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Friday, September 30, 2005

I give you ... The Book of Virtues

Former education secretary Bill Bennett made headlines today after saying on his radio show that "if you wanted to reduce crime ... you could abort every black baby in this country and your crime rate would go down." He then went on to say that he's against abortion, and that's why that would be wrong.

Bennett's comments might sound shocking, but we liberals have no excuse for being surprised -- it's important to read up on your enemies. Remember, The Book of Virtues was a bestseller! And as anyone who bothered to read it would have known , "Racial Extermination" was chapter five, right after "Honesty," and before "Not Taking It In the Ass."

(Not unrelatedly, I auditioned today for a touring comedy show called "Laughing Liberally").

wet and loquacious

For your edification: Amazon sells a Top 100 SAT Words Shower Curtain.

The product description reads:
A simple, effective, and stress free learning tool for your children taking the SATs, allowing them to learn the top 100 most common SAT vocabulary words while taking a shower. Increase vocabulary and help them become a better reader, writer and speller.
Bonus points for anyone who can identify the two or more grammar errors that appear in this passage.

Update: Diopter said in the comments that "a better reader, writer and speller" should be "better readers, writers and spellers." True, true. But there is another version of the same error also contained in the passage. To wit:

"...allowing them to learn ... while taking a shower."

Just as the first error implies that all the children will become a single reader, writer, and speller, this error implies that all of the children will be taking a single shower. And not just in the sense that the children must shower incestuously, but also in the sense that each child may use the shower curtain during only a single shower; no matter how much the siblings enjoy showering together, they may not repeat the experience, regardless of the merits of improving one's SAT score.

I love my job.

Jen

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back to the hive

This evening on the 6 train I sat next to a lady who was reading the Times' style section with the spelling bee article in which I appeared.

She was right next to me, almost touching me with a picture of me. Hott! I think she skipped the spelling bee article to read the article about laser beard sculpturing.

Derelicte!

At one point, I had some jokes in my comedy act about moving to New York, including a bit about homeless people, and how it would really help if they were cuter, because that's what matters for endangered animals.

In the process of making that point, I commented "When I first moved to New York, I was really disturbed by all the homeless people everywhere. But then I went through a six-month Empathy Adjustment Period, and now I could give a shit like the rest of you."

I like making people feel bad for laughing.

Piled in my to-do pile is an article I tore out of Big News, that newspaper that homeless people sell on the subway for $1. Persuaded by the "this gives us a job and keeps us from asking for handouts" speech, I bought one, and was absolutely confounded by an article therein.

The article, by Toby Van Buren, is entitled "A Guide to Homelessness." Here is the introduction:
When I was suddenly homeless in Mamaroneck, New York, in April, 1996, I knew that I had to quickly get out of there -- it's no place to be homeless!" New York is where I knew I had to go, the homeless capital of the world, where you can blend in with people & get things you need. Even though I had my last $600 or so on me, I wanted to get where I knew I'd eventually have the basic necessities when my money ran out.
Now, I know conservatives are busy ragging on gays and Muslims right now, but during various periods (for instance, the Reagan years), conservatives have been preoccupied with vilifying the poor. Mr. Van Buren -- who goes on to talk about living on the streets for five years because he "hated the idea of shelters," and instead loitering at McDonald's and Barnes & Noble, and using the internet in public libraries -- is just giving them ammunition. He seems to be saying that the more social services we provide, the more marginally poor (and, apparently, lazy) people we will attract to homelessness!

He had only his "last $600," and his solution was to become homeless? I mean, I know plenty of comedians who get by, non-homelessly, without ever having $600 on them at one time, except perhaps the day before the rent is due. Does it occur to them to live in the park? Park-bench living makes it difficult to keep the corners of one's headshots from crinkling. So, no, those down to their "last $600" crash on a friend's couch, or rent a room in a bad part of town, or move back in with relatives. $600 is not an insubstantial sum of money. I moved to New York with less.

Mr. Van Buren's article contained a passage about the value of spending time in nature, as public parks are free and "very healing." So, someone down to his last $600 (in a town that almost certainly offered more reasonably-priced housing than New York) was so attracted to park space and free food and blankets (with no job-hunting requirements) from charitable organizations that he actually elected to move to the city and become indefinitely homeless.

Good job, New York! You have made homelessness aspirational.

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how to get a (theoretical) bargain

Last week, I used some of my egg money to get in on the very last day of a deal wherein one may purchase a computer and an iPod at the same time, and thereby receive a $179 rebate. My items have arrived, and I now have an excessive quantity of technology.

I figured that, between the rebate and the sale of my old iBook, I would recoup a substantial portion of the costs of this purchase, but it turns out my old iBook (which is a 2003 model, outwardly identical to the new iBook) is only worth about $350.

I discovered, however, that my new iBook, for whatever software/OS related reason, has the added benefit of being compatible with this essay-grading system that my job uses to allow its teachers to make extra money by grading student essays online. We make $1/essay, averaging about $20-30/hour.

So, I did the math -- If I sell my old iBook for $350, sell my old digital voice recorder (which has been replaced by my iPod-plus-accessories) for $30, and get my $179 rebate, I will only need to grade 1,072 essays to break even!

I hope a lot of wealthy kids sign up for SAT classes.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

bobby and I are, ephemerally, one square inch of major news media

The photo from the print edition of today's Times appears (in a tiny, cropped version) on the front page of nytimes.com right now! Pick up the print edition to see the whole thing. And here, preserved for posterity:

click for article

See also: I Really Did Stay Up Until After Midnight..., How to Attend the Spelling Bee, and New York Times picture.

How to Attend the Spelling Bee

Lots of website visitors today! You guys sure know how to google! Some of you, though, have asked questions about competing in the spelling bee. This is simple to do, open to all, and free (please tip your bartender graciously).

There is one regular season bee left, this upcoming Monday, October 3. (After that is the finals on October 17th, and then season three will begin November 14th). To attend, just show up at Pete's Candy Store at 7pm to be safe, 7:15 at the latest, to sign the list. We are at Pete's Candy Store, 709 Lorimer St. in Williamsburg (map).

On alternate Mondays, when there is no spelling bee, you can come to my free comedy show, same time, same place.

unattractive imagery

A friend called and apologized for a typo in a comment about me on her blog.

Instead of saying I had "long pretty black hair," (which is nice, thank you), she said I had "long pretty back hair," which is totally gross. I hadn't even seen it yet (and it was clear from the context what was intended, so I might not have even noticed it), so it was kind of strange that she called instead of just going and fixing it. Hmmn, maybe she can't blog from work. That makes sense.

On an utterly unrelated note, I got a call from FHM magazine. Sexy!

"outsourcing" in French is "approvisionnement à l'extérieur"

My iPod was shipped to me via FedEx from Shanghai.

I hope the Chinese can spell in French.

I really did stay up until after midnight, waiting for this to be posted

The spelling bee article is now in the New York Times! The print version has a picture of contestants Jonathan Lill and Josh Malamy, and organizers bobbyblue and me, on the front page. The online version, for whatever reason, has only a picture from Spellbound (the documentary) and a picture from the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (the musical). So ... go buy a New York Times!

Here's a nice bit:
While challenging, the bees are decidedly less anxiety provoking than their school counterparts. Occurring well after sunset, adult bees are more like unscripted cabaret shows than cutthroat competitions. "Spelling bees for kids are kind of cruel," said Jennifer Dziura, 26, a comedian and an M.C. of the bee at Pete's Candy Store, which takes place every other Monday. "We have three strikes and you're out, and moral support applause."
The Night Life of Bees

Update: A journalist friend in Connecticut writes "The paper's sitting here in my lap... You are kicking Kate Moss's wasted ASS!"

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Wednesday night blogtime

I am sad today. I still have a bruise on my hand from the IV this past Saturday.

Corpse Bride was good, but a bit morose from the lady-perspective. Two women, neither of whom has done anyone any wrong, are competing for the same man ... and the more interesting and wordly one loses out. Also, her skin is rotting off.

