True Enough For You

Check your thighs in the mirror, ma. I'm done.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Gay Sex: Don't Be Trippin' Y'all

Before I regale you, the reader, with tales from the wild Memorial Day weekend (equal parts playing drinkface and remembering our fallen heroes, of course), I wanted to post something about a subject near and dear to my loins: gay sex.

I can’t tell what I think of the brochure found in this here link [click me]. It’s either an effective teaching tool for young gay kids who are just learning the manifold purposes their boners serve or the scariest/perkiest sexual education guide I have ever seen. It’s both awesome and horrifying. It’s also a bit patronizing. Examples?

There's the cartoon sex ed instructor. And all of the sex acts described end with "-in'" as in "fuckin'," suckin'" and "jerkin' off," the latter touted is being "a hot and safe way to have fun." Oh, and the authors used enough exclamation points throughout (The "Handy-Dandy Condom Guide" exhorts instruction in "Usin' 'em!") to choke the captain of the cheerleading squad. Most offensive for me, causing me to gag for the third time this morning (damn you morning sickness!) would have to be a caution against getting "dookie on your noodle."

It’s a great idea to educate children about sex, but maybe the target audience for this brochure shouldn’t be ten year olds and/or Marky Mark circa 1993. Regardless, it’s high comedy. Learn it, live it, love it and keep your noodle dookie-free.

Monday, May 30, 2005

These Dreams I See When I Close My Eyes, Every Second of the Night I Live Another Life

My friend is clearly going insane, writing her Doctoral Thesis. She sent me this report of a dream she had in an email. What does it all mean?

" I had a dream last night in which you made an appearance- you and your doppelganger, that is. You see, there was you but there was also this person who looked/acted/dressed/sounded like you that went to school here at Dartmouth. He was pretty cool, natch, but I didn't like the way he kept trying to be you. He said he was here first. I told him that in the case of my life, that wasn't true...

anyway, I showed him a picture of you and he fell in love and then had some type of seizure and died..."

What does it mean? What does it say about her? What does it say about me?

I bet a lot of people dream about me.

Friday, May 27, 2005

No, This Is Not Based Entirely on Julie's Life

I went to a lesbian bar last night, and my most common thought was this: “Ooh, he’s cute. I should talk to him. Oh wait. That’s not a dude.” If I had a nickel for every time I thought that, I could have bought a vitamin water on the way home. It was karaoke night at Sisters’, and the lesbians were howling. I would love it if someone could tell me if there is some sort of Grease sensation sweeping the lesbian nation because within one hour two people sang “Hopelessly Devoted.” I think that one of them was a guy named Kitty, but the details are sketchy.

By the way, my straight-girl friend JD attracts lesbians like moths to a flame. It’s amazing to watch. Thus, we coined the term “c*nt-tease” last night. We used the new term in front of someone, and he thought we were referring to a new series of t-shirts made specifically for lesbians.

Also, I accidentally saw one of my friends naked last night. I won’t say who it is or the circumstances surrounding it. But I will say that I am forever changed for the worse. I started screaming, “My eyes! My eyes!” and threw myself to the ground. Any guesses? (Note that I am not referring to any of the friends I saw naked on purpose last night.)

Now everyone, please sit down. I have some horrible news to deliver. I regret to inform that next season on America’s Next Top Model (a.k.a. The Most Amazing TV show in the history of forever), Janice Dickinson will not be returning as a member of the judging panel. Janice calls herself the world’s first supermodel, and she loves to call aspiring models fat and ugly. She has had sex with tons of celebrities. In the Janice Dickinson True Hollywood Story, she eruditely screams at someone, “Die Motherfucker!” Understandably, I have requested that all sharp objects be removed from my office for the rest of the day. If any news can spontaneously turn me into a cutter, then it’s this. She will be replaced by Twiggy who is so not as hot. Also, Nole Marin (who sucks) will be replaced by J Alexander, the sassy runway coach with legs that go all the way up to there. J also is famous for always waving around his index finger, yelling "Fierce!" and telling girls they need to "work it like the rent is due tomorrow." Sage, that one. Janice is a super wet, hot slut, and I will miss her. Luckily, I can get my Janice fix on this season’s Surreal Life where she will share a house with Bronson Pinchot, television’s Balki Bartokamus.

The only thing that could possibly make me happy after that news is the fact that my Newsradio DVDs came in the mail. It really is one of the funniest, smartest television shows ever.

Tom Cruise is scary.

Thanks to Yos who let me know that Jean Claude Van Damme and Wilford Brimley starred in a movie together. The name of the movie is Hard Target. See it immediately, as JCVD rocks the mullet hard.

Carrie is now my sworn American Idol. I will worship her as I am obligated to do. I was rooting for Bo, truth be told. It wouldn’t have been the first time that America elected a former cokehead for an important job. That said, there will never be another Kelly Clarkson.

I may be breaking it down Peckville-style one night this weekend to check up on my Grandfather. Holla!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

I Couldn't Make This Shit Up

A play in One Act, One Scene.

By way of background, Elton John just came on the radio at work. "Bennie and the Jets." The resulting conversation took place:

Sandy: Shit, I always said Elton John should have been born black.
Zach: He's gay, that's pretty close.
S: Elton John is GAY? You're kidding me!
Z: [stunned silence]
S: Well, I guess I should have known. I just saw on the news he's getting one of those same-sex marriages.
Z: Yeah, only the gays are interested in that.
S: I may not be too quick, but I can break it down.

Sandy then starts to sing "Bennie and the Jets" and, indeed, breaks it down as promised.

S: Shit, you know who else should be black? The Doobie Brothers.

