Jan 31, 2011



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Years ago, when I was working as a hairdresser in Berkeley, a package with no return address arrived at my salon.

The receptionist (picture T.I.’s wife Tiny) and the salon manager (picture Jersey Shore’s JWOWW with a heavy Greek accent) opened the manila envelope, which was addressed to nobody personally, only to the salon itself. Inside, they found a heart-shaped box, just like the one in the Nirvana song.

At the time, I was cutting the hair of a regular client, a sweet, clean-cut Cal student with sandy blond hair and impeccable sideburns. My station was directly behind the front desk.

It had been a relatively quiet morning. The clients and stylists were uncharacteristically silent, and the only sound in the shop was the forever-maddening bump-bump of the techno music to which GWOWW kept the radio religiously tuned, 90% of the time playing this song:


I was only vaguely aware of Tiny and GWOWW opening the box, and probably would not have been at all had the two of them together not been such an unusual sight. Tiny and GWOWW really hated each other, but today they huddled close in curiosity of what lay within that tiny, heart-shaped box. When they giggled in curiosity, even I looked up from my sideburn-sculpting to see what kind of present the admirer had sent to our salon.

And then, crickets.

No, not the standard metaphorical crickets. Crickets. Actual crickets—what seemed like hundreds of them—all over the salon, leaping, chirping, landing everywhere. They were on me. They were on my client. Everywhere.

Terrified screams from women and gay men echoed off the bug-spattered but otherwise pristine white tile. My client leaped up out of his chair, shaking the wheat-colored creatures from the black cutting cape I’d put on him earlier. He grabbed a People magazine with the Spice Girls on the cover and started frantically smacking at the crickets. Someone else ran to the utility closet and grabbed a can of Raid. For about ten minutes, it was utter chaos, as humans raced about to recover normalcy, normalcy interrupted by tiny, quiet insects.

The police came and filed a report. They took the box and the envelope as evidence, but we never found out who sent us the crickets. Even after the cops left and the smell of Raid had dissipated, we were still finding tiny, stiff bodies for days. We swept them away, but still felt watched, stalked, infected.

Who had sent us the crickets? Why had they sent them? And the biggest mystery of all—how did that person manage to herd scores of leaping, chirping bugs into one tiny heart-shaped box?

But perhaps the most poisonous aspect of that day was the way it made all of us look at each other.  With those crickets in the box came the elephant in the room: the unspoken yet resounding truth that the crickets could have come from any one of us--Tiny, GWOWW, even the clean-cut boy with the sideburns.  With no words, no message, those small, agitated bugs served to cast suspicion upon us all.

Sometimes, even to this day, I can still hear them.


Jan 24, 2011

From Chickenheads to Chicken: The Many Faces of Flav


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STEPDAD:  What is that beeping noise?

TSADA:  I don't hear a beeping noise.

STEPDAD:  Your cell phone.  It's losing its charge.

TSADA:  I don't think so. I charged it last night.

STEPDAD:  It's some sort of electronic device.

TSADA:  I don't hear anything.

STEPDAD:  It's beeping.


STEPDAD:  That! That beeping noise!

TSADA:  ...

STEPDAD:  What is that beeping noise?

This exchange happened a couple of years ago, on a lazy afternoon when my folks were hanging out at my place.  Despite my stepdad's multiple complaints, I would not get up to look for the offending device, because a) I really didn’t hear any beeping noise myself, and b) I was busy watching Flavor of Love. And everyone knows you don’t disturb Tsada when she’s watching Flavor of Love.

It wasn’t until Flav had given out his last clock of the evening (to the girl who cooked the best fried chicken for his mother--it was the famed chicken-frying episode), that I turned off the TV and listened for this alleged beeping.

“It stopped,” he said. “As soon as you turned off that program, it stopped.”

As it turns out, it wasn’t a cell phone after all. It was Flavor of Love. My stepfather was hearing the incessant beep of the VH-1 censor, as every-other word on Flavor of Love is generally an obscenity.

Anyway, speaking of chicken, I mentioned last month that I have long been a lover of fried chicken, although since I gave up poultry over twenty years ago, that love has been an unrequited one for quite some time. For more than two decades, my finger-licking cravings have been sated only by vicarious living through the lives of happy chicken-eaters in ads for KFC and Popeye's.

