The Daily Dump

A place where everyone (me) is welcomed to express their opinions openly and honestly. I encourage free thinking, free wheeling, off-the-cuff banter and monetary donations.

Friday, April 28

Highbrow (For The Lowbrow In All Of Us)

I call it Self Portrait #10

Back in November I wrote a post about my friend James and how he’s good at painting and how, every so often, his school has these things called “OPEN STUDIOS” where, coincidentally, all the students open up their studios and the public is welcomed in to make pretend they know what’s good and what’s not. Well it’s that time of year again.

So if you have nothing better to do tonight, or if you have something that you think is better, but isn’t really better, but just different, like my mom used to say, then come on over to:

Hunter College Open Studios
450 West 41st (between 9th and 10th Aves.)
Studio 312a on the third floor
6PM – 11PM

I call it Blind Date! (Or Thanks For The Herpes)

Even if art isn’t your thing, there will be free drinks galore. And if free drinks isn’t your thing either, well then you probably stumbled across this blog by accident. And while I can’t promise that there will be naked women like last time, I can promise that given enough wine there is at least a 75% chance of there being a naked man – whether it will be me or some unsuspecting parent who I pants is a question whose answer time can only tell.

I will also be doing stand-up comedy. Sample joke:

“What’s the deal with modern art? Look at this thing, it looks like someone just shat on the canvas! Oh, that is shit on a canvas? Well it’s quite lovely then.”

Email me for details!

I call it Kyle MacLachlan, Erect

Wednesday, April 26

The Yearly Dump

So yesterday after I finished typing my post in Word (like I always do), and rereading it and giggling and sighing with delight I hit “Save As” and typed in “04-25,” as in the date on which it was written, which is how I have named my posts from the start. Then I hit enter and a message popped up on the screen reading, “The file 04-25 already exists.”

Apparently, I’ve been writing this thing for an entire year now. I can assure you that when I first saved a post as “04-25” it never once entered my mind that at some point I would have to account not only for the day and month but also for the year. And plenty of times, quite recently too, I have thought, in my unmitigated love of round numbers, to quit at the one year mark. Then I obviously lost track of time.

Really, though, when I think about it, wanting to quit was more of a winter malaise than anything else. You know – the holidays are over, it’s dark at 5:00, you’re sick all the time, your girlfriend keeps having surgeries and there’s only so many times you can write about “CSI” (11).

But then I went Olympic crazy, and then organic crazy, then Pania Rose crazy, then game show crazy, and, as crazy as it sounds, I’m loving it as much as ever.

Still I figured that I should do something at the one year mark, just to memorialize the previous year and also to get ready for the next. And what I decided to do was clean out my drafts folder. Because, actually, I don’t have a drafts folder. I have an “ideas” folder. And it’s not so much a folder as it is scribbles jotted down on the backs of envelopes and post-it notes. And, to be honest, they’re not so much “ideas” as they are sentences that, at one time, I honestly believed could be considered ideas. I can be quite retarded.

• “I was leaving the bathroom as a guy was finishing up at a urinal. I open the door to leave and as I’m passing through I see out of the corner of my eye the guy who was at the urinal following me. And he huffs like he’s pissed I didn’t hold the door for him. WTF? Wash your hands.”

(Um . . . hmm. Yeah. I guess that’s the end of the post.)

• “On the Being Poor Scale, where does putting out your cigarette halfway through and saving the rest for later rank?”

(The “Being Poor Scale?” Really? I also remember thinking, “The highest ranking can be ‘dying in a box.’” Blogroll me, seriously!)

• It’s like the feeling you get when you walk into a men’s room and see that there’s someone in a stall. You know he’s cursing you and you can play this one of two ways – you can hurry through, knowing this guy is in a cold sweat clenching back a shit, or you can say “I rush for no one,” and take your time, essentially making yourself this guy’s number one enemy.

(The longest, most inapplicable metaphor in history. My grade school English teacher always said to write like you would talk in a conversation. Can’t you picture me saying to someone, “I don’t know, I was just so put off by the whole thing. You know it was like the feeling you get when you walk into a men’s room . . .”)

• “My apartment: where Tupperware come to die.”

(Even more interesting: how, at the time, I planned on making this interesting.)

• “It’s as good a strategy as catching bullets to throw back at your enemy.”

(Which isn’t a good strategy?)

• “You don’t like the co-worker who keeps ketchup packets in their desk until the day comes where you get French fries with lunch and forget to ask for ketchup.”

(I think I was planning an entire post about “Things you don’t like about your co-workers” and then I realized that I may as well write a post about “Things you don’t like about cancer.”)

• “Reminds me of the time my girlfriend wanted to change the locks to her apartment because she woke up one morning and realized she had left her keys in the front door. Obviously a killer had come up, removed the keys, taken them to an all night hardware store, made copies, brought her keys BACK (to avoid suspicion) and planned on returning at a later date to kill her.”

(100% true. [20% cute / 8% troublesome / 72% meaningless])

• “Tense like those moments right when you know that you’ve just clogged the toilet.”

(I don’t know how a toilet metaphor snuck in here . . .)

• “My pet peeve – naturally ugly people.”

(FYI, this was jotted down on the back of an envelope I never opened. Looked at it today and turns out it’s the return envelope for the $25 donation I promised my alma mater over the phone a couple of months ago. Ladies – please stop calling. I’m in a relationship. Please.)

• This picture

Possible caption: “I'm an asshole.”

• “Overrated: Listening to music in the shower.”

(Also overrated: my “ideas.")

• “It’s like when I got the flu the day after eating an Italian hero from a deli near my work. Of course it wasn’t the hero that gave me the flu, but I haven’t been able to eat there ever since.”

(Actually, the deli in question closed down about a month later, so it probably was the hero that gave me the flu.)

• “You shouldn’t have to wash potatoes if you’re just going to peel them.”

(Comment away!)

• “I have much more trouble with button fly pants than a 26 year old guy should.”

(Really, seriously. Blogroll me.)

• “I’m scared to think of what might happen to me with a few good nights of sleep. It could go either way: either I become astoundingly productive and this blog takes on the quality of The New Yorker (if The New Yorker were funny and wrote about poop and if I actually had “sources” and “informed opinions”); or, I no longer grapple with bouts of mania and self-engrandizement and I drop this thing altogether for more noble pursuits, like running a charity . . . or making a donation to a charity.”

