Wednesday, June 26, 2013

This is amazing. Swarms of people are literally running through the streets here, yelling at the top of their lungs. They're waving flags and banners and singing and chanting and it's like a giant party in the streets. Never, ever have I seen people so excited. I've been trying to come up with an explanation, but the slot machine wheels in my head just spun and then stopped. There weren't any elections. We didn't land on the moon. No matter how impossible it sounds, I've come to exactly one inescapable conclusion about why New Yorkers today are in a virtual frenzy of unbridled bliss:

My novel, bOObs, has just come out!

Honestly, I never expected this kind of reception. I can actually hear cheers coming from outside, and across the street people are hanging out their windows waving rainbow flags. I mean, bOObs is a terrific farce about gender expectations and the fluidity of identity, but this is unbelievable!

Still, at the risk of sounding egotistical, I guess this reception is kind of deserved. I caught a snippet of the TV news where an anchorman said that June 26, 2013 is a day that will go down in history, and I have to admit it truly is a once-in-a-lifetime event, like seeing Halley's Comet: I actually got something published -- by the very highly regarded Ampichellis Ebooks (for the Kindle edition) and Martin Brown Publishers (for the paperback, available next week). Yes, it's been a lot of work. I literally had to sit at home and lay on the couch for months at a time before I even decided to write the freakin' thing. But now judging from the way people are going totally nuts I feel like all those muffins and cappuccinos have been worth it.

Anyway, if you don't want to be left out of the celebrations, pick up the Kindle edition here. I guess they can't sell out, since it's all just downloaded electrons or something, but you should probably order it immediately just in case. It's already gotten a five-star review from somebody I'm pretty sure is legit.

God, now there's like a parade of cars driving by my window honking. Well, I guess I should acknowledge them, but first I have to find my cape.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Short History Of The Gay Mafia In America

1947: The Gay Mafia is officially born, with founding members Noël Coward, George Cukor, Alfred Kinsey, and Thornton Wilder. Rather than the customary "Don," de factor leader Coward is addressed by the honorific "Judy."

1958: Cole "Knuckles" Porter is enlisted as enforcer for the fledgling Gay Mafia. In sharp contrast to his charming public persona, he terrorizes enemies with bone-chilling threats like the following:

       In olden days, a dude would beat you
       and sometimes he might mistreat you
       But heaven knows
       I'm going to cut off your toes.

1968: Garroting a rival wiseguy, Paul "The Enforcer" Lynde famously declares "We have met the enemy and he is cute."

1971: In an incident famously recreated by The Godfather, Calvin Klein's "offer you can't refuse" includes a tangerine polo and some soap-on-a-rope.

1972: Rather than face an extended blood feud that would decimate both of their families, Godfathers Truman Capote and Gore Vidal agree to take their disagreement to TV's Match Game.

1984: The Gay Mafia's consigliere Liberace ("The Iceman") dies. His soldiers open a museum dedicated to his memory in a Las Vegas strip mall, thereby letting his associates pay their respects while also picking up Slim Jims and Red Bull.

1987: After his success with Donnie Brasco, Mario Puzo attempts an exposé of the Gay Mafia but ends up with the first draft of Mamma Mia!

1994: The relationship between Rock Hudson and Jim Nabors inspires the film Pulp Fiction and later Say Yes to the Dress.

2010: A decade-long feud finally explodes after Clive Davis' autobiography is published, and the Gay Mafia goes to the mattresses to dodge mucho snarkiness from Kelly Clarkson.

2012: When she hears that gay capo Marc Jacobs is going to knock off an old bag, Joan Rivers disappears.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Paula Deen Moves to Amsterdam, Rents Out Anne Frank's House. "There Ain't Nuthin' Wrong With That, Is There?" She Asks.

Here's a preschool test that no adult has ever passed. Which way is this bus going?

You don't know? Well, that makes you pretty stupid, because 99% of all preschoolers immediately knew the answer, and the remaining 1% only got it wrong because they'd stuffed Cheetos in their eyes and all they could see was orange. It's going to the left. Let's let little Justin Crumpwhistle, a four-year-old booger-eater, explain:

"It's got to be going left because you can't see the door to get in! Oops. I just poohed on the dog."

Ha! Wasn't that fun?

Answer: Clearly, no.

See, stupid people try to avoid puzzles. Semi-smart people try to solve puzzles, can't, and then say, "My, how ingenious!" when they hear the answers. But truly smart people solve the puzzle, get a different answer, then complain that the "real" answer stinks.

