Monday, January 14, 2008


OK, it's official. I'm a real-life Forrest Gump: a blundering, often clueless dude from the South who keeps stumbling across famous people (see my photos section !)
One night in November ('07) I was going to see "Hairspray" (the kickass version from this summer) at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica because John Travolta was going to talk after the film. So i ride over with my buddy Allan, who's also in awe of Travolta, and wind up having to sit in the front row.
Movie runs, it's killer, it puts a smile on your face for two hours like almost no movie ever. Better than "Grease," i'll even say.
Travolta comes up to the front, sits down with this hack critic from "Maxim" (trust me, read the critics' names in almost any movie ad and this guy's praising it: "The best romantic zombie comedy to come out last Tuesday!") and starts answering questions from him and then the audience. I wave my arm around and wind up asking Travolta a question that Allan says was the toughest of the night: how he manages to keep his spirit going when he has bad periods at the box office and how he manages to always pull off amazing comebacks.
The audience gasped. Travolta looked like i'd just slapped him. But he answered the question. Then he seemed to move on. I thought "well i had my moment, i got to ask my favorite movie star a question."
But then, right as they were about to wrap it up, someone from the theater comes up and whispers to me and Allan that they need a little extra help protecting Travolta as he leaves the theater. Apparently Max Von Sydow (huh? I know who he is, but HUH?) was completely swarmed to a dangerous degree there last week. So here i was, sitting in the front row...
And I'll admit, I'm GINORMOUS. 6'2", nearly 300 pounds, i could play linebacker for University of Texas, EASY.
So they ask me to help protect TRAVOLTA. WTF??!??
Of course I can't say no though. So i bounce onto the stage with Allan behind me (he couldnt' block a breeze, but hey he's my driver so he had to come along). Travolta's signing some autographs but trying to keep moving. And people are pushing in further and further towards us, we finally get off the stage and head for the doors alongside the screen and the door to the outside opens and BAM it's like Meet the Beatles!
Cameras flashing everywhere! Photogs calling out for Travolta's attention! Autograph hounds shoving books and photos into our faces!
And me getting to basically push and shove people as much as I wanted. I'm not a trained professional, people!!!
Finally, we push our way through and John gets in his limo - sadly without me. He probably didn't want to risk any more tough questions, and he probably was laughing all the way home that he managed to get his revenge for my bastard of a question by forcing me to run blocks for him with the crowd.
Hey, John, it's a small price to pay for the chance to meet a dude who in my mind is the most talented, charismatic movie star ever.
Now just make sure you keep picking good movies this time around.


These are from July '06, but don't let that stop ya...
Dozens of funny and funnier blogs/essays below this post...

Uncle Sam Wants Eskimos and Clowns!!!

Word is, were a little shorthanded over in Iraq right now. Weve got a few thousand fellas hanging out on bases in Afghanistan trying to clamp down on the resurrection of the Taliban, a couple hundred thousand more in Iraq, and God only knows how many more well have to call up if we cant get Israel, Hamas, Hezbollah and North Korea to make nice.

So whats a country to do? Well, if youre George W. Bush, you look at the only logical place to find reinforcements. Want more oil? Drill in Alaska. Want more soldiers? Well, drill them from there too. What am I talking about, you ask? Arent we getting enough new troops just by lowering our standards and allowing mental defectives and ex-felons in to be our bravest and finest?

No, my fellow Americans, word is that were sending Eskimos over to Iraq now. Yes, we finally decided to tell them the Soviet Union no longer exists and they can stop guarding the Bering Strait from a Communist invasion. They can go for a little sun and catch some R&R in a warmer climate. Like 215 degrees warmer than the -90 degree temperatures theyre used to.

Now I dont know what good its gonna do to have troop members who will literally be melting upon contact with the ground there. Maybe theyll bring peace by rubbing noses with the enemy rather than following our usual policy of rubbing the enemies noses in our display of superior firepower.

But seriously, folks, whats next? Are we going to propose sending CLOWNS now too? Clowns are very efficient they can fit 20 to a car and ride specially rigged Volkswagen Bugs over the horizon into battle rather than our far too obvious monster tanks. And wouldnt it be great to win over our enemies with laughter rather than bombs? Who knows, we might even scare them MORE because were sending clowns. You never know whos gonna be terrified of one. Lets just hope that culturally, theyre scared s***less by Bozo. I know I was.

Happy 4th of July from North Korea!!!
Well, hope everyone had a hip-hip-happy Fourth of July. Kick back, have some brews, then launch explosives from your backyard or your boat its an American tradition. Only this time, North Korea decided to join in on the fun, by sending seven count em, SEVEN! missiles our way!

Now, we in America pride ourselves on being world leaders and setting trends for the rest of the planet. So isnt it time we find another way to celebrate our nations birthday? Is it really a good idea to keep blowing s*** up to show were happy? Were 230 years old, for Gods sake! When are we going to grow up?!

I say next year we skip the fireworks, we get a big cake, and we film ourselves all holding hands in a circle while blowing it out together on the count of three. Thats nice, and peacefulbut waitIt involves a countdown. And we dont want anyone getting the wrong idea again.

So I say, go ahead throw your parties, blow a finger or two clean off, and just hope that North Korea, or Iran, or Syria, Hamas or Hizbollah, Afghanistan, China, Venezuela, Cuba and maybe even Russia know that theyre not invited to come over and especially not send us any quote-unquote presents. Jesus, thats 10 countries we have to leave off the guest list already, and weve got 11 more months to go until our next birthday. Give Bush time, Im sure he can make at least 20 countries hate us. And soon itll be more popular to get left out of the party than to be invited.

Burning Flags and Flaming Fags (well, how Republicans think)
My fellow Americans, today is a sad day for the history of our democracy. . Weve fallen one vote short of passing an anti-flag burning amendment in the Senate, which would have protected our flag from the Supreme Court saying that burning the flag constitutes a form of free speech.

I think that Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas said it best: Who gets the final word five Justices on the Supreme Court or we the people?

Hmmm. Funny, he didnt seem to ask that question back in 2000.

Now I dont know if Ive ever even SEEN anyone burning the flag, but I do know that the President and the Republicans are pissing on it on a daily basis.

But Im aware that our congress doesnt see it that way. No, they live in a world of fear, not just of Osama bin Laden, but of the constant specter of gay marriage. This 4th of July, theyll be locking their doors against flaming fags and burning flags!

Al-Zarqawi: A Modern-Day Wile E. Coyote
Well, we nailed al-Zarqawi. But they say he survived for 52 minutes after two 500-pound bombs landed on him. I havent seen that kind of resilience since the glory days of Wile E. Coyote.

But nonetheless, he wasnt the top man in charge of Al-Qaeda. That would be Osama bin Laden, or so were told. And hes looking pretty damn healthy lately. I mean, he releases videotapes more often than rappers drop underground mix tapes. And is anyone even scared of this guy anymore? Hes always seen walking through the mountains in those white robes while carrying a giant stick. Hes either auditioning for a role in The Sound of Music or hes Gandalf.

Hes supposed to be the worlds best-funded terrorist. So isnt it time he upgrades to DVDs? And its been five years since he did anything to us. Osama bin Laden? More like Osama Been Lazy.

But he has announced that he wants a truce. Yeah. Hes been in that cave so long, hes offered to knock it off if we just hook him up with the Playboy Channel.


America's always got a bad case of Do as I say, not as I do, but this time we mean it. Mexico decided to end 70 years of single-party dictatorship a few years ago by electing Vicente Fox as their president. Good choice. Hes a strong fellow, trim mustache, bitchin cowboy boots, and he didnt seem like another Pancho Villa.

But give any country, no matter how noble its intentions, enough time and theyll f*** things up just as badly as we can. It took us 224 years to have a sham election, and then just to show how stupid we are, we repeated the mistake four years later. But it took Mexico just six years of its newfound democracy to screw things up as royally as we have: Razor-thin voting margins, protests from both sides, and a seven-member court deciding who won.

Now I realize that theres been a fairly lopsided cultural exchange over the centuries between us and our neighbors to the South. We tricked them out of California and Texas, debased their cuisine by starting Taco Bell, and tried to make stars out of Antonio Banderas and Jimmy Smits. In exchange, they get felony status for crossing into the U.S., have a wall about to be built along their borders, and are tricked into thinking that Knight Rider is the greatest television show ever watch their ratings, youll see what I say is true.

But for the love of all that is holy, dont copy our elections! Its getting to the point where Jimmy Carter is going to have to monitor his own nation. We started out as a noble people with great ideas, but then we invented television, came up with nine seasons of Full House and 16 years of Americas Funniest Home Videos, and allowed a guy who barely passed college to pass through the gates of the White House. Now were all were good for is Netflix and maybe making pizzas. Those are high achievements to be sure, but they pale in comparison to those of our founding fathers.

So, Mexico, were with you as you pass through these days of crisis. But pick a good leader, because were not sure we can make it through two more years of Bush. And we just might be heading South for a permanent vacation.



Hi, I'm 6 foot 3, 300 pounds, a recovering narcoleptic and I once had an epileptic seizure that totaled my car. In other words, I'm an interesting date and a bad insurance risk.
But that means I have to ride a bike everywhere and when I put on a suit for work, people get the hell out of my way 'cause they think I'm the world's scariest Mormon.

Riding a bike everywhere also makes dating weird. I tell chicks I'll pick 'em up on my bike, and they say "Ooh, Harley?" "No, Huffy."

Now I'm not allowed to drive, but the cops say I can ride a bike. I don't see the logic in that, but it should make my obituary a lot more interesting to read.

I don't understand a lot of things about cops. I got pulled over on Tuesday night – for walking. Not jaywalking. Walking. Up a sidewalk in Hollywood. By myself. First I heard a helicopter, then I saw a spotlight. I thought God was inviting me to do time comedically, but not in prison. So I waved at the copter, just trying to let 'em know I couldn't be guilty because I was so damn friendly. Instead, they apparently decided I was now not just a suspect, but possibly in need of commitment to an institution. Half a block later, three cops cars had pulled up behind me and I was told to drop everything and put my hands in the air. I don't know what I was thinking – IF I was thinking – but I said I hadn't done anything wrong. Of course, I forgot they hear that from EVERYONE they stop. When the lead cop pulled out a gun, I decided it was time to listen.

