Tuesday, May 31, 2011

It Isn't Easy Being a "Professional Horse Jumper" With Three Weekend Estates

Michael Bloomberg bought his way into New York politics, somehow convincing city residents that his offer to serve as mayor for just a dollar a year meant he was an altruistic volunteer rather than a shrewd businessman who guessed his investments would increase if he ran everything. His older daughter Emma graduated from Princeton, then worked for him at City Hall, and his younger daughter Georgina -- or George for short -- is a professional horse jumper who just released her first book.

In George's novel The A Circuit, Rick Aaronson is a Wall Street billionaire who “owns half of New York.” His older daughter Callie is an Ivy League graduate with a passion for politics, and his younger daughter Thomasina -- or Tommi for short -- is a professional horse jumper.

Naturally Tommi is a sympathetic character. She agonizes over her career choice. Why can't her father accept it? She's an award-winning equestrian, for God's sake.

Well, we don't know about Tommi, but George owns six show horses, though they can apparently cost hundreds of thousands of dollars each. Plus, she has a Nolita penthouse, a 26-acre "weekend estate" in North Salem, N.Y., another "estate" in a horse-themed development in Palm Beach, Florida, and a "waterfront home" in Bermuda. She has to be wildly successful, then, considering that Wikipedia says "the biggest show jumping, cutting and reining competitions may offer purse money into the low five figures." According to my admittedly fuzzy math, George must have bagged a top purse every day of every week since she started third grade.

In addition to being incredibly successful, her book's alter ego has guts.

She wasn’t afraid to say no to her father, even if half of Wall Street was.

Those guys look even more cowardly when you realize that they didn't even have the nerve to call him "Daddy."

While somehow enduring a father who's only emotionally and financially supportive, the lass faces pure hell from the supercilious upper class.

Tommi walks past a group of fellow riders in the catty Westchester horse show circuit, who stare at her in riveted recognition. “Tommi didn’t remember their names, but she guessed that they probably knew hers. That was the trouble with being in her family. Everyone knew who you were whether you liked it or not.”

Now, I don't really get this bit, because if everybody knew my dad was a powerful billionaire, I'm pretty sure I'd "like it." The only "or not" would turn up is if I stole Abba Zabba bars from 7-Eleven. But I can totally sympathize with Tommi here, seeing people she's met but doesn't remember and somehow resisting the urge to shout, "Hey, who the fuck are you?"

After a particularly rough riding session, a fellow rider torments her with a crack about “Daddy’s money.” Tommi is crushed. “It never got any easier to take,” she thinks to herself.

Those scenes were borrowed from her own life, Ms. Bloomberg said. “I see myself a lot in that,” she said. “When I was growing up, I got a lot of, ‘Oh, well, she bought the nicest horse, so of course she’s going to win.’ And I dealt with a lot of that.”

And how about in eighth grade? Everybody just about freaked out when she won the Science Fair even though Stephen J. Hawking just barely helped her.

A lesser writer might simply have asked, "Why can't dad give me a million every few months without telling me what to do?" A lesser writer might have offered something substantially less artful:


Tommi's dad was rich and he gave her piles of money so she'd be stupid if she complained.


Really stupid.


Really, really stupid.


Instead, we fly alongside our loquacious authoress as she jets off to Bermuda rather than endure what would surely be a tedious book tour. She told a filmmaker that “having the last name Bloomberg sucks," and she's ably gotten her point across. I think we'd all probably say the same thing, except since our last name isn't Bloomberg, we'd just say it to the dog.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Hello, washboard abs! MacGruber star Ryan Phillippe showed off his seriously buff physique on the cover of Men's Health in May, proving that at 35 he's got just as much flex appeal as Hollywood's twentysomethings. His motivation? "I want to throw my kids up in the air and wrestle them."

Dear Ryan Phillippe:

You need to lift weights to wrestle with your children? What, are you having a hard time breaking out of little Amanda's hammerlocks? Does she smash you with her Speak N' Spell when the ref turns his back?

In all seriousness, wrestling with children is supposed to be fun, not a competition.
  • If you're bouncing off the ropes and smacking little Elliot with a Spinebuster, you're doing something wrong.

  • If you're springboarding off the couch and flattening baby Audrina with a Reverse Frankensteiner, you're doing something wrong.

  • If you're driving little Chadwick into the mat with a Samoan Tailbreaker, you're doing something wrong.

If you need help shaving your armpits, though, feel free to give me a call.

Hope this helps,

Mark Zuckerberg has begun personally slaying animals for food, part of a resolution to fully appreciate the meat he eats. The Facebook CEO's slaughter has been wide ranging, claiming a goat, pig, chicken and a lobster.

"He cut the throat of the goat with a knife, " Zuckerberg pal Jesse Cool told Fortune, "which is the most kind way to do it."

Dear Mark Zuckerberg:

Slicing something's throat isn't the kindest way to kill it. In fact, it's not even close. Here are some far kinder methods, just off the top of my head:
  • Hide some Valium in its dinner, then smother it while it's asleep.

  • Slowly replace the air in the bar with nitrogen, then smother it while it's asleep.

  • Let it read the status updates of my Facebook friends, then smother it while it's asleep.
Hope this helps,

Thursday, May 26, 2011

My friend Matt -- handsome, British, heterosexual -- told me about his latest hookup, and frankly it startled me. "You slept with a stranger?" I asked. "Are you freakin' crazy?"