(Still haven’t had a decent night of sleep; although it’s safe to assume that the writing quality here isn’t changing anytime soon. Unless I stop drinking. So like I said, no time soon.)

Tuesday, April 25

I Am Broadway Avenue

Last week I wrote a really hilarious post, and I don’t think enough people commented on how cute the puppies are so I’m linking to it again.

Also, in the post I made reference to being two hours late for work and implied that a story would follow as to why exactly I was two hours late to work. Well, after being inundated with about two emails saying, “Where’s the story!!!?”1 I finally got back the pictures I was waiting for to write the post telling the story.

For everyone outside of New York and Los Angeles, here’s a little background: Here, we have this entity called The Industry. Back in the old days, The Industry was comprised of movies, music and the theater. Then Frank Sinatra slept with everyone in it and things got weird. Then everyone started doing drugs and it was cool again. These days “The Industry” also includes television, clothing designers, digital media, porn, reality show winners, reality show judges, reality show losers, sports stars, pet groomers, posses, David Blaine, Kevin Federline and anyone who has Paris Hilton naked on film. I have friends in both the music and theater industry, meaning that I fit in under the “posse” category, although I was also in a reality show a couple of years ago making a cameo on the ill-fated “Into Character” where I slapped my friend’s ass in commendation of him being chosen to pretend to be a Blues Brother. I don’t think I really need to say any more than that.

Being in The Industry means a few things. It means that you’re better than everyone who isn’t in the industry; it means that when you don’t go to the Oscars, it’s only because you decided you didn’t want to go; and it means that you will be invited to tons of cool events. Because The Industry throws a party for every single thing that happens. They throw parties like Calista Flockhart throws up. It’s a formulaic chain of reactions, kicked off by some seemingly unimportant occurrence culminating in George Clooney taking home the waitress and the hostess. Basically if you’ve ever seen an episode of HBO’s hit series “Entourage,” it’s exactly like that, but with better acting.

My latest dip into The Industry party scene was not very unlike an episode of “Entourage.” Only instead of Hollywood, it was Broadway. And instead of a movie premier it was the opening of an exhibition of posters for Tony Award winning plays. And instead of it being at a Malibu beach house, it was at the Library of the Performing Arts. Otherwise, the similarities are actually quite striking.

Free Everything

Celebrities never pay for anything when they attend Industry events. Free food, free drinks, free car service, free gift bags. The works. No different at this event.

I walk in after passing through a narrow walkway lined with photographers2 and find my friend John, who curated the show and was the reason I was invited. He told me I could check my coat at the coat check. I walk over and hand my coat to the lady in the closet. She hands me a ticket. Transaction over. Slowly I hand her my bag. She hands me another ticket. Transaction over. I change my mind and say that I want to keep my coat on, so she hands me my coat and I hand the ticket back. That’s three total transactions. All for free.

I head over to the bar where they are giving away drinks. GIVING THEM AWAY. I see everyone around me drinking wine, so I also ask for a glass of wine. “Red or white?” he asks. RED OR WHITE! For free.

After some interesting conversation with my friends concerning a new TV show we’re thinking of pitching3 suddenly out of nowhere a man approaches us with a tray full of food. You take it, you eat it, he walks away. And not only that, but he comes back periodically over the course of the night with different types of small food. For free. Just like on “Entourage.”


Just like on “Entourage,” it is inevitable that at some point in The Industry party experience, professional photographers will want to take your picture. It’s an unwritten rule that by attending the party, you’ve agreed to have your picture taken.4

For half of the night, my friends and I managed to stay under the radar and out of fame’s way. Then, as the party was winding down, we could hide no longer and a woman photographer approached us, gaining our confidence by singing a show tune (sneaky bitch). As we complimented her, she struck up a conversation with my friend Matt.

Woman (who is clearly at least 50 years old): “I’ve been photographing the Tony Awards for 20 years.”

Matt: “You mean you’ve been doing this since high school?”

I swear, you could see her blush right through her hot flash. In two seconds Matt managed to make that woman feel like she was 38 again. After that, the picture floodgates opened.

She corralled all of us and started snapping away, drawing the attention of other photographers who flocked and barked directions:

“Drinks down!”

“Look this way!”

“Squeeze together!”

“Who are you?”

Finally the crowd disperses and we are left feeling used, pawns in The Industry’s game, and chasing down the photographer to ask her to email us the pictures.

A License To Go Wild

Regular laws don’t apply to celebrities. Just like on “Entourage” how they’re always smoking pot in public places and driving fast, so too do the laws not apply at all Industry events.

At the end of the party (the remaining few are my group of friends, the two girls they are hitting on and a scary guy no one knows) we are huddled around the bar as they are closing up, making sure that we will be refilled up until the last possible moment when the wine is literally taken to a different room, one that we are not allowed in. As we are standing together talking the inane Industry talk, I look over my friend’s shoulder through the wall of windows overlooking the promenade out front and see what appears to be my friend BJ rolling my friend James around on a flatbed handcart. Turns out it appeared that way because that’s exactly what it was.

Of course, I immediately head towards the exit to join in the fun when I notice a security guard perched at the door. I’d much prefer to bring my wine outside with me, so reason dictates that I should carry it inside my jacket. I am, if nothing else, a reasonable man.

Once outside with my wine, I too hop on the hand truck and “surf” around the promenade with my wine glass held out front, like a beacon for all to see that the vehicle fast approaching them is not a sober one. At this point, everyone else has left as well and we decide to make our way across the street to a restaurant to continue the party (otherwise known as “The Afterparty” similar in many ways to the afterbirth5).

Halfway across the promenade, we hear a shout. “Hey, stop right there!” My friends, clearly misunderstanding the man, run. I remain, though I do step off the handcart, and my friend John approaches the security officer. They have this conversation:

Rent-A-Cop: “You know those guys?”

John: “No, I just had an event at the Library, they were there . . .”

Rent-A-Cop: “So you don't know them? Not even that one.”

(John turns around and sees Matt pop up from under a plant)

John: “Nope. Where does that cart go? I'll go put it back.”

Rent-A-Cop: “Nah. I'll just call maintenance.”

