Friday, March 27, 2009

Slaughterhouse 13


THIS WEEK'S QUESTION: Should Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back" be considered a feminist anthem?

I’m not qualified to answer this, as I’m as capable of speaking for feminism as I am for speaking on behalf of African-Americans or astronauts. I may have opinions, but it doesn’t necessarily mean I’m at all qualified to utter them. Then again, you’re at my eponymously named blog and may have been directed here by my eponymously named Facebook page, personal website, email address, so you’re well aware that my opinions, no matter how unqualified, get uttered whether they make a lick of sense or not.

So here’s my opinion, and you’re aware of where to throw the tomatoes.

But this requires me to break down the song. And I’m tired of the song. Still. And it’s been SEVENTEEN YEARS. But the point of the Slaughterhouse is punishment, so give me five minutes to wade into it again.

With regard to Sir Mix-A-Lot personally, the first song I knew him for was “Beepers” which used the voice recording of the SkyPager announcement, and “My Hoopty” which was a hilarious video about his horrible giant old car. This was 1988. So yes, I was one of the handful of white people, most of us MTV and Box viewers, who knew who he was before everyone was drawling, “Only if she’s five-three.” There was very little that was pro-feminist about rap music in 1989, from the lyrics (there’s a whole bunch of cassettes in a box in my closet that have a lot of lyrics that I’ve memorized, tucked in a file in my brain entitled “never say that out loud”) to the choreography (strut, pose, turn, strut, pose, grab crotch, repeat), so I think I’m on safe ground asserting that if Sir Mix-A-Lot made a feminist anthem, he sure as hell didn’t mean it.

I mean, for Christ’s sake, the biggest butt in the video is his. Unquestionably.

I imagine people trying to assert that this is a feminist anthem are imagining themselves in the shoes of Sir Mix-A-Lot, complaining about “the beanpole dames in the magazines” and not as one of the people in the song’s opener, imitating Dana Carvey, David Spade, and Chris Farley as Gap sales ”women” complaining that the woman’s too “black.” (She does! Swear to God! I just listened to it!) But if the feeling amongst some of these women who’ve adopted this tune is that there are certain chalk lines that are free to be crossed because this gentleman might find it appealing – um, you best reconsider.

Such as? (I can hear the knives being sharpened. Stay calm.)

First off, I’m polite and will not be staring at your ass; please refrain from printing anything on it. I read 99.97% of what’s placed in front of me, including nutrition labels and soda cans (from memory: “Phenylketonurics: Contains phenylalinine”), so why would you wear something reading BEBE or PINK? I can’t help it. It’s information. I must consume.

Segundo, I’m an endurance athlete, perfectly comfortable running down the street in Spandex – and you won’t see me in public without a shirt. There’s not a lot, but more than enough, skin left, and I’m quite certain you don’t want to see it. That’s an aesthetic consideration I make in a climate where temperatures reach 115. PLEASE don’t have the sort of body in a pair of low rise too small jeans in which the top of it looks like a soufflĂ© and expect me to keep from cringing. And ladies, this not a sexist pig gender thing. I've been at a Wal Mart in the summertime, I've seen unironic cutoff jeans, trucker hats, and beer bellies that should have their own ZIP code, and you don't want to see it either.

These are two teeny-tiny examples. A true feminist anthem would be something like Salt N Pepa’s “None of Your Business”. Look up the lyrics. It has nothing to do with the fact that they’re women, but I think this song makes the same point without the ultimate goal of being next to Sir Mix-A-Lot.

So ultimately, since the only thing it aspires to is Sir Mix-A-Lot casting a slightly wider net, my answer is “no, it shouldn’t.”

Writing Project Update

WEEKLY WORD COUNT: About 2000. We're making progress, but to make real progress you have to be awake. I wasn't for most of the earlier part of this week. There was some website redesign and a smallish music project.



THIS WEEK'S WINNER: "Should Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back" be considered a feminist anthem?"

This question has been kicking around the inbox repeatedly and, like Keanu Reeves in the Matrix, I was kind of glad to be avoiding it. But now, like the bartender in "Desperado", I'm going to get it worst of all. Oh well.

500 WORDS ON THIS TOPIC DUE BY: Midnight March 27/28.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Slaughterhouse 12

FINISHED: 11:00 PM with a significant break
Word Count: 2025

You had the chance to read what the race was like, and if you didn't, it's at During that recap I mentioned that a film crew was tracking my progress to put into a documentary. I gave them more photos when the asked for them around Christmas. In January they sent a link to the trailer for the film, and though I was told I was in it, this was my first chance to see it. I laughed as I realized that yes, I was in the last two seconds as they showed my
race finish.