I have a new obsession, to write a series of stories entitled "The Adventures of Sticky McThrustypants, the Androgynous Porn Star."*

If you like, you might pick up the New York Times tomorrow morning. The spelling bee will appear in the Thursday Styles section.

My friend Dilip, to whom I have not spoken since the egg donation, inquired as to my well-being. He said "I'm glad to hear the procedure went well. At least, I gather that it did, because you were apparently well enough to buy Megan a quesadilla.... Not that one has to be in perfect health to buy a quesadilla."

I just wanted to share that. I may make a point of leaving people quesadillas in my will in demonstration of this very point.

*That's copyrighted. It's mine, beeotch, mine.

the bygone days of my Sleazegrinder cover

In June, I appeared on the cover of Sleazegrinder rock magazine with the caption "This is our friend Jennifer Dziura. She's not only foxy, she's a comedian. A real one. Unlike the rest of us. Go visit her at www.jenisfamous.com. She'll make you laugh, but she won't take her pants off."

Here is an archived version of me on the front page.

True, true. And there I was, looking startlingly normal. Actually, the zipper of my jeans was unzipped about an inch. Hott!

I have now, however, been replaced on the cover by "Summer Cummings, 34 FF fetish model and star of Faster Pussycat F*ck F*ck."

Wow. You give that t-shirt hell, Summer!

e-u-o-n-y-m

ESPN frequently replays the video of Rebecca Sealfon winning the 1997 National Spelling Bee by spelling "euonym," shrieking out each letter in a barely-human, but very excited, manner. (The video is here).

In July, in a seemingly only tangentially-related event, local free newspaper The Brooklynite sent someone to cover the Williamsburg Spelling Bee. Julian Voloj took photos, some of which appear here and here .

I have finally received a copy of the article. And the article is written by (wait for it...) Rebecca Sealfon. Rebecca Sealfon attended my spelling bee! She is apparently a fully-fledged adult now. Oh, little euonym. That's not a bad name for a puppy.


click to enlarge

The article quotes me as saying, in reference to our kinder-and-gentler bee and it's three-strikes-you're-out policy, "You have to keep the love going."

Related posts:
maybe a rumor, maybe not
bobby and I are, ephemerally, one square inch of major news media
well, i'll bet THOSE spelling bees don't have beer specials

Also see: German Public Radio, The Williamsburg Spelling Blog

forgive this blog for linking to the Onion; original content is forthcoming, but this was apropos

The Onion is running an article entitled Guy In Philosophy Class Needs To Shut The Fuck Up. It's set at Dartmouth (where I was a philosophy major). There's even a picture of Thornton Hall, where I took philosophy classes. And, of course, there was always some douchebag just like this. Strangely, Onion writer and fellow Dartmouth alum/philosophy major Sam, whom some of you saw at August's Jenny Vaudeville Show, does not seem to be responsible.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

notice how everyone else has an actual "book"?

Ooh! My bio and photo are up on the 215 Festival website, along with those of lots of people who are far more accomplished than I.

I am not actually certain how I am getting to Philly and back on October 8th/9th. I discovered I can take the Chinatown bus there for $12, but the last return bus leaves at 11pm, and at that time I will still be at "Bad Sex with Neal Pollack." It looks like I will have to take Amtrak's 12:20, or else stay over and take their 6:52, as I need to be at work at 9:30am Sunday. Both Amtrak trains cost $53. Why does the train cost 442% more than the bus? (If anyone is driving there or back, please drop me a line).

A shout-out to the cowboy for letting me copy all his music while we were returning one another's stuff. Without that act of largesse, I would be without Damien Jurado, My Morning Jacket, TV on the Radio, and many other fabulous things.

On an unrelated note, I am seeing Tim Burton's Corpse Bride tonight.

the Apple online store shows you a preview of your free engraving

For your amusement:

we are all exhibitionists now

Is it wrong to want to date guys who blog about their inner monologues in a way that involves thinly-veiled references to me? I have not yet met such a guy, but I feel like I would find the situation gratifying. Oh look, he thought about me at 3:22pm! And three people commented!"

we're ripening and burgeoning, metaphorically always

I have had a splendidly exciting life lately. I think it is time to buckle down and write more actual jokes for all you fine people.

Please bear with me as my one-woman show ripens and is harvested to be put into the surrogate of a Manhattan art theater NO! STOP TALKING ABOUT EGGS! CEASE AND DESIST THE EGGING!

Seriously, I am in the process of writing a one-woman show. It is called "What Philosophy Majors Do After College." It covers my various careers as a/an:
  • failed dotcom entrepreneur
  • art model
  • SAT instructor
  • trapeze artist's assistant
  • photographic ass double
  • contraceptive tester
  • spelling bee impresario
  • egg donor to a gay man
  • and, finally, comedian.
..and how those careers relate to Kant, social contract theory, Foucault, and the ever-present problem of what it would all mean if instead of being a man who dreamed he were a butterfly, we were instead a butterfly dreaming he were a man.

(Hint, hint: If I commit my goals to an RSS feed, I can't back out on them now! Write, bitch, write.)

tequila, chinchilla, chinquilla, tinquilla, let's call the whole thing off

Tonight I was very hungry and was going to get some $2 tacos when I realized that I can actually afford to get some real dinner, perhaps even in a neighborhood other than East Harlem. So I thought long and hard about it, and what was I hungry for? Tacos.

I ended up with a flaming steak (covered in tequila and set afire at my table), served with rice and beans and cactus leaf. I love cactus! It's like if a pickle were mild enough that you could just eat a whole slab of it.

This was, however, in East Harlem, so the whole thing was still only $13.

I'd like to give a mad shout-out to Megan for trekking up to East Harlem to hang out, a feat which a number of male suitors have failed to accomplish, much to the detriment of their prospects.

At right is a (completely adorable) picture of Megan and her chinchilla, Monte. After I previously mentioned having met Monte and watched him eat an almond by holding it in one paw and taking bites out of it like an apple, several people told me they had no idea what a chinchilla looked like, so here we are.

I did, in fact, crash my own comedy show -- tonight was the night for Comedy Show & Tell, but since I expected to be off donating eggs, I lined up Michelle Maclay of The Social to guest host, but then I ended up back in town earlier than expected, so I just sat in the back and watched. Michelle did a lovely job. You'll be able to see me at her show, The Social, coming up in October, and you can see me run the next Comedy Show & Tell myself on October 10 -- scroll down a bit to check the schedule in the righthand sidebar of this blog.

Come see me at Pete's! I am there so often, it's like I keep office hours.

Monday, September 26, 2005

and so it ends, with a cab ride and a Cuban sandwich

I am back in New York and looking forward to many fruitful non-ovarian discussions with all you fine people.

As a (near) final reflection, I will say that producing offspring is indeed our insurance against our own mortality. Having contributed in some minor way to producing a child or several, I can earnestly say that if I were hit by a truck tomorrow and had one last moment to think things over, I'd be that much happier that I had sent some genes off into the world. Good luck and godspeed.

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Sunday, September 25, 2005

an ode to room service

The only thing I love more
than an English muffin

is an English muffin
delivered to my door in a little basket

lovingly nestled in a cloth napkin
accompanied by individual pots of jam

and paid for by an agency that helps gays and lesbians produce children in ways that would have been biologically impossible just years ago, but now allows for the purchase of genetic material from young women with good SAT scores, and its transport across state lines.

That is how much I love English muffins.

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Magritte's playlist

I just ordered an iPod and had it engraved with "Ceci n'est pas une iPod."


Thanks to spelling winner Josh for being my muse on this one.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

update from solitary hotel room

I have now contributed exactly nine eggs towards the production of little half-gay Jenlets.

When I woke up, one of the nurses marveled at my "perfect makeup." I thought well, it was perfect when I went in -- what exactly were you doing with my face that would make it any different?