(Rent-A-Cop talks into his walkie talkie for his partner to back off)

That’s right, this is an Industry Party. Your rules don’t apply.

Hot, Loose Women

Hot, loose women are so ingrained in The Industry, that I don’t think “Entourage” would even exist without roles like “Hot, Loose Woman #1” and “Hot, Loose Woman #2.” The same was true of our Afterparty at some fancy Mexican restaurant across the street.

Upon arrival, I roll up to the bar and order a Pacifico beer. Immediately a girl adjacent to me at the bar leans over and sneers, “Did you just order a Pacifico? What the hell is Pacifico?" I reply, "Have you ever been to Hawaii?" She says no. I say, "Your loss then." After that my friend BJ comes over and says that we went to school with Colin Farrell in England and he loved Pacifico.

I mingle with my friends some more as slowly but surely all the bachelors are drifting off with women, until finally I find myself isolated with a girl who may have been cross-eyed, or whose crossed eyes may have been well hidden by the dim lighting. Regardless, I am being polite as we talk about our respective Manhattan neighborhoods, until this happens:

Her: "Are we hanging out after this?"

Me: (enthusiastic) "Hell yeah! Where are we going next?"

Her: "My place?"

Me: "Oh."

It was right around this time that I decided it would be best for me to leave. I say my goodbyes and prepare to gather my belongings when I come to the stark realization that I have no belongings to gather – because I forgot to reclaim my bag from the coat check room before sneaking a glass of wine out of the building. Which brings us back to the focal point of this story: Why was I two hours late to work? And the answer is because unlike an episode of “Entourage,” in my bag were important work papers that I needed to retrieve before showing face at my office the following day. Obviously the only thing to do was leave a message for my boss at 11:30 at night that I had a doctor’s appointment early the next morning only to wake up late, recover my bag and arrive at work, as previously stated, two hours late.

What I learned: The Industry is an exhausting world in which to live. Sure, it may seem exciting to roll around on wheeled carts while drinking free wine and have lazy eyed women pawing at you all hours of the night; but I assure you, it’s not all fun and games. It takes its toll on you.

I also learned that apparently the theater industry is very tolerant of shenanigans. I can only conclude that they were distracted by our overtly heterosexual behavior, much like an indigenous Australian tribe watching March of the Penguins for the very first time.

1 It was actually an email from my mom saying that they’re going to fire me if I keep showing up late. And she accidentally sent it twice.

2 This walkway lined with photographers was really for a tribute event to Jessica Lang being held at the neighboring Avery Fisher Hall. At the time, I had no idea where I was going. Later in the night, it was rumored that you could get into Avery Fisher Hall by taking the elevator in the back hallway of our event. After a few drinks I tried to do just this, but never found the way, only riding the elevator up and down three times and seemingly exiting at the same exact floor every time.

3 For the twenty fifth time, while drunk I tried to sell people on my homeless reality TV show ideas including "Queer Eye For The Homeless Guy,” "Survivor: Homeless,” "The Homeless Apprentice” and "Average Homeless Man" where 20 girls are brought to a castle in Scotland thinking they are meeting the man of their dreams, only it's a homeless guy.

4 Unless you’re Lindsey Lohan, in which case it is actually written into the photographers contract that they “happen to snap a photo at the time she reveals a sex organ,” with a stipulation stating that in this context the ass is considered a sex organ.

5 . . . . .

Monday, April 24

Monday Morning Emails: Allure Thinks I’m Fat

I know I ate a little too much while I was up in Boston this weekend, but it was a vacation and that’s what people do on vacations. They go to IHOP and strategically order their meal so as to get the hash browns and toast included with their eggs while swiping the free side order of pancakes from their girlfriend’s mother because the omelet is more than enough for her. Maybe you’d be happier if I wept over my fresh fruit platter while watching the person across from me eat their stuffed French toast, but that’s not how I roll. Carpe ientaculum. Oh, you don’t know what that means? It’s Latin for “Seize the breakfast.” Maybe people who live in dumb houses shouldn’t call people fat.

Also, please take me off your email list. I have no reason to be on it since I didn’t win the Ultimate Escape For Two to Hawaii. Maybe it’s because I have a penis. Maybe it’s because I’m fat. Or maybe it’s just because your magazine’s fashion advice is more outdated than Wilson Phillips. (That’s right, I went there.)

Friday, April 21

Chinese Oppression, Doorman Revolt and Kincaid Retribution. (Also, a special little note!)

New York doormen avert strike

All I can say is, thank God. Because I was planning on going to a friend’s apartment tonight and if the doorman wasn’t there how would I get in?

Although part of me was hoping the strike would take place. The only thing more ludicrous than watching doormen picket outside . . . well wherever a doorman would picket, is the scene I have in my mind of elderly people crowded outside Park Avenue apartment buildings pawing at the door trying to figure out how to get it open, while vagrants and prostitutes, using their street smarts to open the doors, lounge comfortably in the unprotected lobbies.

Falun Gong protester who heckled Hu to be charged with disorderly conduct

This story really hit close to home. Not because I’m a member of the Falun Gong, or I know anyone who is, or because I particularly sympathize with the plight of the Falun Gong, but because with the resurgence of warm weather in Manhattan also comes the return of the Falun Gong street protests.

I’m not good with adjectives, so I can’t property describe the unbelievably absurd scenes these protests create, but basically there about eight to ten Asian people, half of whom are handing out flyers describing the torture and abuse the Falun Gong have been victims of at the hands of the oppressive Chinese government, while the other half ACTS OUT THE TORTURE AND ABUSE. I’m talking elaborate displays of people chained together and huddled on the ground with dirty faces and torn rags for clothes. I promise I will include pictures in the future, although I may need to buy a high powered telephoto lens because as dedicated as I am to entertaining you, the thought of standing five feet from someone tethered to the inside of a small cage covered in fake blood and snapping away just seems a little . . . tacky?

Actually, if anyone could get me a press pass and an Asian mask (like this) that would be a great help.

At first I didn’t think it was legitimate when someone claiming to be J.P. Kincaid commented on my post about the Flesch-Kincaid Index. The comment was polite, saying that the scale was never meant to be taken as seriously as it has been, even going so far as to play along with the joke that a painting by Picasso actually depicted the likeness of Kincaid. Pretty amazing considering if someone knocked one of my blog posts, which took probably 99% less time and effort than it did to come up with the world famous textual rating index, I would publicly skewer them and then make every effort to show up at their front door with a flame thrower.

