The Freshmaker

I now know through keen scientific observation that when one dumps a half a packet of Menthos into a two-liter bottle of Diet Coke, a fountain erupts from the bottle. Learning such things first-hand is one of the joys of keeping younger people around. Will, Dad, and I went to the market specifically to purchase several bottles of Diet Coke and a few packs of Menthos, just for this purpose. In fact, for what other reason does anyone actually purchase Menthos?

Anyway. I am here in up-state New York. It is nice. It is nice because I am no longer in a city where an old man will scold you for suggesting that he might move away from the subway doors to let other people onto the train. It is nice because my Pops is smoking the turkey outside today, so the house smells good inside and in some locations in the great outdoors. There are horsies here and chickens and cats and dogs and books to read and Glüwein in the slo-cook. And there are more Diet Coke bombs to be made.

So. You’re The Assman.

On Oct. 8, 1993, many Americans were introduced rather uncerimoniously to a longstanding tradition known as the Friars Club roast. On that evening, actor Ted Danson took the stage in blackface—during a roast of his then presumed sweetie, Whoopi Goldberg. It caused a firestorm of controversy, though Goldberg herself had written much of the bit and fiercely defended the performance and Danson.

Through that incident, many Americans have been made aware of a fierce brand of comedy that sometimes toys with racism to be funny. It’s there. You can argue that it shouldn’t be or that people should grow a spine over it, but it’s there.

You just gotta be careful if you choose to go and use it. Michael Richards, eh, not so careful.

The whole thing makes you wonder, when the heck are white people are going to get the message once and for all, that it becomes less and less cool every day to insult a man for his complexion, and that it is especially not cool if you do it by using that word. Dear white people: You no longer own, or even lease, that word. You are not to use it, period. Not with the “ah” at the end and certainly not with the “r” at the end. Just for good measure, let’s avoid “niggardly,” too. I know doing so patronizes the masses and kills a perfectly good adjective, but “miserly” works just as well and has just as many syllables.

On the other hand.

I’ve never done standup. I’ve come close. You know. Karaoke. And I’ve threatened to do standup at Dremo’s. But I haven’t. So I can’t imagine what that feels like, to know that you’re drowning up there and to hear affirmation of that screamed at you by those who have ostensibly shown up and paid to see you do this. It must be infuriating. It must be very tempting to go there, to venture into the living room and to come out with something awful, something about hanging one upside down and shoving forks in places, and then to go that one step further, as did Michael Richards.

I’d like America to give Richards a pass, only because I think we owe him one. For years, the man entertained you and you and you with his mugging and his pratfalls, sometimes to the point of making you think, how did he DO that?. It was unprofessional and foolish of him to go there, certainly. Wrong place wrong time, and worst of all, it wasn’t funny. But, foogit. He’s Kramer. Cosmos Kramer. Give break. Right?

All Systems Are Gopher

While many of you were worshipping Jesus today or watching the football or producing sparkling academic treatises or lounging in your beachside homes, I was putting together computer workstations.

Well. Not all day. I showed up at the new office at 10 a.m. as asked, and they weren’t nearly ready. With a few hours to kill and a grumbelly belly, hunted and devoured an omlette sandwich at a Cosi. I then went to the Borders That Looks As If Built Into The Sidewalk. I can always kill an hour there. Until, of course, I flew by Ex Girlfriend Unlucky Enough To Have Met Me In Crazier Times Than These (she may retain some level of anonymity in this post because that describes like five people). Oy. What were these odds? Granted, her office is near the Borders That Looks As If Built Into The Sidewalk, as is the friendly former place of Free Wings On Tuesday (FWOT), where we went weekly. So perhaps the odds were better than, say, the odds of Artie Lange saying, “No, thanks. I just couldn’t.” After all, I’m horning in on her ‘hood here. (Sorry.) But still, there was a “small world” feel to it. And, it was a fly-by, which is what it probably should have been, so, long story short, I ended up back at the office a wee little bit earlier than requested.

The staff there today and I shot the bull in our beautiful new conference room for awhile then went out for gyros and salad. Just as we began eating, the movers came in to move our chairs to other quarters. Moving is hell. After lunch, the station setting upping began, and it is not work for pussies, my friends. There is griming around on the floor and grunting and there are artistic considerations and comfort considerations and technical considerations to be met. And some of the offices don’t even have all the furniture or all the peripherals yet, so there’s guessing.

My office is all set, of course. And I can share two lovely things about the new place, which is like a spaceship compared to the old joint, by the way. I speak almost not only figuratively: The rooms light up on their own when you enter a room. They tell me they wanted to conserve power, but I know better: They wanted to make it more like a spaceship.