He looked at me like a dog would if you asked it to mix you a martini. "There's the germs," I continued, "there's their hidden baggage, there's the probability that they're far crazier in the sack than me. By far the worst, though, is ye olde naked surprise. Guy is handsome in clothing -- "

" -- and guy is horrible out."

That last one is the inarguable kiss of death for me, and I don't see how to avoid it. I don't get it: when you meet somebody, you talk about their jobs, their beliefs, their education. But if you're sexually attracted to them, there are far more important topics to address. When they take their clothes off, do they look like the Pillsbury Doughboy with a penis? Is there a tattoo in their genital region that says "SUCK IT AND SEE"? Have they trimmed their pubic hair to look like a S'more? These topics are far more relevant, because, you know, my erection isn't going to vanish forever if somebody's gone to USC.

Once you've got them naked, obviously, the truth is out of the question. You'll just look stupid, or shallow. "I'm sorry," I'd like to say, "but you've got my grandpa's chest hair." Or "It's not me, it's you: I didn't realize you stank until you took your shirt off." You can't suddenly remember you're married. About all you can do is make up some scenario where you masturbate on opposite sides of the room, but I'm tired of playing Larry Craig's Honeymoon.

Matt just laughed. "We're animals," he said. "We're supposed to fuck, not worry. We've been forgetting our troubles and fucking since the beginning of time, and it seems to be working out."

His words gave me hope, being a cold slap in the face of my attitude. But then I thought, hey, that's not how animals act. When I was a kid I had a cat named Pumpkin, and whenever she heard the can opener she'd sprint for the kitchen. She'd meow up at me, twisting in and out of my legs, as I dumped her food into her bowl, then she'd scurry excitedly after me as I set it in its usual place on the ground.

She'd sniff at it. She's poke at it. And if it wasn't 100% unadulterated Star-Kist albacore, she'd shoot me an angry glare, like she wanted to say, "Really? You're think I'll put up with this shit?" And then she'd wander off.

"Okay," I told Matt. "I'll act like an animal." And I will.

I'll have a positive attitude. I'll hope for the best. If I don't get exactly what I want, I'm laying in the window and going to sleep.
Bitter? Of course I'm bitter. The profit strategy of every freakin' business in New York is to add one little tweak to something and then quadruple the prices. A dab of truffle oil on a sandwich and suddenly it's $19. A shot of "rhubarb bitters" in a vodka tonic and it's $22. Hire a "pillow concierge" and now your hotel rooms are worth $450 a night.

Needless to say, I'm receptive to bargains, but sometimes even those seem like scams. With Groupons, you can buy a $10 voucher good for $20 worth of food -- in a restaurant where that won't buy you a celery stick. Restaurant.com has so much fine print I'd sooner eat dirt for dinner.

Still, I got excited when I heard about Antarctica bar's "Name Night," where you drink for free if you've got that day's chosen first name. And then I went to their calendar..

See if you can tell which of the following they consider actual human first names, and which are high-scoring words in Scrabble.

a. Vitaly
b. Jinx
c. Orlandia
d. Zincy
e. Ilya
f. Muzhik
g. Sanaz
h. Packwax

a. Antartica May 23; b. 18 points; c. Antartica May 10; d. 19 points; e. Antartica May 19; f. 24 points; g. Antartica May 25; h. 75 points!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Kim Kardashian's engagement ring is worth almost HALF as much as her Beverly Hills mansion . . . sources close to the diamond tell TMZ the rock is valued at $2 MILLION!!!!!! The ring -- designed by Lorraine Schwartz -- features a 16.5 carat emerald cut center stone flanked by two 2-carat trapezoids . . . for a grand total of 20.5 carats. We're told the stones are all "the highest clarity and color."

I'm sure it must be lovely, judging from the string of chocolate Samoas around Kim's neck.

Armie Hammer's Heterosexuality Intact After Leonardo Di Caprio Kiss

Armie Hammer, on kissing Leonardo Di Caprio in the upcoming J. Edgar Hoover biopic:

[I]t’s the same kind of thing as if you walk onto a set and they hand you a machine gun and [say], "Shoot this like you know what you’re doing" -- you can’t grab that thing and go, "uh. . ." -- you kind of have to go, "Okay, I know what I’m doing," and you’ve just got to go for it. It wasn’t that weird -- I have never kissed a guy -- it’s not something I’m going to do in my private life, but at the end of it I was, like, man, there is a lot of weird hype.

You always have a special relationship with someone when you finish a movie with them, but . . . he’s got a bunch of stuff he is doing after that, I’ve got a bunch of stuff I’m doing. . . . we didn’t start a book club together or anything.

New York Times Rave: Elvis Costello Was Great All The Way From 1977 To 1979

But the real and gratifying cheat was that there is, in the end, no way to keep Mr. Costello’s songs in any shallow entertainment mode. His torrents of words hold desire, rage, wounds and revenge, from the scathing personal scale of “Alison” to the historical sweep of “Oliver’s Army.”

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Apply For College Scholarships Here!

Dorothy Spencer used the profits from her book to start a scholarship program that bears her name and is dedicated to her principals.

Starting in September of 1940 and continuing today, the Spencer Scholarship program has helped more than 3,500 young people successfully complete undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate study. The scholarships provide for tuition, books, room and a weekly stipend to cover incidental expenses.

