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Friday, March 28, 2008

"spitzer, spitzer, what did you do?"

apparently some 3-year-olds are more advanced than others. mine, for example, has trouble sorting out the differences between "today" and "next week" and "my birthday." it's all a blur.

other kids, however, are all up to date on the latest on the gubernatorial crisis in albany. watch this clip: here we learn that "everybody at school is talking about" the eliot spitzer scandal. you know, the one in which he paid $80,000 for his friend, Kristen, who was on the show "the girl is wild." the poor governor had to quit before he was peached.

new york city kids are some sophisticated tykes, i tell you what. still. personally, i prefer the
rehash of Star Wars. something about coaching a little girl to describe hookergate smacks of trying a wee bit too hard to get a laugh.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

breaking: bonadouche

as if an entire reality show devoted to the travails of an utterly charmless danny bonaduce wasn't enough, now VH1 has created it's own special brand of network-endorsed child abuse. hosted by the erstwhile partridge, I Know My Kid's a Star pits a gaggle of tweens against each other -- and their own parents -- to determine who's got enough "it factor" to become the next child star.

best part of the show's debut: an unfortunate lass is so nervous upon meeting bonaduce and the other contestants in the beginning of the show that she pukes into the bushes. your heart breaks for the girl. and while some might argue this is only
a natural reaction to meeting bonaduce in the fleshy-flesh, clearly it's the most accurate review the show will ever get.

instead of delighting in the ridiculous behavior of the parents -- like the pressuring, porny stage mom Rocky who is clearly showboating vicariously through her nervous wreck of a daughter -- you find yourself fighting the impulse to call child protective services. there is good cringe-inducing TV and very, very bad cringe-inducing TV. while bonaduce, of all people, says he wants to help kids avoid the dangerous emotional and chemical pitfalls of child stardom, here he seems determined to drive these tykes straight to Lohan-ville. only, you know, without the stardom part. stay classy, VH1!

didn't anyone at the network see the sad-but-funny-because-it's-true headless britney episode of southpark? have we learned nothing?!

copulatin' calamari!

so over the weekend we had planned on going to cost-co because my in-laws left their car with us for the week and, well, we need lots of supplies. so we got going bright and early, very proud of our industriousness. but, wouldn't you know, it was easter sunday, so obviously the store was closed. boy were we ever ...


naturally, you have to assume that giant squids come from somewhere, right? no surprise: they have sex. well, sweet jesus, i never anticipated an article about mating mollusks would wind up being THE GREATEST THING I HAVE EVER READ IN MY LIFE EVER.

key quotes:
"scientists now believe the males had either accidentally inseminated themselves during 'violent' lovemaking sessions with females or been inseminated by other males after 'bumping' into them in the dark depths of the ocean."

i think i accidentally inseminated myself after reading that sentence.

"males get round their inferior size by being endowed with a particularly long penis, which means they can inject the female without having to get too close to her chomping beak. The male's sexual organ is actually a bit like a high-pressure fire hose and is normally nearly as long as his body"

wait. "high-pressure fire hose!!?" mmm, squid bukkake. i suddenly find myself craving calamari. with extra tartar sauce. waitress!

Monday, March 24, 2008

jumpin' jamaica!

because, i am sure, you have been dying to know the details of our jamaican jaunt -- mostly because you, like me, will always take an opportunity to wallow in the misery of knowing how lovely your life isn't -- i present to you, in photos, the dream vacation that has rendered me thoroughly unable to return to reality.

we stayed in negril. we stayed at this teeny tiny resort built into the bluffs and caves overlooking the waters. it was, in fact, called the caves (and, i'd wager, still is). there were no beaches at this resort, mostly because it was built on rocky cliffs. this was fine by me as i do not do sandy beaches so well, although i definitely do water well. and besides, here is the sunset that greeted us upon our arrival:

hello, caribbean wonderland. would you mind if i kicked off my shoes, grabbed a pina colada and stayed a while?

the beauty of this place is that -- since it is rather obscenely expensive -- everything was included. when i mean everything, i mean everything: from your guided snorkle tour (into the eponymous caves, no less), to your private sunset hot tub session, to your two course breakfast, to your three course lunch, to your three course dinner, to the 23 squillion drinks you quaff between each meal. indeed. now that we're back in new york, my liver needs a vacation ... i made every effort to drink every penny that we were spending.

when i wasn't jumping off cliffs, that is. as the resort was built on the bluffs, the architects had the good foresight to include ledges, custom built for hurtling yourself from. these ranged from 10 to 20 to 30 feet off the crystal-blue waters. upon receiving the tour of the place, i peered down from the dizzying 30-foot ledge and i knew: there will be jumping.

