Sunday, December 28, 2008

Here Are Some Things That Have Happened and are Happening


I have moved to Jersey City, New Jersey. I am now closer to New York than I was when I lived in New York. It sounds Buddhist, but it isn't.


Today, as I was unpacking, I was labeling some unlabeled CDs and DVDs and had the strangest experience. For a few years now, I have been unable to watch myself performing on video in front of an audience. I didn't even want to hear any of my live CDs! The only thing of mine I could tolerate listening to were my studio podcasts.

There was a time when I couldn't wait to get a video copy of a performance. Once I had it, I would watch it over and over again and be filled with a great sense of pride at my accomplishment. I was overcome with joy hearing the laughter of the audience.

Then, perhaps, I became sick of myself. I just wanted to do the shows and disappear. I felt sorry for the audiences that they had to look at me while they laughed. Oh, how I hated myself. Even before this, I very rarely laughed at anything I did. It all went through the prism of an intellectual vocation. Yes, I see it--that should connect to that and that should connect to that and that will equal funny.

Last month, I was looking for a particular unlabeled DVD and accidentally inserted one of my theatrical performance videos, the original Good Luck With It. (I might not have been watching them, but I certainly saved copies!)

At first I winced--ooh, I don't want to look at that, I thought. But then, for some reason, I decided to skip ahead and see two bits that I only performed once: "The Retrial Of Scott Peterson" (a defense attorney's convoluted argument that Scott Peterson did not murder his pregnant wife, but that the unborn son burst out of his mother's stomach like the alien in Alien) and "The Philosophy of the Matrix" (a pretentious English professor in the year 5792).

Anyway, I found myself laughing at loud. Later, I called a friend and told him that I thought I was making some sort of spiritual progress because I was able to watch myself for ten minutes and enjoy it.

So today, as I was labeling DVDs, I came across a one-off show I did called For Existence, Press One. I didn't really remember the show at all. I just wanted to pop in the DVD, find out what it was, and then label it. But once I pressed play, I saw myself wearing goggles and a breathing mask with a tube coming out of the mouth. My face was totally hidden behind the apparatus. I was gesturing wildly with my hands as a prerecorded high-pitched voice explained the situation: I was a vegan who could only survive by eating helium.

I laughed my ass off! I remember hating that bit at the time I wrote it, but man--I was in hysterics! It was like I wasn't really a comedian and I was watching somebody else on the screen and really enjoying it. With every bit, I would tell myself--"Okay, after this bit, eject it, label it, and finish the rest"--but I couldn't. I was in hysterics for the whole ninety minutes.

That was a very interesting thing. To enjoy watching myself as if I was somebody else. I'm not sure if it was a good or bad thing. It felt good because it's always nice to laugh. But it also felt strange because I was worried that I was going to get fat and sit on a couch and watch me succeed while I failed.

I am still afraid of failure.


For some reason, I get free cable in this studio apartment. The only thing I like on television is Turner Classic Movies. Every time I'm in a hotel, I turn on Turner Classic Movies and let it play for the duration of my stay, keeping the sound down low until something comes on that I want to see.

I sleep with the television on. Old movies make me feel warm and comfortable. They're better than a woman sometimes, because the women in old movies are better than women in new movies. And women in new movies are the women that women in today's reality largely model themselves after. Myrna Loy? Veronica Lake? No--they're catching fish with Sarah Jessica Parker's nose, women today.

So this is a studio apartment, but I have this big barricade of dressers which form a makeshift wall between my bed and the living room area. On top of the dresser is the television. In the living room, I watch television. When I go to bed, I keep the television on with its back to me, so I can fall asleep to the sound of old movies.

Anyway, the day after Christmas, early in the morning, Turner Classic Movies began a marathon of the delightful Andy Hardy movies starring the lovable Mickey Rooney. I woke up about 6:30 a.m. and heard the following interchange between Judge Hardy (Andy Hardy's father) and a wealthy and snobbish male defendant.

JUDGE HARDY: I fine you one hundred dollars.
DEFENDANT: (with a huff) That's nothing. I got that right here in my pocket!
JUDGE HARDY: And thirty days in the county jail. You got that in your pocket, too?

I laughed and fell back asleep.


I have been looking into Catholicism. Actually, I have always been intrigued with both Catholicism and Hasidic Judaism. But the Hasids once rejected me when they found out that I didn't know whether or not I was a Jew and it really hurt my feelings. I know, I know, they're supposed to reject you a few times just to make sure you really want it. But I just don't have the discipline. I love gefilte fish, though. I didn't like it when the rabbi prayed and made the weird noises. But when he was just riffing, talking about the Nefish (sp?), man that blew my mind like the Hinduistic thought process.

But I need to get on some sort of spiritual path, I believe, to regain and maintain my love for life and such things as humor and music and visions. We didn't really have any religion growing up in my family. But my father was a lapsed Catholic; born into it, if you will. I always liked the art and the idea of ritual and iconography and guilt and the schoolgirls. So with all the Catholic presence in New York, I figured I'd try to learn that one.

I talked with this priest and he suggested I start by reading the Gospel of St. Mark. He asked if I had a New Testament and I said no. I thought he would offer to give me one, but he didn't. I was a little disappointed. I remember in Missouri they used to give them away like they were going out of style (which of course, they were. But I didn't know it then)

So I went to a Catholic church and asked the guy at the front desk if they had any New Testaments and he said they had run out.

So I looked up the Gospel of St. Mark online and read it from a Greek translation. Well, I had a little problem. Now those of you who know me know that normally I hate historical revisionism. But I just couldn't help it. The more I read of the Gospels, the less I thought Jesus was the Son of God and the more I thought he was just a hell-raising rock-n-roller.

I also wondered, as apparently many others have, if Jesus might not have been illegitimate.

I told the priest of my doubts, but he didn't seem upset. He listened with patience. I told him that I had been reading the Bible online and that it was hurting my eyes--hoping that he would take pity on me and give me a free New Testament. Still no luck.

I also told the priest of something strange I had noticed in The Gospel of St. Mark. There's a bit where Jesus is walking with the disciples and he comes across a fig tree and he's hungry. But he looks at the tree and there's no figs on it. Then he says something to his disciples like, "this tree won't bear any more fruit ever!" (paraphrasing, of course). Later on, they walk by the same tree again, and it's all withered and dying. I told the priest that I thought that made Jesus look sort of hungry and pissed off. Like if he can't have a fig, then fuck the tree. The priest suggested it might be a metaphor for good fruit that comes from a good tree or something like that, but I thought he was reaching a bit there. I think Jesus just got pissed off cause he was hungry and took it out on the tree.

But I wasn't (and still aren't) ready to throw in the towel just yet. After St. Mark, I went back and started reading St. Matthew. But I tell you, I was really getting sick of reading it online.

So as I was moving recently from Woodhaven, I noticed that my now ex-roommate had a Bible--a really cool King James paperback. He also had an I Ching and a Bhagavad-Gita. I was going to lift all three, but I decided to just take the Bible.

I had attempted to read the Bible all the way through two years ago and had given up at Leviticus. But this time, I was going to do it. I packed the pilfered Bible and off I went to New Jersey.


While I was moving, I remembered that my now ex-roommate had given me an American flag at one point. About seven months ago, he knocked on my door and gave me this really large cloth flag and said I could hang it up if I wanted.

I have one window in this apartment I live in now and it has no curtains. I sometimes walk around naked and I noticed there are children in the condominiums across the street. I thought it would be a good idea to cover the window with something lest the children should see me and get the wrong idea that I wanted to be seen by children--which I do not.

So right after or right before packing the stolen Bible, I took the large folded American flag and packed that as well.

I left Woodhaven that night with a very heavy suitcase. I had to change trains three times, lugging this absurdly heavy bag with me.

Once I got to my new place, I unfurled the American flag and hung it over the window--but it was so massive, it bunched up at the floor. So I hung it sideways with the star portion covering the window and the stripes extending perfectly to the end of my bedroom wall. It was a beautiful fit! I loved it! It gave everything such warmth. I was home. . .after all this time. . .I was home.

I had to go back to Woodhaven the next night and get the rest of my stuff. I had hoped to fit the rest in the same suitcase and had also hoped the suitcase would have been much lighter this time around. As it turned out, it was so heavy, I could only drag it. I even had to pack additional bags. Damn and blast! I wanted to be out of Woodhaven for good!

My now ex-roommate was around, so I asked him if he'd be interested in taking a trip to lovely New Jersey in his 1987 Toyota. He said he would for twenty dollars. I told him twenty sounded fine if he would let me use his food to make myself a peanut butter sandwich so I could defray the moving costs by not having to pay for dinner that night. It was a deal.

