Last night, Rob and I went to a Halloween party hosted by a Sexy Hobo, a Sexy Grizzly Bear, and some sort of Reptile that I never saw clearly but was more than likely Sexy, as well. The fourth host was Fur, who spent hours getting the disco ball just so. Even though we left home an hour after the party was supposed to begin, we were the first guests to arrive. Later, Dorothy Parker showed up and I got bitten by a black cat.

In case you’re wondering, my costume was Guy in a Cirque du Soleil Souvenir Shirt and Brown Hoodie who Ate Half of the Jack o’ Lantern Cookies before the Other Guests Got There. I have been saving this costume for just the right occasion.

Speaking of Halloween, I saw some Christmas trees for sale yesterday and felt so sorry for the poor the red-headed stepchild of the holiday family, always overshadowed. I remember when I was a kid and they had a special Halloween mass at the church. I can’t imagine why, but those people will congregate at the drop of a hat. It was a Jack o’ Lantern mass, and everyone was supposed to bring a pumpkin carved in the likeness of a saint. At home, my pumpkin was named Luke Skywalker, but at church, he transformed into the mighty Saint Luke. My brother’s Darth Vader pumpkin didn’t weather the transition as well, and the monsignor denounced it from the pulpit. Heretic pumpkin! By now, I’m used to being denounced from the pulpit, but I’m sure it was a stinging indictment at the time.

Speaking of indictments, I feel so sorry for I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the highly placed White House official who was indicted yesterday on five counts. It must be horrible to be the public scapegoat for a cabal of evil monsters and then be forced to explain ad nauseum why perjury in a case of leaking classified information to our enemies in a time of war-endangering the lives and careers of hundreds of our agents and their families around the world in an attempt to smear and discredit the one person who had evidence that the current war in Iraq is based entirely upon lies and two thousand of our soldiers have died needlessly-is so not a big deal, whereas perjury in a case of getting a blowjob is the worst thing that can ever happen in the history of the universe. Luckily Mr. Libby just can’t seem to recall what actually happened, and was probably out of the loop to boot, because these crimes for which people used to be executed in the good old days are now just business as usual in the Bush White House (motto: “A Watergate Every Day!”).

But mostly, I feel sorry that the Sexy Hobo seems to have misplaced her pants.


Patron of the Rats

I forgot to tell anybody that I was going to Chicago and Dayton this past weekend. Chicago: Land of Carbs. Dayton: Land of . . . Something. Something or nothing.

The occasion was Rob’s shows. He had one running in each town, and one in Nashville, although I can’t imagine going to Nashville. At least Chicago is a blue state. At least Chicago is where I used to live. I wandered around as if I invented Chicago, noting all the things that have changed since I left. Chicago forgot to file the appropriate forms to secure my permission to make these changes. It would serve Chicago right if I slapped it with a heavy fine.

The show, Macabaret, was fabulous, of course. Rob and I met his family there, which is always a delight. I got to talk with Rindy about whether the Italian language had been invented in Caesar’s time, appropriate uses for old bridesmaid dresses, and what would happen if Goblin Foo Uvula stole Rindy’s doctoral dissertation. But then they all left-his family back to Wisconsin and Rob back to Dayton one day ahead of me-and I was alone in my old Chicago neighborhood, in much the same state of mind as when I last haunted those streets: lonely, anxious, and stressed out beyond comprehension. To while away the hours, I bought a new shirt and went to see Capote, which was brilliant and terribly affecting (the film, not the shirt, although the fact that I look damned good in the shirt did much to lighten my mood). Capote is about the brutality of an artist and his art; perhaps, indirectly, it is about the brutality of realizing any vision. In the movie, the destruction that comes from creation is given almost equal weight with the destruction that comes from destruction, which is jarring to me as I negotiate on different levels the treacherous waters of art and entrepreneurship.

