Tuesday, April 30, 2013

An Introduction to Texas Law

In 2005, Texas voters forbade civil unions and domestic partnerships by adding one simple line to their constitution:

This state ... may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.
On its face, this seems unconstitutional. Shouldn't gays be allowed to create some kind of protected status that levels the playing field? An appellate court disagreed, saying we don't deserve to be protected because we can't have kids.

They didn't seem to notice that five states will let you marry your cousin once Mrs. Billy Bob's ovaries have flown the coop.

Despite this amendment, the Austin school district recently granted their employees domestic partnerships, drawing Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott out of the woodwork. Mr. Abbott is advising politicians to strike down domestic partnership programs. He helped write the amendment, so perhaps we're overestimating his ability to recognize idiot law.

See, domestic partnerships weren't criminalized because there's something wrong with them: no, Texas just decided that if something is good, you shouldn't allow options. You got Two Broke Girls? Then fuck Seinfeld. You got a taco? Then don't even think about falafel. A hetero sheriff is all we need, even if he doesn't protect homos. You want a gay sheriff? This town ain't big enough for both of us, even if you own fewer shoes.

We run into serious problems, though, because this amendment hinges on the definition of "marriage." See, marriage is really quite simple. It's "a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife." Domestic partnerships are basically one of these without that "one man and one woman" part.

But, uh, isn't every union of people similar if you drop the "one man and one woman" part?

A "union" is "a number of persons, states, etc., joined or associated together for some common purpose," which makes us suspect that homosexuals aren't all that Texas criminalized. Credit unions are now illegal, since they're people united to get higher interest rates on their savings accounts. Student unions are illegal, since God joined them together so they can get Motörhead to play nearby. And labor unions are illegal, since they bind people together for all eternity to save the good jobs for their friends.

But marriage is more than just people tied together, you argue: it's a complex legal state. While that's true, that state differs depending on where you live, meaning this marriage is impossible to define. If you're in South Carolina, marriage can be between teenaged relatives. In California, everything your spouse buys is half yours. This bizarre legal decree means men can end up owning handbags and dresses, while women can get half of the Dodgers.

Complicating matters is the fact that the U. S. recognizes marriages that have taken place in, say, Iran, where taking a wife is roughly equivalent to adopting a dog. The biggest difference, in fact, is that no one expects a dog to cook or clean the house. The U. S. will still agree it's a marriage even if you solemnly swear to take your wife as your property, and reserve the right to dump her by saying "I divorce my wife" three times in front of witnesses. Although federal law says "marriage is a sacred compact in which a man assumes a moral obligation to support his wife and child," they're cool with that Iranian one that says when a dude gets tired of his main squeeze, she needs to hit the road.

Under this giant umbrella, Mr. Abbott isn't wrong in declaring domestic partnerships similar to marriage, even though the ones he's fighting here convey exactly one right. The Austin school district allows their employees to sign up their domestic partners -- hetero or homo -- for the sole purpose of getting cheap health insurance.

This is strictly forbidden, argues Mr. Abbott. Texans cannot join together to get cheap health insurance.

And this is where we reach the inescapable conclusion that Mr. Abbott is a world-class bigot. See, you're not a bigot if you think marriage will be abused by moms who marry their sons to dodge inheritance taxes. If you think gay marriage will prompt a flood of dads and sons to the altar, you sure as fuckin' hell are.

You're not a bigot if you say all the basketball players who have sex out of wedlock are an open rebellion to God. When you say a gay player is, you sure as fuckin' hell are.

So, it's possible Texas has outlawed domestic partnerships. It's also possible they've outlawed Geico. Before we discuss the former, though, Mr. Abbott needs to put a certain lizard in the world's tiniest jail.

Friday, April 26, 2013

I'm shocked the world has totally ignored last week's episode of Treasure Detectives. It was absolutely a game-changer, a milestone, a landmark for fans of the "How Much Is This Shit I Got From Grandma Worth?" genre. My memory is a bit hazy and the show is too dull to actually sit through so I could be horribly wrong, but this is what pieced together from the dribs and drabs I heard while actually doing something fun.

Some guy buys a painting on eBay for $100. The painting literally could not be more repulsive if Sarah Palin was clog-dancing in the middle. It's a haphazard amalgam that uses about eighty more colors than anyone with visual acuity would employ, and at its center is a giant red splotch. The seller knows the painting is hideous, and he couldn't be more apologetic. He bills it as nothing more than "interesting" and "one of a kind" and "since it's on canvas, maybe it can soak up spills."