Next thing I know I'm on my knees, then lying flat on my belly while they keep yelling at me. But I can't hear them because of the damn helicopter, so I finally had to say "I can't f***ing hear you! You come up here if you wanna tell me anything." They decided to let a pair of handcuffs do the talking, 'cause now I was having my hands cuffed behind my back. I was then asked to roll over and sit up, like I'm a DOG.

But I'm a 300 pound dog, so I told them that might be difficult. They kindly yanked me to my feet and asked if they could search my wallet. I have a Costanza wallet. So they have a little trouble finding my ID, I can't imagine why. I tell them take a look behind my credit cards while they're at it, so they can see my business card. They ask why and I said don't worry I'm not trying to establish an online friendship or anything. I just wanted them to see I'm a reporter.

So about ten seconds later, the cuffs are coming off and they're telling me that I matched the description of an area burglar "to a T." Folks, look at me. I can imagine them calling that one in: Hello, suspect is 6'2", 300 POUNDS, wearing a black beret and red checkered Vans. No, we don't believe he's retarded. But he is guilty of crimes against fashion."

They told me then that I was free to go, as if I was leaving a dinner party. They asked if I was gonna write about it. I said "What do you think? Oh, and I'm also a standup, so I'll give you even more exposure." They finally said, "Sorry, but this was standard procedure." Say what? Those words cover a lot of wrong things: It was standard procedure for Hitler to gas the Jews. It's standard procedure for the NYPD to shoot a guy 41 times for pulling out his wallet. It's standard procedure for a bum to crap himself, or for me to piss in the sink if I'm trapped at a party and the bathroom line's too long.

Standard procedure doesn't make anything right.


OK, seriously, folks, (man i just can't leave the comedy-isms behind!) I was coming home to Little Rock Arkansas for the weekend. Not so much for Easter but because this year Easter is one of my brother's birthday and it's also going to be the first chance all my sibs and their families have been in one spot in years. So, tomorrow 17 people are waddling down to the Golden Corral or the Hometown Buffet or the Eat Like a Pig or the Hey Fatass! Buffet (the last two i made up, in case you can't tell) because my mom understandably doesn't want to cook anymore for giant groups of people.
But to get here, I had to fly. And to fly, most airlines would realize you kind of need to have gas. Well, apparently at Delta Airlines they forget that little detail and once everyone's seated and ready to get the hell out of LA, they make an announcement that there will be a "slight delay" because they "underestimated" how much gas they needed and they needed to fill 'er up!!! Well, I'm glad they figured that salient fact out before we achieved liftoff. Of all the stupid ways to ever crash in a plane, leave it to a flight I'm on to crash because they forgot to check the fuel levels. Brilliant!
So there i was, knowing that I had 45 minutes scheduled as is to make a transfer between planes in Salt Lake City. First of all, it's bad enough that i'm in friggin' UTAH on my way to ARKANSAS, but I for damn sure wasn't going to get stuck in Mormon country. But as we're finally off in the air, they announce we'll be landing at 9:39 in SLC. My flight to Little Rock is at 9:51. Do the math. There's no way on earth I should've made the next flight. It was two concourses away!!!
Well, maybe there's no way on earth, but God apparently decided to step in with a little help. When we hit our gate at SLC Airport, I leaped out of my seat shrieking "I don't think there's anyone else on here whose plane is leaving in 12 minutes, so gimme my bag!" Anyone who read about my brush with the LAPD will know I have a loud mouth and am not that discreet about using it. So everyone looked scared, but I was the first person off that plane.
Now all I had to do was run like O.J. to catch my flight. No, that doesn't mean I had to hop into a white Bronco for a slow-speed chase on the LA freeways. it's a reference to what in my mind was OJ's greatest career moment outside of playing Nordberg in the "Naked Gun" movies: his 1970s string of Hertz Rental Car commercials in which he ran through airports, leaping small children in a single bound.
Since i'm over 300 pounds, I wasn't going to run - even in this dire situation. So i walked as fast as i could and finally spotted a Southwest Airlines motorized buggy and begged my way onto it even though my flight was on Delta. What happened next was straight out of an '80s movie: a mad dash through the airport upending anyone and everyone you could imagine. We even drove the thing onto an ELEVATOR and rode down to another floor. These vehicles are HUGE, folks, and I thought we'd careen into the inner-elevator wall, break down the elevator and I'd spend the weekend building a polygamous harem in the mean streets of SLC.
But we made it down safely and were careening successfully through the crowds as people hopped out of the way in every direction. Just as we're passing Gate 8 (we had to hit 12!) some chick is shaking what she's got and totally ignoring that we're honking and yelling for her to get out of the way. The people around her end up saying "She's got her headphones on!" rather than tapping her and suggesting getting out of our way.
So my driver finally goes around her but we're moving slow due to the crowds. Just as we roll slowly past her I leaned out my arm and snapped my finger in her face as she shrieked and took off her headphones. I then said "Get a clue, sweetcakes!" to the amusement of some and the horror of others.
Best of all, the driver didn't just get me to the hall outside the gate, he drove on IN to the space and jerked to a stop right in front of the boarding pass lady. He then said, "This man has got to get on this plane!" I felt like Bruce Willis in "Die Hard" as i made it through security and ran through the boarding doors just as they were closing.
I had made it and was feeling kind of like a badass at that moment. Then, I encountered the indignity of having to ask for a seat baelt extension so I could wrap the seat belt around me. I had just flown fine on Delta but on their sub contractor airline I was suddenly too fat.
If that's not incentive to lose weight, I don't know what is. It's almost as embarrassing as the time I wasn't allowed to ride a coaster at KNott's because the safety bar couldn't fit. I told the onlookers then that i was labeled too tall. I don't think one of them believed me. Not one.


I have admittedly weird habits for a straight guy. I like musicals. I read tabloids for the celebrity gossip. And I even watch "The View." I look at it like I'm spying behind enemy lines, or at least getting a new perspective.
So, I now see life through the eyes of a fat 45 year old lesbian named Rosie.
I never encountered much gayness when I was growing up. I was raised a strict Catholic in the heart of Arkansas, so I was DOUBLE homophobic. And naive.
When I was looking for my first apartment in Chicago over a decade ago (YIKES), the rental lady said, "I've got a good place at a great price...but it's kinda near Boys Town." I thought she meant I'd be living near the Catholic boys' orphanage, not the gayest neighborhood in Chicago. So i said, "not only would I not mind living there, I'd like to volunteer."
I thought she looked at me funny as I signed the lease, but I figured, "$465 a month? HEEEEYYYYY."
The first day I moved in, a local weekly paper had a cover story saying "Welcome to Boys Town." So i sat down in a diner across the street and decided to read up on my new neighborhood. The article started by saying "I live on the gayest street in America: Belmont and Hawthorne in Chicago." Just then i looked out the window to see the street signs on my corner, which read "Broadway" and "Hawthorne." Yikes.
I tried to hide the fact I was living there from my family. But thenmy brother accidentally visited during Gay Pride Weekend and saw the big rainbow flags everywhere, incluidng one that was the size of a block-long building.
So he's freaking out but then when he couldn't sleep well on the floor, he wound up climbing into my futon with me. So there we wer, spending a night next to each other in a homophobic panic, thinking "Thank GOD no one's seeing this" - worrying more about people thinking we were merely gay than I was about the fact they might realize we're brothers and think of incest. But then again, we were from Arkansas, and in some parts of that state, one is a little more common than the other if you catch my drift.
Then we woke up the next morning tot he sound of booming disco and the sight of a guy in assless chaps dancing on a parade float. Gayest street in America, indeed.
Of course nothing happened to me while living there. But I made damn sure not to renew my lease, and now I realize how stupid that was. It was easily the cleanest neighborhood I've ever lived in, and loads of hot women lived there because they felt it was the safest place in the city for them. They actually paid attention to me there because being a straight guy in that neighborhood actually made me exotic.
I learned one important lesson from that year: how silly homophobia is. Some people act like they're more scared of gay people than they are of bees. And that's just crazy, because sure, a gay guy might sting you, but at least they won't swarm.
Even I don't know what that means.


I take the bus and train around Los Angeles.
Yes, you read right. I don't have a car. In Los Angeles, Car Capital of the World.
But before you laugh, know that i'm laughing doubly hard thinking about the fun you're having everytime you pay $3.75 for a gallon of gas while i'm paying $3 - total - each day for a pass that gives me all the rides I need to anywhere I wanna go in Los Angeles or the Valleys.
And while you're cursing traffic, I get to read, or take notes on the freaks around me, or take a nap. In fact, it was taking a nap that got me into this situation in the first place - when i fell asleep at the wheel nearly 4 years ago and totaled my car and lost my right to drive for 3 years. By the time i managed to legally drive again, I had come to realize that if people can take transit in NYC, the coolest city on earth, why the hell should i care what they think of me here?
But it's not all heavenly I'll admit. My sidekick in adventure, Heather, is rapidly filling up a journal with weird tales of weird people doing weird things in weird places - all aboard the bus or trains. BUt here's a few notes for now about what i think...
They call the system here Metro, or MTA. I think that stands for "Must Take Anyone." I never seem to have a problem getting my own seat, no matter how crowded the bus. After all, I'm a 300 pound narcoleptic who drools while he sleeps. Would YOU sit next to me?? I know i wouldn't if i had the choice.
But really love the ad campagins they use to make you feel better about riding. Thye say things like, "Take Metro To Flirt." Yah, right. Anyone who's ridden an LA bus or train more than twice knows there's NOBODY you'd wanna hit on - including ME. I once almost got puked on by a drunk Mexican guy while riding the #2 up Sunset. You never see THAT in the ads.
THey also say things like "Take Metro To Shop," with a photo of some Paris Hilton-style chick holding her Rodeo Drive purchases on board a train. Yeah, I'm SURE the train is your first choice of transportation after spending 5000 bucks on a bikini. The photo for "Take Metro To Shop" should be a little more realistic: show someone's hands turning purple from carrying 52 bags from the 99 Cents store.
I can think of a few more realistic ways they can promote the MTA. They should say, "Take Metro to Laugh...At Your Fellow Passengers." Or "Ride Metro and Meet Guys Who Wear Helmets But Have No Bikes." Or "Metro: Because You Need the Invigorating Scent of Ass in the Morning."