As I was packing up the last of my stuff, he came into the room.

"You haven't seen my flag, have you?"

"I thought you said I could have that flag."

"I said you could hang it up in here, not take it with you. That's my dad's flag." He's fifty-seven, my ex-roommate and his father had served in WWII. There's no way I could have lied about taking the flag.

"I thought you gave that flag to me because you knew I was a libertarian."

"They gave that to me when he died. It's the only thing I have from him. That and a hat."

I sighed, "It's hanging up out in Jersey. I can give it back to you when we get out there. I just thought you gave it to me because you didn't like George Bush."

"No, they gave that to me because my dad fought in Normandy."

It was painful, but I had to give him back that flag. But when it came to the Bible, I remained tight-lipped. He noticed a stack of his books on the floor.

"Oh, I left some of my old books in here. That's my I Ching."

"Yeah," I said. Still, I had a guilty conscience. "Say, you don't have a Bible, do you?"

"I got a Bible somewhere."

"You don't have a spare one, do you?"

"No, I don't have a spare one."

Christ. What a wretched thief I am.

On the drive out to Jersey, I kept thinking of his Bible sitting exposed on my new coffee table. My timing would have to be perfect. As soon as I opened the door, I would take my coat off and fling it on the coffee table, right over the Bible. I had already lost a flag, I couldn't part with a Bible.

By the time we arrived, I changed tactics. I told him that I needed to take up my bags by myself because the hallway was narrow and only one person could walk through it at a time. He said he had to go to the bathroom and I said that he could use mine after I made sure that there was nothing in the hallway that would block his progress.

I got inside my apartment and picked up my (his) Bible and stuck it in a dresser drawer. Then I let him in to urinate.

We shared a cigarette and talked briefly about the new place. Then he got up to leave. As he opened the door, I looked at the flag. My god, he's forgetting his flag.

But I could not do it. "Don't forget your flag," I gulped.

"What flag?" he asked.

Jesus Christ. . .would he have forgotten?

"Your dad's flag."

"Oh, right."

I almost cried as I removed it from the wall and folded it up.


On Christmas Eve, I told my old Irish Catholic friend, Jimmy, that I was having a hard time believing that Christ was the Son of God. Jimmy said, "Well, if he isn't, it's all bullshit, isn't it?"

"You mean like Pascal's 'Wager'"?

"That," agreed Jimmy, "but also you should check out a book by C. S. Lewis called The Great Divorce. And read anything by Flannery O'Connor."

I had already rabidly devoured everything that Flannery O'Connor had ever written. But I still had much to read by Lewis. I had read The Screwtape Letters many years before and had had my mind blown by his portrayal of the Devil as a thought. But that was about it.

The Great Divorce was amazing. I read it all in one sitting. It did not convince me that Jesus was/is the Son of God, but it certainly did hammer home the necessity for faith and selfless love. It was a simultaneously terrifying and comforting depiction of the afterlife. Usually, I am not too much into visual descriptions in literature. That is why Tolkien always bored me. Page after page describing a forest--who needs that? Give me dialogue or give me death.

But C. S. Lewis is a genius at visual description. His conception of Hell is an ever-expanding town where the light is always just on the verge of becoming night even though its citizens delude themselves into thinking its always just on the verge of becoming morning.

In Heaven, the opposite is the case. It is always just on the verge of becoming morning, but to the unsaved souls who look at it from their unblessed state, it is always just about to become night.

So much beautifully constructed religious philosophy, line after line!

The crux of Lewis' Christianity is mind-bending. Check out this all-or-nothing prospect:

If one chooses Christ, everything that one has ever done in one's life, good AND bad, ALL becomes good retroactively. That is, the totality of a person's life is rendered perfectly good by the final choice to accept Christ. Consider the guy who dressed up as Santa Claus and killed nine people recently. Under this radical Christian doctrine, if that man had not killed himself and had been arrested and later turned to Christ, EVEN THE ACT OF MURDERING THOSE NINE PEOPLE WOULD HAVE BEEN GOOD BECAUSE IT LED HIM TO CHRIST!

But since he killed himself, the act of murdering nine people remains bad.

Contrarily, the same holds true if one rejects Christ. If one has performed noble and kind deeds their whole life, those deeds are rendered retroactively bad if in the final choice the doer rejects Christ. For the good deeds will have served no higher purpose beyond the self.

Consider Pity. C. S. Lewis divides pity into two forms: Pity of action and Pity of passion.

Pity of passion holds true love hostage. It attempts to pervert love by binding the lover to the pitied. Therefore true love is always a slave to the demands of those who wish to be perpetually pitied. It requires Love to be ensnared in misery. If those who wish to be pitied cannot feel love, they will have others always pity them. By instinct, I have always known this to be true. This is why my political outlook has developed in the fashion that it has. Abandon the shackles. Close the plantations. Let us live as Individual Divinities.

Pity of action demands of those who wish to be pitied not to wish to be pitied anymore, but to love as lovers love, truly and without demands.

How pleased I was at the first sentence in the preface to The Great Divorce. For Lewis reveals at once the inspiration for the title. It is an undoing of Blake's "Marriage of Heaven and Hell." It is a return to the either/or of our youth. The dissolution of the convoluted union of irreconcilable dichotomies.

Though I still hold fast to Blake's assertion that "Without contraries is no progression"!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Calling Officer Reeves


Last Monday evening, I was on my way to do a show in Brooklyn. I hopped on the A train at Penn Station. It was just after six in the evening, so the subway was crowded.

I found myself standing extremely close to three NYPD officers. They were leaning near the doors and I was directly facing them, holding on to the overhead bar for balance.

Two of the cops were men: tall, muscular, grizzled--real textbook New York cops.

But the other one. . .man, she was the prettiest cop I had ever seen!

In fact, I don’t think until last Monday that I had ever seen an attractive female police officer aside from in the Police Academy movies. Remember that chick that made out with Bobcat Goldthwait’s character in Police Academy Four: Citizens On Patrol? Corinne Bohrer, that was her name.

Yeah, she was really cute. But most of the time when you see a female cop, they’re usually fat black women or angry looking dykes.

But this cop. . .she was a blonde, real petite. . .had a killer face. Must have been in her mid-twenties. Gorgeous. Absolutely stunning, I tell you. I looked at her badge to find out her name.

Officer Reeves. Mmmm.

She looked so adorable in her big police officer coat. It reminded me of high school when the preppy girls would wear their boyfriends’ letter jackets. I thought for a moment about why it is that female-to-male drag is so much more socially acceptable and generally more attractive than male-to-female drag. You know what I mean? Like Marlene Dietrich in the top hat and tails?

It’s because it makes the woman a present to be unwrapped. Here you have this big police officer’s jacket--not even tailored for a woman--and you know it’s all an illusion. Once you get that thing off, it’s pure uncut female underneath. Mmm.

But with male-to-female drag, the present doesn’t fit the box cause the clothes are tighter. So you already know what you’re getting before you open it. A man. And who needs one of those?

But when you take a cute little thing like Officer Reeves and put her in a big, bulky, policemen’s jacket, it’s almost exciting to imagine how many more layers you could pile on top of her. Wrap her up like a mummy. . .put a ski mask on her. . .and then let the excitement build to an erotic crescendo as you slowly unwrap her, revealing the femininity that she could never shed, no matter what her chosen occupation is. . .

Calling Officer Reeves. . .I know you’re in there. . .mmm. . .peek-a-boo!

And before I’m accused of sexism, let me just say that there was no need for me to probe her personality, for I already knew what type of girl Officer Reeves was simply from the uniform she was wearing. She’s a girl that believes in the law. She’s a girl that believes in right and wrong. She’s a girl that believes in honor and duty. Come on, she’s a fucking NYPD officer! She’s everything a man like me could want in a woman!

Once I figured that out, all that remained for me to deal with was my lust.

I checked her delicate little fingers for rings and found none. Then I wondered if cops were allowed to wear rings on the job or if they had to leave them in a locker. Is it okay to make eyes at a cop? Should I get her badge number? I gotta find out what precinct this chick belongs to.

Once the train took off, the two male cops began talking. It was obvious that they were picking up where they had left off from an earlier conversation.

One was telling the other about a dead body he saw in Washington Heights a few weeks earlier. I was listening intently.

“. . .guy’s got two fucking bullet holes in the back of the head. Pool of blood all over the fucking sidewalk. . .”

The other male cop smiled, “That guy on 181st, right?”