From these humble beginnings, the program currently has over 100 students engaged in study during any given semester.

If you're interested in applying, though, there are a couple small catches. First, you have to be invited to apply by a "sponsor," whom you'll visit once a week to discuss your education. Second, Ms. Spencer's book, The Spencer Plan, is about "settling domestic misunderstandings [by] the giving and submitting to carefully regulated corporal punishment."

Which means any time you miss class, violate dress code standards, or fail to complete your homework, your sponsor will bend you over their knee, bare your bottom, and spank you.

If you're interested, I suggest going to a college campus and looking for somebody whose hands look swollen. Rest assured, this is completely above board. It's nothing like letting somebody spank you for money.

You'd probably tell your roommate about that.

Do We Need To Worry About Being Attacked By Other Peoples' Belly Button Bacteria?

Jiri Hulcr, a postdoctoral student at the Belly Button Biodiversity Project at North Carolina State University, says yes.

One of the main goals, really, one of the long-term overarching goals of this project is to change people’s perception of their own symbiotic microflora. Only if something goes wrong, only if one member predominates, or if we scrub ourselves too much - for example, if we do something that’s akin to clear-cutting in the forest, then you get all the weeds growing really fast.

[I]f the forest is old and dominated by diversity of slow-growing and metabolically versatile trees, or in our case bacteria, then you generally tend to get balance. And of course there are weeds growing all over the place, but they’re never dominant. And it’s only when we do something wrong or when there is something wrong with our immune system or if there is something wrong with our bacterial ecosystem that we see some of those go wild and grow over everybody else.

Monday, May 23, 2011

I have to apologize. I was totally wrong about Tyler, the Creator. I got my knickers in a twist over his screaming "Faggot!" every few seconds, and I got so caught up I couldn't see the forest for the trees. I have to apologize to Other Music, who explained to me that Tyler's repeated use of the word "faggot" wasn’t condoning homophobia, but was "more of a reactionary cartoon depiction of the harsh realities of life."

I have to apologize to all the folks on GLAAD's blog who took exception to my criticism of Tyler, pointing out that rather than being homophobic he "write[s] from the perspective of these dark fictional characters," that I must be one of those "'older' folks who "most likely won’t get it," that I "should admit that there is an entire culture [I] don’t understand," and that the "only ones being intolerant" are the people who inhibit "artistic expression."

Finally their words broke through to me, and I saw the light. Today I'm just as pleased as punch to see another milestone in artistic expression as yet another African-American called somebody a "faggot."

Apparently Joakim Noah, the Chicago Bulls center, also likes to speak from the perspective of dark fictional characters, and, like "[y]ounger urban minded gays, lesbians, men and women" he "understands this is just language and culture." When he yelled "Fuck you, faggot!" at the crowd at yesterday's game, he was also cartoonishly depicting the harsh realities of life, just like Kobe Bryant did a couple weeks ago.

Needless to say, now that I've become enlightened, I'd like to shout "Bravo!" to Mr. Noah for his artistic expression. I am absolutely thrilled that African-Americans no longer hurl anti-gay slurs at us, but instead are adopting personas that celebrate urban language, make artistic statements by intentionally pushing buttons, and lampoon sexual orientation stereotypes by ironically using them.

And, maybe I'm being a cock-eyed optimist here, but I know the day is coming soon when all African-Americans will be culturally-aware artistes and none of us will be able to leave the house without somebody screaming "faggot" at us.

On the subway, a guy was holding a big, rather tacky floral arrangement and two mylar balloons. On one balloon it said, "Congrats!" and on the other it said, "Get well soon!"

And I thought, huh? Isn't it one or the other? Can achievements and illness actually travel hand-in-hand?

I thought about it for awhile, and I think I finally figured it out: somebody got gonorrhea from George Clooney.

Friday, May 20, 2011

I was minding my own business taking a shower when all of a sudden somebody yanked the shower curtain back. It was the hotel maid. Rather than excuse herself, she stood there unashamedly leering at my naked body.

"Begone, woman!" I shouted, struggling to cover my private parts. "This is not the time to clean the room!"

"I came in to turn down your bed," she said, "but looking at your firm, athletic body I see that I cannot."

It took me a minute to decipher what she was saying. "Madame, if you are making some sort of crude pass at me, I assure you I am not interested."

She moved over closer. "Go ahead and touch me," she said without reservation. "Like the toilet seat, I am sanitized for your protection."

"Absolutely not!" I protested. "I am a happily married international banker! I must insist you leave these premises immediately!"

"An international banker?" she repeated. "I see. Well, Mr. Banker, pretend I am a third-world nation. I think you have something I need."

"No!" I snapped. "Third-world countries should grow their economies without the interfering hand of global finance!"

She looked me up and down. "Your lips say no," she snickered, "but your emerging market says yes yes yes."

I continued to protest while she stripped off all of her clothes. "Madame," I said, "even if I consented, there are certain steps one must take before undertaking an affair of this --"

"DAMN YOUR PROTECTIONIST PRINCIPLES!" she shouted. "Shut up and take me now!"

"No!" I barked. "Never!"

Then she appeared to almost crumple before my eyes. "You do not want me, and I know you are right," she said. "I have nothing to offer. Ever since the worldwide economic crisis my infrastructure has been sagging."

I think any human would have been overwhelmed with empathy here. Perhaps unwisely I got out of the shower and gave her a hug. "That's very nice," she continued, "but what I really need is for you to leverage your high-interest loan against my ever-increasing debt."

