Thursday, December 29, 2011

Today they're all OMFG.

Inspirational Stories

I've heard all the clichés about New Yorkers, but here's a little story that proves them all false. Contrary to popular belief, even rich and smug Manhattanites can teach us a lesson once in a while.

It seems a busy BMW owner kept getting speeding tickets. He'd careen to work, race home, zip around on vacation. His gas pedal was permanently stuck to the floor. It was like the cops never gave the poor dude a break: every time he took a corner on two wheels there'd be more flashing lights in his rear view mirror. It was like the poor guy was cursed.

Whereas the rest of us would just pay the tab and cry into our Budweisers, though, this guy had a brilliant idea: if there was some way of making it hard for cops to write his details down, some of these tickets would get lost. But how on earth could somebody do that?

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you my New York Hero of 2011:

Put me down for I1lIl1I.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Random Thoughts

Exercise makes you live longer. That's why every cat on earth is dead.

How come bed sheets stained with an outline are holy when it's Jesus and disgusting when it's me?

How can a woodpecker move its head back and forth really fast for hours on end? I don't know, but I'm a guy so I don't have to.

In Thailand, are typhoons just called phoons?

Note to self: "Sleigh bells ring/are you listening?" doesn't sound very festive when you scream the second line.

Give a man a fish and you'll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll need ugly clothes forever.

I'm constantly striving to be more positive. Instead of complaining that my boyfriend bought me a kitten for Christmas rather than the iPhone I wanted, I'm looking on the bright side. Nobody likes throwing an empty bag into a lake.

Friday, December 16, 2011

If the above does not work for you, you do not have Flash. Click on the Pope and maybe something will happen.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

On Monday, a group of British feminists proudly led a so-called Muff March through the streets of London to protest the paucity of pubic hair on women in porn.

Declaring that porn's strict stance on hairless genitalia is an anti-feminist statement by a patriarchal society, the women chanted slogans like “There’s nothing finer than my vagina." Some wore large, bushy merkins celebrating pubic hair untouched by any blade.

Bystanders mostly seemed amused by the protesters. After about an hour, they wandered away, perhaps leaving some minds slightly open and the streets slightly cleaner where they walked.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris is sufficiently bad that it zips past the word "crap" and goes straight to "steaming pile of shit." In its desire to succinctly describe the predominant problems facing the world today, it divides us into two distinct tribes: fabulously-wealthy conflicted artists, and even richer but un-fun Republicans.

Hmm. Which side should we choose?

Now, at this point I realized that everybody not wearing an ascot should probably run screaming for the OFF button, but I decided I'd keep an open mind. If I'd shut off every film when it started irritating me I wouldn't know who Al Pacino is.

As "Gil," Owen Wilson plays Woody Allen to the point of mimicry. Every time he gets near a bedroom you think he'll suddenly spout, "Is sex dirty? Only if you do it right!" Gil is a fantastically successful screenwriter who Hollywood just adores, but he longs to be a serious novelist. The problem is, he doesn't know if his book is any good. He says it's about something called a "nostalgia shop," which should send up red flags with viewers. I mean, if Allen doesn't know you find old crap in antique shops, maybe he should leave the astute depictions of contemporary life to, say, Paris Hilton.

Gil's fiancée Inez, played by some chick who's obviously learned acting from reruns of Three's Company, is a total caricature. She hates Paris in the rain, long walks on the beach, baskets full of puppies. You expect her to set a bum alight and then complain that she simply detests sitting in front of the fire. Naturally, she thinks Gil is crazy to consider cutting off the Hollywood gravy train.

Stop me if this rings a bell.

Now, I've got two problems with this setup. (1) Drama is supposed to have high stakes. If Gil fails as a serious writer, what's the result? He's doomed to living in a Malibu mansion with $20,000 ottomans and Fresh Direct delivering Moët every eighteen minutes? I couldn't give a fuck about a dude who slits his wrists with a Fabergé letter opener. And (2) there's nobody to identify with. We try to feel sorry for Gil, relentlessly criticized by the shallow Inez, but clearly he's an idiot or the words "HEY, DUDE, YOU KNOW YOU TWO AIN'T MARRIED!" would have, at some point, popped up in his wracked brain.

While Inez is shopping for puppy daggers, Gil takes a long walk. A vintage Rolls pulls up next to him, and the occupants -- all in tuxedos or flapper attire -- implore him to get in. He does. Next stop is a party where the hosts introduce themselves as F. SCOTT and ZELDA FITZGERALD.

GIL: You're . . . who? That's . . . crazy. Isn't this 2011 anymore? I swear, I'm going insane. I'M NUTS! WHAT'S FUCKING HAPPENING!!!

F. SCOTT: I say, I like this chap! What say we split this boring joint and go see JOSEPHINE BAKER?

ZELDA: Zounds!

They go to a nightclub where nobody notices Owen's suit, shoes, and shag haircut are from eighty years in the future.

