Saturday, April 30, 2005

I’m Not That Criminally Insane

I’ve been getting a lot of flak lately from people who have consistently and erroneously referred to me as “criminally insane.” These so-called experts—such as Dr. Chatwin—have used their “science” to paint a caustic and false image of the man that I truly am. The time has come to dispel the lies and rumors.

That being said, I don’t wish to present a false image. I am a little criminally insane, OK? Maybe even more than a little. But honestly, I’m not that criminally insane.

Now, I know what’s going to happen next—someone is going to bring up my first crime, where I carved the arcane symbol of Lamashtu into the foreheads of thirteen murdered prostitutes. What they won’t tell you, however, is that I had to carve the symbol into their heads in order to appease Lamashtu, “She Who Erases,” lest she rise from the fathomless depths of the leviathan and immolate the earth with her demonic bloodlust. Dr. Chatwin doesn’t want you to know that I was actually working to save lives. No. He’d rather make me the enemy and put another BMW in his already overflowing garage. I mean, only a really criminally insane person would have carved intricate pictograms into their heads just for fuck’s sake. Am I right?

Look at my next crime, for example, wherein I chopped up five British tourists and scattered their fragmented bodies high over the earth from a small passenger plane. A lesser man—one that was legitimately criminally insane, a real loony-toon, you know—would probably have just scattered them anywhere, possibly injuring someone who was standing on a sidewalk or crossing the street. I, on the other hand, took great care to scatter them over empty farmland toward the outskirts of town, so that when the crimson deluge met the dusty ground no one would be caught in the downpour of bones and blood. How’s that for sane, “Doctor” Chatwin? Huh? Huh? Can’t hear you!

Need more proof that I’m only marginally criminally insane? Why, after disposing of my victims' torsos in huge vats of industrial strength acid, I even responsibly disposed of the acid at the town dump on Hazardous Waste Collection Day. Wouldn’t want to harm the wildlife that populates the beautiful waterways of this area, you know? Our natural resources are a fragile gift, and we all need to do our part to protect them.

In addition, never once did I masturbate upon the remains of my victims nor do anything untoward with their personal belongings once the bodies were disposed of. I think this also bespeaks that my actions—while inarguably outrageous—were not overly criminally insane.

To be perfectly frank, I think more people should follow my example. Too many criminally insane people are running amok in our streets, in our classrooms, in the house next door, at the high-scale dog-grooming salon. The world would really be a better place without all those lunatics.

I mean, there are some really crazy people out there.

Friday, April 29, 2005

What’s Up, Vanilla?

You there, Argental Nymph of the Frosty Avenue!

I see you walking along, your milky pallor illuminating every yard of this bustling thoroughfare, and I have to admit: I’ve never seen anything quite as tempting as you. Or as white.

And so I’m compelled to say, “What’s up, Vanilla?”

No Eskimo igloo nor snow-capped Kilimanjaro nor any hoary sperm whale conjured by Melville himself could compare to the exquisite whiteness that you exhibit. This is what caused my ejaculation. I did not mean it any way but as praise. Please stop yelling at me.

I’ve seen some of the finest, largest pearls to grace the planet exhumed from giant oysters by Japanese skin divers. And I have witnessed the gruff and bosky Dutch milkmaids in Amsterdam churning the most delicate cream I have ever tasted. Still, these things pale in comparison to you. Pun intended.

Even the finest business paper of 25% cotton fiber does not come close to you. And I know business paper as I sell it to Fortune 500 companies for a living. That’s how I do, Vanilla.

But if I’ve otherwise insulted you, or you’ve been taken aback by my comment, then surely you’ve not been doted upon as you deserve by a fine, albinic man such as myself. You’ve made me turn to molten steel, my canescent cockatiel. You are the Beatrice to my Dante, a man who knows a little something about the white-hot fires of Hell, which is where I will surely be if you don’t come inside this bar and have a drink with me.

The fact that you have not read the poetry of Dante does not surprise me. The fact that you’ve refused my offer of a delicious White Russian, however, does surprise me.

That’s fine, Vanilla. You walk along your lily-white way. I’ll stand here, thinking of you, your ghostly alabaster burned into the Italian marble of my memory. And I will remember you every time I pour non-dairy creamer into my coffee or indulge in a pint of white-chocolate chip ice cream from Maggie Moo’s or lather myself in a foamy bath with Ivory soap.

And I will remember you especially as my fractured ribs mend from the effects of that enormous block of salt you’ve just thrown at me.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

I’m a Little Skeptical About Having My Picture Taken in the Mouth of This Enormous Prehistoric Crocodile

Gentlemen, up until a few days ago, we didn’t even know these things still existed. They were the stuff of history, of nightmares, and at best were indistinct images floating from the primordial mist through our collective unconscious.

Then, all of a sudden, some fisherman illegally trawling the Nile dredges one up and you want me and my fellow scientists to pose in its mouth? Look, I want a flashy photograph to record this historic event too, but I’m a little skeptical about having my picture taken in the mouth of this enormous prehistoric crocodile.

I know, I know: the public has a right to have this momentous occasion immortalized, and I understand that this behemoth has been heavily and professionally sedated. But on average, these monsters have 108 bone-crushing, 5-inch-long teeth. This particular specimen weighs three tons and is almost 28-feet-long. Of all the ways I can think of dying, I doubt there is an experience filled with more shattering pain and primal fear than being ripped apart by one of these ancient devils.

Look at his eye, that even now watches us! It’s the size of my fist! That’s insane.

Sir, I am a herpetologist. Dr. Sanderson is a paleontologist and Dr. Ponge is a biologist. I don’t think anywhere on any of our diplomas or curricula vitae will you find the phrase “alligator wrestler,” “dinosaur tussler” or “batshit crazy enough to step inside the gaping maw of a water-dragon sent from the past to cast our world into utter confusion.”

OK, Edward R. Murrow—then why don’t you get in there? I didn’t think so.

Still, that doesn’t solve your problem, gentleman. We’re all reasonable: we want what’s best for all the parties involved, and we want a quick resolution. Am I right? Then let me offer this suggestion:

I’ll need all of you to turn around and gaze penetratingly into the African horizon that lies far behind you while my fellow scientists and I use the momentary distraction to run like hell in the opposite direction.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Plausible Rock ‘N’ Roll Conversations

1973. England. The Wailers—including Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Bunny Wailer—have just taped a performance for The Old Grey Whistle Test.

BOB MARLEY: That wasn’t too bad.

PETER TOSH: No. Not bad at all. Pretty good show.

BOB: This weather is really crappy though.

PETER: Sure is.

BOB: Can I ask you a question, Peter?

PETER: Sure.

BOB: When we play together, what do you think about?

PETER: What do you mean?

BOB: I mean, what do you think about when you’re playing guitar? What inspires you?

PETER: I guess I’m still a little unclear about what you’re asking.

BOB: For instance, when we play a song like “Stir It Up”—a song that has so many connotations, sexual, political—I think about a whole bunch of things: Rita, Jamaica, His Most Excellent Hailie Selassie, the slowly churning gears of revolution. Different things depending on my mood, but always things that mean a great deal to me and cause me to create really fantastic music. Do you see what I’m saying?

