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The time has come to

The time has come to talk about . . . “Bewitched.”

If ever a television show made not the slightest amount sense, it is that one. I’m not speaking of people popping in and out and turning into things because those are perfectly logical compared to the idea of a gorgeous witch who could have anything in the world shackling herself to a dull, narrow-minded, imperious twit like Derwood. If I were her mother, I’d be disappointed, too.

Of course, this isn’t anything that hasn’t been endlessly rehashed and debated for forty years. What I’m really concerned with today is the idea that Darrin can be considered an advertising genius, even in the 1960s, when all he does is write insipid jingles to the tunes of “Old MacDonald” and “Pop! Goes the Weasel.” The really funny part is always when Larry and the client du jour come over to the Stephens’ house at the end of every episode and discover Darrin turned into something bizarre, which Samantha invariably explains away by coming up with an entire ad campaign and sales pitch on the spot. And the client invariably loves this more than anything Darrin and Larry came up with earlier.

So isn’t Samantha the real advertising genius in the family? Add that to her other roles of witch, wife, mother, and housekeeper, and why does she need Darrin at all? She should have just had Esmerelda in to watch the kids and opened up her own award-winning agency on Madison Avenue. Instead, she’s worried about her husband coming home to a dusty house. No wonder Darrin wanted to keep her home all the time: if Samantha had ever encountered just one 1960s/1970s Women’s Libber, that would have been all she wrote.

The other thing I wonder about is Larry. How many times did Samantha and Darrin convince him that he was hallucinating when things appeared or disappeared in front of his eyes? And yet, there’s no evidence Larry ever saw a psychiatrist. Mrs. Kravitz was a different story, because everyone knew she was crazy with or without seeing things at the Stephens’ house, but here is Larry, who owns a successful advertising agency and has his run of the town, having hallucinations left and right, and no one has thought to lock him up somewhere for his own good. This is particularly galling when you consider that Larry, with his ruthless greed, was the real villain of the show, not Endora, who was only looking out for her daughter’s well-being.

The funny thing is, thanks to “Bewitched,” if I saw something appear or disappear before my eyes, the first thing I would think is that there was a wise witch around pulling a prank, not that there was something wrong with my brain. But then again, I suppose that is the chief indicator that there is something wrong with my brain.

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Remember when Lucy was flying

Remember when Lucy was flying back from France and discovered that it would cost a lot of money to ship an enormous piece of cheese in the plane’s cargo hold? She rationalized that, since babies flew free, she could dress the cheese up as an infant and fool everyone. Except, in mid-flight, she learned that babies did not fly for free; they flew for half price, which was much more than it would have cost to ship the cheese to begin with. So, in middle of the night, she and Ethel ate as much of the cheese as they could and stuffed the rest into Ricky’s band’s musical instruments. But in the morning, the baby was missed, and she was accused of disposing of it over the ocean.

Ah, good times.

Ah, cheese.

I am no longer on Phase One of the South Beach Diet, but I am still eating an extraordinarily large amount of string cheese. That does not seem to be doing any harm, but I cannot speak for the two boxes of sugar-free fudge bars and two bags of corn chips I have eaten in the past three days. Rob is in Minneapolis working on his new show, and my eating habits have deteriorated into the Stone Age. Or perhaps they did not invent sugar-free fudge bars until the Bronze Age. Regardless, I am nutritionally screwed. And speaking of screwed, Matt Damon has come sneaking around again. Honestly, the man cannot take no for an answer. Matt Damon, I realize that I am irresistible, but dressing up like a giant piece of string cheese that is additionally costumed as a baby is not going to get you anywhere with me!

Oh, who am I kidding? Get in here.

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So Kerry has won the

So Kerry has won the New Hampshire primary and will probably get the Democratic nomination. I am prepared to support him, but I am not enthused. I recently took an online poll that indicated that both he and Dr. Dean (my preferred candidate) agreed with the exact same percentage of my positions (although they matched me on different issues). My gut feeling, however, is that Kerry is too “establishment,” and he does not seem as passionate about standing up and consistently speaking out against the unmitigated disaster the current administration is making of this country and the world. He must know that he is (and we all are) doomed if he does not appeal to the Dean supporters, so I hope we start to see a little more backbone in the months ahead.

In other news, Goblin has not chased a squirrel in days. Despite the fact that my coat pockets are filled with peanuts, none of the bushy-tailed rodents have appeared to claim them.

Times are tough all around. Surely, no one expects any sort of hope or compassion from the government anymore, but when you cannot even get a squirrel to take a peanut, we are living in dark times indeed.

