Spring cleaning for the dark, dank corners of your soul.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Banal retentive 

Once in a while it's nice to still be surprised at the depths of such seemingly exhausted topics as celebrity culture and comic porn titles. The past twelve hours yielded two such delights. Last night's was a DVD captioned "Asian Cheerleader Cavity Search." I immediately pictured a wedding cake festooned with colorful icing rosettes, a large square base of "Asian" atop which sits a festive round of "Cheerleader," crowned by the formally attired twin figurines of "Cavity" and "Search" lovingly holding hands. An unexpected jolt of romance! Mostly, though, I was just pleased to see three humdrum tastes recombined to awaken in all of us a fresh sense of possibility, and who among us can fail to admire the economy of its telescoping fetishism? And while cavity searches of any stripe are a bit clinical for my tastes and cheerleader fantasies are beyond trite for anyone, I think we can all get behind the enterprise at least in spirit (I will deem all "behind" jokes to be already made, so kindly do not clutter the comments box).

Then this morning, AOL's headline -- the headline of a nation at war! -- read "'Are you crazy!?'," while showing a very demented Kelly Ripa driven herself to apparent madness by Regis' brazen -- nay, Copernican! -- assertion that he "does not see Cruise's appeal." And while the Ripan cosmology was so cruelly torn asunder and a dismayed nation sighed "Oh Rege!" as one -- glimpsing as they were, for the first time, the truly limitless gall of that wee heresiarch -- I for one saw the world as polished anew to a high gleam, and uttered in pure gratitude "This is the day the Lord hath made; re-Joy(ce) in it, and be glad." I urge you do the same.

Ugh. You would not believe how long it took me to write this piece of crap.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

I am the Alpha or the Omega 

"So he said 'Well, it just totally insulted my manhood.' So I'm all, like, 'Hu-LOOO, you're a FAG. It's not doing you much good anyway'."

-- Overheard cellphone conversation, August 1, 2004, 1:45 a.m., 107th and West End.

I'm so sick of "Alpha male." It's a stand-alone rating that typifies our stultifyingly binary approach to masculinity. You're either top dog or a scrub. Arnold or Poindexter. Since when did we take Ayn Rand this seriously? We need a more finely calibrated notion of masculinity -- distinct sets of characteristics for Gamma Guys, Delta Dudes, Theta Thugs, or less cloyingly alliterative types -- so that the rest of us don't fall into some undifferentiated vat of Omeganess.

I'll cop to more than a bit of self-interest at work here. I keep a rough tally of Celebrities Whose Ass I Know I Can Kick -- so far, I've got Ben Stiller and Stephen Hawking (by the way, click here if you want to help out America's favorite time-space prophet). And maybe the Dalai Lama, if I sucker-punched him. But even so, short of "Oz," it isn't pure physicality that determines rank -- and even not there, if we reflect on the compartively withered guns of master schemer Ryan O'Reily. Charles Manson is a tiny guy (5'2"), but there was no doubting who was large and in charge on those hazy, orgiastic summer afternoons at Spahn's Ranch.

Besides, why all the focus on the top of the hierarchy? It's not just lonely at the top, but it's boring as all fuck for the spectators. How often is there a real challenge to an alpha-male, when the likelihood of failure is high and the consequences drastic -- "if you shoot at a king, you had better kill him" and all that; if they didn't stage that stuff on Discovery Channel, all those naturalists would have been ritually scarified and gone native long ago while waiting for some purple-assed mandrill to finally make his move. No, the really fun action is much further down the pack, here among the Zetas and the Etas, the Omicrons and Xis, as we claw out eyes and tear off ears for crumbs. Crumbs!! A manager's cubicle, primo parking spaces, the slightly-less-fat girl with slightly-less-acne. Yes, every day is a Bumfight Day here at the ass-end of the alphabet.

That's all. I have no good way to end this, and I need another cup of coffee.

