Tuesday, July 31, 2007

How Matthew Spent His Birthday

As If

I’ve been mulling over the DC vs. Marvel thing for a while now, but it wasn’t until I saw this piece of news that it all became crystal clear.

By acquiring the comic book rights to Worlds of Warcraft, DC has produced what we in theatre call a character revelation. It’s totally fitting that a comic book company whose current major storylines require a detailed knowledge of 60 years of continuity will now publish a title based on an obsessively-detailed multi-level online game. Because, when you come right down to it, the DCVerse in its current state is the comic book equivalent of a badly programmed obsessively-detailed multi-level computer game.

And by having continuity issues drive stories across the line, DC is in effect saying two things:

1) “Hey—fanboy—yeah, you—the one who knows every incarnation of the Legion of Super Heroes. This universe is for you.”

(2) “New readers? Sorry—we’re selling to our base.”

And what are they selling that base? Footnotes instead of stories.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Things you might not know about Matthew

He thinks this is the most beautiful four and a half minutes of film you will ever see in your life:

Thursday, July 26, 2007



You’re on a date, you try to please --
You give his hand a little squeeze;
You flash a smile, but all he sees
Is desperation.

You do your best to ring her bells;
Your aim’s as good as William Tell’s --
You wear cologne, but all she smells
Is desperation.

You speak your peace; she hears a whine.
Your compliments sound like a line.
You make a date; he never calls.
You hit the gas; your engine stalls.

You wade into the dating pool;
You think you’re so mature and cool,
But you’re all wet; you’re just the fool
Of desperation.

You’re like a flower in a drought:
Each drip you see’s a waterspout.
What you call thirst is all about
The desperation.

You’re writing love, he’s reading need;
You buy a rose, she sees a weed;
You offer gifts, he sees the strings --
And that’s when the fat lady sings.

It’s not about the perfect fit,
It doesn’t matter who you hit –-
It’s like Romantic “Tag –- you’re it!”
It’s desperation.

It leaves you hungry when you feed,
It jacks you up like uncut speed,
It blossoms like a cancer weed --
It’s desperation.

You’re like a vampire in a dive:
You’ll pick up skells just to survive.
They don't need souls to help you thrive --
They only have to be alive.

When everyone looks ripe to wed
And total strangers strike you dead,
Roll over and go back to bed:
It’s desperation.

When friends you knew ten years ago
Look hot as Marilyn Monroe
Or kissable as mistletoe --
That’s desperation.

You look around and all you see
Are those with the capacity
To look at you romantically,
And so you chase them frantically.

So when the world is chock full of
Potential happiness and love,
Odds are you’re in the iron glove
Of desperation.

And what you do’s why you’re undone --
The ones you try to hug will run,
‘Cause all they see’s the loaded gun
Of desperation.

Take up guitar and sing the blues;
Put on your specs and read the clues --
Nobody normal’s gonna choose
To dream of you until you lose
Your desperation.

-- Matthew Wells, revised 7/25/07

Hangover (hăng'ō'vur)

1. Unpleasant physical effects following the heavy use of alcohol. These include headache, intermitten shout-outs to Ralph's Buick, and dry heaves that leave your throat so raw your voice sounds like a cross between Andy Devine and Marge Simpson. ("Oh Homey . . . .")

2. A word that never leaves Matthew's lips (cf. Maynard G. Krebs and the word "work"). Example: "I am so huh-huh-huh-huh-horribly afflicted with an upset stomach this morning."

3. And if he ever does say the word, then it's something Matthew never admits he's having because he has an iron-stomach drink-like-a-fish party-like-a-rock-star reputation to uphold. ("Hangover? Hell no. I'm just using the porcelain cellphone to check my messages!")

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Eighteen Things I Said To Myself This Morning

1. OMFG I just slept through my alarm, and I'm an hour late for work!

2. Kill me now.

3. Why are my ankles clicking like a geiger counter?

4. God my head hurts.

5. The great thing about drinking six vodka martinis and two0 Cosmos instead of six pints of Guinness is that, when you wake up after three hours of sleep, only your head hurts.

6. The bad this is you sleep through your alarm clock.

7. A litre of Smart Water and four Advil: the breakfast of champions.

8. The breakfast of champions only stays in your stomach for three subway stops.

9. Why is it the only two times of day I feel energized to write is just before I have to go to work in the morning and just before I have to go to sleep at night?

