Archive for February, 2006

Valentine’s Hearts Will Break Your Teeth

Tuesday, February 14th, 2006

I know, I know, this is approximately the 3,709,245th mention you’ll see of the dreaded Valentine’s Day today, so I do (half-heartedly) apologize to those of you without dates, but I found something at PostSecret, a blog where anyone can send in a postcard with a secret message to be posted, that’s just too good not to share.

It’s a collection of Valentine’s Day themed messages, and to make a long story short — if there’s such a thing as a Living Will for relationships, mine would read: “Please don’t ever let me date any of these people.”

Man, some people out there have had some seriously screwed up relationships. Like, for example, the person who sent in a picture of open-heart surgery captioned, “He’s falling in love… But I’ve been planning to break his heart since we met.”

Sounds like a couple ex-girlfriends of mine, actually.

(And for the record, yes, I do know someone who actually had to receive dental care for a tooth broken by one of those Valentine’s Day candy hearts. I’ve never understood why anyone would eat those things anyway; I prefer fondue.)

Dick Cheney Bites Man

Sunday, February 12th, 2006

There is nothing funny about the fact that our nasty-piece-of-work VP shot his pal during a weekend quail hunting trip in Texas. So we direct you to SMITH’s seriously amusing tale from Patrick Sauer about the time he sold the then-secretary of defense an air conditioner.

“My Ex” Marks the Spot

Saturday, February 11th, 2006

I once had an idea for a story that was summarily VETOED the story’s key source: gather ’round my past loves for “The Ex-Girlfriend Dinner Party” and have a rollicking discussion about the pros and cons about the brand called me. (The key source was the last ex in my personal series, a woman whom I dated for more than four years; she was appalled at this prospect; I thought she was being a big baby; time, however, has led me on around to her point.)

They break our hearts, we break theirs. It often ends in tears. But the stories are so GOOD. SMITH readers have been unleashing amazing tales about exes. One woman swears the Buddha came between her and her boyfriend. Another says her ex “had been a ball and chain secured to an anvil chained to a brass tree connected to the core of the earth,” but was overjoyed to see she had gained about 100 pounds since last they met (love when that happens). Then there’s the guy whose ex dumped him for his best friend (hate when that happens).

Sometimes writing is the best revenge. Got an ex story? Yes you do. Click here and let it all hang out.

MySpace’s Jekyll …. and Hide

Wednesday, February 8th, 2006

At the risk of stereotyping myself as the guy who always posts depressing things (And I’m not always so depressing, which reminds me — Lisa, I’ll take you in an AIM Fight any day…) I thought this was worth sharing.

It’s a screencap, all that’s left of the MySpace profile of one Jacob Robida, ne Jake Jekyll, an 18-year-old suspected of being the man who walked in to a gay bar in Massachusetts last Thursday wielding a handgun and hatchet and wounding three. Robida, who listed his interests on MySpace as, “death, destruction, chaos, filth and greed,” led police on a multi-state manhunt until Saturday, when police say he killed a police officer and a woman who was a passenger in his car before turning the gun — the same one used in the bar attack, according to police — on himself.

Robida’s profile has since been taken down, replaced with a message addressed to the media, calling on us to focus on more important stories. And to be totally honest, most days I’d argue they’re right - but I still think Robida’s old profile is worth a look. His may be an unpleasant story for us to hear, but the beauty of this age is that those of us who want to hear it can. I’ve been seeing a lot of fear out there about sites like MySpace lately, reports from people who want to tell you how to keep your kids safe (right after we check in on the weather, of course) from the deviant predators surely lurking behind every corner of the Internet. And yes, there are some bad people out there, and some things to be careful of, but things like this are also a window into souls we were closed off from before. That can only be a good thing.

Jennifer Aniston

Wednesday, February 8th, 2006

Jennifer Aniston Is Doing Great
By Anthony Giglio

The pressure is always on when members of my famiglia come to town. They want Mr. Fancypants to show them a good time, because they think I live a totally charmed life as an underpaid freelance writer. For a good vibe and great food I like to take them to Babbo down on Waverly, with hopes that celebrity chef and owner Mario Batali will walk by in his orange clogs and give them a wink. One night a few weeks ago my mom and sister Lisa had just come from a wine tasting and were most definitely a little buzzed and very, very hungry. While we waited for a table in the crowded bar area, the restaurant’s manager (an old pal of mine) walked over with a bottle of Barolo, three glasses, and a plate of three slabs of bruschetta adorned with melting slices of lardo. “A little something on the house,” he said with a smile, knowing exactly why I was there. I was feeling good. Mom was beaming. And so we huddled in the corner and wolfed down creamy cured pork fat with copious sips of the delicious wine, hardly saying a word.

And then it happened.

I glanced up at Lisa, who was staring over my shoulder toward the dining room, eyes wide and smiling. But before I could turn around, a sheath of perfectly straight, Pantene-shiny blonde hair was passing me and I heard Lisa gasp. Then, as if in slow motion, the blonde leaned in toward Lisa and they reached out and held each other’s forearms for what seemed like 10 long seconds.