F. SCOTT: Isn't JOSEPHINE BAKER an amazing talent? My friend ERNEST HEMINGWAY has a terrific crush on her. (PAUSE.) Oh look -- here he comes now!


HEMINGWAY: You wrote a book? Gosh, old chap, I'd love to read it, because I've got so much spare time in between winning Nobel prizes and bullfighting. As you must know, though, we artists are incredibly passionate. If I don't like your book I'll push you in front of a speeding cab, and if I like it I'll stab you to death, then say I wrote the damn thing myself. (PAUSE.) Let's go see somebody who can judge your novel fairly: my friend GERTRUDE STEIN.

Naturally PICASSO is at Gertrude's place. In fact, I'm thinking everybody short of BODECIA THE WARRIOR QUEEN is going to turn up in her parlor. Visions of a gingham-aproned ALICE B. TOKLAS appear before me, though, doing bong hits with the Surfer From the Future, and something snapped.

Really, a movie where the central dilemma is making money vs. making art? I felt like Gil: Did I somehow travel back in time to 1962? Was a suspendered mime going to dance while hippies sang about freedom? Instead of being a egocentric moron welcomed into the Bloomsbury Group, though, I was being spoon-fed pretentious pabulum by a pandering Woody Allen.

Roughly half an hour in, I shut the thing off.

I tried. I really did. I would have kept watching if I'd thought there was hope for our side -- you know, poor people who hate overprivileged idiots who somehow think they have actual problems -- but the odds weren't good.

Because if any of those fabulous celebs had told Woody's stand-in to shut the fuck up and go away, why would he have made the film?

Friday, November 18, 2011

I can't believe I watched another TV program where somebody broke into somebody else's email by guessing their password. Whenever I open an online account, they want a password with, like, five letters (two uppercase), three numbers, and six symbols. Good luck breaking into my email by guessing my password is H!%8_lQ+n.

Dear All The Patriots Who Freaked Out When An Occupy Wall Street Protester Used An American Flag As A Blanket,

Wanted to make sure you saw All-American football player Beau Palin's sweaty dick rubbing against Old Glory. And you know what happens when he sits down, right?

Hope this helps,

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Last night thousands of Penn State students flooded into the streets and rioted to protest the firing of football coach Joe Saterno, breaking windows, tearing down light poles and overturning vehicles, unequivocally telling the world that their patriarchal leader is far more important than any molested children.

This morning the Pope was all, "Bless you, my sons!"

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Herman Cain is such an asshole. All he does these days is whine that he's the victim of a "high tech lynching." Call me crazy, but I'm not sure the words "high tech" and "lynching" really belong together, like "Nazis" and "spreadable cheese." Sure, the news that Cain sexually harassed just about everything with a vagina was disseminated via online news sites, bloggers, Facebook, etc., but it's pretty much a slap in the face to African Americans everywhere to link the word "lynching" with a nasty 140 characters on Twitter.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

From Steve Wright in the Afternoon on BBC Radio 2:

Wright: Johnny Weissmuller died on this day. Which jungle-swinging character clad only in a loin cloth did he play?

Contestant: Jesus.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

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 sooo cool," a clerk says. "Those are sooo great!" 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.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Modern Romance

I found you on Friendster
and asked you to be mine.
You wrote me on MySpace and said
"That would be just fine."

I sent you a fax in which
I asked if you'd be true.
You left a message on my pager:
"Beep beep means 'I love you.'"

Friday, October 21, 2011

Just not a hell of a lot.

When Did "Pawn Stars" Jump the Shark?

"Pawn Stars," a reality show on the History Channel, used to be one of our guilty pleasures. We'd watch it week after week, continually amazed at Rick's broad expanse of knowledge and the strange items people brought in.

And then one day, out of the blue, it hit us. We realized the show was a massive pile of manufactured crap, just a Great Gazoo away from being a cartoon for eight-year-olds. When, exactly, did this happen? Well, it could have been a number of times.

  • The day Chumlee decided a Bob Dylan record would be worth more autographed, so he went outside and found Dylan.

  • When somebody brought in some ghost-hunting equipment, so the Pawn Stars decided to see if their 21-year-old building was haunted.

  • The day Chumlee "stupidly" bought a fake Gibson guitar that was barely more than a piece of wood and a string.

  • When Rick and his dad spent 55 minutes calling Chumlee an idiot and then said, "Sure, we'd love to try your homemade wine!"

  • When you realize the only person who'd call Corey "Big Hoss" is Corey.

  • The episode where somebody brings in some Native American beadwork to pawn, and during the appraisal the beads change color.

  • The day Rick bought a run-down Coke machine, and during restoration it switched models.

  • When somebody found out that a customer seeking to pawn a guitar worked at the same vintage guitar store as the expert brought in to appraise it.

  • When somebody who visited the store was asked if he wanted to be on the show, and when he said yes they gave him something to pawn and a story.

  • The day somebody decided three fat guys would be the perfect spokesmen for Subway.

  • The 400th time Rick declared that if something was authentic it'd be worth a fortune, then discovered it was authentic and offered $65 for it.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Name one athlete you would hate to be stuck in a car with for all of eternity.