"Right Here Waiting" by Richard Marx comes on the radio. Sandy continues to sing "Bennie and the Jets."

End Scene.

Monday, May 23, 2005

He Said, She Said, He Said

It was a regular trip down memory lane last week.

I had drinks with my ex-boyfriend on Thursday night to say goodbye to him to the chagrin of many of my friends. For some reason, my friends always had a bad feeling about him. Even my nicest friends had trouble endorsing his candidacy. He was leaving Philadelphia the next day forever and wanted to tie up some loose ends, get some closure or some other applicable cliché. We discussed our lives, past and future, ate some nachos and things were going along very well.

Then he asked me if his current boyfriend should visit him for the Fourth of July. And pointed out that his coat was from Argentina where he went with his boyfriend for Spring Break. He can’t tell me these things straight out, of course. These are details that must be drawn out over painful question and answer periods. To wit:

C: Do you like my coat?
Z: I guess. But I don’t like leather much.
C: Because I got it in Argentina. I told you I went there, right?
Z: Yes.
C: I went there with [boyfriend] over Spring Break.
Z: Yes. You told me.
C: Sorry. I don’t remember who I tell what to!
Z: You don’t really remember much.
C: I do if it’s not trivial.

Touché. He told me that he doesn’t really see us keeping in touch and doesn’t expect to ever see me again. This was news to me. He implied that since I hadn’t talked to him in 5 months, he didn’t seem too invested on talking in the future. Besides, he said, he only had very "narrow reasons" for visiting Philadelphia, and I was not included among them. I am not sure if he meant it or if he were just trying to hit a nerve. I felt tremendously guilty for some reason as I was hugging him goodbye. I tried to explain to him that the space I needed was necessary for my sanity; I thought he understood that.

Later that night, he called me to let me know that he was packing and found some books and clothing of mine. I walked to his apartment on the way to work the next morning to retrieve them. There were torrential downpours. We walked down the street together for the last time, and I dropped him off at the Fed Ex building where he was shipping his belongings home. As always, he told me I walked at the speed of light and I told him his waddle was slowing me down. I thought about how a year ago we walked down the street with such different circumstances. More smiling. Less clouds.

I rounded the corner with my umbrella and waited. Without him seeing me, I watched him walk out of the building, put his hood up and walk back to his apartment for the last time in the rain. I might have ruined a really good friendship.

My ex-girlfriend was in town this weekend for our 5 Year College Reunion. None of my friends were going to the reunion, so I decided not to go. Unpredictably, I just wasn’t up for the small-talk attacks that would be levied. She was traveling here from North Carolina where she is finishing up medical school. She is one of the most charismatic and intelligent people I have ever met. She’s got a flair for the dramatic, of course. She just got engaged to someone whom was pissed to be in Philadelphia for the weekend, as it was causing him to miss a NASCAR race back in NC. She wrote me this in an email, explaining her dilemma on whether we should meet up or not:

"I would like to meet up to, but I have a feeling you and [fiancé] are notgoing to get along. He told me he'd be "cordial" if he met you, but Ijust don't think either of you will like the other one. I'll call you when I get up there….[Fiance] just doesn't like the idea that you are an old boyfriend, nevermind that you are GAY. But sometimes how he says he will act and how he acts are two different things--he will act like he hates the idea of meeting you, but will be fine once I make him. Also, you bothlove food, if that hasn't changed.”

I know. What the fuck, right? She called me Friday night and said we would plan something the next day. She never called. After a fine passive-aggressive missive, like the email she sent, I think she wanted me to beg to hang out with her. As much as I would have loved to see her, I wasn’t going to do that.

A lot can change in 5 years, but the old girl I knew would never have her weekend activities dictated by her fiancé.

In the same 3 day period, my ex-girlfriend and ex-boyfriend managed to get the best of me. They managed me to get to feel things I didn’t want to admit. They made me think about a past that I had managed not to think about for a while. They made me miss things about myself, certain capacities, certain feelings , certain attitudes, ambitions and hopes. And they both managed, however allegedly inadvertently, to push my buttons in ways few others are capable of doing. That’s probably why I loved them both in the first place.

Thank God I was able to dance those anxieties away at Silk City with KD on Saturday. For a while, on the dance floor, it didn’t matter what happened 5 years, 5 months or 5 hours ago. I was just happy, dancing, carefree. Myself. And that? That’s the best button that anyone can possibly push.

Sith Happens

So yesterday I satiated my hunger for closure and set out to see George Lucas’ little indie that could, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Truth be told, I don’t always enjoy the theater going experience, especially at the Riverview in Philadelphia. Maybe I have gotten too snobby for my own good, but the crowds at any theater that doesn’t have the word Ritz in its name scare and annoy me in deeply profound ways.

However, the crowd that Star Wars brings out of the woodwork is not your average crowd. These are geeks that dress as their favorite character for the midnight opening. These are dorks who see this movie as a “cultural event.” These are the sexless masses waiting to blow their collective load after a 6 year cocktease. Thus, half the fun of seeing this movie is the implicit knowledge that I presumably won’t be the geekiest, dorkiest, most sexless person in the room. I can usually claim 2 out of 3 of those crowns at any given moment. Not that I totally wouldn't wear lederhosen to a Sound of Music sing-along movie event. Because I would.