Brain sturgeon 

So far I have only shared the contest responses from the freakish and angry. Today we lift the spirits with this delightful entry that definitely would have won had the demands of friendship not proved stronger than my desire to reward the adorable:

Her email was captioned "wood fish decoys (and rent) for your room" and read as follows:


since the first native american dangled a carved ivory fish in the icy water of the bering sea to attract an atlantic salmon a millennium ago, the use of decoys to attract fish for spearfishing has been well-known.

spear fishermen throughout the northern united states and canada have sent a virtual flotilla of wooden fish to work beneath the ice, but very few have survived. lost to broken lines, submerged for days in freezing water, nicked by spears, the little carvings were made to be used, not admired.

since very few of these wooden sea dwellers remain, i am doing my best to recreate some classic wood american fish decoys. using photographed models from the early twentieth century, one sharp chisel and a japanese saw, i am currently working on my third fish- this one a trout native to upstate new york.

once completed, these models can be filled with molten lead and metal fins to be used as decoys on a splendid spear fishing trip or carried in the front pouch of a hooded sweatshirt on rainy days for company."

In exchange for my place, she offered me all her subsquent "fishies." Ugh, it broke my heart to tell her I was giving it to a friend. I mean, there would have to be something very very wrong with you to not fall in love with that.

Friday, July 30, 2004


I gave notice today.

Save for the possibility of moving to California for a job with a company that shall remain nameless but rhymes with -oogle, I am off to Thailand before the end of the year.

I believe I will take a well earned break from compulsively masturbating to enjoy a celebratory beer.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Contest, Day 2: The Rage Continues 

I know it's cheap having these emails double as posts, but so be it. Also, if I am going over the top on these people (a preferred strategy ever since I started playing Hold Em, wherein a little Yoda intones "raise or fold, there is no call"), I am asking you all to keep me in line.

So today's entry comes from yet another idiot who slings insults under her real name, thus foolishly further burdening my already overtaxed sense of decency. She writes:

"I think what people object to in your ad is the condescending tone and the premise of making people compete for housing. You are basically taking advantage of the housing shortage in Manhattan and the willingness of people to vie for your precious apartment.

Who cares what you find amusing? You seem quite full of yourself and enthralled with your own little headgame. Who has time to compete when they're trying to earn a living? They just want a straight deal. If you're so democratic, then decide what your terms are, make them as generous as you want, then publish them and be done with it rather than trying to play bemused puppet master."

Jodi, know in advance that you are plainly exempt from the "class of people" mentioned below. And I know the response is long, but I really plant the landing:

"Cher [NAME]:

It is, of course, appropriate that MSN classified this as junk mail. Nonetheless, I respond out of boredom.

My dear, people compete for housing all the time -- financially, credit history, luck, connections, etc. -- and they always will so long as there remains a scarcity of decent affordable housing. All I decided to do was change the terms of the contest, so that I reward the clever rather than the rich, the punctillious, the lucky or the well-born. You will never convince me that there is something wrong with that. There needs to be some method for allocating scarce goods; because this is my scarce good to allocate, I get to choose the method.

As for the tone -- which you simply attack without benefit of example -- it would not be necessary at all if people ACTUALLY believed in a world of "value for value." But they don't. This process has borne out my intuitions, i.e., that people think they deserve the apartment for some cosmic reason. Thus, I went out of my way to be crystal clear that that was simply insufficient. It being my turn to insult, no doubt you clicked on the ad with the same outsized and unwarranted sense of entitlement, and your disappointment curdled into rage in short order, thus prompting this email.

Some folks, though, actually *got* it -- people who really cannot afford market rents or exorbitant brokers fees, who offered what they could: meals, handcarved items, dances by professional dancers, personalized travel guides to their foreign homelands. In my mind, there is nothing degrading at all about that; it enables people to give me something of value while not limiting my notions of their worth to the measure of their bank account. However, you seem to fall into that class of people -- women, almost uniformly, I don't know why -- who think that being asked to be clever or creative in exchange for something is somehow this appalling exercise in Svengalism. Strange, eh?

