister at Longhorn.” Everyone has three or four cousins with the same name (Colonel Fitzwilliam and Fitzwilliam Darcy meet on page 152, much to my astonishment). And everybody’s got more aliases than Puffy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And so, kind reader, to cut a long story short, I’m giving up. At page 264 I’m bidding a final “fare thee well” to the Bennets and the Bingleys and their fourteen hundred cousins and returning the book to the library, where it can be admired from a great distance. Tonight I’ll enjoy a respite from such obfuscation in my bed-sit chamber, neither playing nor dancing a quadrille with the one I hold in fondest regard who isn’t me.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Being a bartender tends to sort out your suitors. You serve all kinds of people, of course, but only two try to engage you in conversation: the really attractive, and the really aggressive.

Pressing fifty and looking like a sausage in an Armani suit, George was obviously in the latter camp. He refused to be intimidated by the 6'6" dude who was running the show. He leaned against the bar and beckoned me over with a bent finger. "Congratulate me," he said. "I just quit my job. I was Vice President in charge of marketing at Ericsson, Walters, and Roy."

"Congratulations," I said. I'd never heard of the firm, but I guessed it meant he was important. You don't form a company using last names if you're selling hot dogs on a stick. "So, what are you going to do now?"

"I'm Greek," he said, "and I love Greek food. I'm thinking about opening a restaurant."

"That'd be fun," I said. "What a great idea," I said. But somehow I knew ten years from now he'd be saying, "Hey, I thought of a couple dishes I could serve."

When George came in two weeks later, though, he'd already opened it.

Needless to say, I was startled. I was impressed. Most of my friends couldn't make restaurant reservations that fast. George was quick with an explanation. "Mindspring," he said, referring to the cult-like program that tranformed regular people into superpowers by trapping them in a room for some mysterious twelve-hour confrontation. "It's amazing. Totally transforms your life. Gives you the confidence to do anything."

Unfortunately, I was already suspicious about Mindspring. It seemed like every time I met a real asshole, they had Mindspring in their past. See, Mindspring gave you confidence. Put you in charge of your life, taught you life wasn't a dress rehearsal, made you go out and grab the bull by the horns.

If you were nice but shy, they'd make you nice. But if you were a quiet jerk, they'd turn you into a really loud one.

Naturally George asked me out, and naturally I agreed. On our first date he drove us up the coast in his Ferrari with the top down. Being Greek, he was a sunworshipper. Being a Mindspring graduate, he had the confidence to drive wearing nothing but speedos. And having the body of Ernest Borgnine, he had the power to draw the stares of everyone within eighty miles.

I didn't say a word. I was mesmerized. Hell, there's no way I'd have stopped in a self-service gas station wearing what was essentially a purple rubber band, and I was thirty years younger and in shape.

He filled a couple hours with talk about himself before the topic swerved over to me. "So what do you like to do?" he asked at a red light just outside Carlsbad.

A million possibilities leapt to mind. "Everything!" I replied excitedly. "Woodworking, camping, going to thrift stores. Or just staying at home and watching TV."

His craggy features converged into a frown. "I meant in bed," he clarified.

The question irritated me. Could regular people answer it? I mean, if you asked your mom or dad, what would they say? "I like to start off with a little French passive, followed by some light spanking, with reciprocal Greek as the main attraction and water sports as the cool-down"?

Or did he just assume that I was a slut?

I was twenty, and frankly I didn't have enough experience to judge. I'd only tried a couple of the major acts. In fact, I felt about sex like I felt about art: I couldn't say what I liked, exactly, but I recognized it when I ran into it. I wasn't set. I wasn't fixed. I didn't head to art galleries saying, "Hey, show me something blue!"

So I said, "Oh, the usual," hoping that wouldn't leave me tied to a mule and flogged in his mind.

"Oh," he said. "A man of mystery."

We meandered through Lompoc, where seed companies grow acres of colorful flowers. The wind whipped my hair, and the growling, superpowered engine shook me from the waist down. Adorable little cities passed by in anonymous blurs before we hit Solvang, a touristy Danish town. He parked the car in front of a bakery and threw on a shirt and a pair of shorts to go inside. He got us a dozen donuts called aebleskiver and we walked the main drag. "So, are you versatile?" he asked.

I thought for a minute. "Well, I own a cordless drill, but I like to watch the Food Network."

George frowned. "I meant, do you like to fuck as well as get fucked?"

I just snorted at his outrageousness and checked for powdered sugar on my chin. I definitely felt conflicted. They say power is sexy, and I was feeling it. I mean, Kissinger dated some of the hottest women in Hollywood, and that was with a string of war crimes under his belt and a German lisp. Clearly George's overconfidence was useful, or he wouldn't be a rich restauranteur with four sports cars. And wouldn't Mindspring -- or hell, even Dr. Phil -- tell me that the smart person latches onto somebody who's going far in life?

Still, in the back of my mind I knew there was a problem. Like, did he have any idea who I was? Was it really me -- woodworking, camping, thrift-shopping me -- that he wanted in this relationship, or was he just looking for the first dude who could fill a void?

The sun was setting when we hit Ventura, and George pulled into the parking lot of a romantic seafood restaurant overlooking the beach. I scanned the menu, wondering if butter-fried clams and butter-fried oysters and butter-fried lobster would turn my face into a butter-slick. "I am absolutely starving," I said.

George winked at me. "I could eat you under the table," he replied.

He smiled. I smiled. I froze.

I said, "George, I'm thinking this isn't such a perfect match," right before he got my pants unzipped.

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