Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The State of the Union Address I'd Rather Hear

(Dear blog readers: this is about as far from intelligent com-
mentary as one can get. It is petulant, rude, and goofy. It's
been a hard century for us liberal Democrats, so you have to
forgive us our occasional cheap shots and coarse humor.)

My fellow Americans, I suck. I really do. I say this not as empty
rhetoric, not as a campaign slogan, and not as simple partisan
blather. I just suck. I suck big-time. You can add up all the
sucky aspects of all the Presidents who have come before me
and you still wouldn’t even have the shadow of the suckitude
I bring to the Oval Office every morning. I sucked as Yale
cheerleader, I sucked as an oil tycoon, I sucked as a baseball
team owner, and I sucked as Governor of the great state of
Texas. Now, thanks to many of you out there, I have had the
opportunity to suck as your President. For two terms, no less.
For this I thank you and, because of the many gifts you have
given me, I feel the best honor I can bestow on you tonight is
simple honesty.

That is why I say I suck. I suck suck suck. Suck a-duck-duck-
duck. Who sucks? This guy right here behind the fancy podium:
George Walker Suckadee Bush, reporting for duty.

[pause for applause]

But I couldn’t suck this badly alone. I have had help from
many, many sucky Americans. Candor forces me to admit
that I am but one pile of rancid goo in the fetid, Kansas-sized
landfill that is your government. I may be skipper of the U.S.S.
Suckopolis, but I can’t for a moment pretend that I haven’t had
one of the suckiest crews imaginable. So I’d like to extend my
gratitude to my first mate, Dick “Sucking Chest Wound” Cheney,
who has helped make me into the bulwark of suck that stands
before you today.

[pause briefly for applause]

And also to Condeleeza “Secretary of Suck” Rice, Alberto
“Torture Suck” Gonzalez, Bill “Suck, M.D.” Frist, Tom “The
Sucker” DeLay, and–the newest member of Team Suck–
Samuel “Supreme Suck” Alito. With a bunch like this at the
helm, it is no wonder we have been able to steer America into
suckier waters than any previous administration.

[pause for applause]

Yet, in the spirit of brotherhood and reconciliation, I would like
also to extend my gratitude to the loyal sucky opposition., who
have been so good as to suck in their aims of unseating me. I
won’t go so far as to call them Suckocrats, as some might, but
I will gladly extend to them Junior Suck status in my town of
Suckington D.C. This one’s for you, Joe “Please Let Me Suck”
Lieberman, Joe “Shall I Suck A Little Quieter?” Biden, and Ken
“Suckazar” Salazar of Colorado. You suck no less than the suck-
ers on my side of the fence, and I’m proud to call you my ene-

[pause very briefly for applause, drink water]

I also have not forgotten the contributions of the millions of
unsung Americans who felt that I wasn’t quite sucky enough
to get rid of. You were wrong, but you have my gratitude
regardless. I would go out and have a beer with every last
one of you, only I don’t drink and I’m actually a spoiled rich
boy who actually doesn’t have anything at all in common with
you, so it would be awkward and strange and I’m really doing
you a favor by sparing you the experience. It will be best for
all of us if you never learn how much I suck. So here I urge
you to turn your television to “American Idol” or something
of that nature. All you’ll see here is a bunch of wrinkly, jowly
people applauding every twenty seconds. It sucks too much
to bear.

[pause for thunderous applause]

It is clear to all of us tonight that America has come a long
way in terms of sucking. We stand on the threshold of a sucky
economy, we are embroiled in a brutal war which promises
to suck our strength even more than it already has, and our
citizens are free to choose among several of the suckiest
health plans the industrialized world has to offer. Rich people
from all walks of richness are more able to suck at their com-
pany’s profits than ever before and the shopping-slash-dining
options in America’s small towns and rural communities suck
like never before. What’s more, political discourse–an area
with a long and proud history of sucking–now sucks like a
Vegas hooker on crystal meth. I take credit for all these
accomplishments. Bow down before me, Congressional peons!

[pause for applause, bowing]

However, it is obvious that we can suck even more. Americans
have never settled for second-best status in the great race to
ultimate suckosity. We can find new and innovative ways to
suck. We can suck harder in our schools, in our communities,
and in our hearts. I am confident that we carry with us the
inner suck to make all our dreams of fantastic suckness come
true. Specifics have never really been my “thing”, so I won’t
bore you with them here. Let me just assure you one and all:
the suckiest is yet to come! God bless you! God bless America!

[pause for applause, smirk, drink water]

The Chinatown Eel Incident

Sometimes, in New York, I’d wake up much earlier than I
had to. When this happened, I liked to get dressed and go
walking around the city. It’s good exercise to walk and that
city is so beautiful it’s an honor just to see it. I lived just
east of downtown Brooklyn, on Fulton Street, and I’d take
that all the way to the big government buildings past Albee
Square. From there, I’d stroll up the plaza to the Brooklyn
Bridge and cross into Manhattan. On the weekends, the
financial district would be dead, but Chinatown would be
as bustling as ever. I usually wound up there, wandering
around its crooked streets, looking in the shop windows and
smelling the restaurants that never closed.

On the far edges of Chinatown, around East Broadway, there
are lots of places that sell fish. Their displays spill out onto the
sidewalk and crowds gather whenever a fresh catch is in. I
remember wandering past one of these as the morning’s first
burst of energy faded into a pre-caffeinated torpor. I was
thinking of catching the B-train back to Brooklyn and going
back to bed. I was thinking of getting a better job. I was
thinking of a girl. I was thinking of all the stories I would
write as soon as I found the time to sit down and write them.

Stuck in my head this way, I barely noticed the action at the
fish shop. Ice was piled high in the cases and all manner of
still-blinking sea creatures were arranged on top of it. The
people on the sidewalk were shouting at the people in the
store and the people in the store were shouting back, a roiling
storm of Chinese voices punctuated at intervals by paper-
wrapped fish being flung from the scales to the customers
below. It was quite a show, but I was too preoccupied to watch
it. Back then, I usually vacillated pretty quickly between being
fascinated with everything and being morbidly introspective.
I had set out in the former mindset and somehow slipped into
the latter.

I broke out of it, however, when an old man couldn’t quite
catch the eel that had just been tossed his way. It slipped out
of his arms and he was left holding onto only the crumpled
wrapping paper as the slithery thing itself landed on the wet
sidewalk and slid right into my path. I stood there with one
foot raised in the air, bugging my eyes out as it gaped up at
me, its cavernous mouth opening and closing in some kind
of dead-fish daze. “Holy shit!” I said and, as I tried to put
my foot down without stepping on the eel or falling on my
ass, I heard a hundred Chinese people laugh at me. Some
even clapped.

“Sorry!” said the old man.

“Is that your eel?” I asked him and he nodded.

“Oh, yes yes...” he said and then he reached out and grab-
bed my hand. Pumping it up and down, he said, “Sorry!”

“It scared the shit out of me just now,” I said as I went on
shaking the old man’s hand.

“Oh yes yes...” was all he said. He let go of my hand and
crouched low to scoop up his eel. By this time, I was laughing
too. I went on down the street red-faced and smiling. I caught
the subway at the Grand Street station and, as the empty train
clattered out onto the Manhattan Bridge, I stood by the window
and looked out at the dirty tenements and the shining skyscrap-
ers, the endless sky and the crowded ground. It was one of
those times, not too rare back then, when I realized that I
loved that city more than any other, that it was a joy just to
be a speck in its eternal glory.

What I spend all my money on...

I really like classic David Bowie and I also really like Brazilian
music, which made this CD a no-brainer purchase for me. On
it, Seu Jorge–the songwriter/actor from Rio de Janeiro who
was so brilliant in City of God–performs thirteen Bowie songs
from the 1970s in Portugese, accompanied only by his acoustic
guitar. I was reluctant to buy it for a long time, however, be-
cause of my worry that it might be just kitsch coffeeshop stuff
for pretentious “world music” fans and because it is being mark-
eted as a soundtrack for a silly movie I didn’t especially enjoy.

I shouldn’t have been concerned, though. The album is great
fun. Jorge has a wonderful voice and his performances always
capture what made these songs so special in the first place. It
is a testament to Bowie’s artistry that these glam rock anthems
can be approached in this way. At the same time, it reveals the
depth of Seu Jorge’s talent that he can take Bowie’s very idio-
syncratic songs and make them his own. This CD inspired me
to dig out my copy of Ziggy Stardust for the first time in a few
years, and tomorrow I’ll probably head back to the Electric
to buy Jorge’s other albums.

You should go buy it. You’ll probably like it. If you don’t, you
have to consider the possibility that you might be weird.

Monday, January 30, 2006

A question...

