I'm prettier than you are.
Thursday, 31 January 2002
One man's trash is ... well, you know

I don't know what's going on here. The good people at "Live With Regis and Kelly" have sent me a ticket-letter for the February 13 show. I didn't request it. I must confess that I was going to send away for more tickets, but I didn't actually get around to doing it yet.

It's weird. The first time I went (November 13), I won the audience prize. The second time I went (January 9), I received a call later that afternoon telling me they couldn't accommodate my request for January 11 (which I never requested), so they sent me tickets for another show, on January 23. Of course I went. (Yes, that makes it three times. Loser. Yes. I know.) And now I have the new tickets, which I didn't request at all. What's going on here?

Could it be that I'm on some sort of automatic list now? Have I become a "regular"? Will I finally become Kelly Ripa's best friend in real life, the way I am in my actual dreams -- the dreams where we laugh raucously about how we finally came to meet and marvel over how we're now the closest of gal pals ... and then we're called back to the "All My Children" set for our next scene ...?

Uhhh. Yeah. I mean ... ahem. I do have those dreams. I hate to admit it, I'm embarrassed to confess it, but I do. I've been having them for quite some time. Years ago I used to hobnob with Shanen Doherty and the cast of "Beverly Hills 90210". Sometimes I hung out with them as their characters, and I was actually a part of the show. But in the dream, of course, we didn't know we were in a show; it was reality, and the actors were really the characters, not just actors playing the roles. We'd laugh by our overly decorated lockers, talk about our boy problems at the Peach Pit. Our hair was swingy and shiny. Other times I hung out with the cast as themselves, as the actors, and we would all be wonderful and gorgeous and glamorous and wearing fabulous sunglasses.

Lately, though, as I mentioned above, I've been Kelly Ripa's best friend, and the same sort of situations exist, but of course "All My Children" is the show and I'm traipsing around Pine Valley instead of Beverly Hills.

It's really ridiculous. I mean, it was bad enough when the dreams were about "90210", but that was ten or so years ago, when I was in my 20s (yeah, true, I was in my late 20s, but still ...). Now that I'm somewhat older, I thought the dreams would stop, or at least I'd start dreaming that I was part of the "ER" or "West Wing" casts. (I don't watch those shows, though, so maybe that's part of the problem.) Lately I've been watching reruns of "Friends" (I know, I know). I suppose it's only a matter of time before I'm hanging out on a squishy sofa at Central Perk, playfully dabbing mochaccino froth on the noses of Monica and Rachel.

What's particularly embarrassing is that when I wake up from these dreams and realize that my "friends" still don't know I exist, I am actually disappointed.

I just had a vision of a poster I taped to the back of my bedroom door, circa 1976. A tabby cat napping in a wastepaper basket on which a lion's face was pictured. When you dream, dream big, it said. (For your information, yes, I did also have the "Hang In There, Baby!" poster.)

I guess I am taking that poster's advice, because I must now confess that I recently had a best friend dream about -- *gasp!* -- Gwyneth Paltrow!!!

So what do you think? When Kelly and I eventually do become the best of friends, and I'm co-hosting on "Live" with her when Regis is out of town, do you think we can have a good laugh about my old dreams? Or do you think I should keep them to myself? And do you think I should tell her about Gwynnie? Girls can be so possessive about their best friends.

fresh-baked at 08:40 AM
Tuesday, 29 January 2002
Public Appearance

Despite what I said/wrote yesterday about doing something that I couldn't do outside of New York, I will be making a public appearance at CompUSA, on Fifth Avenue (between 37th and 38th) this morning, around 10:30! (It is, indeed, a woman's prerogative to change her mind -- and yes, even though a test I took on TheSpark.com told me that "You are DEFINITELY a MAN", I still like to consider myself a chick/dame/broad/skirt).

For those of you who haven't actually met me yet, well ... you'll recognize me. I look exactly like the little drawing at the top of this page. I probably won't be wearing a black turtleneck, though, because it's so #@$% hot out (and no, I can't stand this weather -- it's fine for May, but it's January, damn it, and it's just not right) ... but you may still be able to pick me out of the crowd. I'll be the severed head propped up on a card table.

See you there! (But don't stare. It's not polite.)

fresh-baked at 09:26 PM
Sunday, 27 January 2002
I squander where my time has gone

For the past week or so, I haven't been living up to my self-imposed moniker of Wandering Jew. Nope. Instead, I've been the Squandering Jew. I've been wasting time. I've been holed up in my fabulous apartment, hair piled haphazardly atop my head a la Pebbles Flintstone in a stupor ... shuffling along in slouchy pajama-y pants, gray V-neck T-shirts, and socks too thick to wear with boots ... forgetting to eat, but drinking glass after refreshing glass of Crystal Light lemonade (yellow) (for the record, I prefer the pink, but the yellow is easier to find) (probably because everyone else is hogging the pink) (bastards). Anyway, I've barely/rarely left the premises except to go to the gym and Pilates. I may as well live in the midwest for all I'm taking advantage of everything this fantastic city has to offer.

What's particularly vexing is that, aside from the digital camera and computer software purchases I mentioned yesterday, I haven't done anything "productive" while playing the part of the hermit. I didn't even do anything "around the house". I could've unpacked the boxes that have been imprisoned in the front closet since I moved into this place in November 2000. I could've filed all of my paid bills. I could've clipped those exercise articles from "Shape", punched three holes down their side, and organized them into a spiffy three-ring binder. But I didn't. I have no idea what the hell I did.

I find that I've been treating my time like a huge totebag, tossing in a whole lotta nada that I can't even list. I have the space in that bag, so it doesn't matter what I throw into it. This. That. The occasional other thing. My time is starting to resemble my trusty ol' Kipling gym bag -- the one that's been hosting more dead batteries than live ones, an assortment of peeled-off protective plastic seals from water bottles, and a red plastic press-on fingernail that lights up when you tap it against a surface. I would do better to regard my time as a tiny, elegant evening bag, and to wisely and thoughtfully choose what wins a place inside it and what gets left behind.

