Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Blogger Takes Weekend Leave

For the first time since God-knows-when, I’m not working tonight. I’m planning on staying home and using my time for something constructive, like cleaning and then sleeping.

On Thursday, I have football, then dinner at my brother’s, then dessert at the Divorced Guy’s parents’ house, then drinks with the once-a-year locals afterward.

Friday is my birthday.

Saturday and Sunday will be spent watching football and asking people if they’ve “ever played a down in anger” if they question anything I say.

I plan to enjoy myself, and I hope you do, too. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I still don't get it

“This is a public relations magnet,” he said. “There isn’t a person in Hollywood that doesn’t want to have a green image.”


Reader Mail!

Dippin’ into the ol’ mailbag...


I've been reading your blog for quite some time now, which is pretty amusing since I'm really someone who hated and still hates blogs in general. But I used to be a bouncer at a Eastern-European nightclub in central jersey and I guess I could relate in some ways; guidos aren't the only groups of assholes that make nightclubs the dungeons they are.

You worked in Chelsea or that general area of meganightclubs I believe, and I always meant to ask you why then did you never write about the crazy drugged up asians that frequent nyc nightclubs, or at least did when I used to go. They seemed to be almost everywhere, fobs straight of the blue line from China Town that would be on so many different substances that they were in a different world. I don't think they ever caused a single fight, but I always remembered them in the corners, the hallways, the dancefloor, etc. just wobbling around in their own universe. It used to be funny for a while and fun to fuck around with them. Once there was one with his hands against the wall, head looking down and just shaking back and forth... I would see this same guy hours later in the same spot doing the same exact thing and I thought I would conduct an experiment. I put my hand on his head and through it with some force, not too excessively, into the wall... he seemed to be dazed for a
moment, stopping... and then he kept on going with same motion. Clubs were filled with these chink characters, I don't see that many when I go to those parts once in a while anymore. I'm not saying these were a major force in the club you worked in, I just assumed the invasion spread everywhere

Yes. Well. Moving right along, we have...

No real idea how to write this so I'll just rant, feel free to mark as spam at this point.

I'm english.
What that means is the scottish have a birth right to hate me and I have to pay them benefits for the pleasure.
Look at manchester and birmingham in england on a map and I'm pretty much inbetween them
I'm at risk of redundancy in my main job during this credit crunch we're all enjoying so much.
So I did some research and read your blog then got my SIA license.
I've spent several years doing martial arts and several more in the gym so why not?

Just a quick thanks and a short story.

I got talking to an old school friend through facebook who used to bounce but his license ran out.
I wanted to help him so got him in contact with my boss who is paying for his license renewal
2 weeks later we get a contract in the town he used to work in, which is out of my bosses normal range of pubs but one of his regular clients.
So now I have 3 evenings work a week on a better than average bouncing wage and one of my best friends from high school watching my back.

This email is just a quick thank you.


Well, I mean, I’d kind of like to feel good about helping you, dude,’s bouncing. Chances are you’re gonna get, like, shanked or something eventually, so maybe you should hold off on thanking me until you’re burned out and thinking about chainsaws an hour into your shift.

Let me know!


While I agree with everything you and your correspondent said, it really is a bit simpler than all of that. An old friend of mine says it best: “I don’t hit ladies, but ladies don’t hit me.”

I have been lucky and have been attacked by a woman just once. She jumped me from behind as I was dealing with her boyfriend. She got dumped over my shoulder and was actually fortunate that she didn’t get badly hurt. But it didn’t faze me then, and I certainly didn’t agonize over it, because that simple rule took care of any second-guessing on my part.


Well said, sir. I’m thinking I can apply this same sentiment to the “verbal judo” sessions in which I often engage with disagreeable members of the fairer sex.


Monday, November 24, 2008


I let the Guido stay and I threw out the foreigner.

Here is what happened: I saw an argument taking shape right in front of me between a large steroidal Guido and a strange looking swarthy guy who was waving his arms in way that simply didn’t look right. I asked the Guido why this was happening, and he gave me the typical laundry list of Guido nonsense that Guidos always invoke during fights. I won’t go into the specifics of the nonsense in question because it’s all been documented here before. Check the archives.

Suffice it to say that nobody in the history of mankind has ever been bigger, badder, tougher or more dangerous than this particular Guido. I pondered things for a moment, then quickly discarded this revelation and left him in the custody of some of the other bouncers who’d run to the scene.

The first thing the strange looking, arm-waving swarthy guy did was touch me, which is poor form. He was also a close talker with horrible breath. This gave him no chance from the get-go. I wanted to assault him with a chainsaw. I wanted to bring back “Chainsaw Thursdays,” which was a concept night I developed and tried to introduce in West Chelsea a few years back. Arming bouncers with chainsaws would make life golden.

The strange looking, arm-waving swarthy guy had an accent I couldn’t place. He seemed incapable of telling me his side of the story, and I couldn’t stop thinking about chainsaws. Things were bad, for sure.

“Blah, blah, blah, blah, and...uh...blah, blah, you say?...blah, blah, blah.”