Please, tell it to me straight. When you wake up with your
shirt pulled up over your head and your jaw so sore you can
barely chew your breakfast cereal, does this mean that you’ve
been sleepwalking? Does it mean that you’ve been sleep-
walking onto the set of a porn film? Because, frankly, I’m

Pages from my diary of flamboyant untruths, part six:

(Pssssst! You! Yeah, you! The casual reader sitting there
reading this during some "downtime" at work, I'm talking
to you. You see, you might not know this, but this post re-
quires some serious "prep" work on your part. Let me lay
it out for you...

First, you have to read part one. Then you have to read
part two. After that, you should read part three. As if this
wasn't onerous enough, you'll have to follow this up by
reading part four. With this finished, you can move on to
part five and then, and only then, can you read this, the
sixth and final installment of a saga that went on far long-
er than was prudent.

Sorry about all that.)

In my part of town, all the sexiest women work at butcher
shops. This is why I don’t eat much red meat–I’m too
intimidated to buy any. It’s an unpleasant experience,
having to approach a glamorous, statuesque, blood-
spattered beauty queen and ask for “tenderloin” or “ fresh
ground chuck” or a nice, juicy “prime hock”. I’m not asham-
ed to admit that, under pressures like these, I don’t perform
as admirably as I might like. I’m too hesitant, too bashful
and–to compensate–I tend to giggle like a like a porn film
prison guard.

That was the old me, though. The new me had a mojo hand,
a whole bunch of John the Conquer root, and a pep talk from
my psychologist. I had nothing to be afraid of anymore: not
ridicule, not humiliation, not even a ten-gallon jar of goat
eyeballs. I was all confidence, charm and clean teeth. The
idea of failure was too abstract for me now. I couldn’t get
my mind around it. Fail? What does fail mean? Is that
one of the unfortunate things that’s always happening to
losers, wastrels, and dorks? Who knows! Whatever it was,
I certainly didn’t have to trouble my mind with it.

I had become one of those guys. You know the kind I mean.

It was exhilarating. I walked the entire eleven miles to the
biggest, most chic butcher shop in Minneapolis. This was in
the summertime, so I was fairly sweaty by the time I got
there. This caused me no concern whatsoever. To my
way of thinking, it seemed that a little whiff of my man-
musk would only enhance my appeal. Women like a man
with a strong, pungent odor. It lets them know that here,
at last, is a mate who doesn’t waste his time showering or
applying deodorant when he could be out there doing heavy
labor or participating in team sports.

The place was packed, as it always is, but that was no hazard
to me. I pushed past the thronging hordes of lesser men to
take my rightful spot right in front of the counter. Before
me stood such a vision of loveliness and grace that even
George Clooney would stammer in her presence. Her hair
was more lustrous than all the wheat fields in Iowa and her
eyes were like limpid pools of water so blue it was obvious
to all that they were the kinds of pools you find in your five-
star resorts, not just some dumpy, urine-polluted Red Roof
Inn pools. Her nametag said “Bernice” and her smile said

“May I...help you?” she exhaled. She was holding a gory
cleaver in her hands, which was–at the moment–awesomely
arousing. I was glad I had spent the entire two-hour walk
there devising my “line”.

With unprecedented cool, I pushed my normal voice down
two octaves and purred, “You must sell a lot meat here, but
tell me this, Bernice: does anyone sell you meat? Because
I’ve got some meat right here. Some long, hard, smoked
meat. Are you interested in my meat? Would you like to
sample my meat? Please, beautiful Bernice: sample my

“I want you so much,” she said, “I want you right now.”

Could she have said anything else? Was there any other
possible response to such thorough and manly seduction?
I knew I could not rest on my laurels, however. Women
that beautiful must be kept in a constant state of awe. “You
know what?” I said to her as I leaned over the counter, “You’re
so fantastic I almost projectile vomited just then.” This, I
figured, would make me seem self-effacing and sweet. It’s
important not to come on simply as a one-dimensional he-
man, you also have to show some depth.

“Ravish me!” she cried as she ran her hands up and down
her bloody smock, “Bring me to the pinnacles of ecstacy!
Carry me to the forbidden palace of bliss!”

This is where I felt it necessary to “slow things down” a bit,
as the jostling crowd behind us was getting a touch impatient.
“Yes, yes. I shall do all that and more, fair Bernice,” I said,
“But there is one thing I must tell you before we begin. One
trifling thing, yet it embarrasses so much me to say...”

“What? What is it, my love?” she asked me, and I could
sense the terror arising within her soul. I had to calm her
down quickly. I am not a sadistic man.

“We must construct our citadel of joy, our earthly pup tent
of delight, at your home, my truffle, as my apartment is
infested with a million deadly spiders. I don’t fear for my
own life, mind you, but the pain and guilt would be just too
much if I knew I had exposed you to their foul toxins!” I
said and she reached across the counter and pulled me into
her embrace, showering me with kisses and smearing my
clothes with copious quantities of animal blood. Somewhere
in my brain, I told myself that I had to remember to thank
my psychologist profusely. She was a true genius.

Bernice’s place wasn’t far away. The trip there was a blur
of groping, feverish grunts, and wet sensations deep in the
folds of my underpants. Like a true gentleman, I carried
her up the stairs of her apartment building and over the
threshold of her bedroom, at which point I threw her onto
the mattress and turned myself over to the age-old act of
“getting busy”.

Yet I had barely managed to wrestle my own shirt off before
we were interrupted by a very loud bang. It sounded like it
had come from far below us. “What was that?” Bernice cried.

“That’s the way my heart beats for you, my dumpling of
happiness,” I said and I could tell she wanted to believe it
but was reluctant to. I stuck my tongue in her mouth to
calm her down. I didn’t want her distracted by the outside
world. The poor dear was nervous. That was touching to
me. I would soothe her and protect her. I would serve as
her big, fleshy security blanket against the depredations of

I was really full of myself for a moment there. I didn’t even
hear the banging when it started up again. Bernice did,
though, and she grabbed hold of me. “There it is! Can’t you
hear that?” she whispered.

“Oh, it’s probably nothing,” I said, but dread was blossoming
inside me. Now, I know that “dread” does not necessarily
“blossom”, but cut a break on that. I’m writing this in a
frenzy, you see, because these events are deeply traumatic
to me. I cannot be troubled by niceties of style and usage
when I’m showing my most inflamed wounds to the public
at large. If you’re the sort of person who demands such
things, perhaps you ought to re-evaluate your entire life.
Take some time out and reacquaint yourself with what’s
truly valuable in this world. I’ll give you a hint, though:
it’s not style and usage. Oh no. They’re way down on
the list, Mister Grammarian...

But you must forgive me. I’m only unloading on you be-
cause I’m upset. I’m upset because the banging only got
louder and louder as it got closer and closer and, before
long, it had completely spoiled the mood I had worked
so hard to set. My sweet Bernice was, by this time, quite
distraught and in no position to be subject to the Kevin
Love. “What is that? What is that?” she asked, all frantic
and anxious and even prettier than ever.

“I’ll go see,” I said, and it was quite chivalrous of me, I
might add. Although not as chivalrous as it would have
been had I not known exactly what to expect out there.
Because there was nothing else it could have been besides
a ten-gallon jar of goat eyeballs. What else could it have
been? An army of angry bunny rabbits? A two-headed
dwarf? Jimmy Carter? That would have been absurd,
simply absurd. No, no: I threw open her front door and
there it was, my burden, sitting there on the carpet, look-
ing as guileless as ever. “Go away!” I hissed at it, but it
just tromped over my feet to get inside the apartment.

Have you ever seen a ten-gallon jar of goat eyeballs move
across a near-stranger’s apartment? Until that point, neither
had I. “Get out! Shoo! Out with you!” I commanded it, but
it wasn’t listening. It didn’t have ears, of course, but I none-
theless felt that its intransigence was willful.

This was when Bernice came out of her bedroom and asked
a question that, in retrospect, I must consider wholly legit-
imate: “What the hell is this all about?”

Surprised, I had no recourse but the truth. “Oh. That’s my
ten-gallon jar of goat eyeballs. It follows me everywhere I go...”

“I know what it is!” Bernice shrieked, “What, do you think
I’m stupid? Do you think I’m some sort of tart or something?
Is that it?”

I was at a loss. My jar had sidled up to her and was tilting
back a few inches to take her in, the eyeballs whirling around
with obvious excitement. She kicked it over and threw herself
down on her couch, tears pouring from her eyes. “Why does
this always happen to me?” she cried.

“Ummm...” I said. I was watching the jar as it rolled around
on the floor, trying to work up the momentum to set itself
upright again.

“If it’s not goat eyeballs, it’s sheep testicles. If it’s not sheep
testicles, it’s chicken spleens. If it’s not chicken spleens, it’s
toad gizzards...why is that? Why? Why?” Bernice moaned
before her voice broke into heartbreaking sobs.