The anesthesiologist heard I was a comedian. Then he gave me drugs that made me think I was hi-larious (when, even now, as I am still quite dizzy, it is clear I was not). Highlights:

When the anesthesiologist told me he was going to give me some "relaxation medicine": "That's very flattering, because I hear a lot about roofies and no one's tried to slip me any yet."

As the anesthesiologist was putting in an IV and told me not to move or look: "That's what all the boys say."

When I asked how many eggs had been retrieved and was told it was nine: "Can you tell ahead of time which ones have the best college prospects? Because I can teach them how to take the SAT."

There was more. So much more. Making Jenlets. Need room service. Where IS everybody?

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Thursday, September 22, 2005

cheaper by the dozen

My eggs are overachieving. I am flying out in the a.m. on Friday and having the eggs out on Saturday, instead of on Tuesday, as anticipated.

My ladyfriend Emily asked last night "When do you hatch?"

I thought it was funny that I'd been through months of egg business without anyone saying that.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

the lady luck of lettuce

I am really having trouble just dealing with the sheer excitement of my life right now.

First of all, I just read this article in the Times about "dewy go-getters" moving to the city and becoming sad, embittered, impoverished urban underdwellers.
E. B. White, in his famous essay "Here Is New York," wrote that no one should come to New York unless he was willing to be lucky. But not everybody gets lucky. You can make a slip, and then another, or somebody else can make a slip, and then ... the city swallows you up, like an ogre in a fairy tale.
Reading this article (which ends with an anecdote about a once-beautiful old lady who has been reduced to foraging in the garbage for discarded heads of lettuce) prompted me to decide on the spot that I am basically just never going to complain again. I have a good life, and one in which a small but eminently likeable group of people are wearing Peeps t-shirts.

Once upon a time I was stuck in Virginia, running a company I had put my whole life into and which eventually tanked catastrophically and sort of broke me. And then I moved to Harlem, which I'm not sure I would've even managed if that nice girl at the coffeeshop in Norfolk hadn't bought my juicer from me at the last minute for $150.

Anyway, today I received a personal email from Neal Pollack! I was very flattered. He asked me to perform in "Bad Sex with Neal Pollack" at the 215 Festival in Philadelphia, to which I thusly agreed. (Any readers in Philly? October 8 - save the date!)

I'm heading out to LA soon to finish up this egg business. Hoping to meet some comedy peeps out there, maybe at least hit an open mic or something. You know, while helping a gay guy make a baby. It's good to multitask.

The next Jenny Vaudeville Show will feature fire eating, sarcastic clowns, satiric teen pop sensation Teen Tawny, and free rubber duckies.

My blogging gig with Fleshbot is still happening. Things are looking auspicious that you'll see posts by "J. Dziura" in a week or so.

I have additionally been contacted by a woman who is doing a documentary on women in comedy. And I got a spot in a comedy club showcase for a college booker. And this evening I met a lovely lady whom I contacted after reading a magazine article she wrote; when I got in at 3am or so, the very nice cab driver offered to wait around until I got in the front door.

I am enjoying all the hot fairy godmother action.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

she's so cute and pessimistic

Comedienne Lianne Stokes, who performed at my last Comedy Show & Tell, recently received spam purporting to be from someone in a refugee camp. Lianne wrote back.
It's A-mazing that you are a refugee-yet have a Internet access. I don't even own my own computer.
Read the whole thing here.

shout-out

I've been telling some new jokes about when, post-breakup, one decides to switch one's Friendster profile back to "single," and how you know it's really over when you finally log in to the ex's profile and see that he's deleted your testimonial. Comedienne Rachael Parenta, appearing at Comedy Show & Tell on October 10, comments:
Sometimes at 28 years of age I feel like an old woman. I hear the young girls talking about stalking boys and all it involves is google searches and extensive blog reading. In my day stalking wasn't something you could do from home. If you wanted to stalk someone you had to save up, buy a plane ticket, and go to Chicago.

That's why I gave up stalking the jet lag was killing me.
Go here for more.

one more ovoid artifact

Brian Van of The Lectern (as previously blogged about) photographed his egg from the Jenny Vaudeville Show (click for a recap):

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leaving on a jet plane ... but I left you some comedy

Next Monday I'll be donating eggs, but you can come to a free comedy show that has nothing whatsoever to do with eggs. Comedy Show & Tell shall continue in my absence.

Comedy Show & Tell
Monday, September 26
7:30pm
Pete's Candy Store, 709 Lorimer St. (map)
FREE

Comedy Show & Tell mixes performances by top young comedians with actual, old-fashioned show and tell by audience members. To participate, bring a silly object to share and show up a few minutes early to get on the list. (Or, just come watch!)

Featuring...
  • Leighann Lord (NBC's Comedy Showcase, VH-1's Stand Up Spotlight, Def Comedy All-Star Jam, Comedy Central's Premium Blend)

  • Matt McCarthy (The Social, Caroline's, Gotham, Stand Up New York, and - seriously - The Edison County NJ Custodians Banquet)

  • Jenny Rubin (Gotham, Chicks & Giggles, The Social, MintyFresh, Fifth Dentist improv troupe)

    ...and guest-hosted by Michelle Maclay of The Social!

there's a joke here about porn, Katrina, and getting people wet, but I'm not going to be the one to make it

Various readers have wondered why I haven't been posting to Fleshbot (after being written about in August, I was hired to do a two week stint as a guest editor, with the possibility of being hired for ongoing blogging). Turns out the editor I was working with was evacuated from New Orleans, thus creating one of the unrecognized tragedies of Katrina -- keeping American from its adult industry blogging.

I get three English words a day and one Spanish one in my email every morning

From today's "Word of the Day":
backronym (BAK-ro-nim) noun

A word re-interpreted as an acronym.

[Compound of back + acronym.]

In a backronym, an expansion is invented to treat an existing word as an acronym. An example is the PERL programming language whose name is now explained as an acronym of Practical Extraction and Report Language.

When naming, sometimes a suitable name is chosen and then an acronym is retrofitted on top of it: USA PATRIOT Act (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism). The clunkiness of the expansion is a quick giveaway.
I wonder if there's a special word for words like "backronym," which are sort of puns, and sort of just annoying.

s-p-e-l-l-i-n-g recap

The spelling bee tonight was charming! It was a full room but not overly packed, with fourteen contestants (we'll take up to twenty if people sign up in time, but with twenty, I have to rush things a bit).

The bee was won decisively by Mr. Josh Malamy (also winner of the August 22 bee), who brought his mother and aunt to watch. He spelled a fantastic array of words correctly, including "chaffinch" and "lepidopterologist." Spellers Jean and Annie took second and third place, respectively. Annie actually conquered in a runoff for third, thus achieving a particularly hard-won sandwich.

bobbyblue and I did a bit of bantering about the sandwiches at Pete's (third place winner gets a free sandwich) and why it is that panini sandwiches become better because they've been pressed. Do we really want our sandwiches denser and flatter? I theorized that it was related to the desire to smush Wonderbread into dough when you're a kid -- pressing is great! Pressing greatly adds to the desirability of bread products. Mmmn, Wonderdough.

Josh may soon be moving to Chicago, where he is thinking of starting up his own spelling bee. I have given my blessing to this project. We could have a sister spelling bee!

At some point during the bee, I made remarks about spellers uniting to form a giant Voltron Speller. I really can't remember the context. I have no idea why I said this.

Spelly-spellers, unite!

imagine being a nurse in the maternity ward who wasn't told about any of this

Today I learned the first name of the surrogate mother who will be receiving my eggs. I can't tell you the name, but it sounded like a traditionally black name, which made me ask the agency if, in fact, my eggs were being put in a black woman. The agency said they couldn't tell me that. The woman from the agency did, however, share the fact that she herself had been a surrogate mother, and that she is white but gave birth to a 100% Japanese baby.

Now, I assume that the gay man who has selected my eggs is white, since most people want to have kids who look like them, and he is single, so it's not like there's a partner involved who might be of another race (in which case, for instance, he might use his own sperm and a donor from his partner's race).