The buyer, though, is more ambitious. Though he doesn't seem to have any credentials that establish him as smarter than a manatee, he's convinced it's by Willem de Kooning. Totally sure. That piece of crap is a de Kooning. We gasp: is it delusion? Chutzpah? Just plain nuts? We are literally inches away from hearing our grandpa swear that the ghost of Hitler has made his testicles sag.

For some reason Curtis Dowling, the host, takes the man seriously. Dowling shares the painting with his two helpful sidekicks. One is a pretty young woman who looks like she's just hanging around to take drink orders, and the other's a guy who looks like he cut his hair with a weedwhacker. He takes one look at the painting and immediately declares, "I don't know nothing 'bout this new-fangled art."

We're left wondering if non-helpful sidekicks could be worse. Maybe they try to jam a angry forest dwellers in your pocket while yelling, "Who's got the woodchuck?"

The three talk about how great it would be to prove the picture is authentic. The argument is roughly as productive as your brother-in-law saying you could buy and sell Bill Gates if you could just teach algae to shit petroleum. At no point does anyone acknowledge the obvious. The picture is crap. It's like trying to prove a cow is a Tiffany lamp while it's spraying cream at your face. Instead, Dowling decides to drag the wreck to somebody with a brain.

Now, it's easy to authenticate stuff. You really only need one expert. Maybe you could double-check with forensic analysis. But Dowling can't just bring the object straight to these people, because what would he do for the remaining 59 minutes -- sing old sea shanties? Instead he shows the object to three people of increasing intelligence: first a Complete Idiot, then Mr. Vaguely Knowledgeable, then an Actual Expert.

Dowling's visit to CI dwells on the fact that anything is possible. "De Kooning used paint," he notes, and this is clearly paint, so it could be a de Kooning, right?"

"Yes, that's possible," CI observes. "They both certainly use paint."

"So, in your professional opinion, do you think this is actually a de Kooning?"

"I don't know," the person says. "After all, I'm just the bellboy at your hotel."

The show rigorously adheres to the pattern. Do you think this could be Hitler's ottoman? Yes, it's definitely Hitler's ottoman. Now read me a story, Daddy. This looks like a Faberge egg. Could it be a Faberge egg? I don't know. So you wanted a double cheese and fries?

Oddly, the situation doesn't get resolved, so it's time to drag in the fair-to-middling guns: Mr. Vaguely Knowledgeable. We haven't totally abandoned all stupidity: it's more like the Double Jeopardy round.

"So, do you think this is a de Kooning?" Dowling asks.

"Well, there's one thing I notice right off the bat. De Kooning always signed his work, and this work isn't signed."

"But de Kooning often drank. Is it possible he got drunk and forgot to sign the picture?"

"Yes, that's possible. But then why wouldn't there be a record of this painting anywhere?"

"While de Kooning was drunk, is it possible that a monkey broke into his studio and mistook this painting for a tomato? And then just left it on the street?"

"Sure, I guess it's possible. Monkeys get crazy. But, you know, there's really no explanation for the fact the painting is a total pile of shit."

"Yes, yes, clearly," Dowling admits. "But de Kooning is famous for breaking all the rules. Maybe with this work he broke all the rules about competent painting. Maybe he said to himself, 'I'm tired of making paintings that are attractive, and show talent!' Maybe this painting is the ultimate act of Abstract Expressionism: a work expressly designed to look like a monkey has crapped out a beet onto canvas."

Mr. VK caves here. "Sure!" he barks. "Yes, it could be real! It could be an actual de Kooning, painted while he was drunk as an avant-garde act against good painting and stolen by a beet-shitting monkey! NOW WILL YOU PLEASE SHUT THE FUCK UP AND GO AWAY?"

Dowling reacts to this admission with mixed feelings. "That is great news," he says, "but we have to be 100% sure. Let's take it to an expert."

That's why at 8:47 on Monday nights if you open your window and listen closely you can hear a dozen of your neighbors yelling, "DUH, YA THINK?"

Thankfully, the expert doesn't tolerate Dowling's idiocy. He looks at the work, maybe examines the paint through a microscope. He shoots Dowling the glance Stephen J. Hawking would give Richard Simmons. "You know the de Kooning has never been painted," he says icily, "that doesn't have a giant pair of swirly purple boobs."

"That's true," Dowling stutters, "but maybe he was drunk and a monkey took it before -- "

"This isn't a de Kooning," the expert snaps. "This is what's known among professionals as 'Some piece of shit an idiot bought on eBay.'"