PETER: Yeah. Yeah, I think I get what you’re asking now.

BOB: So what do you think about?

PETER: Soup.

BOB: Soup?

PETER: Yeah. Soup. I think about soup.

BOB: What . . . kind of soup?

PETER: Oh, all kinds. Usually something creamy. But not too thick. Sometimes something spicy, like mulligatawny. It varies. You know, like you, depending on the mood I’m in.

BOB: So . . . .when I play my music, I think about throwing off the shackles of our oppressors and unifying the world . . . and you think about soup?

PETER: That sounds about right.

BOB: I guess that’s kind of the same. But not really.

PETER: How isn’t it the same?

BOB: You think about soup; I think about revolution.

PETER: Soup is a kind of revolution, Bob.

BOB: [slight pause] What?

PETER: What?

BOB: Do you think about soup just when we sing “Stir It Up” or on every song we play?

PETER: [reflects for a moment] I think about soup pretty much every time I play any song.

BOB: Oh.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Your “Breakfast Meat Cornucopia” Is Profoundly Lacking

I’ll just come right out and say it: I’m sorely disappointed.

I was told by a friend—a friend who is now himself suspect—that the “Breakfast Meat Cornucopia” offered at Fiery Fred’s Wok ‘N’ Grill was “a feast unrivaled in all of Christendom,” a bounty that helped to put Fiery Fred on the map.

And yet, here it sits before me in all its underwhelming glory. Sufficient? One would not be wholly wrong in calling it that. Ample? I don’t think anyone with even the simplest grasp of the language would feel right in labeling it such. It’s certainly not overabundant. And it is definitely not—even in a psychotic’s imagination—a cornucopia. In fact, I further suggest that you list the dish from henceforth with the word “cornucopia” in quotation marks.

Look at the haphazard way it’s presented: a pile of greasy bacon strips here, a pepper-flecked turkey-sausage patty there, some sort of half-hearted beef hash plopped in the center of the plate offering up all the dynamism of an in-flight meal or a plastic tray of movie-theater nachos. That I can still see the exposed incisors in the smiling and grotesque caricature of Fiery Fred that adorns the plate says it all.

Still, I must vocalize my discontent.

My fine fellow, if this were Alistair Munch-A-Lot’s Breakfast Bonanza, a dish with the word “cornucopia” in its name would start with an actual cornucopia, one hand-woven of the finest reeds by an authentic local witch-doctor. It would involve an almost staggering amount of free-range beef and pork products—possibly chicken if the mood struck right—all cooked to glistening perfection by a seasoned chef, then rammed deep within that horn of plenty until said vessel was literally bursting forth with mouthwatering breakfast meats. But—then!—the coup de grâce: a garnish of horseradish flowers and a smooth and spicy avocado dressing!

Delicious? Indeed. And that, my friend, would do justice to the perennial symbol of prosperity and abundance, quite unlike this half-assery that is so quickly cooling before me, its congealing juices of mediocrity a testament to your restaurant’s failure and deceit. I doubt the chef even knows how to spell “avocado.”

I suppose it was naïve of me to expect anything else from such a niggardly establishment as this. I can assure you this is the first and last time that I . . . that I . . .

Whoa, give me a second.

OK. Call an ambulance. I’m having another heart attack.

Monday, April 25, 2005

The Strange Mailbag

Here at The Strange we receive literally thousands of emails and letters every day. Although our stable of writers, experts, and commentators is exceedingly impressive, we simply don’t have the time to respond individually to every single person.

To expedite the process of replying to your laudatory missives, we’ve decided to respond to a few of them at a time here on our site. We’ve chosen letters that not only answer specific queries but also address broader issues expressed by other members of our ever-expanding and seemingly limitless audience.

Let’s begin, shall we?

To Annalee in McMinnville, Tennessee:

Thanks for writing in! We’ve got a lot of fans in Tennessee, and we’re proud to add McMinnville to that list. The next time we take our armored vehicle column on the gun-show circuit we’ll be sure to let you know so we can personally give you a tour of the special improvements we've made on the lead tank, Mjollnir.

To address your main question regarding our favorite movie featuring Rowdy Roddy Piper (which we get a lot): most people would automatically assume it to be They Live!, that masterpiece of masterpieces which finds itself as an integral part of social commentator John Carpenter’s cinematic oeuvre.

But The Strange goes back just a little earlier than that, citing Piper’s jaw-dropping performance as the title character in 1987’s Hell Comes to Frogtown as our favorite. Who knew explosives attached to genitals could be so funny, and yet still so subtly thought-provoking?

Hell Comes to Frogtown tackles a number of complex social issues that we at The Strange take very seriously, not the least of which is explosives attached to the genitals. It also puts an amphibian in a prominent role of power, something rarely seen in today’s prejudiced and discriminatory Hollywood machine.

These are things we care about, like we care about you. Again: thanks for writing!

To Adam (in the electronic ether):

We’re glad you took our commentary on coffee so seriously. We do take our coffee seriously, but pride ourselves on not being snobbish about it. True, we enjoy a robust cup of Sumatran Elderberry with our truffle-caviar omelets and watercress tea sandwiches each morning in our parlor, which is totally encrusted in pearl. But if we can’t get that, we’ll settle for a Dunkin’ Donuts French Vanilla, light and sweet. It’s all good.

We have to admit, however, that we’re concerned you may be actually trying to physically consume our humor. We advise against this. But please feel free to continue reading it every day. That’s the best way we’ve found to “consume” it.

To Claudette in Chàteau de Chambord, France:

Thanks so much for sending that delicious cheese sampler and all those erotic photographs. You’re quite an attractive young woman. Unfortunately, Mark is both lactose-intolerant and has a girlfriend.

Michael, on the other hand, gorges daily on cheese and is quite single. Overly single, one might say. He’d be glad to send his private luxury jet, the Olympus Missile, to retrieve you from the hellhole that is central France and deposit you squarely into his virile and Adonis-like American arms.

PLEASE NOTE: We will have to charge you for the jet fuel, as well as exact a modest cleaning surcharge for the bison pelts upon which you will recline during your trip, but the deviled eggs served in-flight are 100% complimentary.

To Bono:

We considered writing back to you, as we’re big fans of your band’s music (at least, we were up until Zooropa; and certain songs on All That You Can’t Leave Behind are OK) but after hearing you refer to the late John Paul II as the “funky pope,” we just want you to stop. Stop what? Basically everything.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

You Have Completely Misunderstood My Rat-Tail

You, sir, have offended me.

How dare you presume to ridicule my hairstyle, when in fact it is you who is worthy of ridicule! Why, if this were the year 1880, I’d be within my rights to—

I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to snap at you like that. It’s just . . . I get this a lot. People judge me every day, and never bother to find out anything at all about my reasoning, my choice. But if you’re willing to listen, I’ll explain.

You see, my great-great-great grandfather Oyinye was the chief of a mighty and noble tribe, the Kanaxaja, native to what would come to be called South America by the white man but what we have called Oaxit-Meztltlan from time immemorial. The young men of our tribe were warriors—the bravest in the world, as legend held—and they styled their hair in the fashion of Kwakutl, our fiery and furious god of war.

