Archive for July, 2009

How Are We Lying?

How are we lying about what we did last night?

–*Referring all questions to our lawyer. Even if we’re only 12.

–*Blaming our best friend by saying we were just covering for him.

–*Forging a plane ticket to Rio.

–*Fragging ourselves with a gunshot to the calf.

–*Breaking into our own house before the wife comes home and making it look like a robbery.

–*Saying, “You can’t ask me about my business, Kay.”

–*Saying that we’re secretly working for the CIA and so we can’t really tell you what we did last night.

–*Devising a confusing chart that is largely untrue and conjures up a lot of logistical connections that don’t make any sense. A chart much like the one Republicans are using to torpedo health care reform.

–*Just skipping the logistics and saying “Honey I would never hurt you. You’re my princess,” while backed by a Flamenco guitar player.

–*Just confessing outright that we’re gay, even if we aren’t, and working out the problems that might arise from that later.

–*Telling a half-truth–like the fact that we were feeling under the weather–to cover up the whole truth–that we were feeling under the weather because of the syphilis.

–*Keeping all four of our wives in separate barns when the gummint comes by and starts asking questions.

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What will wealthy people stop doing after shouldering higher taxes to pay for health care reform?

–*They’ll stop working

–*They’ll stop getting out of bed

–*They’ll stop innovating

–*They’ll stop investing in innovation with capital to make a return

–*They’ll stop eating

–*They’ll stop turning to their wives in their beds and saying, “Honey, I still love you after all these years.”

–*They’ll go back in time to the New Deal era of 1932 to 1981 and they won’t innovate there, either, which means computers, lasers, televisions, stereos and microwave ovens will not exist today and will never have existed.

–*They will no longer christen their yachts with pretentious names like “The Dreamer,” “The Storyteller,” and “St. Vitus’ Dance.”

–*They will not speak to you on the streets or reply to direct questions.

–*They will not have a coming out party for their youngest daughter Bitzi, who is a bit overweight and something of an embarrassment

–*They will stop investing in America and will retreat to safer environments for capitalism like Honduras.

–*They will stop showing the patriotism they have showed for 100 years by seeking tax loopholes, shuttling wealth offshore to bank accounts in Switzerland and the Bahamas and moving commoditized labor at their factories to Bombay.

–*They will not work with you shoulder to shoulder anymore in digging ditches and drilling for cobalt and frying up smolts.

–*They will no longer say they love you.

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What are some of the things we can tell about a person’s psychological makeup from their iPod or other portable media player?

–*If you still have three early Britney Spears hits, including “Hit Me Baby One More Time,” next to an ever-growing selection from The Circle Jerks, this suggests that part of you is holding onto childhood even as the cold hard slap of adult reality is causing you much anguish and bitterness.

–*Your huge collection of Frank Zappa songs suggests that you are an iconoclast with an independent streak and confidence. You are not a joiner, and prefer to problem solve rather than to work in groups. However, you also have a lot of hits by Queen, which all together suggests that you also have fascist tendencies and that you’d probably turn into Hitler in the right circumstances.

–*You have “Tom Dooley” by the Kingston Trio on your player, which means either that your dad has commandeered your player or you’re simply turning into him.

–*You have a lot of Stravinsky and Prokofiev—but also exactly four Good Charlotte songs, which means that you are a lawyer infatuated with somebody 10 years younger than you are.

–*You eschew all the early ABBA hits, but enjoy more bittersweet later efforts like “The Winner Takes It All,” which shows that you are world-weary but still searching. Also, you’re on the Subway diet.

–*Your player is loaded with nothing but Top 40 hits by Beyonce, Chris Daughtry, Katy Perry and Pink. You love to laugh and enjoy the moments of your life. You reject a life of needless complications. You enjoy people and their differences and don’t apologize for yourself. Also, there is a very good chance you are 13 years old.

–*Your voluminous collection of Snoop Doggy Dogg songs next to your collection of all the music from hit Broadway musical “Hair” suggests that, at age 60, you’re still not coping with motherhood very well.

–*You have a lot of country songs in French, which can mean only one thing: you’re from Canada.

–*Your player has a substantial amount of music from Joy Division, Nirvana, AC/DC, Nick Drake, Elliott Smith, Phil Ochs, Darby Crash and Wendy O. Williams. You are the fifth child in a family from Utah.