I suck with celebrities.
Actually, anyone who knows me, especially out here in LA, knows that I "suck UP" to celebrities. I've accidentally knocked Vince Vaughn down in a casino, reminded John Mayer of the biggest failure of his career and accidentally followed Hugh Hefner into a bathroom stall.
But those are all stories for another time. I've lured you in with my experience serving popcorn to the Pervert-in-Chief, and by God, you're getting the story you asked for.
My moment of glory took place on June 15, 1990.
NOw, I had been raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, but in a highly Republican household. My parents had raised me to hate Bill Clinton. But that day, on a seemingly lazy summer afternoon, I was working in a mall movie theater when out int he hallway, I heard a total riot break out.

People were leaning over balconies, running down escalators, and shrieking "It's him, it's him, OH MY GOD IT"S HIM." Just as I wondered if the Lord Jesus Himself had returend, I saw it was instead our Governor, Bill Clinton. I prayed to God that he wasn't seeing a movie, but sure enough, he stepped up to the box office. Then I prayed he wouldn't come over and make me serve him at the concession stand.
Then, sure enough, he walked over.

I tried to be nice: "Can I get you anything, Governor?"
"What do you think?" he asked, in his unmistakable drawl. "I'll have a popcorn and a Coke."
"What size?" i asked. As if i didn't know the answer already.
"Do ya know me?" he joked. "Jumbo of course."
"Would you like butter on that?"
"Come on, man. Of course."
So I gave him the five-squeeze limit that our theatre's rules set for jumbo and slid it over to him. But that wasn't enough for our future world leader.
"Naw, man. I want you to hit it til i tell you to stop."
Now I have a feeling he wound up saying that to a few ladies over the years. Lewinsky for sure.
But I hit TEN more squirts, for a total of fifteen squirts of butter - 3 times the legal limit - before he said, "Alright, that'll do me."
As my stomach turned, I asked him waht he was doing here on a weekday. After all, wasn't there, oh, a state to run?
"Just taking my mind off the election," he said, referring to the primary that day.
"And what are you seeing?" I asked.
This was the summer of '90. We had blockbusters like "Pretty Woman" and "Hunt for Red October." But no, he chsoe a B-grade, white-trash comedy called "Daddy's Dyin', Who's Got the Will?" starring Beau Bridges, Beverly D'Angelo and Judge Reinhold. An all-star cast for sure.
While I was stunned, I realize we all make mistakes. I once spent nine bucks on seeing "Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo." And i later read an article in which Bill Clinton was asked for the three biggest regrets of his life, and he said first, was ignoring Rwanda. Second, was NOT ignoring Monica. And third was seeing "Daddy's Dyin', Who's Got the Will?"
I have a feeling meeting Hillary was a close 4th.



I answered this from my friend Chris, aka MoCheeks. Look him up in my Myspace Top 24 and add him - he's HILARIOUS. .Would love to have anyone else answer these and send the answers to me. I'll keep anyone else's answers private, of course.

You're on my friends list. I'd like to know 25 things about you. Just hit reply to sender. Thanks!

You'll be surprised how much you didn't know about your friends after this!
1. Do you have a tattoo? Nope, i'm thinking about getting something totally ridiculous put on my left shoulder blade though so that no one sees it usually but i'll know it's there. like maybe a crying clown face. everyone's always devastated by a sad clown. i'll rock that at the beach or maybe a family reunion and enjoy spreading the horror.
2. How old are you? i'm in Hollywood, i can't say. oh yeah 21.
3. Are you single or taken? Single but wish i was taken. lately people assume i am but i'm not. long story.
4. Eat with your hands or utensils? i rock it hasselhoff-style: lying on the floor, missing my mouth completely with every other bite and yelling at kids while taping it all.
5. Do you dream at night? dude, i'm a recovering narcoleptic. i used to dream all the time. but now, alas, i have no dreams left...remember, i'm in hollywood. all my dreams have been crushed.....NOT
6. Ever seen a corpse? Yes, i watched an autopsy once for a story (i'm a reporter). then the story never ran. So in a weird way i went through the most terrifying voyeuristic experience you can imagine, for nothing. you haven't felt terror til you've seen (and HEARD, eww) a bone saw in action.
7. Sugarland or Metallica? Neither. Air Supply. 'Cause I'm all out of love.
8. Do You Hate Bush? not as much as i hate the man pulling his strings. Dick Cheney is Bush's insurance against assassination, 'cause no one will ever wanna take out Bush if they know they're gonna be stuck with Cheney. Notice how they never seem ot be in the same room? That's cause they don't wanna give someone a chance to nail both. HERE COMES THE
9. Whats your philosophy on life and death? I'm Catholic and not one of those "ooh, i'm traumatized by Catholic school and i gave it up" ones. so i'd like to think there's life after death, with a heaven. I guess i'll find out someday. We all will.
10. If you could do anything with me, and have no one know, what would it be? Well if i tell you, everyone would know. Probably rob a bank.
11. Do you trust the police? NO. N-O. NO. Read my blog. It tells how the LAPD jacked me up one night for NOTHING. They said I matched a robbery suspect's description "to a T." I'm 6'3, 300 pounds, was wearing a black beret, red and white checkered vans and a dark blue pinstriped blazer with black shirt and pants. Who else on EARTH looks like that? Oh and best of all, when i called to complain i forced the division police chief to describe who they were really looking for. The real suspect was black. I'm, um, not. NWA said it best, and I'm not talking about "Express Yourself." On the other hand, i've been mugged twice in my life and both times the cops nailed the perp and got me my money back. So in other words, like everyone else, I hate 'em til I need 'em. Sad.
12. Do you like Country music? I'm from Arkansas. Had enough for a lifetime.
13. What is your fondest memory of me? You freaking out over the roach-like bug on the sidewalk outside Fred 62 restaurant in Los Feliz on my birthday-party night.
14. If you could change anything about yourself what would it be? Answering surveys like this at 545 in the morning rather than being sane and staying asleep like a normal person. That, and I wouldn't be afraid to drive (totaled my car once folks thanks to a seizure, and once is enough). 15. Would you cheat? Not in a relationship, but I paid $50 to a guy in high school for a semester's worth of chemistry exams after he swore up and down the teacher never changes the tests so i could look up the answers and memorize them. Problem was, the dude selling had a 78 average. So i didn't get good grades, but it was damn easy to get that 78.
16. What do you wear to sleep? In support of our troops, i sleep commando. Either that or the vomit someone slathered on me on the bus home. i like to change it up.
17. Have you ever peed in a pool? Have i ever NOT? Come on folks. Putting that red dye in doesn't shame me when i've gotta go, i gotta go. You've got chlorine, and you're not drinking it anyway.
18. Would you hide evidence for me if I asked you to? Not if it was a murder. But if it was drugs (i don't use but I think the drug war is silly for the most part), sure. I'm not helping though if you're so drunk you pooped yourself. that's on you. (well, literally)
19. If I only had one day to live, what would we do together? Rob banks. we might get shot, but you're gonna die anyway and it might as well be exciting.
20. Which do you prefer - hat or no hat? I wear a beret everywhere. Does that count?
21. Do you Mosh at metal shows? When i used to go to them, sure. i once passed out at a club show after some asswipe climbed onstage, acted like he wanted the crowd to support a stage dive, and then he jumped feet first into my chest. That was the last time i ever went NEAR a mosh pit.
22. What's your favorite color? Red. Damn, can't think of anything funny to say about that.
23. If you could bring back anyone that has passed, who would it be? Serious answer: my Uncle George. Funny answer: Golda Meir. (I just think her name sounds funny, im not in love with her or anything. she's DEAD, people!)
24. Tell me one interesting/odd fact about you? I have a clergy card for Universal Life Church (and officiated a wedding) and a member ship card for Scientology, but I think both are jokes. 25. What was your first impression of me? This dude's HILARIOUS, of course.
26. Have you ever done drugs? Pot twice. That, and a raging addiction to Tylenol.


OK, so these are from like July '07. But i haven't figured out how to post the newer ones from before first, so have at these. it'll only take a sec...

Paris Hilton had a rough time in prison. She learned the hard way not to order the tossed salad.

Some of the summer movies are just ridiculous. I mean come on, "Die Hard 4"? Bruce Willis is so old now the only way he'll die hard is by popping Viagra.

Al Gore's son just got busted for possession of pot while racing 100 mph down the freeway. At least he was driving a Prius. And the pot? Talk about keeping it green.

L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa just got busted for having an affair with an anchor from Telemundo. Can you blame her though? His Sabado was Gigante!


These are three related posts from my Myspace a few months back...But read them from the Jesus one, then Paris, then this top one to really get it.

I posted the story and a bulletin about my encounter with what I thought was the Lord or at least His emissary, and got just 4 hits in two hours.
I posted the story and a bulletin of my encounter with Paris Hilton, and it got 5 hits in 1 minute. Then I wound up with a total of 30 in two hours.
So, Paris is 7.5 times more popular than Jesus. At least among my friends.
And I'm a Catholic and Christian. WOW.
Experiments are interesting.
We're all gonna burn.
Kidding (well sort of).
It really says more about the world we're in now, and the media that i'm part of professionally, i guess.
Even if you don't think Jesus is divine, He was at least a historic figure whose impact has been felt around the world for 2000 years, whether you see it as good or bad.
Paris Hilton? As Jon Stewart would say, "Not so much."
We all need to dig a little deeper in however we see the world, is all i'm sayin'.
Then again, i'm the one posting these stupid stories so I'm part of the problem...:P


Saturday night I went to the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood and was chilling in the lobby (OK, my friends and i couldn't get into Teddy's, but YOU try!). So then while I'm sipping a martini and trying not to stare at two blonds making out in the chair next to me (Hey, it was crowded! Where ELSE could i go?!), I saw a blond walk by ultra-slutty, hips shakin' everywhere.
I didn't catch her face, but my friend Allan did. He's a Brit, so that means he has an automatic in with any woman, anywhere, anytime. I heard him say "Hello!" and the blond who just sashayed by leaned into his face and said "Helloooooo" before walking on again.
Allan and our boy Bobby kept trying to get into Teddy's for 2 hours after that but to no avail. Apparently Paris says "hellooooo" (and likely much more) to lots of guys. It was only after he was rejected from entering that Allan made mention of Paris' fashion choices.
'She was wearing hooker stockings, and she looked wasted!"
Amazing how perceptive we get after being rejected.
This isn't a diss on Allan. At least she said "Hellooooo" to him. I turned my eyes back to the floor show in the seat next to me.