Many years later, as luck would have it, hockey fans and motorcycle enthusiasts would unwittingly take on the ceremonial hairstyle of the Kanaxaja-rattan, with society ignorantly and heartlessly doling out to a once-proud tradition the blasphemous and accursed name of “rat-tail.”

And in one fell swoop, my friend, the mighty Kanaxaja fell.

I am one of only a few surviving members of our great tribe, and I carry on my head the Kanaxaja-rattan as a symbol of bravery, intelligence, and fury. Not as a symbol of a love of motorsports or an inclination toward arctic-tinged donnybrooks.

To think that the same sacred adornment that accompanied my brethren into battle as they scalped and impaled hordes of invading white men is now an obsolete, outdated fashion statement reserved for the most oblivious and self-deluded of fifty-something prison guards and bodybuilders—why, it makes my fiery blood run cold. That the luscious, interwoven locks of the Kanaxaja-rattan could be mistaken for the filthy tail of a rodent is almost beyond comprehension.

There is hope for the Kanaxaja-rattan, though, my gentle friend. After decades of poor representation in the media, the noble character of this most blessed of hairstyles has once again shone forth in the personages of Anakin Skywalker and his fellow Jedi Knights. They, like the furious men of my tribe, choose wisdom over ignorance, truth over falsehood, and justice over the tweaking of chrome parts to make them produce louder noises. They carry with them a snaking, stealthy brotherhood with the Kanaxaja. Indeed, the great, satiated smile of Kwakutl appears like a beacon in the reddish sky.

Well, maybe you’re right. Maybe using Anakin Skywalker is a bad example, as he does eventually turn upon his fellow Jedi and slaughter almost every last one of them in ignoble fury.

But at least it’s a start.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

I Might Have Killed a Nun, But You Raped a Horse

No, Todd, you listen.

Yeah, I might have killed a nun. I can admit that. I’m not proud of it, but what’s done is done.

But you, my rapidly-fading memory of a friend: You raped a horse.

What do you mean, “How is raping a horse worse than brutally murdering a nun?” Well, let me tell you.

I understand, at first blush, the killing of an innocent human being might seem worse than the vigorous invasion of a domesticated ungulate, but let’s dig a little deeper, shall we?

I can find any number of rhetorical positions to defend my nun-stabbing, and though they would still leave me—in the eyes of society—to be morally reprehensible, cold reason would prevail in my defense. I would be looked upon as a criminal, surely, but not as a gibbering sexual deviant.

What that’s, Todd? You’re saying if I can name one instance—quote one reputable source—that defends my position, you’ll come out of hiding and turn yourself in? Alright. Fine.

If I may quote the brilliant, American intellectual, Henry James—no stranger himself to complex moral entanglements—who wrote of his friend George Bingham, a man not unlike myself: “To kill a human being is, after all, the least injury you can do him.”

How is my situation any different from that, Todd? That’s right. It’s not. From what I can tell, according to a famous American writer—who’s sure as shit a whole lot smarter than either of us—I did that nun a favor.

You, on the other perverted hand, drove all the way to Saratoga with the sole intention of breaking into private property and rapaciously despoiling a prized race horse. Not because you had any good moral reason to do so—no! But because you lost $25 dollars on a lousy quinella. Yeah, it does sound a little crazy coming out of someone else’s mouth, doesn’t it, you asshole?

No, Todd; you know what: fuck you and the horse you rode in on.

And probably raped.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Things I Would Like to See (Part 4)

A shark fighting a lion. Only they both have no teeth or claws, they can only use spiked maces and groin/gill shots are illegal. To make it fair they will fight in space.

Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter, Michael Savage, and Sean Hannity making out with Strom Thurmond’s corpse while George H.W. Bush circles them on a tricycle reading the poetry of Jewel through a megaphone. Forever.

Yngwie Malmsteen shredding on a flaming guitar while riding another flaming guitar like a surfboard and crashing through my bedroom wall.

A giant anthropomorphic tuna that makes sushi out of people. That would be so fucked up.

Some sort of television program that combines my natural love of competitive cooking with the flash and pizzazz of gay/straight makeovers. In a steel cage.

Fitness celebrity John Basedow being torn apart by enormous genetically-engineered owls with golden armor, bronze talons and sonic warfare weaponry.

The band Godsmack actually being smacked by God. Or even being hit by a garbage truck.

A society where people are judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character and I am the richest man alive.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Other Aliases Michael Vick Might Have Used

Dan Montana

Bob Arkansas

Ted North Dakota

Troy Louisiana

Nathan Argentina

Scott Idaho

Felix San Salvador

Randy Florida

Phil Kansas City

Greg St. Croix

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Ineffective Methods for Teaching Children About Literature

Invite Umberto Eco to come to class and ceremonially shave and oil himself while babbling about hermetic drift and then splash the audience with espresso and Sambuca.

Play a looped video of Jack Kerouac and Gregory Corso bumfighting for $100 and a roast beef sandwich.

Let them witness celebrity guest Nicholas Sparks metamorphosing into a giant flaming skull that repeatedly screams “Worship Me!” in a high-pitched, plane-transcending meta-voice.

Make “William S. Burroughs in the Jungle of Yage” dioramas.

Have the children make authentic Roman soldier costumes and then invite them to crucify a bound-and-gagged Dan Brown.

Invite Jonathan Lethem to read excerpts from “The Fortess of Solitude” dressed in an Incredible Hulk costume while Devo plays free-form accompaniment.

Take them on a field trip to Tuscany, where they can help Frances Mayes install a third heliport on her villa.

Have children watch Robert Jordan and the re-animated corpse of J.R.R. Tolkien trade “yo momma” jokes in the Dark Tongue of Mordor.

Have Franz Wright lecture them on the basics of synechdoche and meter while continuously burning them with cigarettes.

Encourage them to watch a visibly strung-out Fernando Pessoa accuse one of his many heteronyms of plagiarism and then flailingly challenge him to “quit hitting himself.”

Bring in an authentic jar of Bukowski puke.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

You’re Going to Love My Laboratory

I’m really glad you guys finally had the time to stop by and see the house. My real estate agent told me that it was kind of considered an eyesore by the Neighbors Association. Well, I think that with the improvements we’re planning—and the ones we’ve already made—you’ll no longer be ashamed to live next door to “that house,” as you guys call it.

Yes, Ted, I did all the wainscoting myself. Took quite a toll on the ol’ vertebrae, but I’m pretty pleased with the way it came out.

Say, Anne, did you notice the countertops when we were in the kitchen? Those are solid marble, direct from Italy. What’s that? Oh, I have some acquaintances over there and they were able to get me an excellent price on it.

Ted, you work for Pfizer, don’t you? I thought so. Well, I think you’re going to love my laboratory.

It’s still a little messy even though it was one of the first rooms we set up when we moved in. But between my various reanimation projects and the genetically-engineered “Manimals” that wander in and out, it’s kind of tough to keep it clean!

What’s that, you ask? Are you pointing to the cooling board or the muddy coffin? Well, Anne, that’s the freshly-exhumed corpse of a teenager who perished in a car accident. Horrible, indeed. I’m hoping to implant his virile heart—he was captain of the football team—into the body there over there on the examination table. In actuality, it will be a kind of back-up heart as the monster is so enormous he’ll require three hearts to properly circulate the blood.