you see i have this self-destructive impulse, which i believe is fairly common, to jump off of things. when i am in tall buildings, on rooftops, on ledges, every fiber in my body screams: JUMP, MOTHERFUCKER, JUMP! usually, i don't jump. because i would probably die. and then i would never be able to jump off of again -- a veritable Catch-22. but here! here i am presented with a 30-foot ledge overlooking a beautiful bay and i am virtually being begged to jump. i mean, it's just water. right? so. i donned my groovy billabong circa 1998 board shorts (i miss saying the words "swimming trunks") and i approached the ledge. i looked down.

people, let me tell you: 30 feet is no joke. 30 feet is some high ass shit. we're talking higher than the highest resort staffer. you think, "i am about to willfully fling myself off this ledge. why? there is no shame in not jumping." and then another much more evil and anti-darwinian part of your brain says "what's wrong, are you afraid you'll sprain your vagina? JUMP, MOTHERFUCKER!" and then, just after your wife tells you she'll kill you if she has to go home a pregnant widow, everything goes blank.

and you jump.

and, indeed, it feels glorious. granted ... it doesn't look very pretty:


a side view:

when you hit the water, every part of your body that makes impact gets an incredibly rude slap. see how my arms are flayed out? you don't want to land like that. i have massive bruises on the underside of my right arm from multiple jumps. also my ass. my white ass looks just like a blueberry pancake -- flat and shot through with little purple clouds.

anyway. they have a guy on the premises, a man of very few words, who gives the snorkle and kayak tours and checks the pool for alarming levels of red stripe-flavored urine. we took to calling him Aqua Man because he was clearly 80 percent fish. in the snorkel session, he'd skim along the bay floor, holding his breath for 50 minutes at a time as he danced with the sting rays. he took us into one of the caves, which he called the Bat Cave because, well, there were lots of bats in there, one of which almost made a canadian woman we were swimming with into Bat Lunch.

sometimes, when on dry land, Aqua Man would take a real dive off the ledge. and it was beautiful:

we asked him the secret and he said it was "easy. just jump out in a 45 degree angle over the water. don't go straight down because you'll flip onto your back." i never quite summoned the gumption to dive off the 30-footer, but i did, finally, gather up the guts to dive off the 20-foot ledge:

compared to Aqua Man i looke like a bloated goose, crash-landing after a mai thai and vicodin binge. also, when you hit the water on a head-first dive, your shoulders take the brunt of the impact. so after three of these i had a dark blue welt on my right shoulder. which nicely matched the purple constellation under my right arm. and did i mention my ass? jesus. by the end of the week, i looked like i had been to S&M camp.

we only left the grounds of the resort twice: both times for lunch. once was for jerk chicken at a place called Bourbon Beach. we got a ride from a driver named Clovis who is loosely affiliated with the resort. and reality. he only charged us $30 to drive us to lunch and back -- and $10 for him to hang out with us while we ate. how nice of him. he, awesomely, wore a superman ring on his wedding finger. why? to protect him from marriage to his girlfriend, mother to three of his five children. he also addressed all questions about my wife and her pregnancy to me. even though she was sitting right with us. he totally ignored mrs nice guy. over the course of the week we would come to conclude that jamaican men have a, uh, different sort of relationship with their women.

the second time we went off campus was to sample some of the chicken at this place:

it was, indeed, serious. but it was no bourbon beach. bourbon beach served the best jerk chicken i have ever had in my life -- spicy, tangy, herby. delicious. when we asked if we could buy a bottle of their miracle sauce they said we could ... for $20. we passed.

so, yeah. it was a good trip. we made an effort to do as little as possible: sleep, sun, swim, eat, repeat. we had the occasional strong pang of missing the kid, but we knew she was in good hands and that we would see her soon enough. the flight home was a jarring re-entry to real life: the plane was an hour late; there was turbulence; mrs nice guy barfed for the first time all week; we went into a holding pattern for an hour. we arrived close to midnight and the kid was obviously asleep. we snuck in an peeked at her.

her fat slumbering stubborn face made re-entry bearable. it was certainly the only thing i could have handled dealing with in my real new york life after a week of this:

Saturday, March 22, 2008

bathing john malkovich

gentle, impressionable reader. please, come. take my hand ... no, not that one. take the hand with the loofah in it. that's it. yes.

don't be shy. for it is time. it is bath time. it is time for Bathing with Bierko, the very reason that god invented the internets.

demented. hilarious. uncomfortable. genius.