Later that week, Lisa, who swims with the Masters group coached by the race director, heard they were looking to show the finished product at a movie theater. An online version of the movie was released and soon after I got the DVD that I ordered that incorporated my finish. This movie helped me realize why I was having tightening pain all through my chest after I finished; I knew that I shouted when I crossed the finish line but didn't realize that I was still screaming as I ran through the chute.

The date was March 19, with the movie being shown at Rave Motion Pictures and a party afterwards at Blue Martini. I sent the invite to everybody local and RSVP'd myself. Since I'd seen the movie, obviously I knew what to expect, but how often do you get to see yourself on a movie screen?

The weather had turned warmer, and I needed a new shirt; everything else was huge. I found a T-shirt that fit perfectly through the shoulders and looked good with slacks. It was Medium. My God, this day was going to be surreal.

After a brief workout I was on my way. I parked further away from the theater and walked through Town Square. When I got to the top of the ramp I saw there was a line for about 200 people. I saw Jenn and Ed about midway through the line; they had been wait-listed because the 350-seat theater had been sold out. I said Hi to them and cleared up where we could meet afterward. I walked in and looked for Mike and Lisa; there was a crowd of people around a card table. We eventually found each other.

Dave Scott was mingling with people at the front; we nodded and smiled at each other. I've seen him at Silverman events for years now, and I can't even bring myself to say three words to the guy. He's The Man. Not just as an expression, either, that's his nickname within the sport - "The Man." Six-time winner of Hawaii Ironman. I'm not fit to breathe the same air as him, because he could probably be using it more efficiently.

Spencer from New Momentum saw me waiting and came over to shake hands. He noticed I lost more weight; I thanked him for how everything was put together in the film. He scowled a little and said, "We made some changes. I'll get you a new one. One second." He ran over to the table and grabbed a DVD from the back. "New voiceover, some different cuts, and better titles." As someone who just spent the past month working on a movie about getting my head shaved, I smiled inside. I asked about the air date, and he said, "The programming director was supposed to tell me today. I should check my phone; he may have told me in the last hour. We were going to give out the date tonight."

At the card table, I gave my name to someone in a Silverman fleece vest. She smiled and said, "I recognized you when you came in." She gave me drink tickets and a bracelet. The gentleman in front of us got a card as they explained, "There's four rows reserved for VIPs. Hand your card to the lady in there and you'll be seated." Mike asked, "You're IN the movie. How are you not a VIP?"

We made our way to the theater, where Frank Lowery, the race director, greeted us at the door. He shook hands with me and said, "Young man." I first met Frank at an REI seminar about triathlon in 2005. That's where he said that when he was competing through the Southwest (among his opponents was the aforementioned Mr. Scott and Lance Armstrong) he had a year in which he competed in 19 races. Remember this the next time you want to call ME insane. Lisa introduced her husband Mike and we headed to our seats.

We went to the middle, about four rows from the back. A large title card was shown on the screen thanking the athletes, volunteers, sponsors and investors, from Frank and Meg Lowery. "That's why I'm not a VIP, Mike," I pointed out. "I'm not involved in getting the roads closed for this year's race."

A couple sat down next to us and started talking about triathlon. He looked over, said hello, and asked, "Did you do this race?" I smiled and nodded.

"Are you in the movie?"
"Kind of." I smiled. Lisa looked over and whacked me. "They interviewed him. He's in it."

Frank introduced himself, Dave Scott, the title sponsors, and the New Momentum producers, as well as the Town Square, Blue Martini, and Rave people who helped put this together. He also introduced the Challenged Athletes Foundation/Operation Rebound athletes, men who were injured in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan who did the race themselves or as part of a relay team were featured extensively in the movie. The lights dimmed and it was showtime.

I know you'll want to see this when it's broadcast, or you may have seen it already. so I can spare you the details. I told them about the weight I lost and how I try to jump over the finish line at the end of a race. They showed me at the expo, at the start, as I got out of the water, while I was running, and after the finish. All told I appear in about 2 minutes and 15 seconds of the movie. They were able to make out something coherent of what I was saying while I was delirious and while I'd had about five minutes notice that I was needed to tell my story. It was very well done. When I first appeared on the screen, Wendy, half of the couple seated next to me, looked at the screen, looked and pointed at me, elbowed her husband, seated next to me, who did the same thing. It was hilarious.