It's now 8:59, so Dowling has to render his final decision. We hear the owner reiterate the high stakes once and for all: "This painting has to be a real de Kooning," he insists. "Otherwise it'll be one more piece of evidence that I have no business being a fine art dealer."

Naturally this evokes empathy on my part. I mean, I guess I shouldn't hire myself out as a Bovine Dessication Technician just because I eat beef jerky four hours a day.

Dowling glances with concern at the owner. "This painting is " -- eighteen commercials, four centered around a female bear quizzing her hubby about his usage of toilet paper -- "not a de Kooning."

The owner acts vaguely piqued for a nanosecond before he pipes up with the silver lining. "Maybe it's not a de Kooning, but it's famous now that it's been on TV so it's definitely valuable!"

And scene. The guy clearly wins. He probably knew it wasn't a de Kooning but decided that showing it to half a million people couldn't do any harm. We turn off the TV convinced we'll see this painting again, maybe when CNBC debuts Is This That Thing Those Idiots Were Talking About? in the fall of 2015.

If your kids want to see a big dick, they should watch Celebrity Apprentice.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wal-Mart To Be Once Again Shocked And Horrified To Discover Their $2 Tank Tops Are Being Made In Dangerous Sweatshops

February 25, 2010: 21 workers killed at the Garib & Garib Sweater Factory in Gazipur, Bangladesh

  • Wal-Mart has no comment.

December 14, 2010: 35 workers killed at That's It Sportswear Ltd factory in Bangladesh

  • Wal-Mart has no comment.

September 11, 2012: Over 300 workers killed at Ali Enterprises in Karachi, Pakistan

  • Wal-Mart has no comment.

November 24, 2012: 112 workers killed in fire at Tazreen Fashions, Bangladesh

  • Wal-Mart had absolutely no idea that factory manufactured their apparel.
  • Wal-Mart blames a supplier.
  • Wal-Mart promises changes.
  • Wal-Mart adopts a “zero-tolerance” policy and "frequent in-person monitoring"

April 24, 2013: At least 70 workers killed in Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh

Update: The official body count of the April 24 disaster is close to 400 people. Wal-Mart still has no comment.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sigh. There's always a cloud behind every silver lining. I finally got one of my stories accepted for publication in an anthology of erotica, but the editor didn't tell me that I couldn't use any brand names. Evidently she's afraid she could be sued, so every word even remotely associated with a copyright or trademark has to be replaced with a generic description. She returned the story to me with her suggested changes, which I've italicized. I think it's still worth publishing, though it's lost a bit of its zip.


Mike loved living in Tennessee, mostly for the wildlife. Why, just the other day he saw a premium vodka fly out of the wall-mounted air freshener.

His brother lived just down the block, and visited often. Mike always enjoyed their visits, but mostly because his new wife was such a stunner. In fact, Mike had been so excited he'd hardly been able to sleep since grease-eliminating dishwashing liquid.

Finally around noon they turned up, and Mike got an idea. "It's Cinco de Mayo," he said, "so why don't we have a inexpensive subcompact car?"

"We could listen to Mexican music," Steve said.

"And drink margaritas!" his wife Mimi added.

Just as the burgers were nearly ready Steve got a text message on his soft purple-black drupelet. "Damn it!" he snapped. "I have to go into work!"

"Come back soon," said Mimi, though she didn't mean it. She watched his brother from the corner of her eye. His shoulders were so broad, and his chest was mid-priced paper towels.

Mike dropped two char-grilled patties onto amazement bread. "So," Mike said, "how is marriage treating you?"

"Steve is so good to me!" Mimi declared. "He's taking me to Venice next month! He alreaady bought me a whole set of luggage by athletic instructor, and he's booked us a suite at the cracker commonly topped with aerosol cheese!"

"That really sounds great," Mike mused.

"I can't wait to go," Mimi agreed. "Of course, there's nothing like Tennessee."

Mike lit up a long-necked desert mammal and inhaled a few aloe-infused tissues. "When it's clear you can see the candy bar made with rich chocolate, creamy caramel and smooth nougat."

Their eyes locked. Mike couldn't believe how gorgeous his brother's wife was. She looked straight out of a men's magazine centerfold, except she didn't have overpriced office supply store in her stomach. He leaned over and kissed her right on the lips.

"No!" she protested feebly. "That's so wrong!"

"I want you, and you want me," Mike murmured. "How can we say no?"