i want to share a profound spiritual experience i had about an hour ago, with you...(Bear with me!!!) I've been stressing over having three different big opportunities lurking just a phone call away, but not getting the phone call either way. So before going in the office today, I sat down on a bench around the corner and tried to pray intensely for the first tmie in ages. (I pray but casually, this was INTENSE...) So instead of just begging God for these things, I tried to think of all the things i'm happy for, and how much better my life is than ever before, and for just having the opportunities that are this close in the first place. I even recalled the AA Serenity Prayer (I do not want what i haven't got" is part of it) and I'm not even an AA person!! My eyes were scrunched tight, i'm starting to feel a glow, and then suddenly... I hear a voice saying, "Brother, can i sit next to you?" I open my eyes to see a guy who looks like Jesus: big beard, flowing brown hair, a peaceful smile. Of course, he was wearing a Tshirt rather than robes, AND he had a gut which isn't normally how the world sees the Lord. But i think, "Wow, is this a sign?" And i don't want to be rude, so I said "sure, have a seat." So he sat. He was peaceful, smiling. I wondered what wisdom I could glean from this divine encounter. I kickstarted the conversation, by saying, "So how are you?" "Fine, brother," he said, nodding his head. "It's all good. You know that, right?" Ahhh, yes, the time-honored wisdom of hippies and hip-hoppers: It's all good. I take a quick glance to heaven and think, "Wow, this is deep, God." But the man had more to say... "I had 40 last night. It's wonderful." "40 what?" I asked. "Blots." Hmmm. "Excuse me?" I asked. "Like acid." "Yeah, brother. I've been up 17 hours. Did you see the Transformers?" "The movie?" I ask, suddenly nervous, wondering if 17 hours while high on acid might result in a sudden attack upon me. "What movie?" he replies. "You know, the robots that are cars. They're everywhere. I saw them today. Right there. They use diesel, man. In shots." I suddenly realized i was late for work. Actually, eager to go anywhere. "Have good day," i said. "yeah, man. It's all good." So what did i learn? Im not really sure. Maybe it was God laughing at my worry and telling me to lighten up. Or maybe it was just a drug-crazed bum on a bench. I can go either way.


Many of you know that I'm from Arkansas. Arkansas is known for two things: Wal-Mart and President Clinton (which by extension means we're also known for ill-advised BJs from interns, but I digress).
You can read about my experience with President Clinton in another blog entry, "Buttering Up the President."
So today, we'll stick to talking about Wal-Mart and discount stores.
Now, first of all, Wal-Marts are HUGE. Everyone knows that I realize, but a comedian named Eddy Strange once made me laugh harder than I ever have at a comic when he said about ten years ago, "I don't know why they call them Wal-Mart, because at some point when you're walking in the store it's so big that you can no longer see any walls." Granted, he said that while flailing his hands around like an epileptic monkey (he WAS, indeed, Strange) so maybe it was funnier then in his delivery.
But i must say, that Wal-Mart is nothing to be proud of. It's got a crappy name, its design is crap and it's products are outright shite. But somehow they've taken over the world because it's more important to get stuff cheap than well-made these days.
But it still has a stigma of being an embarrassing spot to shop among other poor white trash.
Here in L.A., there are no Wal-Marts (thank GOD!!!) except in the outer fringes like Monrovia. Instead, we have the 99 Cents store. To me, those are even worse.
If you go shopping at a 99 Cents store, you have admitted to the world that you are a cheap bastard who has given up on life itself. I find it amazing that people are willing to subject their intestines to off-brand cans of barely identifiable crab meat that look like they fell off a truck back in 1978. But hey, they're 99 cents! Or better yet (NOT!), two for a dollar!
You get the most pathetic DVDs there that even pirating street vendors won't touch, cheap off-brand toothpaste, flies hovering over what little produce there is (mmmmm, if you want lime-green, sour and hard bananas, they've got 'em!) and occasionally a book like the autobiography of say, ZZ Top.
All these goods, in a strange and total rebuke of capitalism, are equally priced at a dollar. More amazingly, I think I'm more likely to blow chunks after trying to read the ZZ Top bio than I am after eating the knock-off brand of chili in a can.
I'm always tempted to ask for a price check and see if the cashiers fall for it. I can't imagine standing there, day after day, saying "One dollar. One dollar. One dollar." Talk about putting your GED to good use.
And yet, in L.A., EVERYONE seems to admit shopping there. They never seem to see the utter shame of stepping foot in a store that sells rejected goods that even slave-labor sweatshops won't own up to making. Instead, it's somehow COOL to buy at these stores, and their front windows are generally shiny and well-stocked, making it seem like you're about to enter a Warhol painting that satirizes American consumer culture rather than a cheapass store.
Finally, I think that 99 Cents stores should be used in LA's transit ad campaigns. When the ads - which are always plastered on buses and therefore trying to make the very very sad riders feel cooler about their situation - say things like "Take Metro to Shop," I think they need to stop showing Paris Hilton clones hopping the bus with gold-lined purses bought on Rodeo Drive.
What they need to show is a closeup of a hand turning purple from its fingers holding 52 bags from the 99 Cents store.
That's my story and i"m sticking to it


I wrote this in August but deal with it. It holds true....

THINGS I LOVE ABOUT L.A. (first in a series)
OK, so I've lived in two of America's biggest cities now, Chcago and L.A., and I've visited NYC enough that I may as well live there. New York's still the bomb (figuratively, and hopefully not ever LITERALLY but then again I dont really believe in Al Qaeda as a domestic threat or anything other than a boogeyman to help the government scare us into submission every few months). Chicago is still where my heart is (or was for a long while at least).
But last night, coming home from a date and waiting on a bus (which has to be one of the things i love AND hate about L.A. - the bus and train system - but more on that in a sec), I realized that I now know the city better through weird and convoluted bus routes rather than the most efficient way to get anywhere by driving. I can tell you how to get from Pasadena to The Grove but it'll take you about 75 stops to get there and you'll be visiting Eagle Rock, Glendale, Los Feliz, and Hollywood while trying to get there. Meanwhile, I have now officially completely lost all sense of how to offer driving directions.
Along those lines, I love how my friends scream at me on the relatively rare occasions I ask for a ride: "Which highway do we take?" they ask. I tell them "I don't know anymore, it's been over four years since i drove." Then they wind up screaming as they wonder if I meant the 5 east or west, or the 2 North or South, or whatever combo. It's all Greek to me now. They should just be glad I'm not falling into a narcoleptic coma on them anymore, which is what led to me needing transit in the first place.
So I took someone i met a week ago out to my version of a tour of L.A.- which involves taking my guest on a tour of at least one (1) creepy Scientology facility (thankfully there are LOADS to choose from in Hollywood!), then a tour of LA's closest thing to Greenwich Village (Los Feliz, and particular the Wacko gallery and kitsch store - trust me, you HAVE to go. After all, where else are you going to buy an EXTREMELY limited-edition, full-size, bobble-headed talking piggybankd of Frankenberry from the old cereal commercials???), before a jaunt on the bus down Hollywood Boulevard (truly, the ONLY way to see the "real" L.A. and the desperation within!) and through the alternately Jewish and gay enclave of Fairfax Village (you just don't see enough gay Jews around, at least not the ones who wear those hats - I guess they're not fashionable enough) before being deposited at the Farmers Market and The Grove.
While at the Grove, my kitsch-o-rama explosion of a day brought us to a sing-along screening of "Hairspray" at which no one actually sang along (it's hard to bust out full-voiced when you can read the words but don't know the melodies yet) but it's such a great movie anyway (probably my favorite flick this year, and I see a LOT of films!) that it didn't matter. You head out from there into the faux village of The Grove and ride the double-decker trolley through everything (ride on top so you can actually for real hug a tree - it's that height, my fellow liberals, so you can finally live up to the "tree-hugger" name!)
Once down on the ground, see some crazy art at the gallery nearby (not sure what the name is, but it's right near the end of the trolley line) and then head into yet another kitschy '50s shop where there's plenty of room to bust a move in the spacious aisles as they blast out groovy tunes like "Rehab." I'm taking dance classes from the choreographer of the Backstreet Boys as my weight loss program, so i had to bust a move sometime!
Self-editorial note: Man, does my weekend sound gay. But as Seinfeld said, not that there's anything wrong with that. :P Just remember, I was on a date. With a woman, people.
Finally, it was off to Canter's Deli, which gives you the best damn dinner in the world for like 12 bucks. Pickled herring (sounds gross, looks worse, but trust me mmmm-mmmm!!), matzo ball soup, sweet and sour cabbage and potato pancakes with sour cream and applesauce. So now, just like Fairfax Village, I'm sounding both gay AND Jewish.
I split off from there but then on the way back i set foot in the Bally's in Hollywood for the first time. Man, Pasadena's Bally's is a hellhole compared to this! How can I be paying the same amount as I would for Hollywood and not have a pool, sauna, hot tub, jogging track or exercise machines with individualized TV screens??? There truly are two Americas, as John Edwards keeps telling us!!!!
So, there ya go. Laugh at me if you want for taking transit, but it gives me great material, constant adventure (fear of dying gets the heart rate up!), and has helped me make connections among the city's neighborhoods that i would never have dreamed possible while driving. ANd I managed to mock Scientology, nearly buy a Frankenberry bobblehead bank, ride dangerously through Hollywood, see "Hairspray' before touring the Grove and polish it all off with a spectacular Jewish meal all in seven hours. Three more hours and I managed to get a workout in and be home!
Randy Newman was right when he wrote "I Love L.A."

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


These are some of my oldies but goodies, i'm getting ready to get back into making these regularly but just thought may as well share and people can remember the events anyway...


(OSAMA BIN LADEN TAPE): a) Osama bin Laden released a new videotape recently. Is anyone even scared of this guy anymore? He’s always seen walking through the mountains in those robes with a big stick. He’s not a terrorist – he’s Gandalf.
b) And I love the latest photos of him with the little white shawl over his head. He looks like Mother Teresa with a beard.
c) Osama’s supposed to be the world’s best-funded terrorist. So isn’t it time he upgrades to DVDs?
d) It’s been five years since Osama did anything to us. Osama bin Laden? More like Osama Been Lazy.
e) He also says he wants a truce. Yeah, he’s been in that cave so long, he’s offered to knock it off if we just hook him up with the Playboy Channel.