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I would make a lousy

I would make a lousy poker player. I can bluff and dissimulate like an AWOL President, but I have no proper sense of revelation. Yesterday, I exposed my Penguin card too soon, and it will therefore pale today’s little tale by comparison. For what is a menacing, twelve-foot rat next to being forced to kiss Dick Cheney?

I suppose more of an explanation is called for, but is that not truly one of life’s great philosophical questions?
Anyway, last week, on my way out to the subway, I noticed something slightly curious about an apartment building on the other side of my block. That is to say, the edifice looked the same as ever, but there was a giant, inflatable rat on the sidewalk, raising its claws and baring its fangs toward the front door. This rat was standing on its back legs, so the people milling around it only came up to its distended stomach.

My, my, I thought. Is there vermin on the premises? Is this (as Rob suggested) some sort of Union symbol? Is this a Trojan Rat sent up by the subterranean tribes who live in tunnels under the city?

Flyers taped to the rat’s stomach revealed the whole, sordid story. An immigration lawyer who had been caught exploiting his clients lives in that building, and the rat was a symbol of public shame.

Shame on you, Scheming Immigration Lawyer! And shame on you, too, Dick Cheney. Wherever you are.

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Last night, I had the

Last night, I had the strangest dream.

I was in a van being driven by Dick Cheney, Vice President of Doom, and it began to careen and skid all over the New Jersey Turnpike. I went up to the front to see what was going on and found him literally falling asleep at the wheel. “Wake up!” I said. “We’re going to crash!” Anyone else would have heeded this warning, but Cheneyboy decided he would get some chuckles by taking his hands off the wheel and doing a little dance in his seat. “Nyah nyah nyah!” he sang.

In a series of surreally impossible events, as can only happen in nightmares and Tennessee, I finally convinced him to pull over and let me drive. He put on that malevolent Penguin face he has and swerved across three lanes of traffic into a service area, where the van lurched to a stop in front of a gas pump.

Then he slid out of his seat, kissed me on the lips with a cold passion that made me desperate to gargle with rubbing alcohol, called me a faggot, jumped out of the van, and vanished into the darkness beyond the atomic glare of the gas station lights.

Oh wonderful, I thought as I spat his saliva onto the pavement. At least we can now arrive safely at our intended destination.

Except he had taken the ignition keys.

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Last night, I had dinner

Last night, I had dinner with my ex-boyfriend and his boyfriend. Then we all went to see a cabaret show called “Dearest Mommie.” I can think of at least one person reading this who will gripe about me not calling him on my brief swing through town, but he should feel lucky he did not have to sit through this experience. The two most interesting things about the show were the short film shown beforehand about gracious table manners (produced by the Canadian Film Board in the middle 1970s) and the fact that one of the players in “Dearest Mommie” once menaced someone I knew with a butter knife and slept with the wife of another friend of mine, breaking up their marriage. Throughout his performance, I kept looking for signs of mental unbalance, but since the entire show seemed as if it were staged by escaped mental patients, it was like looking for a hay in a haystack. Or a needle in a big pile of needles. Or a greedy and dishonest Republican.

Mommie Dearest is one of the funniest films ever made; it remains hilarious after all these years because it is so clearly unaware of its own camp value. “Dearest Mommie,” on the other hand, is nothing more than a cynical recycling of the movie’s most over-the-top moments. Joan Crawford (here, of course, a man in drag) becomes a lesbian dominatrix who wields her power in predictable ways over daughter Christina and assistant Carol Ann.
I don’t know. Am I just missing something? To me, the best camp is either innocent of its campiness or injects some sort of clever commentary in the mix. This is why Charles Busch’s work is so often uneven: he gets caught up in what he thinks would be funny as opposed to what would be clever. It is also why John Waters has been all over the map. But camp without wit is usually a one-trick pony, and you might as well not bother for more than a minute. Show us your outfits, do a line reading or two, and pack it in for the night so I can get to bed early.
I don’t think there is anything inherently funny about a man in a dress. Really, you gotta work it, girl.

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The theme of this post

The theme of this post is prejudice.

My parents are adding on to their house, and my mother said I could pick out the furniture for the new family room. Only a couple of weeks ago, she sent me an email that said she had just bought all of the furniture for the new family room.

Naturally, I was crushed, but I salvaged a bad situation by making her promise that when she bought a new computer, as she was just about to do, she would buy a Macintosh I picked out for her.