That flamboyant figure skater Johnny Weir. I don't think we'd have much to talk about. -- NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson, in an interview in November's Maxim magazine

God, I totally agree. I mean, figure skating is such an effeminate profession. Puh-leeze. You skate around in little circles and occasionally crash. It's nothing like car racing, where you drive around in little circles and occasionally crash.

Car racing is a sport tailored for manly men, requiring a distinctly masculine set of skills. You've got to spin a little wheel, press a little pedal, and sit for long periods of time with no air conditioning. It takes absolutely nothing from the profession to note that other people put air in your tires and fill your gas tank. Heck, I'll bet even James Bond doesn't like the smell of gasoline getting in his clothes. Besides, drivers have to save their energy for repeatedly turning corners without any power steering.

And what a queen Johnny Weir is. Christ, if a race car driver acted like that he'd be run out of town.

I'll bet Johnny Weir doesn't even edge his stubble before he goes to work.

Maybe Jimmie has a giant gold belt, but he knows to cut back on the jewelry and earrings when he wears it.

Even if Jimmie has four really pretty vases, you don't see any flouncy flower arrangements in them.

Sure, Jimmie's mock turtleneck is totally covered in embroidery, but at least the colorful patches are for manly stuff, like those logos of car parts on his chest and that splash of Siemens on his arm.

The butch gray coat on Jimmie's signature bear more than counteracts his rainbow dickie.

His official screensaver conveys the awesome butchness of racing, with the powerful Ford leaving a cloud of burning rubber in its wake. It doesn't look anything like Bai Ling after she's put talcum powder on her ass.

As Jimmie's videogame says, he can ride "anything with an engine." That's a real man!

I'll bet he wouldn't hesitate for a minute before jumping on this fucking stool, and he'd probably burn out the motor before he stopped.

Sure, in 2006 he fell off the roof of a golf cart and broke his hand, but I'll bet even Chuck Norris runs into trouble when he pretends he's the Artichoke Queen in the Shriner's Parade.

Anyway, I think I've proved it by now. Jimmie Johnson is a butch, manly man, and whenever he wins a race, the whole world erupts in golden glitter as he hoists another giant silver vase toward the sky. Hooray for heterosexuality!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A 19-fingered robot that can play piano faster than any human has been unveiled.

And he still can't bring women to orgasm.

Created in Italy for a cost of $5,000, Teotronico has 19 fingers because it is the ideal number for covering any melody or song.

Teotronico is said to be the only robot in the world capable of simultaneously singing and playing the piano while judging if an audience is impressed. As he plays, cameras in his eyes allow him to view an audience and interact with them, changing his choice of song if they don't look like they are enjoying themselves.

Unfortunately, he's oblivious to that "Christ, what the fuck is up with his eyebrows?" expression, and he can't fix the creepy smile that makes it look like he's also jerking off.

Monday, October 17, 2011

I'm an anarchist with a conscience. I lob Molotov cocktails at our oppressors, then wring my hands for years afterward thinking maybe I should have just sent them an angry note.

I wrote down one particular worry and emailed it to Ariel Kaminer, the NY Times' "Ethicist":

The city I lived in held an essay contest in which entrants had to send in true stories about car-pooling. I took exception to this, because clearly it was going to be judged by subjective people giving away taxpayer dollars. I’m gay, and I know from experience that writing about how you met your boyfriend never wins. So I made up a heterosexual story, and I won a prize.

Justified? Obviously, the best course would have been to get them to cancel the contest, but this didn’t sound possible.


After the Ethicist told me she was going to answer my letter in the Times' magazine, I alerted her to a few concerns.

Of course, I think your answer will be that I shouldn't have entered with a fake story, but I can't accept this. Ignoring discrimination never did anything. Of course, profiting from it by lying wasn't exactly Rosa Parks either. I was just sick of the double standard that straight people are a privileged class and decided to even the playing field.

The next day I wrote again, going into further detail:

I worked in the defense industry for twenty years. I wouldn't have been hired if I admitted I was homosexual, so I didn't. I lied and said I was heterosexual. The conditions weren't fair, so I did what I had to do rather than blithely accept their bigotry.

I see this contest in the same light.

Yes, it would be great to change the system, but that's not realistic. Yes, lying is bad -- but institutionalized homophobia is worse. I'm sick of employment, housing, TV shows and essay contests that have the implicit message that homosexuals need not apply. (Though Extreme Makeover: Home Edition has aired some 200 episodes, they still haven't found a gay family that qualifies.) I firmly believe that anything homosexuals do to temporarily level the playing field, regardless of legality or ethics, is easily justified, and I hope in your reply you don't convey the idea that gay people should take the high road by shutting up and accepting
whatever slights society gives them.

The Ethicist never wrote back, fueling my worry that I wouldn't get a thoughtful reply. Four months later, then, when a note arrived from a Times employee asking me to "run through a few things," I was absolutely certain: I was going to be the butt of a joke. So, I didn't reply. I hoped that, unable to confirm a story, a newspaper couldn't print it.