So you can imagine my disappointment when I showed up and realized that the crowd I was expecting wasn’t even there. Maybe it was wrong to go to a Sunday matinee if I wanted to see the hardcore geekery that was so rich in potential. The crowd was far worse than I anticipated. Everyone brought 3 kids with them. Each of these kids, I assume had an allergy problem or a cold or perhaps tuberculosis. Most of the kids had a voracious appetite for learning all the subtle details of the plot, as they asked question after question to their annoyed parents. This is all happening in between squeals of delight. There was one child, in particular, who wouldn’t shut the fuck up. Of course, he sat next to me. The only perk was that because of him I had been spared hearing some of the wretched dreck which passes for dialogue. There was even a guy in front of me who brazenly ignored the “shut your cell phones off please” warning before the movie started. I consider it a mandate. He considered it a recommendation that one can and should ignore at will. He took three calls during the movie. I hope that the calls had something to do with selling his children into slavery on the black market, since they were equally as bothersome.

As for the movie? Well, I guess it didn’t suck. Since I am a relatively perfectly normal person, at this point in George Lucas' attenuated narrative arc, I have precisely no idea what the hell is going on. I know that there is some political discord. I know that Hayden Christiansen and his greasy hair have to become Darth Vader at some point. (Honestly, get this guy some shampoo, stat.) I know that he has to knock up Natalie Portman so that they could have twins named Luke and Leia. I know that Natalie has to find an amazing stylist to create some fabulous maternity fashion items. I know that the homoeroticism is at Spinal Tap Level 11, and some dude that looks like the Pope wants Hayden to be his cabana boy. I know that if you have an accent and you are not Obi Wan Kenobi, you are likely evil. And I know my first name is Stephen.

The movie actually gets pretty good when Anakin turns to the dark side. Up until then, I really don’t understand why people are fighting. Ani basically flips out because he’s in love and the Jedi Knights have a strict “Bro’s before Ho’s” policy. That would drive anyone crazy, so you can’t help but root for him when he’s kicking ass for his lady. His lady, however, is not impressed. Then again, I find myself rooting for the bad guys in movies far too often.

So, he basically goes bitchcakes and becomes the new Emporer of the galaxy, after his Sugar Daddy saves his from bad lava burns when his old mentor kicks his ass in a sword fight. He gets fitted for his badass shiny black suit, breathes his first famously belabored breath and somehow develops the voice of James Earl Jones. Got that? I think that’s it. I remember one of my neighbors used to do the Darth Vader breathing when she wanted to scare the shit out of me. It worked well. But in the theater yesterday, I couldn’t get scared at all. I was concentrating too much on the death grips I would enforce on the kid sitting next to me and the dude with the cell phone.

The geeks might make me sad deep down inside, but I am sure they would have been more respectful. May the force be with them. And also with you.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String

A bit of Friday afternoon introspection.

Some random things that make me happy on this rainy afternoon:

**We regained our quizzo crown the other night with a pretty convincing victory. While there, we learned that Charlie Chaplin’s body was stolen from his grave in Switzerland in 1978, Venice is the “Jewel of the Adriatic,” the Sierra Madre mountain range is located South of the border in Mexico, Star Wars won 6 Oscars and that there are only 3 angles mentioned in the Bible. They are Michael, Gabriel and Lucifer. Consequently, they will also be the name of the 3 Chinese girls I someday adopt.

**The winner of the best tv show in American History was announced for this season. As if you didn’t know, the champion of America’s Next Top Model was Naima. And the bitch is fierce. Less fierce, but just as adorable, the winner of the Apprentice was Kendra. She beat Tana, who was a crazy Iowa housewife who pretended to be a Podunk hick from Hicksville, Hickabama, but she really went to Archbishop Carroll High School, smack dab in the middle of the Main Line. Whatever, Tana! Bitch was crazy.

**Sandy the Secretary was describing how smart and creative her daughter was and noted that her daughter, “always thinks outside the bun.” And just when you think she can’t say anything more endearing? She said today she felt like she was “getting fucked with no Vaseline.” She really speaks my language. Are you picking up what she’s laying down?

**On the street the other night, I ran into a hysterical friend from college. The two of us were the most annoying people on a trip to Kentucky. While other people were building homes for the less fortunate, LC and I would put on little skits for the townspeople. In one of these skits, we pretended to be Ike and Tina. (For some reason I was Ike). We would also walk around and stick the handles of our hammers in between people’s legs and pull them up so they would run through people’s ass cheeks. And then we would yell, “Credit Card!” Needless to say, it’s amazing to be back in touch with her. Now she’s married. If you didn’t know that, don’t worry. She’ll tell you 5 minutes into any conversation. Kidding.

**I went to part of a Drag Show last night at Bob and Barbara’s. The scariest drag queen I have ever seen lip synched to “Hero” by Mariah Carey, and she was so scary. She was seven feet tall and her dress was made of a shower curtain (I think). Another drag queen who was tubby and has stretch marks on his/her stomach rubbed his/her ass all over one of my friends after giving him a lap dance. I will never understand drag queens. It just seems like a lot of effort.

**I am not going to my 5 year college reunion. Not enough time has passed. I may possibly be excited for the 10 year high school reunion next year though. I just need to keep all my hair until then. And I need a good date for that. Applicants should be smoldering and the less English you speak the better. Inquire within.

**The Judge bought me lunch today. Chicken wings and Macaroni and Cheese. God, I eat that a lot.

**My uncle faxed me an important paper from home this morning, and instead of using a cover sheet like a real professional, he scribbled this message in huge letters on a blank piece of paper, “To my very favorite nephew Judge Zachary Roman W***** Esquire Tort!” Of course.