10. I wonder if you-know-who will call me today?

11. Matthew's Theory of Aging: if you stop keeping count, the universe will follow suit. Sort of the reverse of "as above, so below." It certainly worked for the ten years I never wore a watch. I think I only aged about three months. But then I was also playing a lot of GameBoy, thinking about the future, and writing about five times as much as I am these days--all of which activities are designed to make you lose track of time.

12. Matthew's Second Law of Time: the more you lose track of time, the more Time loses track of you.

13. Matthew's First Law of Time? It always takes longer than you think.

14. This train ride is taking forever. By the time it's over I'll be 60.

15. When my father was 60, I was 33.

16. When my father was 55, I was 28.

17. There was a 28-year-old girl at the bar last night.

18. God my head hurts.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Ravages of Intelligence

So what is it about the Y chromosome that makes it genetically incapable of dealing with smart, independent women? Is it true, as my friend Allyson observes, that when a man meets a smart, independent woman, his balls wind up in a Venti Starbucks cup that his mama keeps on the mantle next to his high school graduation picture? What could possibly be intimidating about intelligence and independence?

SMART INDEPENDENT WOMEN: How about intelligence and independence?

MATTHEW: They don't intimidate me.

THE AVERAGE MALE: What are you, crazy? If I want intelligence I'll log on to Wikipedia. And independence? I define independence as seeing anyone I want, whenever I want, with no strings attached. Why the hell would I want that in a woman?

MATTHEW: Oh I don't know--because you want an equal, maybe?

THE AVERAGE MALE: You mean competition?

MATTHEW: Equality doesn't necessarily mean competition.

THE AVERAGE MALE: [stunned] It doesn't?

SMART INDEPENDENT WOMEN: I can't believe I'm hearing this.

MATTHEW: So a smart independent woman is competition?

THE AVERAGE MALE: What else could she be?

SMART INDEPENDENT WOMEN: You afraid of a little competition, big boy?

THE AVERAGE MALE: Hell no. But I don't date it, and I don't sleep with it, and I damn sure turn and run like hell whenever it makes a move in my direction.

SMART INDEPENDENT WOMEN: Are those your balls in a Starbucks Venti cup, or are you just glad to see me?

THE AVERAGE MALE: You're a feminist, aren't you.

SMART INDEPENDENT WOMEN: Oh will you just hurry up and marry a younger version of your mother already? [To MATTHEW:] See what we have to put up with? I'm Hermione and every guy in the world is thicker than Ron! Boys are STUPID!

MATTHEW: Let's throw rocks at them.

SMART INDEPENDENT WOMEN: I hosey the boulder.

Friday, July 20, 2007

no more marvelous nights*

*Moondance Diner, closed 7/1/07

Two Scenes From An Autobiographical Play

TOM WRENCH: About ten years ago I was slaving away in the corporate library of a Wall Street firm which shall remain nameless, but whose initials are Smith Barney; and one day all fifteen of us get together in a conference room and our supervisor says, "We're going to play a game that will help morale in the office." And this cute brunette at the end of the table goes, "Shoot the supervisor?" So like already I'm in love. "Oh no," says the supervisor, who wouldn't know a joke if she hired one. "We're going to find out how well we know each other. We're going to go around the room and we're all going to say three things about ourselves -- two that are true, and one that's a lie. And the rest of us are going to guess what the lie is." And I'm thinking, how about “I’m really looking forward to this?” ‘Cause that would be my lie.

So we go around the room, and the lies people are telling are all pretty obvious, until they get to me. And I say, "Number one -- I didn't go to Viet Nam because I was 4-F. Number two -- I lost my virginity at 21 when my boss bought me a call girl for my birthday. Number three -- I have a bachelor’s degree in theatre."

And the brunette, whose name is Luisa, says, "All right; so who thinks Tom has never had sex period, never mind sex with a hooker?" And seven people raise their hands. "Okay, who thinks Tom can't even spell 4-F, never mind that he was old enough to get his ass drafted in 1972?" Seven more hands go up. "And how many people think that Tom has a bachelor's degree in lying, not theatre?" And Luisa raises her own hand.

So everybody looks at me and I look around the room and I give them all a big smile, and then I look at Luisa and I say, "We are gonna be friends for life; 'cause I never went to college."