When the lights came up, a gentleman one row back saw when I looked over at Lisa. "That WAS you! Congratulations! What an accomplishment! That was great!" We shook hands with five or six other people and made our way down to the bottom, where we met up with Jen and Ed, who got seating. As we were leaving, six feet to my left, once again, it's Dave Scott, who narrated a lot of the cycling and also had his own story told along with his involvement in the race. We nod, we smile.

"Good show!" he said.
"Likewise!" I replied. A semblance of an actual conversation.

We all made our way to the exit. Mike was joking with me about signing autographs with a Sharpie marker. I stopped in the restroom before we headed to Blue Martini and had to hear from people by the sink. "Jumper!" I nodded. "You've lost more weight!" "I'll see you at the next place." I smiled. Through the lobby was the same thing - I was very acutely aware of people looking at me. The five of us caught up with each other and crossed the walkway to Blue Martini.

We made our way to a back room and took a seat at a reserved table where I could have my back to a wall. We had time to order drinks, and then I saw the CAF guys come over.

"There he is!" It was Captain Dave Rozell of Operation Rebound, along with Sam Silla and Andy Hatcher. We quickly made introductions and marveled at the movie and the course. I joked with them that "you all clobbered me - maybe next year I'll finish in daylight." They kept saying how different I looked and that my story was inspiring. I'm being told this by triathletes that are missing LIMBS.

Ten seconds later, I see Anthony Smith across from my table. I tell everyone that I had to say hello to him. We talked about how surreal it was to be in a movie and in VIP of a chock-full nightclub on a Thursday night; he told me he was impressed by the willpower to lose that much weight. Again, this is a man who completed a 1.2 mile swim without his right arm below the elbow, who's telling me, "I'm trying to quit smoking. I'm down to five a day, and it's just tough to beat, but I'll get there." I'm listening to him tell me this and it's all I can do not to shake my head. Here's his story (at

"In April 2004, Anthony took a direct hit from a rocket-propelled grenade. The missile went through his hip and stomach before it exploded, throwing him against a brick wall. Shrapnel took his arm. The enemy fired several rounds at his maimed body. He was put in a body bag before a nurse noticed air bubbles oozing through the blood."

People who go through that find what I do impressive? I wake up a little early and exercise. This man was one closed zipper away from death. The fact that he's willing to get in that water at all takes levels of courage and commitment that I can't even begin to imagine. And we were comparing workout plans. (He's a Pilates fan as well.)

Every five feet I was shaking hands with somebody new and hearing that I'd lost more weight, and they wanted to know if I was under 200 (closest I've gotten is 201.4) what my race schedule looked like, what a great story. I told people about running my first marathon this coming December and that I would be back for the Silverman half. I'm sure that I met the sponsors but I never got their names. I met with the PR director, who gave me about 10 drink tickets, several different women who said I had a very nice smile and that they'd been waiting to talk to me all night (who then started telling me about their boyfriends and husbands trying to get motivated to start exercising...I told you it was surreal) and then a round of shots with the Masters swim team. I walked to the bar in the midst of it; Frank saw I didn't have one and immediately handed it to me.

At the end of the night, I got to meet Oz Sanchez, who's also part of Operation Rebound. Oz completed the same distance I did, only much, much faster. He won a gold and a bronze medal in Beijing at the Paralympic cycling events. I pointed out that he got me by an hour or so when we raced. He laughed and said, "That's irrelevant. What you've done is really something. You're a totally different person!" I talked with the marketing director for the Challenged Athletes Foundation, and they told me about a race in La Jolla in October that I'll be considering.

After that I headed out. Have you ever wondered if all the crunches add up to anything? If you run in a circle or swim all those laps for any purpose greater than the next race, the next workout, the next weight plateau? Did you ever wonder what it would be like to have it all pay off at once? In my case, for one night (and depending on how often this screens on NBC Universal Sports, at other events in the future) it did. I got to spend the night in the company of great friends, athletes and heroes. It was better than I could have imagined.

I'll let you know when it's slated to air.

Writing Project Update

WEEKLY WORD COUNT: 500. (Children and allergies stunted my progress.)


NUMBER OF NEW SUGGESTIONS THIS WEEK: Just one from Ken, but I'm going with a special that I've been putting together today about last night's Silverman premiere party.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Slaughterhouse 11


“Go to a public place and describe the scene, but in so doing, turn it into a short piece of fiction.”