And here is the cliffhanger. Last night I had drinks with my ex-boyfriend since he is leaving Philadelphia forever today. Tomorrow, I am meeting up with my ex-girlfriend at some point. I may never see him again, and this will be the first time I have seen her in 5 years. More details to come as soon as I can wrap my pretty little head around them.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Once a Retarded Woman Cut My Hair

I just walked over to the 7-11 (Oh thank heaven!) to get Sandy a big old 44 oz. Super Big Gulp of Diet Coke and on the way back I took the Penthouse Suite where are chambers are located. We’ve moved on up like the Jeffersons, if you will. Anyway, see if you can find the logic buried deep within this set of facts:

I entered the Employees’ elevator on the first floor. Some woman (hereinafter “Stupid Ho”), wearing tons of floral print and sporting an orange beehive like Flo from Alice enters the elevator on the second floor. She presses the buttons for the sixth and eleventh floor one at a time. Then, the elevator opens on the fifth floor, and she walks out! Um, Earth to Stupid Ho?! So I was stuck with 2 more extra stops than were necessary. I was too confused to whack her over the head with Sandy’s Super Big Gulp. But next time I see her, Stupid Ho’s going to get her comeuppance.

I got my haircut yesterday, but of course not before consulting as many people as possible to see if it was a good idea. I had an idea that it was time for a haircute (as Pauly calls them) when someone called me Johnny Bravo last week. I have severe haircut anxiety that can be traced back to one specific incident. Three weeks before my college graduation, I went to get my haircut at the Hair Cuttery. For those of you that don’t know, this is where they employ anyone who flunks out of beauty school. They sat me in a chair and shampooed me; it was going along like any other visit. Something seemed a little bit “off” about my Hair Cutterist, though, and I couldn’t figure out what exactly. I asked her, per usual, please don’t cut it too short. Ugh. You see, I was getting my haircut by a retarded person.

Like slow motion she grabbed the clippers and went to fucking town. She had given me a crew cut. I don’t have the face or body that’s built for that kind of hair or lack thereof. I just looked like a victim. A victim of what? Oh, anything was applicable. It could have been famine, disease, ethnic cleansing attempt, etc. You name it. On the way out, when I was paying the manager asked me if everything was ok. I said sheepishly that I was uncomfortable with the fact that I was leaving with much less hair than I anticipated. He said that it was nice of me to give me Hair Cuttery woman a chance.

I wondered what he meant. He continued by telling me that the woman who cut my hair was retarded. Not like the colloquial version of retarded that school kids use to taunt others, but she was fully mentally retarded. They were giving her a chance by working there. I had no clue what to say. If I flipped out, then I was insensitive to the needs of the handicapped. If I was silent, then I would be walked all over by the Hair Cuttery and their merry band of Retards. Sigh. I went with the latter and looked foolish for the next month. Since then, I have been trepidacious about the haircut experience. My current haircut worked out well, but I always miss having curls when they’re cut off.

There was DRAMA in the office today. Stephon the tip staff just threw down some papers, ran out of here and quit a couple hours ago. I guess he got into a fight with the Judge. Sandy is walking around crying, praying and singing hymns to Jesus. It's uncomfortable. (But I did sing along to “How Great Thou Art” because I have American Idol fever!) She commented that gays get a bad rap about being dramatic, but when it comes down to it, the title of most dramatic group of individuals belongs to black men. There was no time (or desire) on my part to map out a Venn diagram for Sandy to show her the significant overlap among gays and blacks. Duh, Oprah had a special on “Men on the DL.” Girl, please!

So now it looks like my workload may have just been increased twofold. Fuck. This will include doing all the horrible menial tasks that were formerly in his charge, like parking the judge's car. And for the pennies they currently toss in my direction to maintain a level of competence just a notch above brain-dead, it’s going to be difficult to find the motivation to pick up the slack. But I will do it with dimples and a smile.

Overheard by me on the phone today in the office, Sandy said the following amazing things. Here are some of them completely out of context, to make it more fun for the reader:

“She can’t even get a grip on herself, never mind an Ethiopian.”
“You know Crackers always come back. They got a long life-expectancy.”
“Here, listen carefully to the advice I am about to give you…” [Sandy hangs up phone and mutters to herself, out loud “Stupid bitch.”]

Just another day at the office. I can't wait for the Top Model finale tonight!!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

I Don't Know Many Cher Songs, But I Have a Feather Boa

I completely forgot to mention quizzo from last week. We lost. We caught up in the final round since the final round category was Reality TV, and well, we’re losers. In the end it came down to a tie breaker. The tie breaker in the instant case was a beer chugging contest. Clearly, the odds were stacked against us. So we lost, not because we didn’t know the answers, but because of a clear vendetta against our team, full of classy homos and the refined women who love them. Honestly, if I wanted to take part in a culturally biased challenge, I would have taken the SATs.

That said, we learned that the first computer was built in England and the world’s largest oil refinery resides in Venezuela. Also, Harrison Ford’s first wife wrote ET.

That same evening, towards the end of the night while scores were being tabulated a young woman came over to our table and made the mistake of talking to us. She was probably younger than we were, with long curly blonde hair and freckles barely visible through the layers of make up she had caked to her face. She was wearing black fuck-me pants about 2 sizes too small for her. Her white sequined tank top was snug, but there wasn’t enough of it to hide the black bra she was wearing beneath. She lumbered over to our table, looking like she had consumed one too many Bay Breezes. She plopped down at our table and said, “Uh oh. This looks like trouble. Whenever this many men are just with one woman, they’re all either married or gays.”