(JAKE GYLLENHAAL’S CAREER) Jake Gyllenhaal just played a soldier in “Jarhead,” and now he’s a gay cowboy in “Brokeback Mountain.” His next movie, he plays a cop. He just needs to play an American Indian and a construction worker, and he’ll officially be the Gayest Actor Ever.

(TOILET BIRTH) a) A woman just gave birth while on a toilet, while claiming she had no idea she was pregnant. I’ve heard of dropping the kids off at the pool, but this is ridiculous.
b) Now I’m just waiting for that ExLax endorsement she so richly deserves.
c) She said she didn’t think she was pregnant because her doctor told her she couldn’t. I have a feeling her boyfriend told her the same thing.

(BABY JESSICA MARRIES) The woman who was once known as Baby Jessica just got married. She should be well prepared for marriage….considering she’s already spent plenty of time trapped in a dark hole of despair.

(GEORGIA SEGREGATION) Georgia’s governor has signed legislation repealing 1950s-era laws designed to keep the state’s public schools segregated, saying their existence tarnished Georgia’s reputation. Next up for Georgia: freeing the slaves!

(LYNNDIE ENGLAND TRIAL) Attorneys for Abu Ghraib torture queen Lynndie England have sought leniency in her sentencing, claiming that she was oxygen-deprived at birth, speech-impaired and had trouble learning to read. However, the judge in the case disregarded the request, noting that those conditions are merely the standard requirements for enlisting in the Army.

(AL QAEDA SURVEILLANCE TAPES) The CIA admitted they have a backlog of 120,000 hours of Al Qaeda surveillance tapes still remaining to be analyzed. However, they have vowed to catch up next Tuesday, in what is sure to be the most bitchin’ overnight study session ever.

(WORLD’S LARGEST JETLINER) The world’s largest jetliner, the Airbus 380, successfully completed its first full flight, taking more than 800 people into the European skies. Sounds nice, but in keeping with bus tradition, the flight offered surly service, a passenger list filled with nutjobs and parolees, and stopped at roadside McDonalds every two hours.

(BUSH VS. NORTH KOREA) President Bush and North Korean leaders exchanged a stinging array of harsh words and insults last week, with Bush calling Kim Jong Il a ‘tyrant’ and Jong Il responding that Bush was a ‘philistine’ and a ‘hooligan.’ Tensions worsened throughout the day as Bush called Jong Il ‘fartface’ and Jong Il responded with charges that Bush eats his own snot.

(RUSSIAN TERRORIST ATTACKS) Russian President Vladimir Putin responded to the recent terrorist attacks in his country by reorganizing the government with movies that will greatly limit citizens’ freedoms and potentially rig future elections in his favor. Human rights groups the world over called it a dangerous return to Communism, while President Bush just called him a “copycat.”

(VOTE OR DIE CAMPAIGN) Christina Aguilera has been announced as a spokeswoman for P. Diddy’s Vote or Die campaign. P. Diddy won her services over the promoters of the Cover Your Ass Or Catch Chlamydia, Girlfriend! campaign.

(ARETHA FRANKLIN TOUR) Legendary soul singer Aretha Franklin is headed for the West Coast, sparking fears among resident that they will finally experience the damage suffered by hurricane victims in Florida. Franklin refuses to fly, citing safety concerns, and in a statement the FAA said the fear of flying Aretha was shared by the airline industry due to federal cargo weight limitations. (PAUSE) I know that’s wrong. She’s an enormous talent, ladies and gentlemen.

(SEVEN HOUR INTERVIEW) Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak engaged in a staggering seven-hour interview with an Egyptian TV reporter last week. The world wondered how this was accomplished, until it was revealed that the broadcast was sponsored by Depends.

(EVOLUTION IN SCHOOLS) The Kansas Board of Education is holding a series of hearings on whether to continue the teaching of evolution in its public schools.
First, Kentucky, and now Kansas. Why is it that the states that attack evolution re the ones least likely to have experienced it?

(WAR ON CHILDHOOD OBESITY) This week, American scientists announced the need for a war on childhood obesity. In response, President Bush declared war on America’s fat kids, saying “They make a big target, and they’re easy to catch up to.”

(MADONNA’S ISRAEL KABBALAH TRIP) In insane-diva news, Madonna took a trip to Israel to show off her devotion to Kabbalah. While there, she refused to throw pieces of bread in the ocean to rid herself of her sins. When asked why she didn’t participate in the ritual, Madonna replied, “There isn’t enough yeast in the world to atone for what I’ve done,” but critics replied she should just do what comes naturally and air out her crotch.

(DAN RATHER/”60 MINUTES” SCANDAL) Dan Rather has been barred from participating as a moderator in 2004’s presidential debates. Debate officials justified the decision by noting that there’s an onstage limit of two liars at any one time.

(RUNAWAY BRIDE) Runaway bride Jennifer “Crazy Eyes” Wilbanks has already landed a book deal. She’ll be writing “She’s Just Not That Into You.” She’s also signed a deal with Southwest Airlines as the spokeswoman for its “Gotta Get Away” ad campaign.

(OSAMA’S BROTHER’S FASHION LINE): One of Osama Bin Laden’s 52 siblings had the copyright rejected for his Bin Laden line of clothing, because it would upset the world’s citizens in this time of terror. Reached for comment, Bin Laden said, “That’s really a shame, because these were fashions to die for.” His proposed slogan for the clothing line was, “Bin Laden clothing: Because when you’re ready to meet Allah, meet Allah in style.”

(SOCIAL SECURITY) We don’t understand the Social Security plan and we don’t believe the President does either. However, the plan offered a sliver of hope, as it marked the first time President Bush has ever used the word “progressive” in a sentence.

(MICHAEL JACKSON TRIAL) While uncertainty remains in the continuing Michael Jackson molestation trial, prosecutors have disclosed that his debt grows by up to $30 million a year - proving that the one thing he’s definitely screwed are his creditors.

(POPE JOHN PAUL II FUNERAL) Pope John Paul II had his funeral last Friday morning, drawing an audience estimated at over 100 million worldwide to numerous news outlets. Even Joan Rivers showed up for the TV Guide Channel, noting that the funeral was “the biggest red carpet event in history.”

(PAPAL RUMORS) Rumors are swirling that the Vatican will pick an African cardinal to be the next Pope. Great, that happens, and six months later we’ll have the movie from Chris Rock. “Black Pope” :he’s bringing soul to the Vatican.

(BRAIN RESEARCH) Brain researchers have reported that they’ve learned how to make fruitflies jump to the right and the left and even fly via remote controls, even when their brains are missing. What they have yet to prove is why anyone would want to vote Republican.

(BRITNEY SPEARS’ BABY) In even freakier science new, Britney Spears has announced she’s pregnant. Scientists believe that her child will also be able to jump up and down, side to side, in sexually suggestive positions, also without exhibiting any trace of a brain.

(MISSISSIPPI DRUG LAWS) In Mississippi, health officials have called for a “pre-emptive strike” to stop children from getting hooked on methamphetamines. President Bush responded by launching nukes at the beleaguered state, stating “they told me to.”

(EXECUTING THE RETARDED) The U.S. Supreme Court this week that it’s uncool for states to kill retards. Reached for comment, the head of the Association for Retarded Citizens said, “I never thought this day would come ‘til we had one of our own in the White House.”

(NEW WHEELCHAIR): Scientists this week announced a new motorized wheelchair that can run across sand, rocks and up and down staircases. In Hollywood, excited Warner Brothers studio executives said that they are prepared to start production on “Superman 5” the moment scientists can make the wheelchair fly.

(NEW TYPE OF BEER): Now women can throw back a brew made specifically with them in mind. Majestic Brewing of Louisville, Colorado, says it has crafted a new cream ale called Anu Ale designed for women. The marketing slogan for the beer is “Ladies, we’ll bring the barley and hops. You bring the yeast.” Another suggested slogan: “Anu Ale. I’ll take mine in a B cup.”

(PHOTO CAPTION OF MAN WITH ARM TRANSPLANT, SMILING): Matthew Scott, the first United States citizen to receive an arm transplant, announced that his body is not rejecting the new arm and that after a year with it, he can turn a doorknob and sense cold, heat and pain. And he hopes that soon he’ll be able to use his arm for the most important young male activity of all.

(JESSE JACKSON AIDS TEST): In another health note, Jesse Jackson is going to get an AIDS test as part of the fight to increase AIDS awareness among African-American men. In keeping with his rhyming style, the campaign will be called, “How to Live With the HIV.”

WHY POLLS ARE A LOAD OF CRAP aka an insightful analysis of the New Hampshire primary (NOT)

"In the end there may be no smoking gun. Those polls may have been accurate, but done in by a superior get-out-the-vote effort, or by very late deciders whose motivations may or may not ever be known. They may have been inaccurate because of bad modeling, compromised sampling, or simply an overabundance of enthusiasm for Obama on the heels of his Iowa victory that led his would-be supporters to overstate their propensity to turn out. (A function, perhaps, of youth.)" - columnist on (and head of ABC News' polling), Jan. 8, 2008 referring to how Hillary Clinton could beat Barack Obama when the polls had shown him going in with a double-digit lead

So the New Hampshire primary has come and gone, and - shocking! - Hillary Clinton isn't dead in the presidential race after all. Why, if you listen to all the big-media pundits, the story is that she's the "comeback kid" just like Bill was - even though she'd only lost one damn state, the ONLY state to vote before - Iowa.

And Mike Huckabee lost in another shocking! twist on the GOP side, revealing that just about every other primary election season in our nation's HISTORY, just because he won the first state doesn't mean he wins them all.

I'm a political junkie, almost as much as I am a movie addict and a tabloid whore. But this year, when the election is so very important (as EVERY candidate is telling us, especially when they just won) I've come to realize that the big media (meaning networks, CNN, New York Times, Fox News, etc.) treat the politicians in the presidential race with the same breathless, pointless, gossipy style as they treat Hollywood gossip. Each! individual! state! just HAS to be the most important one ever! and the shocking! fact that voters in New Hampshire might think differently than those in Iowa never seems to cross the media moguls' minds.

So Barack wins one state and suddenly he's our first black president. Hillary cries her way to a victory in New Hampshire and suddenly she's our first woman president. Huckabee praises Jesus enough to win over evangelicals in Iowa, and then scares all the secular New Hamprshire voters into the arms of John McCain.