But then comes a second comment, this time by John F. Kincaid, MD – none other than the son of J.P. Kincaid – saying, in effect, blow me. This reaction seems to make a little more sense, seeing as how if someone said an ill word concerning my father I would eat them.

But I can’t help being a little curious as to how this all came to pass. My best guess is that J.P. Kincaid Googled himself and saw, to his horror, that the third entry on the list was entitled “The Daily Dump.” Years and years of hard work, and this is what it comes down to? The Daily Dump? Then, over the holiday weekend with the families gathered for dinner, Kincaid mentions to his son the unfortunate circumstance he finds himself in, leading the son to comment as well – my point being this: I’ve written about Sarah Silverman, Pania Rose, Katie Holmes, etc. But I only get responses from the Kincaid family? What am I doing wrong? Actually, even as I write it I realize how stupid the questions is. I mean, there’s mention of my girlfriend all over this blog. And from what I understand, professional women are very intimidated by a man in love.

I’ve been meaning to say this for a while, but anyone who wants to be linked here just send me an email and let me know. I’m going to reformat some of the sidebar stuff and I figure a really long blogroll is exactly what a man needs to feel like a man. Also, any suggestions people might have on good blogs would be much appreciated. It seems everyone (myself included) has been in a bit of a blogging lull lately and I could use a few more good places to steal material from. Thanks.

Lastly, it pains me to say that I won’t be able to go to TequilaCon on Saturday. Back when I said I could attend I had forgotten that I was going to Boston this weekend to celebrate The Girlfriend’s sister’s birthday, even though only moments prior to replying to Brando’s email saying I would be there I had booked the hotel and the rental car and had an extensive conversation with The Girlfriend about what we should buy for a present. Such is the life of Alzheimer patients, children who live near electromagnetic power lines, and me, whose only excuse for such profound short-term memory loss is that genius can’t be slowed down by the details of other peoples’ lives.

To everyone who is going, have a blast – and if you’re feeling particularly distraught over my absence, you can play The Daily Dump drinking game, where everyone does a shot every time someone goes to the bathroom. With 60 plus people there, you should be over me in no time. Nothing alleviates heartache like having your stomach pumped. Nothing . . .

Thursday, April 20

Tourist For A Day

My office is on Wall St. in New York, which is second only to Times Square as the most trafficked tourist attraction in Manhattan. What the fascination is I’ll never understand. Are people that into their stock holdings that they feel compelled to come to the place where it all happens? Or is that they were looking for “downtown” and, following their natural inclination to travel down on the map, went too far? Whatever it is, I’ve worked here for over four years now and have never seen it through the eyes of a tourist. So I thought with the nice weather I would give it a shot.

A slick move, pretending to read the sign but really stealing from the street musician. She’s no tourist!

This guy tried the same thing, but the street musician escaped.

The cage where the stock brokers are kept.

Triple tourist alert! Backpack on wheels; horizontal striped pants; child wandering off to be abducted.

With son kidnapped the mother has more time for the child she really loves.

Studies confirm: you’re cooler if you are sitting on steps.

Professional tourist photo stance.

In NY, even the dogs get tough on terrorism.

An ancient tombstone in the famous Manhattan graveyard. (She was no one famous.)

A dead flower in a cemetery. So ironic, so poetic, so curiously surrounded by asparagus.

Wednesday, April 19

In Tribute To Tom And Katie, Some Completely Fictional Stories Of Births From The Past 60 Years

In 1968, a woman residing in a small town outside Chicago gave birth to three babies and a kitten, although the kitten had to be put down after repeatedly clawing at its siblings while vying for their mother’s affection. The family later acquired a cat as a domestic pet, but it just wasn’t the same.

During the Great Depression, it was common for families to send their children away to the country. In one astounding tale, a mother, racked with poverty in New York City, gave birth to a baby girl and immediately gave her away to a family from Pennsylvania. That child grew up to have a child of her own, who also grew up to have a child of her own, and it was this child that was eventually diagnosed with clinical depression. Ironically, her name was Irony.

In the only documented case of its kind, in 1981 a woman from Oregon reportedly gave birth to a baby boy who spoke in full sentences immediately upon delivery. The boy’s first words were, “That was really gross.” The mother, so scorned by this historic act of ungratefulness, has given her son the silent treatment to this day. It was the only punishment she saw fit.

Every Christmas the small village where I grew up sets up a large nativity scene in the middle of town. A few years ago on Christmas night a couple from out of town were out for a stroll when the woman went into labor right in front of the nativity scene. The husband set her down in the manger and used some of the stray to make her comfortable. There was a full moon shining down on the scene and a light snow surrounded them. Just then a security guard came by and called an ambulance and the woman was taken to the local hospital.

The circus has always been a fertile and erotic forum. Certainly that was the case when, in 1955, the World Famous Bearded Lady was impregnated by The World’s Smallest Man. Their daughter, who went on to become Miss World in 1978, hated the circus.

It is common in China, where a family can only have one child, for baby girls to be given away in lieu of wanting a son instead. In one terrific instance of this brutal tradition, a couple gave birth to what they thought was a girl and promptly gave the child away. Later, they found out that their child had actually suffered from a rare hermaphroditic condition. So while the child had the outward appearance of a woman, he was living his life as a man. The couple did not ask for him back.

And finally, in 1995 a couple from Seattle, Washington gave birth to quadruplet boys who, it turns out, were all musical geniuses and formed a grunge band in their infancy. Unfortunately grunge wasn’t in anymore and the children were forced directly into substance abuse problems. Their parents tried again in 1998, hoping to birth a boy band. Instead, they had a lone girl. All she did was cry and spit up. The parents, racked with disappointment, have tried repeatedly to donate her to science, though it seems that science won’t have her either.

Tuesday, April 18

Trapped! Like A Puppy In A Chickenwire Pen . . .

I am absolutely drowning in work lately. It’s as though everyone else in the office had a meeting, and someone made a huge banner with Print Shop to hang over the conference room table that read “WE JUST REALIZED DAN DOESN’T DO ENOUGH WORK!” and everyone wore hats and ate cake and sat around brainstorming about things they can get me to do.