Oh, don’t mind that howling. It’s merely the Manimals’ feeding-time. Normally I would keep them well-sated so that when I loose them to harvest victims for my experiments, they don’t kill indiscriminately. But for the past week I’ve been starving them as their blood-lust must be primed for the task I have in mind for them.

Gosh, sorry, Ted, I can’t tell you what it is. I mean, don’t you think that’s a little personal, asking me something like that? Maybe once we get to be better neighbors.

Now, in that tank to the left is the Octo-Shark. That’s right, Anne, it’s got tentacles like an octopus, but the body of a shark—a prehistoric shark, that is. One unlike any human being has ever seen. Five times as large—and countless times more vicious—than the great white shark.

Funny you should ask about the the name, Ted. Philippe wanted to call it the Shark-O-Pus, but I said absolutely no way. We’d be a laughing stock! No, Anne, that’s Oliver over there that resembles a walking cadaver. Philippe is my assistant with the hunchback and maniacal laugh.

Well, enough about them. Come on over to the serum table and I’ll show you what I administered to the previous owners to get them to sell me this house for one dollar!

No, Anne, I don’t think you have to get going now. There’s so much more to show you. The dog will be fine, as will your two lovely children. They have each other, and in more ways than you know. At this very moment Philippe and Oliver are bringing all three over so we can splice their DNA together.

Scream all you want. This laboratory is sound-proofed. I mean, do you really think I’d have a laboratory that wasn’t sound-proofed? Wow.

Don’t feel left out, Anne. I’m going to cross you with a panda and Ted is going to have the DNA of a mallard incorporated into his genetic code. Oh, not because I want to transform you into pitiless mutations who will obey my every command; I just think it’d be really fucking funny.

Well, and because I need more pitiless mutations who will obey my every command. So there is a practical side to my murderous experiments.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Italian Dishes Yet to Be Exploited By High-End American Food Service

Bistecca al Cavallino

Ponies have long been considered to be precious and graceful by children and nuns, but in Naples, they’re just considered to be delicious.

Caffe’ all’Anatra

If you order your coffee all’anatra in Avellino, it will be served to you by a duck.

Latte Colpevole

A style of caffe-latte served in Venetian cafés that makes you feel incredibly guilty for a period of 24 hours after consuming it. Not necessarily because of decadence of the latte itself, but for all the other horrible shit you’ve done in your life, you selfish asshole.

Pollo alla Farfalla

A gypsy dish originating in the secluded Val d’Aosta. Traditionally, it’s a whole chicken filled with the wings of butterflies that have been torn off by gypsy children while the insects are still alive. However, in regions south of Genoa, the chicken and butterfly-wing stuffing is sometimes substituted with a Big Mac.

Caffe’ Cornuto

In this Salernian variation on the traditional espresso, the barista sleeps with your spouse. Male or female, it doesn’t matter. Italians are like that.

Tagliata di Manzo alla Futurista

A delicately seared cut of Chianina beef is thinly sliced, presented on a bed of arugula and garnished with speed, fire and the unceasing, roiling churn of the gears of industry.

Spaghetti Smascherati

In this classic pasta dish from Sicily, the spaghetti, in a decidedly Pirandellian turn, reveals itself to be—ironically—none other than you.

Cannolo al Borotalco

A light dusting of baby powder on your cannoli should not be seen as unusual if you order this dessert in the hill towns just outside of Rome. This dish dates back to the days of Caesar. How or why this tradition started, we don’t know. Just eat it so you can feel sophisticated, you slovenly fuck.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

How to Judge a Book By Its Cover

The old saying is “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” This is generally true, and, in an enlightened and reasonable age, should be taken on both its literal and figurative levels.

As we don’t live in an enlightened, reasonable, or even lemon-scented age, we feel completely at ease in saying this: on the literal level, there are certain instances in which you can indeed judge a book by its cover, or at least by quick examination. The following are just a few of these instances:

The author shares the same name as the villain in Tron.

The book is marketed at adults but features a rainbow, unicorn, beneficent angel, or aura-encased figure on the cover.

It’s written in center-aligned Dom Casual True Type font.

There’s a blurb by someone from FOX News on the back cover.

It’s co-authored by a beloved household pet.

The title is a haphazard coupling of two seemingly unrelated themes, e.g. “Death and a Light Brunch” or “The Eggs Benedict Kidnapping.”

It claims to be the only book you’ll ever need on its particular subject despite being surrounded by three shelves-worth of books on the same subject.

The author’s previous works includes a biography of Beyoncé Knowles and a handbook for making your own sausage in “three quick steps.”

John Edward wrote it.

The cover says that the book is based on a movie, which was based on a video game, which, in turn, was based on a book.

The author or authors appear on the cover.

In his/her photo, the author or authors display a grin not unlike Satan sports when he assumes human form and crawls about the earth sowing discord.

The author is the villain from Tron.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Musical Instruments We’re in the Process of Inventing


A variation on the tried-and-true pianoforte, this instrument utilizes a series of wooden paddles to “stimulate” an array of variously-sized swine. While it sounds abrasive, it is actually quite breathtaking.


Regardless of how you attempt to play it, this instrument automatically forces you to fake your way through the guitar solo from “More Than a Feeling” by Boston. A cousin of the Didjeridon’t.

Shit-Talking Drum

This variation on the African Talking Drum is wired with electronics which translate the rhythm played into a rapid-fire succession of “yo momma” jokes. So far the jokes are really bad, like “Yo momma is terribly disappointing,” and “Yo momma washes her dishes in the bathtub.” We’ll get there though.


We might just scrap this one as we’ve heard rumors there is already an instrument with this name. We’re looking into that.


A theremin so small it can only be played by very coordinated beetles and perhaps King Cobras. We’re not sure yet; it’s hard to get a King Cobra.


OK, fine. You’re right. It’s a bong.


A keyboard attached to a series of large, seedless watermelons that produces a sound rivaling anything the Cincinnati Pops can produce. That bastard Erich Kunzel will be out of a job soon. Previous attempts with honeydew and cantaloupe were unsuccessful so don’t even try.

Gentile’s Harp

Like the Jew’s Harp, but lacking a mandate from the One True God.


Like a conventional xylophone, except you play it with dildos. Unrelated to the sexophone.

Friday, April 15, 2005

The Wisdom of Led Zeppelin, With Commentary

The soul of a woman was created below. Save for big-legged women, who apparently don’t have souls.

The pain of war cannot exceed the woe of aftermath. Unless you get shot during the war and then suddenly marry a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model right afterwards.

Upon us all a little rain must fall. Except in Chile’s Atacama Desert.

The greatest thing you ever can do is trade a smile with someone who’s blue. Or spend $100,000 on booze, coke, and hookers in a month-long pleasure spree.

All that lives is born to die. Wow, that’s kind of depressing.

Not all big jet airplanes are the same. Especially if we’re talking about the new 555-seater super jumbo Airbus A-380.

To trip is, ironically, just to fall. Who knew?

The road we choose is always right. So that basically disproves Calvinism.

