Good morning, sunshine. Good morning, birds. Good morning, flowers and trees and puffy white clouds.
Good morning, heat. Good morning, garbage smells. Good morning, drip of sweat sliming its way down between my shoulder blades.
Good morning, crowded elevators and angry moms and old ladies too tired to hold in their farts.
Good morning, fashion assistants wearing sunglasses on the subway even through there’s no sunlight down here and you look like assholes squinting down at your asshole Blackberries.
Good morning, melted gum and dog feces. Good morning, babies with heat rash. Good morning, even more garbage smells.
Good morning, air conditioner exhausts and air conditioner drips and the ever-present grind of air conditioners. Good morning, air-conditioned luxury stores with your doors wide open, because fuck the world, right?
Good morning, Russian men in Speedos and Brazilian men in thongs. Good morning, exposed beer bellies of the world. Good morning, back hair.
Good morning, road construction. Good morning, jackhammers. Good morning, people talking about the Hamptons.
Good morning, bees. Good morning, ants. Good morning stink bugs and spiders and cockroaches and silverfish and those gross wispy centipedes that look like eyebrows.
Good morning, mosquitoes.
Good morning, pit stains. Good morning, weight we meant to lose. Good morning, hot pillows.
Good morning, children with ice cream all over your faces and hands and t-shirts and everything you touch. Good morning, general stickiness.
Good morning, eight-dollar iced lattes. Good morning, hot leather convertible seats. Good morning, lacrosse players in backwards visors and shower shoes.
Good morning, heat stroke. Good morning, dehydration. Good morning, brownouts and blackouts and thunderstorms and tornadoes.
But, finally, a big good morning to tan-lined cleavage and flippy sun dresses. Thank you for making everything else okay.
I scheduled a haircut after work, because my iPad 2 is finally arriving in the mail this week, and I want to look my best.
I don't know; maybe I'm making too big a deal of things---clearing space on the desk, freeing up a dedicated power strip. Does a vase of flowers read as too eager?
Then again, you only get one chance to make a first impression. This iPad is traveling all the way from China, after all. The least I can do is trim my beard and get a haircut.
Also a manicure. And slight eyebrow management.
I'm unsure exactly what date my iPad will arrive, so I've planned out an entire week of my best outfits. Personally, I kind of hope it gets here on Thursday, because I laid out my navy sport coat, which makes me look skinny… Well, skinny-ish… Well, not fat. Mostly.
It's been a long wait. For the both of us. I stood in line the first day they were coming out, but the store was sold out of the exact model I wanted. So, I walked away. It was hard, but this is too big of a commitment to have it not be a perfect match. Not that anything is a perfect match. You have to work through the little things together.
Gosh, I wonder what I'll say when I open up the box. Do you think the UPS man will be nice? I hope he's not flippant about the hand-off. You hear these horror stories where the delivery driver is rude and it ruins the entire tone of the event.
Man... butterflies, right? Whew, I am just a bundle of nerves. How's my breath? Should I shave my beard? Are these reading glasses too much? I'm trying really hard to seem like I'm not trying too hard.
I hope my new iPad likes the case I picked out for it. I went with black, because it’s a classic. I mean, I figure I'd have the case waiting for it when it got here, and then we could pick out some apps together. I scouted out a few, but I don't want to seem presumptuous...
Was that the doorbell? Oh no! The place is a mess! I thought I had more time! Let me just, um... WHERE’S MY COMB?!!!
You know what? Never mind. It'll be fine. Nobody's perfect, and I can't control for everything, and nobody's expecting me to, and the place looks fine, and I look fine, and I'll just answer the door. I'll just go do that now... Okay, now.
Wish me luck. [licks palm and smoothes down bangs.] Okay, now.
Words to live by:
Sometimes bad things happen to good people.
Sometimes good things happen to bad people.
Sometimes rad things happen to badass people.
Sometimes mood rings happen to rude people.
Sometimes, could things happen to Brad, people?
Sometimes nude singers amend two peepholes.
Sometimes puddings upend two mad clavicles.
Sometimes foodies happen too, bat people.
Sometimes dudes fling happiness onto May poles.
Sometimes sad kings happen upon Mott the Hoople.
Sometimes glued wings wrap into admirals.
Sometimes lewd fingers apple tuba pebbles.