As a hobby, I run triathlons, and when the weather’s nice enough I get to train outside. Since I’m in Las Vegas, it can be nice a lot of the time. Since I’m also living in an economic war zone, I’m running through neighborhoods where a lot of Bad Things have happened.

The sky is huge here, disproportionate to reality, one huge blue sunny day after another. Some people attribute the sky being bigger out west to the wide open spaces of cowboy lore. The truth is the sky is bigger because there aren’t any trees. Palm trees and some others are planted, sure, but they came on a truck. Blue skies, sunny days, and awful news. I keep running.

I pass by a gentleman walking toward a construction site on some apartments. He’s got the work clothes, a hard hat, and the appearance of competence, and the job is about two blocks away. He’s drinking from a pint bottle of Seagram’s. It’s 9:30 in the morning. I keep running.

A grown man holds a cardboard sign advertising a $5.99 Recession Lunch Special at a tavern in the strip mall across the street. The level of responsibility for a job like this is akin to a bucket of sand, but they’re everywhere nowadays – selling computer repair, estate sales, used cars. I nod and smile slightly, and he seems embarrassed to nod back. I can see in his face that he’s not the type to be standing still at this hour. I keep running.

I finally get to the construction site, an uncharacteristic hive of activity. It appears to be condominiums on a piece of land that would normally support a single family home, but when they broke ground on this project a year ago, the only way they could justify the price of the land must have been to go multi-unit, stack ‘em up, great second home, practically a timeshare, come on out for your vacation, look at how this place has appreciated, you’d be an IDIOT not to buy here. The men working are moving at a clip that betrays their knowledge of their fates: the only reason they’re working on this job is the city is probably fining the daylights out of the developer who’d rather let the wood frame rot. When shoeboxes are going for Jello box prices, why live in a matchbox? So the men work on a building that no one will live in for a developer who can’t sell it to anyone to fulfill a loan to a bank that doesn’t want it in the first place. It’s a little like “It’s A Wonderful Life,” only there are lots of people who wish this had never happened. I keep running.

I pass by the grocery store, which still has a pretty good crowd of cars out front. The side shops are disappearing quickly as people recognize a sudden desire to do their own nails and don’t take their clothes to the dry cleaner as often. The grocery store’s parent company got absolutely hammered last year, because one of the things you notice quickly about living here is we don’t produce a goddamned speck of food locally, it all shows up by truck, and when gas prices doubled in two months they couldn’t raise prices fast enough. The stock boy grabbing carts looks older and more haggard than the usual occupant of that position; it doesn’t look like this is his only job. I keep running.

I turn the corner back into the residential neighborhood. There aren’t the stacks of “For Sale” signs that dotted the landscape last year, and the year before that, as boatloads of people did the Churn And Burn and went from house to house, cashing out, cashing in, getting space, but it’s very apparent that the Musical Chairs have come to a stop. Where you are, you are. What they bought it for, they won’t sell it for. They won’t even get close. If a buyer offered some people the chance to get back 60 percent of the 2005 value of their home they would have a hard time signing the paperwork before turning cartwheels – fully cognizant that it’s a six-figure loss. And either those “For Sale” signs got converted into new families, or – judging by the lawns and the keyboxes hung from the doorknobs, they didn’t. I keep running.

I come up on the remnants of a new subdivision, where I’m sure there’s a chipper agent inside. The signs that said “The Last 100 New Homes in Las Vegas” are gone, and while one remains promising a “105% Price Guarantee” I’m not really sure who’s dumb enough to believe that any more, and it looks as if work has stopped entirely at the edges of the lot. I wonder if the agent will still give me a free bottle of water like they did in the old days; it’s more likely I won’t be able to leave without presenting a drivers license. I keep running.

I turn another corner and can see the Strip. There are five or six tower cranes remaining, most of them at CityCenter, the project that is slated to open next year with an additional 10,000 rooms of hotel occupancy while MGM Mirage stock continues its gentle decline towards bankruptcy. They are taking job applications on their website. You are allowed to apply for one, and only one, position in a resort that’s expected to offer thousands of jobs. And if everything goes according to schedule, it won’t be open until the end of the year.

And I look at that massive building, filled with construction workers who will have no other project to go to once their work is done, building condos that no one wants to buy, and a hotel for people who don’t want to stay here any more and couldn’t afford it if they did, to gamble with money they don’t have and drive home using gasoline they can’t afford, and I wonder how much worse it can get before it gets any better.

For a couple seconds, I stop running.