It got to the point today where, after coming in two hours late (that story to follow in the near future), which isn’t bad considering I’m usually a half an hour late as it is, so really that’s only an hour and a half late, I was greeted with a literal MOUND of paper on my desk. I mean, not even a neatly organized stack of paper, but a heap, a pile, a hoarding jumble of papers!, each with different post-it notes containing two word instructions like “by noon” or “follow up.”

Some hours later, when I had whittled the pile down to only a few items left, one of my bosses came out with two entirely new documents to work on. Something in me snapped and we had this exchange:

Boss: “Make these two things a priority. Can you have them done by the end of the day?”

Me: “Sure, definitely. But I’m going to have to put off sweeping the chimney until tomorrow.”

Oh the regret! As soon as it came out of my mouth. It wasn’t said with malice or even sarcasm or bitterness. It was just said. So immediately, before anything else could be spoken, I did the only thing I could do and laughed the big, fake laugh of a corporate man who enjoys his own jokes so much that he can’t possibly wait for anyone else to laugh first. Then I turned around in my seat and picked up the phone to make a fake phone call.

Point being: Don’t worry, as soon as I find a way to work around this new power restructuring I’ll be back to writing and reading blogs for three quarters of the day, the way it should be.

By the way, if any large publishing houses are reading this, I’m available at a moment’s notice. And I type twenty five words a minute, as long as at least ten of them are small, common words.

Monday, April 17

My Boring Life

I am consistently amazed that I manage to make my life sound interesting in this blog. It’s been almost a year now and somehow, through the magic of colorful language and lies, I have retained a somewhat captive audience while writing about what I do, which isn’t much different than what I did before I wrote a blog, which was nothing. Except now I write about it.

I was all set to have an exciting holiday weekend and come back here weaving tales of debauchery, adventure, cooking and robbery. Then I settled down in my apartment last night, absolutely exhausted, and realized that I had done nothing of consequence. Now that I think about it, my expectations were a little high considering it was Easter weekend, which on the scale of “Awesome Sexy Holidays!” ranks somewhere above Veteran’s Day and below Secretary’s Day.

[As an aside, is there any holiday that degrades more with age than Easter does? It seems that while other children’s holidays make a simple transition into mature holidays (Halloween: trick or treating à getting laid, Valentine’s Day: secret admirers à getting laid, Christmas: Santa Clause à buying expensive presents for people so they’ll love you) Easter goes from painting eggs and the Easter Bunny to brunch with your parents. Not that I’m complaining about brunch. But minus the sex and presents brunch isn’t exactly “Dear Diary” worthy.]

What Easter should be about.

Upon further contemplation, though, I realized that boring isn’t always bad. I mean, that OJ Simpson car chase seemed pretty exciting, right? But then he got framed for murdering his wife and her lover, so that’s not the good kind of exciting. Much like that, my weekend wasn’t the bad kind of boring. In fact, when I compare it with some other people’s more exciting weekends, I’m pretty sure I’d choose mine every time. To wit:

My Weekend (Boring)

The Girlfriend and I went out to dinner on Friday night with another couple. Two bottles of wine and the pasta was good. We finished around 10:30 and any thought of continuing the night somewhere else was dashed by the time we stepped outside. I was in bed by 11:30 after watching half an hour of Titanic.

Saturday The Girlfriend and I hitched a ride out to my parents house on Long Island. The Girlfriend got her haircut by a gay man who, months earlier, had checked me out when I went to pick up my mother after her appointment.

Some friends come over for a barbecue. We gossip, eat a filthy amount of meat and drink Rob Roys. At one point my mother recounts the story of the gay hairdresser checking me out. As everyone is laughing, I take it a bit too far and, to the horror of my father standing adjacent to me, slap my own ass and proclaim “I still got it!” The night goes downhill from there and everyone is on their way home by 10:00.

Sunday morning I go to brunch with my family, catch a train back to the city and finish off the day by cleaning my bathroom. I pause while scrubbing the toilet to look wistfully into space to consider my good fortune.

How did I get so lucky?

A Friend’s Weekend (Moderately Exciting)

Before coming to my parents house to recount his tale, a friend of mine went out on Friday night with a group of friends. Two of the people at the outing were an engaged couple, who obviously stood out amongst a backdrop of entirely single friends. At one point late in the night, it became painfully clear that the girl portion of this engaged couple was blatantly hitting on my friend. I know, I know, every female reading this is incredulously thinking, “What, did she bump into his arm at the bar? Did she congratulate him on a burp?” No. There is what men hopefully interpret as flirting and then there is the undeniable come-on of grinding your ass into someone else’s crotch, the body language equivalent of asking a guy if he has any porn you two could watch together.

This of course launches a massive dinner-table debate concerning the ethics of the situation:

Men: “Obviously there’s something wrong with the relationship and she’s crying out for help.”

Women: “She doesn’t sound like the kind of girl you would want to get involved with anyway.”

Me: “The question is: How far are you willing to go in your courageous efforts to prevent her from making the biggest mistake of her life?”

Friend: “I think I’m ready to be a hero.”

The Girlfriend: “What if her fiancé hunts you down?”

Friend: “I could definitely take him in a fight . . .”

The Girlfriend: “I mean hunts you down with a gun.”

Friend: “ . . . and then he’d have the upper hand.”

See what I mean? Would I trade scrubbing my bathtub for the possibility of getting shot? No way!

I would.

A Friend’s Brother’s Weekend (Very Exciting)

My friend’s brother, who is a senior in college, lives with his best friend and another roommate in an apartment off campus near their school. He has been dating a girl for about nine months and they have been pretty serious.

A couple of weeks ago, his two roommates decide to take a trip to Oregon. My friend’s brother has to stay home for school, but his girlfriend really wants to go with them. He says fine, because I guess in college these things happen, although it’s been so long I honestly don’t remember.

Flash forward to this past week when my friend’s brother comes back to his apartment after a long weekend away to find that his best friend has moved out and, subsequently, MOVED IN WITH HIS GIRLFRIEND! No word from his friend, only messages from his now ex-girlfriend saying she’s sorry and, you know, hopefully they can stay friends. On top of it all, it seems that his best friend has never even had a girlfriend before, allegedly having never even kissed a girl before.

