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“So the Death Star is the woman?” Sam asked.

“Yes!Finally!Someone else finally gets it.I’ve been trying to say that for half an hour,” the stripper said.She had to be a stripper.I had been passively sitting at a table in the back room of the Laff Stop, sipping on a Jameson and watching this nuclear winter of a conversation for the past twenty minutes.

I have to admit, I was not really a Joan fan. In fact, her “can we talk” shrillness used to make my shoulders tense when I would hear it. And don’t get me wrong, I’m all for brash, uncouth, in-your-face behavior. As a former New Yorker, even her accent didn’t get under my skin. I think it was a quiet desperation that I intoned, something underneath her poking fun at celebrities, bristling at housewives, and most of all, her self-deferential slant that gave me pause. I just really never tuned into her Late Show debacle, or her Joan Rivers Show on television, though it ran for five years. And then, just when I might have given her more credit, she started the heinous mother-daughter alliance for which she has become known since the 1990s: the red carpet pre-award hosts for cable channels like E! Entertainment and TV Guide Channel (yes, imagine that, even they have a channel!). There has also been several guest spots on TV shows I don’t watch, like Nip/Tuck, QVC Shopping Network, and Celebrity Apprentice in which her daughter, Melissa, appeared in the same season and lost. Joan went on to win. During all this time, Joan has had some, shall we say, adjustments, in the surgical arena. Whether you endorse this practice or not, it’s difficult not to judge someone that you only know through a TV image or in a magazine, and they appear so completely altered. Like a puppet, a shard of one’s former self.

My office smells like old snacks.

Apparently, this is what happens when you trade your corner office for a minivan.  I really miss the old digs: the custom-ordered swivel chair; the view down 56th Street from 40 floors up; space to “think.”  And all of this guarded by an assistant who sat outside my door ready to intercept anyone who might try to enter the inner sanctum uninvited.  It was luxurious, organized…peaceful.

In 2005 I got a phone call to come to Shreveport and kill a dragon.Dragon slaying is a metaphor I adopted long ago – the origins of which are probably best saved for another story.Still, this was a mission.My friend Rachel ran the comedy club there at the time and thought I should come in for a particular weekend to “help her solve a problem”.She had called me more than a few times about it, actually, but that was all the information she would give me.

Thank you, President Crow, for that generous introduction. I know we just met on the steps leading up to this stage, but you pretty much nailed me: I am a 30-year-old guy with an MFA who works with computers and constantly daydreams about having webbed fingers and toes for reasons he wishes not to disclose.

MADRID, SPAIN-

Two months ago over a hundred cows were set up one night in Spain capital. Just like that. One day the corners are simple, everyday Spanish-capital corners and the next, every other one is adorned with a myriad  of fiberglass cows painted every sort of design and color imaginable.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was a maleficent ex-Vegas lounge singer with an overactive middle finger that ultimately caused him to get kicked off SurvivorProject Runway, and Dancing With The Stars all in the same day.

August 12, 2008

Mr. Statler and Mr. Waldorf

Shady Sunrise Retirement Home & Gardens
Room 22
Terrace Pass Road
Naples, Florida 34102

Dear Mr. Statler and Mr. Waldorf:

This letter is to serve notice of your eviction as residents of Shady Sunrise Retirement Home & Gardens.

 If you’ve spoken with me over the past several years, then you would know that I care deeply for the Cleveland Cavaliers franchise.

It’s just one of the many annoying things about me: I totally dig NBA basketball and I obsess over the Cavs.

That’s all I’ll really say about that because I don’t want to scare anyone away who isn’t a sports fan.

Andy Johnson introduced me to Dorothy last year.

Dorothy and I have recently become good friends.

She asked me if I wanted to try speed dating and I agreed.

After three hellish summers in Madrid, I decided to do something different.

I went back home.

Home is Phillipsburg; Ohio, a suburb of a suburb of Dayton, which is famous for the birthplace of aviation (the Wright brothers grew up here), the Dayton Peace Accords (Serb-Croat conflict) and Guided by Voices.

CASCAIS, PORTUGAL-

Hey everyone, guess what?

I’ve got my period.

Yippee!