So, there's a good possibility that somewhere, in about 9+ months, a black woman is going to give birth to the whitest baby alive. I mean, you've seen me. Even if the gay guy is sort of tanned-looking, I am so milky-pale that I'm sure I'd compensate for that.

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Sunday, September 18, 2005

egg tales

People have been sharing the oddest egg-related anecdotes lately. One friend told me that she interviewed to be an egg donor and was turned down because of a double suicide (of an elderly couple with painful illnesses) in the family, which the psychologist derisively referred to as a "family history of murder."

A charming new acquaintance wrote to say "I sent an application to be an egg donor recently. They didn't respond. I think it was because I'd carried the application around in my bag for so long and it was kind of beaten up by the time I mailed it, which they may fear the eggs I delivered to them would be. Smudged with chocolate."

And finally, Aeric, the photographer who takes the awesome photos on my site, received one of the eggs I donated at the Jenny Vaudeville Show, and he took it home and photographed it:


Doesn't it look ethereal?

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Saturday, September 17, 2005

on TV, and happily bouncing away

Two new items on the Sarcastic Sex Toy Blog. View at your own risk.

I'm teaching class all weekend (today I taught dividing a fraction by another fraction to thirteen year olds) and then getting ready to go to L.A. for egg-related purposes.

The next event going on is the Williamsburg Spelling Bee on Monday, September 19th, 7:30pm (arrive early to sign up), at Pete's Candy Store.

the virtual Jenny Vaudeville Show

The Jenny Vaudeville show this Wednesday night was attended by many, but for those of you inconveniently located outside of New York, here is my recounting of the show, so chock full of multimedia that you can sort of pretend you were there. Photos are courtesy of Ryan Brenizer.


Jen opening the show

I opened up with some observations on recent events, including being single and having a new crockpot (it only makes one thing, and that thing is stew).

I try to keep the Jenny V. show civilized, but I couldn't help commenting on a poster I had seen on the subway. An ad for a support hotline said "You weren't alone before HIV. You're not alone now." Way to rub it in! No, you weren't alone before HIV. In fact, there's a very good chance you had someone else's cock in your ass, which is physically incompatible with being alone.


Is a crockpot a good boyfriend substitute?

And, moving along ... our first act was musical comedian Aaron Haber, who began with a song entitled "I'm sad," which at various points in the song was rhymed with the words "mad" and "bad." The IQ level of the room was thereafter raised noticably when Mr. Haber launched into a war protest song ... against the Peloponnesian War.


Aaron Haber

Mr. Haber also performed a song (link below) about his deceased ex-girlfriend.


I know you're burning in the flaming pits of hell/
but you wouldn't f*ck me anymore, so I guess it's just as well

Performer Link: Aaron Haber
Listen: Baby
The Jenny Vaudeville show alternates its booked acts with contests in which audience members may win prizes. The first contest was "extreme spelling," in which one volunteer (actually, performer Aaron Haber, feeling the need to return to the stage so soon after leaving) attempted to spell the phrase "perseverance and prominence" (both among the 250 most misspelled words in the English language) to the tune of the alphabet song. He gave up around "s" and began adding silent q's and various other misplaced letters. Very funny. He received the consolation prize, a box of Jell-O.


Megan Rudesill

Previous Williamsburg Spelling Bee winner Megan Rudesill volunteered for the next challenge, correctly spelling "excavation" backwards. She won a real prize, which was a CD from Schaffer the Darklord.


Thaddeus Rutkowski

Thaddeus Rutkowski, author of two novels and a series of chapbooks called "The Sex Fiend Monologues," performed several spoken word pieces, including one about having a fetish for women in bathing caps. While other guys in the college dorms wanted to go on panty raids, he wanted to go on skullcap raids.... The piece also referred to trying to lure women into the shower, while frightening them about getting their hair wet. Thad performed this piece while wearing a shower cap.

Performer Link: Thaddeus Rutkowski
Text Link: The Mad Capper

After Thad, I ran our next contest, called "Comedy Trivia." Three volunteers, Brian, Mark, and Pat, came to the stage to each answer three trivia questions. Contestants are awarded two points for a correct answer and one point (or some fraction to be determined by me) for an incorrect but funny answer. I think one of the contestants answered a question by saying that the name of the elephant who "heard a Who" in Dr. Suess's book was Micheal Moore, which earned five-eighths of a point, but Brian ended up winning with the only correct answer in the round -- the word deliberately left out of the movie version of "The Godfather" was, of course, "mafia." Brian won copies of Thaddeus Rutkowski's chapbooks, "The Sex Fiend Monologues" I, II, and III.


Brian, Mark, and Pat answer comedy trivia

Normally the Jenny V. show has four performers and I emcee, but this evening I took the third spot myself to perform a "live egg donation." I read a bit from an article I wrote about egg donation, talked a bit about the class issues involved in selecting egg donors versus surrogate mothers (it's like you take Felicity's eggs and put them in Roseanne), and then handed out hard-boiled eggs to the audience.


These people have eggs

When my egg carton was empty and I returned to the mic, I asked the recipients to turn the eggs over and tell everyone what was written on them. "Billy is famous!" said someone. "Mary Jane is famous!" Yes, I named all my eggs. Schaffer the Darklord received "Varla is famous."


An audience member holds "Justine is famous"

Our final contest was the monthly "Guess the Author," in which I read from a famous piece of literature and people shout out author names until someone gets it right. Previous authors have included Dostoevsky, Brautigan, and Machiavelli. This time it was the poem "The Little Old Lady in Lavendar Silk," in which the speaker, aged seventy-seven, declares she "shall shortly be losing my bloom," and that, in the end, nothing was more fun than a man. "Walt Whitman!" someone yelled out, which was funny (someone also yelled out "Maya Angelou!") but Megan was the first person to yell out "Dorothy Parker!", thus winning herself my CD.

Finally, our headliner, Schaffer the Darklord took the stage. I have seen him many times at his (now-concluded) variety show at Apocalypse Lounge, where he was often performing for an audience who knew his material already. However, this audience was composed almost entirely of Darklord virgins and Schaffer's old standards were met with raucous laughter and applause.


Schaffer the Darklord

Schaffer opened with "The Rappist" (which is what he wishes to be called instead of a "rapper"), in which he promises never to end his lyrics with prepositions. Schaffer then moved into "Attack of the Clonefucker," "Cat People," and his newest song, "Scorpio."


Clonefucker, it'll be like humping the mirror

Schaffer's arrangements ("Cat People" contains sound effects from his actual cat) have never sounded as good as they did on the tiny Pete's stage.


Jen and Schaffer

After the show, one audience member suggested I should have received a "standing ovulation." Ha. Brian Van emailed later to say:
Yeah, I ate little Justine is Famous. She was tasty. *burp*
Syd wrote:
In my experience, rapping and egg donations have always been sure-fire crowd pleasers. I hear that's what put Nancy Sinatra on the map.
And Thaddeus Rutkowski sent this:
Our 4-year-old daughter found your "Billy is Famous" egg this morning and asked, "Who's in this egg?" Hard to answer.
The next Jenny Vaudeville Show will be Wednesday, October 12, and will feature fire eating and free rubber duckies.

CNN was no help, but here's a bit on Afghanistan

In an AP article about the Afghan elections, a purported Taliban spokesman says:
"Our demand to the people of Afghanistan is, 'Don't participate in this election because it is a U.S. policy.' The Taliban is against all U.S. policies."
I love when people make unsupportable blanket statements like this. All U.S. policies? How about Arbor Day? Are you against trees? How about our policy of not executing enemy prisoners? Is he opposed to the Geneva Convention? How about subsidies for farmers in the Grain Belt? Tariffs on imported olive oils and cheeses? Federal highway funding in Montana? I wonder if the Taliban is against the No Child Left Behind Act.

