& Recently . . .

Celebrate Just One Day out of Life! You're Invited to Rocco Schlomo's Bar Mitzvah

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen in:“Mary-Kate & Ashley Turn 18!” by Josh Abraham

David Foster Wallace and Gromit by Michael Ward

The Pope and the Lawyer: What Befell Them upon Entering Heaven by Amy Shearn

Dear Sandra Bernhard by Brian Willems

Polish Fact

Gross Domestic Product:
$373.2 billion (2002 est.)

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Mein Milchshake holt alle Jungen zum Yard.
My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.

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June 21, 2004

Celebrate Just One Day out of Life! You're Invited to Rocco Schlomo's Bar Mitzvah

June 18, 2004


from: Gene Morgan [genemorgan@mac.com]
to: Y.P.R. [ypr@yankeepotroast.org]
subject: Y.P.R., more like stupid-P.R.


What the hell do you think you are doing?

You think you're better than me, huh?


We'll just see about that.

I have all kinds of wonderful products that go far beyond the snug little world you live in. Have you ever seen a donkey mask? Soap that smells like a mint julep? Old briefs that are way too big for me (fat period)?

And speaking of underwear, I bet you call your undershirt a "wife-beater".


I call mine a "wife-lover" because I love wives.

And adultery is so superior to abuse.

Go sex yourself,
Gene Morgan

June 14, 2004

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen in:“Mary-Kate & Ashley Turn 18!”

: Happy birthday, Mary-Kate!
: I’m Ashley, you stupid head.
: Wait, I thought I was Ashley!
: You dyed your hair brown to tell us apart.
: Oh yeah, I forgot! See, when I look at you, I can’t see my hair, so that’s why I mix us up.
: Now I’m confused.
: So am I!
: My head hurts when I talk to you.
: So does mine!
: I totally can’t tell us apart now.
: Oh my God, me neither!
: I can’t believe we’re finally eighteen.
: I feel like a grown-up!
: I feel the same.
: Oh, my God, me too! What should we do first?
: That guy from Maxim’s been calling for days.
: We can vote!
: I think we’re supposed to inherit some money or something. I saw a headline in The Post.
: We can watch R-rated movies! We can get tattoos! We can buy cigarettes! We can join the army!
: I think you should.
: It’s too bad we can’t buy cocaine until we’re 21.
: I think you’ve got a learning disability and an eating disorder.
: What would all the grown-ups do tonight?
: Mom and Dad are watching “Deadwood.”
: Ooh, I like cowboys! Let’s watch, let’s watch! I’m a cowgirl! Moo!
: I'm surprised that you've managed to survive this long without being eaten by predators.
: Shut up, Mary-Kate! You’re retarded!
: You’re Mary-Kate!
: No, you are!
: I hate you.
: No, you are!
: Shush, “Deadwood”’s starting.
: Cocksucker motherfucker eat a bag of shit goddamn douchebag suck your mother’s tit.
: This adult world frightens me.
: Me too.

MK&A: Who Played Whom?

[Ashley | Mary-Kate]

New York Minute:
Jane | Roxy

The Challenge:
Lizzie | Shane

When in Rome:
Leila | Charli

Getting There:
Taylor | Kylie

Holiday in the Sun:
Alex | Madison

“Mary-Kate and Ashley in Action!”:
Special Agent Amber | Special Agent Misty

“So Little Time”:
Chloe | Riley

“Winning in London”:
Riley | Chloe

Our Lips Are Sealed:
Ashley/Abby/Andrea | Mary Kate/Maddy/Karla

Switching Goals:
Emma | Samantha

Passport to Paris:
Allyson | Melanie

Billboard Dad:
Emily | Tess

“Two of a Kind”:
Ashley | Mary-Kate

It Takes Two:
Alyssa | Amanda

How the West Was Fun:
Jessica | Susie

Double, Double, Toil and Trouble:
Lynn/Agatha | Kelly/Sofia

To Grandmother’s House We Go:
Julie | Sarah

“2002 Daytime Emmy Awards”:
Nominee | Seat filler

[Source: IMDb]*

* Interesting Footnote

The IMDb is unable to tell them apart; the individual pages for Ashley and Mary-Kate both use the same head shot:

From left, Ashley and Mary-Kate. Possibly.

P.S. Mary-Kate is bespectacled.

June 09, 2004

David Foster Wallace and Gromit

Gromit sits in an old armchair knitting a scarf with a bone pattern on it. David Foster Wallace sits in a second old armchair reading the Evening Post, ironically. His facial expression can best be described as ‘withering neutrality.’ Quaint-sounding music is tinkling out of a quaint-looking radio in a not un-quaint sort of way.

D. F. Wallace: And but so I think I’ll go get some cheese, Gromit.

Gromit: . . .

Gromit raises eyebrows as if to say, “Oh, will you?”