I don’t know if that last one makes a ton of sense, but it’s seen me through a lot of tough times. I have it cross-stitched above my bathroom mirror, and I read it aloud ever morning.
Don’t stop believing, you guys.
Why, yes. Yes I am wearing this shirt from the Gap ironically. That’s very astute of you to notice. I think everyone else at this gallery opening just assumed I’m some sort of hick from Wisconsin. Yes, yes this is an ironic outfit. Sure it is.
Those are very interesting legwarmers, you’ve got there. Are those made out of beer cozies? That’s what I thought. They’re nice. Did you make those yourself?
No, of course I’m kidding. I know who that designer is. He’s very … five minutes from now.
My shoes? They’re from the New Balance Outlet Store. It’s meant to be a commentary on the plebeian fixation on function over form. Which we all know is ridiculous. So flyover state, right? Yeah, who would wear non-ironic sneakers? Some sort of gross doofus.
I like your glasses, by the way. They’re very reflective. I can see myself sweating a little. I’m surprised you’re not warm in your beer cozies.
So, what do you do for a living? I’m just kidding. I can tell by your expression that that’s an offensive question. It was actually meant to be thought-provoking. Like as in, what if people had to work for money? Wouldn’t that be weird? It’s fine that you didn’t catch the subtext. Don’t be embarrassed.
Whew, I hope this champagne kicks in soon.
So, um, what do you think of the exhibition? I saw the artist masturbating in the corner as part of a performance piece. At least I hope it was a performance piece, ha ha.
Oh no, I didn’t realize the piece was about the Apartheid. Yes, you’re correct; there’s nothing funny about the racial segregation.
Do you know the artist’s work then? Oh, wow, it must be interesting being the daughter of a famous artist. Does he practice his performance pieces at … you know what, never mind.
Where is that waiter with more drinks?
So, did you watch the Parks and Rec finale? Sure, that’s okay. I’ll just go stand over here then. Nice talking with… buh bye.
In honor of Oprah ending her show, I want to take a moment to acknowledge all she’s given to us all over the years. So, if you’ll allow me, I’d like to thank Oprah for a few things:
Farewell, Oprah. Thank you for teaching us to define ourselves through consumer goods.
Farewell, Oprah. Thank you for sharing The Secret with us.
Farewell, Oprah. Thank you for giving Jenny McCarthy a nationwide platform to discourage childhood vaccination.
Farewell, Oprah. Thank you for a constant flow of gurus.
Farewell, Oprah. Thank you for providing a safe place for closeted Scientologists to talk about their private jets.
Farewell, Oprah. Thank you for bringing us the person who brought us the word "yummo."
Farewell, Oprah. Thank you for getting the world to read books with “buzz.”
Farewell, Oprah. Thank you for inspiring Tyra Banks to be the way she is.
Farewell, Oprah. Thank you for helping corporations pass off public relations giveaways as charity.
Farewell, Oprah. Thank you for making suburban soccer moms refer to their genitals as “va-jay-jays.”
Farewell, Oprah. Thank you for all the screaming.
Farewell, Oprah. Thank you for the Backstreet Boys reunion.
Farewell, Oprah. Thank you for turning on James Frey and making his artistic/self-promotional choices seem like a personal emotional assault against you and your viewers.
Farewell, Oprah. Thank you for a southern psychologist who berates people for a half hour in place of therapy.
Farewell, Oprah. Thank you for teaching us that it doesn’t matter what weight a woman is, as long as she defines herself by her constant struggle with weight.
Thank you, Oprah. You’ve left the world and yourself a richer place.
Son, I want you to promise me something: You're eighteen now, ready to go off to college. You've got your whole future ahead of you. I don't want you to make the same mistake that I made. Never look up what makes soft-shell crab soft-shelled.
Believe me, you don't want to know. You never want to know. Because, soft-shell crab is delicious. Oh my god, a soft shell crab sandwich with a little fresh frisée, some spicy aioli, maybe a touch of churrasco---it doesn't get any tastier than that.
But, once you find out what soft shell crab really is, you won't be able to eat it ever again. Never again.
Let me tell you about the day I learned what soft-shell crab was. I was about your age, bright-eyed and innocent, saving up for trade school. I was out with some friends eating at a seafood stand up along the coast. (This is when I was working for your great uncle’s sporting goods warehouse up in Maine.) I was exactly four bites into just about the tastiest soft shell crab sandwich you can imagine.