Now, leaving aside the fact that I already considered her outfit an act of aggression, I hated her for a couple more reasons. First of all, why would one assume that a group of men sitting at a table together would all have to be married or gay? Any barslut worth her weight in coverup knows that all you would have to do is a quick survey of our left hand ring fingers to see that none of us was married. Then why assume that we were gay? But for a few flamboyant exceptions, people need to learn that there are very few indicators that can guarantee with absolute certainty that someone is gay. Sure, weeks previous to that night we squealed with delight when the final category was announced, “Broadway Musicals,” and we screamed, “It’s a gay off, y’all!” But this week there were no such actions. Second of all, even if you had occasion to think such stupid thoughts, why would you say them out loud, memorializing them forever in the minds of strangers? It’s one thing to be dumb, but it’s completely another to put it on display as if it were some sort of black undergarment that couldn’t fit beneath your afflicted outer garb.

Epilogue: the girl hoisted herself off the bench at our table after our friend Dina responded to her question by simply saying, “Gay.”

The lesson to be learned is this: gays are everywhere. Just because you don’t see someone in a feather boa singing “Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves” does not mean that there aren’t necessarily gays present. When I was eating at the Terminal the other day, I sat next to a table of well-meaning though obvious conventioneers, one woman and two men. They had southern accents and lots of denim. The woman was talking about how she was having an affair with a man who pretended to be gay in front of her husband. She said her “lover” would just do things like “lisp, wiggle his hips or sing showtunes” when he was in front of her husband so that he wouldn’t know any better, but behind closed doors they would have the “best sex ever. Swear to God.” So, this woman was dating and fucking her pretend gay best friend, as her husband thought she was pulling a Grace Adler. It’s actually kind of a funny strategy and could easily be converted into a horrible movie, starring Julia Roberts or Meg Ryan. Or a good episode of “Mama’s Family.” Hilarity would ensue! But the fact that this affair is flying under people’s radars because some guy is trotting out every sad homosexual stereotype is emblematic of society’s views, sadly. Also, what a slut!

Gay men come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them even sound like men. Allegedly it's one out of every ten people. So you best watch what you say everywhere you go.

And finally, praise Jesus, Mary and Peter Liguori! Arrested Development has been RENEWED for a third season. This makes me and at least 4 of my close friends very happy!!! I thank you all for your prayers and thoughts in this time of need. Amen.

Monday, May 16, 2005

When Johnny Comes Marching Home

Someone was nice (and crazy) enough to invite me to attend this event with him. Can this end well for anyone involved? Please note how serious the organizers of this event are in their invitation/reminder email. Yikes.

-----Original Message-----
From: Johnnie Walker Gold Label Pleasures of the Palate
Sent: Mon 5/16/2005 11:23 AM
To: [redacted]
Subject: Event Reminder: Johnnie Walker Gold Label

We look forward to seeing you at the Johnnie Walker Gold LabelPleasures of the Palate event on:

Date: Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Cocktail Reception begins promptly at: 8:30 PM
Venue: The Westin Philadelphia
Address: 17th & Chestnut At
City: Philadelphia

We'll be serving cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, and featuring a refinedevening of sharing, Johnnie Walker Gold Label, and luscious dessertsat this completely complimentary event.

You and your guest must be 21 or older with a valid photo ID to attendthe event.

Seating is limited and admission is not guaranteed. Please be prompt. The presentation begins 30 minutes after the startof the cocktail reception. Consumers arriving after the presentationbegins will not be seated.

This invitation is non-transferable.

Remember Your Spirit, Bitch

I hate to disagree with Oprah Winfrey. It’s not something I often do. I think she has done more for our country than most of our government leaders combined. She is my hero, and let’s face it: she’s a hot slice of ass. Unfortunately, the Big O and I have reached our first big disagreement.

Four years ago Oprah Winfrey announced that the best macaroni and cheese in America was made right here in Philadelphia. It’s made by Delilah’s, a quaint little Southern food shop that makes its home on the 12th Street Side of the Reading Terminal Market, not the Strip Club in North Philly. I need not go into my irrational love for that building and its food again, but suffice it to say I totally *heart* the place. Being a fan of the macaroni and cheese culture (and Southern Soul food in general), I have been flirting with the idea of trying this mac and cheese for a while. Friday seemed like the perfect day. I stopped by and ordered some of “The Nation’s Best Macaroni and Cheese” as it said on the menu. As I did this, a tike, rocking tuff and stuff with her afro puffs (as in the manner of Da Brat) stepped on my saddle shoes and kicked me in the shin. Ouch. I should have taken this as a sign, a portend of doom as it was so obviously meant to be interpreted.

It was not good. It was dry and crumbly. It gave me a stomach ache. It wasn’t even close to the best mac and cheese in the city (that would be Phoebe’s), never mind in the country. Despite the severe stomach pain and the multiple trips to the bathroom that the mac and cheese inspired, there was another problem with the situation. Had I been deceived by Oprah? I would believe just about anything Oprah told me, but, I mean, this was Southern Soul Food! Girlfriend clearly knows her way around the Soul Food buffet, if you catch my drift. And I think you do. Could it be possibly that someone just slipped some money into the Harpo Inc. coffers, just for a bit of publicity. I wasn’t ready to think so poorly of Oprah. This gave me pause. This feeling of existential dread and acute abdomen pain almost made me skip happy hour. So, like any responsible young adult, I left work at 3:45 so that I could recover in time to go out for happy hour. In sum, don’t believe everything you read. Even if Oprah is the one writing it.

As an aside, regarding her stomach problems, one of my friends recently stopped eating dairy as per the recommendation of her doctor. I realized while eating lunch today (pepperoni stomboli with 3 cheeses and a ricotta filled canolli) that I would probably shoot myself first.