“That’s the one. Thirty minutes later, EMT pulls up, gets out the stretcher, plasma bags, all that shit--”

The lovely Officer Reeves didn’t seem to be listening. With her mystically beautiful blue eyes, she was staring at the advertisements lining the top of the subway car. Meanwhile, the cop listening to the story widened his grin, “Jesus, took EMT that long to get there?”

“They could have taken till next Christmas, it wouldn’t have mattered. This fucking guy wasn’t going anywhere. Half his fucking head was gone--looked like a rotten cantaloupe.”

Suddenly, I burst out laughing. The two male cops dropped their smiles and stared at me.

“I’m sorry,” I said, stifling my own grin, “Please, keep going. It’s. . .funny.”

They stared at me for a second longer and then the narrator cop resumed his tale. “So the mother’s out there screaming, ‘somebody help my baby!’ you know, all that shit. EMT picks him up, puts him on the stretcher. Fucking half the guy’s brains fall out in the fucking process. So I’m like, ‘hey, you think this guy might be dead or something?’”

I laughed so hard at the punchline that I had to wipe tears from eyes. Then I looked over at Officer Reeves, hoping that she had seen me sharing a moment with the Boys in Blue. Oh, how I wanted her to know that even though I had long hair, I still loved dead bodies and guns. I’m not who you think I am, Officer Reeves, I love the police.

I'm all about the Establishment, honey. Cause the most anti-Establishment thing you can be nowadays is pro-Establishment. You get the best of both worlds with me, baby. . .mmm. . .Calling Officer Reeves!

Let me take off your man’s uniform, Officer Reeves. I want to make love to you standing up in this crowded train. Put your glock to my head and make believe I’m a bad guy and tell me, “Keep banging away, stud, or I’m going to blow your fucking head off!”

We made eye contact briefly. I winked at her, but she didn’t reciprocate. And then, at 23rd Street, the doors opened and Officer Reeves left the train with her fellow officers.


It was a small crowd that night at the show in Brooklyn. However, there were a couple of cute girls in the audience. One of them looked remarkably like Kirsten Dunst.

At the end of my set, I told the audience about what had happened earlier on the train with the two male cops talking about the dead body and my romantic and sexual attraction toward Officer Reeves.

As I told the story, I made one minor embellishment. I said that Officer Reeves had looked just like Kirsten Dunst. Officer Reeves was very beautiful, but she did not look like Kirsten Dunst. She had had her own individualistic beauty that I could not compare to any single actress. I simply added the Kirsten Dunst flourish because I wanted the chick in the audience who looked like Kirsten Dunst to know that I had a thing for chicks who looked like Kirsten Dunst.

When I finished my romantic story, I heard some girls going "Aaaaaw". My friend Steve who had come out to see the show told me that the girl who looked like Kirsten Dunst was the one who had gone “Aaaaaaw” and that Aaaaaaw might be a "good sign".

Steve and I went outside to smoke a cigarette. When we came back into the club, the Kirsten Dunst chick was in the hallway, bending over, with her shirt up over her head, showing off an elaborate tattoo on her back of flowers or dragons or some shit. I hate tattoos. Especially on a woman. For I know that one day she will grow old and what used to be a yin-yang will look like a liver spot.

Still, I couldn't help staring at her backside. After all, it’s not everyday that a woman bends over and lifts up her shirt so you can see her back. Particularly during the harsh winter months.

Her friend--who was also very cute--stopped examining the tattoo long enough to tell me that she enjoyed my set and especially liked the Kirsten Dunst story. I continued staring at the Kirsten Dunst chick’s back. After a few seconds, I snapped out of my reverie. “Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t hear you. She had her shirt up over her head.”

Both of the girls laughed, which made me feel comfortable enough to invite them to join Steve and myself for a drink.

I have not had a drink in five and a half months, so I ordered a Coca-Cola and Steve and I joined the girls at a corner table. The Kirsten Dunst chick was drinking bourbon. Her friend was drinking beer. I was sitting next to the Kirsten Dunst chick. Steve was sitting next to her friend.

I found out the Kirsten Dunst chick was from Texas. She told me about where she had gone to school and that she was currently an intern with a theatre company in Manhattan.

I told her that I have always liked Texas. I then told her that she looked like Kirsten Dunst and confessed that the police officer in my story didn’t really look like Kirsten Dunst, but that I must have been "subconsciously" thinking of her when I was on stage.

Then I said something about how I had been on the subway earlier that morning and had asked this guy wearing an iPod to move over so I could get past him and he didn’t hear me and I had raised my fist up to punch him before catching myself in the nick of time. I looked over at Steve and he gave a slight frown to discourage me from continuing with that line of conversation. Then I talked about how much I enjoyed guns and how much I missed having one. I then began to talk about the basic precepts of libertarianism and the notion of spontaneous order. I looked over at Steve again and he shook his head slightly with another gentle frown.

I started to feel like Paul Giamatti’s character in Sideways. I wanted to storm out of there and grab a bottle of Jim Beam, take it back to Queens, lock myself away with some old music and drink till I passed out. I felt miserable. I felt that I would never meet another woman again for the rest of my life. I wanted to hide from the world. I felt so repulsive and worthless.

Actually, I remember feeling two distinct emotions at the exact same time. I was simultaneously nervous and bored. I really wanted this girl to be attracted to me and to validate me as a male with some kind of a romantic or sexual sign. Yet I also wanted to put on my headphones so I didn’t have to hear any more small-talk rubbish about where she went to school and what improv classes she was taking.

I had already finished my Coca-Cola and was crunching away at the ice. What utter hell it all was turning into. Compounding matters, I noticed that the girl sitting next to Steve was touching him every now and then when she said something to him. That's one thing that I learned after years of asking my friends how they can tell if a girl is interested. If she touches you on your forearm or shoulder while you’re sitting and talking, it’s a good sign.

That was all well and good for Steve, but I wasn’t getting anything from the Kirsten Dunst chick. So on top of nervousness and boredom, I was now getting jealous.

So I did the only thing I could think of in a situation like that.

“I’m going to go have a cigarette,” I said, jumping up and putting on my coat.

Steve joined me outside and gave me a little manly pep talk. “Man, that Kirsten Dunst chick is really into you! See the way she keeps looking at you?”

“I appreciate what you’re trying to do,” I said, “but this kind of shit makes me absolutely fucking miserable. I don’t know what to say. I don’t how to act. I just want to get the fuck out of here.”

Just then, my friend Blane called. I excused myself to take the call and Steve went back inside. I told Blane that Steve and I were currently sitting with a couple of pretty girls inside a bar and that I was fighting the urge to leave and go home. Blane suggested instead that I go back in and practice talking with the women.

“I’m bored,” I said.

“You’re only bored because they’re not talking about you,” said Blane.

“Well, I’m fucking nervous, too,” I said.

“You’re only nervous because they’re not talking about you,” said Blane.

“Now you're talking some voodoo new age mumbo-jumbo, Blane. Jesus Christ, I’m never going to figure this shit out.”

After talking with Blane for a little while longer, I went back into the bar. The Kirsten Dunst chick was in the bathroom. I found myself sitting at the table with the other cute girl and Steve, feeling increasingly like the proverbial third wheel. As I stared at the melting ice in my glass I overheard the cute girl sitting next to Steve say the phrase “. . .dating a friend of mine. . .”

I wasn’t sure whether or not she meant that the Kirsten Dunst chick was dating somebody, but I decided that I didn't want to stay to find out. The way I saw it, I now had sufficient reason to leave. I gathered my coat, my bag and my headphones.

The Kirsten Dunst chick came out of the bathroom and sat down as I stood up.

“I’m taking off,” I sighed.

“I hope I didn’t break your headphones,” said the Kirsten Dunst chick.

“What?” I asked in a sudden panic.

“I accidentally stepped on them on the way to the bathroom. I guess they had fallen out of your bag or something,” she said.

With trembling hands, I examined my headphones. Sure enough, one of the ear pieces was out of whack. I put them on and winced when I noticed my left ear wasn’t being covered. Fucking clumsy bitch, I fumed to myself.

“I’m sorry,” she cooed in that sickeningly saccharine little girl way.

But what was I to do? I was angry, all right, but I still wanted to look cool and I know that it’s anything but cool to get pissed off at a Kirsten Dunst chick because of a pair of broken headphones. I might as well start talking about baseball cards or Dungeons and Dragons. Instead, I smiled painfully, “No, they’re not too bad.”

“They look like they’re messed up,” she said.

“Yeah, they do,” said her friend.