Mellow is the man who knows what he’s been missing. But if he’s never had a chicken quesadilla from ¡Cha Cha Cha! in Northampton, Massachusetts, he has no idea what he’s been missing. They put roasted garlic and grilled red onion in them. That’s right.

Though the course may change sometimes, rivers always reach the sea. Unless you build a dam.

Be a rock; never roll. Just trust us on this one.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

It’s Not Easy Being the Only Half-Man/Half-Velociraptor in Town

Everyone thinks it’s so cool being part dinosaur. All that I hear when I leave my home is an unending chorus of “Ohhh, wow! Check out that guy’s 4-inch claws!” and “Whoa, you must be so glad to be able to run 40 miles per hour.”

Well, let me tell you: it’s not easy.

Think of the stigma I carry with me, what with half of me being a unstoppably carnivorous reptile and the other half of me being a man—a man with needs and desires, hopes and fears—just like you. When people look at me, they don’t see Dwight, the Half-Man/Half-Velociraptor who adores Mahler and loves Woody Allen films, or even Mr. Copenriff, the Half-Man/Half-Velociraptor who runs a burgeoning office supply store. No, all they see is a scaly, cold-blooded hunter who happens to look sort of like a man and can talk.

If you possibly can, imagine the trials that I face on any given day. A simple trip to the meat department of the local grocery store invariably becomes occasion for jeers and smart-alecky remarks: “Sure hope we have enough meat! I know you velociraptor-types can eat up to three times your own weight every day!” Or the ever-present “Sorry Dwight, no Protoceratops or Hadrasaurs today—just people food!” As though I couldn’t appreciate a tender, center-cut slice of aged Angus, or a delicate, seared Chilean sea bass. Narrow-minded buffoons.

Making friends can be difficult when you seem different to everyone around you. Now, I know what you are going to say: “Some of my best friends are half-velociraptor!” Well, all I know is that when I walk down the street and hear forced whispers or feel the icy glares of terrified schoolchildren, I don’t feel very welcome in this town.

Just the other day, for example, in my very own store, I was accused of eating a woman’s baby when, in fact, she had forgotten that her mother-in-law had taken the child next door to KB Toys. True: I’ve been guilty of eating the young of my natural prey, but that was over 80 million years ago, people! Hellooo! Profiling me based on my appearance is wrong and hurtful. I wish people could be half-velociraptor for one day so they could experience even just an inkling of my pain and suffering.

Meeting women is no easy task, either, especially when you have eighty razor-sharp, inwardly-curving, saber-like teeth. I do have a reputation for being an animal in the bedroom (what with my forked, serpent-like tongue and my seemingly limitless physical stamina), but unfortunately most women prefer the slack, pale, flabby flesh of the fully human over my long, sinewy legs and my thick, sturdy tail. I don’t think I’m out of line saying that they don’t know what they’re missing.

So I mostly spend my nights alone, taking up space at the local watering hole and drowning my sorrows in glass after glass of Beaujolais. I used to get harassed quite frequently by those Neanderthals (not literal ones, obviously) who spend hours at a time screaming about some sporting event over by the plasma screen television. One time, one of them stumbled over and started rambling on about terrorists. After accusing me of plotting, he called me “lizard” and shoved me. I lost my temper and severed his carotid arteries with one of my sword-like talons. The rest of them haven’t bothered me since.

Still: words hurt, and it will take a long time for me to heal.

I tell you this not to gain your pity or sympathy, but rather to appeal to our sense of shared humanity. I may be half-prehistoric beast, but I’m also half-human. Just like you, I bleed when pricked. Only my blood is bluish-green. And it’s harder to prick me because I’m covered in hard reptilian scales.

But, basically, were the same.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

How You Might Be Annoying Me: Selected Examples

Slurping your gazpacho.

Consistently referring to San Francisco as “Frisco.”

Confusing the terms “fiction” and “nonfiction.”

Consuming a large bowl of diced Spanish onions and then close-talking to me about your stamp collection.

Advising me that you know coffee, and that’s not coffee.

Not allowing me to finish my answer to your question and then getting upset with me because I failed to answer your question satisfactorily.

Calling all brands of flavored, carbonated beverages “Coke.”

Suddenly adopting an accent when pronouncing the name of any Latin American country or author.

Reminding me for the umpteenth time this week that Jesus loves me, when I know for a fact that he does not.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Memorandum From the Desk of M. Casper Humboldt, Executive Director

TO: All

Re: Fucking of cheesecake

As I am sure we are all aware, Humboldt-Gregory takes great pride in its reputation as being the number one producer of lightning rods in the Northeast. Our standing is built on generations of hard-working men and women who took what was once a small raisin-packing facility and built it into the Fortune 500 Company that it is today. My own great-grandfather, Mace Humboldt III, oversaw the growth of our company from its small-town roots all the way to 1995, when he left this world with dignity, honor, and great professional satisfaction. The Humboldt-Gregory tradition is one of perseverance, personal responsibility and impeccable ethics, and we will do whatever it takes to preserve this courageous legacy.

It has come to my attention, then, that someone had sex with a cheesecake that was left in the 3rd floor break room. The strawberry cheesecake—trimmed with dark chocolate shavings and left in the break room as a token of appreciation for the tireless work of the Accounts Payable Department during the end of the past fiscal quarter—was found on the ground next to the refrigerator. Its center had been completely eviscerated by what appeared to have been a long, cylindrical object. After closer inspection and the subsequent discovery of a pubic hair between the “o” and “n” of what once constituted “Congratulations” written in electric blue icing, it was determined that someone had fucked the chilled confection.

I am sure that I do not need to reiterate once again Humboldt-Gregory’s policy on cleanliness, decorum and, as it were, cakefucking. I do not know who could have committed the aforementioned act, nor do I care to find out. I can, however, assure you all that there will be no more congratulatory cheesecakes presented in the future. The thought that some depraved individual could find no use other than sexual insertion for such a delicious treat, oozing with ripe, red strawberries and smooth dark chocolate, all the while encased in a firm, yet yielding graham-cracker crust is, to put it lightly, troubling.

I think of the employees of Humboldt-Gregory as a family, and to have to try and sleep at night with the image of one of my family members plunging his (or her) member into a congratulatory cheesecake is disheartening at best.

As I view our executives and employees as such, no investigation as to the culprit’s identity will occur at the present. Let’s put this ugly incident behind us. But if it should occur for a third time, disciplinary action will be taken. I will not hesitate to tell you that the board has considered banning all desserts and/or baked goods from the premises. I hope it will not come to this.

As I said: let’s not dwell on this, but push forward, keeping the Humboldt-Gregory tradition at the forefront of our minds.

Keep up the good work! And Happy 45th Birthday to Jacob in Corporate Accounts!


M. Casper Humboldt

Executive Director

Monday, April 11, 2005

When Visiting Southern Vermont, Stay at My Bed-and-Nothing

Vermont—the “Green Mountain State”—is home to some of the most glorious scenery in New England and some of its most important historical landmarks. From the Ethan Allen Homestead to the Bennington Battle Monument, from Lake Champlain to the Green Mountains that gave the state its nickname, any time of the year is a great time to visit Vermont.