This is like telling an ex "I hate everything about you," but then realizing that, actually, he's wearing a pretty nice shirt.

Sort of hidden towards the bottom of the article is the more salient fact that:
"Gunmen dragged election candidate Abdul Hadi from his house in southern Helmand province Thursday night and killed him.... His death brought to seven the number of candidates killed in the lead-up to the polls."
This reminded me of the article from the Times last month about a candidate who "is one of seven women campaigning to represent Afghanistan's nomadic tribes, known as the Kuchis, in the Parliament to be elected Sept. 18." The article makes her out to be near-saintly, a widow traveling the countryside, talking about securing grazing lands and midwives for her people. In a country with candidates being dragged out and shot, however, it's hard to imagine any but the most ardent do-gooders running for office; democracy gets a bit muddied when only a serious ulterior motive would make running for office worth the risk.

Other than that bit of cynicism, all looks hopeful. Certainly better than anything going on in Iraq.

Friday, September 16, 2005

CNN loves cute animals, hates actual world news

Today, I was apprised by a reliable source that elections are occurring in Afghanistan this weekend. I figured I'd pop on over to CNN.com and see what they had to say about it. Silly me, I think I was raised in a household in which CNN was considered a Serious News Source. Top headlines in "World News" right now:


So, let me get this straight ... we are running a major news story about DOLPHINS that need to be RESCUED from the SEA.

Do they also run stories about birds that were tragically released into the air? "They're just out there, flying somewhere.... we must find them!"

Why is this story even in the "world" news section to begin with? Because the dolphins escaped into the Gulf of Mexico, which is a body of water with another country's name in its name? Brilliant!

Also, Zimbabwe and China are "boosting ties" with a tiger swap. This means visitors to zoos in both nations will see slightly differently-striped tigers than before. Also, China and Zimbabwe had better boost those ties -- I don't want to see any fighting between you two. You just settle down.

the state of things

This evening I had a phone tutorial from the egg donation people regarding the new medications I am taking (on top of the old ones). After fully fifteen minutes of sucking liquid into a syringe and then pushing it into little bottles of powder and sucking the dissolved powder back up, the nurse asks "Are you okay with using your stomach for this?"

This, I do to give a gay man a baby, yes, but also, of course, for the money, which I am going to use to further my career, as it stands. Along with touring (info coming soon!), I am also going to get an iPod with one of those voice recorders, and an armband, so I can record all my comedy performances and then podcast them.

So I just stuck a giant needle into my stomach and injected a bunch of fertility drugs that kind of burn and hurt, but about an inch below the skin, so there's nothing I can do about it.

In response to a mention of my egg donation, comedian Al Wagner replied "How are you going to get an egg all the way to New Orleans without breaking it?"

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oh, Jon, how I love thee

CNN.com posted an article about comedians' take on Katrina. Courtesy of Jon Stewart:
What's President Bush's position on Roe vs. Wade?

Answer: He doesn't care how people get out of New Orleans.
Letterman joked about Hurricane Ophelia that "the Bush administration is getting ready to ignore it."

a piece by Thaddeus Rutkowski, from the Jenny V. Show

THE MAD CAPPER
by Thaddeus Rutkowski

I may be a fetishist, but I am not a fetish fascist. I am equally fascinated by fishnet stockings, body stockings, waist garters, garter snakes, pantyhose, fire hoses, high heels, low heels, knee boots, combat boots, elbow gloves, biker gloves, G-strings, apron strings, string bikinis, training bras, training wheels, leather vests, leather masks, frilled collars, metal collars, fuzzy slippers, fuzzy dice, wispy negligees, lacy lingerie, leashes, lashes, earrings, lip rings, nip rings, ball gowns and ball bearings. But what I go wild for is bathing caps.

A wet woman in a skull-tight cap brings out the fiend in me. I want to get down on the tiles and start steaming. I want to switch on the shower massager and start squirting. I want to fetch a bath towel and start rubbing. Then I want to find a razor and start shaving.

I suppose it was my college dorm experience that gave birth to my compulsion. Alternate rooms were co-ed, but bathrooms were separate. Whenever I spied a female student running from shower to bedroom, my heart pounded. If she was wearing a Latex hat, my blood raced. I was not interested in panty raids. Instead, I instigated bathing-cap forays. "Come on!" I would say. "Let's hang some scalp hats on our belts!" Needless to say, my fellow bookworms were not so easily excited.

Just as needless to say, women I meet these days are not so eager to plaster their hair. I've tried stalking the aisles in Bed, Bath and Beyond. I've tried taking dates to the water ballet. I've tried saying, when my partners were showering, "Please, keep your head dry and your hair out of the drain!"

My efforts have mostly ended in the toilet. So I remain thirsty for bathing-cap action. I know that if I get lucky, I'll be able to snap on the Latex, buckle the strap and keep the lid on.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

thank you to all you new yorkers

Thank you for coming down to Pete's and completely packing the room! People were clustered around the door and setting up extra chairs in the aisles!

Tonight's Jenny Vaudeville Show may have been the best two hours of my life.

No, really. People who get up on stage and perform are a self-selected population. We do it for a reason. I love you all.

Pictures, and a full writeup with links to the performers, are coming soon.

xoxo,

Jen

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

tomorrow night is the defining vaudeville show of our generation

The Shout-Out will have to happen tomorrow, as I need to head out to tonight's show, where I am reading erotic short fiction about SAT teachers. The male narrator recounts:
On our first date, Taylor pointed out that the words turbid, tumid, tepid, turgid, and torpid all appear on the SAT and have distinct meanings, except for tumid and turgid, which are synonyms and basically mean “erect.”
I am also ready for tomorrow's live egg donation at the Jenny Vaudeville Show! You will have to see it to be able to tell your friends about it.


Directions to Pete's: Take the L train to the second stop in Brooklyn, Lorimer. Exit at the head of the train, and walk along Lorimer in the direction of the BQE. Pete's is 1.5 blocks past the BQE, on your left. 709 Lorimer Street, between Frost and Richardson Streets. (718) 302-3770.

Wednesday, September 14th, 10pm. History will be made.

I don't really stand in fire in real life

I want to give a major shout-out to photographer Aeric Meredith-Goujon of D | A Photography for the fantastic shots (including above) I've been fortunate to have for this site. He is certainly on his way to fame and renown.

clever and concise

Today is illustrator/model Molly Crabapple's 22nd birthday! And here is her account of her show & tell at the show last night:
Yesterday, I ate fire for the first time onstage.

It went like this.

"This is a torch. You make it out of kevlar and a straightened coat hanger."
"This is a bottle of Coleman lantern fluid"
"This is a match"
"This is a fire"
"This is me shoving the fire into my head"
*applause*
"This is all the love I never got as a child."
"Thank you."
A person might conceivably make Molly happy on her birthday by purchasing something from her store, such as the hotpants I am wearing in the photo.

Monday, September 12, 2005

so much love!!!

Thank you so much to everyone who came out for Comedy Show & Tell!
  • Baron Vaughn started off the show. His set included a bit about how black people actually speak in British accents when white people aren't paying attention, and boy would Barbershop have been different if the creators could have been assured that no white people would watch.

  • I talked a bit about my egg donation, prompting Lianne Stokes to open her set by commenting that she considered donating, but thought she might get sued if the baby came out with her old nose. Thanks to Dr. Nussbaum for the new one! And instead of telling people she lives with her parents, Lianne has been saying she "lives with an older married couple in the suburbs."

  • Ophira Eisenberg closed out the show, telling us about rushing to an audition for a show about pets, showing up with no headshot and an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction, and going up against some girl who freaking rescued huskies. Also, don't let your waxer make fun of you!
Our audience show and tellers showed off a found guitar pick that might have belonged to our Founding Fathers, a stuffed animal that both fights and has eczema, and ... um ... fire eating. Yes, Miss Molly Crabapple made a surprise appearance and ate fire. It was completely brilliant -- rather than building up to it for a really long time like you might expect, Molly explained for about ten seconds how one eats fire, then she ate fire, then she sat down while everyone was stunned and applauding. It was like a collective fire-eating bitchslap.