“It looks like the left one’s messed up,” said Steve.

I smiled at the entire table, “Oh, they’re all right. They're fine. They should still work. Yeah, they're okay." Then, in a mad rush to return to solitude so I could fume privately about my wounded headphones, I shook their hands goodbye.

“When are you playing again?” asked the friend.

“Somewhere on Sunday,” I sighed.

“Where?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” I sighed again, turning to Steve, “You hanging?”

“Yeah, I’m hanging,” said Steve.

Like an autistic child, I rode the subway home cupping my left hand over the faulty ear piece, pushing it in, so I could maintain the full stereo effect of Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto. With my right hand, I played air-piano. Boy, did I feel like a zhlub. What could I have said to any girl in a situation like that?

These headphones are more important than your life!

It felt good for the moment to hate again. I had recently been experiencing periods of happiness and lightheartedness over the prior weeks, but this particular night was a return to form for me. For the rest of the night, I allocated myself a certain quota of self-pity and misogyny before awakening the next morning to face another day. We all of us hurt from time to time. We all of us feel the pangs of a primordial loneliness. I am nothing special. I am only one of God’s children striving to do right in this misguided world. . .

Calling Officer Reeves. . .come in, Officer Reeves.

Merry Christmas, Motherfuckers

First off, let me say “Merry Christmas” to everyone.

I like saying “Merry Christmas” these days because I know full-well that the politically-correct term is officially “Happy Holidays”

Political Correctness is the Middle-Aged Kindergarten Teacher in the Holiday-Themed Sweater of the postmodern generation.

How willingly adults of my generation listen to the Middle-Aged Kindergarten Teacher in the Holiday-Themed Sweater.

We want to be raised by ourselves. Why? Because we no longer believe in God. Because we no longer believe in our parents. Because we no longer believe in individuality.

So we gladly welcome the Middle-Aged Kindergarten Teacher in the Holiday-Themed Sweater so she can remind us to say “Happy Holidays” and “don’t smoke within twenty feet of a business” and “N-word” and “please be sure to do your part to prevent climate change”.

The humanists have now become the goody-two-shoes Christians of our day. Persnickety little cunts.

“Merry Christmas, motherfuckers”.

I have not been writing as much lately as I have been living much more. I am glad to say that I am leaving Woodhaven, Queens in ten days and moving to Jersey City. It will be nice to be closer to Manhattan and to live among white people. I like white people. Especially white women.

I am a bit sad this Christmas season as I fear I will be alone. But if I just wait it out, it will all be over shortly.

But, again, I am exceedingly grateful to be moving into a new place. My life is improving slowly and it’s important for me not to forget this.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Two Girls I Would Have Loved To Have Loved

One of the most magical things about Facebook (among oh so many) is that people you haven't seen for years post photos of yourself from your younger days. It's funny, I have so few photos of myself that aren't performance or marketing-related. Anyway, here are some that I was surprised to see after all this time:

I was seventeen or eighteen when this one was taken. This is me with my friends Phil and Robin. I shouldn't call Robin a friend. I had a major fucking crush on her. I loved that chick sooooo much and I always thought we would have made a perfect match. She was such a bitch to her mother every time I'd come over, that it would turn me on. "Shut the fuck up, mom!" she'd say, as if she was embarrassed at the thought of even having a mother. Much like me, I suppose. Unfortunately, nothing ever happened between me and her. She was just as afraid of real intimacy as I was and, what's worse, she was always trying to be funny with me. Big mistake. I'll tell the jokes. You laugh and go to bed with me. She used to always do an impression of a gay man, however, which I did find somewhat funny. Why not just speak in a girl's voice?

I guess we were young back then and prone to do stupid things. But Robin dated a deadhead named Nathan for awhile, which was silly because, like me, she was so anti-hippie. (Another major turn-on) Even though I was anti-hippie also, I could be quite sentimental. Not so with Robin. I could always count on her for some wry cynicism. And although I was equally cynical, I still cried during It's A Wonderful Life. Something that Robin could never understand.

I got a phone call from her out of the blue last year and we talked for a good while. She's lived in Maryland for some time, works in a library. Never married. Too bad. She had her chance with me. I would have gotten a job on an oil rig back in the day to support a sweet little woman like her.

But she wasn't sweet. She was nasty, cynical, and depressed. That's why I was so sweet on her.

Remember the scene in It's A Wonderful Life when Clarence is showing Jimmy Stewart what would have happened if he'd never been born and Jimmy Stewart demands to know whatever happened to Mary (Donna Reed) and Clarence says, "You're not going to like it, George. She's an old maid" and then Jimmy Stewart goes to the library to meet Mary as she gets off work?

Well, I never understood why Clarence said that Jimmy Stewart wasn't going to like the fact that his wife would have been an old maid if he'd never been born. That would have made me happy. If I would have never been born and I found out that my wife married somebody else in that alternate universe, I'd kill her as soon as Clarence brought me back to real life. You fucking bitch! Why'd you marry that dickhead when I wasn't born?

Now this is a tasty sandwich.

The girl in the middle is Sharon. I had an even bigger crush on her. I was so sweet on her, it bordered on insanity. Notice that Robin and Sharon have a few things in common: they're both sexy, short, and brunette. But there's where the similarities end.

As Robin was to cynicism and nastiness, Sharon was to lightness and optimism. I always loved it when the two of them were together; it was like a Ying-Yang with four breasts.

Sharon was the kind of girl who I could open up to about It's A Wonderful Life. We used to even sing "Buffalo Gals won't you come out tonight. . .won't you come out tonight. . ." Oh, how I used to fantasize that I would become the Jimmy Stewart to her Donna Reed!

For Sharon, I would have worked two jobs on an oil rig and taken night classes to become a certified plumber to win even just one of her hands in marriage!

After awhile, though, I got tired of pretending to be somebody I wasn't. With Robin, I didn't have to try as hard. Robin and I used to tell racist jokes to each other. Robin's mouth was just as filthy as mine: "nigger", "spic", "kike", "faggot", "cunt"--there was nothing the two of us wouldn't say. I think Robin was a lot like me in that she actually got off on being inappropriate. We were politically incorrect years before politically incorrect became cool. I give Robin extra credit for being that as a female.

In the context of mine and Robin's carefree banter, sometimes Sharon could be a bit of a wet blanket. "Come on, guys," she'd say, "that's not cool."

If Robin was around, I'd get defensive. "Jesus, Sharon, whatever happened to freedom of speech? Just try it. Say 'nigger'. It's just a word. What are you afraid of? Everybody's doing it!"

But if it was just me and Sharon--well, that was a different story entirely. I'd pop on that mask of the gentle and caring young man with flowers in his heart and I was ready to go to town: "Man, Sharon, when is all this fighting going to end?"

"What fighting?"

"The, uh, you know, the fighting in the world. It's crazy. All the fighting. It needs to end. And now."

But too much gentleness and pretending was putting me on the fast track to becoming a gay best friend to Sharon. After the fall of Soviet Russia, Sharon and I drove up to Fulton, Missouri to see Gorbachev give a speech at the university. I had planned on fucking her that day, but it's hard to shift from glasnost to condoms in one afternoon.

Over time, Sharon effectively annoyed me so much with her peace-loving naivety that I began to lose interest. One time she showed up to a party with this scraggly, unwashed, sixty-year old bum and, with her pretty smile of innocence, introduced him to everyone as "Bob Seger".

"His name is Bob Seger?" I whispered to her.

"That's what he said his name was," she said defensively, "Why should I doubt him?"

"Because he's a bum and Bob Seger wrote 'Hollywood Nights'."

"Oh yeah," she rolled her eyes, "Like there's only one Bob Seger in the whole world."

"Where did you find him, Sharon?"

The man who called himself Bob Seger began a drunken air-guitar solo in the background and screamed at the top of his raspy lungs, "I'm motherfuckin' Bob Seger!"

Oblivious to the man's antics, Sharon attempted to explain, "He was waiting outside of the Quick-Trip. He asked me what I was doing and I said I was going to meet some friends. . ."

"And. . .?"

"And he wanted some help getting inside his house because he's afraid the ghosts that live there locked the doors again."

"Jesus, Sharon," I sighed. Then, because I still loved her, I stood up to help Sharon walk "Bob Seger" to his house.

But "Bob Seger" didn't approve. "Wass he doing? Wass that tall boy doing?"

Sharon put her lily-white hand on the man's flannel-covered shoulder, "It's okay, Bob. He's just going to help me get you to your house so we can protect you from the ghosts."

"No! NO! NO!" shouted the man, "JUST YOU! JUST YOU! JUST YOU!!!!!"