It’s not unlike my relationship with Flav and his skanks. Flavor of Love truly is the greasy fast food of entertainment; it’s nasty, it’s produced cheaply and in mass quantity, and some might even argue it’s the kind of product that’s killing our society. Yet I find myself rationalizing, if I’m only a witness to the nastiness rather than an active participant in the debauchery, well then, who am I really hurting?

If Flav eats fried chicken in the woods and nobody is around to see him, is there really chicken stuck in his grill?

In a country boasts 5200 KFC outlets nationwide, that question may forever go unanswered, especially now that the famed rapper and reality TV star is opening his own chain of fried chicken restaurants. According to the Associated Press, the first Flav’s Fried Chicken store opens today in Clinton, Iowa, with Flav himself (a graduate of culinary arts school) manning the fryolator!

It’s the biggest story involving Flav since that girl pooped on his floor a few years ago.

Jan 22, 2011

Get the Blow Job in Writing, and Other Things I Learned from Dick


I credit my parents with teaching me the majority of life’s most important lessons, and I am thankful to them for every last one. 
I’m also really thankful that, back in the eighties, they decided to purchase a nice beige Toyota Corona sedan with brown velour interior from a guy named Dick.  Besides the fact that the Corona proved a reliable family vehicle with good gas mileage, Dick was the man who taught me another one of life’s lessons:  Get everything in writing.
That’s because hanging on the wall in Dick's dealership office, alongside many awards of commendation for his service to the greater Toyota community, was a framed 8 x 10 cartoon of a young boy sitting on the toilet, with the caption, Remember, No Job Is Finished Until the Paperwork is Done.

the slick ride we got from Dick
If you’ve ever been around Jews when they're buying a car, you know this can be a time-consuming process. I'm sure you can imagine how bored I was as a young kid, forced to spend hours awaiting my folks' lengthy negotiations in tight confines of Dick's office.  Indeed I spent most of that time staring at that picture of the nekkid boy and mulling over the significance of its message.  But it wasn’t until years later, when I became an adult and had to make sophisticated business deals of my own, that I realized the value of this information on many levels. 

I often remind my parents how thankful I am for Dick (*rimshot*) and the knowledge his unique (not to mention, classy) choice of artwork bestowed upon me during the purchase of that vehicle.  To this day, I'm not sure they fully grasp the profundity of my appreciation, but that's beside the point.
Anyway, I wonder if Dick and his cartoon could have helped Hubert Blackman, the New York student who filed a lawsuit this month against Las Vegas Exclusive Personals, when his in-call lap-dancer/hooker failed to stay for the full 60 minutes of the hour of sexytime upon which he claims they originally had agreed. 

Blackman said he also told the company he was incapable of making an informed agreement with the stripper because he was drunk at the time.
Dissatisfied when Las Vegas Exclusive Personals didn't arrange for a refund, Blackman said he contacted Metro Police and was told he faced arrest for such conduct and was advised to contact the Better Business Bureau.

Instead, after returning home he filed suit in federal court in New York, charging "An escort did an illegal sexual act on me during her paid service to me'' and "I almost had gotten arrested." Blackman said he now needs medical treatment for a mental condition related to the incident.

In the suit, which he filed without an attorney, Blackman said: "I would like the court to close the business. I also would like to get my $275 payment back and a $1.8 million verdict for the tragic event that happened."

Ah, "tragedy".  If only Sophocles were still around to do this story justice.  Because there's nothing like a Greek chorus comprised of Vegas showgirls.

Who knew that the "no job is finished" part of Dick's advice would apply to jobs of the blow variety as well? 

(Not that I'm implying for a minute that Dick negotiated deals for anything other than sensible Japanese cars.  I just think, had Hubert gotten the deal with the hooker in writing, he'd have a more credible case with the BBB.)

Live and learn, Hubert.  Live and learn.

Jan 19, 2011

Is Glenn Beck the Tea Party's Answer to Dr. Phil?

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"I was a very bad man."

Can I haz creepy book cover?
Thus spake cuntservative commentator and recently self-anointed life coach Glenn Beck on this morning's Today show, during a plug for his newly released self-help book, The 7

Um, "was"?  Really?  It seems we can now add verb tense conjugation to the list of elementary school topics in which Beck could use a brush-up course. 