With the bus conundrum, we haven't been given enough information. The smart adult assumes the simple line-drawing represents an actual bus. Which is why he answered, "Gosh, I have no way of knowing!"

When he heard what the "real" answer was, though, he realized the drawing was supposed to be the actual bus. He said, "Wait, so you're telling me this is a mechanically-correct representation of the alleged mode of transport? In that case, the answer should be, 'The bus ain't going fuckin' anywhere, because the wheels aren't attached to the frame.'"

So-called "lateral thinking" puzzles are the worst. That's where you're given almost no information, but through creativity and imagination you're supposed to devise a scenario that fits. When you hear the answer, you're supposed to think, "Wow, that's so elegant! It's the perfect fit!"

The smart person, however, often finds so many roadblocks to this "solution" that an equally likely answer is that everything is attributable to a paralyzed kangaroo. Take this puzzle, for instance:

A man is lying dead in a field. Next to him there is an unopened package. There is no other creature in the field. How did he die?

Answer: He jumped out of a plane. The package is his unopened parachute.

I can guarantee you that nobody with half a brain will come up with this answer. For one simple reason: if someone actually put their parachute into a "package," they're an idiot who could have choked on a turnip. A far likelier explanation is that the package is an iPhone box. Somebody saw the dude carrying it and shot him, but when he grabbed the box he realized it was empty.

Whoo! Lateral thinking rules.

A man walks into a bar and asks the bartender for a glass of water. The bartender pulls out a gun and points it at the man. The man says "Thank you" and walks out.

Answer: The man had the hiccups. He intended to cure them by drinking a glass of water, but the bartender did it by scaring him.

Me, I'm thinking a bartender pulling a gun on somebody isn't particularly elegant considering you can get killed for owning Skittles in Florida. Or is he another idiot, like in the last puzzle? Because he could have scared the dude by yelling "OOGABOOGA!" and there'd have been zero chance he'd be stabbed with a lime zester in return.

A man is lying dead in a field. He is clutching a broken match. What happened?

Answer: A bunch of people were in a hot-air balloon, desperately fleeing a communist country. Suddenly the balloon started losing altitude, and somebody had to jump out to stop it from crashing. This man drew the short match and had to jump.

I won't argue with this one. Instead I'll just say I would never have suspected that, while plummeting to his death, a man's last thoughts are frequently "CAN'T. DROP. TINY. MATCH. MUSTN'T. DROP. TINY. MATCH."

I think I hate puzzles because of something that happened to me in first grade. My teacher suspected that I was smart, so the school administrators took me out of class for testing. To this day I remember one question they asked me.

They showed me a drawing of a tree. The sun was to the left, and its shadow was also on the left. "What's wrong with this picture?" they asked me.

"Nothing," I said.

"That's nothing wrong with it?"

I shrugged. "Well, I mean, if you want a picture with fuckin' crazy shadows, you could do a hell of a lot worse."

They weren't happy, and as I carried the note back to my parents delineating my behavioral problems I realized you just can't satisfy some people. I've dodged puzzles ever since. Ironically, it makes one thing easy.

If I'm ever found in a field with a puzzle book next to me, just assume I shot myself.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The word strikes terror in a man's heart: Mafia. "Gay Mafia"? Maybe not quite so much. As you can see from the list below, though, the gay version truly lives up to the bone-chilling name of its hetero counterpart.

STRAIGHT MAFIA: A loose association of criminal groups dating back to nineteenth-century Sicily.

GAY MAFIA: A loose association of gay priests who have sex with each other and don't tell anybody.

STRAIGHT MAFIA: Their interests lean toward bootlegging, racketeering, bribery, drug smuggling, and loan sharking, all backed up by violence and murder. You know, the usual gangster stuff.

GAY MAFIA: They've been known to pay off their sex partners to keep them quiet. You know, the usual priest stuff.

STRAIGHT MAFIA: Initiation rituals include wine, oaths, guns, knives, and blood.

GAY MAFIA: Oddly, the Vatican -- the primary source of Gay Mafia information -- hasn't released any details. I'm guessing at the very least there's amyl and pictures of Hugh Jackman.

STRAIGHT MAFIA: They murder people they don't like, such as Judge Giovanni Falcone, and 63-year-old Giuseppe D'Angelo, who looked like a Mafia boss.

GAY MAFIA: They might say really horrible things about the Pope but they don't want to get in trouble.

STRAIGHT MAFIA: Killed seven men in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.

GAY MAFIA: Started a secret online dating service so they too can have valentines.

STRAIGHT MAFIA: After killing Tony Bananas, they stuffed money up his rectum to symbolize greed.