Sharon looked in vain for a hint of sympathy on my face as she shrugged her shoulders, "I guess I should go alone. He only feels safe around me."

God, I thought, why am I so in love with this girl? "Okay, Sharon, that's enough," I said, walking past her to the bum, "Listen, Bob, I'm a big fan of your music and everything. But here's the deal. Either the two of us go with you or you go alone. The girl is not going with you by herself. Understand?"

He took the hint and he went off down the road.

"Jesus," said Sharon, "why are you so rude?"

"I'm not rude. I just care about you."

Sharon eventually did get married to my friend Jeff. I didn't mind. I had left Missouri years before their wedding and was pleased to discover that there were plenty of other women to obsess about all over this great nation. Sharon and Jeff live in Kansas City. I drove out there to see them a few years ago, but Jeff threw me out of the house after we got into a political argument which ended with him accusing me of cheating on a Scrabble game earlier in the day. I didn't.

So to sum up: I wanted to marry Sharon. And I also wanted to marry Robin. Robin would have been a better match, but I would have only been able to cry during It's A Wonderful Life with Sharon. At any rate, I am a richer man for having married neither.

One of these days, I'll tell you guys about Sabrina and Nancy. If somebody happens to have any pictures of me with them. I actually proposed to both of those girls and--would you believe it?-- they both said yes (not at the same time, of course).

Oh, but I got cold feet. What was it about the word "yes" that scared me? Even when I asked for it?

Monday, December 01, 2008


I'm flushing this medication. . .this seroquel stuff.

The doctor thinks I'm bipolar so he put me on wellbutrin for depression (which I'm okay with, cause it's got some get-up-and-go speed to it).

But this seroquel shit? I don't think so. I don't even believe in bipolar disorder. This seroquel. . .man, I was writing some scary shit today.

On seroquel you can sleep for twelve hours and still be groggy and weaving for the first four hours the following morning.

And, boy, does it make you depressed. . .Jesus Christ!

I'm getting rid of it right now.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Lost Doctor Video

I just searched my name on YouTube and found this thing I did a while ago. It's a filmed version of one of my early audio podcast ideas. It was shot back in San Francisco and directed by Andrew Moore. I never saw the finished product until now. For a long time, I've been leery about watching myself on film, but I like how this turned out. Also, I'm not sure why Andrew decided to add R&B music underneath, but for some reason I think it adds to the humour.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Oh my god, if there is one movie you have to see this year, it's BOLT!

I don't even know how to describe the experience.
It was a fucking roller coaster.
It went up, it went down--
I didn't know which way was up when the lights went down.

I can't even review it properly, it was such a metaphysical experience.

I thought of Carlos Castenada when he said, "Eat that peyote. Do it. Eat it. What are you, a pussy? Eat the fucking peyote!"

I was reminded of Jack Kerouac when he said, "What do you mean we're out of gas? What? Ethanol? Fuck ethanol, I wanna get on the road, motherfucker! I'm a rock-n-roll artist, I don't need any of this environmental shit! Fill 'er up, man--and hold the guilt!"

When I saw a BOLT! I thought of Stanley Kubrick when he said, "Shelly Duvall, if you don't scream like you mean it the next time Jack plunges that axe through that door, I'm gonna plunge that fucking axe in your heart, cunt! NOW SCREAM!!!!"

Because I'm screaming now with excitment for BOLT!


BOLT! Spelled just like it sounds. . .it's playing everywhere. On the sides of buses, on subway posters, in the underwear of pre-teen girls, even in the space between these (BOLT!) words!

Go see BOLT! Trust me, you won't regret it!



Is it sinking through your head now? Go see it!!! Why are you still reading this? Go see BOLT! and report back to me in the morning. Tell me what you thought of BOLT! And if you don't think it's the best fucking thing since bread, sliced OR unleavened OR leavened OR ANY KIND OF FUCKING BREAD AT ALL, then I've got a bridge to sell you or you should be on medicine and get your head examined and get a life because you have no taste for the finer things in life!!!!!! GO SEE BOLT!!!!! YOU FUCKING HAYSEEDS!!!!!!

For more exciting reviews of BOLT! copy the following link into your browser

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

SHY: (a train crash of thought)

From: Will Franken
Subject: Re: Hi Will
Date: Nov. 18, 2008 12:56:38 PM EST
To: _______.

Dear ______.

Get over yourself. Talk about narcissism. This has nothing to do with you.

I'm serious. I never was even ever thinking about you when I wrote this--ever! Not ever once! Never! So don't say or think that it was you that I was writing about, cause it wasn't. It was a joke. You hear me? A J-O-K-E!!!!

You don't know me, okay? Nobody knows me! All right? Understand?

You don't know me! I don't need anybody! I am my own universe! I can bend the rules of time and space!

I don't like you at all!! AT ALL!!!



On Nov 17, 2008, at 11:17 PM, ________wrote:

Hello Will,

This is ______.

This e-mail might upset you, but I have to be honest.

I looked up your blog, like you told me to, and read your latest entry and I have to say I find it creepy.

I don't know if I'm supposed to be the girl that you're having this e-mail interchange with or not, but I hope that isn't the case. I find it very disturbing.

If you think that this is funny or that this is going to help you attract women, you need some serious help.

Men should ALWAYS make the first move. You can't expect a woman to read your blog and see how you're pretending to be her in some hypothetical fantasy where she makes the first move and expect anything to happen in real life.

Anyway, I have a boyfriend. One who WASN'T afraid to make the first move.

Please stay away from me,


On Nov 16, 2008, at 2:38 PM, Will Franken wrote:

Hi, ____!

Yes, IT IS YOU!!!

I am so glad you googled my name and found my blog!

I like you and was afraid to tell you in person and that's why I wrote about you ambiguously in my blog, hoping by some chance that you would find out my name and look up my blog online and guess that it was you I was writing about and then send me an e-mail saying that you hoped it was you that I was writing about and then tell me that you actually like me!!!!

That's EXACTLY what I wanted to happen!!!

Thanks for making things easy on me!!!

We should go on a date now that we know we like each other!!!

I like you,


On Nov 15, 2008, at 10:31 AM, _________ wrote:

Hi Will,

This is _____.

I hope you don't think it's strange that I'm e-mailing you out of the blue like this. I got your last name from your friend and looked you up on google--that's how I found your blog.

I just saw the latest one of your e-mail exchange with an unnamed girl. It was really funny, but also really sweet.

In fact, I was kind of hoping that I was the girl you were pretending to be that liked you and that you liked.

You see, Will, I like you very much. I know it's crazy for the girl to make the first move and you probably totally don't respect me for being the first to say it. But I do! I like you!

I get very nervous around you. That's why i was happy to read your blog and think that maybe I was the one you were talking about.

I'll feel like such a dork if I'm not!

I like you (there! I said it!)



On Nov 14, 2008, at 10:26 PM, Will Franken wrote:

Wow, hi _____,

No, i don't think you're a dork at all! I am glad you made the first move! I was so nervous. I did not think you would ever like me!

I like the fact that you made the first move by sending me an e-mail. Because I get very nervous around you also. My heart speeds up and my throat gets dry, too.

I don't believe in rules either! I am a libertarian! That's another reason why I think it's cool that, even though you are the girl, you sent me an e-mail first!

We should go on a date this weekend!

Thanks for e-mailing me and telling me that you like me and making things easier on me!

I like you, too!


On Nov 14, 2008, at 9:59 PM, ________wrote:

Hi Will,

This e-mail may come as a surprise to you. I don't know if you know who I am. My name is _____. I am the pretty girl with dark hair. We have talked a few times, but you probably don't remember me.

Anyway, I feel I have to tell you something. I am very attracted to you. I get very nervous around you. I don't know if you feel the same way or not, but I just felt that I should be honest about how I feel when I see you. My heart starts to speed up and my throat gets dry.

I know you probably think I'm a total dork for e-mailing you like this. You probably think it's stupid for a girl to make the first move. But I couldn't help it. I just had to say something.

I like you - there, I said it.

Anyway, hope you don't think I'm a dork for not obeying the rule that says a girl should never make the first move.



Monday, November 17, 2008

Update On The New York Welfare Story

To all of those who ordered both the Assault in Union Square and the New York Welfare Story, the latter is still in progress and I have had to move the deadline for its completion forward a little bit. I now hope to have the NY Welfare Story completed by the end of this coming weekend.

It is very emotional. As I am writing it, I am remembering all sorts of things that are kind of painful. So it is moving slower than I had hoped for. But I want you all to have a good, honest, and entertaining product.