That’s why I only date married men.

Now, I know you might not call this situation “exciting,” per se. But you certainly wouldn’t be bored if it was you. Indeed, you would probably be extremely excitable, prone to bouts of hysteria and fits of Machiavellian rage. They makes TV shows like “The OC” and “Judge Judy” about these type of situations! Of course they’re exciting! But not the GOOD kind of exciting.

So when it comes down to it, who had the best weekend here? Me, losing a little respect from my father but ultimately reaping the benefits of three course brunch and a clean shower? My friend, who might get stabbed? Or my friend’s brother who, I can only imagine, would read this and think “Boy, dickhead, brunch with your family, a girlfriend with a new haircut and an ass that won’t quit – yeah, you’ve got A LOT to complain about.”

Thursday, April 13

Update On Previous Post

While we’re on the subject of ridiculous formulas, I checked out the equation The Girlfriend was referring to in her comment, i.e. the one that calculates how nice your butt is.

Apparently, (S+C) x (B+F) / (T-V) = Butt Rating, where:

S = overall shape (a ripe peach being just about right);
C = circularity (rounder is better);
B = bounciness (less wobble is preferred);
F = firmness (too much push to that cushion loses points);
T = skin texture (no cellulite, please); and
V = the ratio of one's hips to waist.

The person evaluating the butt must assess each variable with a value between 1-20, 20 being the best, then substitute the values into the equation. The perfect rating is approximately 80.

I’m not calling anyone a plagiarizer, but this seems very similar to an equation my friends and I came up with while watching Passion Cove on Cinemax one night. Our equation went:

A = B, where:

A = “Whoa, that is a nice butt”; and
B = “That girl has an awesome butt.”

100 Things About Me: #7

I’ll bet you forgot I was doing this list, which is a real shame because I rely on you to remind me that I’m doing things like this, which is doubly shameful because like I said before YOU NEED TO KNOW THESE 100 THINGS ABOUT ME. If we have any chance of making this relationship work where I write things and you read them while talking on the phone at work, it is indispensable that you read this informative, timely list. To that end, I bring you number seven – a little known fact about me that may surprise you seeing as how my writing isn’t dripping with intellectual content. It would seem, I admit, that opting for stories about “huge bunnies” and “poop” would give off the impression that I am, how should I put this, ignorant. Actually though, I am a learned man. I went to college. I get British humor. And . . .

#7 I read hard books.

You may peg me for a romance novel kind of guy (it wouldn’t be the first time), but the fact is I read the classics with no regard to size or stature. From Voltaire to Joyce I’ve struggled through books deep and dense and light and allegorical. I was an English and Philosophy major in college, so that means you know I am smart. And if a fine arts education taught me anything, it’s that a fine arts education is worthless. If it taught me anything else, it’s that there is a rich reward in tackling difficult works. Thus my motto has always been: “The harder they are, the longer it may take you to read them, and you might not understand it 100%, but that’s OK because it’s worth it.”

At least that’s what I thought until recently when took a figurative steaming dump right on my the top of my ego’s head.

It seems some years ago, a man named Dr. Rudolf Flesch developed a “formula” with which to determine the inherent difficulty of any written work.

Little known fact: Dr. Rudolf Flesch, who was also a pirate, could not read.

Dr. Flesch even wrote a book about his formula entitled “Why Johnny Can’t Read.” Johnny, devastated by shame, subsequently committed suicide and sales of the book declined. Dr. Flesch’s follow-up, the dark comedy “Why Johnny Can’t Move,” received little attention by critics.

Reading isn’t for everyone.

Some time after Dr. Flesch’s discovery that young children can’t read hard books, J.P. Kincaid, who wasn’t a doctor, reaffirmed the hypothesis and teamed up with the disgraced Dr. Flesch to create the official “index” which measures a text’s difficulty according to a number that corresponds with a grade level. For example, a text whose statistical data yields an 8.3 on the Flesch-Kincaid Index means that a child in the 8th.3 grade will be able to read it.

This late Picasso actually depicts J.P. Kincaid, although historians are unsure which one he is.

For some of their books, now offers statistical data, including the Flesch-Kincaid Index level. And, wouldn’t you know it, all this time I thought I was reading the most difficult books ever written it turns out I was reading at an approximate 9th grade level. Take the last five books I have read:

5. In Cold Blood* by Truman Capote

True story of the brutal massacre of a family in a Kansas farmhouse in 1959.

Flesch-Kincaid Index: 7.9

4. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

One of three brothers kills their father for money and revenge. The longest book I’ve ever read, clocking in at 364,467 words. Gets good in the last two to three hundred words.

Flesch-Kincaid Index: 9.0

3. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

Six different narratives, including tales of a bisexual power struggle between composer and apprentice and a futuristic tale of Armageddon and a reversion to tribal rule, wind together through a complex journey to and fro in time.

Flesch-Kincaid Index: 7.4

2. Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon

The hardest book I’ve ever read, it took me almost a year to get through the 325,648 words, which are arranged no so much into coherent thoughts as in ramblings of an articulate yet senile swashbuckler. Includes an infamous sentence that runs on for two pages. The premise involves a GI soldier in London whose erections cause enemy Blitz bombs to fall from the sky.

Flesch-Kincaid Index: 9.5

1. The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann

Pages and pages of dense philosophical discourse between people who think they are ill, but really aren’t because they have come to the magic mountain to be “healed.” Regrettably, their “disease” is WW2, and their “cure” is love, and the “metaphor” is 337,525 words long.

Flesch-Kincaid Index: 11.3

All told, those intense labors of intellectual stimulation average out to a 9.02 on the Flesch-Kincaid Index. I think I can say with confidence that in the ninth grade, at age 15, reading the majority of those books would have caused me to drop out of school and devote my life to a trade. I can also say with confidence that Dr. Flesch and J.P. Kincaid have developed one of the worst indexes ever. Sadly, all this proves is that Johnny’s death was indeed in vain.

The humiliation was too great to attend Johnny’s funeral.