I can still remember every detail---a light dijon dressing, ripe tomato, sweet onions, center-cut bacon. And, just as I get the fifth bite into my mouth, my so-called "friend" Eddie Fratelli tells me what soft-shell crab really is. I tell you, son, it dissolved into ashes in my mouth.
To this day, I can't even walk past a restaurant serving soft-shell crab without getting a lump of disgust in my throat.
I can see that I've piqued your interest. I know what it's like to be a young buck full of machismo, thinking you can take on the world. You probably assume you can handle knowing why soft-shell crab is soft-shelled. You can't.
That's why I'm going to give you a little hint and hope that keeps you from exploring any further on your own. Here it is: Shells are hard; they protect the crab. But, they don't grow, do they? That's it, that's all I'm gonna say.
Promise me you won't investigate beyond that. I can't imagine my only son never being able to eat soft-shell crab again. That fear keeps me up at night. Well, that and the image of soft-shell crabs seared into my brain.
So, promise me right now that you won't go any further down that road. Do you promise? I said, DO YOU PROMISE?!
There, that's all I needed to hear. I trust you; you’re a good kid.
Oh, and I just remembered, also promise you won't look up any YouTube videos of crabs molting their shells, because I think you might be able to guess the rest from there...
... All those disgusting little ocean spiders shedding their protective armor … floating around like twitching wet marshmallows … pink and puffy, like they just herniated themselves out of their own bodies…
… I’m sorry. I got distracted. Anyway, hope I didn’t give too much away. You go out and enjoy those soft-shell crab sandwiches, and try not to think about it too much.
I love you, son.
I’m thinking about starting up some sort of multibillion-dollar Internet start-up. Not exactly sure what it’ll be yet, but I wrote up a little copy for the brochure and I’ve attached it below. Let me know what you guys think:
Do you own a home personal computer for personal computing? Many in the Americas do, and also around the world.
There are many things a personal computer can do for you, for instance both sending and receiving electronic mail over the Internet Superhighway, a series of cables that connect many computers together. Also, many computers can show videotapes of things such as cats and/or dogs and cats.
Also, home personal computers can bring many new and exciting and interesting things into your home---things like purchasing books about things, purchasing “virtual” disc-less music, pretending you are a mythical warrior, reading your news information, asking people questions about many things.
Also, a computer that you buy can allow you to see photographs of female bodybuilders eating apples, if you are interested in female bodybuilders eating apples. There are other fruits that lady bodybuilders eat. Sometimes, they don’t eat the fruit. Sometimes they crush it with their feet. You can also see photos of that.
Also, computers attached to the Internet Superhighway allow you to see female bodybuilders dressed up as cowgirls, and in the background of the photograph there is a man making a funny face at another man who is wearing a stormtrooper costume. No one is eating fruit, but it is a very funny picture that I can send to you using the “forwarding” button in my electronic mail program.
Webster’s dictionary defines a computer as a “one that computes; specifically: a programmable usually electronic device that can store, retrieve, and process data.”
If that sounds interesting to you, or if you simply want to see pictures of female bodybuilders, please send a self addressed stamped envelope to the address below, and I will mail you a URL to input into your personal home computer for more information.
Thank you, and good Internetting.
The Lightest Jazz in the World was played on January 12th, 1994 by Freddy Hirschbaum and the Velvet Cats. It happened in the basement of the Horizons Jazz Club and Cigar Bar in Toronto, Canada, and it changed the course of history.
Light jazz had been played before. Of course it had. But never this light, never this smooth. Listeners of that evening’s set described the first note as "whipped margarine gently tilted into our ears."
It was jazz so gentle and inoffensive, so soft and subtle that the tabletop candles no longer flickered---their flames now as still as crystal. Glassware stopped clinking; plumbing stopped clanking; existence seemed to pause in hushed contemplation.
It only got smoother from there---muted trombone, pianissimo piano, a clarinet solo spare and haunting. The beat tiptoed like whispered footsteps along sand dunes. One song blended into the next until it became not a playlist but what the Ancient Greeks called "the gossamer of Arachne."