What the pollsters don't take into account are these things:

Polls are crap. Unless you ask the SAME 508 people how they feel about candidates throughout the polling seson, you'll always have differences in the results because it's always a different group of 508 people being asked. They might have had different opinions all along - meaning, if you seek out a different group each time, OF COURSE they'll have different answers, but there's no way of knowing how EACH group really changed their opinion from week to week. Ask the SAME group how they feel each time or don't bother at all.

Why on earth do the media think that people in Iowa or New Hampshire influence ANYONE to do ANYTHING? It's merely a stupid tradition that they get to go first, but seriously, these two states should have no grater importance than anyplace else. What other decision do we ever rely on these states to make for us? I've been to 41 states, but I've never been to New Hampshire and I only set foot in Iowa because i had to and it was on the way to someplace i DID give a damn about.

So now what? The only thing that's clear is that nobody wants Fred Thompson to be their president. He's only gotten like 2 percent in each state so far. I knew that he'd do bad from the beginning because he looks like death warmed over. I mean, the President has to REPRESENT, right? And do we really want a bald wrinkled guy with a drawling Southern accent to be the one doing that?

All i gotta say about that is i'm predicting a "very special" episode of "Law and Order" any day now in which Thompson' s character is magically back on the case again.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


OK, so we're all supposed to be scared about Osama bin Laden, the stick thin crazy man who's a little disgruntled over being like 27th out of 55 kids and has to talk real scary to get the world to pay attention to him. But as I pointed out in one of my first blogs here, sorry, it ain't workin' on me, O-dog.
He looks ridiculous walking through mountains wearing robes and carrying a stick. Sure I'd like to shove it up where the sun don't shine and leave him baking in the sun like a rotisserie chicken for what he did on 9/11 but I just don't think he's capable of that much anymore, with the whole world watching him.
To me he's just Dr. Evil pathetically making threats that make no sense - i mean seriously, you gotta love how the idiot jihadis talk: "All praise be to Allah, let us make the infidels cry out for mercy a thousand times over..." Yada yada yada. If you're gonna try to speak English, at least speak like an actual native-English person speaks. Learn a little slang, know what i'm sayin'?
So I roped y'all in to read about China. THERE'S some brothers I'm scared about.
First of all, there's the whole fact that there's a billion of 'em. Ever since Louis Farrakhan came up with the Million Man March on Washington (which you may recall, was actually the 432,563 Man March or something like that), I've been living in fear of the Chinese going "Good idea! Let's have a Billion Man March on Washington!" I mean, who else is gonna pull one off, right?
But more importantly, I think we're seeing these last few months that the real threat to our way of life in America isn't coming from a bunch of guys whose idea of clothing is king-size bedding. It's coming from the utterly crappy crap (no other way to put it, even if i am an English major!) that the Chinese have managed to flood our markets with.
First there was poisoned toothpaste. Then we had to recall hundreds of thousands of Chinese made tires. Oh, and then there's the whole deal of recalling millions of toys because the Chinese decided that lead paint was perfectly acceptable for children after all. Now, the Drudge Report greets me today with the news that China has been putting out poisoned BLANKETS on the US market. BLANKETS!!!!! (Yes, I'm having a stroke!)
If i can't brush my teeth, give a toy to my nieces and nephews, ride in a car or even curl up and SLEEP safely, well, then, dammit I feel THREATENED!
Back in the early '90s, I recall that the US trade deficit with China was 7 to 1. That means China was selling us SEVEN TIMES the goods that we were managing to sell them!!! HOW is this POSSIBLE? They have 700 MILLION MORE PEOPLE!!! MAYBE you'd think we'd be able to catch up a little on the sales figures just through the sheer difference in POPULATION?!
Of course, they've got a billion people to keep occupied, so there's a lot more people working to make the crap that they're selling us. And it's the fact that they can generate all that crap that allows our market to be flooded and make us head down to Wal Mart to buy the crap and feel good that we saved 62 cents on air freshener, even if that's what is next on the list of things designed to poison us.
Remember Tianenmen Square? In 1989, the idiots in charge of China decided it was time to crush a bunch of students and other citizens who just wanted a little democracy and freedom - and no doubt an end to the making of CRAP - and so they ran OVER people, literally (!), with tanks on WORLDWIDE TELEVISION.
And what did we do??? NOTHING really. Oh, Bush Senior said it was just terrible - no doubt regretting that the loss of a few thousand innocent people would shrink the labor pool over there and cause less goods and higher prices here - but within six months he was sending over our National Security Advisor on a top secret mission to smooth things over and let the buttheads in charge know that it was all gonna be A-OK. SIX MONTHS!!!
And HOW LONG have we been harboring a grudge against Cuba, for LESS?! I mean CUBA is an ISLAND that makes CIGARS. THAT"S a threat?! At least the cigars are considered GOOD!!!
So we said everything's great, China, keep making your crap and we'll leave you alone so you can keep imprisoning Catholic priests and killing Christian missionaries and imposing forced abortions if a family has an extra kid - especially if it's a girl, go ahead and kill her - and now the cherry on top of the sundae...We look the other way as they are reportedly removing organs FOR SALE from LIVING members of the Falun Gong movement!
Oh, and don't worry about controlling Tibet and keeping the Dalai Lama in exile for fear of his life either, China.
And what do we do? We keep heading to Wal Mart and telling ourselves it's great that we saved five bucks on a defective Chinese tricycle that's going to wind up exploding the second your kid hops a curb.
We're NOT going to put the pieces together in either our homes or in Washington and realize that the real threat is coming from over there. That little by little they are screwing with us and ruining us and that they have every intention of being militaristic and expansionistic and likely entering a whole new Cold War with us someday.
Here in Pasadena California, where I live, we'll go one even better for the pinheads in charge there. It's not enough that the Olympic Committee rewarded China for its FABULOUS human rights record by giving them the 2008 Games - nope, the wankers in charge of the Rose Parade have decided "let's give China a float!!" Yippee!!
'Cause after all, nothing says good family fun like a country that crushes its people with tanks and rips out the still-beating organs of people who have a spiritual inclination. I'm thankful that I work at a newspaper that has the guts to say this is WRONG.
But I'm ashamed to live in a city and a country that won't back us up.
The real threat isn't some Gandalf clone with a dialysis machine that he can't even plug in at his cave. The real threat is laughing their heads off in palatial digs in Beijing.


What four more months of shaking it like a Polaroid has done for me

I can remember the moment when I decided to really get serious about losing weight. I had already been in a training program for about six weeks and had lost eight pounds – a drop in the bucket compared to my mammoth 6-foot, 3-inch, 320-pound frame. Because of my other career as a comedian, I thought I only wanted to lose about 40 more, leaving me at around 270 and able to stay hiding behind the mask of being the big lovable lug.
I figured that at least I wouldn't be morbidly obese like Chris Farley anymore, and in the relatively svelte range of Drew Carey. After all, Americans always seem to think fat is funny.

But then I looked myself in the mirror. I'd done it for years but must have been what I jokingly consider "reverse anorexic": instead of never looking thin enough, I never looked big enough. But this time I was sitting on the floor of a ..:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Pasadena dance studio known as the Athletic Garage, staring at myself in wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling mirrors as my T-shirt rode up and exposed my basketball-sized belly while I attempted to maintain a yoga position ("attempted" being the key word here).

It was then, finally, that I realized there was no purpose to being so fat, nothing happy or funny about what I was doing to myself and my health. I had always been a little bit bigger than most guys throughout my adulthood, but my weight had really soared an additional 50 pounds during the summer of 2000 and wound up playing havoc with all aspects of my existence: causing a nasty sleep disorder that resulted in lost jobs, failed opportunities, a wrecked relationship and ultimately, a totaled car.

Yet it was only when a guy named Joey Dowdy came into the PW offices early this past spring and offered to coach me in his holistic Bodytude program – an approach that forces participants to dig deep and get real about the reasons behind their self-destructive eating and exercise habits, while also having fun learning to dance – that I decided to really try and do something about it. I first wrote about the program and Dowdy – who was the original choreographer for the Backstreet Boys and now teaches at the Athletic Garage – in another Web-based article in April (, when I had lost my first five pounds.

Now, four months later, I'm happy to report I've lost at least 25 more. This is another episode in my story.

"So much of being overweight is rooted in the psychological and spiritual parts of the self, and not just in the poor physical choices or circumstances someone finds themselves in," says Dowdy, who admits to having been overweight as a child himself before embarking on fitness as his life's vocation. "You have to give yourself a cut off point to let everything go. If you're holding onto job, stress, other things, you'll bring weight with you. But this approach [dance as exercise] is supposed to release that and work through it. It's about showing people that 'This is about me and having a good time and just enjoying myself.'"

Because of my gargantuan size at the start of this endeavor, Joey worked with me one-on-one for the first eight weeks of his program. Meeting at the Athletic Garage each Thursday morning for an hour, he led me through a program of stretches and dance moves that progressively enabled me to improve my cardio and pulmonary stamina while also being a lot of fun.
According to Elinor Peters, family nurse practitioner and certified diabetic educator at the Arroyo Seco Medical Group in Pasadena, people with serious weight issues have to realize that their problems are actually similar to those of alcoholics and drug addicts. They have to hit a rock-bottom point if they ever want to change – a point like my truly seeing myself in the mirror.

"I think that obesity depends on a person's readiness to make a change, so you have to figure out whether somebody really wants to make a change and give them an education on the benefits loosing this weight will do for them," explains Peters, who has teamed up with Dowdy in developing Bodytude to work with individuals like myself. "I'll often see great success stories with patients who have great stick-to-it-iveness. It took months and months to gain all the weight they did, so it's going to take months to take it off. You have to have patience to go through the whole process. Someone who thinks they can take care of it all in a couple weeks, they're not realistic."

Peters utilizes her background as a diabetic educator to coach people in proper meal planning, formally giving patients a meal plan. She also explains the food groups, pitfalls of dieting and things one must eliminate like regular Coca-Cola and high-fat foods at fast-food restaurants.

The idea is that this is a lifestyle change and that it's going to affect all aspects of their health — and she then continues to see participants on a monthly basis to discuss any problems they're having with the process. The core part of the meetings is showing her a "food diary" listing the types of meals one has in a month, allowing both the patient writing the entries and Peters herself to see where any progress or slip-ups occur in eating habits.