I would not be a gentleman if I revealed anything that happened further. While I did my best to feign excitement, I am convinced of her satisfaction. "That's what I want!" she screamed on one occasion. "Maintain that global economic stimulus to revive my stagnant economy!”

Eventually I put my clothes on, and she did the same. "Perhaps now we can discuss a mutually-beneficial trade agreement," she said.

"I'm flattered by your offer," I said, "but this was just a one-time bailout. I'm not convinced of your overall economic stability."

"A one-time bailout?" she shouted. "Do I look like the kind of woman who needs a BAILOUT? Ha! No, monsieur, we're full-fledged partners now. I opened all my borders to you."

I held my ground and she stormed out, and that's when the shit hit the fan. While she claims she was victimized, I think you'll find the opposite is true. This Mata Hari has been toiling for four years at minimum wage just waiting to latch onto some patsy, and sadly it appears I'm the guy she chose. She's a stalker, plain and simple, and to this day I live in fear of going into my kitchen and finding a rabbit stewing in a pot, though of course we call that dinner here.
I woke up in the middle of the night and there were feathers everywhere. I started freaking out until I realized they were coming from my pillow. I'd used it to smother an owl.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Obviously I'm a liberal Democrat, but I'm changing sides for the next election. Seriously, I'm voting for Newt Gingrich, because he can give America something no other candidate can offer:

A first lady who fucks married men.

American first ladies have always been so hoity-toity. Me, I'm sick of hearing their lectures: We should read more. We should do volunteer work. We should eat green crap that just, like, grows out of the freakin' ground. It's insulting. They're so inaccessible and condescending.

It gives the world a sanitized, whitewashed version of America. It almost sounds like we're ashamed of what our women do when they're horny and they drank four Cape Cods.

I think it's time we loosened up and got a first lady who fucks married men.

There are millions of women in America who fuck married men, and until now they haven't been given a voice. If you're constantly battling your weight, you can cite Oprah for your role model. If you're trying to get off drugs, use Robert Downey Jr. as an inspiration. But what about the chicks who hang around late at the office hoping some dude will get horny? Who are they supposed to rally behind?

With Callista Gingrich, we'd get a real, red-blooded woman. Hell, she wouldn't be afraid of turning up at society events with glassy eyes and hay in her disheveled hair, spouting stuff like, "Okay, so I might have kissed the chauffeur! You got a fuckin' problem with that?"

Besides, the whole story of how Newt overcame his first two loveless marriages by surreptitiously fucking is so romantic. Harlequin books can't hold a candle to that story. I'm picturing Newt and Callista meeting in a cowboy bar just outside Durango, Texas:

CALLISTA: "Hey, sugar dumpling. What's a handsome man like you doin' hiding back here in the dark?"

NEWT: "Well, lover, maybe I'm waiting for a beautiful young lady like you."

[CALLISTA's eyes appraise NEWT's body, from the brand-new, hand-tooled beige cowboy hat to the matching cowboy boots.]

CALLISTA: "Sweetie, you wouldn't be married now, would you?"

NEWT: "Darlin', I'm sorry to say I am."

CALLISTA: "Well, sugar lips, I guess that's okay." [PAUSE] "She ain't here, is she?"

Like Newt tore off Callista's denim culottes later that evening, America needs to throw off the shackles of its tired old values. I'm sick of us lagging behind all the other countries. We don't manufacture anything. We don't have universal health care. Our presidents have fooled around, but our first ladies have always been untouchable. With Newt, I'm thinking sessions of Congress would start with everybody putting their keys in a bowl.

Sure, you old-fashioned patriots can keep waving that flag if you want, but I've got a grander view than that. I challenge American voters to show our true pioneer spirit by seating a straight-shooting, 21st-century woman among the pantheon of great American first ladies, with her own personal slogan that'll long echo in our hearts:

NANCY: "Just say no to drugs."

LADY BIRD: "Plant a tree, a shrub, or a bush."

CALLISTA: "When I got a zing in mah thing, I ain't checkin' for no ring!"

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Jimmy Fallon loves him. The New York Times calls the record where he rhymes "Saget" and "faggot" "shockingly good." Other Music says he's "magnetic, fresh, interesting, and much needed in the current game."

But you don't need to buy Goblin to get a hint of Tyler, the Creator's unique talent. Just look at his Twitter feed (preserved for posterity on May 9).

Might Change My Twitter Name Cause Some Faggot Made A Website Named After It, And People Think I Or OF Have Something To Do With It.
8 hours ago

9 hours ago

@LegoHeaad And Manchild Are So Gay http://yfrog.com/h8hcqxcj
17 hours ago

Just Walked Into Abercrombie With My Sister Cause She Wants A Shirt. It Smells Like Faggot In Here.
8 May

*waits for real hip hop underground 94 only faggots to complain about me being a fan of 1017*
8 May

How Many Of You Faggots Can Relate To HER? I Feel Like Alot Of You Can.
8 May

@im_on_foodstamp Thats Not My Website You Fucking Faggot
8 May

Feel Better. Sup Faggots?
6 May

@KyyleVenegaas I Do Too, Instead I'm A Rapper Who Faggots Like You Tweet At Because You Have No Talent Or Anything Going For Yourself.
6 May