So, while my ego may have taken a hit, I am buoyed by the knowledge that this index is a little more than a literary parlor trick meant to amuse small minded people who, like me, now spend hours going through trying to find the hardest book ever written (Chomsky gets a 15.4 so far). Also, Microsoft Word can compute the Flesch-Kincaid Index level for a document, and this blog post reads at a 10.4, so at least I’m writing at a higher level than I am reading.

* Yes, it was embarrassing to read a great American classic after it had won an Academy Award. My only recourse was to never read it in public and, when I was done, to bury it under other books on my shelves to make it seem as though I had owned it for years.

Tuesday, April 11

“Hare Ye, Hare Ye.” (OK, no more court jokes.)

Being back in the office after doling out so much justice is tiresome, besides the fact that work seems to “pile up” when I don’t do anything for three days and then go on jury duty. Every time someone handed me something to do today I felt like screaming back, “Oh, I’m sooo sorry I couldn’t get it done sooner. I was a little busy getting violent criminals off the street and behind bars where they can’t get to you anymore. OR YOUR FAMILIES!”

And just when I was about to give up hope of getting anything meaningful done today (blogging) I open up Yahoo news and see this story:

Bigs bunny: monster rabbit devours English veggie plots

A few things are interesting here: 1. not so much interesting, but rather dull is the pun on the name “Bugs Bunny”; 2. not so much interesting, but rather incorrect is the fact that they don’t capitalize the word “bunny,” rendering the pun both bland and ineffective; 3. that I did some searching around and the exact same pun was used in no less than four other headlines . . . in reference to a different story; and 4. (which actually is interesting) THE PICTURE OF THE RABBIT!

(Sidenote: How come every time I look at that rabbit I can’t help but think of this?)

What’s worse, as I mentioned in enumerated interesting thing 3, this isn’t the first time the world has been introduced to a giant monster rabbit. Back in February of this year there was this story of a German named Hans Wagner who claims his rabbit is the world’s largest.

Intriguingly, the owner of the other giant monster rabbit is also a German named Karl Szmolinsky, which leads me to this question: When the hell did Germany find the time to cultivate the world’s largest rabbits? The wall just came down like 15 years ago. You mean to tell me that families were reunited and civilizations were struggling to coexist and somewhere in the middle of it all someone thought, “You know, Germany needs a new identity. Something other than Nazis and sausage and depressing literature. We need something big and furry and cute. Hmm, if only we could make bunnies, but bigger . . .” Actually, now that I’ve written that it kind of makes sense to me. I’ve never been to Germany, and I’m not a racist as Gawker would have you believe, but I’ve read a lot of Nietzsche and this all makes perfect sense right now.

I guess the real dilemma is: Two giant bunnies, two German men, one chance to be THE BIGGEST RABBIT IN THE WORLD. My money is on bunny number two. Sure, number one has the whole Walter Mathau thing going for him, but if we’re judging it in terms of “which one would make me crap my pants if I ran into it one snowy night in a secluded cabin in Vermont” (and we are, because it’s my blog) then I have to go with the second one, whose paws make me laugh every time I look at them, until my gaze reaches his face and I understand that this is a rabbit with fury in its soul.

Monday, April 10

Justice Is A Dish Best Served On A Hero. Me.

Just when I was about to illegally divulge the details of my ongoing trial, risk GOING TO JAIL all to be a trailblazing journalist who thinks that a blogger has the right to pontificate on the goings-on of the deliberations of 12 men and women determining the future of one mugger (I’m sorry, alleged future of one mugger), just then! . . . the case comes to an end and now I’m legally (read: boringly) allowed to discuss any and all events that took place. In other words, it’s just not that exciting anymore.

But know that New York is safer because of the work I’ve done, that there is one less mugger at the 116th Street subway station, bringing the revised grand total to approximately 2,999. And know that I was a crucial part in the deliberations, the one sitting at the end of the table opposite the one guy who was “iffy” on the evidence, staring at him with that look on my face that says, “You’re not cool unless you vote guilty.”

Actually, just in case anyone from my jury reads this, I want to make it clear that I was on an awesome jury. We covered every age group, almost every race and definitely every range on the sense of humor scale (Me: “So we should all hang out again sometime.” Old woman across from me: “Huh?”); and yet we got along famously and shared just about as many laughs as we did legal barbs. Thank you, Jury for Part 39, for being so awesome.

And for you all, a few things the experience taught me:

If you’re going to mug someone while wearing a fluorescent orange jersey, change your clothes after you are done. It makes you “less recognizable” when you fall asleep on a park bench three blocks away.

If you find yourself acting as defense counsel for a crack addict, and the assistant district attorney makes no mention of your client being a crack addict, don’t voluntarily ask a police officer during cross examination, “And isn’t it true that you found a crack pipe with significant residue on my client?” Unless, of course, what you’re trying to do is get a room full of 12 people swapping crack addict stories.

If you find yourself on jury duty, during the day of deliberations hold out until approximately 12:50, even if you have a verdict. By that time the court has already ordered lunch for you, meaning that you can take it “to go” after you condemn a man to prison.

Again, if you are going to mug someone, and you plan on using your fingers underneath your shirt to make it seem as though you have a gun, you may as well actually have a gun because it’s first degree robbery either way. At least if you actually have the gun you can, you know, shoot someone if you have to.

And finally, if you get the chance to partake in jury duty, you really should do it. It’s a surprisingly interesting experience and really very empowering, which, if your life (and girlfriend) is anything like mine, is a rare sensation. Plus the next time you’re watching “Law & Order” with your friends, you can impress them by saying things like, “Voir dire is sooo passé. And they never get the rules of evidence right on these shows! Gawd.”

Thursday, April 6

But The Coolest Part Was That On My Way Home I Saw Them Taping “Law & Order: SVU” Outside The Courthouse

Because, much like the Winter Olympics, you only get to blog about jury duty once every four years. If that’s not worthy of a running diary post, I don’t know what is.

(p.s. Haley’s comet – definitely worth a running diary post. OK, moving on . . .)

7:40 Wake up and immediately regret going out the night before. I mean immediately. I wasn’t even sure where I was yet, but I was positive that that last beer was a mistake.

7:50 Go into the shower and do that thing where you still have your eyes closed and you’re making all the movements you normally make in the shower, but you completely lack self awareness. For single people, this is usually accompanied by a regretful flashbacks of making out with someone. For me, it was regretful flashbacks of eating buffalo wings at 11:30.