And if your destination is southern Vermont, your first choice to stay should certainly be Pat & Leslie Kleinzahler-Braithwaite’s Bed-and-Nothing, which will provide the perfect hub to plan your day trips to Mounts Stratton, Snow, or Bromley, antiquing in Wilmington or Brattleboro, or anywhere else you decide to visit in beautiful Bennington or Windham Counties.

The Kleinzahler-Braithwaite Bed-and-Nothing is one of southern Vermont’s premier lodges. We had a laudatory review in Yankee magazine last year and that elm just outside the front door—

What’s that? Yes, I said “bed-and-nothing.” Our bedrooms are luxurious, every one of them furnished with at least a four-poster king-sized bed, standing mirrors that date back to the Revolutionary period, and the finest of linens, made right here, native, in Vermont.

I’m sorry if in the slapdash euphoria of vacation-going you were also expecting a sumptuous morning meal in addition to these fine accommodations, but as the name of the establishment clearly states, this is a Bed-and-Nothing.

Oh, of course, there’s a kitchen on the premises. Stocked with some of the choicest meats and dairy products available to a citizen of this fair state. But—you being a tourist first and then also not being the owner of this particular auberge—are unable to partake of said delicacies.

Indeed, the omelet I’ve just prepared is delicious, made with premium ham from locally slaughtered swine and tanged with the most redolent cheddar cheese available in the country, and, dare I say, the world. You really should make it a point to try it some time.

Well, sir, perhaps to you it’s a “disgrace” that food is not one of the services offered at the Kleinzahler-Braithwaite Bed-and-Nothing, but if you were under the impression that such was the case, that is most certainly not my fault.

I do, in fact, hear the hollow wails of your children as they question why their father can’t provide them with sustenance, but maybe you should have examined the brochure a little more closely before injudiciously making reservations at an establishment where your children might be malnourished to the point of weeping.

A bathroom, you say? Sir, as previously stated—by myself and in the materials you requested many, many months ago—this is a Bed-and-Nothing. Again, yes, there is a bathroom, replete with massaging showerhead, a bathtub large enough to fit four persons, a toilet and bidet. Unfortunately, this is for the proprietor’s use only and not for presumptuous guests and their starveling children.

Well, while a bathroom might be deemed a “must-have” for some, I will—for the third time—point you to the name of this hostelry. Where in the epithet “Bed-and-Nothing” do you divine the promise that toilet facilities will be provided to you?

Contrary to your ejaculations, I don’t think the Better Business Bureau nor the Chamber of Commerce would even take your phone calls on such a matter.

I warn you, sir, if your daughter does as she is threatening and micturates upon my lobby rug—a rug that was given to the original owners of this establishment by General Lafayette himself—you will be charged for it. And I assure you that the price for cleaning an 18th-century heirloom that the Smithsonian once expressed interest in obtaining is not cheap.

You’re completely within your right to find another place to lodge, though at this time of evening, at this time of year, I wish you the best of luck.

And please know that despite your vociferous proclamations, I don’t own any sheep, nor would I find it appropriate to perform such acts on them if I did.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Can You Stop Being a Communist For One Second?

We’ve been roommates for almost six months now, and I think there are some fundamental issues that we need to discuss. To put it simply:

Your “communist lifestyle” is seriously pissing me off.

I’m a reasonable person, and I understand the basis of your decision to live as a Marxist. But just because you feel that society functions best as a collective does not mean it’s O.K. for you to use my toothbrush, eat all of the Choc-O-Diles, or sleep in my bed when I’m not home. I think I’ve been pretty tolerant of your views, and I’d like a little respect in return without being called “scab,” “tyrant,” or a “bourgeois puppet.”

If you’re so committed to the ideal of a socialist culture, how about helping out with the housework once in a while? I really didn’t appreciate you comparing me to an “oppressive feudal lord” last week when I asked you to clean up the living room before my big date with Kim. And what was up with loading the CD player with all those Billy Bragg and Woody Guthrie discs right before she got here? I totally had In a Silent Way all cued up, you completely blew my chance to score, asshole. For a collectivist that was pretty fucking selfish.

Ever since you quit your “alienating and oppressive” job at iParty in February, I’ve been footing the bill for everything. While you’re sitting around the apartment all day, banging on your djembe and working on your anti-capitalist manifestos with your dreadlocked cronies, I’m busting my ass to make enough money to buy your precious Ritz Bits and pay the rent. Quite frankly, I’m sick of it.

I’ve asked you almost daily to find a job and help out with the utilities, but instead you just insult me. Well, listen up, Trotsky—what you refer to as my “fundamentalist demagogy and charlatanry” is exactly what is putting Annie’s Shells and Cheese and 8th Continent Chocolate Soymilk in your stomach. So don’t go citing the need for an “equal distribution of goods” or calling the concept of private ownership an “instrument of the State Ideological Apparatus” because you will be so fucking cut off.

Things are going to change around here, and soon. No more “egalitarian spirit” from this “Comrade.” Stage all the strikes and protests you want. My name’s on the lease, Ho Chi Minh.

Oh, and by the way, I’m not calling you “Che” no matter how many times you tell me to.

Your name is Leonard, dipshit. Blame your parents.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

If Piracy Is Wrong, I Don’t Want To Be Right

There are some people who believe me to be the scourge of open waters, the enemy of civilized races, hell bent on nothing but plunder, profit, and perniciousness. They find me vile, unholy, of a base and wanton nature.

To them, I say: if piracy is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

Sure, I fly the banner of King Death as I muddy the high seas with blood in search of treasure. So what? Some people are content being dermatologists or soccer moms. Not me. Give me a crew of violent, illiterate scum and three masts to sail them with and I’m happy as a clam. Or, as it were, a pitiless buccaneer.

Still, there are certain bluenoses out there who find the raping of women, children, and livestock objectionable. Well, I’m sorry, Polly Puritanical, but I happen to disagree. I have a penchant for piracy, and in this topsy-turvy world, it’s important to find what you’re good at and make that your passion. Some people play fantasy baseball. Others knit or read to the blind. I raid the vessels of mighty nations in the hopes of pillaging their precious cargo and selling their crews into slavery. That’s me. That’s what I do.

You know, I’m not sitting on my ass all day getting high and watching the Cartoon Network. What a waste! At least I’m doing something with my life. I’m sorry if that “something”—the brutal ransacking of your sovereign’s gold and jewels—happens to offend you. Maybe if he and his armies hadn’t murdered, ravaged, and despoiled the natives of the New World, you wouldn’t have to live in constant fear for your safety as you navigate the horse latitudes. Think about that.

Do you know how much skill it takes to make a treasure map? Or how difficult it is to invent contraptions that will foil would-be looters’ attempts to abscond with said treasure? Ever fire a blunderbuss? You’ve got to be pretty sharp to do all that. Pretty sharp.

Giovanni da Verrazzano? A pirate. And they named a bridge in New York after him. Case closed.

Throw any epithet you like at me: savage corsair, ignoble shellback, odious picaroon. I’ll keep on sailing the Seven Seas, flouting such jibes. You sit in your cozy breakfast nook with your Boston Globe crossword puzzle and your delicious Berry Burst Cheerios—no parrot, no eye patch, no wooden leg or hook for a hand to speak of—and you tell me if you’re so mightily superior because you don’t take an almost religious pleasure in slaughtering the innocent for your personal gain.