"I think people think they can intermix their old eating habits with the new ones and continue to lose weight," says Peters. "I find that a lot of people don't want to be on the meal plan for a week and they don't have the consistency and commitment to stay on it on a regular basis. That's the greatest pitfall in losing weight."

It is indeed a struggle to always keep making progress in the battle, for as the cliché goes, old habits do die hard. Any time you have a really bad or a truly great day, it's shockingly easy to want to turn to food to either lift your spirits or take them even higher.
It's also easy to neglect the good habits like increased exercise – for example, on a near-daily basis I've alternated working out to Dowdy's "World Dance Groove" DVD and hitting the gym – when schedules get tight. As a result, I've found that I've lost five pounds the first month, 10 more the second, then leveled off with no weight lost the third month and then shed 10 again in the fourth.

But in working with Bodytude, a big key to success comes not only from recognizing discussing the emotional and psychological issues that lead to emotional eating – and finding healthier ways to deal with them. As I adopted the mantra "I can do what I think I cannot," it carried over into positive breakthroughs in the rest of my life: transforming my standup act to a style that I'm finally truly happy about, managing to meet more people and prospective relationships, and just this week optioning a screenplay for the first time after years of trying.

Yet another bonus came in finally learning how to do the M.C. Hammer dance — the one where he placed his knees akimbo and shuffled rapidly side-to-side. I had wanted to learn it since I first saw it in 1990, and the day it became part of a class routine I was so happy I kept laughing for the entire hour. But the other key component comes from sharing the struggle with other participants.

Carla Flagg is one of the others that Dowdy is working with presently. A 37-year-old project manager for an architectural firm, Flagg has dealt with weight issues her entire life, recalling "I even gained 20 pounds quickly back when I was two years old." Yet she always loved to dance, even as she went "from being 40 pounds overweight to 60, 80, and 100 over."

The breaking point for her came in November 2005, when she survived a serious car accident and re-evaluated the way her life was going. She was 294 pounds at the time, and when she started working in Bodytude this past January, she was still 287 pounds. By the end of July, she was proud to be down to 261 pounds but hoped to eventually hit 160.

"This is the first time I've really been serious about losing weight, and talking with Joey, writing what you eat, thinking about your past and what I was doing wrong before but thinking correctly now has all helped," says Flagg, who came to Bodytude after knowing Dowdy for years in other dance classes. "This little plateau I've been at, it helps me see where I've been slipping – not doing enough exercise here, or eating too much here. It's like connecting puzzle pieces. Before I'd do one or another and it wouldn't really work and I'd give up. Not this time."

For more information on Joey Dowdy and the Bodytude program, visit


So i wrote last week about how my Mom used to make my sibs and I stay in the world's cheapest motels when we'd go on vacation, and how that all finally ended when I was 20 and she nearly got me killed by having me run to a pay phone to report a drug deal in the next room over.
The funny thing is, now I'm planning to get away for a couple days with some buddies and what do we do? Surf the internet to find the cheapest possible hotel rooms. I swear to God, I need to break this cycle.
Anyway, my mom broke her need for putting us through cheap hotels for no reason in that summer of '90. A couple years later i finished college and moved to Chicago to study at Second City. So, by the time Christmas of '97 rolled around, my dad called and offered me a trip it seemed I couldn't refuse.
First of all, he wanted to have me come with him, mom, and by brothers Lud and Nick to Disneyworld, and he was actually gonna join us on that vacation, something that almost never happened. I always had the impression that Dad was happy to send us off on trips without him because getting away from US, even if it meant staying home without us, was the perfect vacation for him.
But this time he was going, and we were going to the Happiest Place on Earth. I should have known there'd be a problem though: We were going to all load up in a rented white van and drive out to Florida and back from Little Rock. This meant TWO days each way, with five grown adults stuck into one van.
"The van will be big. It's better than the station wagon," dad said, trying to calm my flashbacks from summer after summer in my childhood, in which my mom, two brothers, me and my sister wound up wanting to kill each other while trapped in a three-day trip from Little Rock to Cali.
So I said sure, I'm in. How often do you get a chance to see Disney World?
So I flew down to Little Rock, we loaded up in the van, hit the road, yada yada yada. You probably get where this is going as far as the road trip is concerned: We were cramped in and MISERABLE within 20 minutes. We couldn't agree on any of the music. My brothers took turns farting (and then hitting each other for farting), and I just endured it all silently in the back. My mom yelled about something nearly every three minutes and my dad silently suffered, which looking back might have been a sign that something was wrong: he had a heart attack and had six bypasses the following October. (He's doing great now by the way and I found my mom yelling to be funny - we're all good. Weird but good, now.)
We get to Disney World and have 3 days to spend there: one in EPCOT (the biggest ripoff in the world), one at Disney World (awesome) and one at DIsney-MGM Studios (Ok, I take it back about EPCOT: Disney-MGM is the crappiest place on earth). I should mention here that my brother Lud had a few interesting quirks that many years later were proven to be a form of autism: chief among them being the fact he'd get a song in his head and then sing or hum it CONSTANTLY.
So he had some dumb song in his head and was humming away all the way through the first two days and then into our final day, Christmas itself, at Disney-MGM. It was bad enough that we were just coming to realize how lame-o that part of the parks was; my brother providing his own bizarre soundtrack to our crushing sense of disappointment started causing my mom to lose it.
"Please stop singing..." "la de da de da, hum hum..." "PLEASE stop humming.." "da da da la de da..." "I really can't take it anymore, please stop..."
This went on for like an hour. On Christmas morning. The Happiest Place on Earth was turning into a powder keg. People were starting to stare at us in line at different rides and shows.
And then it happened, the moment that is seared in my memory forever for producing The Greatest Photo I've Ever Taken (now sadly lost, likely in my move to LA from Chicago). I will describe it to you in vivid detail, though, readers.
My mom's endless nagging finally, like the law of physics about an unstoppable force smacking against an immovable object, crashed hard into my brother's endless singing. One nag too many, and my brother...Finally. Stopped. Singing.
Mom kept walking a few feet ahead, unaware that Lud had finally shut up. My dad and Nick were also obliviously quiet. I was the only one to notice that Lud had frozen in place and looked like he was about to short-circuit.
But even i couldn't imagine what came next.
He ran up on my mom, reared his foot back, and...KICKED HER IN THE BUTT! She let out a shriek as her hands flew to cover her butt, my dad started freaking out in Polish (he's from Poland), and Nick turned around and smacked Lud in the back so hard that he doubled over in his own agony.
So while one brother was smacking the other, my dad was yelling in an unintelligible language and my mom was in shock with her hands over her butt, I pulled out my camera and caught this Hallmark moment while trying not to laugh. It's a glorious photo, or it was: just like Jesus has an anti-Christ, so this photo was the complete antithesis of everything good and holy that Norman Rockwell had to say about the American family.
And while i'm taking that photo, all of a sudden the Disney Secret Police come running from their hideouts and confront all of us.
"Excuse me, is everything OK?" said the goof in charge.
Yeah, terrific. Wanna see my Polaroid?
"We can't have you folks kicking and hitting each other in the middle of the Magic Kingdom. We've received some complaints."
Amazingly, we pulled it together. But how many of YOU have ever been threatened with removal from Disneyland??Needless to say, we never took a family vacation all together again.


Remember when you were a kid and summer seemed to stretch on forever?
You had three whole straight months off from school. 90 days without a required thing to do. And each day seemed to have 58 hours in it, because the possibilities were endless.
ANd it was always cool to go visit your grandma in some faraway state where she'd spoil you rotten.
Yep, it was all great, and we'd go see Grandma each summer, with my mom driving cross-country in our family station wagon from Little Rock, AR to El Cajon, CA with myself and my three siblings scurrying around in the back. Mom was an amazing driver who could put truckers to shame. That's because she drove just LIKE a trucker with a meth habit, speeding every stretch of highway that she could and trying to stop as little as possible and even driving through the night when she could.
But yet despite the fact that she'd married well - my dad is a retired VA doctor - she always drove as cheaply as possible. That was one big reason she tried to avoid stopping to sleep - to save money from hotel costs. But when she DID stop, she'd pull into divey places that made the Bates Motel look like the Ritz-Carlton - and furthermore, would have my brothers and I duck down amid the luggage while taking my sister into the office and pretending that she was the only child traveling with her. Just to save ten bucks on the extra-kid fee. The whole rest of our stay, only one of us could be seen outside at a time, so that she could always tell the onwer that any of us were THE one kid she had - a claim that the owners found hard to dispute because Mom always asked for hotel rooms on the furthest side of the parking lot, away from the door - making us look like drug smugglers.
Funnily enough, it was drug smugglers who impacted our ability to travel cheaply.
See, it was the summer of '90 when my mom was driving us through the northern Cali town of Santa Maria (where Michael Jackson is put on trial whenever he diddles a kid, since Neverland is technically there). She decided it was late at night and time to stop. We pulled into (surprise) another $25 dive, did our duck and cover routine and wound up in a room just in time to watch the final episode ever of "Newhart."
Ah, what a rich source of laughter that was. But that was hardly the most exciting thing to happen that night. Nope, at about 2 a.m. my mom woke us all up by shaking us and loudly whispering, "I hear voices next door."
Unfortunately, it wasn't the sound of love - or, ok, loveMAKING - that my mom was pointing out to us. Face it, that would be weird.
No, she was hearing angry voices. ANd now we were hearing them too.
"I think there's a drug deal going on in there," she whispered.
Now, before I go further, I need to explain that my mom was and to this day remains the ultimate conspiracy theorist. Not about big things like 9-eleven or that Bush is really a lizard man, but about little things like "hey, i think the lady next door to us is running a whorehouse out of her home." And more amazingly, her hunches - including about the whorehouse - had proven right over the years. She was the true Jessica Fletcher, leaving the amateur sleuth played by Angela Lansbury on "Murder She Wrote" in the dust each week, both in her own real-life investigations of our neighbors and in solving the crimes on every show she watched within the first ten minutes.
So I knew mom was probably right about the drug dealing. But then she wanted ME to be the one to do something about it.
"Carl, you're the man of the family on this trip. You're my oldest son. Call 911."
"Um, YOU"RE near the phone mom...YOU call." I whispered back.
But she was afraid if any of us used the in-room phone we'd be heard and all wind up killed. So, like an Inuit Eskimo mother sending her son off to be a man via a solo trek through the Arctic tundra, I was ordered to get my jammies on and hotfoot it to the phone booth across the gigantic parking lot.
It's funny how, when your life's in danger, everything can seem bigger and scarier than it probably really is. So when i cracked open the door and spotted the booth, the parking lot suddenly looked like the football-stadium-size lots at Costco or a 24 hour Wal Mart. And I was gonna have to run across it in PAJAMAS without being noticed.
OK, i thought. Here goes nothing.
I pulled the door quietly shut behind me and made a mad dash, feeling like Nicolas Cage when he's chased through the town in the middle of the night in "Raising Arizona." I mean, this was just as crazy as anything Cage did in that movie.
I ran like hell, and finally made it. Sure enough, it was an old-school, glass-encased booth wiht a door, and I shut it behind me so i couldn't be heard. Like I'd be heard anyway, at 3 in the morning. If someone got that close to me, I'd have more to worry about than being HEARD, that's for sure.
I dialed 911 and tried to convey the gravity of the situation.
"Um, yeah, I'm staying with my family in this shitty motel on the main drag of town..."
"Which one, sir?"
"WHICH shitty motel?" I didn't know. This place sucked so bad it didn't even have a visible sign with its name on it. KNowing my mom, i knew it had to be the worst one.
"The shittiest one. Trust me. Just send cops to the shittiest motel in town, 'cause there's a drug deal and..."
Right then, i heard the sound of squealing tires and a loud BANG. I shrieked like the chick in the shower from "Psycho" and yelled "Oh my God, they're shooting at me. They're gonna kill me.." as I slammed the phone down in sheer terror...only to find that the BANG had come from a carload of teenagers who just had some balloons with them and decided to pop one. BANG.
But i ran for it, nonetheless. I didn't want the cops to see who i was and be visible to the jerks doing the deal. I ran all the way back to my room, only to find it locked. My brothers were laughing at me on the other side, purposely not unlocking it while watching me have a meltdown outside. Well, the world's quietest meltdown, because I didn't want to get heard.
I finally made it in by convincing them with my powers of persuasion.
"I swear to f***, if you don't open this door I'll tell them ot shoot you first." Funny how everyone's a tough guy when their life's in danger. I'm normally a puss, and have never been in a fight in my life, and here i was threatening my brothers like i was Brad Pitt in "Fight Club."
They threw open the door, i dove under a bed - i mean, i SLID like Pete Rose stealing home - and in a quivering mess, gave my family the update.
"Oh my God i called the cops, but i didn't know the name to this place..."
"WHAT?" my mom said. She was ready to send me back out there.
"This place is a dump. I told them to send police to the shittiest dump in town. It cant' be THAT hard here."
Sure enough, within five minutes, five cop cars showed up and raided the room next door. POUNDS of coke were found, guns piled up like the set of "The Sopranos," and a group of five sweaty Mexican guys who all got arrested.
We were secretly thrilled by it all, peeking thorugh the curtains and giggling. I was now the family's hero.
THe next morning, my mom went to the front office and argued with the Chinese guy who owned the place. He could barely pronounce "refund,' so he wasn't giving one. Of course, leave it to my mom to haggle for a refund on a $25 room.
But we drove out of town with an important lesson learned: no more divey motels. My mom never took us to less than a Holiday Inn again.