Lisa said, “How are you?” with such deep feeling, I figured this was an old friend she hadn’t seen in years.

The blonde said, “I’m okay, I’m okay.”

And with that she walked out, followed by her entourage of three hot bodies, not one of whose lovely faces I ever beheld.

When I asked her who that was she blushed and said, “Jennifer Aniston… it … was … Jennifer Aniston!” After a gulp of Barolo, Lisa explained she had caught sight of the world’s most famous blonde walking toward her, but that Aniston gave her a serious look that said, Please don’t make a scene. They locked eyes and then “she smiled and she walked toward me,” said Lisa, explaining that she felt so bad for the star given the whole Angelina Jolie thing, she just had to say something.

“That was unbelievable,” said Mom.

“I can’t believe I just hugged Jennifer Aniston,” said Lisa.

Technically, it was a forearm grip. Yet undoubtedly, that night’s mission was accomplished.

BONUS (via Gawker): An alleged “Brush” with an undermining Jennifer Aniston.

Dick Cheney

Wednesday, February 8th, 2006

Dick Cheney vs. the SpaghettiOs
By Patrick J. Sauer

It was the summer of 1989, and I was biding my time before leaving Billings, MT, to head off to the renowned academic powerhouse Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI. I was socking away minimum wages for my collegiate experience ($3.35 an hour, I believe) at Best sporting goods, quietly whiling away my afternoons selling rifles, lawn furniture, fly rods, and Weber grills. At best, I was an average salesman, but it wasn’t a commission gig and I spent half my time on the phone arranging to find a guy of legal age to buy me and my boys cases of Schmidt beer.

Billings isn’t a celebrity hotbed, and whatever sightings there were reached mythic proportions that carried weight for years on end. My buddy Bruno once saw Bill Murray meandering downtown before a minor league ballgame between the Salt Lake Trappers (Murray was part owner) and the Billings Mustangs. Even at Best, salesclerks reminisced fondly about the time Mel Gibson went on a major spending spree to stock his ranch up near Absarokee.

One thing Billings does have to offer, though, is tax-free shopping, and nobody appreciates avoiding sales tax quite like a Wyoming Republican.
The savings were so good that even an old hunter like Dick Cheney, recently installed Secretary of Defense, dropped in to purchase a few items for his daughter’s dorm room. I’m assuming it was Mary because she was born in 1969—to Elizabeth’s 1966—but I can’t say for sure if it was also my first brush with a woman of the lesbian persuasion. Truth be told, it’s probably for the better, because at the age of 18 my only experience with women-who-prefer-women was VHS pornography, and I’m not sure I would’ve been able to keep my composure and complete the transaction in the timely and orderly fashion befitting a former military man…err, a guy who digs the armed forces.

Decked out in a ten-gallon hat and form-fitting Wranglers, Cheney grunted a few questions to me about the best mini-fridge on the market. I, of course, was wearing a short-sleeved shirt and tie combination that would later come to be known as “the Sipowicz.” He decided on a brown one, maybe two-feet tall, perhaps a Kenmore… basically, the same one you kept SpaghettiOs and Diet Coke cold in during the undergraduate years.

Cheney bought a few other items, and then I wheeled out his purchases on a red handcart to his Ford Bronco or Chevy Blazer or whatever it was before S.U.V.’s were invented. He opened the swing door, I bent down, lifted the mini-fridge (with my legs, not my back, which was a hard-learned lesson) and slid it into the area opened by the folded-down seats. I don’t recall Cheney or his daughter saying anything, but he shook my hand, nodded “Thanks,” climbed into his truck and headed off into the sunset. Tipping was never part of the equation, but the patriotic swell I got from assisting the Secretary of Defense far surpassed a few crumpled bills from his oil investments.

And before you ask: Yes, I’ve considered the “What If?” possibilities. Realistically, all I could have accomplished is accidentally “dropping” the mini-fridge and causing a few broken toes.

But broken toes would never keep Dick Cheney down.

Breakup Books (A Blogroll Please…)

Wednesday, February 8th, 2006

My name is Larry. I am a straight male. And I am an admitted Vows reader. Vows is the graceful center piece of NYT’s wedding announcement pages in the Sunday Styles section, often called “the sports page for women.” My woman not only reads Sports, but just won the Super Bowl pool. And we both love Vows, a Sunday valentine in the messy miniseries that is life and love.

Friend of SMITH and “writer so traveled and talented it’s hard to believe she’s so young” Anna Jane Grossman penned The New York Observer’s answer to Vows, the lesser known but spunkier The Love Beat. Turns out she also had a knack for announcing unions that unraveled, so she launched Breakup News with Flint Wainess. They’ve just published It’s Not Me, It’s You: The Ultimate Breakup Book, which winks at you while offering strategy as to how to best survive the fall, from getting your crap back to the ins and outs of breakup sex.