I didn’t think so.

Friday, April 08, 2005

I Wish I Had a Couple of Surface-To-Air Missiles

Just a couple. I don’t want to be greedy. And I won’t even hang on to them; I’d sell them immediately. I would totally be able to make rent this month. Plus I’d probably have enough left over to buy a sweet plasma TV for my room. I can’t even imagine how stellar the Led Zeppelin DVD would look on that bad boy.

I’m not talking about some crazy new experimental prototype that I’d be able to sell for billions of dollars. Christ, no. Just something simple, like an LGM-30 Minuteman, or even a couple of those primo Northrop MQM-36 Shelducks. The improved autopilot and altitude-hold units have really upped their resale value, and I’d have no problem finding a few solid buyers.

Hell, I’d even take an old MGM-51 Shillelagh or two, just to not have to make a meal out of Ramen noodles and Goya coconut soda for the fourth day in a row. Is that asking too much? I don’t think so.

I should try to get in touch with Jim Lavalee. He could always come through for me in a pinch. I remember one time when I needed some quick cash to rent the limo for prom night, he showed up at my door with two Raytheon AIM-120 AMRAAM’s and an extra inertial reference unit—and we’re talking way before most people had even heard of BVM intercepts. Needless to say, we both got laid that night.

Man, last time I saw Jim, he was working the loading dock at the Sam’s Club in Milldale. I gotta stop by there soon and see if he’s still around.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

You Are Utterly Ridiculous

What do you mean asking me if I work here? Do you think that I enjoy wearing this neon green apron? And if that’s your conclusion, why, then, do you think that I would come into such an establishment, pull all these boxes off the shelves, and start rearranging them?

Jesus Jumped-Up Christ on a Vespa scooter. Look at your hair. Did you look in the mirror this morning and say, “I want to try and look as close to Eraserhead as possible when I leave the house.” Well: mission accomplished.

What kind of jacket is that? There seems to be some sort of fringe on it, but what’s it made of? It looks like a boggling fusion of denim and velveteen. Is that lace? Or just a doily that got stuck to your nauseating trunk? And that color! I can’t really place it: somehow it’s simultaneously bruise-hued and greenish-apricot. I didn’t even think that such a tint could exist within the realm of human vision. Besides: it’s way too small for you. That looks a little crazy, you know? And I don’t mean “crazy” in a wacky good-time fun sense. I mean “crazy” in a having- enough- cats- to- make- the- pharaohs- envious- and- leaving- them- your- inheritence- when- you- die sense.

But let’s not dwell upon your outward appearance. What I’m more concerned with is your behavior, your total lack of societal skills. Did you think that eating an ice cream cone—a soft serve ice cream cone, mind you—like a banshee trying to bite at a dandelion seed is at all what polite people expect to see when they go out into our great civilization? Well, you were wrong.

Plainly stated: You look foolish.

The fact that you seem to have trouble following this conversation leads me, rightly, to assume that you compensate for your lack of intelligence with rage, vulgarity, and violence. You sicken me, you crude, ungulate harridan.

You there, sir! Are you with her? Obviously. Why else would you be wearing an Indiana Pacers 2000 Eastern Conference Champions hooded sweatshirt? I recall waking up this morning and thinking, “Today I’d like to see the most irrelevant thing to my life, my country, and our collective history when I go to open my store.” And here you are, sir, sweatshirt stained dark with your various oils and foodstuffs dropped from your cavernous maw. Again, I judge your garb only in that it undoubtedly reflects the inward bitterness you must have and hold dearly for yourself and for others.

No, no. This is my establishment, “madam,” and I’ll speak to you this way if I choose.

Listen to your insufferable son, wailing at the top of his lungs as if he’d had boiling oil poured on his hindquarters. My God, woman: you make Andrea Yates look like Maria Montessori. I’m not in any way an advocate for government intervention into its citizens’ lives, but I will personally call the White House and have you taken to Alcatraz. I don’t care if it’s not operational any more. That’s where you’re going.

Hitting your child like that is actually quite healthy for him. It will improve him psychologically in the future when he realizes that not only is he a little shit right now, but most likely will continue to be a shit, but on a grander scale, amounting to nothing, and doing more harm than good to himself and the citizens around him as his life ambles inexorably toward failure and, ultimately, death.

Well, either you hit him or let me continue, please. What do you mean, “What right do I have?” This is my candy store! Fine. Get the police. They’ll understand my side of the story once I explain what has transpired in these few brief minutes, believe me.

That blade you brandish doesn’t frighten me! Do you know how many machete-wielding Sandinistas I fought off in the impenetrable jungles of Nicaragua in the late ’70s? Far more than your feeble math skills can tally, I assure you.

That’s right: you get out. And never darken the floor of Phineas T. McFudge’s Sweets & Treats Shoppe again!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Am I Crunking Properly?

As far as I can tell, I’m doing it pretty well.

I crunk at parties, I join in when people around me crunk, and I avoid crunking at work if I can possibly help it (especially when the district manager is visiting!).

I think next I’m going to try crunking in front of my girlfriend and see what happens. We’ve been going out for about six months, and I think she knows me pretty well. Her reaction should be positive.

I’m committed to crunk. When not crunking, I think about its various permutations. For instance, if celebrity chef Bobby Flay crunked, what would it involve? Probably Anaheim chiles and tomatillos! It would be delicious.

Of course, I’m no expert at it. If my crunking seems excessive at a given time, would getting buck wild be an acceptable substitution? What about acting the fool? I definitely don't want to embarrass myself or those around me.

I think it’s wrong to judge people based on their crunk. We should all try to remember the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

If crunking had been around in Biblical times, Jesus would have crunked. Absolutely.

If Crunk turned out to be the name of the first really cool caveman, I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest.

As for me, I plan on crunking until the day I die. Unless, of course, something better comes along that really catches my fancy, like the Macarena, or shooting smack.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Some Scenarios in Which It’s Inappropriate to Respond With “That’s Hot”

When the person you’re talking with reveals that he/she was molested as a child by the Charles' Chips delivery man.

When watching a man chew on shards of a light bulb.

When accidentally knocking down an elderly person/amputee on the sidewalk.

When being told by a doctor that although you have prostate cancer, it’s operable.

When discussing genocide in Sudan, Armenia, Rwanda, Serbia, Poland, Germany, or really any time mass extermination of a people because of race, ethnicity, or religion is concerned.

When asked by parents to be the sandak at their first son’s bris.

When listening to someone confess that they might have a substance abuse problem.

When you learn that the Pope’s been given last rites.

When witnessing a small child—no more than four years old—being attacked by a swarm of killer bees.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Outrageous Claims I Have Made While Drunk (Excerpt)

There is absolutely nothing better than Ecto-Cooler.

I would have no problem getting Maggie Gyllenhaal to date me once I met her.

I’m not saying that all Samoans are lazy, but, you know.

If push came to shove—when you get down to the fundamental reality of the situation—I don’t think fighting a mummy would be all that difficult.