"Oooh," Mimi moaned. "My brain says no but my body says Yes Yes YES!!! Just let me freshen up. I'll be ready in a peanut butter sandwich spread."

Mimi headed inside as Mike bit into his juicy burger. "No prob," he replied as his penis sprung to life, causing coconut candy bars to form in his pants.

Edited brand names: Grey Goose, Glade, Dawn, Fiesta, BlackBerry, Brawny, Coach, Ritz, Camel, Puffs, Milky Way, Staples, Jif, Mounds

Friday, April 19, 2013

Thank you so much for this award.

It's truly the best award I've ever gotten, and I've gotten hundreds. It means so much since it comes from the people. Ha! That's funny. When my PR people told me to say that I was like, "What, like all the other awards are given out by raccoons?" But they told me not to say that.

First I'd like to offer props to my mom. I wouldn't be where I am if she hadn't worked so hard at dead-end jobs that barely paid enough to keep us in low-income housing. Even though she worked her fingers to the bone scrubbing toilets and we were just like a dollar away from being homeless, she still bought me a piano, drums, a guitar, and a trumpet when I said, "Hey, mom, buy me a piano, drums, a guitar, and a trumpet." I still don't know how she could simultaneously work and home-school me, but that's up to my PR people to figure out.

Next I'd like to thank my dad for encouraging me to follow my dream. That's what he did, and I think that's where I got my strength. Even though he comes from four generations of bankers he said to his parents, "No, I want to be a stockbroker instead!" That's why he's my idol. It's tough to blaze your own trail when your parents have to call, like, friends of friends to find you a job. That's the kind of courage I wrote about in my song, "On The Fence (I'm Like That Sparrow-Ow-Ow)."

Next I'd like to thank my manager, Mike Borgata, who somehow saw genius in this crazy little kid and probably would have signed me even if my dad hadn't given him that briefcase full of cash.

I always knew I wanted to sing. I remember going out on modeling jobs where I met all these incredibly talented people working so hard, and I remember I wanted to do something too. They all said, "You're pretty, so nobody cares if you're useless," but I made up my mind. Right then I decided that I'd do something more than just hang out with my friends and ride my horses Rainbow and Chauncey.

I can't forget to thank God for this. I don't know what I would have done if I hadn't had eighteen gold records six months after I first opened my mouth. My mom was a great teacher, but I'm still pretty sure I wouldn't have made a good accountant even if I'd learned how to add. I remember when she covered the career counseling part of my home schooling by having me read a Richard Scarry book. All the pigs were construction workers and the bunny rabbits were housewives and I thought, I'm not a pig or a bunny rabbit. So I'd like to accept this award on behalf of everybody out there who isn't a pig or a bunny rabbit.

To all the other kids who want to do this, I say go for it! It isn't easy: you've got to write and write and write before Emmy-winning songwriters can go through your journals and make a song out of them while totally ignoring all your drawings of Jake Gyllenhaal. Maybe you won't be quite as lucky as me -- it might take like a year before you pick up an award in front of a billion people -- but keep at it! It's definitely worth all the work.

And to all the haters out there who think I haven't worked for this, you're wrong. I spent all of last summer working as a lifeguard. I was only, like, twelve, but I remember feeling totally responsible for, like, human life! For nearly three months I worked for my dad's best friend, just making sure nothing bad happened around his pool. Luckily he didn't have a family and he didn't like to swim, so mostly I just sat there in a swimsuit while he looked at me, but that was still the hardest ten thousand dollars I ever made. I still have it in a drawer to remind me where I came from.

Whoops, gotta wrap it up -- there's the music. Did I write that? No? Oh. Well, thanks so much. This award means everything to me, coming from the -- HA! Peace. Out!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Member Of The Club

I'm not exactly Mr. Sucker. It takes an accomplished salesperson to convince me to buy something, which is why I literally laugh in the face of Girl Scouts bearing cookies. The above ad, though, actually did the trick. When my new watch finally arrived I slapped it on and ran outside so I could interact with rich people too. Unfortunately, my conversation with a millionaire wasn't quite like the one in the ad.

I wasn't looking for trouble. I sat in a café, sipping my frappuccino and enjoying the quiet. Then it got noisy. Mr. Hotstuff rolled up in his high-performance Italian sports car, dropping attitude. That’s when I decided to roll up my sleeves and teach him a lesson.

"Nice watch," I said, pointing to his and holding up mine.