The problem with my having so much "free time" is that I tend to think, far too freely, Tomorrow is another day. That if I waste one day, there will always be another one later. Just like that subway sign that implores us not to run to catch the train, because there will be another one just like it coming soon. Maybe my problem is that I've heard that hideous song "Tomorrow" one too many times ("Uhh, honey, I hate to tell you, but ... one is one too many times").

So I vow to you that tomorrow I am going to grab the ol' bull(shit) by the horns and do something I absolutely could not do outside of New York. This means, of course, that I will not permit myself to go into a Starbucks.

Hey, you didn't expect me to dump everything out of that totebag, did you?

fresh-baked at 11:07 PM
General note

This page actually looks better when viewed with ... Netscape!

I'm sorry. But I have always been a renegade.

And now? Now I'm just a pariah.

fresh-baked at 10:01 PM
Saturday, 26 January 2002
The state I'm in

Yes, as most of you know if you've been reading these pages diligently (and I'm sure you have), I live in the beautiful state of New York. But for the past couple of days, I've been residing in an alternate state as well -- simultaneously, in tandem, side by side, mano a mano. That state, I confess, is one of catatonia. Creative catatonia. I find myself staring mutely, blankly, unflinchingly at this big beautiful monitor (it's just so pretty!), but unable to communicate through it effectively.

Instead of writing, my time in front of the computer has been spent "researching" various things that I want/desperately need to help me create my bigger 'n' better, brand spankin' new website -- the one that's been heralded near the top of this page for a few weeks. I've been searching for and poring over scads of user reviews, expert reviews, poorly-written opinions on epinions.com, and well-written ratings on ConsumerReports.org. Zdnet. cnet. get-the-butterfly-net. I've spent an inordinate amount of time second-, third-, fourth-, and twentieth-guessing every decision I've made. Which means that for every hour I've spent obsessing over behind-the-scenes machinations, I've devoted that much less time to my endeavors "in front of the camera", which translates into nothing "fresh-baked" for a couple of days.

I hope to return to my normal (oy!) state by tomorrow. I hope to resume normal (huh?) activity then. I don't like Catatonia. Its sights leave much to be desired, there is no tourism, and these damned tumbleweeds make my eyes water.

See you soon.

fresh-baked at 10:51 PM
Thursday, 24 January 2002
Hit me!

Wow. I've gotten a few "hits" from visitors who've found me via Google/Yahoo searches, and have thus entered my site through its archives, which is really like a "back door" portal. I suppose that's only appropriate, given that two of the "search strings" are as follows:

  • do+you+want+to+fuck+me+big+boy
  • i+want+to+fuck+but+i+am

It's so ... eerie. It's almost like the second one answered the first. Maybe I should turn this page into a dating/mating service?

Well, hey, I suppose I'm partly responsible. I mean, I guess I should've known I was taking a really big risk when I posted my first entry, which included an item entitled "Let's just get one thing straight, fellas ...".

I can't wait to see what's next. My money's on someone finding this page via a search for "i+want+to+fuck+straight+fellas" or, given the title of this very post, "i+want+you+to+hit+me".

The possibilities are endless!

fresh-baked at 06:51 PM
Wednesday, 23 January 2002
It's All Relative

Which do you want first -- the good news or the bad?

I like to start with the bad. Not because I'm morbid (which I certainly can be), but because I like to think of good news as a "reward" for having heard the bad. So, having made that easy choice, here we go.

Bad News

This time, unlike the last, the bad news didn't arrive courtesy of a self-powered internet search, but via the U.S. Postal Service. This time I didn't view the words facing forward, staring mutely at an impersonal monitor. This time the words were in my hand, on a note card, and I read them with bowed head, a stance that became increasingly more appropriate as I continued to read.

The card was from Faun, the mother of a guy named Kerry (one of my all-time favorites). Several years ago, when her marriage ended, she moved to Tennessee from Pennsylvania. Kerry and his sister, Kim, stayed on the East Coast. I lost contact with them, but Faun kept me up to date through letters and phone calls. But it was my own mother who called me one day at the end of March, 1998, to tell me that Kerry's father had called her with the news that Kerry had died. It was sudden (he died of "exposure"), and to say I was shocked, dumfounded, and devastated is perhaps one of the greatest understatements I'll ever make. Of course, I immediately called Faun ... and she and I have remained friends. The last time I spoke to her was sometime last year. I left her a phone message on September 11, to let her know that I was safe here in Manhattan, but didn't hear back from her. Until today.

Today, via Faun's perfect "cursive" script, I learned that this wonderful woman's grief was revisited. Kim, who had moved to Nashville to be closer to her mom after her brother's death, was killed this past May in a car accident near Nashville.

I stood in the vestibule of my building, staring mutely at the card. Gently touching the individual letters that linked together to form words that joined together to create sentences that I just did not want to exist. Holding the card as if it were Faun's always warm hand. Imagining this funny, witty, generous, and loving woman sitting at a table in Tennessee, holding a pen in that warm hand, a hand that somehow managed to form script so perfect and unwavering. She praised me for being "strong" in the face of tragedies both national and personal. But as I stood in the vestibule this afternoon, I knew that my hand, the one holding the tragic news, and my heart, the one receiving it, could never be as strong as hers.

When I call her sometime tomorrow, I know I won't be able to present or possess the strength she conferred on me. And I know that even if her handwriting was calm and stalwart, her voice will belie it. And my own voice won't know what to say.

And now, for my "reward" --

Good News

It's a girl! My Distinguished Older Gentleman ("DOG") is a grandfather! Yay! Yay! Yay! Oh, and before I forget ... YAY! (And here's where I feel compelled to insert a little smiley-face emoticon ... but I'll resist.)