The trip to Dayton was on a tiny jet with seats narrower than my hips. At first it felt cozy, like a hug, but claustrophobia set in even before we took off. The weather was terrible, the flight was not smooth, other passengers were pressed against me on all sides, and my last hope of sanity died when the flight attendant announced that, since it was a short flight, there would be no drink service . . . the last thing I needed to hear, as I desperately needed alcohol to calm my nerves.

But I made it. Rob’s show in Dayton is another version of his seminal classic Vanishing Point, the changes to which (since I last saw it) I haven’t yet quite absorbed. I was going to leave this morning on a little prop plane, but the remnants of the hurricane over my flight path wreaked havoc with my plans. Not quite in the mood for a replay my terrifying experience flying in a tiny plane in a Costa Rican thunderstorm a couple of years ago, plunging from the sky as lightning flashed all around, I intentionally missed my flight (I heard later that it was delayed by several hours, and I would have missed my connecting flight anyway). Instead, I will get back to Baltimore the way god intended: I’m renting a car from Avis.

Avis is the company that ran over my father a few years ago, but I don’t hold a grudge. Ask Chicago.



Nicole Kidman is prowling my neighborhood, hither and yon, like a wraith eluding a tall poppy. Goblin and I stumbled across her filming a scene during yesterday evening’s walk. Goblin whipped out a taser, dragged the movie star under a bush, and the next thing I knew was sporting a saucy blond wig and calling for her close-up. So now my little Boston terrier is starring in a major motion picture, and I had a pine cone for dinner because I Couldn’t Be Bothered.

Too bad Goblin and Nicole didn’t switch careers in time to avert that train wreck of a Stepford Wives remake.

There are so many things I want to tell you, but they flutter around my head like gnats, and I can’t quite isolate them. Yesterday, served a guest chilled red wine and felt like I had sunk to a new low. Today, I purchased thirteen weeks of underwriting on NPR. Two days ago, in a move shockingly irony-free move, I purchased a pumpkin, which will sit on my front stoop until Nicole Kidman gets around to smashing it on the pavement.



Today, I went to the M&T bank to open an account for my new business. It’s a dingy little bank just a block away from a shiny new Bank of America, but Bank of America is like a Dracula, as far as I’m concerned. Also, the M&T gave me an electric screwdriver for becoming their customer . . . an unfortunate metaphor, but at least now something can be done with all of those loose screws.

The other thing that happened today is nothing.


An Ode to Autumn

The moon is full, and the leaves are falling off the trees. I took a frying pan into the back yard, caught some leaves, and had them for dinner. The frying pan was just to catch them, not cook them; I actually ate them raw because I Couldn’t Be Bothered. I chased down this culinary masterpiece with a slug of Irish cream. (That bottle was a lot more full when I bought it.)

I slept about thirty hours this weekend, in contrast to the thirty minutes I get on most nights. Rob is still out of town, and Matt Damon is snuffling around the doorjambs. He’s a temptress, but I have “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart” to keep me occupied.

The motto of Coo Coo Land is “Write a Nice Follow-up Note.”

The motto of Coo Coo Land is “Don’t Make Your Dog Eat Stale Dog Food, Or Else.”

The motto of Coo Coo Land is “Get Your Fiber from Microwave Popcorn, Not Leaves in the Back Yard, You Animal.”


The Regularly Scheduled Chupacabra Has Been Pre-Empted to Bring You This Important Announcement

Oh, hello. Are you still here?

Last night, I had a bowl of cherry tomatoes for dinner because Rob is out of town and I Couldn’t Be Bothered. They may have been grape tomatoes. I am turning into some kind of animal, a kind that works all day and eats cherry (or grape) tomatoes for dinner. A monkey?

In honor of National Coming Out Day, observed earlier this week, I am going to Come Out as someone who as a child used to practice falling off of skyscrapers. My parents’ bed stood in for the roof of the building; I would position myself so I was hanging off as far as I could and then try to pull myself back up. Sometimes, my parents’ bed was a rock in middle of a lava floe, but it was the same principle. More often than not, I ended up on a heap on the floor, the bedspread piled on top of me, but I learned my lesson.

The motto of Coo Coo Land is “Be Prepared.”