Soon, jazz flowed so lightly it slipped between the cracks of space and time. The physical laws of our universe could no longer hold a groove this smooth. Specks of blinding blue light tore the air around the Velvet Cats. Freddy "Pudding Fingers" Hirschbaum dissolved into a fine mist. In a quiet “pop” the rest of the band vanished. Slowly, the sounds of the outside world intruded, and the audience wandered out, stunned and solemn.
Fifteen and a half years later, during a beach volleyball tournament along the Chicago lakeshore, a crackling boom split the calm. Dozens were blown off their feet by the shockwave. At the center of a large crater stood the Velvet Cats, or at least what remained of them.
Ropy and muscular, the jazz musicians twitched alertly. Matted beards bristled against hardened, leathery skin. Their black turtlenecks and tweed jackets hung around their waists as shredded loincloths. “Scats” Schulman carried an improvised crossbow crafted from his upright bass. The clarinetist squinted through his one remaining eye.
They told the story of a wasteland they called the Otherworld, where intelligent reptilian insects sought only death and fuel for their pagan pyres. These daemons worshipped the all-powerful demigod Grah’mun-Sep, a beast ten stories tall with eyes of fire and a hundred mouths, each with a thousand fangs.
Lakes of acid boiled underfoot, and nights brought psychic waves of dread. Hidden in their tiny cave, the Velvet Cats had fought off a creature they had named “the wolf fungus.” Freddy Hisrchbaum disappeared during a scavenging expedition. They assumed he’d been trapped for use as a living hatchery for the insectoids’ egglings.
What had been fifteen years here had been only a few months for the jazz band. Only a few had survived, living off what little the daemons left behind during their pillaging. Now, they had returned bringing warning.
Grah’mun-Sep had discovered the gateway torn open by the Lightest Jazz Ever Played. The daemon army was amassing in the Otherworld, fanged berserkers stretching beyond the dark the horizon. Our only hope was to arm ourselves for battle, while Scats Schulman composed some bebop powerful enough to close the breech.
The Earth’s destruction approached, and our world united in prayer for a boogie woogie bass line strong enough to save us...
Names I have given pigeons in my head:
- Garbage Joe
- Stooly the Snitch
- Monopod Birdstrum
- Coo Boo
- The Claw
- Gray Ghost
- Brown Ghost
- Moltin’ Lava
- Poops Radley
- Vermin Munster
Hey, guys, it looks like another Apocalypse is coming up this Saturday. I know some people are a little suspicious of this May 21st deadline for the Rapture, but I for one am beginning to think this might be The Big One, and I'll tell you why:
First off, yesterday I saw a guy at Subway mowing down a foot-long tuna sub. And, at the time it sure seemed like a sign of the Apocalypse. I guess you had to be there, but he had this unkempt salt-and-pepper beard and droopy eyes, and he was just tearing into that tuna sandwich. Something about it was so creepy I could hear my heartbeat in my ears.
Then, there's that thing a few months ago with the flock of birds falling out of the sky. I know that "science" has multiple "scientific" explanations based on "facts" for that, but still ... Birds. Are. Dinosaurs.
Dinosaurs fell from the sky. Did you know that? Even your so-called evolution admits that that’s fucked up.
Also, the milk in my tea this morning formed the shape of a skull. My wife insisted it was a hot air balloon, but it was a grinning skull. Colleen, we both know it was a skull.
Aaaaaand, I recently watched the trailer for Kevin James’ upcoming movie Zookeeper, and it both horrified me and made me feel at peace. I suddenly realized that if there is indeed a just and benevolent God out there, surely he would end the world before we had to suffer through that film’s release.
These many signs (plus the billboards put up by evangelists who have nothing to gain by all this except for money) have convinced me the world will end this Saturday. I’m not sure what time. Noonish? I can get back to you on that.
So, blah blah blah, rapturous horror, words words words ... If you feel the need to make some last-minute charitable donations in order to get into Heaven, I have a Kickstarter campaign you can contribute towards. I’m trying to invent a hoverboard. Anyone who donates over $100 gets to come to the park and watch me use it once it's finished.
Anyhoo, good luck with all this,
P.S. Make sure you drop off your compost at the farmer's market first thing Saturday. Because, if you get taken up to Heaven in a blinding flash, who's gonna hand in your compost? The heathens? Heathens don't compost. HEATHENS DON'T COMPOST!!