And suddenly, I know what I'm going to say to Faun.


Sorry. I just couldn't resist.

fresh-baked at 01:11 AM
Monday, 21 January 2002
Bargain Beatings!

Due to the overwhelming response to the original Beatings For All offer (what's that? you missed it?), I have decided to extend the offer until February 15, 2002, so that those of you who wish to order a romantic Beating for Valentine's Day may have the opportunity to do so. In order to ease the strain on your pocketbooks after the busy holiday season, I am now offering a special bonus, for a limited time only: Bargain Beatings -- yes -- buy one, get one free! But please don't hesitate! This "twofer" is available only to the first 100 people who respond to this offer. Don't miss out.

How my service has grown! When I first began offering Beatings, there was only one option: the ever-popular (and perennial favorite), no-frills, one-person-at-a-time Beating With A Stick. And from there the popularity grew exponentially, until I could no longer hold back ... and consequently decided to branch out and offer the service to a broader audience, rather than restricting it to just 500 of my closest friends and my immediate family.

As always, there are plenty of you out there on whom I will bestow a Beating, free of charge. And, as is customary, I handpick the lucky beatees (or "BTs", to those in the know). However, if you're lucky, you may, for a nominal fee, request that I add a Beating Buddy to your order so that you can share the experience with someone whom you deem needs a beating too. How better to tell that Special Someone "I love you!"?

For those of you who wish to indulge in one of those lovely "random acts of kindness" that we all know and love, but can't quite decide on a recipient for a Beating, please feel free to pick and choose any two beatees from the following list. Please be advised that this list is by no means exhaustive, and is only offered as a reference. If you do use my list, I recommend that you select one from Column A and one from Column B (and also a nice, greeezy egg roll, free of charge):

Gwyneth Paltrow

That thankless bitch with the cell phone who didn't thank you when you held the door for her at Macy's, even though you were shlepping six bulging bags and all she had was that stupid Kate Spade (probably a knockoff)

Ben Affleck/Matt Damon (interchangeable)

That inconsiderate shtick dreck who took your clothes out of the laundry-room dryer before they were dry, and replaced them with his own tattered, bargain-basement rags

Your "Significant Other's" Ex-Whatever

That guy at the gym who never wipes his bodily secretions off the equipment and who occasionally blows his nose into his towel

Julia Roberts

That totally oblivious bargain-hunting cretin who, after getting off the escalator at TJMaxx, didn't budge

Your Noisy Neighbor with the Hideously Bad Taste in Music

That salesguy who asks, jovially, "What can I do ya for?"

Your Hairdresser Who Doesn't Know What "One Inch" Means

That runny-/crusty-nosed brat who stood up in the booth behind you in the diner, picking his nose and thinking he was cute

Anne Robinson (unfunny host of "The Weakest Link")

That woman in the locker room who insists on blow-drying her hair (everywhere) while naked (Note to Men Who Think This May Be Titillating: It's not.  Trust me.)

Any "Survivor"

That chick in line in front of you, who had 15 minutes to decide which coffee concoction she wanted, but who, when asked by the "barista", still hadn't made up her mind, and adorably giggled

Now get to it. Hurry. Be one of the lucky 100. Don't let anyone beat you to it!

fresh-baked at 09:52 PM
Friday, 18 January 2002
DeNiro Dilemma

I'm inviting nightmares. I've been looking at the Here Is New York galleries. I found two photos, taken on September 11, from just north of the Flatiron Building, half a block from my apartment -- the vantage point from which I viewed the collapse of the first tower. When I saved one of the images to my hard drive, it didn't save in the proper format, so I deleted it. And when I did, I got the standard message, as follows:

Are you sure you want to send "WTC" to the recycle bin?

My finger hovered over the mouse, as I had one of those "flashbacks" that you see on soap operas. Flashbacks in which the "shot" is shown not through your own eyes but through the lens of the camera, so you are viewing yourself in the third person. I watched myself watching.

Oh, if only it were that easy, I thought. If only I could just press a little button and erase everything that happened. But no ... not erase ... reverse. If only a click were all that was needed to send the World Trade Center, and everyone who perished there, back where they belong. I don't want to recycle. I want to rewind.

So with tears in my first person eyes, I chose yes. And "WTC" was gone. Just like that.

Just like then.

fresh-baked at 12:47 PM
Thursday, 17 January 2002
Me and Mr. Jones

I feel sick. I just found out that an old friend, someone I haven't spoken to for years but always told myself I would "get around to" contacting some day, died on October 5, 2001.

He was known as Aldo Jones, and I met him when he was a member of a fantastic band called "The Ben Vaughn Combo" that I used to follow around Philadelphia like mad in the mid '80s. I met Aldo during a break between sets on the first night I saw the band in 1986, and from that point on I never missed a show. It was so easy to love the Combo as a whole, but even easier to love Aldo as an individual, so when the group disbanded in 1988, I remained friends with Aldo. We listened to eight-tracks (!) in his huge old car, played darts in his living room. Nothing "special". But then again, it really was.

A few months ago, my mother told me that she read in the newspaper that Aldo had leukemia, was awaiting a transplant, and later in September there would be a musical benefit to raise money for a bone marrow donor program. I considered going to the benefit, but because I don't live in the Philadelphia area anymore, I decided I would just get in touch with Aldo on my own "some other time". Years had passed since I last spoke to him. I knew he'd moved out of the country, but vowed that I would find him again. And then I found this article on the internet today. Some other time? Right.

fresh-baked at 05:37 PM

When I replaced the old broccoli with the new, I distinctly heard the new stuff snicker. Just before I tossed the old into the trash, it said to the new, "Yeah, well, don't laugh. It'll happen to you too."

fresh-baked at 04:54 PM
Wednesday, 16 January 2002
Oh, You Deli-Cut Flower!