Anna Jane gives up the goods on her own messy ex situation on SMITH’s “My Ex” story section. Click here for a tale of woe from a modern day Ms. Lonelyhearts.

A bonus horse of a different color: If We Ever Break Up, This is My Book

This little book (in size, not aspiration) portals you into the mind of a guy making sense of his own break in the form of surreal doodles, hand-drawn pie charts (e.g.: the breakdown of the first person you ever kissed v. “other stuff”) and scary-smart squibs of insight. It’s funny, devastating, and gets rave after rave from every friend who uses my bathroom.

Flotsam: Blogs are the new Usenet

Monday, February 6th, 2006

Blogs in 2006 = Usenet in ’90s = Comic Strip.
(via helpful-funny-raining-cats&dogsters-Ted at Spideysenses.)

I Am Not The Tomb Raider

Sunday, February 5th, 2006

Kathy Ritchie, a New York­-based writer whose lips are pictured above and face below, works at a celebrity gossip magazine. She has never been harassed by Bill O’Reilly

I was lying on a paper-covered table, my legs propped in sock-covered stirrups, when my doctor asked: “Has anyone ever said your lips look like Angelina Jolie’s? And is your cervix normally this red?”

The author &hellips; and her lipsThe author (pictured here and above) and her Angelina-like lips.

How does one respond to this line of questioning? I offered a very awkward, “Um, I guess so?”

Truth is, I wasn’t so put off by her question. People have been wisecracking about my lips — the ones on my face — since I was a little girl. Back then, comments like “fish lips” and “fat lips” usually sent me running home in tears to my mom. She tried her best to console me, but the third-grader didn’t believe her when she said my lips would be more appreciated when I got older.

I believe her now.

Nearly two decades later, everybody loves my lips. Men want to kiss them, women want to buy them. And, it’s all because of her. The woman with the famous bee-stung pout. My arch nemesis: Angelina Jolie.

Ever since Angelina turned heads as the Tomb Raider, I am constantly compared to the one-time blood-wearing, Oscar-winning Hollywood darling of darkness. From Mario the postal worker — “Um, so, like, has anyone ever said you look like Angelina Jolie? — to my dental hygienist — “Do you know who you look like?” Even the towel man from my gym had something to say: “Lips! You’re not … nah … Want a towel Lips?” Yes, please.

I have received cash offers to give strange men kisses. Those awkward, “no thanks” moments are endless. In fact, when I asked a girlfriend to help me evoke memories of Angelina, all she could say was, “God, Kathy, it happens so often I can’t remember just one in particular. Hey, remember when they used to say you looked like Posh Spice?”

I know, I know, I should be flattered. After all, we are talking about a woman who is constantly declared one of the sexiest women alive. And, I suppose it’s time that I face and embrace my inner-Angelina. Just because I’m not Hollywood royalty doesn’t mean I can’t jet off to some faraway land and adopt my own little
refugee or two.

Still, no matter what I do, it won’t change the fact that Angie-J gets all of the hype, like she started the look first or something. Granted, she is two years older than me, so one could argue that she had fat lips first, but I had to live with those fish lips in the real world, where looking different in any capacity is simply not cool. Yo! I’ve got fat-lip street cred! What does a girl have to do to get a little respect? Get five or six tattoos, smooch her brother, maintain an impressive knife collection, date another woman, shack up with Brad Pitt, and cause America’s favorite funny girl to weep in front of a Vanity Fair reporter?

That just seems like so much work.

All Your Petes Are Belong to Us

Saturday, February 4th, 2006

Same name! Same name! Same name! The silly beauty of people meeting other people with the same name rocks. Way back when I was hanging around and I guess writing and editing for Might magazine, one of my favorite pieces we published was about a guy who organized a bunch of Phil Campbells to meet him in Phil Campbell, Alabama. The piece, “Phil Campbell? Phil Campbell. Welcome to Phil Campbell,” still makes me laugh out loud, and starts Might’s compilation Shiny Adidas Tracksuits and the Death of Camp). My friend Bill Keller, who goes by the name BillySirr, once called current NYT top dog Bill Keller in South Africa back when he was a bureau chief there (computer guru Keller recalls newspaper Keller didn’t have much of a reaction to the news that there was another Bill Keller on the line), and, let’s face it, it’s always a little trippy when you meet someone with both your first and last name. Now comes news that an English bloke named Pete is going for the world’s name gathering record of some sort. He explains on his site, the Pete Collective.

In 2004 some friends bet that I couldn’t get a bunch of other people called Peter to meet up with me at the same time in the same place. Inspired by the challenge and discovering that there have been gatherings of Marias in Spain and Mohammeds in Dubai, I decided to up the stakes & go for the world record. I set up this plutonium fuelled website to entrap my namesakes and get them to pledge allegiance to meet me on 10th June 2006 in London & ‘Give Pete a chance’. I need 2000 of you on board to meet me in one place, at the same time. Simple.

Simple, pointless, and possibly divine dive into the randomness of names, or: the thing we call ourselves because someone else decided to call us that first.

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