Scene 2: Tom and Luisa in a restaurant

LUISA: That's not how I remember it. The way I remember it, nobody raised their hand for the bachelor's degree. I know I didn't. I raised my hand on the hooker.

TOM: Yeah, but it makes a better story this way.

LUISA: I think the truth is a better story.

TOM: The truth is not dramatic.

LUISA: Oh you want drama. [waving for the waiter] Check, please.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Captain America Does Green Lantern/Green Arrow

So is Cap really dead? Probably not.

Buried inside Mark Millar’s original proposal for Civil War is the following on the fate of Captain America. Millar proposes something called Doom tech which would
    eliminate every superpower in the world . . . It’s right here we have Cap dropped into the situation as he heroically defends his fellow heroes, climbing inside and closing the whole thing down. Huge explosion and smoke everywhere followed by the awe on the faces of the heroes he saved as we see skinny Steve Rogers lying here stripped of his powers . . .

    Cut to the epilogues and we basically set up the new Marvel Universe here with Bucky taking over as the new Cap . . . [and then] before we close the whole thing with Nick Fury talking to the 97lb Steve Rogers in the closing pages . . . as he admits that, despite everything, he’s kind of excited to get his life back again. He’s heading out to discover America and rediscover himself and Nick smiles. Steve hopes he isn’t being selfish and Nick says no way. “One Hell of a tour of duty you just had, soldier”, he tells Steve and Steve just smiles. They salute and Steve Rogers, skinny as a rake, walks off into the sunset like all the best heroes should.

    THE UPSHOT: Winter Soldier as Cap for a year before Steve gets the call and gets revitalized for the movie.

Revitalized for the movie. DisgustedSigh.wav.

Meanwhile, Cap crisscrosses America driving a beat-up truck in a Neal Adams-drawn 12-issue-miniseries, battling thinly disguised caricatures of the current Vice President. Y'know, like this:

    If Loneliness Was Cash, I'd Be A Millionaire

    When you look up the word “alone” in The Devil's Dictionary, it says: “Alone, adj. In bad company.” I feel like that sometimes; usually when I’m awake. I feel like anybody’s company is better than my own, simply because they’re not me.

    That’s one kind of loneliness. It’s common; it's generic -– it’s barcode loneliness. Then there’s the lonesomeness I feel because there’s no one special in my life. Most people have an open passport to that particular country; me? I have dual citizenship.

    I’ve been trying to get rid of that loneliness since I was twelve, and fell head over heels for the girl across the street. Didn't work out, but that's my pattern. Girl on one side of the street, me on the other, and whenever I make a move, I get hit by a car.

    On those rare occasions when I manage to dodge the car and get the girl, my special person loneliness disappears completely. Problem is, it gets replaced by a third kind of loneliness. I'll go out with this girl–-pretty, sensitive, smart, funny--and it's like that feeling you get when you don’t know what you want, you only know what you don’t want–-when you say to yourself, I don’t want to read this book, I don’t want to see that movie, and I don’t want to be here; but I don’t know what I want to do and I don’t know where I want to go. That feeling you get when you’re not a part of anything–-just apart. Even when you're with someone.

    I would get this feeling and thing, "Is it the whole 'wanting is more fun than having' thing that comes complete at no extra charge with the Y chromosome? Is it Groucho Syndrome ('I refuse to be part of any club that'll have me as a member')? Is it just my mutant power?"

    I never knew how to describe this kind of loneliness until I read a biography of Doctor John Henry Holliday of Griffin, Georgia--dentist, gunslinger and famous consumptive. Some reporter went up to him in Tombstone and said, “So tell me, Doc –- you ever get lonely?” And Doc shook his head and said, “Only around people.”

    Wednesday, July 18, 2007

    A Statement from Fox News

    We would like to clarify a statement reported in an article about our recent refusal to air a commercial for Trojan condoms.

    The articles states that “Fox said it objected to the message that condoms can prevent pregnancy.” This is not true. Fox, like the Roman Catholic Church, objects to the FACT that condoms can prevent pregnancy, for exactly the same reason.

    We have also been accused of hypocrisy for rejecting this commercial, even as we air commercials for Viagra and Cialis during sex-themed reality shows. This is not hypocrisy. As a publicly-traded company, News Corporation has responsibilities to the impotent old white men who run its news division, harass its female staffers, and dye their hair an incredibly ugly shade of red. One of these responsibilities is to remind women that condoms do not prevent pregnancy—birth control pills prevent pregnancy. This is no different from our stand on gun control.