So you're strutting sexily down Seventh Avenue in your super-snappy pointy-toed boots. The ones that InStyle told you J. Lo and Gwynnie wear. And you're feeling cute. Really cute. And sure, they're impeding the natural circulation to your freshly pedicured toes and quite possibly causing numbness in your calves and all, but hey ... what's the diff. They look cool, you look hot, and that's all that matters. There are only a few hours left, anyway, until you get home and release your feet from the boots, your socks ... and finally the plastic wrap encasing your toes.

Yes, you'll do all this matter-of-factly. Quite clinically. With the same vapid non-expression you presented when the smiling pedicurist, in her quest to ensure that her handiwork (footiwork?) didn't smear, wrapped your toes in that plastic. Not once will your lips curl upward, in a faint approximation of a smile, at the mere notion. Not once will people think you're a hyena when you realize your feet resemble leftovers from a deli party-platter. And not once will you experience or express some form of amusement anywhere along that continuum.

My lips, however, will curl upward in an actual smile when you're standing in the salon getting wrapped, as I fantasize that you are hit by a truck just moments after you leave. I will laugh as I see you being rushed to St. Vincent's, where somehow they will surely lay eyes on your fresh, new Cosabella thong (thank goodness you listened to mom!). People will think I'm a hyena as I imagine that the entire emergency room staff can't stop you from bleeding from the ears because they're all too busy slapping your feet (which had, at some point during the day, turned into well-preserved lean corned beef) onto freshly-sliced caraway-seed rye with a little homemade cole slaw, Russian dressing, and a pickle.

fresh-baked at 04:01 PM
Tuesday, 15 January 2002
Equinox Bulletin Board

Dear Anonymous Samaritan Who Returned My Errant CD to the Lost-n-Found:

First of all, thank you. Thank you for your honesty. I mean, wow. When I lost this CD last week, I was really quite upset, because it took me quite a long time to download all of those really hot '80s tunes from the internet, and when my hard drive decided to conk out on me way back in December, I lost all of the tunes that I'd amassed. And when I asked the helpful boy at the front desk if anyone had turned in a CD that had run amok, I just knew it was going to be a lost cause.

So you can imagine the excitement I felt when he gingerly (such respect!) lifted a plain white CD out of the plastic lost-n-found box under the counter and brought it to me. I knew it was mine without having to listen to it. I would know those sweaty fingerprints marring the silvery "down"-side anywhere! When I placed it lovingly into my CD player to make sure it was mine, and heard The Bangles' "Hazy Shade of Winter", I knew I'd struck gold! My faith in humanity was restored. And here I thought I'd lapsed into full-blown misanthropy again, which is something I feared would happen after months of pretending to be magnanimous after The Events of September Eleventh. Anyway, thanks again. You're the best!


P.S. If there's anything I can do for you -- like make you a CD!!! -- please don't hesitate to ask!



Uhh ... hi. I'm the guy who found that CD. I was going to take it home and add it to my collection, but there's no way in hell I'd be able to live with myself if I owned a CD full of crap like "Take On Me" by A-Ha. You should be ashamed of yourself.


fresh-baked at 03:25 PM
The deep end

I wonder if Jim Belushi gets sick of people telling him his name rhymes with sushi. That is, of course, if anyone ever does. I, of course, am sure that someone must.

fresh-baked at 11:47 AM
Monday, 14 January 2002
"Fuckin' Jewboy"

I would like to extend a sincere apology to any hapless viewers/readers who may have visited or wandered onto this site between, oh, I'd say, 12:20 and 12:50 a.m. You may have questioned your judgment in staying here for more than a nanosecond, given the simply inexcusable quagmire of colors with which I was torturing your retinas. I'm sorry. I was "tinkering". I thought the color scheme needed a change -- from the trusty ol' tried-but-true midnight blue (no rhyme intended) to a "new and improved" (or so I imagined) "study" in gray gradation. I thought it would look modern and groovy. Instead, it looked simply scatalogic. Feh. Kaka.

fresh-baked at 02:18 PM
Sunday, 13 January 2002
Just a little snack of a thought

I've been spending perhaps a little too much time checking out other people's "web logs" (please -- I refuse to use the term "blog"), and I've just gotta say something before I suffer a stroke. It's just this: Would everyone with a "webcam" please refrain from using this technology, or, at least, use it a bit more judiciously? I know I'm not alone in saying that the world doesn't really want or need to see you seated at your cluttered-because-it's-not-hip-to-be-organized desk, trying with all your might to affect a casual geeky-cool insouciance while sharing a cup of ramen noodles with your cat. That's all.

fresh-baked at 10:57 PM
Friday, 11 January 2002
A three-hour snore

Oh yes! So far this has been a "banner" year for me. Now, I don't know what the exact definition of "banner" is when it's used the way I just used it. I do know, however, that it means that the time period which is preceded by "banner" is indeed going quite swimmingly.

Anyway, 2002 (what I had been calling "the palindromic year", but only until several other people--people I don't even know, people whose websites I've stumbled upon quite by happenstance--used the phrase and thus I deemed it unsuitable for my use) has been a banner year. (I suppose I should avoid this phrase too, given its overuse, but ... well ... no one ever said I had to be consistent or uncontradictory.) This year, I have, at long last, finally conquered a fear that has dwelled within me for oh (and lo) so many years: I removed a cautionary label from something in my possession.