GAY MAFIA: Well, I've had sex with a few Catholics, and as far as I know they save it for the collection plate.

STRAIGHT MAFIA: Inspired movies like Little Caesar, The Godfather, Public Enemy, The Untouchables, Donnie Brasco, and Scarface.

GAY MAFIA: I'm pretty sure they were the basis for Stanford in "Sex and the City."

STRAIGHT MAFIA: Lucky Luciano, Al Capone, and John Gotti were all alleged mafiosos who were sentenced to between 11 years and life.

GAY MAFIA: Because of some alleged involvement with a gay prostitution ring, a Vatican chorister and an elite papal usher were fired by the Vatican. I'm thinking the "elite papal usher" must have been particularly high up in the organization, maybe just leading people to the really good seats at mass.

STRAIGHT MAFIA: Possibly involved in the death of Marilyn Monroe.


STRAIGHT MAFIA: Have nicknames like "The Snake," "No Nose," and "Mad Dog."

GAY MAFIA: Again, the Vatican hasn't released any details. Maybe it'll come after, say, one of them has actually been convicted of a crime. Until then, I'll guess "Robey," "The Confessioner," and "Mr. Incense."

STRAIGHT MAFIA: Has perpetuated stereotype of Italian-Americans as sociopathic criminals.

GAY MAFIA: Has perpetuated stereotype of gays as people who have sex and friends.

STRAIGHT MAFIA: Nobody has found even a bone of Jimmy Hoffa.

GAY MAFIA: Never mind.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

[Deep breath] They're just gloves that look like tights -- it's not somebody's crotch. [Deep breath] They're just gloves that look like tights -- it's not somebody's crotch. [Deep breath] They're just gloves that look like tights. . . .

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Ever since he was a wee piglet, Percival Pig's dad told him he'd be a construction worker when he grew up. This confused Percival Pig. "What if I want to be a crossing guard?" he asked. "Or a plumber? Or an opera singer?"

"It's just the way things are," his dad said. "Everyone is assigned a job based on their innate abilities. Owls are smart, so they are professors. Foxes are sly, so they are businessmen. And pigs are sturdy, so they are construction workers."

Percival Pig didn't argue with his father, but he knew it wasn't right. Still, when his friends Freddy Fox and Ollie Owl went on to college, he dropped out of school and took a job on a construction site.

Every day he'd pile bricks on top of bricks. Lots of bricks. Endless bricks. But then one day he snapped. "I'm fed up with these stinking bricks!" he yelled to the other construction worker pigs. "This is species-based discrimination, and it's not fair. I'm going to find a place where I'm not relegated to a job for mindless idiots just because of what I am."

Percival Pig went home and threw all of his belongings into a knapsack and hopped on a bus out of town. Eight hours later he reached the big city. He couldn't believe his eyes! Instead of trees and lakes there were wide streets and big steel buildings that reached up toward the clouds.

"Isn't it incredible?" said Wally Warthog. "You must be new in town."

"I just moved here," said Percival Pig. "Do you know of somewhere I can live?"

"I do," said Wally Warthog. "I'm having a big new house built. You can live with me!"

"That'd be swell," said Percival Pig. "Thanks!"

The two new friends walked out of the big city to the winding roads of the suburbs, where Wally Warthog stopped in front of a giant pile of bricks. "Here we are!" he said. "This is your new home."

Percival Pig looked and looked but still couldn't see a building. "This is just a stack of bricks."

"Well, it's not entirely completed yet. But they're working hard. Look over there! Frankie Flamingo has been trying to lift that brick for nearly a year. One day he'll probably do it, but until then we keep assuring him that his positive attitude is far more important than actually having arms."

"Absolutely!" said Percival Pig.

Wally Warthog nodded. "That's why he always wins Employee of the Month."

Percival Pig noticed storm clouds moving overhead. "Maybe I'll help him," he said. "We could get this place finished in no time."

"That's very kind of you," said Wally Warthog. "But you can't. That would perpetuate a species-based stereotype and thus is forbidden by law. You could go to jail."

Percival Pig scanned the area for policemen, then stripped off his shirt and joined in. He piled up brick after brick, exactly following the blueprints, and pretty soon he completed a magnificent twenty-foot high statue of Charo.

"Fantastic job!" said Wally Warthog. "What a great new home!"

"No it's not," snapped Percival Pig. "It's a giant statue of Charo. Do you want to live in a giant statue of Charo?"