Writing Project Update

WEEKLY WORD COUNT - Around 500. There simply wasn't a lot of writing this week; I've been putting together a video of all of the St. Baldrick's stuff. If a picture's worth a thousand words, I've got 15 minutes in the tank. (One minute takes about an hour to put together.)

GRATUITOUS PLUG: Donate to the Space Monkeys at . Tomorrow Ken Faikus wraps up Team Space Monkeys' shave-o-rama with a scalping in Naperville. Next week will feature a video detailing our experiences. I'll make sure to post a link here.



THIS WEEK'S QUESTION: From fellow Space Monkey Ken Faikus:

"Go to a public place and describe the scene, but in so doing, turn it into a short piece of fiction."

500 words due by 12 AM 3/13-14. Off we go!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Slaughterhouse 10 - The Auction Edition

START TIME: January 16
END TIME: February 27

Ladies and Gentlemen,

First off, my profound gratitude and thanks to Jenn and Ed Brusven, who donated $76.66 for each team member of the Space Monkeys, which won them the Slaughterhouse auction whether they read it or not.

I was talking to Jenn about her stepson Jonathan a month or so back, and he's in his first year at college. He's a bright kid and a nice guy. It looked as if he would be headed on a date soon, and Jenn asked if I had any advice on social interaction. I thought about it, let the ideas swim around in my head, and over the past few months came up with an interesting rough guide. A portion of it is excerpted for you here.


A date that you just sort of decide on isn’t really a date (like when you are working on a Physics midterm and say, “Want to grab some ice cream?"). That’s friends getting together. If this is an actual date, you are going to have to do some preparation for it. The standard questions in journalism are Who What When Where Why, right? Let’s ask them here:


We went over this [in a previous section]. You have to take care of that yourself.


What are you going to do? You’re the one asking, and the words “or something” or “I don’t know” should not be part of your vocabulary. If you are asking her to dinner, have a place in mind. If you’re asking her to a movie, have some idea of a movie you’d like to see. Better yet, know what she likes to eat and what movies she wants to see and set up something you both can agree with. If you had nothing in common you wouldn’t have talked to each other enough to go on a date, right? Well, there’s obviously something you both like to do. Do that.

If there is any way that you can prepare in advance for what you’re about to do, do it. Call the restaurant and see if they take reservations, whether it’s a week in advance or same day. Have you ever gone someplace and seen lots of frustrated people standing in line, particularly on a Friday or Saturday night? See up above, where you didn’t say, “I dunno, what do you want to do?” These are people who you get to walk right past because they saved you a table, because you planned ahead. (You will also see these people in the movie lobby waiting for the next show as you walk out of yours, because by the time they left the sold out restaurant to go to the sold out movie, they had to wait some more.)

As for that movie, you can buy tickets online or in advance at the theater. Once you know that plans will work out, you want to take out anything that will make you wait. There are a couple reasons for this. One, you have enough to think about once you’re there. Two, the fact that you’re willing to do this kind of planning shows you’re considerate for your date’s feelings. You want her to be comfortable with you, and if everything is structured well and you’re not flipping out because nobody’s running late, you will each have fun. I mean, if she’s wearing high heels and you physically have to run or you’ll miss the start of the film, you messed up, and tomorrow when she’s squinting as she puts on a pair of socks, you will be thought of in ways not conducive to a positive experience. Get ready and all this can be avoided.

Give yourself two hours for a standard dinner if you’re within walking distance of the movie. This way you won’t be throwing cash at a very busy waiter so you can sprint to the theater, like we already said, a bad idea.

As for another “what,” if you’re going someplace insanely nice, get appointments to get your hair cut, your clothes pressed and dry-cleaned, anything that’s going to make you look sharp. Luck favors the prepared.


Suggest a time. Make sure you have given her sufficient notice. You are a gentleman and do not ask a woman on a Saturday night dinner date after Thursday. If this woman’s interesting she’s probably got a life and weekends are starting to get in order well before that. You are asking for the companionship of someone intriguing for a significant amount of time. You have to beat out reading, movies, raspberry sorbet, friends, talking on the phone, and Nintendo Wii. This matters.


This obviously depends on the other questions. If you’re doing dinner and a movie, your best bet is to get yourself dinner near the movie so that you can walk from one to the other. Dinner will not start without you but the movie sure will. (And if you are running late, there’s ten minutes of previews, and you already got your tickets, right?)

Go to a restaurant where she will feel comfortable and she can feel like she’s on a date. Stay away from anywhere with fluorescent lighting or the ability to order out of a clown’s mouth. No pressure, but if you screw this part up she’s perfectly capable of ordering McNuggets and a side salad and staying home next time.

