HUMBUG! I have not updated this sucker since August 2011 when my second book came out. Even before that it had been quite some time since I noticed it. Like a spouse of 50 years, I assume.
This blog was very good to me. I started it several years ago when time was not such a precious commodity. I've since made a baby, written a book, made another baby, written another book, and taken on the task of hosting a weekly TV show. These are all terribly time-consuming things if you want to do them right - and I'm afraid as a result this blog has fallen by the wayside.
A shame really, because there's plenty of treasure to be found around here. I put my heart into this thing in the day and enjoyed it immensely.
Sadly the most popular entry is my dispatch about a Chinese squat toilet. I'm not big on poo humor, but this particular poo humor apparently hit a nerve. So, kazillions of views - and this before Facebook made it easy to share stuff.
Your New Monkey was read by Penn Gillette of Penn & Teller fame on his radio show. That was a nice surprise. I met Penn in October 2012 during a taping of Celebrity Apprentice I was involved in and got to thank him and give him a check for $10,000 for art it took him six seconds to make.
How Past Girlfriends Could Have Changed History was a piece I did for McSweeney's way back. I stopped writing things for McSweeney's after learning that they used my piece Possible Closing Lines for a Defendant Who Has Chosen to Represent Himself in a book. They never told me or let me write my bio line in the book. Or sent me a copy, for that matter. Uncool.
To the Person Who Found My Camera explains why my lost camera had numerous photos of a cat's ass.
Then there's this: DKNY Men's Leather Pants I Unfortunately Own. It was an eBay ad I'd put up that wound up getting millions of views. I found myself being interviewed by TV and radio folks all over the planet. It did amazing things, like hook me up with producers and TV people and helped me get an agent who sold my first book to HarperCollins.
So, please enjoy my terribly neglected blog. There's some good stuff in here. When I do get the time/hankering to write something silly I usually do it in my Yelp reviews.
In the meantime, I need to focus on my TV show. Go ahead and subscribe to the show's YouTube Channel if you're up for it.
This is the trailer for my new book. You didn't used to have to do trailers for books, but then something called the Internet came and completely changed publishing. So now books have trailers like movies do. I don't know why. I don't make the rules.
The book is available at bookstores. Hopefully at eye-level. It's also available at Amazon like everything is.
As far as the timing of book releases goes, I'd like to thank the Republicans and Democrats for pissing off 88% of the population with this debt ceiling nonsense. You've really made my job easier.
And my job? That would be book promotion. Around the same time the Internet changed publishing, the publishing folks changed the way they do publicity for books by making the authors responsible for most of it.
This is my book. It comes out August 2nd.
It is a nonpartisan look at politics in the U.S.A. - hence the title.
In fact, it's kind of ironic that it releases on the same day Washington politicians plan on imploding the country for the sake of partisan politics. Woo!
I felt compelled to adapt Rupert Holmes's "Piña Colada Song" for modern times. And I don't see why he doesn't, seeing as Elton John does that crap all the time.
I was tired of my lady
We'd been together too long
Like a tired old playlist
Of my iPod's best songs
So while she lay there sleeping
I was on Craigslist in bed
And in casual encounters
There was a posting I read
"If you like Pina Coladas
And getting caught in the rain
If you're not into yoga
If you have half a brain
If you'd like making love at midnight
In the dunes on the Cape
Then I'm the love that you've looked for
Write to me and escape."
I didn't think about my lady
I know that sounds kind of mean
But me and my old lady
Have fallen into the same old dull routine
So I posted on Craigslist
But didn't spellcheck my ad
And though I'm nobody's poet
I thought it wasn't half bad
"yes i like Pena coladas
and getting caught in the rain
im not much into health food
i am into champain
ive got to see you by tomorow noon
and cut through all this red-tape
text me a pic of your body
and not just your face."
So I waited with high hopes
Into my iPhone it came
I knew her smile in an instant
Though resolution was lame
It was my own lovely lady
I texted, "Oh it's you."
We LOL'd for a moment
She texted back, "I never knew."
That you like Pina Coladas
Getting caught in the rain
And the feel of the ocean
And the taste of champagne
That you like making love at midnight
In the dunes of the Cape
You're the lady I've looked for
Come with me and escape
Congratulations! You've just purchased your airline tickets and are committed to a vacation in the truly remarkable country of Iceland. What can you expect?
IT IS COLD. Iceland is called Iceland for a reason. If it were Sunland or Warmistan you could be forgiven for being upset at the absence of heat you will undoubtedly experience. There's no false marketing here. The country is called Iceland precisely so that there are no surprises. In the Icelandic summer, which I understand is about a week in August or something, the temperatures may even reach 70 degrees for a few hours. Do your weather homework and pack accordingly.
IT IS PERFECT FOR AMERICAN TOURISTS. Americans are generally terrible tourists which is why I pretend I'm not American when I travel. No matter where they are they tend to assume everyone speaks English. They point at things and say, "What's in that sandwich, is that ham?" or "Hey, buddy, do you know where I can find a Citibank ATM?" and they are flummoxed when people shrug their shoulders and say "Je ne comprende pas, je ne parle pas l'anglais." But that doesn't happen in Iceland because everyone speaks English. Everyone. And they speak it better than most of the kids I come across in New York. Even a guy working a gas station, seven teeth, filthy hands, looks like he was recently beaten: "Will there be anything else, sir? No? That will be six thousand eight hundred Kroner please."