–*Your love of telegenic New Wave band Duran Duran is undiminished after 25 years, and you have all their songs on your MP3 player. When speaking with people, you can’t hear “V’s” or “F’s,” and high-pitched sounds tend to get lost.

–*You have every song Neil Young ever recorded on your iPod. You are stalking Neil Young.

–*Your inclusion of NWA’s “Fuck Tha Police,” shows your resistance to authority figures and your rebellious streak. It is likely you have this on your iPod if you are 1) a repressed black teenager unable to express your pent up rage; 2) a frustrated, hormonal rich white kid unable to express your pent up rage; 3) a police officer with an asshole sergeant unable to express your pent up rage; 4) a lawyer infatuated with someone 10 years younger than you are.

–*If you have lots of Blue Oyster Cult, the Doobie Brothers, Steppenwolf and Jimi Hendrix on your player, there must be some mistake. You only listen to music on vinyl, and the only reason you’re here is that you stole somebody’s iPod after killing him in a bad crystal meth deal.

–*If your shuffle comes up with Britney Spears, the Doobie Brothers, the Beatles, Blue Oyster Cult, the Velvet Underground, Prokofiev, Sonic Youth, Buddy Holly, NWA, Hank Williams, Robert Johnson and the Bee Gees, then you like music too much. You spend all your time thinking about it to the detriment of other activities and interests. You are hip to the point of being solipsistic. Who in the hell do you think you are?

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Fan Fiction Sites

Many “fan fiction” sites have popped up on the Internet in which popular television characters from film, television and books are cast in new adventures written by fans.

What are some of the popular “fan fiction” sites out there?

–*Xena, That Time of the Month

–*The Adventures of Han Solo & Chewie’s Spare Parts Store

–* Rerun From “What’s Happening?” And His Adventures in the Illegal Hunting of Minke Whales in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary

–*Ross & Rachel confront the sexy hermaphrodite babysitter

–*Law & Order: Upstairs landlord Mr. Roper still thinks Detective Mike Logan is gay.

–*Mr. Spock and the hilarious masturbation contest

–*Lost’s Dr. Daniel Faraday and the Improper Parking Validation

–*Nadya Suleman: Private Investigator

–*Simon from American Idol and his adventures in the Central African “Diamond Wars”

–*Johnny Carson: CIA Hitman

–*Patrick Dempsey: Fur Trapper

–*The adventures of Rose from Gypsy and her fight against the ice monster on the planet Hoth.

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Hello, I’m writing to you from the place where I sit atop Eric’s kidneys. I am Eric’s adrenal gland, and I account for the stimulation of certain hormones and neurotransmitters in his body.

I’m addressing you directly because I sometimes feel like my function and my role in Eric’s life is misunderstood. Sometimes, I’d even say people are trying to talk to Eric when I’m pretty sure they are talking to me, and vice versa. This gets to be pretty confusing, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to clear the air while Eric is sleeping.

I’m a fight-or-flight kind of gland. I make no bones. Eric might like to sit down with you and have a nice discussion—debate with you about aesthetics and politics over a brandy cordial or a cheese flight—but I, the adrenal gland, have nothing to do with that. I’m really a very simple kind of organism. All I pretty much ever want to do with you is have a fight or run away.

You see, I respond to stress. There are a whole lot of funny sounding chemicals involved in this, but suffice it to say that whenever there’s a real threat, I take over. I’m kind of like Kevin Costner in that movie The Bodyguard. Eric may think he’s in charge, but that’s just arrogance, mainly because of certain other organs in his body, and I won’t say them name. I don’t brag about what I do. I’m a gland of few words, and when it’s time to fight or flee the scene, I’m the guy you want to talk to, not Eric or his hypothalamus.

Sure, you say, Eric often writes about philosophy, the arts, finance and politics, and sometimes what he writes is nuanced and refined and involves logic and counter-intuitive arguments. Again, I’ve got no time for that. I’m a straight talker and don’t enjoy hobnobbing with a bunch of effete ponces.

The other day, for example, somebody came up and asked me, “Hey, adrenal gland, don’t you think that this bill in the U.S. Senate is necessary to give more people health insurance?”

“You mother fucker!” I screamed, “I’m going to bash your head in with a baseball bat.”

So I guess you’d say my view of life is simple, right? But let’s look at another example.

The other day a woman came up to me and said, “Look, Obama’s tax plan will harm small businesses, the ones who really drive this country’s economy.”

Now this was a very different case, because this woman knew karate. So after she made her point about economic stimulus, I quickly turned on my heel.