Hah! I forgot this was The New York Times. Yesterday my story showed up in the magazine, and here, in total, is the Ethicist's reply.

This may be the most creative adaptation of the term “obviously” I’ve come across. And by the way, no, you were not justified.

You’re welcome!

I read this reply and shook my head, wondering what part of I hope in your reply you don't convey the idea that gay people should take the high road by shutting up and accepting whatever slights society gives them she'd missed. And, you know, I don't have a fancy magazine column, but I'd like to take the opportunity here to offer Ms. Kaminer a quick word.

Dear Ethicist:

According to the dictionary, an Ethicist is "a person who specializes in or writes on moral principles."

Don't you think maybe you should change your name?

I'd offer to help, but obviously somebody already took "Carrot Top."

Hope this helps,
Comic Con was this weekend, which means the city was full of folks in costume. Exactly what they were portraying, though, was anybody's guess.

I'm pretty sure this guy is Wonder Woman. Admire the costume. Respect his courage. Whatever you do though, don't ask about his magic lasso.

This woman demonstrates a trend I saw in a lot of costumes: handicraft. Which, you know, should certainly be applauded for ingenuity, though execution can be questionable. Unless this creature is from a distant planet where you have to crochet your own head.

Though these aliens may face incredible star battles against distant galactical foes, they'll never want for oven mitts.

More handicraft here. Somewhere an Olive Garden is missing its breadsticks.

Guest of a Guest says this is Zangief from Street Fighter. I'm pretty sure it's just a dude showing off the only sash he'll ever own.

I'm totally at sea here. He's got Wolverine's claws, but he's singing. Got it! This is obviously Benverine.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Some universal tales have variations shared worldwide. Stories carry lessons for young and old. Stories do not always represent reality so much as they teach lessons, values and morals. The following is a very old story told by Cherokee, Seneca, Hindu, and many other people all around the world.

The little boy was walking down a path and he came across a whore. The whore was very old, and very, very horny. She asked, "Please little boy, can you fuck me hard in a hot tub? I need one last one head-spinning bang before I die." The little boy answered, "No, Ms. Whore. If I fuck you, you'll call the Enquirer and it'll destroy my marriage." The whore said, "No, I promise. I won't call the Enquirer. Just please fuck me hard in a hot tub." The little boy thought about it and finally picked up that whore and fucked her hard in a hot tub.

Afterwards, the little boy and the whore climbed out of the hot tub. "Thank you," the whore said. "You are very kind." And just as the boy was about to say goodbye to the whore, she called the Enquirer. "Ms. Whore, why did you do that? Now it will surely destroy my marriage!" The whore looked up at him and grinned. "You knew what I was when you picked me up," she said.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Where do the soups and salads come from, the bathroom?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A pregnant suburban Chicago woman felt contractions a few minutes after finishing the Chicago Marathon and gave birth hours later to a baby daughter.

Amber Miller was nearly 39 weeks pregnant when she started the 26.2 mile race on Sunday morning. Her daughter June was born at 10:29 p.m. weighing 7 pounds, 13 ounces.

Sure, call it sweet. Call it adorable. But today June is shaking her rattle whether she wants to or not.

Sure, politics is a bizarre process, but there's one thing about it that totally mystifies me. It seems like it's the only field where unsuccessful people don't try to imitate the successful folks.

Say you own a company that makes clothing. A rival company puts out a line of skinny jeans, and they immediately sell out. They're in all the magazines. You're a smart businessman, so what's your immediate thought?

(1) "Times have changed, and I need to change with the times."
(2) "Blast them! One day people will want bellbottoms again!"

Obama campaigned as a pro-gay, pro-choice, pro-environment candidate. He beat the guy who was not. Naturally this sent the Republican party into a tailspin. They had to retool! They hid away in their bunker for a few months, and when they emerged they were holding Rick Santorum.

Yeah, Rick Santorum. In a battle of wits, he'd lose to the counter guy at Taco Bell. His clothes are slightly cheaper than religious people who go door-to-door. But he's got the message! Let gay people marry, and pretty soon chickens will be raping elephants!

Oh. Okay.

It reminds me of Wal-Mart. They stand on the sidelines as the trends zip by. Women's underwear shrinks until it's the size of a Post-It and they're still standing there going, "But these granny panties will make you feel safe!"

Remember when the Strokes hit it big? Ten seconds later there were forty similar bands. We were spoiled for choice. We'd ask ourselves, "Do I want to listen to the Strokes copycat with the chick lead singer or the one whose songs are all in B-flat?"

In the political bizarro world, though, the Republican agenda is set in stone. Nobody changes their style. We shake our heads as they maintain that waltzes are coming back, but you gotta admit they get their money's worth with those accordions.

