A Thousand Words

Review: The Auto LSD Button

The Auto LSD button can be found on the dashboard of the Toyota RAV 4 we rented for Thanksgiving weekend.
I did not plan on using it during our journey because no one knew exactly what it did. But curiosity got the best of us and somewhere around Mystic, Connecticut I pressed it, at which time my licorice wife spoke to me in colors.
There was a dull vibration which I attribute to Universal Convergence. Time had flavor.
My brother melted into a whisper which frightened my friend Dave, causing him to sprout wings and turn into the concept of love.
I think this is a great button for a car to have, and I would certainly press it again, but not too much.

eBay: Playboy. In Braille.

Most likely you are surprised that such a thing exists. You are not alone.
When I discovered Playboy in Braille years ago, it was in a box in an abandoned building. I found myself in a state of disbelief. The kind you feel when you’re being chased by a leprechaun with a crossbow.
It’s normal to not want Playboy in Braille to exist. Because it’s weird. It raises too many questions. Questions like: Why is the government printing Playboy in Braille? And: How do you explain a naked woman to a pubescent, visually impaired teen?
“Elka leans against a wall, wearing only a carpenter’s tool belt. She’s hot. Believe me.”
“Katsumi arches unnaturally over a coffee table. You can see the whole thing.”
“Anja’s Mediterranean skin is a warm brown, like the craft paper Playboy you’re reading with your finger.”
Playboy in Braille makes you think. It’s exciting but uncomfortable at the same time. Like Courtney Love fixing your stove.
Run your fingers over the pages, never really knowing if you’re touching a gorgeous blonde or an essay by Tom Clancy. Was that Cindy Crawford’s bum, or an interview with Gore Vidal? Frankly, it’s whatever you want it to be.
That’s the glory of Playboy in Braille. November 1995.Volume XLII, No. 11.
It’s number 2 in a 4 part series. I don’t know where the other parts are, but you’d only miss them if you could read Braille. And you can’t, because you’re reading this.
This would be a terrible gift for the visually impaired, because you don’t give the visually impaired one quarter of a decade-old Playboy as a gift.
But for you? Put it out on the coffee table like I did. Owning Playboy in Braille is like having a Day-Glo orange monkey that can curse in Farsi. It gets attention. People talk.
You want Playboy in Braille. Playboy in Braille wants you.
At least that’s what I think it says.


[In a fit of irony, eBay removed the listing, citing it as being for “Mature Audiences.”]

Superficial Voter’s Guide – NYC 2005




Looks a little like you’ve been confronted by a mob of angry smokers, but it definitely says you’re the boss.




History is filled with mustachioed politicians, but they rose to power through revolution, putsch or brutality. That’s not coming through here.




He’s got the conservative look down. In New York City. Sure to take the Lower East Side by squall.



Education Party

What’cha got in there Seth?




A party with a one-note platform is slightly absurd, but I can picture you angry over a wounded Spruce. Sold.




Yearbook committee called. Wants photo back.



Rent Is Too Damn High Party

Voter intimidation only works if you’re standing in the booth with us.



Socialist Workers Party

Can’t be bothered to supply a profile or a photo. Must be busy teaching film.



Continue reading…

A Note To The Dentist

Dear Dr. Spielman,
Thank you for the postcard reminding me that I’m due for a dental check-up in April. I look forward to it because you are my favorite dentist and you have state-of-the art equipment I helped pay for.
Since American Idol was not on Thursday night, I had a lot of time to sit and think about this postcard and how it stuck out of my pile of mail and frightened me. In fact, now that this terrifying image has been burned into my psyche, I would like to express to you how I feel.
The postcard poses the question “Who doesn’t like a nice smile?” Indeed, the only exceptions I could think of would be anti-masticationists, gingivitists, or people who don’t have teeth and might not want to talk about such things. I’ve never met an anti-masticationist or gingivitist, to be honest, and they probably have a smaller base than Ralph Nader. Also, people with no teeth are usually too old to read small text, or they live far from regular postal service. So, the question would seem to be easily answered: Nobody doesn’t like a nice smile, silly!
And rightly so. Normally, a smile is a good thing because it means someone is happy. When someone is happy, that puts you at ease because there is statistically less of a chance they’re going to try and stab you or set your car on fire. That’s how I look at it. Happy people don’t rob banks or steal your lawnmower. Happy people don’t cuss at you or file frivolous lawsuits. They just smile nicely.
But in this case, the smiles presented on this postcard are collectively unnerving and potentially not nice. Indeed, there are some individual smiles presented here that I would have run away from outright, so you can imagine how terrifying I find seeing all seven of them at once.
The upper-left girl’s smile seems fine. I would probably smile back at her. Maybe she works in Public Relations. I have no problems with her, though she slightly resembles an ex-girlfriend whom I’ve done a good job of not remembering.
The black guy in the back seems pretty happy too. His smile is quite nice and if I had to vote for the one smile that didn’t frighten me, he would be my pick. His teeth look great and I hope they have a long life together.
The guy in the back on the right, well, I start to question the nice here. I don’t see the happiness reflected in the eyes. It doesn’t seem sincere. I think he is about to try and sell me a Buick. I’m not crazy about the hair, but that can be taken care of by inviting a band of stereotypical gay guys over the house and appearing on Bravo Network.
For obvious reasons, the gentleman in the front left is the absolutely most terrifying, and I will lose sleep over him. Not only is his expression and nice smile nerve-shattering, but his eyes are slightly red and very glassy. If I came home, opened the front door, and a strange man came running down my stairs with a bloody hatchet screaming “Jesus said to do it, and I do’d it!” – this is pretty much what I would expect him to look like.
The blonde next to the axe-killer seems to be laughing more than smiling. I don’t know why she’s laughing – there’s a crazed lunatic on her shoulder – but she seems to have heard a funny joke. Maybe she’s watching some prop comedy from Carrot Top, or a hilarious improvisational comedy troupe. We’ll never know, because I assume she was murdered by the crazed freak next to her, after the photo shoot.
The middle lady isn’t really smiling as much as she is politely asking “What?” with her face. Perhaps she doesn’t speak English. In fact, she seems Latin. Speaking of, the postcard is almost perfectly Politically Correct. Women, men, black, white, Latin, gay, murderer… But no Asians. Don’t they like a nice smile?
Lastly, the girl on the front right is missing her lower teeth. She seems friendly enough, and you’d have to be if you had no lower teeth, but it’s not necessarily a nice smile. Incidentally, my former Marxist/Feminist/Lesbian film professors would flip out on you for showing a black woman with no lower teeth being pushed down by a smiling white man. Personally, I always thought the professors were full of it, so you should just take their umbrage at symbolism with a grain of salt and get mediocre grades like I did.
And so Doctor, in closing, I’d like to say that the answer to “Who doesn’t like a nice smile?” would be Me – if the nice smile comes from an entourage of murderous freaks, Carrot Top fans and Buick dealers.
See you in a few weeks.