“Fuck you, you castrating devil bitch harpy!” I screamed as I ran away down the street toward the river. “You can’t catch me.”

Now as far as I know, this woman was making an excellent point. But the bottom line was, she represented a direct threat and source of stress that would impair Eric’s ability to store energy and recuperate and repair. It’s nothing personal. It’s just my function.

I even have moments where I can’t make up my mind.

“We need to tax the rich more,” someone told me recently.

“I’m going to kick your mother fucking ass,” I said. “No, wait … I’m going to run away! No! No! … I’m going to kick your ass.”

Of course, there are lots of times when I have nothing to say at all. Like when someone is admiring my shirt or asking me to go see a Fassbinder movie. Like I said, I’m a steak-and-potatoes kind of gland, and if I’m not fighting or running away, I’m really at a loss.

There is a proverb that says a fox knows many tricks and a hedgehog only one. But I am an adrenal gland, and I know exactly two: throw down or bug out. Fist city or Splitsville.

I’m not into arguments about right or wrong, what’s fair, who did what to whom, or how much money you owe me. I’ve got a very simple view of life. Like Ronald Reagan. Also, I am much bigger relative to body weight than I should be for evolutionary reasons, which not only means that I’m important to you, but also that you’re likely going to be doing what I want quite a bit of the time. You might not know this, but I swell up in the resistance stage, and even if you got rid of one half of me, the other half would blow up, like in The Blob, and take over. This is called hypertrophy, and I don’t want to bore you with the science, but it basically means I’m one star-shaped endocrine gland with whom a person should not ever fuck.

Sometimes Eric tells me, “Adrenal gland, don’t you see how the world couldn’t work if everybody were like you all the time?”

Of course, it’s like he’s talking to a wall. Sure, call it obstinacy on my part. But I know in his heart, Eric wouldn’t have me any other way. One day he’ll be running from muggers screaming like a little girl to protect himself, and he’ll thank me. Or maybe, for reasons I can’t fathom, he’ll be engaging in hand-to-hand mortal combat with a Mexican drug lord in Tijuana. He’ll thank me then, too. Some days, I know Eric better than he knows himself. That’s just the life of a gland.

I hope this has helped all of you clear up some of the confusion.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to run away from you because you represent a direct threat to my security and other bodily housekeeping functions.


Eric’s Adrenal Gland

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Health Care Haiku

EKG, Mister?

Don’t worry; we’re gouging the

Insurers for it


No insurance, dudes?

No problem! Just hit all the

Emergency rooms!


Michelle Obama’s

Hospital turned away poor

Those “bleeders” come first.


“Socialism” is

My S&M safe word–stops

All thoughts and progress


GOP says new

bill will outlaw private health

coverage, Jesus


They’re off writing their

own universal health care

bill. Not really, though.


F-22 planes

Fly proudly through the sky. Oh!

We’re not using them?


Maybe we can pay

For health care with these planes we

Aren’t using? Nahhh! Pffff!


A trillion dollars

In 10 years? Huge Fed waste! Best

Give it to CIGNA



is too hard for the health bill;

And for this haiku


“Sotomayor”? Ugh!

“Identity politics”?



How can I write a

Haiku with these big words? Thumbs

down, Judge Sonia!


Henry Louis Gates

Renowned scholar; teacher; wears

handcuffs in Cambridge


Gates broke into his

own house; you can’t do that when

you’re black, Professor!

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Stephanie and I have just released Episode 15 of “The Retributioners.” This one is titled “Debasing April,” and in it, Stephanie really, really, really, really wants to give her former colleague April a good job reference. You can watch it here or on our site at http://www.theretributioners.tv.

Stephanie and I are also excited because we have expanded our Web page and added more content. You will now be able to read my blog from the site, as well as link to other Web shows and our friends’ blogs. These include “Fool’s Errand” by Gene Justice (a blog about poetry, literature, politics and a lot of other good stuff) and “Bartography” by my friend Chris Barton (who focuses mostly on children’s and young adult literature). Please go and check out our updated site and rediscover it for the very first time.