DJ Shadow on Burning Man

Maybe “hate” is a little strong, because I’ve never actually been. What I mean to say is that I hate the 40-something investment bankers and efficiency experts I meet at social engagements who describe their Burning Man experiences as “transcendental,” and then when pressed for an example can only offer that an erection resulting from being jabbed in the stomach by a cattle prod is unlike any other.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sigh. Sometimes you see things that just make you rethink everything you've learned.

Once again, here comes footage from YouTube to remind us that the world is a mystifying place.

Is that incredible? A moob in half a slankie actually has a girlfriend who reads Bride.

Friday, October 7, 2011

A "fart fetish group" wants to license the rights to Nancy Grace's on-air Dancing with the Stars fart. But what if it wasn't Nancy, but the host, or her partner, who farted? And now Nancy is stuck being the fart fetish pin-up girl for the rest of her life. Such are the bargains we make for fame.

Does anybody know any fart fetishists? I wonder if they're reluctant to pleasure themselves to the DWTS footage because they can't be sure it's Nancy farting, and masturbating to a dude's farts would be totally gay.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Three days on a boat and they can't even get the Vivian Girls to plug in their instruments? What, will they be holding Mai Tais in both hands?

Edward Devereux Sheffe III Says Wall Street Protesters Are Hurting Ordinary Middle-Class People Just Like Him

"You guys need to be in Greenwich, Connecticut where the rich people live," says the peeved millionaire whose classical music listening is presumably interrupted by chants. "The people you're disturbing are middle-class people just like you."

In a new rap track, Nick Cannon says to his nemesis Charlamagne, "Man, you about as gay as dick pics."

Sigh. It really pisses me off when idiots use "gay" to mean "lame," but in this case maybe it's just envy. I mean, I'd absolutely love to Nick Cannon for a living.

How TV Shows Find Men Who Play Gay And Act Effeminate

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Of all the things that could kill me, I never suspected melon balling.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Store clerks love me. All of them, from the fresh-faced students at Cold Stone Creamery to the paper-hatted, gold-toothed folks at Taco Bell. They smile and wave at me as I walk through the door, knowing from our past exchanges that I'm a friendly customer. I'll ask how they're doing, or make small talk about the weather. I never fumble for exact change. And when I leave and they offer a hearty, "Hey, have a good day!", I always offer a cheery, "You too!"

Well, except for Armando, at Kang's Fruits and Vegetables. He's a total underhanded bastard, and the worst thing is, he's got everybody thinking he's totally nice. Oh, on the contrary. He's the worst rat bastard there is.

I didn't even realize it until I'd gone to Kang's a few times. On the surface he seemed perfectly pleasant, always saying stuff like, "Hi, how are you?" and "Hey, good to see you!" Stupid me: I thought he was being friendly, when in reality he was just biding time until I dropped my guard.

On my fourth visit he drew me into his insidious little game. See, I picked up some mint, some limes and a liter of club soda. I was going to make mojitos. I put everything on the counter, and he kept up a long line of chatter while he was ringing up my purchases. It was so innocuous and inane that it all but insisted I ignore it. "Mm, mint!" he declared. "Delicious. Man, that's fresh! And limes! How many have you got, four? Four for a dollar. Club soda! Do I see a pattern? Somebody's making mojitos tonight!"

He smiled at me, like he was being totally friendly, and like a sap I smiled back. "Love 'em," I said cluelessly. I pointed at my bare wrist. "Drinking time starts now!"

He chuckled and said, "That'll be four-fifty," and I handed him a five. He gave me a couple quarters change, and I grabbed my bag and started out. That's when the ominous tone should have sounded in my head.

He called, "Enjoy your mojitos!" I waved and said, "You too!"

I was about halfway home when it hit me. Wait, I thought. What just happened? He's not making mojitos. Did I just tell somebody who isn't making mojitos to enjoy their mojitos?

I fumed for the rest of the night, barely tasting my drinks. Was it possible? Was there a store clerk who didn't offer a standardized greeting to his customers? Isn't that against the rules?

See, when somebody in the service industry says goodbye to a customer, it has to be generic. It has to be universal, like "Have a great day!" or "Have a good one!" or "Enjoy the weather!" They talk to thousands of people a day, people they know nothing about, so they need a greeting that's good for everyone. But it has to be good for the customer too. It has to be something you don't really need to listen to. You can continue thinking about more important matters while the help chatters on, and when you leave you parrot that trusty old, "You too!"

Armando, the rat bastard, went totally off the script. If it was legal, it wasn't fair, because then we'd all be forced to listen to what these people were saying. And if it was a new trend, it definitely had to be nipped in the bud before all the other clerks went AWOL.

The incident may have ruined my evening, but the next time I went to Kang's it was a distant memory. Clearly Armando had forgotten about it too, greeting me like a long-lost pal. He punched in all my purchases, keeping up a long line of friendly banter. He was so friendly and chatty he caught me off guard. "Enjoy your food!" he said, with the wave of a friendly hand.

I grabbed my bags and smiled. "You too!" I blithely replied.