    In a letter to Trojan, we explained that we also rejected the ad because contraceptive "advertising must stress health-related uses rather than the prevention of pregnancy." This is because we are completely terrified of getting AIDS from the hookers that we bus in for Bill O’Reilly.

    Frankly, the only way our network will run a Trojan condom ad that does not mention the threat of sexually transmitted disease is if the main actor is a Bill Clinton double hitting on a chubby brunette in a blue dress while his dyke of a wife is trying to pick up one of the waitresses in the Ladies Room.

    Tuesday, July 17, 2007

    How Great Is This

    So my friend Allyson moved out to LA around her 30th birthday to do the actress thing, and one of the jobs she landed was doing the audio book version of a mystery novel set in LA. Which is now up on Amazon:

    I am highly recommending this sight unseen (and even CD unheard) because Allyson is a fantastic actor and probably had a ton of fun acting the novel out while she read it. I bet it was almost as much fun for her as seeing her name on Amazon.

    Congratulations, Ally.

    Best. Movie Promotion. Ever.

    Here's the link: Pagans Have A Cow Over Homer

    Like A Ton Of Bricks Through Greased Air

    I am attracted to five kinds of women: sprinters, Pullman trunks, wounded sparrows, lobsters and porcupines.

    Sprinters are the ones who like to be chased, because that gives them the power to decide when to slow down and who gets to catch them. And it's never somebody who runs after them. The guys they wind up with never break a sweat. They are the living embodiment of Groucho Syndrome: they refuse to end up with anybody stupid enough to chase after them.

    Pullman trunks are those divinely damaged women who walk into your life with enough emotional baggage to fill Grand Central Station, every piece of which they will unload on you before walking off arm in arm with somebody else to Gate 69, where they will gleefully hop on a one-way express train to Intercourse, Pennsylvania.

    Wounded sparrows? Ah, those beautiful frails. You cradle their helpless, hurting souls in your caring hands, and you mother them and you father them until they're healthy enough to think of you as a brother.

    Lobsters are those confident dames who are so hard-shelled on the outside that you just know it's a front to protect their inner vulnerability. It's a front, all right, but in the same way two security guards with Uzis are a front for a ten-ton vault with a time lock.

    And porcupines? Porcupines are the ultimate challenge. They're perfect in every way except that you can't get close to them without bleeding. They're the ones who make you say to yourself, "I can be the one--I can be the one that'll get through to her." And when you get hurt, and you always do, and it's always bad--when you get hurt, you always say it's her fault. But it isn't. It's yours. When you impale yourself on a porcupine, you can't blame the quills.

    And why are these five types of women irresistible to me? Because I am all five species at once.

    Friday, July 13, 2007

    fireworks on the beach


    "July," we say, meaning the season's end
    When summer lover turns to autumn loner --
    The month when all the local bulls attend
    The running of the tourists in Pamplona.
    -- Matthew Wells, 7/13/07

    Schrödinger’s Veep

    Boy, am I jealous I didn't think of this first:
    --from the Village Voice

    Thursday, July 12, 2007

    You're All Going To Our Hell

    In case you've been wondering where you're going to be spending eternity, the Führer Pope has decreed that if you ain't RC, you're SOL.

    Based on a retcon of the Reformation that then-Cardinal Ratzinger produced for Crisis on Infinite Churches the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, the document is the first step in the Vatican's three-part plan to protect its brand by patenting The Cross, marketing Salvation™, and copyrighting the word Church.

    Wednesday, July 11, 2007

    Code Words 101

    May I draw your attention to the following passage in today’s New York Times article about former Surgeon General Richard Carmona’s charge that he was, in effect, the Spinmaster General for the Bush Adminstration when it came to public health:

    Bill Hall, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services, said that the administration disagreed with Dr. Carmona’s statements. “It has always been this administration’s position that public health policy should be rooted in sound science,” Mr. Hall said.

    What the Times neglects to inform its readers is that the term sound science is always employed by conservatives to describe research and statistics which support their anti-scientific political positions.

    I don’t know about you, but to me, this kind of press-release parroting of government statements is a perfect example of “sound journalism.”

    My Fair Homewrecker

    It's official: Claire Danes is going to be playing Eliza Doolittle in the upcoming Roundabout revival of My Fair Lady, having stolen the part from Mary Louise Parker.