And we toured the server room, which is much larger than the old one and which actually has a rack for everything, rather than half of the equipment being stacked up on shelves. And I’m standing there with two of my co-workers marveling at the new server room, and then it occurred to me: Jessicacita would be laughing at me right now and calling me a nerd. Heck, if she’d seen this, she might even be making a little nerdtenna gesture at me.

Anyway. I unfortunately have to actually show up before nine tomorrow, an event they’ll be covering on tomorrow’s Today, like that time when David Blaine lived in that water bubble. There’s a meeting I have to be at and some peoples’ complaints I might need to meet.

Random quoth…”An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.” —M. Ghandi

You Can See My House From Here!

I am about to write in this space a joke that some people would find extremely offensive. Then, I’m going to follow up that writing with a few things that are, truly, actually, offensive.

The joke: What is the difference between Jesus Christ and a picture of Jesus Christ?

It only takes one nail to hang the picture.


If you find that joke offensive, then my bet is that you’ll have a greater problem finding the offense in the story about the Jesus Doll, which is something I really don’t understand.

If you ain’t heard the story: Toy manufacturer that makes a doll that resembles Jesus Christ that sputters scripture offers a few gross of the toy to the Marines for Toys for Tots. Marines, realizing they can’t keep the toys from being routed to Muslims and Jews and such, turn down the very generous offer. Toy manufacturer is nonplussed.

What confuses me is this: Wasn’t God crystal clear in the Bible about how he felt about golden calves? I don’t understand how any Christian in any fashion could support the idea of distributing these Jesus Joes to anyone. And yet: “This is just more proof that there’s a war on Christmas and Christianity in this country,” says Robert Marley of the Coalition to Save Christmas in Massachusetts.

Dear goodness. My country is doomed.

I mean. This is what Robert Marley gets all exercised over. This. Not a book called If I Did It, Here’s How It Happened by Orenthal James Simpson. Just in time for the shopping season! Makesa great gift!

Can we chase this man to live in Michael Jackson’s poolhouse in Bahrain, please? And would someone nail some sort of declaration to somebody’s church door again, please? They. Need. A. REMINDER.


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I Scream, You Scream

Howard interviewed Joey Buttafuco this morning. Among the revelations was that Joey has gone into a new businessdelivering ice cream to television lots, such as that of Desperate Housewives. I’d give a dime to watch that once, just to hear a chorus of children yell, “Thank you, Mr. Buttafuco!”

Also on Stern: Learning a little more about Jack Black than I ever needed to know. Howard has brought up that Jack’s parents were nudists. Which is not the most interesting thing about Jack Black’s parents, although it does amplify the most interesting thing about Jack Black’s parents.

You know. That they were rocket scientists.

Just Not Horny Enough

I like Christina Aguilera. That’s one guilty admission, from me to you. Christina Aguilera is all right in my book. I liked her in her “Come On Over Baby” days—I even have that CD, though I bought it for a dollar at a used CD store in Edinboro, Pa. I thought her “Beautiful” song was unusually affirming for a ladysinger of her ilk. And I like the decade-bending of her latest work. Except.

Except she had a full compliment of horns on SNL this week and did not use them. All they did was provide that percussive “Bop. Doo-dot. Bow.” on “Ain’t No Other Man.” As I watched it I couldn’t help but feel sorry for them, you know, I could hear them thinking, for this I spent 14 hours a day in a practice room through my late teens and early 20s? Christ. You’ve got a full compliment of horns and you’re trying to create echoes of the big band era. Write them a chart or something. Let them wail.

The appearance did nearly redeem itself with her duet with Tony Bennett. But not quite. I would have been happier to see him perform with Jane Monheit, or to have seen the time allotted to those HORNS in the first act.

Jessicacita and I watched The Station Agent…a weird but worth-watching film. It has a midget in it. I don’t really think there’s much more that needs to be said.

Here at my office, we’re getting ready to move. We’ll move on Fry-day, even. And there are people coming in to the office apparently considering moving in to this space, so periodically, people will pass my office at that sort of “just browsing” lumbering pace—and sort of look in. It makes me want to jump on my chair and start acting like a chimp.

If I get through the week without throwing my own poop at somebody, someone owes me a cookie.

I think my Mama will like the new theme I just found and altered today. It appropriates from a design of yore that she was fond of because mamas like to see pictures of their kids when they’re kids, and she was just telling me that she thought the one I’d just gotten were a little too “generic.” I like it. I’m still detailing. But I like it.