That Friday night after a wonderful dinner, drinks and walk in the park with KD, I met up with some law school friends at Ten Stone, one of my new favorite bars. While I was hanging out with KC, we started talking to 2 strange Indian men who engaged us in conversation on a wide spectrum of topics. We were about to leave, and they asked us not to go. The rest of our friends wanted to leave, so we were politely about to leave with them. That is, until one of the men offered to buy us drinks if we stayed. Without wasting a second thinking of things like loyalty or our own boredom, we agreed to stay. I think we actually cut him off mid-sentence. We had a steady stream of “Bloody Ho’s” (i.e. Hoegaarten and Lambic) offered to is in exchange for our conversation. This is how all nights at bars should be. I would talk to Charles Manson in a bar if he offered me a Bloody Ho. And he might. We discussed the coexistence of different economic systems in different states of India and tried to decide who would have made a better Civil Rights Leader in India: Martin Luther King, Jr. or Malcolm X. We never did come to an answer because one of the guys confessed, apropos of nothing that he “once banged a dude after doing some coke.” *Needle scratches off the record.* (Silence.) “Hey, a hole is a hole when you’re that high.” (Silence.) “But I’m not gay.” *Crickets chirping*

Then the other guy offered to cook us dinner sometime, and we were right back on board!

As long as there is no macaroni and cheese from Delilah’s, I am so there.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Here I Thought I Was High Fidelity

Just a quick post for those of you losing sleep wondering What Kind of Hipster I am:

"You are the Low-Fidelity All-Star. You were born with your cool, and it's totally natural. You run the gamut from Hipster Supreme (only they can ingest as much coffee as you) to the geeky hipster (Mario Kart, anyone?).

"Your laid back cool is all natural; in fact, you remain effortlessly stylish despite your near-apathy concerning your image. Sure, you drink coffee or [iced] tea by the gallon and avoid wearing any corporate logos (like any good hipster), but you don’t remember the last time you scoped a mirror and you know all the words to “Kung Fu Fighting.”

Rest easy now.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Tarot, Glow, Mo, Ho, You Know?

This is from the Overheard in New York Website. If it’s true, I need to be best friends forever with these teens.

Dumb teen: Hey, look at this! It says "Train for jobs in beeyotch."
Smarter teen: Fool! That word is biotech. Why you gotta be ignorant all your life?

I found a fun game to play last night on the internets. It’s called iPod Tarot, click for more info. Since I am the last person in America to not have an iPod, I just used the mp3 player on my computer to determine what the cosmos has in store for me. Basically, you put your player on shuffle and the next 5 randomly determined tracks read your past, present and future. Here's a sample from my ominous mp3 reading yesterday:

1st Track: The Significator. This track symbolizes the nature of the question, which in this case was, "Will I ever pull my life together?" I got “Boys and Girls” by Blur. This is the song that says one should take his chances, “looking for girls who are boys who like boys to be girls who do boys like they’re girls who girls like they’re boys…it always should be someone you really love.” So, short answer: No.

2nd Track: The Opposing Forces. “Enter Sandman” by Metallica. I haven’t gotten a good night’s sleep in about a week and a half, so this could be accurate. Luckily no one in my dreams is trying to run me over with an 18-Wheeler, like the video for this song. “Sleep with one eye open, gripping your pillow tight.”

3rd Track: The Past. What has already happened. “The New Kid” by the Old 97’s. “Believe me every year, there is another one here. Don’t you see I used to be the new kid? I am sorry to say, you’ll get carried away. Oh, you will be replaced. You will be replaced by the new kid.” And “The new kid, he’s got money. The money I deserve.” Um, yep.

4th Track: What May Be. “2 Become 1” by the Spice Girls. How embarrassing. I hope this means I get to hang out with Geri Halliwell. But I suppose it means I am supposed to be a big whore in the future. Sweet. Maybe I will even get to have sex with Ginger Spice!

5th Track: Sum of All Track Readings. “A Change is Gonna Come” by Aretha Franklin. Isn’t this an optimistic way to end my reading! “It’s been a long time coming, but a change is gonna come!” Coincidentally, I was born by the river in a little tent;Oh, just like that river I've been running ever since.

Sandy, Stephon and I broke it down CJC-style this morning in the Chambers. They were having an important debate on whether one should eat sugar in his or her grits. (Sandy was anti-sugar in the grits, for those keeping track). There is an almost-daily debate about something in the office between these two, and it usually centers around some sort of food, especially that of the breakfast variety. The two of them order huge breakfasts every morning while I make do with my apple and bagel. I tried to stay out of the debate, as a non-grit-eater I didn’t think it would be fair to interject. As fate would have it, Sandy asked me what I thought, so I responded, “Sandy, you know a Cracker like me don’t eat grits.” And she said, “Shit, you right child. You never know what’s gonna come outta that mouth because this boy is DEEP!” I can’t even being to understand what she meant by that, but I wasn’t lying- I really don’t eat grits. That said, I don’t think sugar would be appropriate with them.

The debate ended as Sandy wanted to watch the end of Matlock on the Judge’s office television. “Don’t nobody love Matlock like I do, everybody!” she got up and exclaimed after tacitly procuring victory. Well played, Sandy. Well played.

Lending credence to the Nature (as opposed to Nurture) theory of how gays get gay in the first place, it turns out that gay dudes’ brains work the same way as women’s when it comes to pheromone response. Gay men apparently respond to testosterone. Duh. No word , however, on how gay men react to Glow by J.Lo, but the reaction is probably positively FABULOUS.