In this case, it's my new desk. Oh, how I wish you could see it! Alas, I don't have a scanner, or a digital camera (hints for those of you out there who wish to rid yourselves of some hard-owned moolah and invest it in my cause). But I assure you its black steel frame and light-green glass top are truly magnificent. The only thing marring its perfection (other than a few slight scratches to the frame that it incurred while being brought back to this room -- scratches over which I obsessed for a few days but which now I assess as giving the desk "character") was a glossy red and yellow label that admonished me against its removal:


Now, I know that I already disposed of the original carton in which the desk and glass were delivered, which, as the label also warned, would have been required for a return if I'd decided not to keep the desk. And I know that in disposing of the carton, I had already made some sort of commitment to the desk. But it wasn't until I removed the label from the glass that I regarded my commitment as truly, fully, and absolutely (no, I will not say "110%") complete. I had sort of picked at the corners of the label when I first set up the desk three weeks ago, but each time I thought I would go through with it once and for all, my heart would start pounding quickly, and I would have to back off. I even considered just leaving the label intact and covering it with a coaster or some other charming decorative item. That way, I would feel safe.

Well, last night I finally did it. I loomed over the desk, my shadow huge, hulking, and black against the sentinel wall, and attacked the label with all the quasi-lustful panic of an unskilled murderer. "Come on ... come on ..." I whispered, as the edges curled up and I committed myself to the commitment. When it was all over, I backed away from the desk, now denuded of its protective label, and actually said, quite aloud, with more than just a touch of triumphant self-congratulation, "Yes! You did it!" My heart pounded quite fiercely. I felt like I'd actually "won" something. Like I'd really accomplished something. Like I'd actually made a commitment to keeping the desk.

Someone, please. Commit me.

fresh-baked at 10:23 PM
Thursday, 10 January 2002
Reading Is Fundamental

Remember that campaign from years ago? It was sort of like the "Got Milk?" of its time. Or, really, I suppose, it's the other way around, and the "Got Milk?" campaign is today's "RIF". Whatever, as the krazy kidz of today say.

And speaking of "whatever", well ... Whatever happened to RIF, anyway? Is it R.I.P.? Was the campaign retired, or just abandoned, because whoever started it (why am I now hearing a generic child whining "Mom, he started it!"?) decided that literacy was way up, and all the kiddies' noses found their way into all manner of reading material? I don't know, and I'm probably not about to find out. All I do know, and all I can tell you is that "Reading Is Fundamental" made a huge impact on my life.

For example, take today. I went to CVS, where I fulfilled this week's quota of aisle-browsing. Among the items I bought (no, I will not list them all -- and no, that's not because the purchases included "feminine" products, which it didn't anyway) were a Schick® Silk Effects® Plus and a World Trend Inc. "Wild Ones" toothbrush with ErgoGrip&trade. "Yeah, that's thrilling," you're yelling at the screen, "but what does that have to do with reading?" Well, I'll tell you. (Oh, c'mon ... you knew I wouldn't let you down.)

You see, I have this "thing" about reading the copy that is found on product boxes, cardboard backers, and, of course, the paper inserts that are housed within some of them. It doesn't matter what the product is, it doesn't matter if I already know how to use it (ladies, may I be so bold as to hint at those special insert(ion!) instructions that you no doubt struggled with when you passed the threshold into womanhood!). I'm gonna read it. And today was no different. I am always amused by the things that are actually written for ordinary products, such as, well, razors and toothbrushes. Some of my favorite copy is that which describes the "features" of the products.

Here's what today's fundamental reading revealed:

  • Schick® Silk Effects® Plus (cardboard backer)

    • "Worry-Free Shaving Just Got Better!" -- As if it weren't exciting enough that somewhere down the line, people evolved into confident shavers, this product now takes that experience to the next level. Exclamation point!

    • "Shaving Made Easy!" -- Yes. It was so difficult before!

    • "Exclusive Portable Shower Hanger" -- Exclusive? Portable? Not only are we elite, but we're on the go go go!!!

    I must confess, however, that one of the features actually did persuade me to buy this product rather than others in the same category: "Contains Antimicrobial Properties For a Cleaner Razor". I mean, hey, I'm not entirely immune to advertising claims. We'll see just how antimicrobial this thing is after it's been happily attached (via two suction cups -- remember, it's portable!) to my shower tile for a month or so.

  • World Trend Inc. "Wild Ones" toothbrush with ErgoGrip™ (plastic box) -- (zany zebra stripes, bright blue bristles)

    • "Flat Bottom Brush Handle Stands Alone" (indicated by an arrow at the bottom of the box) -- I don't know about you, but I like to see my toothbrush standing at attention when I approach it twice daily. It can loaf around all it likes when I'm not around, but damn it, it'd better learn how to respect a lady when she enters the room!

    • "It is recommended that a new toothbrush be used after recovering from a cold or sore throat." -- With recommendations like this, I suppose World Trend Inc. will really do a boomin' business during flu season. (Actually, the more I think about it, this does seem like a good idea ... I think ...)

    • Ergo Grip™ -- Very useful. Well, who among us hasn't lost our grip -- on a toothbrush, I mean?

    • Lofty Scientific Claims

      • "Wedge-shaped profile gets between teeth and below the gumline to remove 10% more deposits than round filaments of equivalent stiffness" (emphasis added by me). I'm seeing petrie dishes. Starched white lab coats. Microscopes. Monitors. A labyrinthine mess of tubes containing colorful bubbling liquid, and a monitor with green squiggles to indicate "deposit" levels.

      • "53% better cleaning of hard to reach back teeth areas" -- With a percentage so precise (not rounded off to the nearest five or ten percent), it must be true!

All right, so I still haven't finished reading Tibor Fischer's "I Like To Be Killed," one of the three library books I mentioned weeks ago. OK, so I had to renew it last week, and have read perhaps three pages since then. And this is a book I actually like. But hey, I figure that Tibor Fischer certainly has his share of readers ... and there's some poor shlub who spends his day coming up with a sure-fire crowd-pleaser such as "ErgoGrip™". And another who spends his formulating the very "antimicrobial properties" that actually persuaded me to buy the product featuring them.