So last night, I took her to the Apple Store, and we emerged with a brand-new, beautiful, gleaming-white iBook.
She was proud of her purchase until we got home and my father and evil brothers started sniping about it. “Apple is a cult,” my brother Steven said. “Why don’t you get a real computer?” my brother Tim said. My father demanded to know who had bought such an abominable thing into the house.

These are people who had never even seen an Apple computer before, much less used one. They know literally nothing about them, but they had already made up their minds that my mother’s new computer was some sort of heretical blunder. “Who will help her when she has problems?” they demanded, as if she were ascending K2 with nothing but a toothbrush.

Meanwhile, she picked it up right out of the box and was able to figure out how to use it instantly, something she never managed in all her years of using my father’s Windows machine.

The moral of this story is that we will never as a species achieve any sort of lasting peace unless we stop making up our minds about things we know nothing about. Or until we all run out and buy Macintoshes.

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Last night, I avoided the

Last night, I avoided the State of the Union speech as delivered by a sanctimonious and astonishingly mendacious chimpanzee in favor of hearing the opinions of an astonishingly opinionated little dog. And frankly, after listening to Goblin’s views on such topics as family and social dynamics, I am convinced that even she could run this country better than the current administration.

But I digress.

The pet psychic reported that Goblin is a happy dog with humanlike intelligence and a confident and quirky personality. In fact, one of her only complaints in life is sartorial: she would like to wear more frilly outfits, in colors such as pink and red. She would also like a flashy collar, perhaps with embedded rhinestones.

Now, I confess that my dog has sported such outfits as devil ears, a sinister black cape, and bat wings. These are just the sorts of things that leapt to mind when it comes to outfitting her, based upon her general appearance. I know now that I was just being prejudiced, assigning her these items based upon her looks alone.

But if I can admit that, I would like her to admit that her longing for frilly pink outfits is gender stereotyping of the worst sort. The fact that she is ten inches tall and has eight nipples does not mean she needs to become a Barbie doll. I know I raised her better than that.

This discussion is not over.

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Tonight, my dog and I

Tonight, my dog and I are going to speak to a pet psychic. Goblin is perfectly aware of this; she has been oddly withdrawn all day, and I just know she is working on her speech. Meanwhile, I have been too busy to give much thought to my side of the story.

I think that in a few moments I will give her a piece of cheese to remind her of how good she has it.

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In honor of Martin Luther

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day . . . more on commas.

Several years ago, there was a popular book called Conversations with God. The premise was that the “author” sat down one day with a blank pad of paper, and his hand suddenly started writing messages from god of its own accord. God turned out to be sufficiently prolific to generate a series of bestsellers.

I was reading one of those in my office one day when something struck me with the force of a speeding train-the 3:00 Acela Express, to be precise, which would have been on its way from Washington to New York at that very moment, except this was before the Acela Express existed, so its force at that point was purely theoretical.

Anyway, I do believe I called out, and my business partner came running in from the other room. He may have actually been in the same room, and I may have merely cleared my throat or something. I cannot be bothered with details this late in the day. The point is, I saw fit to call his attention to Conversations with God, which, again, if the conceit is to be believed, was written with the same hand that created the universe in six days and maybe dealt a game of Solitaire on the seventh.

“God uses the serial comma!” I announced, flush with triumph.

Enough said.

In your face, Associated Press!

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Comma Weekend continues: Commas project

Comma Weekend continues:

Commas project truth. You may try to suppress it, but commas will not be denied their connection with the Universal Reality.

Take the following three sentences:

1. My friend Viki has tentacles.

2. My friend, Viki, has tentacles.

3. My friend, Viki has tentacles.

That Viki has tentacles is a given. In case you are wondering, she also has tusks and a distinctively maritime aroma. But what else do we learn from the previous sentences?

The first sentence means what it means: I have a friend named Viki, and she has tentacles. In the second sentence, Viki, set apart by commas, modifies my friend. Therefore, the commas reveal what I might not otherwise choose to: that I have only one friend, her name is Viki, and by the way, she has tentacles. In the third sentence, I am not referring to Viki as a friend, merely reporting that someone named Viki has tentacles. However, the comma reveals that the person I am addressing is my friend. It is a friendly warning about the tentacles, one that might be better heeded had I chosen to employ the immediacy of an exclamation point instead of the matter-of-factness of the period.

Commas matter.

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What it all comes down

What it all comes down to is that I did not post yesterday because of a comma.

The older I get, the less patience I have for people who misuse commas, a dastardly practice that includes not only inserting them in the wrong places but not inserting them in the right places.