I didn’t know what to do. I patted her on the shoulder and
said, “There, there...”

She let out a single, unpleasantly loud sniffle and said, “I’m
going to have to kill you just like all the others...”

“Oh. I see,” I said. I took my hand from her tender flesh
and placed it firmly in my pocket. Tiptoeing to the door, I
said “I think it’s time for me to go...”

“Just give me a second,” she said, wiping her achingly beau-
tiful eyes. She stood up and, trembling a bit, went into her
kitchen. A second later, her voice came calling, “I just have
to find that one knife I like to use...”

“Take your time. That’s cool,” I called back and then bolted
through the door, down the stairs, and out onto the street
below. I ran for as long as it was possible for me to run. I ran
past fancy new condos, decrepit old slums, smokestacks, fact-
ories, renovated lofts, quaint ethnic business districts, not
quaint ethnic business districts, and finally right back to the
fancy new condos again. I was running along the banks of
the river when I finally ran out of breath and collapsed in a

That’s where I was when my ten-gallon jar of goat eyeballs
caught up with me. It came thumping down the jogging
path and nudged me once, twice, three times and then
rested there, gazing down at me with something not
unlike pity.

“Hi,” I croaked and it just rocked back and forth. I’ll
say this for it: it can be patient. It waited until I was
rested enough to stand up and then it followed me down
to the riverbank. It was very trusting. I don’t think it
had any idea what I was thinking, though.

I took my mojo hand out of my marsupial pouch and held
it out so that at least a few of the goat eyeballs couldn’t
help but see it. Spilling John the Conquer root everywhere,
I shook it in front of the jar and, with my voice made raspy
by desperation and exhaustion, I said “Is this what you
want? Is it?”

The ten-gallon jar of goat eyeballs gave no reply and I took
that as an abashed affirmative. Without really thinking too
much about it, I hurled my mojo hand as far as I could and
smirked with satisfaction as it struck the surface of the river
and sunk below, leaves of John the Conquer root scattered
on the current like rose petals in some sort of far Eastern
funeral ceremony. I took a deep breath and turned to face
my jar, which was watching all this with an air of subdued

“Well, go get it, then!” I told it. “Go on! Go get it!”

Its eyes looked out at the water and then looked back at
me, looked at the water and looked at me again. And again.
And again. And once more. Then, after a pause in which
all my hopes and dreams of a better life fizzled out with a
weak farting sound, the eyes turned to me and stayed there.
The jar rubbed up against my leg like a tabby cat and I could
do nothing but say, “Oh, okay. Okay. Okay then.”

I walked home and it followed me at a respectful distance. I left
the front door open for it and it scooted in after me. From the
vantage point of my barca-lounger, where I sat bereft and
gloomy, I watched it crawl up onto my coffee table and make
itself comfortable there. It had won. I had lost. It was up to
me to accommodate myself to its presence.

I was still trying to do this when my phone rang. It was M-l,
of course, calling to chat about the human cadavers she had just
been mucking around with. I felt like a cadaver myself, but
cadavers probably smelled better than I did. I was really ripe.
I smelled like sweat, river mud, and about a gallon’s worth of
prostrate secretions. I was also strange and excessively emot-
ional but, of course, I’ve already told you about all of that and
there’s really no need to hash it all out again.

Put plainly, I have no more mojo hand. I don’t have even a
scrap of John the Conquer root left. All I have is a ten-gallon
jar of goat eyeballs. A ten-gallon jar of goat eyeballs that
follows me everywhere I go. People are generally wary of
guys who have ten-gallon jars of goat eyeballs following
them everywhere they go. I guess this means my life is
pretty much ruined.

But maybe I’m too pessimistic. My Craigslist ad has been
getting some pretty good responses.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Sunday afternoon internet browsing...

Saturday, January 28, 2006

The sort of thing that causes me to look upon our local right-wing web commando crew with a skeptical eye...

While perusing this post on this website today, I read the
following comment:

Black on white violence isn't reported as hate crime.
I bet it's gotta be at least 10-1 black on white hate

At least.

Side note: Do we EVEN hear about white people
raping black women? I bet 10 of the black male
population has raped a white woman. It's disturb-
ing that this is so NOT reported.

greg | 01.28.06 - 12:19 am | #

Now let me assure you that this “greg” is not the tall and
suave Greg who appears in several of my posts and com-
ments threads. This is another greg. A lower-case greg.
A racist greg.

Let’s have another look at that statement: “I bet 10 of the
black male population has raped a white woman”. First off,
we have to assume he means “10 percent” but, since he was
probably writing this in a fit of seething bigot rage, he couldn’t
be bothered to proofread himself. Second, that’s some of the
most hideous shit I’ve seen on the internet in a long time. This
guy lives in some 1955 Alabama fantasy world of savage blacks
ravishing white women, a fantasy world which he imagines evi-
dence for that doesn’t actually exist. He just “bets” it does.

You might think that the person who runs the site would
work to distance themselves from statements so pro-
foundly twisted as that. Well, in this case you’d think
wrong, because here’s the very next comment, from the
blogger him/herself:

Greg raises an interesting point regarding the report-
ing of black on white crimes as hate crimes. For example,
were the "bus stop beatings" previously reported in
this blog categorized as (reverse) hate crimes in the
official statistics? One can bet it would have been had
the skin color of the people involved been reversed. If
anyone has any cites, please post them.
Rambix | Homepage | 01.28.06 - 9:10 am | #

I don’t know, maybe I’m just a pie in the sky liberal, but I’d
think a responsible website would want to distance itself from
blatant displays of bigotry. Especially if that website wanted
to be taken seriously as a straight-shootin’, bias-free commen-
tator on daily issues. But maybe I’m wrong about that.

Oh, and about that 10-1 black on-white hate crimes statistic
that racist greg is sure exists somewhere? Utter bullshit. Take
a look here
, and then scroll down to page 19. Or, if you’re like
these people and don’t have the time to do the legwork because
you’re too busy living in a scary nightmare world, allow me to
summarize them for you.

2004 hate crimes by known offender:

Anti-white: 998 total offenses
Anti-black: 3,281 total offenses

That’s from the FBI. Perhaps they’ll want to argue that
there are thousands and thousands of uncounted anti-white
crimes that get ignored because our nation’s law enforce-
ment establishment is too hampered by sensitivity and
political-correctness to acknowledge them. Perhaps, but
I sure hope not. Because that would be stupid.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Another tale of scary Iowa

When we were in Des Moines, Greg and I used to volunteer
as literacy tutors at a public housing project. It was a poor
place wedged in between the freeway, the historic district,
and a gargantuan hospital’s parking lot. As far as housing
projects go, it was pretty calm. The buildings looked like
grimy-but-decent townhouses and everyone we met there
was personable and welcoming. We spent a few hours each
week in their community center, helping little kids with their
reading homework and hanging out with the staff. Greg and
I probably got more out of it than the children, but that’s just
the way of lot of these college-student do-gooder programs
are. It was no big deal, but a fine time regardless.

Except for that one night. That night it was raining like crazy
out. We drove there in a blinding gale and got drenched just
running from the parking lot to the front door. There wasn't
much for us to do once we got there, since most of the kids
stayed home. The teacher the school department sent over
was there and we sat in her office talking about the storm and
the projects and what we were going to do with our lives when
we graduated. It was a conversation that petered out quickly,
since Greg and I had no idea what we were going to do with
our lives when we graduated. When it became clear that no
children were going to stop by that night, we said our good-
byes and stepped back out into the rain, which hadn’t let
up a bit.

We went running down a sunken passageway that was flood-
ed almost to our ankles. On one side of it was a retaining wall
that came up to our waists and, as we hurried towards the
outlet to the parking lot, I saw something wet and vile-looking
go trundling the other way. It was a rat. A big, filthy, angry
rat. Greg and I saw it at the same time and, thinking back on
it, it was a good thing the wind was whipping so violently, be-
cause it helped to cover the fact that we both screamed like
twelve-year-old girls at a Clay Aiken concert. The rat reared
up on two feet, glared at us with its evil little eyes, and scamp-
ered off to wherever it was headed. We bolted in the opposite
direction, leapt into the car, locked the doors behind us, and
sat there panting.

“That was a RAT!” I said.

Greg was in the same place emotionally. “Did you see that
RAT?” he asked.

“Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God,” I chanted.

“It was a RAT! A RAT!” Greg said, starting up the car, “We’re
getting out of here.”

“That was totally the biggest, most disgusting, most horrible
RAT of all time!” I nearly shouted as we pulled out of the park-
ing lot and back onto the soaking streets.

