Wednesday, April 30, 2014

People with luggage on wheels strike me as really sad. See, regular handheld luggage doesn't look like it weighs too much, because the average human being can lift it. But wheelie luggage is too heavy to lift. I always wonder why. I begin to wonder if it's jammed with everything the person owns. While somebody with regular luggage is probably toting around three t-shirts, four pairs of socks and a toothbrush, the guy with wheelie luggage also has the ashes of his dead parakeet, a machine that will run forever without batteries or electricity, and an old tin can that's hardly rusted at all. He actually wasn't planning on going anywhere: he got home after a weekend of drinking to find all of his belongings spread out on the front lawn.

The guy with wheelie luggage looks like after he walks through the hotel's revolving door, he's just going to follow the railroad tracks for a while. Once he's out of sight, he'll squint up at the sun, mop his brow, and quietly mutter, "What direction are you going to take me today, old brown shoes?"

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

In the spring a young Brooklynite's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of Airbnb. All of a sudden those ridiculous rents we pay don't seem quite so ridiculous after all. Now people offer us huge sums of cash for our little hellholes (though Airbnb begs us to brighten up the place, perhaps by leaving some flowers in front of the sign that reads, "LOITERERS WILL BE PROSECUTED" or hanging Japanese lanterns over the fluorescent security lights). Different people have different travel strategies: high vs. low season, bank holidays, following the sun. Me, I leave whenever French tourists who want to spend a few weeks in New York offer me enough to buy a pony.

So, I'm off again. London, Prague, Salzburg, Vienna, and Budapest. When I get back, I'll share the highlights. Don't expect too much, though: I've passed the age of backpacking and doing drugs with topless fire-eaters on remote beaches, and now blindly follow Rick Steves into quaint little villages with tea shops and strudel. Until May 4 you'll have to entertain yourself by wandering the archives. If this note has left you with even the slightest hint of melancholy you'll want to find my Pride and Prejudice piece, and all fond feelings will vanish like Paco's oats.

Republican Leadership Tries To Stabilize Party's Reputation Slightly Above Bottom Of Barrel


Monday, April 7, 2014

There's a big hubbub a-brewing because of what somebody at said about RuPaul. (Don't confuse the website with the Advocate magazine: evidently this media conglomerate is so big it can't be contained by a single infrastructure.)

Writer Parker Molloy is furious, simply furious, that RuPaul routinely uses words like "tranny" and "she-male," even taking to Twitter to announce, "I fucking hate RuPaul." After much thought and a soup├žon of K, I totally agree. I believe I'm uniquely qualified to comment on this argument since I was nearly a Human Sexuality major in college. (Want proof? The pronouns I use for myself are Shem, Shep, and p*ngo, and the last email I sent to GrubHub was 87,000 words long.)

Though RuPaul has been, without doubt, one of the gay/queer community's all-time iconic figures and role models for gender fluidity, he needs to know he's not above the law. C'mon, since when are members of a minority group free to use words that are offensive when spoken by others? Ms. Molloy points out that the folks on Mike and Molly were hauled over the coals for using the word "she-male," while nobody says a word about Ru. The double-standard is ridiculous: if two Midwestern heteros are castigated for laughing at alternate gender expression, why should a man in a bouffant and spandex catsuit get a free ride? I mean, would it be so hard to change the phrase, "You've got she-mail!" to "You have received a small package or parcel that has arrived via the Non-Cis-Gender Express"?

Where falls short, though, is putting this in perspective. RuPaul ran way out of a limb before any of us even knew there was a tree. He preached to our parents that queer is good since we were gluing sequins to our nappies. He deserves our eternal thanks for literally defining the queer community, for uniting us behind a message of peace and love, for giving all of us the courage to step out of the closets and into society, and for raising our self-confidence so that we can stand up and tell the world, "Christ, that RuPaul is just such a fucking asshole."

As for Ms. Molloy, I hope she continues on her crusade. I only wish Jackie Robinson had lived long enough to hear her say, "'Negro'? It's 'African-American,' ya jerk!"

Friday, April 4, 2014

TUNICA, Miss. — Marie Barnard was delighted when, after decades of silence on the topic, Mississippi passed a law requiring school districts to teach sex education. But the lesson involving the Peppermint Pattie wasn't what she had in mind for her sons.

The curricula adopted by the school district in Oxford called on students to unwrap a piece of chocolate, pass it around class and observe how dirty it became.

"They're using the Peppermint Pattie to show that a girl is no longer clean or valuable after she's had sex — that she's been used," said Barnard, who works in public health.

I totally get this kind of sex education, and I applaud it. Girls are exactly like Peppermint Patties. They're both smooth and thin and have a light layer of sweetness masking a whole lot of bitter. Me, I'm not crazy about either, because I don't like people being able to guess what I just ate.

Like Peppermint Patties, girls are useless after they've lost their sheen and snap. Taffy? On an existential level, it's reaming truck drivers on the turnpike. It's a crack whore on Skid Row. Hey, there's a reason it always tastes like salt water.

I think this is a great way to show kids the reality that girls are useless after they've had sex. Girls need to learn that they're useless after they've had sex.

To show what happens to boys when they're promiscuous, the teacher should pass around an M&M. It can go all around the room, and in the end it'll look exactly the same as when it started. It'll be fresh and clean and still shiny. You'll actually be able to actually watch the beacon of inspiration light up the boys' eyes as they suddenly realize, "Wait, I get to fuck ANYTHING I WANT?"

Still, I realize there are some problems with this argument. It's saying women exist to be eaten, and that it doesn't matter what they're like inside. There's no rationality behind this metaphor: for instance, why would sex devalue a woman when something like stupidity doesn't hurt? Wouldn't this lesson teach our girls to crank up the air conditioning and sit on the couch? I don't know about you, but after ten minutes of watching "America's Funniest Home Videos" I feel like my minty filling is going to end up all over my hands.

I'm not sure this is such a cautionary tale. At the end of the demonstration, no matter how dirty the chocolate is, there's still gonna be some bite marks in it -- maybe by a set of lesbian teeth. And while I'm sure the girls would prefer a new candy, the boys will be totally happy with the one that really likes to be touched.

Last, evidently these folks haven't noticed that chocolate deteriorates whether it's touched by one person or one hundred. Doesn't matter if it's the same hand or a different hand: it just loses its gloss. Which is why I suggest they bring out the Hershey's syrup for lesson number two, "This Here Is Your Mama."