"You too." Goddamn that bastard, I thought, clutching my bags with white knuckles. "You too enjoy your food, even though you aren't buying any and I have absolutely no clue what it is you eat." I could have sworn I heard him chuckling as I headed for the exit, face burning red as my beets.

The next time I went to Kang's I was ready. I picked out a couple potatoes, then strolled up to the counter, eyeing him warily. He waved, all smiles. "Hi!" he said. "How are you today!"

I said "Fine, thanks!" though I meant, "I'm wise to you, buddy!"

"You're in a good mood today," he said.

I dissected the words and came up with a believable response. "I'm going on vacation," I lied. He said oh. He packed all my groceries into a bag and now it was time to say goodbye. I said, "Have a great day!" and he nodded, upset that I'd beaten him to the farewell-greeting punch. He did the little pistol thing to acknowledge that I'd gotten him, and I grabbed my bags in triumph and started off. Disconsolate with defeat he droned, "Well, enjoy your vacation," and bursting with triumph I said, "You too!"

That night I had a premonition. I realized I could never go back to Kang's. Clear as day I saw it: I buy some produce, he hands me my change, he says, "Thanks for coming in!" and I say, "You too."

Before I can stop myself, my hands are around his neck and there's curly endive all over the floor. I'm arrested, pronounced guilty, and thrown onto Death Row.

Finally the day comes. I'm strapped into the electric chair. "Have a nice life!" I say to my executioner. "You too!" he says without thinking, and then he giggles as he flips the switch.
Last night I had sex with a blind man, and I tell you, we must have kept the neighbors up. All night long it was, "Marco?" "Polo!" "MARCO?" "POLO!"

Monday, October 3, 2011

My nephew turned four the other day, so I bought him something called "Baby's First Computer." It had a little screen, and a bunch of knobs and buttons, and a little keyboard. It reminded me of the Playskool Busy Box I used to love, where you spin a wheel with a bright barber pole stripe, turn a crank, and slide a little plastic airplane up and down along a slot. I sure cried when somebody stole it from our house while I was at prom. I pictured little Ronald pounding on it with glee while Mommy and Daddy worked on their real computers. Heck, I thought, if he was anything like me, he would have been thrilled just to have the box!

At his birthday party at my sister's house, Ronald tore off the gift wrap and turned the toy over and over in his hands. "Let me guess," he said. "You didn't get this at the Apple Store?"

"It's from Amazon," I replied.

"Oh," he said brightly. "Okay. Because they did such a great job with the Kindle."

"Pull it out!" I urged. "Turn it on!"

He pried one end open and slid out the yellow plastic toy. "What operating system is it?"

"Well, this is an introductory computer. I'm not sure it has an operating system."

He rolled his eyes and sighed. "Christ. And I thought you couldn't do worse than Windows XT. Okay, I can probably hack it so it'll run Linux."

He pulled off the plastic wrapper and visibly flinched. "Ohmigod," he said under his breath, "LCD? What, wasn't woodburning available?"

"Look at how fun this is!" I said, grabbing a smaller plastic bag. "It's got a pretend mouse that's shaped just like a mouse!"

"Oh, my," he said, "that certainly is impressive. I've never seen a wireless laser mouse that squeaks when you click it." He speed-read the instruction sheet with a growing look of disgust. "Wait. No AirPort? No wi-fi?"

I wasn't exactly proficient at baby talk, so this went over my head. Instead of replying I grabbed the cord because I didn't want him to strangle himself. "You plug this into Mommy's telephone, and you can see pictures from the internet!"

From all the coughing and spluttering you'd think he was choking on corn. "One fuckin' cable to dialup? Christ, this shit's barely worth booting up."

I've never had any kids so I seriously do not speak babble. "Does baby wike his new toy?"

"Eh," he said. "You know what? I don't touch crap at McDonalds, and there I've only got a fifty-fifty chance of catching a bug." He exhaled hard. "Christ, I just did a speed test and this thing's not downloading 50K a second."

I blinked. "Is computer too swow for baby?"

"Yes," he replied. "When iddy biddy baby fine-a-wee get porn, big hand will be waaay past widdle hand."

He shook his head one final time before disconnecting the toy. "Oh, fuck it," he said. "Thanks but no thanks. Christ, the Flintstones would toss this fucker out the -- "

Almost before he got the words out of his mouth, my sister stomped in and walloped him in the head with an oven mitt. "I m-m-mean," he stuttered, "thank you Unca Roman. I wuv it!"

Sue grabbed the toy and thrust it at me. "It's too advanced for him," she said. "He's only four, and he isn't smart. Maybe in another year or six."

I nodded. Well, I tried. I thought at least the lights would entertain little Ronald, but when I tried it myself at home I had to admit she was right. I couldn't get a beep or a boop out of it, and couldn't even fit my head inside the box.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Though Cyril had lived in America for over twenty years, he'd been born in London. Naturally I was mesmerized by his sexy accent, but quickly learned it came with a down side. Every time he spoke, he said something that made no sense. These odd mutterings were British colloquialisms, I guessed, though exactly how they could have gotten so entrenched in his vocabulary confounded me. I thought they were fun for our first few dates. They were colorful. But eventually I realized they were conversation killers, and, you know, sometimes there are conversations you want to see all the way through to the end.