(I wrote this as a tryout to be a humor essayist for They want me to take a different approach, so i'm working on that but figure why have this one go completely to waste? Hope you dig it...)

Dating is stressful enough for anyone searching for Mr. or Ms. Right. But it can be downright maddening when your parents throw the pressure of finding someone of the same religion into the mix.
In this largely secular age, most people don't have to sweat that part of the dating equation anymore. But if you're raised as a member of one of the Western world's two oldest religions - in Judaism or (like me) in Catholicism - the heat is often still on from parents (and even more so from grandparents!) to marry within your own faith and keep the family traditions alive. Thankfully, contrary to general media opinion, there are plenty of perfectly attractive and hip twenty- and thirtysomethings out there who still go to synagogues and church services.

It should be easy for Catholics to find each other. After all, according to the US Census, there's more than 60 million of us in America - making us one of the largest demographics in the nation. But just because you go to the same church as a potential love interest doesn't mean you'll have anything else in common.

That's why I'm here to help my fellow Catholics figure it all out, and maybe other churchgoers might pick up a few tips too.

First, it might seem the obvious thing to do is head to any church and take a look around for the cutest guy or gal. But you have to pick the parish that best suits your personality. I've noticed that there tend to be two distinctly different kinds of parishes.

One is what I call a "party parish," located smack in the middle of one of the hottest yuppie neighborhoods in the city. This church's members have money to burn and, as such, plan wild events like ten-bar pub crawls on Saturday nights that inevitably have participants holding their hair back and begging for God's mercy long before Sunday morning. Their young adults groups are sometimes the largest singles groups in the city, and as at least one buddy of mine noted, "At this church, you're not making an offering. You're paying cover." And receiving the Communion wine also serves as the pre-party beverage of the evening for these party veterans.

On the other extreme are churches run by priests who are so rigid the parish might as well have served as a convent and seminary recruitment station. Their young adult groups actually spent their Friday nights - well, some of them anyway - listening to lectures about the suffering of Christ on the cross and other such cheerful topics.

The strange thing, though, is that the rigid church managed to produce five times the marriages that the party parish did. Then again, they say misery loves company. Or maybe hearing so many discussions of Christ's sufferings actually prepared them for the horrors to come in parenthood and lifelong fidelity.

Either way, if you don't pick a parish that suits your personal style, you won't be able to find the person whio will either.

Of course, just as there are extremes to parishes as a whole, there are also extremes to the different kinds of men and women you'll come across. I have a friend who once was a successful, good-looking engineer who managed to be quite the playboy for years - until one day he felt the urge to become a priest. While some of my women friends swoon upon seeing him and jokingly call him "Father What-A-Waste," he found true fulfillment in giving up booty calls for a Higher Calling.

On the other hand, there's plenty of guys like my buddy "Tony," who treats the Catholic sacrament of Confession (in which any sin is forgiven and kept utterly secret by the priest) like it's a car wash of the soul. "Get out there and do what you want on Friday, hit Confession on Saturday, and you're good to go for church on Sunday," he says. I'm not sure that's really what the Lord intended.

You'll find all types of women as well, but two main types spring to mind in Catholic groups: the wild child former Catholic schoolgirls (who actually exist!) and might as well have stepped out of a Britney Spears video, and the die-hard, old-school types who are so uptight they might as well be wearing burqas. Again it's odd, but it's the burqa ladies who always manage to get married first.

The other big way to meet people is to search Catholic dating Web sites. Unlike EHarmony, which never warns potential users in any of their ads that you better not be gay or an atheist (or both!), Catholic dating sites make it pretty clear about what you're getting into. Aside from writing a description of yourself and mentioning your favorite movies or foods, you're also asked to name your favorite saints, specific favorite prayers, and other things like how often you go to Mass. It's in seeing these answers that you can distinguish between fanatics and people who integrate their faith with modern reality (if that seems like a dis, the fanatics don't want people like me either).

But at least one such site forces everyone who signs on to answer whether they agree or disagree with a list of 7 particular faith questions. These include dry philosophical concepts like papal infallibility (the doctrine that the Pope is never wrong on matters of faith and morals) and whether you believe the Lord is really present in Holy Communion, but more pertinent to those on the prowl are the two biggies: Do you agree or disagree with the church's teachings against premarital sex, and against contraception?

One can only imagine the mental hoops that many of us are put through in answering those questions. Answer one way and you sound like a candidate for sainthood but also a total bore; answer the other and get labeled a whore. I'm not kidding - check out the message boards and you will find some of the most judgmental people this side of the Republican National Committee. Inevitably, there's at least five balding guys named Larry or Bob lurking about on the threads who are 47 or 53 years old and wondering why they can't find a "pure enough" woman anymore.

But consider answers like that, and you'll find someone who will be your soulmate - whether you're pristine and on an express flight to Heaven, living in a grey area that'll find you doing time in Purgatory, or throwing caution to the wind on an elevator ride straight down to Hell.

Monday, January 7, 2008


I just have a few thoughts about what I'd like to see happen with our presidential primary process.

First of all, anyone who thinks that what happened in Iowa remotely resembles a democracy is completely deluded. Who came up with the BS idea of hosting an election day that takes place only at night and involves a bunch of people PUBLICLY stating who they support, and then throwing their support away to a candidate in a second voting round just because the person they supposedly have a principled support for wasn't popular enough with others?

Isn't the beauty of the American voting system the fact that no one has to know who our vote is for? But here, Farmer Bob has to tell everyone what he's thinking and then he's expected to compromise that thinking five minutes later just because it's a popularity contest and he guessed wrong.

Only 5 percent of Iowa Republicans took part in the 2004 caucuses and 10 percent of Iowa Democrats. So if the people there don't care to participate, why are THEY first in the nation and being treated like prophets?

It's appropriate the way that "caucus" sounds like a porno term becuase in allowing this format to continue we're all getting screwed. And as fascinating as it was to see Hillary Clinton cry and display what appeared to be a genuine human emotion for the first time in her life (though i still she faked the tears in an effort to get the sympathy vote next), I still say it's a ridiculous way to elect anyone. Almost as ridiculous as those idiots who have the electoral college!!!!!!!! Oh wait a minute...D'oh!

So here's what i propose for reforming the electoral process:

First, shorten the damn election season. Canada only has like a six-month window for campaigning (maybe less) from start to finish and look at them: free universal health care and they hardly ever get involved in a war. Works for them! Why not us? By now, with a full year left, I'm already sick of seeing every last one of these fools on my TV everday.

So if we have to watch them, let's spice it up a little.

Make them all compete on "American Gladiators." Screw the two-person format that's on the air out and let all the candidates run out and try to climb that giant foam pyramid at once, trying to avoid getting thrown down by the Gladiators and trying to get back up again when they do inevitably fall. Now, if THAT" s not a painful metaphor for those running for president, I don't know what is. And wouldn't it be more fun to see Hillary get knocked down into the water during that contest with the big foam jousting sticks than to just see her open her personal waterworks for the cameras?

The other way to weed out the folks running is "Celebrity Apprentice," in which 75 actors - mostly washed-up types from the '80s - have to learn ruthless dealmaking in order to survive the wrath of Donald Trump. They lie and cheat to each other, but what better way to train for Osama?

COMMENT BACK: What would YOU do differently if you could change our primary system?