But please be patient.

Also, if you have not ordered your Assault in Union Square story yet, there are still PDF copies available.

I also have a crush on another girl. I tell you, I think I'm going to faint every time she comes near. I feel like a total retard. But I realized something--the feeling I get when I'm around a girl that I have a crush on is the exact same feeling I have when I'm flying through turbulence and I think the plane is going to crash. I sweat. My heart speeds up. And I'm not sure what the right way to sit is.

Crash? Crush? Get it?

Also, I have been re-reading John Stuart Mill. You know, I always blamed him somewhat for the advent of socialism, but I tell you, his grasp on the importance of individuality is unrivaled.

That's all.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Jimmy Won't Let Me Say "Can't"

I am a child of two cities.

San Francisco is my mother and New York is my father.

One of my closest friends here in New York is a 65-year old Irish-American named Jimmy. I'd call him a father figure, but I didn't really get along with my father, so I think of him more as a grandfather figure--even though Jimmy could have had me when he was thirty, a reasonable age to have kids. Besides, both my grandfathers died when I was very young, so it's good to have a kind soul like Jimmy to fill that void.

Tonight we met for coffee at a diner in Manhattan. "How ya doing, kid?" he asked me as I sat down.

"I gotta get laid, Jimmy. It's been over a fucking year."

He patted my face with his palm like they always do in the mob movies. "Listen to him: 'I gotta do this. I gotta do that'. Take it the fuck easy, kid."

I shrugged and kvetched--like they always do in the Jewish movies. "I'm trying, Jimmy. But, man, I don't know. I can't get laid, you know?"

He wagged his finger at me while taking a drink of coffee, which in Jimmyspeak means: Even though I'm drinking coffee, don't say anything, because when I swallow, I'm going to say something really important.

Which he did, "You gotta talk to 'em, that's what the fuck you gotta do. Fuck this 'I gotta get laid' shit. What? You think you're going to fuck some broad without talking to her first? You're gonna put your dick in some deaf and dumb pussy? There's an order to things here, kid."

I laughed, "I know, Jimmy. But I can't, man. I used to be able to, but I can't anymore."

"You're a fucking comedian, aren't you? Make 'em laugh, for Christ's sake. What? You think you're going to be able to get it up without making some bitch laugh first? I know you too well, kid. Use that sense of yoo-mer God gave ya. Anybody can have a dick."

"Women can't."

Now it was Jimmy's turn to laugh, "Yeah, you ain't been down to the Village lately!" He smiled widely and then brought his voice down a few decibels, "Come on, kid, you know what I'm saying here. If you're gonna get laid without talking to a broad first, you might as well be raping. And there's no honor in that. That's not what we do, you understand?"

"Jesus, Jimmy. Are you crazy? I'd never rape a chick!"

He smiled and took another drink of coffee, "I'm just fucking with you, kid."

I breathed a sigh of relief, "I'm too shy to rape a chick!"

"Yeah, well that kind of shy is all right," he said, "but if you wanna get laid, you gotta talk to 'em. Okay?"

"I can't, man," I said, "It's one thing when they're in the audience and I'm on the stage. But real life? One on one? I can't. . .I can't. . ."

Jimmy brought his palm down on the Formica table, making the silverware jump. "Enough of this 'can't' shit! That's all I ever hear from you. 'I can't do this! I can't do that!'"

"Sorry, Jimmy. I can't help it."

"There he goes again!" he exclaimed with his trademark half-smile of compassion. Jimmy never gets mad at me. He only gets frustrated. "Why don't you just say 'I won't'?"

"Won't?" I asked, befuddled.

"Yeah. That's closer to the truth, isn't it?"

"You mean, 'I won't get laid?'"

"Yeah. I'd respect that a lot more than 'I can't'."

I tried it out a few times in a deep booming voice, wagging my finger sternly and pronouncing the new contraction as a term of selfish refusal. "I won't talk to women! I won't have sex! I won't get laid!"

Jimmy looked to his left and then to his right, muttering softly, "Okay, kid, bring it down a notch. I've been coming to this diner for twenty years and I don't want to get kicked out now."

I was amazed at the difference. "Wow. This 'won't' shit is pretty scary."

"And why do you think that is?" he asked me.

"Cause it makes everything a choice?"


"And 'can't' makes me a victim?"

"Give him some sunglasses, now he's seeing the fucking light."

My whole world seemed to open up just then into a beautiful garden of infinite possibility. "I feel so stupid. Can you believe I'm a fucking libertarian even?"

Jimmy chuckled knowingly, being a libertarian himself. "Easy in theory, hard in practice, right?"

"No shit."

"But choice is always good, no?"

"It sure is, Jimmy. It sure is."

"So the next time you want to bang some broad. . ." he took another sip of coffee, wagging his finger again until he finally swallowed, ". . .just think of Milton Friedman!"

We cackled so loudly at our inside political joke that the middle-aged group of yentas sitting in the next booth gathered their coats and purses and left in a huff.

On the way home later, I found myself on the subway sitting next to a cute shiksa in a purple beret and leather jackboots. When the train pulled up to Marcy Avenue in Brooklyn and the doors opened, the crowd thinned. I could see from the corner of my eye that the girl had plenty of room to slide over. But she didn't.

Wow, I thought, I don't repulse her. She doesn't feel the need to move away from me. I should say something.

And then, with the clockwork regularity of a bad psychological habit, the fanfare of self-defeat began.

I can't look at her. I can't talk to her. I can't approach her.

But then I remembered Jimmy's lesson from earlier and switched the contractions.

I won't look at her. I won't talk to her. I won't approach her.

Needless to say, nothing happened. The shiksa got off at Myrtle Avenue and disappeared with the closing of the doors into the bittersweet anonymity of a starless November night.

I'll have to confirm with Jimmy, but I suspect there's an essential third stage to this linguistic reshuffling: Changing the negative into a positive.

I will look at her. I will talk to her. I will approach her.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Hey--I just got an e-mail from the folks at the Joey Reynolds Show (WOR in New York).

Initially, I was supposed to be down at the studio at 1 a.m. (EST) tonight.

But I just received a note from the show's producer that I am requested to be down there at 11:55 p.m. (EST) tonight.

Just in case anyone is listening, I may be on earlier.

I hope I do well. I have to be honest, I am nervous. I love old-school New York radio. I am honored. I hope I do well.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

My Upcoming Radio Appearances

My favorite medium besides live performance (in other words, I hate television)

Friday Nov. 7th 10 a.m.
Guest on Casey Ley's "Morning Show" (promoting Nov. 8th shows at the Purple Onion)
San Francisco, Los Angeles - 87.9 FM
Berlin - 104.8

Saturday, Nov. 8th, 12-2pm
Guest on Melinda Adam's Show (promoting that evening's shows at the Purple Onion)
San Francisco, Los Angeles - 87.9 FM
Berlin - 104.8

Sunday, Nov. 9th, 10pm
Guest on The John Miller Show
San Francisco, Los Angeles - 87.9 FM
Berlin 104.8


Wednesday, Nov. 12th, 1am
Guest on The Joey Reynolds Show!
Call in line: 800-321-0710



Sunday, November 02, 2008


I'd like to say thanks to all of you who purchased the Will Franken Arrest In Union Square Park story in advance.

It was finally completed this afternoon--and weighed in at 50 pages (PDF format)

I had a lot of fun writing this story. There were many times I found myself laughing pretty hard.

Right now, I'm crying, because I'm listening to my iTunes on here and Red Sovine's country opus "Teddy Bear" just came up.

If you haven't purchased this story yet, it's really funny and really personal. You'll find things out about me that I'll never reveal on this blog.

It's $5 and you can purchase it by clicking the donate button below!

The story will then be e-mailed to you in PDF format (or by other means, if you so specify)

For those of you who purchased the double-story $7 deal, the Thirty Days On New York Welfare Story will be available following my return from San Francisco on November 12th.

Also, between now and then, I'll be taking a break from blogging to get away from the computer a bit so I can focus on writing live material again. (I need to get back in shape and rediscover my roots, as they say--but not to worry, I will be back, stronger than ever)

Thanks again!

Wm. Franken

The Funniest Thing I Have Ever Seen In A Newspaper, Including "The Onion"

As somebody who once taught (or attempted to) in the toilet that is the New York City public school system and was strong-armed into joining the standard-lowering, money-grifting, anti-education union known as the United Federation of Teachers, this was especially priceless.

From the "Letters" section of Friday's NY Post (paying particular attention to the Editor's Note):


I have been a teacher in the New York City school system for over twenty years. For all of that time, I have also been a very proud member of the UFT.