One night we were discussing art with another couple. "I like Picasso and I like Manet," Cyril declared. "It's all swings and roundabouts."

He looked to everyone for agreement but instead all he got was "Whaaa?" And immediately the conversation swerved from art to "Gosh, aren't British people fascinating?"

I figured Cyril would eventually catch on, but he didn't. For two months I watched every conversation go up in flames. I began to read odd psychology into it. Were idioms just his way of saying, "I'm special!" rather than whatever he pretended to spout? I mean, I learned his Britishisms in about eight minutes, so he certainly should have gotten our language down. His feigned surprise at realizing nobody understood him was certainly wearing thin.

So, I became his translator. He did his little "I'm foreign!" thing, and I followed behind with a shovel, reassuring people that yes, there was a country in the world where what he said made sense. It wasn't fun. I think it was the tenth time I explained to someone that "spend a penny" meant "go to the bathroom" that I realized I wanted to fight back.

I decided to give Cyril a taste of his own medicine. I couldn't make out any kind of pattern to British idioms -- they seemed to be just a random melange of unrelated words -- so I made up American ones. Like him, I threw them liberally into everything I said.

"What do you want for dinner tonight?" Cyril asked.

"Oh, I don't care," I replied. "Really, it's the pig's moustache."

He glanced at me with furrowed brow. "The pig's moustache?" he asked. "Is that supposed to mean something?"

"It's colloquial, I guess," I said with a shrug. "Kind of like 'swings and roundabouts.'"

"Oh," he said. "Okay. You want to go to a restaurant?"

"Sure, that'd be fine," I replied. "That sounds like an ostrich tango."

I could almost see his eyes narrow. "How about the French place down the street?" he asked. "I hear it's the dog's breakfast, and cheap as chips to boot."

"Absolutely!" I replied. "But let's get a move on. I could eat the devil's dandruff."

From that point on, it was war. Nothing either of us said made any sense. For weeks we spouted absolute nonsense. We'd start a sentence, then finish it with whatever popped into our heads. We both agreed the latest Woody Allen film was the gypsy's jockstrap. Apple-picking in the Hudson valley sounded like an Amish volcano. When he ran into our neighbor at three a.m. she looked like an astronaut's handshake.

Miming words would have communicated more.

Finally, one day he'd had it. He didn't explode. In fact, I'm not real sure what he did, because as usual I understood about half of what he said.

"Roman," he said, "I love you. You're all fur coat and no knickers."

I smiled. I guessed I'd won, but wasn't positive. Instead I decided that change is seriously overrated. I didn't give a fuck what Cyril said, because in my book he was the cat's tattoo.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Asshole of the Day

There's a special place in hell for those online companies where, when you create an online account, they sign you up for a whole bunch of email lists that have to be INDIVIDUALLY unsubscribed.

I'm talking about MTV, of course. Don't give them your email address unless you want updates about the Black Eyed Peas, Carson Daly, and Sponge Bob sixty times a day. You're unsubscribing to Nick Jr. emails? That's one down, eighty to go.

And I couldn't broach the subject without mentioning Facebook. Register once and now you've got pages of privacy checklists to ponder. Can we give your personal information to bowling alley owners in Chicago? No? How about single moms in Detroit?

But the real problem child today is Zagat. I don't know: maybe I entered a contest, maybe I commented on some page, maybe I typed in a restaurant recommendation. Shortly after I got a junk email from them, and when I hit the "unsubscribe" button I read this:

Yes. That's right. I was being unsubscribed from their "Welcome" emails. Isn't that thoughtful? Now that they know I'm not interested, they've got no more "Welcome" emails for me.

Needless to say, they've got other email lists that still include me. When I hit "unsubscribe" on another note I read this:

Sigh. Okay, Zagat, it's on. You keep emailing me, and I'll keep declaring you Asshole of the Day. Do I have to unsubscribe to "At The Table" and "On The Grill" and "Under The Apron" before they'll leave me alone? Stay tuned. I'm thinking it could be some time before I finally get to that "Tears Upon Parting" email list.

Oh. Got it. Under the new business paradigm, Groupon will be valued higher than Connecticut by turning into an online Pic N' Save.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wow. I'm totally enamored of this new hot librarian calendar, "Men of the Stacks."

I bet Sol would be gentle with my Special Collection.

Something tells me Gabriel could show me some good Faulkner.

Looks like Zach has licked that Dewey -- oh, fuck it, just buy the calendar.

Hope This Helps

Wow, that sounds interesting. Let's click through.

INTERVIEWER: What do you make of the rumors that Cary was gay?

DYAN CANNON: I just want to tell you that part of our life was very fulfilling, so I don’t know. In Hollywood they talk about everyone in some form or another. If that was the case, I never saw any indication of it.