The motto of Coo Coo Land is “Cherry Tomatoes: They Aren’t Just for Breakfast Anymore!”

The motto of Coo Coo land is “Why Did They Cancel ‘Just Shoot Me’?”



My niece was born this morning, and I went to the mall to find her a stuffed bear or duck. The mall is a waking nightmare to begin with, but what took the cake was an establishment called Build-A-Bear. I had figured you just grab a teddy bear and pick out some nice shoes for it, or a handbag. But as I stood, horrified, in the doorway, I was whisked inside by a perky teenager who explained a process I’d closer associate with Frankenstein’s monster than a cuddly toy: choosing an empty carcass, inserting a voicebox, stuffing the body, picking out a wardrobe, and registering all of these details—along with a name—in a computer that spits out a personalized birth certificate.

The gestation of my niece herself was a less complicated affair.

I ended up getting a stuffed tree frog at the Rainforest Café. My thinking was that, hey, it’s raining out, and babies look amphibious anyway. Why not commemorate the day?

A stuffed tree frog and sneaking her out when she’s seventeen to buy birth control pills. Thank goodness my unclely duties are few and far between; I have enough on my mind.


Don’t Take Any Wooden Nicoles

I’m on a trip. A trip to Coo Coo Land, population: me.

Wish you were here.


Okay, this is funny because I was walking home from a meeting yesterday and when I passed the old people’s home, there was this guy out front who was trying to smoke a cigarette but his hand was so palsied that he couldn’t even bring it to his mouth, so instead he started singing “The Little Drummer Boy,” which was my favorite Christmas carol when I was, like, five, but this guy could have moved on to “O Holy Night” like everyone else. At that very moment, I was thinking about how, the day before, Rob had offered to wash my pants, and I had just done laundry of my own so I didn’t have very many dirty pants, but I said I had some underpants he could wash, and he said he wasn’t doing underpants, he was just doing pants, and I said that underpants are pants, too, and he said no, they aren’t. What I didn’t remind him was that underpants are enough like pants that he once managed to walk five blocks to the gym in just his underpants because he thought he was wearing pants, but anyway, it was at about this point in the imaginary narrative when I started hearing “Pa rum pum pum pum,” and I got irritated because it’s not even Halloween and already the pums are flying like bats, darting and wheeling around the lamp post.

Tonight, I was home, minding my own business, when a certain broad called and said she was waiting for Nicole to get out of a car. Rob and Goblin are both in New York this week, but I made tippling gestures with my hand to amuse myself, if no one else. “Uh, Nicole who?” I said. “Nicole Kidman,” she said, as if I were a dolt and there were only one Nicole in the universe. Nicole Kidman is apparently filming a new version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers in my Baltimore neighborhood, which is about the best example of poetic justice in human history. I’m already terrified that Joe LaMastra is going to jump out from behind a bush every time I walk down the street; he might as well be an alien pod person, too. So I walked a couple of blocks over to join Linda and her Russian friends and a flock of art students, who were all staring at a black car that they swore Nicole Kidman was sitting in, waiting to get out and film a scene. I wonder what it’s like to be someone for whom people will congregate to see. If I were in my own Prius, Prudence, and saw a flock of art students jostling each other for a better view of me, I would freak out and drive away and get darn good gas mileage in the process.

Sike. I would get out and find a couple of cute ones and introduce them to the idea of an environmentally friendly casting couch.

Anyway, the movie people were doing funny things with the lights and a couple of Nicole Kidman stunt doubles kept walking back and forth, but I quickly felt ridiculous for standing out in the dark when I had real work to do at home. I was about to leave when a movie person came up and told everyone on the sidewalk to shut up because they were filming a scene inside the house. Maybe Nicole Kidman was in that scene. Maybe she was talking about aliens. I get the idea she knows all about aliens since she used to hang out with Scientologists. But anyhoo, I didn’t care if Nicole Kidman was in a car or a house, so I went home.

By way of Coo Coo Land.


*I attribute this expression to Cara. UPDATE: There is only one Cara in the universe.