And, frankly, I don't KNOW what I want, which I have said over and over. Why is it incumbent on me to decide that in advance? Um ... oh wait ... IT ISN'T. And you know who cares what I find amusing? I do, and it's my apartment. And by the way, "amusing" is your belittling term, not mine; I said "creative" and "interesting or intriguing." Might I suggest you will lead a richer and more fulfilled life if you investigate the undoubtedly deep rooted psychological basis for these strange and demeaning projections.

Finally, because I always like to educate the ignorant, the word you are looking for is "amused," not "bemused." Bemused typically means perplexed, which I am not. To quote my droogie Alex, I am as clear as the azure sky in summer.

Now, wasn't that better than the simple "F*ck you, you rathole fodder" that your insult deserved? A question posed rhetorically. Spare us both the embarassment of your reply.


Very satisfying, though I cannot help but notice the overpowering "simpering queen" tone that my brother attributes to my reading little besides William Burroughs for the last 10 years. He may have a point. Can you guys then suggest anyone I can read -- Dashell Hammett? Damon Runyon? -- to put into the mix to give my "fuck you"'s a little more kidneypunch and a little less the whiff of stale lilacs?

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Angry Guy, We Hardly Knew Ya 

I haven't been Angry Guy in some time, but lately, boy, he is back in force.  While I've been keeping him fairly under wraps in person -- aside from the occasional high-decibel unwillingness to have my work day governed by the bloated prostatic spasms of a certain senior partner -- A.G. gets to running full throttle when I am cloaked in anonymity. 

Here is the balance of my correspondence with Ms. Embarassment to Humanity, to whom I had sent a follow-up email referencing her work on a certain movie (hoping thereby to obliquely stir some anxiety about the fact that she was, say, a little overexposed).  She writes back:

"That is very very strange.  I worked as a crew member on that movie.   I'm serious.  But honestly, I have nothing to offer.  I am looking for a 'no strings attached' kind of traditional lease.  good clean honest living is my motto."

How peaceable.  How defenseless.  How young girl with a P.A.'s walkie-talkie on her belt, scarfing down exhaust fumes as she pleads with the foot traffic to stay away from the set.  And yet . .  .  she not apologize to A.G., now did she, no, hmmm? Can A.G. just let die?  A.G. cannot just let die.  THERE WAS NO APOLOGY. A.G. MUST. HAVE. APOLOGY!! (how A.G. has morphed into a combination of that queeny minister from "Clockwork Orange" and the Cookie Monster will be explored in a separate post). 

So A.G. takes careful aim at the noggin of this poor sweet simpleton -- who just overreacted out of years of frustration to what she perceived as the importuning of her virtue --and fires away:

"I know you worked on that movie.  You did a really REALLY dumb thing, [INSERT NAME], which is that you attacked someone you don't know at all -- very viciously, I might add -- USING YOUR REAL NAME. One Google search yielded a ton of info on you, including the fact that you are a movie PA and live, or least work, in Brooklyn.  Fortunately for you, I am just a normal guy  so I really don't give a rat's ass about your unbelievably misguided insults.   Well, actually, it has given quite a number of my friends a seriously good laugh.  But if I were a nut, you'd have really screwed yourself over.  Don't worry, I'll protect your privacy even though -- let's be honest -- you don't deserve it.  Consider this a very important life lesson very cheaply learned at the hands of an 'insane' 'embarassment to humanity.'" 