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From The Periodical, Really True Crime Magazine

By Blaine Dubrowski

As you may or may not know, I am a fan of hard-boiled crime fiction, and for the longest time I’ve been trying to ensnare reclusive crime fiction writer Mason R. Hibbert into a sit-down interview where I can plumb the depths of his dark soul. Hibbert, as you may know, has written 98 dime store pulp novels, as well as his share of penny dreadfuls. His work has been informed not only by the world of thieves, grifters, whores, lowlifes and cops on the take, but also by a sense of deep-seated cynical outlook best encapsulated by the heroine in 40 of his novels, the gum-smacking, crack-smoking private detective Jayne Druthers: “Nature hates us,” Jayne says. “That’s why I live in a city.”

Over 20 years, we’ve seen the seamy underbelly of Jayne’s world, whether it’s her delivering a mulatto baby in Hawaii with a Nazi war criminal on the lam or strangling a chicken in Utah to save its soul. And don’t ever call Jayne “Miz.” “I’m Mrs. Druthers, after my husband Ed, who was killed in the war,” she says. “Don’t ever disrespect Eddie with that feminist shit or I’ll shoot you in the carotid artery and the day you stop bleeding will be the day you die.”

Jayne is the type who prefers leather trench coats, bright red lipstick, a pack of Camels, bright white fish net stockings. Also, she hates pretense. One of my favorite scenes is when Jayne is enjoying her favorite show, “My Mother The Car,” when a man staggers to her doorstep and asks her to kill him so his family will get the insurance. Jayne says she’s up for it until he offhandedly uses a polysyllabic word.

“I ain’t got no use for a big vocabulary,” Jayne says. “So I ain’t killing you. I hope you live longer and suffer a bit more. Get out of my office.”

Of course, Mason R. Hibbert’s own history is a bit shadowy. The legend, well cultivated by him, is that either his entire family was wiped out by a gang of thieves in the 1930s or they are all still alive and quite comfortably sitting on the board of Boeing Aircraft. Because of my need to get to the bottom of his mystery, I tracked him from the diners of Vermont to the rathskellers of Boston to a Wal-Mart in Topeka, Kansas. When I asked the locals about him, every answer was the same: “Who in the hell is Mason R. Hibbert? Are you going to buy something or do I gotta call security?”

I got a line from his fourth wife Esther, a short-haired gamine in a stevedore shirt and cigarette pants who lived in Hoboken, N.J.

“You want to talk to Mason?” she said. “That’s a tickle. If you want his number I want some folding lettuce. A couple of G’s should do it.”

So I finally tracked him down at the dog races in Miami, Florida. This is our interview:

RTC Magazine: Mr. Hibbert, it’s really an honor to meet you.

MH: I don’t know who in the hell you are, but you’ve got a lot of nerve coming here. You have five seconds to get away from me or I’m going to tear your lungs out.

RTC: I’ve always wanted to know how you came up with the idea for Jayne Druthers. Was she based in part on someone you knew? Perhaps one of your four ex-wives. Some have suggested she’s based on your mother.

MH: Get the hell out of here before I pop out your eyeballs and stomp on them.

RTC: There are many apocryphal stories about you. One says you hitchhiked to Belize and wrote your 16th novel, “My Iron Lung Breathes Mustard Gas,” while sitting holed up in a tiny bathroom for three days with nothing to eat after your third divorce. Is that true?

MH: I take your calumny and I hand it back to you, you cack-handed potato eater. I spit in your navel.

RTC: Another story about you, of course, is that your first writing partner died of either a suicide or autoerotic asphyxiation or brain cancer. Of course, what I love about your poem, “Autumn Leaves Don’t Know My Pain,” is your assertion in it that all three things could conceivably be true. Such is the absurdity of life, right?

MH: You have as much chin as my dachshund, you chinless wonder. I oughta dump you in Biscayne Bay after putting you in a dress.

RTC: It’s 1974. Your second wife Nora’s first husband, a mafia guy, arrives at your door with five mooks, all of them carrying Nagant pistols. You’re in your underwear. What did you do?

MH: That never happened. I don’t know what you’re talking about. You know, you’re a real wet smack, Jackson.

RTC: It’s 1975. You’re hitchhiking to Alaska to write your weirdest Jayne book, “Strung Out in Nome.” Here, Jayne goes through a strange experience after a couple of hippies give her a tab of acid. She loses herself. She starts to question who she ever was or if anything is real.

MH: I’m shaving points on my dog, “Luck be a Doggie,” and you’re ruining it Roscoe. Why don’t you make like an egg and scramble.