Finally, I wish I were the law clerk that got to write this footnote in an opinion published by the 7th Circuit. That it seems to be written without a trace of irony makes it more brilliant than any comedian could have intended:

“The trial transcript quotes Ms. Hayden as saying Murphy called her a snitch bitch 'hoe.' A 'hoe,' of course, is a tool used for weeding and gardening. We think the court reporter, unfamiliar with rap music (perhaps thankfully so), misunderstood Ms. Hayden’s response. We have taken the liberty of changing 'hoe' to 'ho,' a staple of rap music vernacular, as for example, when Ludacris raps 'You doin’ ho activities with ho tendencies.'" U.S. v Murphy, fn 1.

Cheers to you, lowly law clerk!

Monday, May 09, 2005

Five Weaklings and a Funeral

I have returned from the far reaches of Peckville, whose loving arms embraced me with a funeral, family and more cold cuts than you can shake a stick at. A quick word of thanks to all whom have sent condolences and words of support and encouragement, thanks. It was a tough week, but it was nice to have the whole family together and friends checking up on me. My grandmother would have been particularly elated with the amount of food that was sent to our family. I won’t say too much about it, but the mood was rather light for the viewing. My brother, cousins and I managed to have a good time together despite the dour circumstances.

For example, we noted how ridiculous people were when they approached us in line. They asked questions like, “How are you doing?” or “How have things been?” How do you think we are doing? Whenever someone said “Let us know if there’s anything at all we can do to help,” we always wanted to respond with a ridiculous request. “You know what? A milkshake would be killer right now.” People would try and catch up with our lives. My brother and I toyed with the idea of making fliers with a short biography on them to hand out to people who asked too many questions. “Yes, I am a lawyer. And thank you, I have gotten handsome, haven’t I?” Interspersed among our glares of contempt and fake smiles were acute, incisive fashion critiques of the visitors. After all, the family that pokes fun with sardonic humor together, stays together. Or something. We even tried to convince my youngest cousin that she was my grandmother’s least favorite. Good times!

In typical WASP fashion, we saved all our histrionics until the last minute. The worst part was watching how frail and hurt my grandfather was. He’s a tough as nails, O’Reilly watching, no-nonsense, war hero guy, and this was, as he admitted, the toughest thing he ever had to go through. Mind you, his WWII Battleship was sunk and he has been shot at by foreigners. The ministers eulogized that my grandparents were an institution in the town, and that got all the grandkids crying. Seriously, everyone in the area knows them and by extension, they know me. They also extolled many of her virtues, including her blunt honesty and noted that this noteworthy part of her personality would be carried on by the rest of her family. All of the grandkids, slight in frame, made for what might have been the weakest lot of pallbearers in American history. How we did not drop the casket was some sort of divine providence beyond my understanding. We prepared her for burial by wrapping her in a blanket I bought for her in Ireland. The Coast Guard was present for the military funeral (she served in WWII while your grandma was writing letters- BooYa!), played “Taps” and presented my Grandfather with a flag on behalf of the President of the United States. Best thing Bush has ever done for me.

When all was said and done, we ate more. Then we napped. Then we ate more. Mothers' Day's timing was impeccable. ( I got my mom a paper shredder in lieu of flowers.) It will be so strange going to my grandmother's house and not having her there. I searched through her bedroom for something to steal to remind me of her. She was a notorious packrat and there was lots of junk to pick through. I ended up taking a small adjustable desk calendar that I always used to make reflect the wrong date, thinking I was the most hysterical child on earth pulling off a prank like that. And true to form, she let me think that.

When my other grandmother died, was in eighth grade. I was petrified to do anything bad thinking she would be watching from Heaven. (This included masturbation. The death of my grandmother coupled with the PeeWee Herman scandal made me one very confused, pent up young man. Looking back, I think this is why I hated eighth grade so much.). I feel like I am much more at peace with this death if you catch my drift. I am back at work, and I will be taking friends and family for granted again in no time. Before then though, I will focus on all the love and support I felt over the past week. Life goes on, and so do we. Just how we do it is no mystery.

I promise that upcoming posts will be virtually free of any sappy sentimentality.

With that, vaya con dios, abuelita. See you on the flip side.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Someone To Look Up To

My grandmother passed away kind of suddenly today. She suffered a stroke about 7 years ago and really hadn’t been the same since. Her cheery disposition turned a bit ornery and she wasn’t able to filter the things that came out of her mouth. It was high comedy, but it just wasn’t her character. Today she had another major stroke. It happened as she was standing up, and she fell down hard. The head trauma was too much to survive, and the hospital could do nothing for her. My mom, obviously broken, called me at work at 4:00 to tell me she fell. She called again at 5:30 to tell me that my grandmother had passed away.

I felt guilty at first because my first thought was, “Thank God.” I couldn’t stand the thought of seeing her suffer in a hospital bed until she perished. Growing up in the funeral business, I hate to see someone’s death become the defining moment of his or her life. When my other Grandmother died 13 years ago, cancer wilted her away to nothing. Now whenever I think of her, I have an image of her in a turban, almost skeletal, waiting to die. I vowed never to let someone’s death define his or her life in my head. Over a decade later, I wasn’t sure that I had the emotional wherewithal to handle watching someone I love so much suffer again.

Instead, my memories of my grandmother will be of a strong, vibrant, outspoken woman. At age 82, most of her hair was still jet-black and her eyes were bright blue. My liberal feminist bent can be attributed to her, despite the fact that she was a proud Republican. She was one of the first women to serve in the U.S. Coast Guard. She was happily married for 56 years. She and my grandfather took me to Disney World 6 times, and once we went on a road trip to Connecticut. She was always the first one to make fun of me when I did something stupid and the first to congratulate me for any accomplishment. She lived a block away, and for years I would stop at her house for breakfast in the mornings on the way to school and for milkshakes which should would make in her blender for me at night. (She always thought I was too thin). I would sleep over her house on Friday nights when I was a lad in the single-digits, and I would make her sleep in the bed with me until I fell asleep. I never came out to her, but I suspect she would not care too much, as long as I were happy. I will try not to mourn her death. I will celebrate her life.