He looked at my watch, then at his. Then at mine again, then at his. He furrowed his forehead, like there was something he couldn't understand. "Wow," he finally said, lowering the window of his Lamborghini. "It's like we're twins."

"That's right," I crowed. "Yet yours cost $22,000, while mine was only $179 and came with a free pair of sunglasses."

"I am veritably seething with jealousy," he said. "I can't believe you got a jeweled Swiss movement for that price."

I blushed. I purposely ignored the word "jeweled" because people call men's genitalia the "family jewels" and though I knew my watch didn't actually contain any precious gems it could conceivably have held some dick parts. "I think it's British," I said. "Who'd have guessed those blokes could make more than just great food?"

"Color me stunned," he said. "I just can't believe you got a self-winding Oyster movement for that price."

Here I had to bluff, but I crossed my fingers as I talked. I said, "I think mine is a Clam," though I wasn't entirely sure it was seafood.

"And you can scuba-dive with it?" He slapped his watch with disgust. "Wow. I really got taken for a ride."

"Well, maybe not scuba-dive exactly," I stammered, "but you don't need to hide it when you drive by a car wash."

"That is clearly a technological masterwork," he said.

"Truly," I agreed. "It's made of two hundred parts, and it takes six months to put together."

"Really?" he asked, doing the math in his head. "Those must be master craftsmen, only putting on one part a day. Did they sign it, you know, like 'Assembled by Stumpy and Twitchy'?"

I studiously glanced over at him. I though I could almost detect the hint of a smile, but that might have been a smudge on my FlyBoys. "It's amazing," I said, "isn't it? Now you and I belong to the same club."

He looked me up and down, his eyes jealously resting on shoes that had the look and feel of real leather. "Well," he said, "congratulations on buying an heirloom that friends will envy and your children will love. A quality piece of jewelry that you can wear, and an expensive investment that can -- should times get rough -- more than provide for their education."

I pretended to air-clink glasses with him while running the numbers in my head. I smiled boldly though I suspected a pawned Stauer couldn't get an eight-year-old into Gymboree. "That's why they say Stauer is the Robin Hood of Watchmakers," I offered weakly.

He nodded. "That's an apt comparison," he said. "I remember when Robin Hood took eighty bucks from Friar Tuck in exchange for something that looked like a cow."

He drove off with a loud roar and at this point I realized something. Unlike in the ad, my millionaire had never been at a loss for words. In fact, my millionaire almost seemed to be insulting me. There on the cold street I started to second-guess my decision. Had I wasted my money? I mean, the ad said the Stauer factory spent over $40 million on Swiss-made machinery, but they never said it was watch making machinery. They might have bought a waffle maker and eight Zambonis for all I knew.

My face started to redden as feelings of utter stupidity flooded my brain. I looked at my watch and ran for the post office. I'm pretty sure I still had a few days left to return it, but when I spun the metal-toned chronometer all I saw were the words "ALL SIGNS POINT TO NO."

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Let's Reply To That Open Letter From George Zimmerman's Mother Gladys

Today, April 11, 2013 is the anniversary of the most unfortunate arrest of our son George.

It was truly most unfortunate. That poor Trayvon Martin, the kid your son shot. And his poor family. Oh I say, what kind of cheese is this? It's most scrumptious. It has a creaminess that's most refreshing.

I am writing from my heart and with incalculable gratitude to our family members, dearest friends, and those we have not personally met but who have nonetheless offered their unwavering moral and spiritual support. . . . If you read this letter with the hopes of finding material to mock or rebuke -- please stop reading now, because this letter is not intended for you.

Ms. Zimmerman, I'm most sorry for your tribulations. If you're easily offended, please don't read the rest of this paragraph. YOUR SON WILL SUCK COCKS IN HELL. Wow, I didn't realize you could innoculate yourself with magic words before you say crazy stuff. YOU'RE AN IDIOT! SHUT THE FUCK UP!

Most sorry.

April 11 2012 will be forever remembered by the Zimmerman family as the day the justice system failed us as Americans, and as a consequence an innocent man was arrested for a crime he did not commit, solely to placate the masses.

Because what kind of sad, spineless country listens to the masses? Oh, that's right -- a democracy.

For a man who didn't commit a crime, Mr. Zimmerman sure left a trail of evidence. Here's what he said when he first saw Trayvon Martin, who he shot to death: "This guy looks like he's up to no good, or he's on drugs or something."

Notice something odd? See, usually when somebody calls the police, they don't offer them multiple choice. There aren't many 911 transcripts that go, "HELP! I need the police! Either somebody's robbing the jewelry store or there's a man at the library who isn't wearing any pants.