And then there's some shlub who ... sits ... in her apartment and .... reads all about it. And, worse, writes about it. I suspect there's something fundamentally wrong here.

fresh-baked at 04:28 PM

Very brief note to Sean Penn (to be handed to him in the "Rosie" green room):

Just because you play a retarded man in your latest movie doesn't mean you have to show us that you're able to retain the essence of your character in your own persona. Stop demonstrating that life can imitate "art".

Stop brooding. Stop trying to be "deep". Knock it off.

fresh-baked at 10:34 AM
Wednesday, 9 January 2002
Program Notes

Due to the enormous amount of media attention with which I've been showered these past few weeks in regard to my "blog" (uggh) endeavors, and the resultant/attendant international celebrity that has attached itself to me, I have decided that I must give something back to my adoring public. Toward that end, I am in the process of designing a fabulous, sure-to-be-award-winning website that I hope to unveil sometime later this winter. There, you will be treated to an even more generous buffet than you see before you now, and, as always, everything I offer will be chock full of only the highest quality lip-smackin', toe-tappin' fresh-baked goodness you have come to expect from "Because I Say So!". From time to time, I may include several fat-free tidbits for those of you who may have stuffed yourself in the past 27 days since this latest incarnation of what I am lovingly referring to as "BISS". Please note, however, that because I do not support the current trend of removing all of the tasty good stuff that has been maligned and branded just the opposite, you can expect to gain a pound or two with each successive trip to the table.

But relax and stay here a while. Take off your coat, undo your pants (top button only, please), and help yourself. I’m not going anywhere soon! When I do move my site, you’ll be able to find me at http://www.jodiverse.com. I hope you’ll join me.

All right .. having said that …

I apologize for not posting sooner, but “Blogger” has been experiencing some sort of overload on their servers (listen to me, sounding all techy and stuff, like I know what the hell I’m talking about) and has only been allowing its members to post in increments of perhaps five minutes, without notification, of course, of when those five minutes will be available. I know you’ve all been waiting with the ever cliché “baited breath” (and here I’m picturing all of you—even those of you whose faces I have never seen—with large fishhooks stuck through your lower lips) for an update on my morning at ABC Studios.

Well, I hate to disappoint you, but ... you waited around for nothing. (But fret not. As you'll soon see, I did too.) While waiting in line just outside the doors to the building, I met a trio of women, and I, naturally, being the garrulous sort I am, not only found myself joining in their conversation but declaring myself a member of their party when the “line monitor” (or whatever he’s called) asked how many “we” were when deciding how many people to let into the larger waiting area at one time. Thankfully the three dames (who do I think I am – James [Jimmy?] Cagney?), thought it was as funny as I did.

That was the highlight of the morning – meeting three cool people in line (all right, their names were Nancy, Linda, and Erica, if you really must know). I didn’t win the $250 gift certificate, but a young, semi(?)-ditzy blonde in the row in front of me did, so if you taped the show and pause it just at the moment the camera finds her in the audience, you will see a grinning, applauding, lunatic ME just to the right. Yes, I’m the stunner in the white T-shirt with the somewhat (and not fully intended) haphazard part in her hair. If you look closely, you may see the daggers that lead from my eyes to the back of Blondie’s head.

And speaking of blondes, the celebrated co-host, Kelly Ripa, didn’t even notice my shirt. I had been a bit encouraged earlier that morning, when a rather hip-looking chick told me she has the same shirt (and we shared that sisterly smile that all of us terminally chic chicks share). I figured that if an “ordinary” person noticed it, then surely our girl Kelly would as well. But no dice. (Actually, I suspect she did notice and realized that it looked better on me than it did on her, and she couldn’t be big enough of a woman about it to just tell me so.) I’m through trying to win the love and respect of morning talk-show hosts. I have all of your love, my dear readers, and that’s all I need.

Oh, and P.S. Molly Ringwald seems to have an attitude. Please!

fresh-baked at 11:37 PM
Will history repeat itself?

Will history repeat itself? Or am I just setting myself up for possibly suicidal-level disappointment? Should I just get back into bed and pretend that Molly Ringwald isn't going to be on "Live With Regis and Kelly" this morning? You see, the last (and first -- and only) time I was in the audience (November 13), I actually won the $250 gift certificate that is given away at the end of the "Travel Trivia" segment and was thus shown, in all my hootin' 'n' hollerin' glory, on air for about 15 seconds. My display was so impressive that Regis remarked, "I haven't heard a woman scream like that in years," and came over to me during the commercial break and asked me, "What happened? Did someone pinch you?" -- referring, of course, to my jumping up and down like a contestant on "The Price is Right".

Will I be so lucky today? The odds are against me winning the gift certificate again ... but what are the chances of Kelly Ripa noticing that I am wearing the same shirt she wore on a post-show pre-taping on that morning two months ago?

I already had the immense pleasure of having Regis speak directly to me. Now it's up to Kelly to make my day.

Set your VCRs (9:00-10:00, ABC). And stay tuned.

fresh-baked at 06:52 AM
Sunday, 6 January 2002
You don't know squat!

As you probably know (and certainly would if you clicked on "Say Something" at the top of this page, to send me an e-mail), I sometimes go by the handle (what the hell is this -- CB radio?) of "tofuju". It's just a hybrid of "tofu" + "Jew". It's not Asian.

Or so I thought.

Tonight I did a Google search for "tofuju". Yeah, I like to search for myself wherever I think the possibility may exist that my name appears in print. I don't know how many times I've looked up my name in the White Pages (the actual book), Switchboard.com, Anywho.com, and anywhere else I might find information on myself. (I just know I'm withholding information from myself, and that the information that I do know is probably inaccurate, i.e. I know that public records indicating my year of birth are not to be trusted.) Well, tonight, I struck gold. My beloved moniker "tofuju" actually appeared in an article in Taiwan Headlines! "Well," I thought, "I knew I was famous, but I didn't know my celebrity had reached international proportions." Alas, you can imagine my disappointment when I discovered that the tofuju referred to in the article bore no relation to the tofuju who was reading it.

