September 25, 2006


I recently had a fantasy that I was an ad man. I earn immeasurable fame and improve thousands of lives through the creation of a public service announcement warning against the dangers of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. The campaign centers around the slogan "Preggers can't be users."

In my fantasy, I'm pitching the idea to a conference room of stuffed suits when an eager but wet-behind-the-ears intern suggests using "boozers" instead of "users". Calmly but firmly, I explain to him that the alliteration created by "boozers" would make the slogan more difficult to say, which would lessen the campaign's overall impact, which would in turn save fewer children from the sad effects of FAS. I ask him if he's prepared to shoulder that kind of emotional burden so early in his still-promising career, and he tells me that he is not.

No one really appreciates how much work it takes to be a successful fake advertising executive.

September 20, 2006

Mama Mia!

I saw this commercial for Pizza Hut's newest novelty pizza, called the Sicilian Lasagna Pizza. Piqued by the name, I sat up and awaited the voice-over's explanation of how they had managed to merge lasagna and pizza into one discrete food item. But damn it all, they didn't. All they fucking did was throw some tomato sauce, cheese, and meat on some bread and name it after lasagna.

To its credit, I'll admit, it is rectangular. So maybe if you took your contacts out and held your nose, you could fool yourself into thinking someone had delivered you the world's shittiest lasagna.

And then, Christ, the other day I found a print ad in the Sunday paper. You know what slogan they decided on for the Sicilian Lasagna Pizza? "The pizza that eats like a meal!"

Holy Toledo!!! Pizza?? As a meal?! No one under the age of 172 thinks you can eat pizza as an entire meal! Pizza Hut better build a new wing onto corporate headquarters- you know, to house all those thank you cards.

September 17, 2006

Tom Waits Changes My Life For (At Least) The Third Time

I used to feel ashamed when someone would ask me if I'd heard of a band that I'd never heard of. I don't really know why. I think I just like knowing about things before other people, even though I rarely put in the effort to learn anything new.

But I don't feel like that anymore, thanks to Tom Waits. He was asked to write an article about his favorite albums. It's pretty long, and boring in parts, and I feel sure he didn't put a lot of thought into the list. But somewhere near the end, he wrote this:

14 Passion for Opera Aria (EMI Classics) 1994

I heard 'Nessun Dorma' in the kitchen at Coppola's with Raul Julia one night, and it changed my life, that particular Aria. I had never heard it. He asked me if I had ever heard it, and I said no, and he was like, as if I said I've never had spaghetti and meatballs - 'Oh My God, Oh My God!' - and he grabbed me and he brought me into the jukebox (there was a jukebox in the kitchen) and he put that on and he just kind of left me there. It was like giving a cigar to a five-year old. I turned blue, and I cried.

And the way I see it, if Tom Waits, the coolest god damned man on earth, isn't embarrassed about not having heard of something, then I shouldn't be either. And Jesus, what a good story. Thanks again, Mr. Waits.

Also, if anyone bothered reading the article, I wonder how good that Sinatra album really is. About scoring chicks, I mean. Perhaps my legions of faithful readers should give it a try, and later we can share zany stories of madcap sexual misadventure.

Or no?

September 6, 2006

Sunday Sets

Like pretty much everyone I know, I dread Sunday nights. You watch helplessly as the last dregs of your weekend slide down the drain, knowing the only reward for going to bed is five days of school, work, or feeling guilty about not going to school or working.

As a youngster, my favorite TV show was Our House (starring Wilford Brimley, that robust hero to diabetics, oatmeal eaters, and mustache growers the world over), which aired Sunday nights on NBC. What I remember most about those days was the growing uneasiness I would always feel as the show approached. On one hand, I wanted to know exactly what homespun life lesson the old codger would impart to his impetuous grandkids, but I also knew, staring desperately at the wall clock during every commercial break, that the show's encroaching end meant bedtime and five terrible days of elementary school. I was glad to have one last pleasurable experience before the school week beckoned, but the prevailing sense of dread, of helplessness as my future kept dragging me along, prevented me from really enjoying the show.

As time passed, as Mondays got more demanding, the feeling only got worse. And of course by college, all this dread/malaise/helplessness was compounded mightily by the hangover and nicotine-withdrawal that quickly became its own weekly ritual.


I've been living in my cabin at the lake, by myself, for the last week or so. I'm staying here until I move to NYC in a month to be a blowhard corporate lawyer. Being here is pretty spectacular; the lake is gorgeous, I'm reading a lot, and the nights are so quiet and still. It's exactly where I want to be.

But the problem is, in spite of all that, every day kind of feels like a Sunday. The spectre of 15 hour days , mind-numbing work, and three measly weeks of vacation (if I'm lucky) makes it hard to enjoy the time I have left. Twenty years ago, Our House wasn't solid enough to withstand the future's relentless assault. I guess it was silly to think my cabin would perform any better.