Next Comedy Show & Tell is September 26, 7:30pm! And, of course, if you missed this show, don't miss the Jenny Vaudeville Show this Wednesday night, 10pm, Pete's Candy Store, featuring musical comedian Aaron Haber, spoken word deviant Thaddeus Rutkowski, and sci-fi heavy metal rap comedian Schaffer the Darklord.

Also, I will be performing a live egg donation. No, I won't explain. You will have to be there.

put your email in my web form, baby

Shout-Out #3 will come out Tuesday or Wednesday ... get your ass on my mailing list!

websites that don't exist (notice I didn't follow that up with "but should")

You know how sometimes you come up with really messed-up ideas in your dreams?

This morning I woke up thinking wouldn't it be cool if there were an amihotornot.com for credit card offers?

Like, the site would pop up an offer for a card with a 27% APR, and you'd click "not hot!" And then you'd get one for the 700 Club-Sponsored Jesus Mastercard, and also click "not hot!" Until finally you got a nice Discover card with low interest rates and no annual fees. Hot.

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this reminds me of Desiree Burch's bit about guys who ask about "just the head"


From the trés funny Joe at reodorant.com

tonight, bring your taxidermy projects and used-battery sculptures to...

Comedy Show & Tell

Monday, September 12
Pete's Candy Store in Williamsburg
7:30pm
FREE

Comedy Show & Tell mixes performances by top young comedians with old-fashioned Show & Tell, just like back in grade school. Everyone may bring a silly item for show & tell!

Featuring Baron Vaughn, Ophira Eisenberg, and Lianne Stokes.



Directions to Pete's: Take the L train to the second stop in Brooklyn, Lorimer. Exit at the head of the train, and walk along Lorimer in the direction of the BQE. Pete's is 1.5 blocks past the BQE, on your left. 709 Lorimer Street, between Frost and Richardson Streets. (718) 302-3770.

I'm going to end up in bar fights

When you're already irritated, it's really irritating for someone to tell you why you're irritated.

The egg donation people called and told me to call this clinic, but the clinic didn't receive the records that were faxed in and then I had to call the egg donation people back and wait on hold, and then they asked me to spell my last name, which further annoyed me as they usually know who I am right away. I finally get on the phone with the right person, and I'm saying "Look, I shouldn't have to be doing this--"

She cut me off and told me I have zero estrogen right now and that's why I'm irritable (and hate the bitch at the Internet Garage, etc.) "Your estrogen's in the hopper," she said. "You'll feel better later."

I was startled. This, however, begs the question -- if this is the result of a lack of estrogen ... is this what guys feel like all the time? I think it might be. I have felt even-keeled, sort of laid-back but in control of everything, while prone to occasional outburts of anger.

Do you think I could have magically gained the ability to catch a football? Because I'm pretty sure I never have. I can't catch flying objects, ever, including that thing where someone tosses the car keys over the top of the car at you. I never catch them. Stop doing that.

Seriously, do you guys walk around this way all the time? Is there a possibility I could market hormonal cocktails as "gender empathy drugs," and everybody could take some drugs that made them feel like the other gender for a couple of days, and then we'd all get it? That would deserve a Nobel freaking Peace Prize.

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a malicious battle of the sexes need not be waged by consumers of low-end fashions

In one day in East Harlem I saw, in a store window, a shirt that said:
Babe
In
Total
Control of
Her boy
...which isn't even a good acronym, and then a scruffy guy swaggering down the street, illegal open-container in hand, wearing a t-shirt that said:
I lie to girls.
Did I miss an announcement for the "Crappiest Personality Ever" Pageant?

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welcome to Iraq; Jefferson will not be joining us today

Ooh. In case anyone hadn't yet started to doubt that the creation of "democracy" in Iraq lacks some of the nation-founding zeal and earnestness we like to attribute to our own Founding Fathers (those clever colonials with the funny pants and knee socks), Katha Pollit has this to say:
The new Constitution, drafted under heavy pressure from the Administration, sets aside the secular personal law under which Iraqis have lived for nearly half a century in favor of theocracy lite. "Islam is the official religion of the state and is a basic source of legislation," Article 2 begins--the spin is that this language is a victory because Islam is not the source. "(a) No law can be passed that contradicts the undisputed rules of Islam." On the other hand, "(b) No law can be passed that contradicts the principles of democracy" and "(c) No law can be passed that contradicts the rights and basic freedoms outlined in this constitution"--as in, for example, Article 14: "Iraqis are equal before the law without discrimination because of sex," religion, ethnicity and so on.

There's enough right here to keep a conclave of political theorists busy for years. Equal before which law? How can women be equal before Islamic law, according to which they are unequal?
Imagine if our colonials had written us a Constitution which simultaneously forbid the passing of laws that compromised American independence, and of laws that questioned the authority of the British crown. And, while we're at it, maybe instead of that ever-flexible "interstate commerce" clause, they could have specified that no law may abridge state power, just as no law may abridge federal power. And then they could've just thrown in an "everybody has to give George Washington a handjob on Tuesdays if and when the Congress is in session" just for fun.

Oh, and what if we'd written this most sublime document while another nation impossibly more powerful than our own had been overseeing the process while bombing the shit out of us? That's modern nation-building. Makes that pesky argument about gun control and the establishment of well-regulated militias seem downright quaint.

reductivist errands

Incidentally, some of my venom regarding the egregious bitch at the Internet Garage was related to also not accomplishing my other errand in Williamsburg, which was to find the flyer of the guy who posts flyers in Williamsburg. I need the Williamsburg flyerman. I do not want any old flyerman. I want the guy who has all the special connections with weird Bedford boutiques that sell ultra-hip faux-handmade accessories made of recycled lampshades.

Williamsburg flyerman, where are you?

I'm a taskmaster with those vocabulary flashcards

When I was stuck in Virginia running a failing dotcom, I would sit for hours and look over information on the web about options that just seemed out of reach -- Harvard Business School, joining the Marines, teaching English in Japan. Although I did abscond from Virginia and move to Harlem with $400 in my pocket (one couldn't say I lack a sense of risk and adventure) and no friends or prospects, for whatever reason, signing up for some kind of organized program just seemed out of reach.

I have long felt the same way about becoming a foster parent. I just think it would work really well for me, and the kid. Any foster kid in my care would do so fucking well on the SAT. And have a prodigious vocabulary!

Maybe if I sold a book, finally, I'd have the financial wherewithal and flexibility to do such a thing. But look at this guy on the foster care website! He's 25 and has five boys in his care!

Maybe this is all a reaction to the extended childhoods of people of my generation. Some fifty percent of college graduates return to live with their parents after school, and, especially in urban areas, so many people live the same lifestyle in their thirties that they lived when they were 23, and then they wonder why all their petty problems and neuroses persist. Maybe that's because when you live an adult life in which you are responsible to and for other people, all your petty bullshit comes to seem less urgent. Maybe your problem isn't a lack of serotonin or a need to find your true calling in life or the scars of not being loved enough by your mother. Maybe your problem is that excess navel-gazing is stunting.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Modern Love

The Times' "Modern Love" column has oft been filled with trivial stories about, say, the trials of dating a smoker, or people too afraid to get back together with each other, or, in one case, the dating woes of a fifty year old "tomboy" who liked twenty-five year old men but was afraid it would never work out. Small tales of picayune problems.

This week's column was an excerpt from (gay sex columnist) Dan Savage's new book, The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family. In the most heartbreaking thing I've read in the (normally staid but occasionally prone to journalistic treacle) Times, Savage recounts how he and his partner adopted the child of a homeless street girl in an open adoption:
The last time she visited, when DJ was 3, he wanted to know why his mother smelled so terrible. We were taken aback and answered without thinking it through. We explained that since she doesn't have a home she isn't able to bathe often or wash her clothes.