What’s Wrong With This Picture?


There are several reasons this picture from Haiti is disturbing.
1. There’s a dead guy in it. That’s never good. Pictures of dead people are like pornography: you sit there and wonder what choices the subjects made in their life that led them to this. I don’t know what the circumstances were that resulted in this gentleman being made dead, but I’ll assume he had assumed a pro- or anti- Aristide stance in front of people who thought differently and had an inclination towards resolving disputes by discharging firearms.
2. He was killed in front of a kindergarten. That’s absolutely tasteless. Nothing good can come from killing people in front of a kindergarten. It’s hard enough choosing the right school for your child. When you’ve finally made such a monumental decision, you’d like to think that folks wouldn’t be getting killed in front of the school you finally chose.
3. There’s a guy casually walking by with soda. Coca Cola, to be exact. Personally, if I were walking down the street with soda, in any quantity, and I saw a man dead in front of the kindergarten, casual behavior would be out the door. I’d drop the soda and I’d run. I’m certainly not going to stick around and find out what led to someone being dead in front of a kindergarten. Obviously such people are uncivil. What if they’re still in the area? What if they prefer Pepsi?
4. It makes an absolute mockery of the Coke Adds Life advertising campaign.
5. From the dead guy’s perspective, I’d be upset that my demise was being handled so casually. If any one of us were unlucky enough to wind up deceased in front of a kindergarten, Ray’s Pizza, or wherever, we all deserve a little freaking out. At the very least, we would expect to shock you just a little bit while you’re nurturing your sugar & caffeine fix. This guy seems to be treating it with the same measure of detachment reserved for discarded bike frames chained to parking meters.
6. There’s a horrific irony about happy cartoon characters presiding over your dead body. We’d all like to think that when our time comes we’ll have a little dignity. We hope we won’t be dressed as clowns, in bed with a Bishop, or practicing auto-erotic asphyxiation in our parents’ closet. There’s a reason I stopped wearing boxers with smiley faces on them. This reminds me of a picture of a dead drug dealer I saw; shot dead in his doorway, wearing a Mickey Mouse sweatshirt. Disney’s starting to freak me out.
7. The deceased’s shoes were removed. Again, a little dignity would be nice. You’ve already killed a guy on the street, in front of a kindergarten, under the gaze of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Big Bird and a yellow, bi-pedal elephant with pox; people don’t seem to care and are enjoying soda – can’t you please leave the shoes? And what’s more tasteless, looting a body or wearing a dead guy’s sport sandals?
8. This is a flagrant violation of copyright law. If contempt for trademarks and patents starts at such an early age, it’s no wonder they emigrate here and sell bootleg copies of The Matrix on the sidewalk.


On Election Day last week, I opined that we might be a little too accommodating of folks who didn’t speak English since signs directing people to ‘Vote Here’ were also in English, Spanish, Korean and Chinese.
Today I came across graffiti designed to inform me where Ely was. Where Ely was happens to be a subway platform. Hardly an achievement on the scale of, say, Mount Everest. And since I happened to be there too it wasn’t all that impressive.
But what struck me was that Ely chose to deliver his message in two languages. Presumably so everyone from a Wall Street banker to an illegal immigrant from Honduras could know where Ely once was.
I admire Ely’s gusto. I guess there’s no stopping the multilingual juggernaut.