Is A.G.  happy now?  HAHAHAHA.  A.G. NOT EVER HAPPY:

"So you lack the imagination or skills to compete, and feel that giving something for something in this world is an 'embarassment to humanity.'  That is totally your problem, not mine.  And it may explain why you'll continue to enjoy yourself at [INSERT BROOKLYN ADDRESS] and work as a PA on crap-assed films.  In all honesty, I think you projected your own whacko sexual fantasy onto my request and worked yourself into a hysterical frenzy -- hardly the stuff of a reliable subtenant, hmmm, wouldn't you agree? Now kindly leave me alone, and let the grown-ups play."

A.G. presses "send," then immediately looks down at the blood left on his naked palms after the yellowed, curved claws and the thick musky fur have vanished as quickly as the moonlight that brought them forth.  Cleaning himself up, he consoles himself with the fact that, well, he did give her good advice about giving out her name, right?  And, um, she started it? And didn't ever apologize?  Sigh.  When it gets to "she started it," you might as well hang it up.  Nothing like giving away the moral upper-hand.  The A.G. specialty.

A.G. and I both need a drink.

The Contest: Day One 

So, in making plans to bring my Thai dreams to fruition, I have been thinking about what to do with my apartment.  You see, I have "a deal."  Not "The Deal," no rent-controlled classic six on Central Park West that's been handed down Latt-to-Latt since the Luftwaffe brought their peculiar brand of urban renewal to East London.  Rather, I have a very liveable 1 bedroom in a doorman building, with a real kitchen and plenty of closets, for just under $700/mo.  Nonetheless, take a moment to let the envy sink in.  Ah.  Like discovering a rash for the first time, no?

Anyway, last night, I had a great idea and posted -- yes, on Craigslist -- a contest wherein I threw open the chance to get the apartment to everyone.  While you can see the ad for yourself, the essential rules were very straightforward:

*  "[E]ntries can be financial, non-financial or a combination of the two. The key here is: BE LUCRATIVE OR BE CREATIVE. I am open to anything -- the burden is on you to interest or intrigue me. "

* "It is a TOTAL NON-STARTER to simply tell me 'dude, I *seriously* need a cheap place.' This apartment is to be bought or earned, it's that simple."

* "Nothing is binding on anyone until the sublease is signed."

That's it.  Nothing difficult or sinister.  The horde of sob stories pouring out from those who didn't really bother to read the ad:  that I expected, and while my heart was moved, my sublease signing hand was not.  I was, however, quite surprised by this:

"Your 'offer' is completely insane.  I just had to say that.  Just move in dignity.  You are embarrassing the human species."
Wow!  WOW!  "Embarassing the human species."  Where did she get that from?  And what do you possibly say to that?  (Well, actually, I suggested that she immolate herself to give real meaning to her otherwise flippant expression of disgust, but I pose the question now rhetorically). 

What also amazed me is that she sent it from an account with her real name -- is that courage? stupidity? or just pure ignorance? How ballsy in a city of maniacs to hurl that sort of thing at someone when your address and profession are a simple Google search away!  Fortunately for her I am blessed with a surfeit of kindness: that same Google search revealed that she has been dwelling in some Brooklyn rathole, no doubt for years, while working on the lowest, most thankless rung of the entertainment industry; she most likely saw my ad for a great affordable place right here in the City of God and raised her molelike gaze, squinting, to the light; dared to hope again, when for years hope had lain so mercifully dormant, thus allowing her to believe that Brooklyn really was a wonderful place after all!; and then, to have her hopes cruelly shattered when she saw that this light might not shine on her for long.  So, I forgive her her rage, her calumny, and can only hope that her lack of further response does not mean she has taken seriously my suggestion that she emulate those brave, tragic monks of Vietnam.

Much to my delight and relief, however, my offer to reward the clever has not been universally reviled and the fun answers have finally started coming in.  No clear winner yet,  but so far, I've been offered personalized travel guides to the Pampas and the Croatian coast PLUS authentic native dances performed in equally authentic native gear PLUS a few gourmet dinners; on the other hand, an aspiring human rights lawyer has proffered a steady stream of her lovingly handtooled ice fishing decoys.  