As it turns out, "tofuju" means ... soybean cheese. Yes, I am an "appetizing item". And while I always knew I was a "dish", I never would have dreamed that I would one day be described as "a common side dish for breakfast congee."

I guess the cheese really doesn't stand alone, after all.

fresh-baked at 11:01 PM
Missed opportunity!

Damn! I just realized that had I lumped my last two entries under one heading, I could have titled the whole thing "Soap and a Rope".

I missed a chance to be adorable. It's killin' me!

fresh-baked at 06:26 PM
I'm In With the In Crowd

All the cool kidz are online right now, eyes burning because they've probably been hanging around the internet for the better (or best?) part of the night, shoulders the same, because, no matter how ergofuckingnomic their set-ups may be, when they slump (and you know they do) in front of their monitors for five or six hours at a stretch with with very little, if any, relief, they're still going to suffer.

So yeah, my eyes burn. And my shoulders. But at least I'm not suffering outside in the frigid air(e), coatless, rubbing elbows quite literally with the rest of the ill-fated hoof-and-mouth'd livestock waiting behind swagged velvet ropes, admittance beyond which determines whether or not they can consider themselves as having truly "arrived".

Hey, we cool kidz know where we are. And we know who/what/why/when we are as well. That's what truly separates us from the shivering, quivering messes. It don't take no velvet rope, baby.

fresh-baked at 01:09 AM
Saturday, 5 January 2002
At long last!

Well, I finally broke down and did it. Yesterday, after my jaunt to the Pierpont Morgan Library, I took the "6" down to 23rd Street. Now, that action, in itself, is certainly noteworthy, given that I ordinarily scoff at the notion of tranporting myself via a mode other than my own very able legs, when the trip is so short ... but that is not the "it" to which I refer. That "it" is this: I bought soap. Ivory soap. Four pristine "bath" size bars of the stuff.

I'd managed to coast (no reference to the soap of the same brand name intended) for what seemed like an eternity on the last dime-thin silver of soap that perched on my "shower caddy". When it became so attenuated that it broke in half, I relegated one of the newly broken halves to the soap dish by the sink and left the other one in the shower. Then, when the half that remained in the shower finally wasted away, the piece in the soap dish took its place. And that's when it really got down to the wire.

I don't know why I was so averse to just buying another package of soap. I did know, however, that I didn't want to dip into the special "stash" I know I have around here somewhere -- the cute 'n' cuddly, diminutive bars of hotel soap that I like to save (for what purpose, I don't know). But I was about as reluctant to use the saved stash as so many people are reluctant to dip into their big jars of loose change even when they're starving and don't have enough "real" money to buy even a loaf of day-old bread.

Had I not bought the soap yesterday, this morning I would have found myself paring the dirt from my skin with a paring knife, in the manner of my cousin Gundarva (né Neil G----) in the late '70s. However, even Gundarva -- he of the primal scream therapy (yeah, that's worth giving up your successful singing/songwriting career for, kid) and lack of material possessions, he of the strange union with a bizarre woman named Shee-ra or Shee-la (like it makes a difference?) who would monitor their food intake so as to ensure that nothing but the purest of food passed their scrawny lips -- eventually broke down and wound up crouched in a corner of my parents' kitchen, frantically tossing doses of M&Ms and Oreos down his gullet in a wild-eyed frenzy.

My breakdown, however, was perhaps no match for that of "Chinless-and-Spineless" (see my entry of December 23 to refresh your memory -- it's a very tender love note to a gym patron) this morning. I was on the elliptical thing, grooving to either Scandal's "Goodbye to You" or The Weathergirls' "It's Raining Men", and as C-and-S passed in front of me, perhaps 12 feet away, he offered a rather shy smile. I offered a glimpse of a smile and a very delicate "hi" (I tried to modulate my voice, because I had my CD player's volume turned way up and couldn't hear myself think let alone speak ... for all I know, I may have shouted). I saw his mouth form the word "hi" back at me. On my way out of the gym, I passed him on the first floor, and he looked directly at me again. I raised my eyebrows in a way that I hoped was indifference (ooh yeah, I am way too cool to let him know I remembered his earlier greeting), but probably, damn it, came across as flirtation.

I'm willing to guess that he made a New Year's resolution to say hello to me. (Yes, that's right, I am that egocentric and narcissistic.) Before our beautiful communication, I saw him looking at me in the long wall mirror as he sat mildly pedalling the exercise bike. I'm willing to bet (any takers?) that he said to himself, heart pounding a mile a minute -- or at least at a pace faster than he was pedalling, I'm goin' in. Yeah. Today's the day. You can do it, buddy. You can do it. Just take it easy. If she doesn't acknowledge you, just walk on by ... cough, as if the smile were the beginning of a coughing grimace. It'll be OK. O ... K ..."

Ahhhh ... so both of our pursuits finally came to fruition, within hours of each other. Me and my soap. He and his greeting. Life is good!

fresh-baked at 11:25 AM
A Wilde Time

All right, so it's called Pierpont Morgan Library. However, if you look for "Morgan Pierpont" on Citysearch, you'll be directed to it anyway, so I suppose it doesn't really matter what you call it. At least I didn't manage to dyslexify the address, 29 East 36th Street. Had I, however, I would have arrived there earlier than I did, given that the reverse of that address would be a few blocks closer to my "headquarters". But that's neither here nor there (whatever that means). As it turned out, Leslie, my delightful companion for the afternoon, was running as late as I was, and, as luck would have it (and it indeed would), our paths of tardiness crossed at 34th Street, where we both red-nosedly laughed at our timing and apologized, like good little girls, for our latenesses, each of which cancelled the other out.