So Depressing, Went To A Skatepark Out Here, But Couldn't Skate Cause These Faggot Photographers And Journalist Were Annoying Me.
4 May

Nto Having A Fuckign Working Phone Is Fucking Gay Fuck!
2 May

@SeanTheROBOT Well This Isn't A Year Ago Now Faggot, Get Off My Dick.
2 May

@TheMustacheMan Yeah, I'm Back On The 7th! So On The 8th Forsure Faggot
30 Apr

It Feels So Fucking Gay Not being Able To Fucking Take Pictures Of THe Retarded Shit I See Out Here
30 Apr

Fuck You Lady. Fucking `dyke
28 Apr

@christianclancy Got This Gay Ass Shit http://yfrog.com/h8ih4vyj
27 Apr

I Said Fuck Faggot College And Followed My 'Dreams'. That Shit Sounds So Corny But Nigga I Got My Own Fucking Label Now! What The Fuck!!!
27 Apr

These Bitches Is Gay http://yfrog.com/gyef9ubj
26 Apr

Also, To All My New Faggot Ass Followers Who Only Follows Me Because They Heard YONKERS, Download My Album BASTARD At ODDFUTURE.COM
25 Apr

Hey Faggots, THem Niggas At iTunes Fixed The Price On That Deluxe Shit Niggas
21 Apr

DAMN, HARD FEST IS SOME GAY ASS TECHNO RAVE SHIT. I Seriously Need OF Fans To Come And Fuck Shit Up.
19 Apr

18 Apr

O No! its A Dyke! Ahhhhhh
18 Apr

Fuck Coachella. We Wet That Fat Ass Nigga Up. Taking His Faggot Job To Serious.
16 Apr

This Faggot Nigga Just Kicked Us Out Of Coachellahttp://yfrog.com/h09xdataj
16 Apr

Faggot Coppies Tyler. Tyler Doesn't Like It. Faggot Gets Catches Feeling. What A Failure. Coachella Is Super Fun Right Now.
16 Apr

Fuck, This Coachella Traffic Is Gay.
14 Apr

Fuckign Coachella Might Not Be Swagged Out By Me If My Fucking Asthma Is Still Being A Faggot
14 Apr

Damn This Guy Is A Faggot.
11 Apr

Fucking Faggot TinyChat Banned The Nigga Who Started It. Fuck It.
11 Apr

I don't believe in God based on evidence. Really, would an all-knowing, omnipotent being create pigeons? Palm trees? Eyebrows? There's absolutely zero design skill demonstrated in any of those, and no reason for them to exist.

I don't believe in Saturday's Rapture for similar reasons. Harold Camping, an 89-year-old white guy, calculated the date from the Bible, since it's allegedly 7,000 years after the Noah's Ark flood. One God-day equals a thousand years, and apparently God intended the whole earth experiment to only last one of his weeks.

Which, you know, is fine, except for one small snag. What about the gays?

Gays are the main reason God is destroying the world, just like he destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. But if the end date was hard-coded in the Bible, how can we be responsible? For this scenario to work, the Bible would have to provide homo- and no-homo dates. Like, "The Lord Thou Goddest knows his people doth sin, and eventually he shall punish you. But if you guys parade around in studded leather jockstraps, say adios before Thor comes out on DVD!"

Plus, what kind of God would destroy a whole planet when just ten percent of the population pisses him off? Why would he decimate Kiritimati Island, a Pacific Ocean atoll? I don't know about you, but I haven't heard about any huge gay pride celebrations on Kiritimati. Which makes God sound like my 6th grade math teacher, Dr. Doctor. Sometimes somebody would shoot a spitball when his back was turned, and the entire class would get sent to detention. It hardly seems fair, because the poor folks on Kiritimati probably haven't even heard of Depeche Mode.

It's the time zone thing that convinces me that Mr. Camping is nuts. God is flattening the world at 6 p.m. local time, which means he's doing it in 24 separate steps. According to time zone maps, Kiritimati Island goes first. But time zones are artificial lines drawn across a map by politicians, so there's no reason for God to follow them. He might as well kill us by Congressional district. I'm picturing odd little interactions: like, A Utah man is hit by a thunderbolt while his martini-sipping Nevada counterpart snaps pictures from the safety of another time zone. "Wow," the Nevada man says, "it sure sucks to be you!"

"Yeah?" the Utah man says as his mouth turns to salt. "Just wait 59 minutes, asshole!"

Eighteen hours after Kiritimati Island goes, the U. S. will follow suit. It'll happen in five stages, by time zone, from New York to Alaska. In fact, Alaska will be the very last place left on earth, which is my final piece of evidence that this whole theory stinks. No merciful God would let the final words uttered in the history of time be, "I saw the universe go blammo from my house."

The Dangers of a Dangling Modifier, Part 1

"Before I knew it, he had unzipped my pants and put his hand, then mouth, on an area that has haunted me for life." -- Sugar Ray Leonard

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Two inches lower and we'd see where his Beaver is playing.
Well, apparently you can't trust sex-harassing, dope-smoking bodybuilders. To everyone's shock it appears that eight years ago Arnold Schwarzenegger fathered a child with a flight attendant who worked on his private jet, according to the UK Daily Mail.

While Schwarzenegger has admitted to having a secret family, though, his supposed baby mama has not. Tammy Tousignant still denies any involvement with the actor/politician despite one odd bit of evidence. She's been naming her children after Schwarzenegger characters in movies.