Commas are infinitely powerful, but they are not rocket science.

Some people think that commas should be dictated by grammatical style. Early in their careers, editors pick a style and cling to it with the tenacity of snapping turtles. My chosen bible is The Chicago Manual of Style, which is the most comprehensive and thoughtful style there is. The Chicago Manual of Style is as thick as a phone book, and it actually has groupies who comb through each edition looking for errors and little in-jokes. I am not among them, but my devotion is unwavering.

The laziest and least thoughtful style is Associated Press, so of course this has been adopted by the largest number of people. AP style is used most by journalists, so I suppose the implication is that they are too busy running around in pursuit of hot stories to actually make their writing comprehensible. In recent days, with media companies relying on press releases from the White House for their “facts,” rather than doing any independent journalism, that justification has been invalidated.

One of the greatest bones of contention between Chicago and AP style is the use of the serial comma. Chicago says yes; AP says no. As I am sure you all are aware, a serial comma is the comma that should come before the last conjunction in a written list. (For example, it is the last comma in “red, white, and blue.”) For reasons I will not delve into here, there are many grammatical situations and constructions in which that punctuation is vital for clarity. Intelligent Chicago recognizes this and has standardized the practice. Slipshod AP feels that the conjunction alone is sufficient. It is the classic confrontation between Gallant and Goofus.

Yesterday, I was designing an invitation for an event at my alma mater, and I automatically inserted a serial comma where there was none. The woman in the public relations office wrote to me with a list of nonsensical (read: AP-based) changes to the text, including the removal of that vital comma. The matter-of-fact way in which my poor comma was dismissed so irritated me that I could focus on nothing else (including writing here) for the rest of the day. I even went so far as to tell them that they could choose not to pay me if they liked, but that I was not removing it. (I found the idea of a university opting for AP over Chicago particularly galling.)

There are such things as principles, after all, things more important than money. If one cannot stick by his commas, what can one stick by?

When I was in high school, one of my teachers had a list of approximately twenty-nine rules for the comma, and we all had to memorize it. People make a big deal about the Ten Commandments, going so far as to violate the Constitution by creating giant monuments to them on government property. I think we would all be better served if some brave and well-financed soul started chipping the Twenty-Nine Rules for Commas into a mountainside somewhere.

But that’s just me.

Update: I am considering renaming Goblin Foo Uvula. What do you think of “Snoozer Pantsuit, Girl Detective”?

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As I shed my bizarre

As I shed my bizarre manias, compulsions, and neuroses through a tireless regimen of therapies and drugs, I seem to have sprouted some new ones.

It seems, for example, that I can no longer get out of bed if the numbers on my alarm clock are not a multiple of five. It is simply out of the question. I just lay down to pet my dog and was trapped there for twenty minutes because I kept missing the fives and zeros and had to stay in hopes of catching the next one.

I have also launched a campaign to keep every closet and bathroom door in my apartment shut tight to keep positive energy from getting trapped amongst the hangers or flushed down the drains. Further, the light must be on in the bathroom at all times. Or else.

I would say that the processed carbohydrates and sugars I gave up were keeping me sane, but upon reflection, I realized what a laughably erroneous statement that is. Still, if I could sell it with a straight face, I might have a new career in Republican politics.

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My, oh my. The things

My, oh my. The things that happen. The Romans used to have a festival called Saturnalia, during which the masters and their servants would switch roles and run wild in the streets. Nowadays, running wild in the streets is the rule rather than the exception, but some holidays still bring sacred alterations. For example, last night, Faustus’s birthday transformed me into a patricidal murderess whose married lover had already killed both her mother and her brother at the behest of her scheming archeologist father.

If this is difficult for you to keep straight, imagine how I felt! Of course, this Byzantine plot developed in the last years of the freewheeling Victorian era, a time when patricidal murderesses were coming out of the woodwork.
In honor of the celebration and my exposure as a greedy criminal, I decided to bend the rules of the South Beach diet enough to include a piece of scrumptious chocolate cake. Unfortunately, I return today to my dietetic peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, an experience that calls to mind, thanks to the minimal stature and flavor of the low-carb bread, the licking of a postage stamp.

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Today is the day. Phase

Today is the day. Phase One of my South Beach Diet is over. I can now start eating most fruits and whole-grain breads and chocolate again. It is like getting a new lease on life. I just found a way to make a low-carb/low-sugar peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but as disgusting as it was, it was ambrosia after a two-week drought. To date, I have lost three percent body fat, and I have another percentage or two to go until I reach my goal. Yay me!