D. F. Wallace: Yes, indeed, Gromit. It’s time for cheese. And not cheese in, like, the capital C Cheese kind—the kind that you’d expect to find in some farcically smelling fromagerie on the left bank of the Seine about two clicks east of the Sorbonne on a rainy Sunday that seems to encapsulate the entire history of French intellectualism [sic] —but more of like some good old-fashioned American über-processed cheddar that is almost less cheese than just plain representation of the entire super-structure of American culture.

Gromit: . . .

Gromit lowers one eyebrow as if to say, “I understand your unnecessarily esoteric point, and I hope you’ll bring me some of this cheese.”

D.F. Wallace clumsily exits the room and enters the kitchen, walking almost how one would expect a loose glob of protoplasm, or even simple clay, to walk, if one were inclined to think about such things.

Gromit: . . .

Gromit blinks several times while continuing to knit.

D. F. Wallace returns to the living room, stopping in the doorframe.

D. F. Wallace: Gromit, we have no cheese! Is this really a state of affairs, i.e., that is, cheeselessness, that we want to continue in our refrigerator, and but when there’s a pantry full of crackers of varying sorts (e.g., for example, Ritz, Melba Toast, Wheat Thins, Saltines, Oyster Crackers, Stoned Wheat Thins, as well as, maybe, circa a half dozen-ish other assorted generic brands of crackers)?

Gromit: . . .

Gromit raises other eyebrow as if to say, “I am impressed by your ability to use redundant forms of speech in an attempt to sound hiply colloquial, as well as your ability to enumerate unnecessarily long lists of items, and I agree that we should go get some cheese.”

D. F. Wallace puts on a British-looking cap in a manner that might or might not be construed as deeply ironic, grabs his wallet, and heads for the door.

Gromit puts down needles and follows D.F. Wallace to door.

D. F. Wallace: Gromit, it’s raining. Raining, and with the rain coming down hard enough such that the arcs of the droplets of good old double-H, single-O are derivable from a parabolic function that, if someone had actually computed it out properly, and if that someone also happened to be one of the world’s few experts in the entirely-too-undeveloped field of Mathematical Athletic Analysis, would prove mind-bendingly close to the same function used to map out an above-average topspin lob down the baseline. And but perhaps we should wait until this rain’s poured itself out.

Gromit: . . .

Gromit furrows both eyebrows as if to say, “I was beginning to get worried you would not make your obligatory references to math and tennis, and I agree that it is not worth facing this merely for cheese.”

D. F. Wallace: Yes, Gromit. The cheese will wait. Cheese, after all, is an extraordinarily patient comestible.

D.F. Wallace closes door, takes off possibly-ironic cap, returns to reading in old armchair.

Gromit returns to knitting.

D. F. Wallace: . . .

Gromit: . . .

D. F. Wallace: And but so I guess it’s about time for bed for me, Gromit. Think I’ll just go and fire up the old toothbrush and gant de toilette and then call it a night. Strangely, this whole day has had an odd ‘Yo no se que’ feel to it. Yet despite my pangs of saudade for the un-procured cheese, it’s been an overall-good-ish, tempus fugit-y kind of day. Anyway, goodnight.

Gromit furrows both eyebrows deeply as if to say, “I am totally unimpressed by your extraneous use of foreign words and phrases that you never bother translating, and goodnight.”

The End.

June 04, 2004

The Pope and the Lawyer: What Befell Them upon Entering Heaven


Herman Melville Tells a Joke


From Webster's Dictionary:


  1. a person who has been specially trained in the law, especially one whose profession is advising others in matters of law or representing them in lawsuits.

  2. in zoology, (a) the black-necked stilt; (b) the burbot; (c) the bowfin.

  3. the thorny stem of a bramble or brier.


  1. the bishop of Rome; the head of the Roman Catholic Church.

  2. a small fish of the perch family.


First thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.
--William Shakespeare
Henry VI, Part the Second

Chapter I:

The Sand Bar

SOME years ago—never mind how long precisely—having nothing much to do, and a few coins in my pocket, I thought it not imprudent to visit one of those watering holes frequented by men of all occupations in the dusky hours ulterior to the day’s toils. The groggery I have in mind was dubbed, then as now and, it is not unlikely, for all perpetuity, ‘The Sand Bar.’ Towards the end of the last century, or then not as infrequently as now, it was the custom of such men, after a mug or two of grog, to regale all around with tales of glory and revenge; boastings of conquests both monetary and carnal; to relate in addition, often, a witticism; a gag; a jest; in short, to tell a joke. How then did this follow? Was it the grog and dim lighting that made this particular jape so amusing? No. I shall relate it to you now. For what mirth! What gaiety this particular quip inspired in all of us present! Let us hope that I can recall each of the amusing details.

Chapter II:

The Elevator

IMPRIMIS: The pope and a lawyer were riding an elevator to heaven.