8:20 Get to the subway platform and put on my headphones. Ten seconds after I turn on my iPod, the battery dies. I think, “This might be a good time to just leave New York. Skip jury duty and never come back.” Just then a train comes and I am pushed into the car by an angry businesswoman.

8:45 “Technically” I’m supposed to be at the courthouse right now, but as I walk towards the building I see a Starbucks out of the corner of my eye. In what would later prove to be one of the greatest decisions of my life, instead of arriving at jury duty on time I stop to get an iced mocha latte. In fact, I think this action went beyond “decision” – it was my body’s instinct for survival.

9:04 I arrive at the jury assembly room fashionably late and everyone is already watching the instructional video. Personally, I don’t feel the need to watch the video because I think I will be a naturally gifted juror. But then this phrase catches my attention: “If you are excused, please remember it is in no way a reflection of your integrity or intelligence.” I think “Yes it is: you’d have to be pretty dumb to not get excused.” This is what we in the literary world refer to as “foreshadowing.”

9:06 The video again captures my attention with the line “According to surveys, most people who serve on juries come away with a more favorable view of our legal system than they ever had before.” The guy next to me lets out a little laugh upon hearing that and my initial reaction is, “What an asshole.” Because it’s one thing for me to be incredulous about our legal system, but when other people are that’s just downright unpatriotic.

9:10 (Here I jotted down the note “Who wears an anklet to jury duty?” I have no idea what I was referring to.)

9:12 Why not just show episodes of “Law & Order?” I mean, everyone already knows that this is exactly how we think it works. Why not just play that up. It’s not like by watching this video everyone won’t think, ”Wow, this is disappointing” when they walk into the courtroom.

9:15 There’s a decent chance I might vomit.

9:24 A woman begins reading instructions over a loud speaker, mainly guidelines for who has to serve and who might be eligible for a postponement. Then she says, “If you are not a legal citizen, you cannot serve jury duty. Please go to the courthouse at 60 Center Street, room 139 [to be arrested].” OK, I added that last part; but come on, an illegal immigrant is going to purposely go into a court house and say, “I was just at jury duty but they said because I was an illegal alien I had to come here instead? Oh, and I also need one of those, what do you call them, visas?”

9:38 I spent my 15 minute break in the bathroom passing the buffalo wings from last night. Just an awful turn of events. It was one of those situations where as soon as you go you want to audibly say, “I’m sorry” to everyone else in the room. The guy in the stall next to me moaned. Honestly, I don’t know why they didn’t just clear out of the bathroom. The only reason I was there was because I had to be.

9:40 Feeling much better once I get back to my seat. Then I realize that I’m still at jury duty.

10:00 A public service announcement from The Daily Dump: “You don’t need to be at jury duty until 10:00. The 8:45 arrival time is purely a suggestion.”

10:10 Conversation overheard between two 20-something guys on the walk over to the court room:

Guy 1: “He met a girl last night and then called her when he got home!”

Guy 2: “NOOO! Hasn’t he ever seen Swingers?”

Guy 1: “Luckily she wasn’t home, so he’s going to wait three days before calling her again.”

Sometimes the hardest part of jury duty is owning up to the fact that these are your peers.

10:20 We sit down in the courtroom. The judge’s name is “Judge Stone,” and immediately I think of “Night Court” and Mac saying, “All rise, Judge Harold T. Stone presiding.” I loved “Night Court.” In terms of 80’s sitcoms, it was right up there with “Family Ties” and “Perfect Strangers.” Although as a kid I was always put off by the creator’s name in the credits: “Reinhold Weege.” I know that there are worse names, but imagine your girlfriend taking you home to her parents for the first time and saying, “Dad, this is my boyfriend – Reinhold Weege.” Or walking into a job interview and confidently striding up to the desk with your hand outstretched saying, “Reinhold Weege, nice to meet you!” I just can’t think of a situation where it’s not embarrassing. Also, I’m literally writing this all out on the back of the Juror’s Instruction Booklet and I just had a scary high school flashback wherein Judge Stone says, “Bailiff, please collect the piece of paper from that gentlemen; let’s see what’s so important it can’t wait until I’m done speaking.”

10:35 Judge reiterates that not being chosen is not a reflection on one’s “intelligence, integrity of value as a person.” I want to meet the person who, after being rejected for jury duty, goes home with their head hanging and has this conversation with their spouse:

Wife: “What’s wrong dear?”

Husband: “Oh, nothing.”

Wife: “Really, what is it? You’re worrying me.”

Husband: “It’s just that . . . I was rejected for jury duty. I feel like I really let you and the kids down. I just . . . I thought I was a better man than that.”

Then, at 10:50, everything changes. Of the group of 40 people in the courtroom, they read off 16 names and I am number four. I get up into the witness box and they ask me the standard questions: where I live, where I work, have I ever been the victim of a crime, etc. In theory, it’s extremely easy to get out of being on the jury at this point. As one person did, all you have to says is, “A friend of mine was mugged a few months ago and I just feel like all muggers should go to jail because that’s an awful thing to do to someone.” I rack my brain, wondering if I can relate to them the story of my friend Matt who was jumped by a group of kids back in high school. That’s kind of a crime, isn’t it? Or when my mom used to spank me with a wooden spoon? Even if it’s not child abuse, it’s a good story . . .

But then the judge explains something interesting. He says, “Before I start, let me tell you that we do not expect this case to run for more than three days. If you are not chosen for this jury, you will be sent back to the waiting room where you will be called again to be a potential juror for another case. That case might last longer than this one.” Basically he was selling me on this jury. And actually, it was a great decision – because I was picked for the jury and then promptly sent home at 11:30. So instead of sitting around for another six hours hoping to be dismissed, I get to miss work for three days and decide the fate of a man who mugged two people. I’m sorry, “who mugged two alleged people.”

Honestly though, it is sobering to be sworn in and then look the man in the eye and know that you are going to be one of the people who decides his fate. This guy could go to jail for five years because of what I think. It’s enough to make a man drunk with importance. Luckily I’m usually just plain drunk, so I don’t see this whole ordeal having any effect on me whatsoever, aside from maybe being arrested for sneaking photos of testifying witnesses to use on my blog. It’s all for you guys, don’t ever forget that.