"It's raining and he's just walking around," Mr. Zimmerman breathlessly reported, leading one to believe that if he'd been alive back in the 1950s we'd be mourning Gene Kelly today. Is "looking at all the houses" actually suspicious? I mean, in gated communities in Florida there aren't exactly unicorns on every block.

George was charged with murder. By confusing the public and manipulating perception in order to sway the “court of public opinion”, Benjamin Crump & co. finally achieved their “first base” victory.

I think the public was actually confused by the armed adult who was deathly afraid of kids with Skittles. When you shoot somebody in alleged self-defense you should be able to offer more evidence than a frightful nosebleed.

A year later, we find ourselves--as Mr. Crump put it--in “third base” posture: we are awaiting trial. Throughout the past year, as evidence came forth and was later published, we have fought at every turn to be certain George is afforded a fair trial and equal protection under the law. It is imperative now more than ever that George receive fair treatment by the judicial system, as this is the quintessential birthright of every American.

You know, if Family Feud asked a hundred people what the quintessential American birthright was, I'm pretty sure "Fair treatment by the judicial system" would rank lower than "Always able to get hot donuts at Krispy Kreme!" And definitely lower than "Able to walk around without being killed."

From the beginning, this case has been heavily publicized and a false narrative was developed surrounding a very real tragedy when there was little evidence available to the public. It is astounding that despite the vast amount of information and evidence now available that supports George’s self-defense claim, the majority of the media avoids its publication. It is indeed alarming that even more media outlets do not regret misinforming the public and have not taken steps to retract the fabrications they are responsible for perpetuating.

I mean really! You'd think the dude had WMDs.

I remember a year ago, when George was arrested, there wasn’t a television station in the country or a newspaper in circulation that didn’t “break news” of his arrest by placing his picture along with a soundbyte or caption on their airwaves or publications.

Because you'd think someone could kill a black guy and not get hauled over the coals.

When George was incarcerated, the food he bought was considered “news”, the snacks he ate and even the undergarments he purchased were fodder for even more “news reports” about him.

What was that again? I was distracted by a news flash saying Jennifer Lopez just farted.

Those days were particularly disheartening and saddened me profoundly, but as a mother I knew that only strength would see us through. There was absolutely no justifiable reason my son should have been charged for a crime he didn’t commit and there was no just reason he should find himself incarcerated either.

This is a tautology, right? There's no crime because there's no witnesses because he killed them. Does it make a sound if you kill a bear with Skittles in the woods?

It is for these reasons I share my thoughts and heart with you today. Despite the mythological monster the media created, those who knew George did not abandon him, and those who have become familiar with him throughout the course of this ordeal have prayed daily for him, his wife, his parents and siblings. Without your constant prayer, words of comfort, and endless search for truth -- our family would not have made it this far.

"Mythological monster"? Lady, you give "mythological monsters" a bad name. Call me crazy, but I'm pretty sure Krakens don't leap into action when they see black kids outside. Before he ate African-Americans the Minotaur didn't ask what they were doing in his neighborhood. Medusa's mom didn't write a letter to newspapers saying everybody had asked to be turned to stone.

As we approach June 10, the date George’s trial is scheduled to begin, I want to thank you again for your support and the trust you have placed in George. . . . Pray not only for George and his family but ask God the Father to speak directly to the hearts of those who have mistreated George for far too long. . . . Stay vigilant, stay focused on facts and evidence, stay focused on prayer.

I totally will, dear lady. Like you, I pray for peace and love and --

Wait -- were you just looking at a house?

Read the complete letter here.

Monday, April 8, 2013

I didn't really mind Torrance, your stereotypically bland Southern California town. I moved there to be close to work and quickly realized that was its only asset: it was close to a lot of things. It was halfway between the Asian restaurants and markets of Gardena and the biking and volleyball at Redondo Beach. Torrance itself, though, consisted of a huge, anonymous shopping mall and a ten-block long Exxon/Mobil refinery, and when the latter exploded before the former I decided it was time to get out.

I took a survey of my friends and Hollywood emerged as a favorite. No longer was it just the default destination for runaways: no, somebody'd paved the rough streets with glitz and glamour and the star-studded privileged class had reappeared. It was like a bizarro version of that Field of Dreams "If you build it" thing, where Mario Lopez is the guy you want.