Greg was nodding as I started to hyperventilate. “Yeah. It was.
It totally was.” he said. He was in a bad state too, but he had to
drive. We couldn’t see five feet in front of us and the roads were
like slippery rivers everywhere.

I couldn’t get over it. I kept babbling about it the whole way
back to our apartment, our warm and safe apartment where
we didn’t have to worry about vermin or anything like that,
anything really awful.

I've got something to say to John Kerry

Hello, Senator Kerry. My name is Kevin. I gave you $200
when you were running for President. I tell you this not so
you’ll feel indebted to me, but so that you’ll know that I’m
a true friend. And rest assured there’s no hard feelings from
me for how that election turned out. Unlike many on the left,
I don’t blame you. Instead I blame that beady-eyed, faux-
Texan warmonger who’s installed himself in the office that’s
rightfully yours.

But I didn’t come here to hash over the past with you. I’m
writing this because I hear that you’re thinking of filibustering
this loathsome new Supreme Court nominee
. Good for you!
I support you all the way. I have moved you permanently
over into the “Democrats With Spine” category, a piece of
real estate that is–for the moment–wide open and pretty
much unspoiled.

Oh, the right will bleat and thunder, but you don’t worry
about that, do you? I mean, for Christ’s sake, give them a
chance and those people will bleat and thunder because you
don’t get your hair cut at Great Clips. There’s just no pleas-
ing them, is there? So let’s ignore them for now.

My concern is this: do you have enough to read for this
filibuster? Do you have the materials picked out already?
Because, if you don’t, please allow me to forgo modesty and
point you towards my Samuel Alito poetry. It would tickle
my ego to have it read into the Congressional Record, that’s
for sure. And no one would argue that it isn’t appropriate to
the occasion. You weren’t thinking of reciting the Washington
phone book or some Bible passages, were you? That shit’s so
Strom Thurmond. It’ll make you look old-fashioned. You
don’t want to look old-fashioned. Not when you’re gonna
be on C-SPAN.

I’ll tell you what, you get this filibuster thing started and
I’ll supply you with an epic Samuel Alito poem. A poem that
will go on as long you need it to. If it will help my country out,
I will gladly write six thousand pages about you and Alito’s
mighty struggle for the soul of our nation. It will be, if I may
be permitted to say, Homeric in scope and content. Just let
me know, and I’ll start in on it right away.

Oh, and if your filibuster defies the predictions of all known
commentators and critics and actually works, I’ll get a picture
of you in your windsurfing outfit tattooed on my back and
proudly go shirtless until the day I die. That’s a promise.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

May I talk about my feelings some more? No? Well, let's talk about my emotions then...

I was sitting in a coffeeshop today, putting some finishing
touches on this egregiously-offensive story I’ve been work-
ing on for the past few weeks, when a couple came and sat
down at the table next to me. They were about my age
and, from the looks of them, pretty thoroughly enmeshed
in that “urban hipster” demographic. I could tell this from
the scrupulously-maintained stubble on the guy’s cheek
and the vagina-positive buttons on the woman’s purse.
Now, mind you, I’m not bringing this up as a criticism. I’m
the same way myself, except I can’t grow stubble very well
and, while I consider myself as vagina-positive as the next
fellow, I think wearing buttons proclaiming that fact would
make me seem suspicious and creepy to everyone. So,
please understand: I like these sorts of people. I consider
them my people. Don’t come to this page expecting urban-
hipster bashing from me. I don’t do it. I’ve got no stomach
for assailing my own kind.

I’m going to make an exception, however, for this guy.
Because he was the sort that gives us urban-hipsters
such a bad name. I don’t think there was a single “sen-
sitive man” cliche he missed in the half-hour or so I spent
eavesdropping on him. In between these, he made it a
point to spout off wrongly about a wide variety of subjects,
from art to politics to contemporary society. It was clear to
me that he was trying to impress his lady friend. As to why
he felt the best way to accomplish this was to recite a
long string of vapid solipsisms is anyone’s guess. It’s also
anyone’s guess as to whether his paramour was truly im-
pressed. I’m afraid I have no evidence either way, since she
didn’t get the opportunity to say anything except for the
occasional “Oh” for their entire date.

Perhaps I’m coming down too hard on him. Perhaps I’m just
a resentful and bitter bastard. But, nevertheless, I can’t see
what would compel someone to say, proudly and without a
hint of irony, “Most people aren’t open about their feelings.
I try to be open with my feelings. If you can’t handle me
being open about my feelings then, I’m sorry, but those
are my feelings.” And that wasn’t even his best quote. He
also said things like, “I’ve spent a long time trying to discover
my passion. Maybe someday I’ll become a political figure, but
I don’t really have a cause or anything at the moment” and
“My emotions are what’s important to me right now” and
“You know what I hate? When people think about art as a
thing, not as a process...” And it wasn’t just what he said,
but the way he said it. It was amazing, the way he issued
the most banal of pronouncements as though they were the
foundations of a new philosophy. At one point I swear I
heard him take a deep breath and say, “The only true thing
is that there’s no truth...”

Seriously. Hearing those sorts of things come out of the
mouths of my peers is the sort of thing that makes me want
to throw on a polo shirt, tuck it into some khakis, and go back
to school for my M.B.A. I could have pantsed that guy right
there. I could have dumped my latte onto his artfully-tousled
head. He was the kind of dude who makes being a self-obsess-
ed, pretentious, artsy-fartsy nerd so difficult. Because of him
and a thousand others like him, the lifestyle lacks the respect
and prestige it deserves. He’s the sort that makes it so I have
to say, “Yeah, I’m sort of an urban hipster...” with that sad-
sack apologetic tone, instead being able to come right out
and boast about my subcultural affiliation. It's annoying.
Really annoying.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to reading my
Jean Cocteau novel. In the original French, of course.

A match made deep in the bowels of the Heritage Foundation...

This isn’t widely known yet, but my sources tell me that Con-
gress is considering legislation that would make it illegal to run
one of these “weblog” thingies without at least one blowhard
right-winger on staff. You see, this is the media of the future,
and in the interest of balance and fairness and equal time, our
leaders in Washington have begun to take decisive action to
prevent the possibility of trusting citizens being led astray by
partisan, rumor-mongering, impolite leftists spouting off their
communist dogma unchecked. Seeing as this particular site is
a sole proprietorship and seeing how I tend to the liberal side
of things, this means that I must hire a co-blogger so that I
will be in compliance with the new law. A few weeks back, I
extended an invitation to Pat Robertson to join me here at
the Insomnia Report, but I have yet to hear from his people.
Well, I’m sorry Pat, but you missed the boat here. While you
were twiddling your thumbs and asking Jesus for advice, I went
and found myself a new wingman, a better wingman than you
could ever hope to be, with your beady eyes and your squeaky
hayseed voice and your penchant for wishing death upon
world leaders!

My new partner stands poised to revolutionize the world of
conservative blogging. With his hair-trigger hostility, his ab-
solute ignorance about virtually everything, and his furious
sense of self-regard, he promises to raise the art of internet
rhetoric to new levels of hysteria and childish invective. He’s
pissed, he’s got a lot of time on his hands, he’s done a Google
search, and he’s raring to tell you about it. The ACLU? He
hates them! The New York Times? Biased towards socialism!
The Star-Tribune? Ditto! FOX News? Biased towards de-
cency, truth and America! The White House? Ditto, but not
quite conservative enough!

Before we make the formal introductions, let me tell you a
little about him. Born and raised in scenic Anoka County,
Minnesota, he knew at an early age that conservatism was
in his blood. As a child, he memorized the collected speeches
of Richard Nixon and spent many an afternoon pedaling
around his cul-de-sac with his beloved dog, Checkers.
Joining the Young Republicans at age thirteen, he quickly
initiated a “purge” of those “Republicans In Name Only”
(a.k.a. RINOs), who he believed were responsible for the
party’s stagnation. An early advocate of supply-side eco-
nomics, he spent the Reagan years drooling on himself and
composing epic poems about the “glorious symmetry” of
the Laffer Curve. However, his idyll came to a shrieking
halt with the election of Bill Clinton, a tragic incident in our
nation’s history which, perhaps fortuitously, led him into
the wide-open field of complaining incessantly on the inter-
net, an avenue of expression which eventually evolved into
the “political blogs” that we know and enjoy today. Strangely
to some, he did not give up this avocation after the election
of George W. Bush, a man he loves with an almost erotic sense-
lessness, but instead he chose to redouble his efforts to explain
to the world the glory of conservatism and the menace posed
by "the left". Frustration quickly set in, however, once he
realized how liberalism will never be destroyed by being
reasonable and thoughtful and fair all the time. This led him
to suffer what might be called a “nervous breakdown”, from
which he emerged the fearsome warrior of the right that
stands before you today. No more does he quail at calling
his ideological enemies traitors, vermin, and child-molesters!
No more does his conscience trouble him when he suggests
that everyone to the right of David Broder ought to be driven
to a remote location and summarily executed! No more does
he pay attention to his beloved wife of twenty years, Hildegaard,
or his darling children, who are all sliding into shady lives of drug-
abuse, petty crime and promiscuity! He has been reborn in the
healing light of contemporary right-wing thought and emerged
a steadfast combatant in the internet wars! Hell, yeah!

Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to introduce to you
my new webpage partner, The Rabid Mister Elmer Mickleford

He will begin his career here sometime next week, with a post
I’m told has been entitled, “Let’s Stop All This Sissy Diplomatic
What-Have-You And Get Serious About Kicking Iran’s Ass”

I’m sure it will make a valuable addition to our national conver-
sation about the Middle East.

A conversation I once had with a convicted double-murderer

HIM: C’mere, kid.

ME: May I help you?

HIM: I need a fuckin’ cigarette. You got any cigarettes, kid?
Help a guy out.

ME: I’m sorry, you can’t smoke in here.

HIM: Ahhh, fuck your rules, alright? You saying you ain’t
got any cigarettes?

ME: I don’t smoke. But even if I did I couldn’t give them
to you.

HIM: Couldn’t my ass. Wouldn’t is more like it. Bunch of
bullshit, is what I think.

ME: It’s not my rule.

HIM (walking away): Forget it, kid. I see how it is around

Pages from my diary of flamboyant untruths, part five:

(Psssssst! Hey you! Yeah, you! I haven’t seen you around
this blog before. What are you doing here? Who invited
Go away! Away with you!

Wait a second. I actually want people to read my blog!
back! Please, come back!

Are you back?

Splendid! Now, before you read this post, it might be to
advantage to read parts 1, 2, 3, and 4 first. Other-
wise I fear
the following might just seem stupid. Of course,
it will seem
stupid anyway, but at least you’ll know what’s
going on. Thank
you. And remember to check in here daily,
because no one on
the web loves and appreciates you like I
do. Those other blogs
you read are making fun of you be-
hind your back. You should
hear some of the things they’re
saying. It’s scandalous.

Anyway. On with the post...)

The psychologist’s office was decorated in the modern
style. The walls were white, the furniture was black, and
the artwork was a bunch of abstract shapes made out of
both those colors. I was lounging in a leather recliner,
gazing at a tall, skinny bookshelf. There weren’t that
many books in it, but they were all thick and in German.
That impressed me. Only the most intelligent, sensitive, and
moral people speak German. I knew I was in good hands.

She was a small woman in her late thirties, with fine, tapered
fingers and pretty eyes hidden behind thick glasses. Her hair
was red, her skin was pale, and she spoke with a slight British
accent that I suspect was affected. To be honest, I thought
she was hot. She had that air of unquestionable authority
that kind of turns me on. If I hadn’t been so desperate for
answers, I might have been tempted to unleash my “moves”
on her.

This wasn’t that sort of office visit, however. I had left my
mojo hand at home, I had scoured every trace of John the
Conquer root from my clothing. I wasn’t there to “score”, I
wasn’t there to “get my freak on”, and I certainly wasn’t there
to “throw pinky the fireman headfirst into the burning build-
ing”. No, I was there to learn what I needed to do in order
to lead a healthier, more fulfilling life.

The only problem was that she didn’t seem to understand
my concerns. She spent a good half-hour lecturing me about
how my ten-gallon jar of goat eyeballs was obviously a sym-
bol of my deep-seated self-defeating urges and my intense
fear of female sexuality. The eyeballs, she confidently assur-
ed me, represented a sort of animal voyeurism which I found
far preferable to the more emotionally-fraught give-and-take
of actual intimacy. In this scheme, I defended my under-
developed core feeling by forcing all my partners to con-
front the distasteful aspects of my psychosexual character
before they had the chance to wound me at my vulnerable,
infantile essence.

It was fascinating stuff, frankly, but I don’t see how it applied
to my situation. Nevertheless, I decided to play it subtle and
not call her professional acumen into question. When she was
finished, I thanked her from the bottom of my heart, told her
I agreed with everything she said, and asked if there was any
way I could escape that horrible symbol of my psychic distress.

The psychologist steepled her fingers together, leaned back,
and spent a moment deep in thought. When she was finished,
she said, “You have to supplicate yourself more.”

“Supplicate myself?” I asked.

“You have to be less guarded,” she said.

“Less guarded?”

“Yes. Have you ever wondered why you always set up these
little trysts at your own apartment? Why do you never go
to their apartments? Have you ever wondered that?”

I shook my head and said, “I have a very nice apartment. I
have a fireplace and a remote control that keeps the fireplace
from getting too hot when there’s a fire in it. I just got the
magic fingers installed in my futon.”

She wasn’t buying it, though. “Don’t you think it might have
just a little bit to do with control?”

“With control?”

“Yes. Why don’t you ever go to one of these women’s apart-

“Because their boyfriends might be home?”

“Because you need to be in control. You have classic control
issues. You’re unwilling to let your ten-gallon jar of goat eye-
balls go. You need it to attain intimacy.”

The gears were starting to turn in my head. I mumbled, “It’s
always there. My ten-gallon jar of goat eyeballs”

“Exactly! You need your fear of intimacy to attain intimacy!
But that’s no way to live! You need to be willing to lose control
in order to truly control your life!”

“And maybe, if I went to some girl’s apartment instead of hav-
ing her come to mine, it might not be there? The ten-gallon
jar of goat eyeballs?”

The psychologist leaned forward then and, since I’m trying
to be as honest as possible in this account, I must admit that
I looked down her shirt a little bit. “Think of it this way,” she
said, “Who’s going to drive your ten-gallon jar of goat eyeballs
to a stranger’s apartment?”

“Nobody,” I said, “But it isn’t like that. It just sort of shows up.”

“You’re not listening. I’m going to ask you again. Who’s going
to drive your ten-gallon jar of goat eyeballs to a stranger’s

I hesitated for a moment before saying, “The hoodoo lady?”

No!” she cried, “No! Look, if you want this ten-gallon jar of
goat eyeballs to stop driving your life, you’re going to have to
stop driving your ten-gallon jar of goat eyeballs around! Can’t
you understand that?”

I opened my mouth to say something, but she cut me off before
I could. “Our time is up for today. Make an appointment for
next week and we can bat this around some more, alright?”

I nodded, we said our perfunctory goodbyes and then I shuffled
out. My mind was in disarray. I had a great deal to think about.
I went back to my apartment and sat there for a long time, fidget-
ing with my mojo hand and staring at my ten-gallon jar of goat
eyeballs. Eventually it all started to make sense to me.

“I’m not going to let you drive my life anymore,” I told the jar,
“I’m not going to drive you around anymore.”

For the first time in weeks, I was feeling good. I stood up and
shook my finger in front of the thousand eyes. “You hear me?”
I asked it, “I’m not going to drive you around anymore! So
there! Stupid goat eyeballs!”

I was pumped. I was psyched. I was going to leave my baggage
behind and sally forth into the world of emotional health. With
my mojo hand and its copious quantity of John the Conquer root
tucked safely away in my marsupial pouch, I strutted boldly out
of my apartment, shouting maniacally as I did: “Oh yeah! I’m
not driving no ten-gallon jar of goat eyeballs nowhere! Not any-
more! Not this guy! Get a new chauffeur, ten-gallon jar of goat

This was a special moment for me. I was in triumph. I was

It wasn’t until I was about a block away that I realized that
I don't even own a car.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Insomnia Report endorses Mark Kennedy for United States Senator

Don’t worry, dear liberal readers. I have not “sold out”. Re-
publicans have not managed to “hack” my site. Nor have
I gone batshit insane. This is all part of a secret strategy
of mine, a strategy that will–with a little luck—help usher
in a new era of Democratic Party dominance.

You see, a Kevin-M endorsement is as good as the kiss of
death for any political candidate. If I say that I want some-
one to win, that’s like saying they’ll certainly lose. Don’t be-
lieve me? Have a look at some of the candidates I’ve
previously come out in favor of:

1984: Walter Mondale
1988: George Bush*
1992: “I don’t give a fuck who’s president. Why the fuck
should I give a fuck who’s president? Fuck it, fuck them all...”
1996: some Socialist Worker’s Party dude
2000: Ralph Nader**
2004: John “Gangsta Lean” Kerry

* This was an anomaly. And I only wanted him to win
because I thought it would mean the obnoxious kid in my
class who liked to go “Dooo-dooo-kakis! Doo-dooo-kakis!”
all day long would have to stop. And I was only twelve
years old, so give me a break.