Anyway. The Library. Pierpont Morgan. Quite a lovely place. We focused on an exhibit called "Oscar Wilde: A Life in Six Acts". I felt like I was on quite intimate terms with our boy, given that in December 2000, my famous Significant Other and I stayed for a few franc-filled days at L'Hotel, where he (Oscar, of course, not my "S.O.") (please feel free to beat me for that abbreviation) died 100 years earlier, when the hotel was known as the Hotel Alsace. I think I mentioned this to Leslie three times, and I actually may have said it just loudly enough so that others around me could marvel at my close association with the object of the exhibit. At one point I did catch myself saying it yet again, at which time I duly noted that I had, indeed, not only gently toed the line between "good-humored library patron" and "pretentious jackass poseur" but completely crossed over it and was on the verge of treading even deeper with each successive occasion of my mouth's opening.

However, my violation was not quite as severe as that perpetrated by two women who were ahead of us in the chronological "circuit". Both possessed a curious brand of unabashed self-involvement that presented itself as complete oblivion. The first one, perhaps my age, wore a stunning sweater I think I banished to a landfill circa 1978, and carried the tiniest of notebooks, into which she furtively scrawled what was written on several of the placards that described the display cabinets' contents. I expected her to bound off with her bounty and crouch squirrelishly in a corner, to stuff her cheeks with torn-out pages. The second offender, probably in her 50s, somewhat stout, with thinning red-tinted hair, and wearing only the most sensible of shoes, obviously had never heard of the novel concept of Other People. Instead, she and her girth hovered over the glass display cabinets with all the intense deliberation I know she duplicates every weekend at her local all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet. Her immobility and seeming inability to step aside prompted me to mention the dreaded phenomenon of Escalator Inertia, and I had to force myself to move along so I wouldn't indulge my impulse to accidentally bludgeon her with the candelabra I keep in my pants for occasions such as this.

Despite these distractions (and others as well -- I am convinced that anywhere there is an exhibit of any kind, there are bound to be people who should be refused admittance), I did manage to actually read quite a few of the display case placards and large installment boards. But of course what impressed me most about the floppy-haired fop was not the variety of his vagaries but his curious resemblance to Hugh Grant. And that observation, my friends, is one that I am sure was overlooked by both the yellow-sweatered scrawler and the sensible-shoed staller.

fresh-baked at 12:21 AM
Friday, 4 January 2002

I am going to the Morgan Pierpont Museum ... or Library ... whatever it's called. It's supposed to be an incredible place. I hope it doesn't disappoint me, but I fear it may be, like, oh so many (too many) things, overrated. And I will come away from the experience thinking, as I often do, "So? This is it?"

And this is it. For now. Stay tuned.

fresh-baked at 09:56 AM
Wednesday, 2 January 2002
Inexpensive > > > Cheap

Anyone who spends any amount of time in drugstore aisles (and c'mon, admit it, it's actually kind of fun in a creepy way) has no doubt seen those "Imposter" perfumes -- cheaper versions of expensive "designer" "fragrances". A typical pitch goes something like this: "If you love Red Door, you'll love Pink Portal" ... or "If you love Obsession, you'll love Crazed Stalker". Well, today when I was at Bloomie Nail, selecting a successor for the highly successful Wicked of last Wednesday (yes, one week later I still couldn't take my eyes off my hands), I thought that the same concept could easily be applied (pun not intended, but I'll take it) to nail polish. To that end, I offer you, my pretties, the following list of actual nail polish names (Essie®) with my suggestion for a less expensive variation. I trust you'll be able to tell which names are real and which ones are the fabulous fakes.

  • Backgammon Bronze > > > Strip Poker Pewter
  • Brownie Points > > > Casting Couch
  • Buy Me a Cameo > > > No Good Golddigger
  • Chips No Potato > > > Chips Fat Hips
  • Fed Up > > > Pissed
  • Fine Red Wine > > > Keg Dregs
  • French Francs > > > Everyone's Euro
  • Glorious Glow > > > Freshly Fucked
  • In the Mood > > > Do Me Already Before I Change My Mind
  • Intimate > > > One Call, If You're Lucky
  • Long Stem Roses > > > Prick
  • Mademoiselle > > > Spinster
  • Overnight > > > Whore (formerly One Night Stand)
  • Tea and Crumpets > > > Sunny D and Pop Tarts

fresh-baked at 10:11 PM


TO: Unkempt Dolt in Muhlenberg Branch of New York Public Library

FROM: The Girl in Line Behind You

RE: You are overdue ... for a beating

When you're in line, returning eight overdue library books to the tune of $6.00, and your cell phone rings, and you answer it with all the vigor of a dying slug, and three library employees each tell you twice, for a total of six times (one for each dollar you just paid), to kindly take your call outside, please be a sport and heed them. Don't just stand there like a leaden lump, continuing your muttered, inane conversation. And please note that your concession to courtesy, i.e. pushing through the turnstile and standing four feet away from the check-out counter, just doesn't cut it.

It would also be really nice if, at the very least, you would provide some sort of indication that their requests didn't fall on deaf ears -- only ignorant ones. Any acknowledgement of their existence on the face of the earth in general and the library in particular, would be greatly appreciated. Please especially be aware that by feigning deafness when everyone within 15 feet of you actually heard you on your phone, you are not accomplishing your goal of giving us all a figurative slap in the face. You are merely causing a desire in all of us to give you one, ever so literally.


fresh-baked at 04:33 PM
Ringing endorsement!

I have just been described, by one astute reader, as follows:

"the offspring of Martha Stewart and Andy Rooney.........with the body of Linda Fiorentino"

I'll take it!

fresh-baked at 02:32 PM