I scoured the classified ads and soon found myself wandering through Hollywood real estate. There were high-ceilinged apartments with more crown molding than floor space on Crescent Heights. There were overpriced Spanish duplexes just off Fountain. There were low-slung courtyard apartments south of Melrose. It was at one of those where I spotted an algae-green pool through the locked wrought iron gate, and I would have turned tail and run if I hadn't had an appointment with its owner, Ralph. A gruff, sixtyish man, Ralph clearly didn't go to any trouble with either grooming or dressing so I wasn't surprised that he didn't try to push the place. He said, "There's the bedroom," "there's the living room," "there's the bathroom," and "there's the dumpster for trash." If forced to differentiate between these locations I'd say the latter had better light and a fresher smell.

After five minutes I figured I'd met the requirements of etiquette and I thanked Ralph for showing me around. "Oh, there's one other thing you should know," he added. "I don't want to scare you away, since you really seem to like the place, but that apartment has a gay ghost."

Those two words opened a floodgate in my head. A gay ghost? I didn't know how one could be sure they had any sort of ghost at all, let alone a homosexual one. Did it rearrange your underwear drawer? Did it waft through your premises with the scent of expensive cologne? Did it leave your Jägermeister untouched while guzzling your Absolut?

I asked Ralph to take me back to the apartment. It could work, I thought. With a coat of paint, new curtains, and a few dozen air fresheners, I could make a nice home for Nathaniel and me. Yes, I'd already named the ghost Nathaniel. I don't know why. Most ghosts date from Victorian times, I thought, though this building was clearly constructed in the Sparkly Stucco Age. I think it's common knowledge that ghosts have exotic names: when guys with names like Bob pass away, they usually don't have the verve to come back.

As I signed the lease my hands were shaking. Sure, the rent was a little high, but I didn't quibble. I'd rather have a gay ghost than attractive bathroom tile, or uncracked fluorescent lighting, or unstained carpeting, or a screen door with jagged holes a bald eagle could fly through. A gay ghost was dancing in my head, which means shirts are off and there's amyl.

A couple of days after I moved in I thought I caught evidence of Nat. It was subtle: a kitchen drawer was slightly open, and the clothes in my closet were smashed up against one end. I started taking mental pictures of the apartment before I left for work so I'd know if anything had moved. Probably every other day I detected small discrepancies, but rather than being scary they excited me. I felt giddy. His invisibility made Nat the perfect roommate: I could pretend he was handsome and charming and even had a crush on me but knew he'd never hit on my boyfriend.

As the weeks went by, I started to feel frustrated. I wanted our relationship to move forward. I analyzed Nat's actions to see if maybe he was trying to communicate with me. The pillows on my couch were rearranged: was he giving me tips on decorating? A jar of Jif worked its way to the front of the fridge: was he making a thoughtful point about my diet? We had so much in common, being elusive, attractive, romantic figures. My heart ached as I longed to forge a stronger connection. Laying in my bed late at night, I just couldn't keep my eyes closed. I wanted to spot a fleeting shadow, feel his presence, be engulfed in a wave of woodsy cologne. Once or twice I might have called out and begged him to materialize before I eventually fell asleep.

And then one day my boss was sick so I left work early. I swung open my front door and spotted a surprised Ralph leaping up off of my couch. He held a can of Coors in one hand and flattened his disheveled hair with the other. "I wasn't expecting you back so early," he barked as he ducked out of my front door.

I was aghast. I was horrified. I felt violated. I had half a mind to pack up my stuff and get out. No matter how bad I felt, though, I couldn't. I pushed the incident to the back of my mind and never thought about it again.

When people ask me about my last boyfriend, I automatically think back to Nat. I remember like it was yesterday. Because maybe we didn't exactly hang out together, or communicate using words, but that's proved a workable strategy for Oprah and Stedman, or Dolly Parton and her man. I'm definitely reluctant to talk about it. I mean, I won't date actors, so it was pretty insane to get involved with a ghost. Sometimes I just say my brain was off-duty and my heart bears the scars. Sometimes I include a few more details. But I never, ever mention Ralph, and I'll never forgive him as long as I live. Because I don't know what he did that day, but my gay ghost never came back.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Christopher Abbott, who plays Charlie on Girls, has just announced he is leaving the series effective immediately. A source said Abbott "didn't like the direction" the show is going.

They've already filmed his final scene, and supposedly it's quite sad. Hannah accidentally stabs him while she's frying pork chops, and because she has OCD she has to stab him fifteen more times.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

NY Daily News Exclusive: Spotted at Broadway Premiere? The Co-Star

The Scoop.