** This I am very, very, very sorry for. Much sorrier than
I am about the Socialist Worker’s Party dude.

And these are only the presidential contenders who’s dreams
I’ve dashed! Here’s just a sampling of some of the other political
figures who I have helped consign to the dustbin of history:

1998: “Skip” Humphrey
1998: some guy who wasn’t Rudy Giuliani
2002: Roger Moe
2002: “Buck” Humphrey
2002: Walter Mondale (again!)
2003: some guy who wasn’t Arnold Schwarzenegger
2005: Peter McLaughlin

Whew! Given this record, is it any wonder why I’ve decided
to turn my attention to what I like to call “opposition endorse-
ments”? I’m tired of watching my favored candidates lose. I
want to watch tools and zombies lose. That’s why I’m coming
out in favor of Mark Kennedy. Mark Kennedy should be
Minnesota’s next Senator. Boy, oh boy, do I ever hope Mark
Kennedy wins! Golly, am I ever enthusiastic about Mark
Kennedy’s legislative skills and “down-home” charm! I wish
he could be in the United States Senate forever! Mark
Kennedy! Mark Kennedy! Mark Kennedy!

That should do it. He’ll never win now. You all can thank
me in November. Now, if you’ll pardon me, I have some
serious puking to do.

I am headachey and crabby and absolutely no fun to be around right now...

Today was a terrible day at work. When it’s a terrible
day at work, one way I try to amuse myself is to think
of increasingly disgusting things that I’d rather be doing.
Here are some of the ones I came up with today:

1) I’d rather clean the elephant pens at the circus, with
my tongue!

2) I’d rather eat a bunch of empty cans, give myself a
battery acid enema, and then find out if I can shit Duracells...

3) I’d rather make a date with Jenna Bush, but only so that
I could get closer to her foxy, foxy mother...

4) I’d rather grab hold of my scrotum and pull it upwards
until it stretched all the way to my face. Then I’d wrap it
around my head and run up and down the hallways scream-
ing “I’m Scroto-Man! I’m Scroto-Man!”

5) I’d rather have a straw shoved up my urethra and then
watch as famous tenor Luciano Pavarotti gleefully pours
fire ants down the open end...

Try it yourself. It's great fun. As for me, I think I might
need a new job...

Monday, January 23, 2006

In my mind, I am in Brazil...

Oh, how magnificent it is to be laying here on the soft sands
of Copacabana! What a pleasure to watch the gentle waves
lap up against the Sugarloaf Mountain beneath a pristine, azure
sky! Behind me towers mighty Corcovado, with the monumental
Cristo Rendentor astride it, his arms thrown wide to embrace
all of us, Cariocas and tourists alike, the millionaire and the
favela-dweller! My soul soars just to think of it, just to know
that I can merely turn my head a few degrees and drink in
the glory of this world-famous sight instead of having to lay
eyes upon yet another snow-dusted, desolate Minnesota

And the people! So friendly, so genuine, so happy just to be
basking in the sun’s sweet rays! Oh, my goodness! Who is
that? Oh, it is an itinerant bossa nova singer who has come
to serenade us all with the lilting melodies of Antonio Carlos
Jobim! May I request “Insensatez”? Or perhaps “Desafin-
ado”? How about “Chega de Saudade”? That’s a good one,
isn’t it? What’s that you say? You’ll play them all? Capital!
Here, take these reals for your trouble. No, no: I insist! You
are an artist, sir! And to think, that instead of closing my
eyes and hearing you croon all these beautiful songs I could
be at work, staring at a computer screen and watching the
clock like it’s my worst enemy. Shit! I shiver just to imagine

Maybe later, when I tire of this beach and its hordes of thong-
clad Amazons, I will take a peaceful walk in the Jardim
Botanico, or–if there’s a game on–I could make the trek to
the Estadio Mario Filho, the largest soccer stadium in the
world. And of course I simply must visit the Parque Nacional
da Tijuca, which my tour book says is the largest urban
rainforest park in South America. But, to be honest, I feel no
need to do anything besides lie here, in perfect harmony with
my surroundings, until night comes and the charming child
muggers come out in force. That’s my uptight mind speaking:
do something, do something, do something. Well, I am doing
something, I’m laying on Copacabana beach. I’m working on
my tan. I don’t even hear one of my aggressively-dull co-
workers babbling on and on and on about the new addition
they’re putting on their bleak suburban ranch house and
about the adorable way their baby daughter “takes poops”.
I don’t hear them because they’re up in Minnesota, a place
they’re proud of never leaving, while I’m down here in Rio
de Janeiro, thousands of miles away from their silly fix-
ations and their passive-aggressive complaints.

How sweet it is! How lucky I am to have cast off my bulky
coat for this lemon-yellow speedo! What’s that I feel? Well,
goodness, I do believe it’s a clear sinus passage! This is
paradise! I wish I never had to leave! Oh, Brazil, I know
that you’re not just a tourist paradise, I’ve heard of your
many problems and struggles. But let me dream, won’t
you? Let my fantasy of you rise up and blot out my
country, land of bulky, broken people shuffling stiffly be-
tween office park and McDonald’s; land of untrammeled
Republicans shrieking like victims whenever someone
says something intelligent; land of a million motivational
speakers and million television channels and a million
Home Depots, but less and less choice every single second.
I’ve had my fill of that place for awhile. I’m happy just to
be here in the Zona Sud, just taking in the vibe.

Every so often the urge hits me to sit up and crane my
neck a ways so that I can see the Avenida Atlantico. The
bustling promenade, the towering hotels and condominiums,
the luxury shops all glisten in the tropical light. It’s a post-
card for my memory, but if I tilt my head and squint for
awhile, I can make out other shapes, dumpier shapes,
moving among the lithe women and their smooth men.
These forms are human too, but it’s impossible make out
what sex they are under their puffy ski-jackets and their
baggy pants. They look so pink, so frozen, like giant ham-
burger patties with runny noses. Where are they hurrying
to? Why are their faces so pinched and miserable-looking?
How come their gait is so stiff? Do they have flagpoles shov-
ed up their assholes? Are they being chased by imaginary
enemies? Are they running just to be first to suffer?

I don’t ponder these questions too deeply. I have a tan to
attain, after all. Besides, the itinerant singer has retuned
his guitar and has started in on a new tune. I turn away
and listen as he sings, “En não sou audiência para a solidão...”.

That, for me, sums it up perfectly.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Pages from my diary of flamboyant untruths, part four:

(Let's say you want to read this blog post. I will of course be
flattered, but I must also suggest that you read part one first.
That will put all of this into context, you see. And, if you're
willing to do that, won't you also find it in your heart to read
part two? Granted, it's not my best writing, but it IS really in
your best interest. Without it, I'm sad to say, part three won't
make much sense at all. And part three is pretty good. Not
as good as part four here, but still a whole lot better than part

Behind my apartment there is a small toolshed. It belongs
to me, but I hardly ever use it. Why would I? I’m not the
“handy” type, you see, I don’t own table saws or belt sand-
ers or screwdrivers or any of that business. My interests
tend more towards the arts, culture, and fashion. The
thought of making things out of wood or getting oil under-
neath my fingernails distresses me. Which is why, I suppose,
it’s kind of odd that I even have a toolshed. It would probably
be best if I could give it to someone who does like those sorts
of things but, unfortunately, it’s attached to my building so I
can’t just sell it on Ebay.

I don’t really think of it as a toolshed, though. I think of it
more as a spot to keep my old boxes, stacks of my less favor-
ed pornography, and a Titian masterwork I stole from the
Louvre some years ago but haven’t hung up in my apartment
because it clashes with my futon. It’s no place to keep any-
thing I might care about. It’s dark, smelly, and filled with
sharp-toothed mice.

For these reasons, I thought it would a perfect home for
my ten-gallon jar of goat eyeballs. By this time, I was re-
signed to the thought that I’d never get rid of it. I figured
I might as well just keep it in an unobtrusive place and for-
get about it, just as I’ve forgotten about so many sticky
back issues of “Country Booty” magazine over the years.

So I wrapped it up in chains, stuffed it into a cast-iron locker,
wrapped that up in chains, put the whole thing inside a heavy
burlap bag and then nailed it to the floor. With this accomp-
lished, I went back into my apartment and put on my nicest
striped-shirt. You see, I didn’t want to waste any time ex-
ploiting my new mojo hand. At the moment, it was positively
bursting with John the Conquer root, but I knew that–given
the unstable half-life of that particular ingredient–this wouldn’t
last forever. I had to strike when the iron was hot, so to speak.
I bolted out the door and made my way straight to my local
post office. There was a certain mail sorter working there
with hair like melted down black licorice and eyes that stop-
ped my filthy little heart. Her name was Saffron.