Did you know that in every bag of peanut M&Ms, there’s always a poison one? That’s why you’ve got to eat the whole bag, because the other M&Ms counteract the poison one.

If I could only have one shirt, I would have the one that bass player Kenny Gradney from Little Feat wore during their 1975 performance on The Old Grey Whistle Test. It’s just a really cool shirt.

There is absolutely nothing better than Pepperoni Pizza Hot Pockets.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Think of Me as the Sexual Pope

I know you’re pretty upset about the passing of Pope John Paul II. As far as Popes go, he surely was one of the best, opening doors to parts of the world that no Pope before him dared to open, visiting every continent except Antarctica, raising issues that virtually every Pope before him ignored. Yes, he was a man of vision. He saw that the world was changing and understood that we need to change with it. Sure, he was restricted by his role as Pope, but he did a great deal with what he had—

Wow. You’re really crying there. You really shouldn’t be alone right now. You’re too grief-stricken. Look, I don’t mean to speak out of turn—and please don’t take this the wrong way—but I’m kind of like the Pope.

Please. Let me explain.

I don’t mean that I’m the vessel of Christ’s divine message, nor do I mean to imply that I am possessed of that infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer wished His Church to be endowed. I only mean that I have many of the late Pope’s best qualities in addition to the fact that I like to have sex.

So, if it helps you get through this difficult time, think of me as the Sexual Pope.

Like the Pope might, I’ll lend a comforting hand in this hour of desperate sorrow as I’m very empathetic to human suffering. And I look really good naked. I’m no Adonis, surely, but I haven’t gotten any complaints.

The Pope reached out to the entire human race with a message of peace and hope. I, too, have extended myself to all of humanity, near and far, except instead of a message of peace extended, it’s my penis.

The Pope wrote poetry and I, too, write poetry. But unlike the Pope, after I read you some of my poems, I’ll make out with you. That’s a two-for-one deal right there. The Pope would never—nay, could never—do that.

Would the Pope ever offer to pleasure you orally for as long as you desired? As the Sexual Pope, I would do that for you. In fact, it would be my pleasure.

True, there are some things as the Sexual Pope I can’t do: offer you absolution for your sins, call a Council of Trent, appoint a grand inquisitor. I can, however, make love to you so expertly that a team of international scientists will need to be consulted in order to determine the lasting effect it will have on you.

I know your mind is much bereaved right now, but whatever you decide, just know that the Sexual Pope is here for you.

Unless Maggie calls. Then I’ll have to go and attend to her grief.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Locating the Restroom Has Been Too Easy Thus Far

In this work-a-day world, one can expect instructions to the restroom that are brief, clear and easy-to-follow. The following is typical:

1) Go to the end of the hall.

2) Take a left.

3a) The bathroom is the first door on the right.

3b) It’s the green door.

While this method is efficient and streamlined, it lacks something in the way of sponteneity and confusion. Indeed, upon entering a facility of any kind (e.g. apartment, restaurant, Oriental massage parlor), one can almost surely guesstimate where the restroom is located, and that is, quite frankly, unfortunate.

To rectify this, we propose a new approach to restroom directions, complete with three degrees of difficulty to accommodate any skill level from the novice to the expert.

Level One: The Five Pennies

1) Go to the end of the hall and pass through the red door. You will find yourself in a small courtyard with a fountain.

2) Cross the courtyard, depositing exactly five (5) pennies into the fountain as you pass it on the left side.

3) When you arrive at the other end of the courtyard you will see a very narrow stairway. Climb all the way to the top of the stairs until you see a yellow door with the word DANGER emblazoned on it in deep red paint.

4) Open the door and enter the restroom. If you hear scratching at the door or loud panting while using the restroom, do not open the door. Wait for the sounds to recede before exiting.

Level Two: The Bronze Bell

1) Exit through the main doorway. Cross the street.

2) Enter the gas station and ask for Armand. He will take you to a set of iron stairs hidden behind an apartment building nearby.

3) Go down the stairs and you will enter a small basement storage room. The third stall on the left has a metal ladder attached to its wall, behind the skis.

4) Climb the ladder to the roof of the apartment building. Cross the rooftop until you reach a bronze bell. Ring it three times—twice loudly (but with respect) and once softly (but with intent).

5) If you rang the bell correctly a hatch will open and the man from the third floor apartment will let you use his bathroom.

Level Three: The Third Level

1) Exit through the main doorway. Cross the street.

2) Wait for the Cherry Hill/Crispus Attucks Boulevard bus. Ride the bus until you reach the last stop on the outskirts of town. Exit the bus. Quickly now.

3) Across the street from the stop is a taxi stand. Approach the sole green taxi in the parking lot, achieve solid eye contact with the driver, and wink three times, using the following pattern: Right, Left, Right. (It is imperative that you use this pattern—Left, Right, Left will elicit possible neurotic episodes on the part of the driver, a former stuntman whose credits include work on such movies as They Live!, Rocky IV, and Mona Lisa Smile.) If you do this correctly, the driver will take you to a wide field, vast in its emptiness.

4) Traverse the field until you come to a hill glazed with fresh snow. Halfway up the hill you will come to a small grotto.

5) You can go to the bathroom in the grotto, but you’re advised to first light a substantial fire to fend off the viperous Tshiik Bâ-Ür.

6) When you are finished expelling your solid/liquid waste, locate the magic whistle on the altar within the grotto and blow it using your dominant nostril.

7) A mystical cyclonic wind of vibrant blue will bring you to a small airport in Scranton, Pennsylvania, from which you could catch a flight home, I guess.

Dr. Mark Rinaldi is the acting secretary of PUSA, the Painful Urination Society of America and author of the book
Pain Before Pee: How to Correctly Potty Train Your Child.

Michael Schiavo is a phillumenist and has no medical degrees or training as far as you know. He does, however, have a lot of latex gloves.

Friday, April 01, 2005

An Introduction and Enticement to The Strange in the Manner of Deadwood

Let me tell you of my load, friends. If ears can hear and eyes can see, it shall be made plain as daylight, the first morning of spring, and my load will become yours. And in joy we shall walk down the road together, sharing this load.

Simply put: I do not believe that true vulgarity lies in the strange but rather in what some cocksuckers would like to call “polite society”—though if one were to take one solitary minute to assess the situation, one would see that society as such ain’t all that fucking polite any more. The ballroom is now a barroom.

Let me explain to undisturbed minds the new dance we’re in: some persons find such turns of phrase as “ugly clown penis” to be discourteous, repulsive, of a low and distasteful humor. I, on the contrary, think such things fucking hilarious. In turn, of my stance on the words, such superior folks that would find the phrase repellent find my honoring the phrase even worse than the utterance itself.

So if you’re one of these upstanding and righteous citizens—be you a slithery, bunko cocksucker with a Bible in one hand and sinful acres in the other, or a pretentious, ineffectual cocksucker who holds everybody’s opinions except his own, or even some dumb fuck who can’t resolve himself on anything beyond the threshold of his shower curtain—I want nothing to do with you. This place is not for you.

But if one feels, somehow, otherwise, if one’s brainworks are open to the possibility of a smile, if one’s inclination is to laugh, heartily or soft, come in. As William fucking Shakespeare said: “Motley’s the only wear.”