    According to Las Vegas bookies, it's a probably 12 to 7 that she'll also steal co-star Jefferson Mays from his wife or dump Hugh Dancy for whoever plays Freddy Eynsford-Hill.

    Tuesday, July 10, 2007

    The first comic book I remember reading

    Cover date October 1957, which means it probably came out in the summer sometime. Don't remember where it was purchased, but if it was summer, then I was in Ocean Bluff, Massachusetts, which means it was bought either at Bessie's General Store or Winship's (both of which, like my innocence, disappeared ages ago).

    I still have a vivid memory of the 8-page cover story, in which Batman and Robin hopped from country to country chasing a villain who disguised himself by wearing the head of an alligator. I read it over and over again till the staples came out of the spine. At some point I let my 4-year-old brother Kevin borrow it and then yelled at him for bending the cover back, thus passing the one infallible test which separates the collector from the dilettante.

    Monday, July 9, 2007

    Sunday, July 8, 2007

    Looking for Ava Gardner: part 5

    The full moon hides behind a cloud
    Just like a golden flirt,
    The waves roll in and out as if
    The sea’s raising her skirt,
    And Ava walks the beach at night
    In someone else’s shirt.

    The stars are twinkling in the sky
    Like sea glass in a stream,
    The shadows lie like men in love
    (They’re never what they seem),
    And Ava walks the beach at night
    In someone else’s dream.

    The sea keeps reaching out to touch,
    Then pulls back with a start.
    The shore just keeps his distance and
    Remains a thing apart.
    And Ava walks the beach at night
    With someone else’s heart.

    The tide will wash up everything
    Onto the shore somewhere.
    It’s yours if you can find it.
    Nature is cruel but fair.
    And Ava walks the beach at night
    Till someone else is there.

    -- Matthew Wells, 7/8/07

    Saturday, July 7, 2007

    The Funeral of Captain America

    So Cap gets his Arlington funeral this week, as the Associated Press reported, complete with stunning John Cassaday art:

    It's not the first time Cap has died (Steranko killed him off in a memorable arc in which it was revealed that the God of Thunder is susceptible to knockout gas), and it may not be the last, but give Marvel (and Cap writer Ed Brubaker) credit for giving this death the kind of weight and significance that makes it feel like it could be the real thing.

    Will Marvel bring him back? Well, they brought back Bucky. And you can make a case that Steve Rogers has done nothing but come back from the dead since he was reintroduced to the MarvelVerse in Avengers #4. When I bought that issue, I didn't know who the hell he was. But my Dad did. "Captain America? Christ Almighty!" he said, "I used to have all those comic books when I was a kid, until your grandmother threw them out." (This was about two years before my mother threw out all my comics. Some experiences truly are cross-generational.)

    At the time, there was a 20-year gap between Cap's last official appearance at the end of World War II and his revival as an Avenger, which is next to nothing in comic book years, and that's probably why the man-out-of-time facet of Cap's character took another 20 years to be played with by writers like Frank Miller, who refers to Cap as "the soldier" in his Daredevil run and portrays him as a man for whom the sound of helicopters is a constant reminder of how out of place he feels in these days of modern times. He is, after all (as my father would be the first to remind me), a man who made his entry into the world by punching Adolf Hitler in the face:

    Talk about your wish-fulfilment fantasies, huh? I guess something analogous would be like, oh, I don't know--maybe seeing Batman hunt down Osama Bin Laden. (Like that's ever gonna happen. Oh wait.)

    What's interesting to me is that, since Cap is a child of the 40's, his death implies a critique on a set of values from that era in a way that his resurrection and survival never did. Created during a time of war, Steve (Captain America) Rogers wasn't a symbol of anything more than the national desire to kick Nazi ass. It's only after the war is over that his symbolic nature becomes confusing or questionable. So perhaps it's fitting that the week of Cap's funeral (which also occurs during a time of war) sees the reissue of one of the best, if briefest, re-envisionings of Steve Rogers, the Roger Stern/John Byrne run:

    Why did I like this run so much? Because it not only dealt with Cap's history and continuity, it dealt with the idea-of-America part of his character that, to me, is what makes him interesting, inspirational, and potentially tragic. It opens up all kinds of stories revolving around the nature of patriotism, nationalism, and obedience to authority; and whatever your opinion of Civil War, putting Cap on the anti-government side feels exactly right. (My opinion of Civil War? Great concept; lousy execution. For something that was supposed to be politically relevant, it's totally ironic and fitting that it's the epilogue--Cap's death--which is resonating more with the public-at-large than the actual issues leading up to that death. Although, can I just say? Tony Stark is a dick.)