"Maybe," said Wally Warthog. "Why, here's the architect right now. Gregory Goat, we were just admiring your latest creation. My new house looks just like a giant statue of Charo!"

Gregory Goat crossed his eyes at them. "I'm not an architect -- I'm an artist. And that's not a blueprint: it's a drawing of my girlfriend."

"Oh," said Wally Warthog. "I guess I got confused by the detached bathrooms."

Gregory Goat shook his head. "Those are maracas."

"My mistake. But . . . didn't you tell me you were an architect?"

"You try talking with a tin can in your mouth."

With no other options, Wally Warthog and Percival Pig moved into the giant statue of Charo. They lived together happily while Percival Pig studied hard and eventually he became an opera singer. They were driving to his opening night when another car ran right smack into them.

KABANG! was all they heard. Smoke and fire were everywhere.

"Ohmigosh!" said Wally Warthog, crouching over the near-lifeless body of Percival Pig. "Are you hurt?"

"Maybe a little," said Percival Pig.

Wally Warthog sighed. "I suppose you think it's stupid that our policeman, Millie Mole, directs traffic by sonar."

"I just appreciate the fact she's been given the opportunity."

"That's right," said Wally Warthog. "It's the thought that counts. Look, the paramedics have arrived! They'll fix you up good as new."

Danny Deer grabbed his first-aid kid and hopped out of the ambulance. He trotted over to Percival Pig, but before he got there he noticed the car's headlights pointing straight at him. Though he'd been through eight years of training in emergency medicine and trauma surgery, they hadn't taught him how to ignore his instincts.

He froze.

Wally Warthog couldn't budge him. Barbara Beaver couldn't budge him. Oscar Owl couldn't budge him.

"Well, the good news is," Wally Warthog said to Percival Pig, whose trotters were wedged into the crumple of metal and being sprayed with boiling radiator fluid, "in this bright, fearless city, every individual has an equal opportunity to make something of themselves, regardless of their background or ability. Instead of assuming what people can't do, we have high hopes for what they can."

Percival Pig squinted as his liver shut down once and for all. "That is so totally cool," he said.

* * * * *

All the animals came to Percival Pig's funeral. Becky Bird made a speech. Orville Ostrich brought snacks. Steve Squirrel lowered the casket into a plot overlooking the city, where it rested in peace. And then one day the snows came, and he dug it up again.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Yo folks! Sorry I've missed a few days. I have a book coming out, and people who actually support themselves in publishing are nagging at me to finish it. Giving me the biggest headache? The acknowledgements.

See, I'm not sure where to draw the line. Naturally I'm thanking the people I love, and people who are important to me. Now what do I write on the remaining 27 lines? Should I name-drop cool people I've only met once or twice? Should I thank people I haven't talked to in years just to I can casually mention some prestigious newspapers and magazines where I've been published? Should I thank some acquaintances in hopes I'll get something in return? My friend Balfour has a lot of cash and a lot of weed.

The good news is, my indecision is your opportunity. When I was a kid, I always wanted to be in somebody's acknowledgements. In every book I read, the author thanked like ten or fifteen people, so I figured it'd happen eventually. But the years slowly slid by, and while my friends went on to distinction in the fields of drinking and shopping and collecting DVDs, they didn't make much of a mark in the publishing world. I've done some successful writing but I've never been thanked by a successful writer, weighing me down with a millstone of shame that one of my readers won't have to bear.

I'm proposing a contest that lets one lucky reader write a thank-you line in the acknowledgements of my book. There are literally no rules: the acknowledgement doesn't have to be true, and it can be about a person, place or thing. Make sure there's a motivation behind it: Did you teach me how to mesmerize men using my elbows and a tambourine? Did you tell a flight attendant you stole my lunch so I'd get an extra salami sandwich? Did you spend eight hours in my bathroom reeling me in like a marlin after I accidentally swallowed a spool of dental floss? All it has to be is interesting or entertaining, and you've got a good shot.

Anyway, put your entries into the comments. Deadline is Friday at 5:00 EST (I said my publisher is mad). I reserve the right to completely ignore the winning entry if it could get me sued.

Monday, June 3, 2013

"Important to recognize he had no mal-intent, no ill-intent whatsoever. Essentially what it is if you are a man, a heterosexual and you are speaking complimentary about another heterosexual you're basically giving a compliment by also accentuating the fact that you're not a homosexual." -- Sports journalist Stephen A. Smith, explaining Indiana Pacer Roy Hibbert's use of the phrase "no homo"
Actually, that's really interesting. Not black.

(I've never heard of him either, but he has 1,312,623 Twitter followers.)