In other news, I am making my third try today to get a new driver’s license. If I cannot make it work this time, I am going to give up entirely and purchase that flying carpet I have had my eye on.

And in still other news, I had to call my insurance company today to get authorization to continue my psychotherapy into two thousand four. They have a separate number for mental health patients, as if they want to separate us from the herd. A message came up, however, that hold times were much longer than usual. This is just the confirmation I need that people are going crazy at a more alarming rate these days.

But the hold music was soothing.

And last but not least, just when I had given up on the American population as hopelessly under the sway of advertising, I saw a nice bit of graffiti down in the subway yesterday. On a Steve Madden poster, one of those featuring a character with an oversized extremities, someone penciled in: “I may be a disproportionate freak, but aren’t my shoes cool?”

That is going to be my mantra for the new year.

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I would not know this

I would not know this from personal experience, but the nineteen sixties must have been an interesting time in which to live. On the one hand, the Vietnam War raged on; political assassinations of progressive leaders were another major bummer. But the great strides in civil rights and the sexual revolution must have offered some hope for the future.

That hope was reflected in the popular science fiction of the time. “Star Trek” offered a glorious image of all humanity united against funny-looking species that all wore the same outfit. The only problem is that the future is not living up to this rosy and naïve prediction. All that remains of the nineteen sixties are a number of hideous government buildings made from blue and white and tan bricks.

Science fiction today yields gloomier speculation: it is all battles and infections and grim dialogue. It is true that, thanks to the insanely ignorant policies of our current government, we will never again in our lifetimes know a period without war and terror. But come on. What has happened to our collective hope?

Oh, I stumbled across it by accident. It seems that the science fiction writers of old have taken new jobs as brand managers for multinational pharmaceutical corporations. Instead of focusing their imagination on coming up with exotic names for alien species who all wear the same outfit, they are now coming up with names for new drugs.

These are indistinguishable.

Can you not imagine a scenario in which the peaceful denizens of the planet Abreva in Prilosector 23 are confronted by the monstrous race of Paxilians? Only through the power of the Clarinex matrix can the beleaguered Abrevans win the day. And then, heady with triumph, they all take out their Zyrtec transmogrifiers and dial up the latest planetary outfit.

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I am working and traveling

I am working and traveling today, so this will be necessarily brief, but I wanted to write about something of monumental consequence that has been bothering me for a long time.

In the old cartoon “The Smurfs,” there were exactly one hundred of the tiny blue creatures in the hidden Smurf Village, and each one had his own mission in life. There was a comedian Smurf, a farmer Smurf, a bodybuilder Smurf, a self-proclaimed genius Smurf, and so on. Even as a child, I found this system to be efficient but flawed for reasons I will not delve into here.

Anyway, one of the Smurf stereotypes was a painter. His name was, coincidentally, Painter Smurf. Painter Smurf’s uniform was a beret and a smock, and he was always trying to paint his masterpiece, which in his French accent he pronounced “masterpayza.”

My question is, where did he get the French accent? Supposedly, these were the only Smurfs in the world, so it was not as if he was on a Smurf exchange program. Even if he were only affecting it, where would he have heard a French accent before? He lived in a mushroom that was not wired for cable television.

Painter Smurf was simply too implausible.

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As I type this, I

As I type this, I am waiting like a rock-and-roll groupie for the QuickTime stream of the Macworld San Fransisco keynote by Apple CEO Steve Jobs to begin. As is my tradition, and despite the numerous other things I have to do today, I intend to watch it from start to finish.

I am a geek, terrifying to behold.

Oooo, it’s starting! Will we get new iPods? New Macs? New software?

My hands are shaking.

Update: Garage Band music studio, and iPod mini. Cool!

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It is appropriate that my

It is appropriate that my boyfriend is a composer, as I have written several popular ditties in my lifetime. That someone else wrote them first is immaterial: my particular interpretations have revealed previously undiscovered layers of meaning.

For example, my collaborator Tiffany and I once liberated “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina” from its stodgy existing lyrics and transformed the entire tale into a swashbuckling and ribald voyage on the USS Enterprise:

“Don’t cry for me, Number One!
The truth is, I never loved you.
But come to my quarters
With a brassiere on.
We’ll have some fun, oh Number One!”

And who can forget the classic “Vampires Just Want to Have Fun,” which I co-wrote with Michelle? This featured such unforgettable lines as: “Come home before the morning light,” and “I want to be the one to run from the sun.”
I ought to be in show business. I really ought to.