So the young fellow leaning ’crost the bar informed us; so we were forced to accept. It may seem improbable in the extreme. Whither the men had expired, the fellow knew not; nor would he reveal the moniker of the unfortunate lawyer, or indeed which pope was the one of which he spoke. O! ye whose dead lie buried beneath the green grass; ye grieving lawyer’s widow, ye suff’ring masses of Rome—how much was lost on this day! It needs scarcely be told, with what feelings, we men strained to hear the continuation of the fellow’s tale.

He guzzled the remainder of his transforming brew and spake these words: ‘The pope and the lawyer, riding the elevator to heaven, encountered a great many angels, who rushed around the lawyer in astonishment and glee, welcoming him with some fervor!’

O ho—how I rejoiced at the news. For the lawyer’s lot is not always so pleasant.

Chapter III:

The Lot of the Lawyer

THAT for hundreds of years—perhaps thousands—the lawyer has found himself butt of most unsympathetic jokes, the target of ridicule and even hatred; and that some of this derision is perhaps unfair, the lawyer’s detestability a myth, as a blond woman’s diminished intelligence, or a Polack’s preternatural innocence; inveracities that jokes will have us believe—that all this should persevere, despite the good that lawyers perform—this is surely a noteworthy thing; indeed, a quagmire.

For though lawyers constituted a goodly proportion of the signers of the Declaration of Independence; though our dashing President Lincoln, for one, was first and foremost a lawman; though the profession of law has provided us with affecting and exciting capers oft recounted in print; though they are a personable, benignant, and civic-minded group, my neighbor for one being a lawyer and a man of most estimable virtue; yet for all these accumulated honours, there yet lurks in the profession of law something which strikes panic and distrust in the hearts of men. To be sure, the Pope and his Catholic brethren find themselves much abused by jibes in these times; but that must need be remarked upon in subsequent chapters.

Chapter IV:


THE fellow continued with his joke. A great roar of merriment swelled throughout the bellows of the bar; his voice rose and he cried (I do not pretend to quote; I too had been drinking the grog): ‘The pope was much put out by the angels’ dismissal of him, and sadly passed along through the gates of Heaven.’ To think of the pope, shoulders sunk ’neath holy vestments; to think then that he should be greeted with nary a fanfare, nary a ‘Good pope, jolly to see you!’ from the foolish angels. It put me, then as now, into a philosophical bent of mind. For that a man may toil and fret, may devote himself to his God and his people, only to be overlooked upon entering Paradise. Ah, Heaven! Ah, humanity!

But our fellow continued: ‘Then old St. Peter came and draped his arm across the Pope’s stooped shoulders.’ (Good St. Peter—curse us that had doubted him!) ‘ ‘Do not worry, my good man,’ he said to him, ‘It is only that the angels so rarely get to see lawyers.’ ’

Here, then, was the punch line; and O! how we laughed.


June 01, 2004

Dear Sandra Bernhard

Dear Ms. Bernhard,

Remember when Slavenka Drakulić’s Divine Hunger played in New York for a week, to near full houses at a theatre below 14th Street? The night I went, I was in the second row. After taking out my Times to cushion the blow of the wood seat I saw you walk up the aisle to wherever you were sitting. You were alone. I think it was you, anyway.

In the play, a couple makes love three times, chasing each other round the edges of the sand-strewn stage as foreplay, pushing themselves off walls and stepping on half-buried plates. The heat and strength and speed and danger of the play were equal to your own, as you displayed in attending the play by yourself: not talking to anyone about it during the performance; not laughing with anyone when, in a moment of strained back-arching, a dog outside the theatre cried out with love pangs; not taking hold of anyone’s hand in delight or disgust while the woman ate her murdered lover in the last act. All this you did with no one, and yet I could hear you cheering loudest at the end.

And then, I like Italo Calvino’s books but had always been afraid to try Why Read the Classics? I thought it would be long and boring, but it was the opposite: Calvino redefines a classic throughout his essay, eventually coming up with a book, any book, that you come back to, that you read again, that teaches you something new, and that brings something with it when you reread it, a wagonload of contextual shadows. He says that each person has his or her own classics, and he describes a man he knew who couldn’t stop relating things he saw to The Pickwick Papers, who couldn’t stop making Pickwickian remarks on the contemporary Italy around him, a man who could have alone carried Dickens into the 21st century.

I’m writing you these things because I don’t want you to be still frustrated about your cancelled series on A&E. I think we tend to find comfort in the great rotations of new car models and home-cinema extras; our daily rhythm of work, death, feeding and sex. While you were applauding I looked down and saw my flared jeans and Pumas, and you reminded me that true revolution can only spring from the single cataclysmic person, the single asteroid hurtling towards Earth, the last word on a page, a single person saving Dickens, or you attending the theatre alone.

All the best,
Brian Willems