Quizzed about the allegations, the mom of Tanner and Connor denied any romance with Schwarzenegger and insisted she was the victim of "dirty politics."

Sigh. On the one hand, I wish Maria had spoken up earlier, to confirm what a jerk Arnold is. On the other hand, I really wish she'd waited until after Conan and Mr. Freeze were born.

Movie studios spend millions of dollars trying to create the perfect movie poster to attract the biggest possible audience. With The Hangover 2, it's easy to see what the studio bigwigs have decided are the movie's main draws.

The monkey symbolizes madcap fun, so he's front and center. He'll draw in all the male fans, ages eight to eighty. Just below him, literally, is the enjoyable but primarily hunky Bradley Cooper, who'll draw in all the chicks. In the background there's Ed Helms, with his broad, sloppy comedy, and Zach Galifianakis offering edgy craziness. Add them all together and you've got something for everyone.

Sometimes, though, a studio will make different posters to appeal to different demographics. Red states want more car chases, for instance, while blue states want more thought. With The Hangover 2, Warner Bros. made a special poster for New York that, as extensive focus testing proved, gives us exactly what we want.

Ed Helms' hairy leg and his sweet, sweet off-white man pouch.

You see this poster in the subway and your eye knows exactly where to go: off to the side where, larger than life, there's a vast expanse of naked man-flesh. Stare at it. Appreciate it. Get your eyes accustomed to the darkness and prepare for unexpected rewards. Slowly you piece together a puzzle: some graphic artist has pretzeled Ed into a sexual Kama Sutra where he's sitting on the floor but somehow you can still see his soft white Jockeys highlighting the entire length of his ass crack.

That's it: you're hooked. You imagine your tongue drawing a teasing line down the whiskered flesh, sucking the salty juice off his sweaty skin, when you notice it.

Wait. Is it. . . ? Could it be?

My lord, it's the succulent bulge of his studly saddlebags. Be still, my beating heart. Finally, a movie about the dusky whorls of a man's hidden caverns for the people who adore them!

What's that? Yeah, there's a monkey and a couple other dudes in it too.

Of course, all this can be seen as a con. How can a movie that's madcap in most of America be a gay sexfest in New York? The short answer: It can't be. The studio is trying to trick you into thinking they've got something you want, whether you like to see koala bears vomit or straight dudes passed out drunk in translucent underwear.

It's offensive, it's patronizing, and nobody with a brain should fall for it.

But hey. Fingers crossed. See you at the movies!

Friday, May 13, 2011

The New York Daily News isn't particularly intelligent, but sometimes they mean well. Like, when somebody pointed out that a graphic they used on their website was from ChristArt.com, an anti-gay company that tags their graphics with words like "homo" and "fag," they quickly removed it. Bloggers are asking the hard questions: How could this happen? Why didn't the Daily News notice they were dealing with bigots?

Me, I've got other questions, particularly about ChristArt's mosquito marriage cartoon. Why do the male's pants cover a small part of his thorax when his penis is on the end of his tail? Isn't a dress with the ass cut out kind of sinful? And how come the female mosquito doesn't have wings? Did God tear them off because women are supposed to stay home?
I'm going to post a new photo of myself on Facebook. This one will be me cutting the grass. I think it'll be good because it'll show I look good with my shirt off, and that I know how to use a knife.

Okay, it's funny. But if you're trying to make the dog take a dump, that shit only works on grandma.

bin Laden's favorite magazine? Jihotties.
According to a recent study, people texting or playing games on their cellphones actually descend stairs faster than people who aren't. Well, if you give them a shove.
Former president George W. Bush said he was eating souffle at a restaurant with his wife and friends when President Obama called with the Osama bin Laden news.

"I was eating souffle at Rise Restaurant with Laura and two buddies," Bush said Wednesday at a conference of hedge fund managers in Las Vegas.

"What? Well, yes -- perhaps there was some fudging to manipulate public perception," Bush said, raising a tweezered eyebrow and straightening the folds of his Issey Miyake caftan. "Okay, I confess: we lied our flowery kimonos off. Why, I remember having to wear these horrid overalls and pretend to clear scrub brush on the ranch! God, how Cecil laughed. I broke three nails, and barely made it to my pomegranate-ginger body scrub."

Why I'm Not Buying This Mouse, Part Two

Every twenty-six days you have to buy a new mouse pad.

Why I'm Not Buying This Mouse

Every time you click it, it says, "Not there -- half an inch to the left."
Charlie Sheen expressed disbelief upon hearing that Ashton Kutcher would replace him in Two and a Half Men.

"Kutcher is a sweetheart and a brilliant comedic performer," he admitted. "Oh wait, so am I!!"

Kutcher never trashed a hotel room full of hookers on a crack bender or called his boss a Nazi.

And silence.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Gay Magazine Covers

"Kink"? Really? Does a branch go up his ass?

I didn't know the Poetry Club had a locker room.

Well, they're getting closer. Yesterday's man had a club foot and an ear trumpet.

You know, if they were really butch they could move that goddamn plant.

David, upon seeing the giant, dropped down to his knees to pray. "I beg you, Lord," beseeched the worried lad, "help me smite the Philistine who resembles Sandy Duncan in Peter Pan."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

XL Recordings is a prestigious London-based record label that's home to acts like Vampire Weekend, M.I.A., Adele, and the White Stripes. According to their website, they "work with the most original and inventive artists possible, regardless of genre, and help them take their music to the widest possible audience -- without compromise. . . . And whilst XL seems to re-invent itself every few years around its roster, one thing that remains constant is that XL is 100% independent, continuing a great tradition of non-corporate record label culture."