Over the last several years, there have often appeared very negative comments presented in your editorials about the quality of New York City teachers.

You have frequently alluded to the fact that many or most teachers cannot spell correctly.

I would personally like to correct your front-page headline "Isiah Getting Just Deserts" (Oct. 27).

Deserts are arid regions. I think you meant to say the word "dessert."

I would like to think this was just a typo. However, perhaps whoever wrote this headline was not fortunate enough to attend school in New York City.

Rita Cooperman
New York Teacher
The Bronx

EDITOR'S NOTE: The American Heritage Dictionary, 4th Edition, defines "desert," as: n., something that is deserved or merited, especially a punishment. Often used in the plural.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Heal Thyself

Oh, little girl,
you've opened a wound so big
just by being adorable.

How dare you. How dare you.
How dare you exist.

What a train wreck you've made of my low expectations of young women.
What punishment shall I now devise as a predicate to the subject of your
egregious. . .
existential. . .

What's that, little girl?
No. Don't flatter yourself.
This is not bad-boy psychotic(!) notebook(!) dementia(!)()!()

This is justice served cold on a linear plate.

For in hatred, everything must have a predicate
because Love is the Mother of all Subjects.

So how to end the sentence your beauty has started?

I could hurt you.
I could smother you.
I could own you.

God, I hope I don't want to become you.

Like our aimless manes of hair,
there are enough tangled complexities in my life
to know that while identities are fluid,
they fail as conditioners.

Nothing can straighten me out.
This reflection cannot be replaced.
This reflection will have to suffice.

And what do you seek from this image, anyway, little girl?

Its M.ind?
Its A.ccomplishments?
Its N.arrative?

or other subtractions from the wholeness of Love?

When you plunged your dagger,
what did you think you would find?
A heart?

Run along, little girl.
I don't need you to speak the truth for me.
This is not the way it works.
No one Loves for posterity.

You're smooth. . .
But not obsidian.

This reflection cannot be replaced.
This reflection will have to suffice.

. . .desreveRReversed. . .

See now, little girl?

The adventures are just routines
and, through clinical predictability,
the magic has been neutralized.

"Come on, you fucking cocksucker!"
I shout down the dim tracks,
waiting for the lights of the late train to finally appear.
Ah. . .there it is again.
That good ol' earthly impatience.
Other people's children are screaming
WANT into my ears.
Music I despise is stealing space between my thoughts.
My emptiness overflows into this rat-infested reality
and I know I'll get better soon
once the Light from your Eyes
is extinguished from the landscape
of this unavoidable present.

Little girl, my wound is healing.
And I don't need you anymore.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Hey gang! Aren't I erratic? Don't you get dizzy sometimes reading my blogs?

If it's not politically rabid, it's philosophically heavy. If it's not downright mean, it's filled with self-pity. If it's not dreadfully serious, it's light-hearted and fluffy!

Jeez, don't you wish I could just tell a straight story sometimes?

Well, that's exactly what I want to do. Two stories, in fact. You may remember in the blog entry on my anger management counselor where I mentioned having been arrested for assault in July and having spent 30 days on New York state welfare.

Well, I'm writing out those two stories this week before I prepare for my trip to San Francisco. I just started on the assault one and, even though it's a true story, it's tremendously funny! (And that means a lot coming from me, since I never think anything I do is funny!) I'm putting in a lot of background from my teenage years at the beginning of this one and you'll get to meet some of my friends from those days along the way. It's a hilarious story of drunkenness and Midwestern violent tendencies brought to the Big Apple! I'm sure the New York state welfare story will be just as side-splitting.

Anyway, since I mentioned these two stories, there's been a lot of interest from you guys in hearing them.

But these stories are really personal and, although I'd like to tell them, I feel weird about giving them away for free. New York's an expensive place for an artist/author/comedian--whatever it is that I am. So here's my win-win proposition. For a small donation you can get one or both of these stories either e-mailed to you personally or you can be included on a special private list where only paid members can read these stories.

For a donation of $5, you can get your choice of either "The Assault In Union Square Park" or "30 Days On New York State Welfare".

And for $7, you can get BOTH!

All you have to do is click the paypal donate button at the bottom of this entry, make your donation and, if you're going the $5 route, send me an e-mail at and let me know whether you want to read "The Assault In Union Square Park" or "30 Days On New York State Welfare"

These are really funny stories and I know you'll enjoy reading them as much I enjoyed living them! The projected completion date for these stories is next Saturday--so be the first one on your block to receive your copies!

Thank you and God Bless! (and rest assured, there will be NO politics or philosophy!)


Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Reason I Think The Way I Do About Things, Part Three


Before we get started let me make one thing perfectly clear.

I am blessed! Blessed beyond my wildest fantasies! Blessed to know the untrammeled joys of recoiling from the status quo as if from a poised cobra! Blessed that I have been spared the ignominy of having to view the world through the dusty prism of mere convention!

Indeed, I have always taken umbrage at the cliche, “ignorance is bliss” for it fails in any way to adequately explain the sense of near-ecstasy in which I madly revel when apprehending my own awareness! Who can say besides the ignorant if the ignorant truly are blissful? Certainly I shall never know, for the only arena in which I have been guilty of ignorance is ignorance itself! Nay, I can only speak to the immense satisfaction I receive at knowing that I am not to be counted among their ranks.

You may say that this is snobbery, or worse, elitism--the very barb I so often fling at others who presume to impose their outlook on the world and their standards of behavior upon unsuspecting parties.

If so, the charge is valid. For, indeed, I am an elitist.

Yet would any true champion of progressive thought deny that elitism based on intellect and reason is vastly superior to elitism based on media presence and money? In fact, were it possible in this country, by some extraordinary overhaul of our declining culture, to replace the current stratification of monetary and fame-based elitism with logic and reason-based elitism, the future of this once-great nation would most likely (if history is to be believed) move again in the direction of objective good--assuring educational, moral, and spiritual prosperity for all freethinking sons and daughters of liberty.

Please note that I say liberty and not equality when referring to America’s future metaphorical progeny. This is no fickle choice of words, no stylistic predisposition, no simple linguistic window dressing. The inclusion of one term and the exclusion of the other is rooted in the logic of linear history and is central to the argument which follows.

It has become the apathetic fashion throughout the aimless decades following the 1960s to render the term equality not merely interchangeable with the term liberty, but in many instances, for the former to replace the latter entirely.

Yet the story of American progress and, by extension, the story of Western progress, is precisely one of liberty and not equality. Only the pridefully obtuse could give anything less than a cursory glance at the annals of Western Civilization and assert that equality has been the predominant theme. This is one of the few areas in which the intellectual find themselves in agreement with the ignorant. Yes, there has been slavery. Yes, there has been genocide. Yes, there has been segregation.

Where the ignorant diverge from the intellectual, however, is in assuming that they are the only ones who care--or, indeed, are even aware--of any historical inequities. That is, unlike the intellectual, who acknowledges a fundamental agreement, the ignorant erroneously insist on the presence of a fundamental disagreement.

Here let us pause for a moment to ask what is meant, in the context of this essay, by the term "ignorant". Bumpkin rubes brimming with glee at never having obtained “book-learnin’”? Whitebread purveyors of free-market middle-classness? Alzheimer's patients? Mongoloids?

No. The ignorance spoken of here is that which is collectively embedded within the thought processes of that portion of society otherwise empirically presenting itself as intellectual--i.e., the pseudo-intellectual.

And all those who unquestioningly follow them.

Despite their degrees, financial acumen, media presence, political and/or academic clout within a community, pseudo-intellectuals stand apart from legitimate intellectuals insofar as they hold either one or both of the following propositions to be the end goal of learning:

a) That nothing is knowable beyond the nihilistic tenets of moral equivalence and cultural relativism, both of which conspire to establish the nexus of an ideological disavowal of objective truth.


b) That the essence of freedom lies in undermining a free society whose very structure makes their dissent possible.

Though the two propositions are equally ignorant, they are not always congruous. For example, one can be an equal opportunity nihilist, adhering to the pillars of equivalence and relativism, without necessarily devoting time exclusively to the dismantling of a free society.

Therefore, it is the second proposition that merits focus in this current discussion.