A good date restaurant will have dark lighting (it’s more flattering), a view, a menu, and a lot of other couples. You don’t want your conversation to be shouted at each other and then spend most of your time in whispered silence at the movie theater, do you?

Stay away from places that’ll have screaming children. Murphy’s Law says you’ll be seated next to one. While you’re welcome to go to any one of a zillion chain restaurants, you already know the following about them: one, they’re loud, they aren’t comfortable and they don’t take reservations. So why would you go there? A lot of people do because they know they’re going to find some food they already know and they like. They choose boring and familiar over different and cool. Well, we can fix that.

The good news is you’re good with a computer. You’re reading this and you’ve probably sent email to your date and you’ve got the Web down. Good. What you want to do is head for a website called

Opentable does restaurant reviews in lots of major cities. You can check availability and book reservations online. This means that on the computer, with one window on Opentable and another on movie reservations, you can get the whole evening planned out with no phone calls. Opentable has their users rate restaurants on ambience, food, service, everything. Use them to help with ideas. If they don’t have what you like, in Las Vegas you can check out or for their dining reviews. And, if you want to be frightened beyond reason, check out the Restaurant Report every Wednesday in the Review-Journal, where you’ll find lively descriptions of restaurant health code violations, usually including stuff like “Rats mating in ice machine.”

It’s a first date, so I don’t care if she’s the owner’s daughter. Stay away from restaurants where she has worked, knows the staff, has friends who will comp you, anything like that. This is an audition and there’s only one person whose opinion matters. You are not here to perform for her friends and family. This is business.

Know if she has any food allergies, if she is a vegetarian and what kind, will be maimed by peanuts (and if she is, stay the hell away from a Thai or barbecue joint; sometimes there’s peanut butter in the sauce). You do not need to go full-on “it’s a surprise, don’t say anything” (and I would advise against doing this on a first date, there’s enough intrigue and mystery already).

Restaurants that are smart enough to sign on with an online reservation service are also usually smart enough to have their own websites. Check it out for pictures, menus, directions-all the stuff you need to know to save you time and aggravation. When you look at that menu, you can learn things like what the house specialty is, how spicy you can expect the preparation to be, and you can pick out one or two items you’d like and one or two you could suggest. If she says “I don’t know what I want,” sometimes she’s saying, “I don’t want to pick something that’s more than you wanted to spend, so if you decide I won’t feel obligated or guilty.”

When you’re checking out those menus, keep the following in mind. Some women barely eat on dates. She’s as nervous as you are and particularly if the conversation’s good, neither one of you are going to eat very much. It’s just how it goes. So you don’t want to go anyplace violently expensive, particularly on a first date, because the next big event date will be MORE violently expensive-er and neither of you may eat. Give yourself room to step up.

Also some places have live music and it’s fantastic (if there’s a piano bar a room over, it gives the room just the right amount of buzz) but you won’t think so if you’re seated three feet from the left speaker of a zydeco band and any attempt at conversation is shouted at the top of your lungs. Know what’s up beforehand.


Because there’s a talent to being socially adept. It’s a skill. It’s a part of life that a lot of people aren’t good at, so when you are, it’s fun. And I’m going to tell you this here and then just leave the whole topic alone: you’re buying dinner, nothing else. If you’re thinking I spent this and I should get this, grow the hell up. There’s a name for that kind of transaction. It’s illegal in Clark County. Let’s move on.

Writing Project Update

WEEKLY WORD COUNT - Around 1000. There was NO WAY that I was going to get this knocked out this week. There's simply too much other stuff going on.

GRATUITOUS PLUG: Tomorrow night I'll be bald! Donate to the Space Monkeys at

Like I promised last week, this week's Slaughterhouse topic would go to the highest bidder. That high bidder was Jen and Ed Brusven, and I've actually worked up something kind of special. The actual 5000-word piece is headed their way, but I'll give you an excerpt of it here.

RESPONSES TO LAST WEEK'S ITEM: Four, including the one that counted - an additional $50 from Pop! Thanks, Dad!

NUMBER OF NEW SUGGESTIONS THIS WEEK: None - I'd put up the "For Sale" sign.


The last time I talked to Jen she mentioned there was a chance her stepson Jonathan would be attending a dance and headed out on a date. She asked if I had any advice for a bright college freshman headed on a date. I did - twelve pages' worth. A portion of that is coming right up.