He later sparred with host Meredith Vieira, when she questioned him about his book's emphasis on the importance of "letting go of anger". 

The Huffington Post:

She noted that one of the things he advocates in the book is letting go of anger, and that, especially in the wake of the Arizona shooting, critics have accused him of "adding to this dialogue with hatred." She tried to run through a list of some of his more controversial statements, and they talked over each other as each tried to make their points.

So, along with "Historian" and "Civil Rights Activist", Glenn Beck now also claims the painfully ironic title of "Anger Management Counselor"?  Good to know. 

The 7 is subtitled, Seven Wonders That Will Change Your Life. Personally, I think he could have picked a catchier header for his self-help debut.  Here are my own top ten picks in that regard:

1. I’m Okay, You’re a Socialist
2. How to Win Ratings and Influence Sociopaths
3. Tuesdays With Moron
4. Eat, Pray, Hate
5. Who Moved My Klonipin?
6. Xenophobia and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
7. When Black Things Happen to White People
8. Chicken Soup for the Soulless
9. Proselytizing for Dummies
10. What Color Is Your Straightjacket?

Jan 17, 2011

Sarah Palin: The Ed Wood of Politics and Also Possibly a Jew


Sometimes I wish I could be a little bit more like Sarah Palin.

I mean, it must be really empowering to believe you’re incapable of making mistakes.

Me? Well, I tend to get mired down in the muck of self-doubt. I worry about how I am perceived by others. More importantly, my daily life is so governed by an overwhelming sense of guilt and hypercritical introspection that it often renders me unproductive (case in point: my last blog post was dated Christmas Eve).

Ah, but not Sarah Palin. Indeed she is the Ed Wood of politics, her entire career  a B-rate horror flick which, regardless of its bad script and poor timing, she seems to fancy worthy of an Oscar. Not to mention that, like Ed Wood, Mrs. Palin has managed to convince a small group of Christians to invest in her freakshow.

Which makes it even more ironic that Palin chose to play the role of the persecuted Jew when she invoked the controversial term “blood libel” in her statement to the public last week.  Reuters:

"Especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn," Palin, a potential 2012 White House contender, said in a video posted to her Facebook page.

Palin's reference to "blood libel," a false, centuries-old allegation that Jews were killing children to use their blood in religious rituals, launched a new round of criticism of Palin's rhetoric.

"We wish that Palin had used another phrase, instead of one so fraught with pain in Jewish history," said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League.

The accusation of "blood libel" has been employed for centuries to justify the killing or expulsion of Jews. The phrase had been used by other conservative commentators, including a Wall Street Journal column, since the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who is Jewish.

Now, don’t get me wrong; I don’t for a minute think Sarah Palin is responsible for the tragic shooting in Tuscon, AZ. I also don’t fault her for using the loaded term (most likely chosen by her team of speech writers), a term of which I doubt she herself knew the historical relevance prior to giving that statement.

However, if Palin indeed is interested in "playing the Jew" to win sympathy votes in 2012, I was thinking, why not put her money where her mouth is?

And so, as an unofficial representative of the non-practicing, mildly sacreligious Jewish community, I invite Mrs. Palin to come join our team! Along with my offer, here are some incentives for her to consider:

--hunting and fishing skills + proximity to Alaskan salmon = all-you-can-eat lox with those Sunday morning bagels!

--Her conversion would add some fresh Jewish flavor to Alaska (Jew pop: 3,000), flavor the state has been lacking ever since Dr. Joel Fleischman closed his Northern Exposure practice.

--Despite how much we enjoy talking about penises (AKA schlongs, schmeckels, schwantzen, schmucks, and putzes ) Jews have one of the lowest teen pregnancy rates of all religious groups. Cough, cough.

--Think how much more authentic her Facebook Hannukah wishes would have come across had you read them knowing she'd done the Hebrew-to-English translation of  “נס גדול היה שם” herself!

--I can see it now: party favor boxers emblazoned with I DANCED MY PANTS OFF AT PIPER'S BAT MITZVAH across the ass.

--moose = chews cud + cloven hooves = kosher!

--And finally, and most importantly, let's be honest: Couldn’t this narcissistic, smack-talking, crosshair-posting, painfully unapologetic excuse for a “maverick” use a dose of good old-fashioned Jewish guilt right about now?

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