In order to wage war (or revolution) against a free society from within a free society (a society, it should be noted, that has grown freer with each passing decade) it often becomes necessary to concoct “shadow causes” in order to elevate the dissenting contagion of pseudo-intellectualism into a limelight of its own making. Therefore, especially in post-1960 rhetoric, arguments for the imposition of a present equality in the context of past inequalities consist of the ignorant pervasively lobbing the fictions that they are the sole dispensers of freedom and justice--combating what is, in their skewed world view, a demonic and ever-expanding citizenry that is either in abject denial of historical inequities or, worse, heralding a hypothetical re-emergence of those inequities.

Vain and delusional, the ignorant are prone to hyperbole and distorted metaphors. Backpack searches in subway stations evoke images of Japanese interment camps, Israel becomes apartheid-era South Africa, Hurricanes in Louisiana pitch in to help reinvigorated white supremacy groups.

Their ears seem to literally burn with slogans that only the paranoid can hear. The South shall rise again! Deutschland Uber Alles! Let’s go git us another Matthew Shepard!

They render evil good in the name of tolerance: Suicide bombers are freedom fighters! They suspend logic in favor of conspiracy: 9-11 was an inside job! And they foam at the mouth at phantasms: America is a racist police state!

They do all this with absolute impunity for one reason only:

They are not alone.

Taken individually, with their beliefs intact, psychotropic drugs might be administered to calm their fevered brains, responsible family members might intervene to inject rationality into their discourse, and ongoing group therapy sessions might be scheduled to make sure they remain on the "straight and narrow"--for fear of a relapse back into self-righteousness.

Luckily for them, they are numerous. They dwell within the reassuring sanctuary of numbers, where too often their shared insanity goes unchecked. It is with a depressing sense of irony, for example, that one observes the frequency by which the ignorant get laid. Whereas isolated from the support of the larger community, their sexual menu would consist of masturbation in a padded cell.

Perhaps the loudest misnomer to emerge intact from their confusing din of contradictory slogans and dogmatic agendas is their unified admonition to “speak truth to power”. In fact, they engage in quite the opposite. Given their blatant disregard for the advancements of post-1960s American society and the free milieu in which they currently operate, a more apt slogan would read: “Shout power to truth!”

On the campus or in front of cameras, the postmodern pseudo-intellectual vomits incessant platitudes about the community, yet remains curiously silent on the role of the individual. Not surprisingly, therefore, their ideology speaks volumes on the topic of equality, but offers nary a word on liberty. For liberty is to the individual as equality is to the community. Hence, the illogical perversion of modern-day activism: The imposition of equality upon communities of people that have yet to be individually liberated.

For it is precisely because of individual liberation that communal equality is made possible. Liberation is the cause, with equality being the desired effect. More pointedly (hearkening back to the first two essays in this series) one may say that liberation is an action, whereas equality is a re-action. Being effects, re-actions are the province of the natural world, qualitatively good or bad depending on the environment in which they take place. That is to say, equality under Soviet-era Russia or the current Islamic sharia laws of Iran are, qualitatively, quite different than the equality between blacks and whites in America following the repeal of Jim Crow.

Conversely, actions are the province of the Divine. Actions may be expressed either through God or through the human individual, inasmuch as God reveals Himself to the human individual via the modality of Divine Inspiration. The most telling proof of God’s inspiration, contrary to the faulty premises upon which pseudo-intellectual activism bases its incredulous claims, are those that are most endemic to our national history: acts of individual liberation leading to continuously improving gradations of communal equality.

Could there have been an end to British control of the colonies without an individually liberated Adams, Franklin, or Jefferson? Could there have been an end to slavery without an individually liberated Frederick Douglass or Ralph Waldo Emerson? Could there have been an end to Jim Crow without an individually liberated Martin Luther King? Or, in a more contemporary vein, how many homosexuals might be still lingering in the closet without an individually liberated Harvey Milk? American history is a continuous linear movement toward a providential good, a progressive journey that began with the spark of individual liberty, not the forced imposition of communal equality.

Here the skeptics might raise a metaphysical point of contention: if the human individual is capable of a Divine Inspiration such as intellectual liberation, then why not humanity as a whole? That is, if both God and the human individual are capable of action, and humanity is composed of human individuals, then why is the larger entity of humanity limited to re-action alone?

The Bible (that fashionably-derided primary source) states that man was created in God’s image. Not mankind. Therefore, God has much more in common with the human individual than it does with humanity--for in its totality and uniqueness, God, like the human individual, is paradoxically singular. Moreover, being singular, both God and its individual human subject are impossible to duplicate (notwithstanding cloning, an ethical subject beyond the scope of this current essay).

Consequently, when the larger human community attempts to assume the mantle of Divinity for itself (the unspoken social impetus behind secular activism) it invariably comes to loggerheads with a Deity that Baruch Spinoza, the 17th century Jewish philosopher, defined as a universal, unchanging, infinite, yet singular substance--the last of these cosmic attributes leading him to conclude:

“. . .there can be only one substance. Proof: If there were two infinite substances, they would limit each other. But this would act as a restraint, and they would be dependent on each other. . .therefore there cannot be two substances” (Ethica, 1677)

The renowned conservative thinker, William F. Buckley, couched the same sentiment in a more political framework when he observed:

“It is the temptation of many educated Christians to doubt that the God who gave us the latitude to behave as we behave is a God we can worship as wholeheartedly as we do those human divinities who labor to abolish Jim Crow, or dissipate the mushroom cloud, or comfort the unwed mother” (“The Duty of the Educated Catholic”, 1967)

All of which brings us to the ultimate question: what ethical value is there in a communal equality devoid of of individual liberation? Answer: None. It is a house of good intentions lacking an individualistic and intellectual foundation. The ignorant, in desiring to impose communal equality without first addressing the necessity for individual liberation, commit the mortal sin of ascribing quality to quantity. And if equality is envisioned not as the effect of liberty, but as a cause unto itself, what frightening results might lay at the end of such a perverse, anti-intellectual and--dare one say--ungodly equation?

To what social ends does equality as entitlement lead? A simple empirical observation of contemporary American culture might yield a few troubling answers: College is now so easy to attend it has systematically been transformed into little more than a glorified grade school; "progressive" instructors at all levels of education have cheapened the classics by likening modern urban poetry to Shakespeare--or hip-hop to Beethoven; minority scholars have been saddled with the nagging worry that they might not have advanced through their own merit, but through the cynical quotas of affirmative action; meanwhile, a Vice-Chancellorship of Diversity and Inclusion at the University of California could net a lucky prospect a staggering $250,000 per annum!

To be sure, the damage is severe--that is, for those who still esteem the antiquated tropes of culture and history, the beauteous by-products of the individually liberated mind.

Even more disconcerting, however, is reflecting on what might have been gained simply by following the tried-and-true protocol of individual liberation first and communal equality second. If a liberated mind achieves equality with other liberated minds, the character of the equality will be of a greater value because, together, the liberated minds will have achieved equality on a higher plateau--resulting, paradoxically, in a beautiful inequality: a strata of liberated minds equal in intellect at the top of the hierarchy and a strata of enslaved minds equal in ignorance at the bottom of the hierarchy--a catalyst, if ever there was one, for the continuity of Western Civilization. In sum, an elitism based on logic and reason.

Western Civilization and America in particular, now more than ever, face a choice between two sociological outcomes.

1) Communal equality void of individual liberation, ultimately resulting in a failed culture driven by platitudes of fairness.


2) Individual liberty preceding communal equality, ultimately resulting in a revivified culture driven by acts of merit.

The first equation is secular, being constructed from emotion and instinct. The second is providential, being inspired by logic and reason.

It is interesting to note that when attacked individually with logic and reason, many fervent activists will often freely and unashamedly admit to their intellectual deficiencies in untold areas of objective knowledge, not the least of these being Western history. Unwilling to accept defeat on what they consider an "inferior" plane of learning, however, they will incredulously demand their interrogators to join in the madness by conceding that, however erroneous they may be, their voices still need to be heard.

This is because the ignorant are not ignorant when it comes to this central tenet of Western sociology: If there is no truth to be found in numbers--there is, undoubtedly, power. And much of it.

In this section, I have highlighted the difference between the terms liberty and equality, advancing the argument that individual liberation, being an action, must precede communal equality, a re-action, so that a qualitatively valuable meritocracy might be put into place and the negative effects wrought by the imposition of communal equality upon Western society-- sans individual liberation--might be reversed. Though I have demonstrated agreement with the premise that numbers contain power, I have disagreed with the premise that numbers contain truth, by arguing against the contemporary practice of ascribing quality to quantity. In the next section, I will delve further into an explanation of the metaphysical composition of historical providence emerging from the triad of God, Individualism, and Freewill, specifically drawing upon Gottfried Leibniz's conception of a "City of God" for inspiration.