So folks, if you too want a shot at this place, just check out the contest rules, as well as this edifying clarification, and let me know what you can do for your old pal J.W.Y. 

A spectacular bellyflop into the dating pool 

Before today's installment from my disastrous romantic life, a quick note to the person who yesterday decided to prejudge my character on the basis of this blog: I gather from Sitemeter that you were here this morning, I am guessing to see whether I had posted anything about you. Fear not. Nothing about either our correspondence or your personhood -- save for that electronically recorded touch of paranoia -- was sufficiently interesting to warrant a post. Your identity is safe as houses.


This past Sunday, I had brunch with a woman I met through a very plain ad I posted on Craigslist to the effect of "all my friends are out of town for the weekend, is there anyone up for brunch tomorrow? My treat!" To which E. responds by sending me two very attractive pictures of herself. Red-blooded lad that I am, I agree enthusiastically: why, yes, E., I would be delighted to have brunch with you. Hoping to come to the office afterwards, and being a generous guy, I suggest we meet at Brasserie, a futuro high-end frosted glass and blonde wood sort of place off of Park Avenue. Full of good feeling, I head down to Brasserie anticipating a tasty brunch with a lovely woman and a check in the $50-$60 range.

I get to the restaurant, and there is E., standing 5'8" and, oh, maybe, generously, 95 lbs. Her tight-cut jeans billowing around her calves and butt, the motion of her rotator cuffs is in plain relief through her thin cotton blouse and her clavicles threaten to burst the skin. Jolted out of my mini state of grace, and feeling as if I am about to dine with Death Herself, I nonetheless muster my own game face, and in we go.

Now, two things: I recognize that I was able to stop much if not all of what I am about to describe, so I accept with bowed head your accusations of sucker, patsy, rube, moron. And I am making none of this up:

She starts by ordering a bottle of wine, heedless of my many polite cues that I am really not that interested in drinking. A $115 bottle of wine.

Before any meaningful intervention is possible, she then breezily orders the:

Crabcake entree ($18)

Lobster club sandwich entree ($23)

Steak and eggs entree -- usually $26, but she is not content with the usual poached eggs but orders instead a special side of scrambled eggs with black truffles -- so make it $30.

An order of french fries -- which are HUGE at Brasserie -- in addition to the side order that comes with her steak and eggs.

In a sick way, I am fortunately relieved of my money anxiety as a headlong rush of nausea seizes hold:

She consumes all that food -- all of it, mind you -- with 5 ramekins of mayonnaise: slathering thick gobs on the already mayonnaised lobster sandwich, raking up gooey mushrooming heads of the stuff with clumps of fries. Her explanation: "I went to high school in Ecuador [??!!]. And down there it's mayo on everything." Imagine my surprise to learn that a tropical country with no tradition of refrigeration should have developed such robust mayonnaise practices.

She also drenched everything with not one but two gravy boats full of hollandaise sauce, which are in turn wiped clean with the ever-ready fries.

Then she finishes off the remaining 1/4 of my own steak -- including the gristle bits that I had carefully cut off, declaring them "the best part".

And my remaining poached egg.

As well as my left over fries.

And the cheese covered toast point that accompanied my earlier crab bisque.

And for dessert, something called a "Plum Croutade," which was a fried pocket of phyllo dough filled with marscapone cream.

And ice cream.

All washed down with a latte with cream.

Then she excused herself and threw it all up in the bathroom.

The bill, with a nice tip to compensate for the abuse she hurled at the wait staff: $301.90.

I went home afterwards and lay shivering under the covers until dawn, weak with the realization that my life has become the punchline to a very bad joke.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Another sausage 

My last link was to a bunch of random, stupid and ultimately inoffensive rants.  This link enjoys the comparative advantage of being a thematically organized and highly offensive stupid rant.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Sausage link 

I have been improbably asked to "guest blog" on someone's site and so today's uninspired musings can be found here.

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