She leaves behind a husband, 2 children, 1 brother and 5 grandchildren (3 of whom have her blue eyes). It still hasn’t sunk in yet, but I know I already miss her very much. And no matter how much I didn’t want to see her suffer, it will be little consolation once I realize that I won’t see her again. I was home last weekend and got to spend a little time with her. I sat on the porch with her and answered all her questions (she asked the same questions over and over). She asked if I were happy, and I said that I thought I was. She told me to make sure that I am happy all the time. I kissed her goodbye, told her I loved her and left. It was the last time I would ever talk to her while she was here on earth. But it’s not the last time we’ll ever talk.

Monday, May 02, 2005

I Am Trying to Break Your Heart

The weekend began with a lovely happy hour at Bump with JC. The bar was packed like a homosexual sardine can, and the crowd, as per usual was rude with a ‘tude. The only person I talked to of note was a burly man in a wife-beater who invaded my personal space by conducting his end of the conversation an inch away from my face, regardless of how much I backed up. End scene.

Even less successfully continuing the equality forum celebration, I went to Shampoo, as seen on television’s the Real World: Philadelphia. And Willie from said Real World was there, in person. As I suspected, he is pint size (can’t be over 5’4”, honestly). I had fun dancing there with JP, JB and especially Chop. In fact, Chop and I stayed after hours to dance to the hits of the 80’s and early 90’s in the outdoor tent. Chop picked up a Kraut. He said he met a German, but I thought he kept telling me he met a Sherman. I had no clue what that meant, so I just kept nodding my head. I ran into someone with whom I have made out (cute med student), who thought my name was Ben. I went with that for a little bit. Why not? I completely lost my nerve to talk to a smoldering little indie boy I had my eye on all night. Pussy-disease struck hard, like whoa. He was way out of my league, but someone told me he was following me around all night. Out-of-my league, smoldering indie boy, if you’re out there? Call me.

I went home on Saturday night so I could wake up early Sunday morning to celebrate second resurrection of Christ in less than 5 weeks. That’s right, that crazy Jesus was at it again. My father follows the Julian calendar as a member of an Eastern Orthodox religion. Therefore I am lucky/unlucky enough to celebrate 2 Christmases and Easters per year. It makes my family nuts, not to mention making Jesus very busy. It was assuredly more of a blast when the Easter Bunny was involved. Now, we just go to Church and watch a crazy Russian priest bless everyone’s Easter basket, laid out in front on the front steps of the Church. It would be a beautiful ceremony if we weren’t so afraid that the priest were going to injure someone with his haphazard handling of the incense bong thing. There my brother and I ran into many old women whom year after year pretend they haven’t seen us since we were babies. And my, how handsome we have become. (confession: my brother actually has!) Their praise is effusive, and it makes us uncomfortable. One woman asked where I got my “beautiful, bee-stung lips.” I lied and said they were natural. She would be simply crushed if she knew that Lindsay Lohan and I shared a plastic surgeon!

There is a clerk that roams the hallowed halls of the CJC where I work. We had our training orientation together. He knows my name. I know his. Every damn time I see him, he avoids eye contact and refuses to acknowledge me. He is shifty, and he will pay. Now, understand that I do not want to be his friend, and he is not anywhere near attractive. But I want him to say hello and confirm my existence when I am near him. I will interpret his attempt to elude me as his throwing of the gauntlet, and as such, I will respond the only way I know how. I will win. I will make him have to notice me. He probably thinks that I cower away from awkward situations like this. Little does Clerkjerk know that I live for this shit. I eat awkward situations like this for breakfast. I will prolong eye contact for so long that he’ll have to hide behind columns to escape me. I will make sure I catch the same elevator as him all the time, and when in this elevator I will hum loudly the theme song from Bosom Buddies. I will find out where he parks his car and wait at the garage for him everyday, even though I walk to work. I will stand at the urinal next to him and drop my pants to my ankles. And when it gets to the point where he has no choice but to notice me all the time? I will ignore him. Hard.

By the way, the jury pool in this building is maybe the nastiest group of people I have ever seen assembled. I just wanted to get that out of my system today since tomorrow is Philadelphia Juror Appreciation Day. I would appreciate it if they had to take a different elevator than I did. Here’s hoping that their decisions that inform the administration of justice are less “unique” than their decisions regarding proper courtroom attire. I shudder to think of having to face a “jury of my peers,” half of which is wearing Nascar shirts, denim Winnie the Pooh jackets or weaves that not even the girls from Beautyshop could fix.

I was totally existential last night (think more Cher from Clueless than Camus), parked on the side of the road near the airport. I was waiting for KC’s plane to arrive as I watched blinking lights, planes taking off and landing and drivers eager to pick up their loved ones. I was listening to Yankee Foxtrot Hotel by Wilco (“Ashes of American Flags”) and thinking about how the last time I was landing in a plane, I had someone’s head on my shoulder. I was looking out the plane window at the sunset wondering how anything could go wrong. Now, I was looking out my car window waiting for something to go right.

That’s just to remind the reader that despite my snarky, snide commentary on life, I am still a sensitive, humble gentleman with hopes, dreams and the capacity to love that's as large as the ocean is wide and the day is long. And apparently a killer set of “beautiful, bee-stung” lips. Word to your mother.