When we compare and contrast the thoughts of two of their more established artists, Radiohead and sigur rós, with tweets from newcomer Tyler the Creator -- recipient of a rave in Sunday's New York Times, whose Goblin drops today -- we can see that great tradition is in no danger of fading any time soon.

On artistic identity:
Radiohead: "We write pop songs."
sigur rós: "We are not a band, we are music."
Tyler: "I'm A Rapper Who Faggots Like You Tweet At Because You Have No Talent Or Anything Going For Yourself."

Pop culture:
Radiohead: "All Britain ever does is take American culture and sell it back to America again."
sigur rós: "pop culture is like fast food. you feed on garbage and in the end you settle for it."
Tyler: "Just Walked Into Abercrombie With My Sister Cause She Wants A Shirt. It Smells Like Faggot In Here."

Personal interests:
Radiohead: "I was a dad. I am a dad. I was being a dad."
sigur rós: "Every time we travel we visit flea markets."
Tyler: "Went To A Skatepark Out Here, But Couldn't Skate Cause These Faggot Photographers And Journalist Were Annoying Me."

Illegal downloading:
Radiohead: "When the corporate industry dies it will be no great loss to the world."
sigur rós: "i think the music industry has to take a bit more control"

Problems Touring?:
Radiohead: "Everything that's happened after Glastonbury has been a let down."
sigur rós: "we do get homesick. it's so awesome to do concerts though."
Tyler: "This Faggot Nigga Just Kicked Us Out Of Coachella"

Unexpected difficulties within the industry:
Radiohead: "There's no corporate ethic. All [major labels are] like that. Stupid little boys' games-- especially really high up."
sigur rós: "we always have to be photographed in front of a geyser. its such a cliche."
Tyler: "Might Change My Twitter Name Cause Some Faggot Made A Website Named After It"

Advice to young people:
Radiohead: "Do it now while you're young, while it is clear in your mind."
sigur rós: "you never know what will happen"
Tyler: "I Said Fuck Faggot College And Followed My 'Dreams'. That Shit Sounds So Corny But Nigga I Got My Own Fucking Label Now! What The Fuck!!!"

Closing notes:
Radiohead: "It's maybe a good thing to try to make music that feels reassuring in some ways."
sigur rós: "inspiration is everywhere and nowhere."
Tyler: "O No! its A Dyke! Ahhhhhh Run!"

Monday, May 9, 2011

I was walking home from Trader Joe's on Saturday night when I ran into Carla, a thirty-something woman who lives down the hall from me. Carla is nice but sheltered, never breaking far from her religious family. She's the type of high-maintenance woman who makes everybody follow her rules, fighting dissension with the word "disrespect." She actually closes her eyes and moves her fingers near her ears when she thinks somebody's going to swear.

The guy she was with was straggly and scruffy, though if he'd had a motorcycle I'd have hung out with him. "Roman," she said, "I'd like you to meet my friend Ben Wa. Ben, this is RomanHans."

Now, if I'd been eating dinner, I'd have choked on my chorizo. I decided to circle back to confirm what I'd heard. "Ben?" I repeated. "Ben Wa?"

In case you were born in a barn, ben wa balls are a sex toy, allegedly a source of sexual pleasure. Basically, it's a bunch of balls on a string: you stick them, uh, inside you and then pull them out one at a time. I don't want to be a hater, but if that was erotic, I'd get a hard-on twelve hours after I ate cheese.

"Yes," he said. "Good to meet you."

Carla chatted at me for a few minutes but it all went over my head. I was too busy wondering about Ben. Could he actually have gotten that name at birth? If "Wa" was really his last name, would his parents have saddled him with "Ben"? It seemed too much of a coincidence, like Mr. and Mrs. Plug just happening to name their kid Butt.

Still, maybe they didn't know. I only learned about ben wa balls when a neighbor's Frederick's of Hollywood catalog got misdelivered to my mailbox. I nearly tossed it, but that was back when mesh underwear for men was hip, so I may have spent a year or two casually perusing it. In fact, I've still got a fetish for netting, which explains why I've been thrown out of fourteen Red Lobsters. But not everybody lived in Hollywood.

Maybe it's a nickname, I thought, like you get when you're in college. You do anything even remotely out of the ordinary, and from then on, any time you walk into a room, somebody yells, "Hey, look: it's Mr. Anal Bleaching!"

I couldn't exactly explain all this to Carla. I'm a gentleman, and I try not to use the word "anus" around people who have special hats they wear just for church. Was he some pervert trying to carve another notch in his bedpost, or was he was an innocent victim of a tawdry name? If he caught on to some innuendo, I thought, I'd find out the truth once and for all.

"Ben Wa," I said. "That's an interesting name. Whose idea was it? Did your dad squeeze it out of your mom?"

His face betrayed nothing but patience. "I think it was mutual," he said. "It's part French and part Lebanese."

"Oh," I said, feigning nonchalance. "You know, you look familiar. Did you catch a train at Grand Central Station the other day? I'm sure I saw a guy like you trying to push his way into the caboose."

He shot Carla a confused glance before turning back. "No, that wasn't me."