Flush with mojo-hand induced confidence, I strode into the
sorting room (technically, since I am not a postal worker my-
self, this was a federal offense, but love, even fleeting and
goofy love, must take precedence over the laws of man) and
walked right up to that blue-uniformed beauty. I already had
my “line” picked out and rehearsed. “So you sort letters?” I
began, “That’s cool. I send letters sometimes. But mostly I
use my computer nowadays.”

Saffron blinked at me for a moment, her lips pursed as if she
didn’t know what to think, but then she said, “Please. Take
me back to your place and conduct for me the secret sym-
phony of my body.”

I offered her my arm and said, “Certainly.” We then repaired
to my apartment, heedless of the fact that it was not her
officially scheduled break time. On the way, I spoke to her
about the lives of the saints and of the dulcet symmetry of a
chrysanthemum in July. “Our hearts are like the bloody
living rooms to our souls,” I told her and she swooned. I
had to scoop her up and carry her over my shoulder the rest
of the way.

You can imagine my surprise when, upon gently laying her
unconscious form upon my Scooby-Doo sheets, I espied the
ten-gallon jar of goat eyeballs sitting atop my bedside table.
“Egads!” I cried, and I was just about to pick it up and lug it
someplace less obvious when the lovely Saffron stirred.

“Oh, I had simply the most spirit-nurturing dream just now!”
she cooed. She opened her eyes and beamed at me for a mo-
ment before her gaze settled upon the jar. “What’s that?” she
asked, and I’m reluctant to confess to you that her tone was no
longer encouraging.

I was at a loss. “Oh, that? Don’t worry about that. It’s nothing.
Let’s talk about the celestial rhythms of our entwined auras...”

“Is it a bunch of EYES?” she asked, and I couldn’t fail to notice
that she appeared uncomfortable with the whole concept.

I shook my head so hard my neck still stings to this day. “No!
Oh, no! It’s not eyes at all! It’s marbles! They’re my child-
hood marbles! They have sentimental value to me! I like
marbles! Is that so wrong, to like marbles?”

It was too late, however. She had gotten up and was peer-
ing into the glass, disgust etched all over her glorious face.
“It’s not marbles!” she nearly shrieked, “It’s EYES!”

“Well, they’re kind of eyes...” I relented. She had already
stood up, though, she pushed me aside to make a dash for my
door. I didn’t try to stop her. I didn’t plead for her to come
back. I was too stunned to be a very effective communicator.

“Oh my God! EYES! He’s got a jar of EYES by his bed!” she
wailed, her voice growing fainter and fainter as she raced down
the street and out of my life for good.

There was nothing I could do. I sat down on my mattress and
cradled my head in my hands for a long time. When I was done,
I peered up through my red and puffy eyes at the ten-gallon jar
and whispered, “I hate you.”

The goat bits just wobbled in their formaldehyde stew, apprais-
ing me with neither interest or disinterest. Although, to be per-
fectly fair, their lack of eyelids made the emotions they were
going through difficult to gauge. Nevertheless, I became more
familiar with those cold, inscrutable gazes than I ever imagined
I would. They haunted me day and night.

They were watching me as Magdalena, the exotic and free-
spirited Spaniard I met at a nearby K-Mart, called me the
sickest freak she had ever met. They were watching me as
Tiffany, an exotic dancer whose car had stalled in front of my
building one day, shouted out a single, uncouth word and then
proceeded to kick me in the testicles. They were watching
me as Phoebe, a poet and part-time organic farmer, dialed
911 on her cell phone and forced me into a very awkward con-
versation with a pair of burly, well-armed civil servants.

Women, I’ve found, tend to respond negatively to goat eyeballs.

But don’t think I didn’t try to find ways around the problem.
I did my best. I told Sasha, a Russian emigre who does mime
routines around town, that my bedroom was being painted
and that we’d have to “get busy” in the kitchen instead. She
seemed fine with this until she saw the ten-gallon jar of goat
eyeballs sitting in the sink. Then she stabbed me in the kid-
ney and took off running, just like the rest of them. Nor did
moving the “action” to my bathroom accomplish anything,
since the goat eyeballs were there waiting for me in the bath-
tub. That time I regret more than the rest. If you’re reading
this, Nadine with the cute pageboy haircut and the scent of
lilacs amid your copious bosom, please know that I’m very,
very, very sorry. Please come back. If you can forgive me,
I can forgive you for dousing my face with bleach and giving
me that “swirly”. Let’s call it even.

I suppose I’ve grown as a person. These troubles forced me
to ask myself the question I suppose most people ask them-
selves now and then: what good is a mojo hand jam-packed
with John the Conquer root if you can’t get away from the
ten-gallon jar of goat eyeballs that follows you everywhere?

I spent many a night laying awake pondering the issue. When
a whole six-year interval had passed and I had come to no firm
conclusion, I decided that it was time to seek professional help.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Keepin' the Land O' Ten Thousand Lakes as blue as an ice-fisher's ass...

I see that Mr. Sponge, a man with fine musical tasts as
well as the chief figure behind one of my favorite local blogs,
has just unveiled a brand-new internet concern. It seems
like it has the potential to become a great resource for us
Minnesota liberals, so please visit it often. Marvel at its
austere-yet-friendly design, take comfort in its wisdom,
and grow as a human being beneath its mighty wing.
Otherwise, you risk being left behind in the great karmic
tallying and returning to earth reincarnated as a toadstool.

Friday, January 20, 2006

When the subject is underwear, I am prone to making hasty statements...

Let me speak for a moment about the weaknesses of this
genre of writing. This whole “blog” scene is too wrapped
up in immediacy. In the headlong rush to be a part of the
smart-internet crowd, web writers can leave their capacity
for reflection and analysis to languish in favor of seizing a
moment, tying it up in rhetoric, and loosing it upon their
audience all raw, unpolished, and–as is often the case–in-
accurate. Everyone wants to add their two cents, everyone
wants to chime in, everyone wants to “scoop” everyone else.
No one wants to be left behind to speak in stentorian tones
about yesterday’s news. This is an atmosphere ripe for
error and overenthusiastic rumor-mongering.

And I’m no better than the next guy in this regard. Because,
you see, I reported that the massive pair of dung-smeared
behind my apartment had disappeared. New
facts have come to light and now I must distance myself from
these comments.

The XXXXXXX-large sized Fruit of the Looms are still in my
alley, and–I repeat–they are still soaked in excrement.

My statements denying this were perhaps provoked by the
fact that they’ve moved approximately five feet to the east.
Simply put, I wasn’t looking closely enough. I didn’t do the “
legwork” necessary to provide you fine people with the facts.
For this I am deeply ashamed. Please accept my humble

I will, of course, continue to provide you all with timely, enter-
taining, and–most of all–factual updates regarding the turd-
crusted, ludicrously-huge underpants left discarded in my alley.

Pages from my diary of flamboyant untruths, part three:

(If you're going to read this, you might as well start at
the beginning.

And if you're committed enough to read the be-
ginning, why not read the middle while you're at

Because otherwise I worry that this won't make
much sense.)

“You’re not bringing that up here,” came the voice from the
peeling pink porch. The sun was half-way down and I had
neither the energy nor the inclination to argue. I was tired
and in a foul mood. I had just rolled a ten-gallon jar of goat
eyeballs from one end of town to the other.

I set it upright on the sidewalk and climbed the short flight
of stairs to where my friends were lounging, half-drunk, on
overstuffed sofas. “I had sort of a weird day,” I explained to

Tr-y, my friend who rented the squat, salmon-colored house
we were staying at, was bent forward and studying the object
sitting in front of his home. “I hope,” he said, “You haven’t
been tampering with the unknown.”

“Me?” I protested, “No, no, no. Of course not. I got that from
some chick. It’s like a tradition down here or something.”

Gr-g piped up here. He was–and still is–a long, lean fellow and
he could be quite charming when he wasn’t pointing out how
short I am. I am not short. I am somewhere between five-foot-
eight-inches and five-foot-nine-inches. Any scientific journal
will inform you that this is precisely the median for males in
this country. So there, Gr-g. Anyway, I was going to tell you
what he said. He said, “That looks like a bunch of sheep eyeballs
to me.”

“It’s goat eyeballs actually. It’s a Creole thing. It’s like the
New Orleans version of a bouquet of roses.”

“Bullshit,” said Tr-y, who had been living down there for
awhile now. “I know hoodoo when I see it. Keep that out
of my house.”

“No problem, man,” I said before I went shuffling inside.
There, after hiding my brand new mojo hand in the mar-
supial-style pouch located between my diaphragm and
my navel, I slumped onto the nearest couch and fell
immediately into a very deep sleep.