Dear Fox News:

You have a small grammatical error in your headline. Where you write "DENIES GAY RUMORS" you mean "SAYS 'HEY, HE NEVER FUCKED ANY DUDES IN FRONT OF ME!'"

Hope this helps,

Feds Say Rape Requires Va-Jay-Jay

The definition of rape used by the F.B.I. -- “the carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will” -- does not take into account sexual-assault cases that involve anal or oral penetration or penetration with an object, cases where the victims were drugged or under the influence of alcohol or cases with male victims. As a result, many sexual assaults are not counted as rapes in the yearly federal accounting.

In Chicago, the police department recorded close to 1,400 sexual assaults in 2010, according to the department’s Web site. But none of these appeared in the federal crime report because Chicago’s broader definition of rape is not accepted by the F.B.I.

Got that, chicks? So next time you want to make the federal statistics, convince the dude you give lousy blowjobs.

Um, whaaa? Does she need somebody to help her douche?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Dear Monopoly Player,

Thank you for buying the new Citibank edition of Hasbro's Monopoly. We know you'll enjoy the ease and convenience that come with electronic banking. At the beginning of each game, your Cash Card will be preloaded with $1,500 just for you. Buy properties and pay rent. Pass Go and collect $200. Instead of the hassle and bother of paper money, simply swipe your Cash Card and we'll do the math for you. What could be simpler than that?


Dear Monopoly Player,

Enclosed is our new eighty-page privacy policy and user agreement. Please read it thoroughly and keep it in your files.


Dear Monopoly Player,

Your balance dropped below the $2,000 minimum, so you've been charged a $80 maintenance fee, as per our latest privacy policy and user agreement.


Dear Monopoly Player,

Congratulations on your recent purchase of Mediterranean Avenue. Since this is a property with a foreign name, you've been charged a foreign transaction fee of $104 plus 18% of the purchase price.


Dear Monopoly Player,

We notice you bought Ventnor.

If you're in need of financial advice, please call our Customer Service department between the hours of 10 and 4 Monday-Friday CST.


Dear Monopoly Player,

Our security software recently noticed that someone tried to purchase B&O Railroad with your Pre-Loaded Cash Card.

You already own Reading Railroad, so naturally this purchase was flagged as suspicious. As a security precaution, your card was deactivated and your account frozen.

If indeed you tried to purchase B&O Railroad, please call our Customer Service department between the hours of 10 and 4 Monday-Friday CST.


Dear Monopoly Player,

Baltic? Really?


Dear Monopoly Player,

According to our records, you haven't used your Pre-Loaded Cash Cards for eight minutes, so you've been assessed $204 in dormant account charges.


Dear Monopoly Player,

We noticed that eight people landed on Ventnor, and you didn't charge any of them rent.

As you know, dude, we earn a small commission on all transactions processed on your Pre-Loaded Cash Card.

So, once more. Try it once more. And in the mean time, watch out for your little dog.


Friday, September 23, 2011

When Not To Say "And/Or"

Looking for a good book about human/dolphin love? Well, consider your prayers answered. Wet Goddess is Malcolm Brenner's tale of his affair with an aquatic theme park dolphin. Thrill to how the tempestuous Ruby seduces the reluctant 20-year-old:

She began raking her teeth lightly against my arms and legs which was indescribably erotic.

Wow. I'm sucked in from the first page. That's one dude who wouldn't scream when I blew him. Naturally their relationship turns sexual, as frequently happens when one gets close to somebody who's already lubricated. Of course, it's not always fun and games, like when Brenner and Ruby are playing in the tank and she tries to put her snout through the wrong hoop. But it truly is a tale of interspecies love, as Brenner so succinctly says:

What is repulsive about a relationship where both partners feel and express love for each other? I know what I'm talking about here because after we made love, the dolphin put her snout on my shoulder, embraced me with her flippers and we stared into each others' eyes for about a minute.

Well, I'm convinced, even though this is pretty much what happened the last time I ordered fish in Chinatown.

Sadly, after nine months, the amusement park closed. Ruby was shipped off to another theme park. You can almost picture their parting scene at the airport: Ruby's eyes are welling up, and Brenner has krill on his pants. He heads to a nearby piano bar to drown his sorrows.

"Go ahead, Sam," he tells the piano player. "You played it for her; now play it for me."

The song? "Under the Sea."

Anyway, I just know you'll give the book five stars, like Amazon's average, though some reviewers don't seem entirely sincere in their critiques. (Really, Franklin, a flirty guinea pig?) And for all those readers who despair that they'll never find four hundred pounds of slick cartilage to love, be heartened by an odd little clue.

Yes, there's absolutely zero attitude. Well, except for the "I'm a fifty-year-old man who enjoys serially fucking strangers" thing.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Following a massive public protest, the Chinese government has banned a traditional carnival in which dogs are eaten after being chopped up alive in the street.

Goddammit. And I'd just come up with the most amazing scam. See, I walk up to a stranger and say, "I bet you $5 I can make your dog shake."

When asked for comment, the baby reportedly said, "Yo yo yo, it's all good."