We realized we screwed up even before DJ started to freak. What could be more terrifying to a child than the idea of not having a home? Telling him that his mother chose to live on the streets, that for her the streets were home, didn't cut it. For months DJ insisted that his mother was just going to have to come live with us. We had a bathroom, a washing machine. She could sleep in the guest bedroom. When grandma came to visit, she could sleep in his bed and he would sleep on the floor.
That kinda made me tear up. Don't tell.

having no downtown 6 train this weekend also didn't help

I'd really like to get out of the city somehow, but I have three shows (in New York) in the next three days. In the early part of the summer, I went to New Hampshire for my college reunion, the beach for July 4, and LA for some extremely fun medical appointments (and a trip to a Chinese buffet all by myself, which was notable in that I am a small person and all-you-can-eat buffets are rarely cost-effective for me, unless I have just been on a long flight on which they don't serve lunch). Since then, I'm pretty sure I haven't set foot anywhere outside Manhattan or Brooklyn. I miss the halcyon dotcom era of Priceline, when they used to sell vacation packages to whoever bid a few bucks, just to jack up their stock prices. I hear Tuvalu is nice. Actually, I hear no such thing, but I'm pretty sure it's an island.

the Internet Garage in Williamsburg is owned by Hasidic people but operated by hired assholes

If I were a vindictive person, I would have posted flyers on the Internet Garage's bulletin board exclaiming "The chick who works at the front desk is a total fucking bitch," but instead, I am keeping that to myself, see?

This is why I have no new audio comedy samples to post for you. Because of Ms. "you cannot do the thing you always come here to do because today we're afraid of spyware, and also, we hate paying customers."

The last two times I came in, that woman told me the same thing -- no, you can't install the software that allows you to plug in your audio recorder -- and then the other guy working there stepped right past her and helped me.

Today it was just the one big fucking bitch at the desk.

Good thing I'm keeping these thoughts to myself.

By the way, I'm on some hardcore egg donation drugs right now and I am very angry.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

the east harlem down low

I was out until 4:30 last night and walked the block from the subway to my apartment with a healthy amount of trepidation, enough that I would notice if someone were walking too close behind me. That block of street was fine, as always (except that one time a homeless man hit me with a newspaper, but that was in broad daylight), except that when I got to my building and went to put my key in the door, I could see through the glass that, in the dark of the stairwell, two young Mexican men were, shall we say, enjoying each other's company.

I was startled, took my key out of the door, waited a moment, and the men got themselves together, opened the door, and I jetted right past them up the stairs.

One of the men might have been the guy who lives on the floor below me, where he and his wife have numerous children. I'm not sure of it, though, so I'll refrain from using my Naughty Spanish book to tell her "Your husband really likes him some chorizo, hmmn? Wink wink nudge nudge, know what I mean?"

Friday, September 9, 2005

other people who are funnier than I am

Megan comments that "Clear is God's Favorite Color."

Baron Vaughn comments on his use of a portable CD player instead of an iPod: "People look at me like I'm carrying around an 8 track player plugged into a Victrola powered by a hamster chasing a piece of lettuce in a running wheel that I motivate with a tiny whip that is also a lightening rod in case the hamster tires or dies."

Eugene Mirman, writing in Village Voice blogs, booked a hotel room on Cheaptickets and tried to get a refund; you can listen to his customer service phone calls here. ("Tell me my baby has to sleep on the floor! Say it!")

At The Dark Show this past Wednesday, Schaffer sold CDs featuring all of the Dark Show performers. Since some of the performers were not musicians, it was unclear how this would be possible (while a comic might have recordings, Nasty Canasta (pictured), a burlesque dancer, doesn't even speak during her act, although her strip routine to a Mr. Rogers song was a sight to behold).

The CD turned out to contain voicemail messages by Nasty, improv group The Brothel, and comedian Roy Koshy.

Nasty called to try out her new strip routine ... over the phone. "See, there's a pair of gloves, but then there's another pair of gloves! Oh, wait, you don't see."

Roy called to say he had been selected for a "vegan blaxploitation film." There was something I couldn't quite catch about "jive tofurkey."

sleep with The Man for fifty years, you become The Man

Holy shit. I remember Barbara Bush being a benign white-haired lady who cared about reading, not a decrepit incarnation of pure racist, elitist, cruelly chuckling evil. Link from Sam Means.

Barbara Bush on the Katrina survivors who were transported to Houston:
"What I’m hearing which is sort of scary is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this--this (she chuckles slightly) is working very well for them."
- as quoted in Editor and Publisher

real estate advice

A friend of mine and his wife were recently able to purchase a house at a rock-bottom price because the couple moving out was in the midst of a messy divorce, and each wished to pocket his or her share of the money and flee in due haste. The friend suggests:
Let me wholeheartedly advise you that, when you're ready to buy a place, you maybe want to routinely call and hang up on some married woman for a while before stomping around her front yard at four in the morning drunkenly screaming "BUT I LOOOOOVE YOU, JIM! YOU CAN'T JUST TOSS ME ASIDE LIKE THIS!" Because, seriously, what's he going to tell his wife? "Sweetheart, I've never seen that woman before in my life," say? Or perhaps a "I don't have any idea why she's making this all up," -- whatever it is, it's soon going to shift into "Would you stop packing, dammit", as well as "Fine, we'll sell the house right now to hurry these divorce proceedings along. Just stop crying all the time!"

there's been a bridge-and-tunnel invasion in Williamsburg, and those desperate housewives want some burlesque

Last night I was at a show, saving a seat for a friend, when a lady behind me said "Is that seat taken?" Yes, I told her. The woman came back with "But my friend's pregnant!"

I didn't know what to say to that. I mean, on the subway, I always get up for pregnant women (if an older minority gentleman doesn't give up his seat first -- yuppie white guys are total assholes about this), but I feel like, at shows, pregnant women have the ability to arrive early just like everyone else. I have mixed feelings. (Although I did, of course, give up the seat).

For instance, handicapped people get their own bathroom stalls. But what if there's a really long line for the bathroom, such as at an amusement park? Does a person in a wheelchair wait in line like everyone else, and then perhaps when she is closer to the front, the few people in front of her would let her skip ahead when the handicapped stall opens up, or does she get to wheel her way all the way from eighteenth place in the line to first? What are the rules here?

Thursday, September 8, 2005

The Dark Show last night

I performed in Schaffer the Darklord's The Dark Show last night. I was told I did a good set, but I was sandwiched between two musical comediennes (that sounds sexier than it was) and I felt sort of unarmed up on that stage without a musical instrument or at least a majorette costume.

Afterwards, someone said to me the very best thing you could really possibly say to any comedian. I wouldn't be surprised if one of my friends in attendance at the show hired this man from some kind of casting agency in case I needed cheering up (which I don't; my computer is back!) He said:
"I fell in love with you as you were doing your set up there, but I'm not sure if it's true love, so I'll need to come to more of your shows to find out."
Hell, most comedians would be really happy with "I think you look like my androgynous disabled cousin Frances, but I'm not sure, so I'll have to come to more of your shows to find out."

where I will be tonight

Last month, burlesque-artist-person Lola Ramona lost nearly everything she owned when the sprinklers went off in her building while she was out of town; when she returned, all her possessions and artwork had mildewed. So, a bunch of burlesque-type people, including my friend Molly Crabapple, planned a benefit for her. The date was set, the logo designed, the buttons printed, when a whole bunch of people in New Orleans got much, much wetter, so Lola suggested that the event also become a hurricane benefit, and so it is.

Burlesque, sideshow stunts, and fabulous prizes await. Featuring performances by Dottie Lux, Nasty Canasta, Veronica Varlow, The World Famous *Bob*, Tabitha Ray, Vulnavia Queen of Nails (she really does hammer nails up her nose) and more.
Thursday, September 8th @10pm

The Lucky Cat Lounge in Williamsburg
245 Grand St. (between Driggs and Roebling)
(link)

Requested donation of $5-10
Raffle tickets $5

what I received this morning from DHL and FedEx, respectively

My computer has been returned from the Apple repair center! I was not expecting it so soon, but fortunately I was at home anyway, waiting for a shipment of medications from the egg donation clinic.