Friday, March 21, 2008

subway stories

our lovely sitter decided to take the little nipper into the big city this morning -- they headed to soho for some easter egg hunt -- which was great for me because i got to ride on the train with them part of the way there. i humbly posit that everyone's morning commute would be improved about a million times if they got to spend it with my shouting daughter. (WE'RE GOING ON THE "R" TRAIN TO THE CITY! WE'RE GOING IN THE TUNNEL!)

as we stood on the platform, waiting for manhattan-bound train, the thoughtful child kept an eye on my well-being. BE CAREFUL DADDY, YOU CAN'T FALL DOWN IN THE TRACKS. IT'S DANGEROUS. the vehemence with which she lobbied for my safety caught the attention of this shabby homeless dude who was otherwise deeply engaged in picking up spent metro cards off the ground while muttering to himself. she shouts, he looks up. and he shouts back. and a meeting of the minds is convened:




he was harmless and she was adorable, but still. i'll admit to feeling a little uneasy with the whole guileless, earnest, trusting, beautiful 3-year-old shtick she has going. the sitter tells me the kid talks to everyone on the train (she apparently takes her on more outings than i do -- in my defense, i'm usually too busy keeping her locked in the basement).

of course, most sane people would have their socks charmed off by the little porkchop. naturally. unfortunately, not every person on the train (or waiting for it) is sane. at what age, i wonder, do i tell her that it's probably not the best idea to launch into a discourse about your pajamas with every homeless stranger you meet on the street.

oh well, at least she didn't pole dance this time.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

the beard stays, YOU GO!

agh. sorry for the poor posting, people. i probably should have given y'all a heads up that after spending a week in san francisco for nonstop work, i was coming back to new york for all of two days -- for more nonstop work.

and then mrs nice guy and i packed up and went to jamaica. without the kid. for six glorious days. of nonstop chillaxing.

a brief timeline of the past two weeks: i said i was going to SF and indeed i did. i schlepped my wounded knees over there to attend this massive conference about things too dull to get into here, but suffice it to say i was working. a lot. but i did get to do some eatin':

  • lunch at the surprisingly tasty Ducca (in the lobby of the Westin, of all places), stone's throw from Moscone.
  • i dined one night at the decidedly hip -- and delicious -- SPQR (i took a cab there after an aborted attempt to walk found me kicking hypodermic needles on 6th street and feeling vaguely menaced 'round every corner. and here i thought i was an urbane, sophisticated brooklynite only to be scared by a gaggle of latenight SF toughies. i am ashamed.)
  • had lunch at some mediterranean/italian place whose name i can't remember but it starts with a Z and they have their own cookbook because the food is quite tasty.

i spent the rest of my free time hanging out with my good college friend Crazy Legs and her not-quite-so-new-anymore daughter. she lives nearish to haight-ashbury, so i pilgrimaged to Amoeba and picked up a stack of rekkids (ray bryant, chet atkins and jerry reed, abdullah ibrahim, emmylou harris, syreeta). then i remembered that i must be in the vicinity of the Grateful Dead house, so i looked it up on the old blackberry, and indeed i was but a block away. so i paid my respects to 710 ashbury -- a lovingly restored victorian with some crazy mojo. keep on truckin', jerry ... i wonder how much the current occupants hate you.

anyway. i stayed at the new intercontinental hotel and they tell me that i was either the first or second guest to ever stay in the room that i had. i only wish i could have defiled it a little more for the next.

so, yeah. not all that exciting. what was exciting was getting on a plane last week to jamaica. we stayed at a tiny little resorty place in negril. the in-laws drove down and watched the kid while wife and i sat in the sun for six days, arising only to swim, eat or drink. more on that later. first, i must conquer the severe depression i have lapsed into upon returning to my desk and realizing that now i must work.

but first, let me leave you with this -- a grim peek inside my current state of mind:

Monday, March 03, 2008

mr nice guy goes to san francisco

so i'll be in SF (do not say "Frisco") this week. i'll be arriving in the bay area (do not say "Frisco") late tomorrow night and leaving california (do not say "Frisco") friday afternoon. i'll be there (do not say "Frisco") for work.

is there anything going on this week i should check out if i get some free time? i see that stephen malkmus will be playing at amoeba on weds, but that'll likely be a total clusterfuck. balkan beatbox was supposed to be playing at the filmore on thurs, but it looks like that may have been cancelled because their singer and bassist are being held by immigration (oh noes!!!).

so what should i do for kicks in Frisco (oops!)?? any tips?