The next day, I awoke before the sun rose. On the couch
across me, my friend R-g--a swashbuckling accountant of
fearsome reputation–was snoring at his usual awesome
volume. It wasn’t long before listening to this became un-
pleasant, so I got up and went out onto the porch. There,
in the day’s weak first light, I yawned and stretched, exult-
ing in the beauty of a New Orleans morning. My reverie
was interrupted, however, when I stubbed my toe on the
ten-gallon jar of goat eyeballs, which was now resting in a
shadowy corner of the porch.

Oh, I thought, someone must have brought this in from the
sidewalk. I didn’t think much more about it that day, though,
because a few minutes later, my friend Er-c came out in his
bathrobe, holding a steaming mug of coffee.

“What’s up, man?” he asked.

“Not much,” I said.

He took a long sip of his coffee, peered out over the silent
Uptown street, and said, “You want to go to the strip club?”

I patted the mojo hand secreted deep within my marsupial
pouch and I said, “Yes I do. Very much so.”

Three or four days later, we had to leave Tr-y and New
Orleans behind and return to the upper Midwest. By this time,
I had mostly forgotten about my ten-gallon jar of goat eyeballs.
So, when we were packing up the car, it wasn’t exactly that I
was trying to leave it behind, it was more that I simply ne-
glected to bring it with me. Besides, at the time my heart
was overflowing with sorrow at leaving that beautiful,
beautiful city, so I feel I was justified in being a trifle

The drive back, I’m afraid, was more eventful than it
should have been. The first hint of trouble was when we
stopped for gas in Meridian, Mississippi. This was before I
came to understand that the effects of my mojo hand, while
impressive, were also highly indiscriminate. It was, as I
believe I have noted previously, almost bursting with John
the Conquer root, which–as any hoodoo practitioner or
botanist will tell you–makes a mojo hand quite potent

Still, I couldn’t imagine that it could provoke cashiers at
out-of-the-way Southern filling stations to assault me in
the men’s room, especially given the strict sodomy statutes
they have down there. This was a eye-opening experience,
to be sure, but what was even more ominous was what she
said after she had peeled herself off me and started to re-
arrange her clothing. “I think I love you,” she twanged,
“But you smell like formaldehyde...”

This struck me as odd, but I was willing to write it off as a
charming Dixie send-off that my Yankee ears were unaccus-
tomed to. I took my leave of her and walked crookedly out
to the idling car, where my friends were waiting. “Took you
long enough,” Greg said as I climbed in beside him.

Our next stop was Memphis, which was the site of a pro-
tracted, exhausting, and almost violent tryst between myself
and Marianne, the French maid at our hotel. In retrospect,
we probably should have retired to a linen closet or an ice-
machine room or somewhere like that instead of just availing
ourselves of one of our room’s queen-sized beds, especially
since my three good friends were all crowded together on
the other, taking turns pressing the two flimsy pillows to
their ears in a feeble attempt to blot out our relentless
crescendi of ecstacy.

When it was all done with and we lay spent on the sweat-
drenched sheets, Marianne whispered to me, “Mon amour,
vous satez comme une morgue!”

J’taime, toots,” I whispered back and promptly fell into
a refreshing slumber.

The next morning, as my friends and I prepared to con-
tinue our journey north, I was made the butt of many
hurtful comments. This abuse continued all the way
through Arkansas, didn’t lessen a bit in Missouri, and
actually got worse as we entered Illinois. Here the dis-
graceful attacks on my dignity and character reached a
climax of sorts. The worst moment was right after Er-c
made an idle comment on how we weren’t making good
time. “Yeah,” chimed in R-g, “We’d be in Chicago by now
if monkey-dick back there wasn’t weighing down the trunk
with his collection of cow eyeballs...”

I’ll admit I was a bit stunned at this. I certainly didn’t re-
member putting the jar in the car. Somebody else must
have. “They’re goat eyeballs...” was all I could offer in my
defense at the moment, I was so baffled.

In my shame and befuddlement, I came to the opinion that
decisive action was what was necessary. An hour or so after
R-g’s idle (if cruel) comment, we had to pull into a rest stop
to let Gr-g go pee. While my friends were busy studying the
snack machines, I popped the trunk and peered inside. R-g
wasn’t lying. The jar sat there amid our suitcases and sacks
of dirty clothes, its thousand eyeballs gazing out at me with
as much innocence as disembodied goat parts can muster.
Marshaling my strength, I picked it up, brought it to a near-
by incline, and sent it rolling down into a drain culvert. I then
went to go buy myself a Bit-O-Honey. Those things have a lot
of calories, I realize, but I felt I deserved a treat for coming up
with and executing such a crafty solution to the whole ten-gallon
jar of goat eyeballs problem.

The rest of the trip was fairly uneventful, except for when Er-c
got stabbed by a band of violent, scooter-riding midgets outside
of Beloit, Wisconsin. A little hydrogen peroxide and he was fine,
though, and we didn’t even have to take him to the hospital.

This was lucky, come to think of it, because hospitals in south-
ern Wisconsin are known to be involved in that whole black-
market organ trade.

It was a relief when we pulled up at my apartment. My friends
are fine men one and all, but being crammed in a mid-sized
American car with them for sixteen days can try anyone’s
patience. I said my goodbyes, locked myself up in my room,
and sat for awhile admiring my mojo hand. “Sweet mojo hand,”
I said to it, “You and I are going to make a great team. I’m so
happy I found you, darling lil’ mojo hand, filled as you are with
John the Conquer root. I love you. I really, really love you...”

I was just about to shower my mojo hand with a series of passion-
ate kisses when there was a rapping at my door. It was Gr-g.
“What is it?” I asked, perhaps a trifle rudely, as I yanked open-
ed the door.

“You forgot your stupid pig eyes, asshole,” he explained as
he shoved the jar into my arms.

I looked down at it. It was looking back at me. “Wha-wha-
wha?” was all I could say, but it didn’t matter. Gr-g was
already stalking back to the car, shaking his head in disgust.
They pulled off down the street and I haven’t seen them since.
I hope they’re all alright.

As for me, this was just the beginning of my dreadful ordeal.

More things you simply MUST read, darling...

1) James Wolcott on right-wing goofballs and their silly hissy
fit over "Brokeback Mountain"

2) Ellen Goodman decrying the tell-all-memoir scene.

3) An interview with this wacky, God-hatin' vampire guy
who's running for governor.

4) Holy shit! A baby with a weird, parasitic second head!*

* Actually, number four isn't so much a story to read as a
to gawk at. And, by the way, it's not a picture to
gawk at casually.
You have to ask yourself first: am I
truly ready to look at the baby
with a weird, parasitic
second head? Be honest with yourself here.
I wasn't, and
now I'm off to bed to have nightmares about babies
weird, parasitic second heads. You've been warned
. By
the way, thank you Tara for
calling to my attention the
existence of babies with weird, parasitic
second heads.

Broadway just got a whole lot less funky...

One of my all-time favorite soul singers, Wilson Pickett,
passed away earlier today. I’m listening to a collection of
his greatest hits
right now and one thing, above all stands
out: this man knew how to do it. His music is raw, hard,
and tight. In the best of it, there’s not a wasted note;
every single moment comes together to get the message
across. And what is that message? Nothing but sex, plain
and simple. The promise of it, the accomplishment of it, and
the horror that comes from the lack of it. Nothing else could
provoke such hollers and wails from a grown man.

We have the misfortune to be living in an era where our R&B
icons can do little more than look pretty and whine in key.
These people ought to be ashamed to be peddling their tripe
in the shadow of Pickett’s talent. They sound dated two
weeks after their single comes out, while Pickett’s frantic
shouting still seems just as intense today. His music is all
conviction, energy, and style when nowadays a “soul song”
resembles nothing so much as something a gym-sculpted
prima donna might hum while waiting for a video shoot to

So Wilson Pickett is dead and he’s what the music world
needs more of right now. It’s too bad. I’m not too broken
up over it, though, because even in death he’s far more
alive than most of what happens nowadays.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Since I know you were all worried...

The pair of nasty underpants in my alley is gone. This will
make my pedestrian travels much less fraught with horror,
true, but it also raises interesting questions. What happened
to them? Did their owner return in the dead of night and spirit
them away? Did someone else? Why would anyone do that?
Why would anyone pick up soiled underwear that didn’t be-
long to them? Good samaritanism only goes so far, I think.
Or did they stick to some car’s tire and get carried off to parts
unknown? Did some hibernating squirrel awaken and drag
them down into its warren?

There are more troubling questions, as well. Were these filthy,
poo-coated underpants ever really there at all? Or were they
just a mirage? Did my subconscious somehow create them?
Why would my subconscious do that? What is the significance
of seeing enormous, fouled men’s underpants that don’t
actually exist? Should I seek professional help?

It seems to me that the presence of these underpants, as nau-
seating as that was, is still preferable to their absence. Who
would have thought that?