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I have a terrible secret.

I have a terrible secret.

It is something so horrifying that I can barely bring myself to dwell upon it for an instant. And yet, it is always there, burning in my soul, gnawing at my intestines like a rabid weasel. Really, you should see my intestines. They cannot take much more of this. And so my only recourse is to confess, to share it with the wide world, and hope that, by this, I shall at last know peace.

I can barely type the words. My fingers rebel, curse them. Ah, but I am accurst, for . . .

On my beautiful Power Macintosh G5, there is Microsoft software loaded.

The horror!

Anyway, I checked in on MSN Messenger late last night. For some bizarre reason, this is the instant messaging software of choice for my family, which is not renowned for its sensible decisions. I thought I might catch my mother online, as indeed I did. We chatted about various things, including furniture, my bizarre diet, and the locations of various stores. Then she reminded me that she reads this web log all the time and was disappointed by my recent portrayal of our family as the source of all my tension.

Of course, she is just being overly sensitive, as I said no such thing. I wrote that their house – with its clamorous barking of dogs, its blasting of the insidious Fox News at all hours and in all rooms, and its ever-present sounds of construction – is undeniably chaotic. “Welcome to my life,” she said.

I have written a number of things about my father, whose approval I seem to crave, but I have not delved very deeply into my mother, who would be proud if I tripped over a rake. My mother and I are actually very much alike, it pains me to admit. No gay man wants to evoke his mother, which is a shame, because we all do. My mother and I are both fiercely loyal, generally blunt, and essentially generous. We probably both like our dogs more than we like most people. She can yell louder than I can (years of practice), but we are both reserved in social situations unless we are very comfortable. We both have unreasonable fears (she is afraid of heights and driving in cities; I am afraid of germs, toxins, and Ann Coulter . . . actually, upon reflection, none of those seem unreasonable).

I suppose, considering everything, the Microsoft software is much more to be feared.

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Since I did not post

Since I did not post what I intended around the holidays, I thought I would play catch-up now. Note that this is the only area of my life in which I happen to be in the vicinity of punctuality. I still have not yet mailed any Christmas cards and am seriously considering penciling in “Happy Martin Luther King, Junior’s Birthday!” should I eventually get them out the door.

But according to my boyfriend and my psychiatrist, I should keep a New Year’s resolution not to beat myself up over my current shortcomings.

What does that leave, except my past shortcomings?

Picture it: the holiday season, 1980. (And let’s ignore for a moment that my official year of birth is 1983. This is clearly a caper that unfolds over four dimensions.) My burgeoning dorkiness and artistic vision having come to the fore, I decided to produce a spectacular Christmas Slide Show starring my Star Wars action figures and a papier-mâché Santa and Mrs. Claus set my mother displayed on the dining room table. This required unprecedented photographic innovation, as both Santa and his wife were dozens of times larger than Luke Skywalker and the gang. I made use of my father’s camera and spent diligent hours recording dialogue from a talking computer he brought home from work. This multimedia extravaganza was to debut on Christmas Day and feature the tale of How the Rebellion Saved Christmas from Darth Vader by Flying Around in a Sleigh Made from a Matchbox Car Case.

Not one of the slides developed properly, a miracle for which I thank the Universe each and every day of my adult life.

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I spent the dawning of

I spent the dawning of 2004 standing on a rock in Central Park, holding my dog’s ears closed as she cowered in my boyfriend’s coat, terrified of the fireworks almost directly overhead. I only wanted to bring Goblin so we had an excuse to leave early, but it did not work, and she was unnecessarily traumatized. As was I, come to think of it . . . by a woman with The Most Obnoxious Voice Ever, who stood behind us, making drunken toasts and shrieking about how we should all watch the fireworks reflected in the windows on Central Park West, rather than look at them directly.

In other news, it is Day Three of South Beach, and can think of nothing but food. Today at lunch, I actually became hungrier as I ate my chicken salad. I understand that it takes a few days for the cravings to go away, but I have already eaten more string cheese in the past three days than I have in my entire life, and it has not helped even a little bit. I am cantankerous, desultory, unmotivated, and continually drowsy. In other words, welcome to Thursday. But this week, I have something to pin it on.

Yesterday evening, I saw Big Fish. The valuable life lesson I took away from this languidly appealing film was: Stay Away from Big Fish. Or perhaps I missed the point because I was too busy trying to inhale other people’s popcorn.
Happy New Year!