"Well," I said, "did you ever visit my friend Fanny? You'd remember her house: you go in through the back door and it leads right to this really long passage."

"Roman," Carla said, "you're talking weird. Is there something you're trying to say?"

"No," I insisted. "I just think we have friends in common. Do you know Nipsy Clamps? Or how about Ann L. Beads?"

That was it. "Roman," Carla spat, "you don't know Ben. You've never seen him before. He's visiting from France."

I looked at him but I couldn't tell: was he laughing with me or at me? I'd give it one last try. "Oh," I said. "Sorry. Sometimes I get an idea lodged deep inside me, and when I finally yank it out it's all -- "

Honestly, I thought as they stomped off. Some people. It was just curiosity, you know? It's weird how you try to hold a simple conversation, and all you get is disrespect.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Everybody's talking about Navy SEALs today, but there are some unspoken heroes that could also use a bit of encouragement. Of course I'm talking about movie extras.

I know quite a few people who are professional extras, and they've always raved about it. Getting paid for sitting around! Catered food! Hobnobbing with celebs! I pictured them lounging in director's chairs while PAs brought them Mai Tai's and massaged their feet.

Little did I know the truth was pretty much the opposite.

As I mentioned previously, I saw a newspaper ad looking for extras for Men in Black 3. It said they were looking for people over 6'5" -- freakishly tall territory, which means they might as well have asked for me by name. I went to the casting call, and almost immediately a young woman scurried over and put a gold star on my application. I shone with pride until I saw her give two stars to a snaggletoothed dwarf. Needless to say, I wasn't particularly surprised when they called and told me to report to the shoot.

I was surprised by how difficult it was, bringing the Navy SEALs to mind. I had to get up at a preposterous 3 a.m. to catch the courtesy shuttle to Coney Island, and was so groggy at the breakfast buffet I could barely shovel Canadian bacon and assorted fresh fruit in my mouth. From there it was a grueling stint at hair and makeup, where I futilely tried to convince an attractive gay man that I was an autumn and had to scrupulously avoid earth tones. Next it was wardrobe. Buddy, you try putting on a leisure suit when you don't even have your own mirror. I paused for some deep breathing, but by the time I got to the set I was seconds away from asking, "Where's my trailer, again?"

My first scene was particularly challenging. A PA stood me in front of an ice cream cart, then scampered off. I was aghast: no word about my motivation? I mean, it totally makes a difference. Was I from outer space, or just an earthbound geek? Did I enjoy the occasional Popsicle, or was I simply mystified by the tiny box belching smoke? When the camera started rolling I channeled my inner Meryl Streep and ordered a fudgsicle.

I waited. And waited. Finally the clerk said, "You know this is just full of dry ice, right?"

"Can I speak to the manager?" I replied.

For my next scene, the PA said I had to stroll down the boardwalk, then veer right to a food stand and buy a corn dog. A corn dog? I thought. Really, did I look like the type of person who'd buy a corn dog? Glancing down at my neon polyester I realized I did, but he was still wrong to judge a book by its cover. I'd carry it, I decided, but there was no way I was eating it. I was strictly vegetarian, except in extreme cases of free bacon.

On the bright side, at least it gave me a clue to my character's personality. Wherever he was from, he was clearly an idiot.

Once I had the corn dog, I was stuck. I couldn't exactly toss it out, because then what would happen to continuity? I could picture puzzled audience members thinking, "Hey, didn't that dude just have a corn dog?" and I didn't want to be featured in the credits as "RIDICULOUSLY TALL GUY WHO EATS INCREDIBLY FAST."

For the rest of the day, I followed direction. "Stand here and walk that way," they said. "Stand here and walk that way," they said. "Stand here and -- "

"I got it," I said after the fifteenth time.

The good news is, for a few hours I circled Will Smith, who is very funny, very handsome, and the consummate professional. The bad news, I was holding a corn dog at arm's length. At one point he glanced over at me curiously, and I tried to convey through subtle facial nuance that (1) I was doing this for art, not a paycheck, and (2) I don't ordinarily look like I'm going to vomit, but fatty meat gives off serious fumes.

It didn't work. Fourteen hours after I arrived, when director Barry Sonnenfeld finally yelled "Wrap!", I didn't ride back to the city in a limo; I had to catch the courtesy shuttle home. Got to bed by midnight, alarm clock rang at three. On the bus back to the set I looked out the window and saw a car careening straight for us. I flinched. I screamed.

And then I realized I was staring at the reflection of a car going the other way.

By now I felt like a pro, and though I was barely conscious I didn't let my standards slip. I walked around holding bags of popcorn and peanuts and a towel and a pennant. If they'd told me to hold a live squid between my teeth I've have replied, "Am I eating it or just holding it?" And just before we wrapped for the day, a PA came up to me and said, "You're Roman, right?" I might have been flattered if I'd been awake.

We have today off, due to inclement weather, but I have to go back tomorrow. The dedication of these unspoken professionals has truly surprised me, leading me to identify with our heroic SEALs, though the chicken at their fajita bar probably isn't wildly overspiced. I'm so tired I'm not even worried about making it into the film. Just don't call me an "extra," because that sounds disposable. I'm background. I'm the non-speaking professional who gives a scene emotional resonance by adding touches of his own personal life to a film, whether he's conveying the promise that corn dogs are better at a distance or that people who say they're selling ice cream better have the goddamn goods to back it up.