When I received the clinic shipment, the box was much, much larger than I expected. It was nestled in styrofoam. It contained needles much, much larger than the ones I have heretofore been using. Apparently, the medications in the box are for use during the final week of the process. I would therefore love to know why the box appears to contain thirty extremely large needles. Can I trade personalities with a masochist for awhile? Thank you.

I am still behind on my email and other computer-related work. If you require any kind of urgent reply from me, well ... quite frankly, you should probably realize that I don't work in any kind of industry that deals with urgent situations, and that if you think comedy or standardized text preparation are life and death issues, you are an overprivileged Westerner. Don't call me, I'll call you.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2005

dispatch from alt.coffee

Chicks & Giggles went well. I tried out my new bit about baby carrots, which aren't really, as the name suggests, youthful versions of adult carrots. They're just little carrotesque shapes carved out of regular carrots. Wouldn't it be great if other organic beings worked that way? Like if you had an overweight cat. And a paring knife. And liked kittens a lot.

Raquel D'Apice was fantastic, and Desiree Burch (at right) brought down the damn house with a bit I'm hesitant to retype here -- if you see her, ask her which part of her body is the opera house, and which part is the circus.

After the show, in which my set contained some new material about being single, I walked out of Raga and heard a looming male voice from the dark say "So, you're single now?" Maybe I should try finishing off that set by talking about my egg donation, and how I am currently the most fertile woman alive. That's not generally a big turn-on for savvy urban gentlemen.

Tomorrow night I'm performing in Schaffer the Darklord's show, and next week (Wednesday the 14th, 10pm, Pete's Candy Store), he's performing in mine.

This internet cafe is full of homeless people with strong political views and especially vibratory larynxes.

update from technological purgatory

I miss blogging for you, but right now I have no computer! I called the Apple help line and a computer voice asked that I speak the digits of my dispatch number, which I did, at which point the recording said "Thank you! Everything looks great! We have no record of receiving your repair at this time."

If a computerized voice can't even avoid non sequiturs, I can only wonder how it fares with metaphors, or synecdoche, or iambic pentameter.

I am at an internet cafe right now, on my way to do a set at the Chicks & Giggles comedy show. I wanted to bring some flyers for the upcoming Comedy Show & Tell (next Monday -- scroll down for info), but I had no computer, so I went to Rite Aid and bought some children's birthday party invitations and wrote the information on them by hand. Now that's dedication. Come to my show!

Saturday, September 3, 2005

luv the valley

I saw Xiu Xiu in concert at the Bowery Ballroom last night. Jamie was great, but the opening band, the Yellow Swans, was an instrumental nutjob that evoked the possible results of two MFA students of ambiguous sexual orientation inheriting a warehouse of samplers and mixers and deciding to drop out of their program to change the world ... one already-converted emo boy at a time. At one point one of the band members, who looked a little like Dave Grohl but had up to this point been doing nothing but turning knobs and switches, starting shouting into a microphone (facing in profile to the crowd) and sort of limp-wristedly punching his fist in the air, but there was so much noise created from the last ten minutes of sampling that you couldn't hear anything at all from the man with the mic. Also, I have to say, I'm a liberal as well, but you just make us all look bad when you blame Bush for "napalming Iraqi babies." Napalm? Napalm is not a metaphor.

I saw lots and lots of nerdy glasses, and guys who don't work out but who wear very tight shirts anyway.

I saw Jamie Stewart rock out on a harpsichord! An autoharp? I'm not sure.

world events

Without a computer, I've been a little light on the news, but today I was up early enough to actually retrieve my New York Times before it was stolen. Natural disasters often yield predictable news; old people die when anything happens, politicians arrange to hand out supplies while photographers are present, Congress argues over funding allocation. However, while there has been much news about squalid conditions at the Superdome, this morning the Times reported that there were nearly as many people in the less-publicized convention center, and that gangs of armed thugs had taken over and were ruling through rape and violence.

No pig heads on sticks yet, but I suppose the lesson is that none of us are immune from Lord of the Flies syndrome. Or that the lesbian separatists were right.

Dunkin Donuts

I opened up a Chase bank account a couple weeks ago because of a promotion wherein I would receive "free coffee and donuts for a year."

Yesterday I received my coupon book -- indeed, a book of 52 certificates, each valid for one large coffee and one donut. I had assumed they would pull that standard retailer trick and make each valid for one week only, that way you'd forget to use some of them and they'd expire, and you wouldn't be able to bring a friend and use two at a time, etc. However, this is not the case! I may use these as backup prizes for the little contests in my vaudeville show.

In my first attempt to use one of the coupons, the man working at the counter, who was possessed of questionable English-language reading abilities, insisted I was entitled to either a coffee or a donut. No, no, I replied, it says "and." This is how conjunctions work. I have fifty-one more of these, and we're going to be seeing a lot of each other. A coffee and a donut.

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Friday, September 2, 2005

I will be back at the Genius Bar in the very early morning

I have gained access to my regular email account, but I don't know how often I'll be able to check it for the next week. Feel free to contact me normally; just be patient waiting for a reply.

In my current stone-age stage (I'm in an office right now using a Windows box and Explorer ... eating rocks and hitting myself with a mallet), I really could use some help promoting my upcoming shows -- the Comedy Show and Tell on September 12 and the Jenny Vaudeville Show on September 14.

Anyone who would like to help me out could do so by listing these shows in events calendars, inviting friends, etc. Thank you!
Comedy Show & Tell
Monday, September 12, 7:30pm, FREE
Pete's Candy Store, 709 Lorimer St., petescandystore.com
Comedy Show & Tell mixes performances by top underground comedians with old-fashioned show and tell. Attendees are invited to bring a silly object to share.

The Jenny Vaudeville Show
Wednesday, September 14, 10pm, FREE
Pete's Candy Store, 709 Lorimer St., petescandystore.com
Musical comedy, ventriloquism, magic, dancing unicorns! Audience members can win prizes in trivia and literary contests! Emceed by comedienne Jenisfamous.com, this month featuring sci-fi heavy metal rap comedian Schaffer the Darklord.
Incidentally, I am totally using my egg donation money to buy a new iBook. That's what good genes get you -- a trip to the Apple store.

Genius! Bar!

The most salient news regarding my lack of blogging in these recent days: I am now single, and my iBook is completely dead.

I am blogging from the Apple store, standing up at a product display, where I am undoubtedly testing the merchandise. Yes, that's it entirely. It's chaos here; I was told to come back at 6am tomorrow to get in the queue for repairs. The gentlemen working at the Genius Bar now seem decidely less cute.

The cowboy has ridden off into the sunset on a metaphorically short-butted horse unable to accommodate dual-rider saddlery.

It is somewhat liberating to be without a computer, in the sense that liberating means "inconvenient, in an ascetic sort of way that may be making me smarter by the minute."

If you have attempted to contact me recently or need to contact me now, you could try calling or text-messaging, or you could comment on this blog, or send me a MySpace message. I will attempt to regain access to my email shortly, but it will undoubtedly be intermittent for a time.

Last night, around 3am, I met Megan's chinchilla, and watched it eat an almond, holding the almond in its tiny paw and taking precious little nibbles from it. I also watched the chinchilla take a dust bath in a pan of dust as though the dust were about to be swiped out from under him and he might never see dust again, despite loving it very much.

Also last night, Megan and I were in a bar and had a conversation something like the following:
"Look, that hippie guy is wearing a backpack made of organic hemp."
"Is there even such a thing as inorganic hemp? Who would buy it? There are no people who want hemp who do not also want the hemp to be organic."
"That's so right! It's like nonalcoholic beer. A very small market."
"Not even. It's like nonalcoholic tequila."
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