    To my mind, the flag and the shield make Cap's death more (shall we say) thought-provoking and socially relevant than the death of Superman. Is it a symbol of the death of the New Deal? The death of conscience? The end of nationalism? --patriotism? --jingoism? The death of the dream? (What dream?) Or is it, like an amendment to the Constitution, part of an ongoing, on-growing experiment in government?

    In the end, it's like any other life--now that it's over, we try to figure out what it all means.

    So where do I stand on the "Will they bring Cap back?" question. I'd like to think that Cap will stay dead because freedom demands sacrifice--because soldiers give their lives in every age for the values of this country. But mostly, I'd like him to stay dead because that's what happens to real people. And to me, Captain America was real.

    Short People Got No Reason To Date

    From Saturday's New York Times:

    Cosmopolitan, citing an unnamed online dating study, said that women would “relax their standards of how tall they want their mate to be” if the man earned enough money.

    How much?

    A man who is 5-foot-6 would need to make $175,000 more a year to be considered as desirable as a man who is 6 feet tall.

    At approximately $27,000 per inch, that means I only need to make another 71K to be 5'10". Whoo hoo!!

    Friday, July 6, 2007

    Thursday, July 5, 2007

    Dinner With Competitive Friends

    “This is what he does 24/7: He is a competitive eater; that’s his occupation.”
    -- 2007 hot dog eating champion Joey Chestnut
    on the 2006 champion, Takeru Kobayashi

    To the surprise of no one, the winner of the 2007 Oom Galla Galla Competition was once again a Presidential candidate. Named after a famous joke about Native Americans, the North Dakota contest has become a quadrennial rite in the political life of aspirants to the White House, and this year was no exception, drawing over two dozen declared and undeclared candidates, most of whom were left in the rhetorical dust when Senator Hillary Clinton clocked in at over twenty meaningless buzz words per sentence. This torrid pace far outstripped her closest competitor, ex-Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani, who basically said nothing but “9/11” for ninety minutes straight. Senator Clinton’s victory also came as no surprise to her husband William. “This is what she does 24/7,” he said. “She’s a competitive bloviator; that’s her occupation.”

    Plans for CourtTV’s new reality show, “So You Want To Be A Serial Killer,” were put on hold today after series star and renowned mass murderer John Jacob Loomis was arrested by Miami police at the scene of his latest atrocity and charged with 147 counts of murder. Loomis, who has won the Gacey Invitation for five years straight, was held without bail under a new Florida law which disallows the so-called Fox Exemption for spree-killers who commit murder on-camera. While Loomis himself refused to comment on the arrest, his press agent released a statement claiming that the arrest is “a slippery slope, at the end of which competitive hit-and-run drivers may be arrested for running over little old ladies, competitive slumlords may be held without bail for freezing their tenants to death by shutting off the heat in winter, and competitive White House aides convicted of lying and obstruction of justice might actually have their prison time reduced or even eliminated by a Presidential pardon.”

    In an upset victory, Austrian Dieter Roland won this year’s Einstein Memorial 50K by setting a world’s record time of 45 seconds for creating 50 units of kinetic energy (K) while contemplating the test question, “How many Frenchmen can’t be wrong?” Herr Rohan’s wife Else, who feeds him intravenously, cuts his hair, and spends her spare time trying to get a reaction out of him, was not surprised by her husband’s victory. “This is what he does 24/7,” she explained. “He’s a competitive thinker.” When reminded that trying to get a reaction out of your husband makes you not much different from most wives, Frau Rohan laughed and replied, “Well, most husbands don’t get paid for being distant and unreachable, do they, dear? Dear? Dieter? I’m talking to you, Dieter. Dieter, will you at least for once acknowledge that I’m talking to you? Dieter? Oh no. Oh no. Don’t you dare give me that ‘I’m competing’ look or I’ll tell everybody in the world all the thoughtless things you do when you ‘think’ I’m not looking. Do you hear me, Dieter?”