RTC: She meets Eddie in heaven and he says, “What are you doing here? We saw each other enough in life. Geddout of here?” She takes in a young black kid and becomes his mother and says, “This is it. This is life. It’s to give of yourself only in the moment and not be bitter.” Then the drugs wear off, and she goes back to Newark, and it’s like the whole thing never happened, and she’s the same tough talking bitch dame she was before. Nothing was learned. There was no redemption. The end.

MH: Shit! My dog lost.

RTC: I’ve got to tell you, Mr. Hibbert. After 20 years of following Jayne, your readers and I want to know: What was that about? Why did you give Jayne all the knowledge of the Gods, only to have her go back home and forget it all and pretend like none of it happened? Why’d you betray your readers’ trust like that? Why, Mr. Hibbert, why?

MH: Look, you, you come here and ask me to explain things and make things all nice and tidy. I don’t have to explain myself to you. I wrote a few books a while back and here you are and you want your life explained. Nothing I could say about art or books or life would ever mean anything, which is why I have no listed address or license plate. You want a savior? Get your queer ass to church.

That was pretty much the end of our interview, except that I didn’t really let the whole Alaska book go, and, well, I followed him to a bar and we continued to argue and then, well, dear reader, I’m ashamed to say that I ended up killing Mr. Hibbert with a crow bar. It’s not really how I planned the interview to end, but I’ve got to say, it provided a thrilling end to his life and to this article, and if I’m off to jail for the sake of art, so be it.

I hope to be writing my next article for this periodical from a Dade County jail cell, where I’m already starting an epistolary exchange with Tom Wolfe. But I leave you with this last quote from Mason R. Hibbert’s book, “The Diadem of Despair,” in a scene where Jayne Druthers is squaring off against a corrupt judge.

“Don’t be mistaken, judge,” says Jayne, “I’m about to put a couple of dum-dums in your belly. But before I do, I want a kiss.”

“Why?” the judge asks.

“Just to remind me how we’re both corrupt.”

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What are we really doing that we don’t put on Twitter?

–*Henry just ate peanut butter. I was too lazy to make an egg.

–*Marcia got up late. Was dreaming of doing the dishes.

–*Joel’s got a bit of a chub. Don’t know why. It’s 9:30 in the morning.

–*William went to work but mostly goofed around watching Internet porn.

–*Harry just got roped into doing one of those things to see who’s searching for me on the Internet. Didn’t work. Feel stupid now.

–*Dean grabbed wife’s boob. She kept reading newspaper.

–*Faye heard a friend start to talk about the stimulus package. I walked away before he and this other guy realized I didn’t know anything about it.

–*Kathy signed a birthday card for somebody I don’t know. Said, “Congratulations.” Feel like a big phony.

–*john killed a bug.

–*Janet just took the most amazing dump.

–*Peter yelled at the Verizon woman until she took a charge off. Feel like a winner.

–*Somebody at work corrected my pronunciation of the word “Montpelier.” I’d like to reach up into his asshole and pull his tongue out backwards.

–*Trying to smile my way through a conversation about the weather with my neighbor. Pinhead.

–*Beatrix got stoned in the park with my friends listening to the symphony. Crushed glasses.

–*Jake is just repeating the same left-wing stuff my dad says. Feel kind of lost without it.

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What apocryphal stories about the current health care reform bills in Congress are being floated by opponents in the insurance industry?

–*The current bill will cause nine months of waiting to see your GP

–*It will make all private health insurance illegal.

–*Doctors will be paid from a single payer plan with a fixed fee that will discourage financial incentives for physicians–when in fact, a capitalist system that commoditizes their services and pushes their fees down naturally through market mechanisms is a much more American way for them to go down the toilet.

–*The bill will force seniors to eat each other in a horrible Malthusian game of survival of the fittest.

–*The regional quality of care will shift so that meth labs, which once only exploded in Oklahoma, will now explode everywhere.

–*You will no longer be able to afford stirrups but will have to put your ankles on the OB-GYN’s shoulders.

–*It will give everybody AIDS.

–*Poor people have scabs.

–*The bill has already killed 50,000 people without even being enrolled.

–*The Hindenburg has just crashed! Oh the humanity!

–*The health care bill will make hillbillies play banjo and fuck each other up the ass.

–*It means the French have finally won.

–*Universal health care is only something Japs would do.

–*If this bill passes, I, the executive of a big insurance company, will no longer be made love to by my wife or my favorite whore.

–*If the word “bailout,” “socialism” “jihad” and “cow rape” scare you, well then you should realize that all of those words appear in the health care bill.

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