I took this class. When I close my eyes I can still see my Drill Sergeant saying, "Make me a Peach Appletini, maggot!"

What Steven Seagal Is Up To

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Bible has it all: sex, violence, heaven, hell, eternal damnation and eternal life. There's just one thing it doesn't have, and that's consistency.

See, the Bible is all about how amazing Jesus was. The son of God, the savior of the world, the light in the back of your oven. So how come most of the people living back then clearly didn't give a damn about him?

Sure, on a few occasions vast quantities of people came to hear him talk. Four thousand people turned up one time, five thousand people on another. But what about in between? I don't know about you, but if I see some dude reanimate a corpse, I'm not just heading back home afterwards to make sandwiches and drink beer.

Only twelve men followed Jesus for an extended period of time. That's it. Charlie Sheen's posse is bigger than that, but I guess Jesus didn't spill a lot of coke.

Jesus got four men to write books about him, you say. But is that impressive? My local library has a whole shelf of books just about The Brady Bunch.

Picture this: Jesus performed over forty documented miracles. Some were relatively minor, like walking around the countryside for six hours and coming back to find his parking meter still hadn't expired. He fed thousands of people with just two fish, and that was before Gefilte Helper. But some of his miracles could convince any skeptic, like walking on water.

I mean, you don't dispute walking on water. Criss Angel did it, but I'm thinking Jesus didn't have four thousand dollars to pay extras to stand around in swimsuits holding beachballs while remaining totally motionless and pretending they didn't see any plexiglas. If I'd seen Jesus walk on water, I'd have stuck with him. When he's put to death, though, literally a dozen people turn up. I can draw a bigger crowd up to my apartment by telling folks I'm making scones.

One religious website says people didn't show up because they thought they'd be arrested. Yeah, that makes sense. He brings folks back from the dead, but everybody stays away because they don't want a misdemeanor on their permanent record. It makes you wonder: Were these folks really convinced he was their savior? I mean, five thousand Occupy Wall Street protesters were arrested, and their only motivation was that Wall Street sucks.

Even the dudes who wrote the Bible didn't go to the crucifixion. Mark copied the story from Matthew. Matthew copied from John. Luke copied from Mark. It makes the death of the biggest religious figure in the history of the world sound like my high-school Physics class.

Let's picture the scene in the average household.

HARVEY (reading a stone newspaper): Hey, Linda, remember Jesus? The dude who fed a bunch of people with two fishes and some bread, and turned water into wine?

LINDA: Sure I remember him. He cured Marvin's blindness! He was definitely the savior of the human race. What's he up to these days?

HARVEY: This is so sad. They're crucifying him.

LINDA: Oh. That is sad. (PAUSE) I say we go and give those goddamn soldiers a piece of our minds! We'll tell them that Jesus truly is the Son of God! When is it?

HARVEY: Tuesday.

LINDA: Oh. That's the same day Andronicus is staging the rhinoceros fight at the colosseum.

HARVEY: Oh, well. Maybe next time.

It's not just Jesus, either: nobody gave a damn about Moses, though he could perform miracles too. He parted the Red Sea. He purified water, which might have been impressive before we all got Brita.

God actually spoke to Moses through a burning bush. As he walked around, God threw food at him. Naturally people tagged along when he wandered into the desert, which is a crazy thing to do even when you have a cellphone and an Isuzu. Here's how the Bible says that turned out:

MOSES: Okay, people! God specifically told me to climb up this mountain to receive his eternal word. Got that? I'M BRINGING BACK A SPECIAL DIRECTIVE FROM GOD. I'll just go get it, and I'll be right back.

STEVE: Okay! We'll be here. (PAUSE) What the fuck? I didn't know it would take this long.

WANDA: I know! We ain't crazy. Hey, look -- some dude got a golden calf!

LINDA: Fuck Moses! I ain't never seen a golden calf.

Eventually Moses returned with the Ten Commandments.

MOSES: People! People! I have returned! And look: I have that message STRAIGHT FROM GOD!

THE ONE GUY WHO HUNG AROUND: They left. They're gone. Is that incredible? They're all dancing around that golden calf. That's goddamn loyalty for you.

MOSES: That totally sucks. Let's go kill those motherfuckers.

If Jesus were around today, I think he'd do a little better, given TV and the internet and all that. My friend Mario has half a million Facebook friends, but he performed a small miracle himself. He found me a hit of K when nobody else could even find weed, and I'd follow him into the desert for that.