IT'S GOING TO SUCK CASH FROM YOUR WALLET. Even after the collapse of their economy Iceland is ridiculously expensive. That's because Iceland is a giant volcanic rock covered in moss. Only 0.07% of their land is arable. As a result, practically everything is imported with the exception of fish and horses. Plus it's an enormous welfare state. One Icelander hotel manager told me she'd be much better off financially if she was an unemployed single mom. How does the government foot entitlements like that? They tax the living crap out of absolutely everything. The tax on alcohol is amazing - it rakes in more than their gas tax. Bottle of crappy, horrible, lousy, awful Gallo white wine that you'd get for around $12 in the States? It's $53. Cheers!
IT'S CLIMATOLOGIC ATTENTION-DEFICIT PARADISE. The weather changes every few minutes. It snowed. Then it was sunny. Then it rained. Then it was cloudy. Then there was hail. Then it was sunny. Then it snowed. And it was sunny. Then cloudy. Then we went to bed and heard the world's most incredible windstorm. And it apparently rained after that because the car was wet. You will most likely never be bored with the weather.
YOU'LL THINK YOU'RE ON A STAR TREK SET. Hot sulfuric steam comes out of the ground. There are pools of boiling blue mud. There are geysers. There are bizarre lavascapes formed by eruptions of the past. Endless fields of rock. Sub-arctic plants. Black sand beaches. There are giant fissures in the earth's crust that let you totally visualize the tectonic plates underneath you. And it's freaking empty. Assuming you're traveling on your own and not in a tour bus you'll soon come to realize that you are the only representatives for humanity in the area and if your car breaks down you're probably going to die.
IT'S A DRIVING PARADISE. Since only about 318,000 people live there the roads are often empty once you're out of the main city of Reykjavik. And it's hard to get lost because the main road is a circle around the island. If you get lost, just ask someone "Where's Route 1?" and they'll say, "It's right over there," and then you're back on your way. Naturally in a country so small, the police presence is limited. I saw one Lögreglan the whole time I was there and he was just going about his business. I drove as fast as I wanted mainly because I was an ignorant tourist who had no idea how dangerous that was to do.
IT'S AN OUTDOORSMAN'S PARADISE. Do you like fishing? You are surrounded by a giant ocean filled with them. And rivers and streams and ponds and puddles. All the snow sports are accounted for, of course, and even if it isn't snowing where you are you simply hop in a car and three minutes later you're on top of a mountain and it's winter wonderland. There are tall rocks everywhere to climb. And mountains, of course. And hiking trails everywhere. And majestic glaciers galore. I did not realize you could simply drive up to a glacier, but you can. Driving, driving, driving, GLACIER. The particular glacier I drove up to, Svínafellsjökull, had a plaque dedicated to two Germans who vanished in it so I opted not to try walking on it. Or rather, my wife told me I couldn't.
IT'S GREAT FOR KIDS. What kid doesn't love a boiling pool of blue mud, natural steam vents or a spewing geyser? And exotic animals! Kids have to love adorable (and edible) puffins. And gorgeous (and edible) whales. And they're sure to love the fact that the only affordable meal consists of Iceland's (totally delicious and edible) gas station hot dogs. Just exercise some caution because unlike America where we put up fences and walls and barriers and 300 signs telling you how to not injure yourself, Iceland puts an ankle-high piece of string around a pool of mud with a little sign telling you it's 250 degrees.
MANY ICELANDERS HAVE EMBRACED AMERICAN OVERWEIGHTNESS. Based on a chance encounter with an attractive Icelandic woman 20 years ago, and because of the singer Björk, I assumed Icelandic women were svelte and pixie-like. This is not the case at all. Many are some degree of overweight. Perhaps it's because gas station hot dogs are the only affordable food. Or because they're stuck indoors for seven months because of the weather, surfing the Internet for pictures of what the sun looks like. I have to say my wife found the men to be more attractive.
THEY LOVE SITTING IN WATER. Even tiny towns have community swimming pools, often heated by a pipe that goes way down into the earth and taps an endless supply of incredible, pollution-free heat. These are year-round social centers where people just sit outside in hot tubs and talk about stuff with their friends and neighbors. They sit and chat as the snow falls, turns to rain, sun comes out, hail falls, etc. I imagine they ask each other things like "What are you going to do for the week that is considered summer?"
YOU WILL GET BORED OF AWESOME WATERFALLS. The country is completely littered with amazing waterfalls. At first you'll be screaming, "Look at that!" and "Oh my God!" and "Wow!" Several days later you'll be so jaded that you won't even bother letting other folks there's some spectacular waterfall off in the distance. Every time you see a waterfall, you'll fantasize about swimming under it. Then you'll remember that the water is always a few degrees short of freezing and you'll fantasize about drinking it instead.
I love Iceland. Also, I am declaring bankruptcy.
Oddly popular amongst insurance professionals.
The New York Times • NPR • WBCN • Mancow • Fox & Friends • CBS Up To The Minute • The Jay Thomas Show • WJIM • WOCM • CW 11 • The Guardian • USA Today • Boing Boing • Daybreak USA • Fusion • New York Daily News • Canada National Post • KIRO • Radar • McSweeney's • The Independent • Glamour • MSNBC.com • FARK • Glenn Beck program • New York Post Page Six • BBC Radio • Gawker • Defamer • CNN.com • Cracked • New Zealand Herald • Irish Independent • Weekend America and other fine media outlets.