    Facing fierce competition from the Fox Network, the entire Bush Administration, and the autobiographical writings of Henry Kissinger, Republican spokesmodel Ann Coulter won this year’s Richard Nixon Invitational last night by lying continuously for twelve straight hours without a break until she finally admitted: "I'm a competitive liar; this is what I do 24/7." Beginning her acceptance speech with the words “I am so much smarter than anyone in this room, and stop groping me, O'Reilly,” Ms. Coulter continued to lie repeatedly until she was gagged with a hot dog by second-place finisher Richard Cheney, who competed as Vice President, as the President of the Senate, and as a private citizen who can’t break a ten without swearing that you just gave him a five. Because Ms. Coulter’s jaws continued to move even after the initial frankfurter was shoved down her stupid throat, it took 74 more hot dogs in the space of ten minutes to finally shut her up, which was a first and a world record at the same time.

    Looking for Ava Gardner: part 3

    Six things you can do on a raw cloudy day when you can’t hit the beach in a town where there’s nothing much to do except go to the beach:

    You can e-mail everybody you know who’s stuck in work today and spend the entire day waiting for one of them to reply.

    You can go see a movie with your niece and nephew, but since they don’t get up till after noon, and they’re not really human till about 2, the earliest show of Transformers you can see in the Hanover Mall is at 4:45, which is about the time that your nephew hangs out with his friends on the sea wall and your niece watches VH-1 while playing Mad Libs with herself.

    You can read a book in the back yard and fight off the bees that think the pollen-like aroma of your Hawaiian Tropic suntan oil means that your face is the pistil in a strange new honey-providing flower.

    You can watch a DVD on your nephew’s PlayStation, but you have to sit two feet away from the screen because the volume level on the TV speakers only goes up to 2 out of 10 when playing a DVD even though it can go to 10 of 10 when you switch back to cable.

    You can work on that romantic comedy script you brought with you and drop it after ten minutes because you’re much more interested in plotting out the three new ideas you got on the beach yesterday.

    You can update your blog with entries like this.

    Monday, July 2, 2007

    Looking for Ava Gardner: part 2

    It's not common knowledge these days, but Ocean Bluff, Massachusetts, was originally founded by a group of Quakers who designed the town to be a memorial to every Massachusetts Indian tribe which had been wiped out by the Pilgrims. The original street map (which was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1941) contained over two hundred Indian tribal names, from Pequod to Wampanoag, but once the Ocean Bluff population began to grow, the town council started renaming streets after themselves, as town councils have been doing since the beginning of time (or at least the beginning of towns), and now there are only seven Indian street names left:

    Ironically enough, the single street name that was not the name of a tribe, but the catch-all name of every tribe's destroyer, is the one name that was never changed. Whether this proves that the Ocean Bluff Town Council had no sense of history, or a highly developed sense of humor, is a question that only future historians can answer.

    Sunday, July 1, 2007

    If the Seattle School District decision had taken place in Germany in 1937

    The Supreme German ReichGerichtshof declared on Thorsday that local communities cannot seek to resolve the Jewish Question through measures that take explicit account of a citizen’s racial background.

    Voting 5 to 1, the court, in an opinion by Chief Justice Johann Scheisskopf, invalidated pogroms in München that sought to maintain racial diversity in the Fatherland by taking a Jewish applicant’s racial background into account as a “tiebreaker” for admission to particular schools.

    In his majority opinion, Chief Justice Scheisskopf said such pogroms were “a fair and impartial method to achieve racial balance,” a goal he said was forbidden by the Reich Constitution’s guarantee of unequal protection under the law.

    “The way to stop discrimination against the Jews is to stop discriminating against the Jews,” he said. This interpretation, the chief justice added, was “completely in the spirit of Braun v. Unterrichtsministerium,” the landmark 1924 decision that gave Jews, gypsies and homosexuals equal rights with Aryans.

    Concurring with Chief Justice Scheisskopf were Justices Arschkopf, Douchekopf, Schweinkopf, and Antonin Vaginakopf. The lone dissenter, Justice Todeskandidat, was declared a Jew and sent to a resettlement camp in the East.

    In a related 5 – 0 decision (with one Justice resettled), the Court ruled that the use of euphemisms to describe the so-called Final Solution is upheld by the new Reich Constitution, which is currently being rewritten by three men in a back room in Berlin. Declaring that “the way to utterly destroy the Jews is to stop saying out loud that we want to destroy the Jews,” Chief Justice Scheisskopf assured the Jews of Europe that they have nothing to fear from Hitler’s Germany.