The three people with him – two girls and another strange looking swarthy guy – also spoke with irritating accents. They, too, were incapable of explaining the situation to me without the handsy grabbing and the close talking and the bad breath and the vaguely Slavic creepyness that induced the thoughts of the chainsaw and the chopping.

I went back to the Guido and said, “I don’t know what happened, but you’re making sense and this guy’s not, so I’m throwing him out and you’re staying.”

“Yeah, muthafucka, you got...”

“No,” I interrupted. “Listen to me. You’re staying because I don’t need the fucking hassle of throwing two groups out of here right now when there hasn’t even been a fight yet. He’s leaving because he’s an annoying motherfucker who’s not making any sense. But if you say one thing to anyone while we’re taking them out, you’re all fucking gone.”

Then I threw the creepy, close-talking, handsy weird guy out and told him to shut the fuck up because I’ve heard it all before a million times.

As he walked away he waved money at me. I went back inside and drank tea.

Friday, November 21, 2008



I’ve worked security in Chicago on every level and at many different types of establishments for around fifteen years and can relate to almost all of what you write. I have a situation that has arisen from time to time, and I would like your perspective.

Last Saturday night I was involved in an altercation with a gentleman who flat out refused to leave after closing time. The lights were up, the music was off, he had no drink and it was just past 3 am. Now, normally I try and avoid beating on the last problem of the evening, as he will get what everyone the entire night had coming to them. However, he decided he was going to play with my tie. In an arrogant fashion, he informed me how much he makes, how I am not worth listening to, etc, all the while tugging. my. tie. Of course I choked him out of the club immediately.

Herein lies the question. As I was dragging him out, his girlfriend leapt to his honor. She got knocked down in the fracas, and then after I let him go outside, she jumped on me again. Reacting without really thinking about it, I gave her a hearty door guy shove. She sprawled on the ground and sounded like the grape lady from the news. She wasn't hurt at all, but she put on a good show. A bunch of dudes who had no idea what happened (they even admitted as such) came over and said, "Real men don't push women," and that I was a pussy. I felt bad, but she shouldn’t have tried to jump me after I didn't kick his ass.

I would love to hear what you have done in similar situations as undoubtedly you have encountered it before, and you have a forum in which to educate jackasses on how not to act in a physical altercation, if that makes sense.

Its always great to read your blog, keep the stories coming!


Mike, any guy with any semblance of decency isn’t going to want to touch a girl in that situation, but sometimes people don’t give you the option of exercising your upbringing. It’s bad enough that these retards have to act the way they do, but there’s a certain sentiment involved – honor, in a perverse sort of way? – that would, ideally, keep men as the combatants and women as the concerned onlookers. Win the fight, go home and bang your girlfriend. Lose the fight and she gives you a cold compress and some sympathy. Either way, stay the fuck out of it until the physical part is over.

I don’t want to get into a whole thing about gender roles here, but women, unless they’re Gina Carano, really have no place in the middle of a physical altercation between multiple guys. If they want to jump in front of one side or the other before things happen and appeal to them not to fight, that’s fine, but once things get started – especially if the guys involved are physically capable and under the influence – it’s suicide.

They’re also courting trouble if they escalate things by trying to kick guys in the nuts or wielding a weapon. I’ve had this happen to me, and I’ve seen it dozens of times, and it never works out for the woman.

We had a situation a few years back where a bouncer was in the process of restraining some excessively violent coked-up jerkoff. On the way out the door – which was opened with his face – he punched me in the nuts. As soon as we let go of him outside, he turned around and started throwing punches.

Another bouncer pinned him to the hood of a car and was trying to get him to stop fighting. His girlfriend ran out, took off a spike heel, and hit the bouncer in the back of the neck. He wheeled around, not knowing who’d hit him, and backhanded her square in the face. She dropped to the ground like a bag of shit.

Now, is he less of a “man” because he did this? Or should he just stand there and allow someone – male or female – to physically assault him? The guy was hit in the back of the neck with a potentially dangerous weapon, and people still gave him shit for knocking out a girl. Not me, though. As far as I’m concerned, he had every right in the world to defend himself against something like that. Every right.

That night, when the police were called, I explained to them how twenty guys stood around and watched as a girl hit my friend with a spike heel while his back was turned. That was pretty much all they needed to know.

I don’t know if I’d shove a girl, per se – although from your description, you seem to have been dealing with both people by yourself – but whether you’re male or female, you’re crossing a line when you put your hands on someone you don’t know. For the lousy $125 a night most bouncers make, it’s just not worth having to tolerate.


The highlight of my gym month happened yesterday.

There’s a guy – a bodybuilder – at my gym I can’t stand. Of course, there are at least three dozen guys at my gym I can’t stand. This will come as a surprise to nobody. This particular guy, however, is considered an asshole by people other than me, so you can’t just dismiss this as one of my “things.” It’s real. The guy’s a complete jerkoff.

He once left multiple plates on a bar and walked away. I asked him if he was finished, and he said, “Yeah,” then gave me a dismissive gesture and started walking away.

“Hey,” I called after him. “You gonna take the plates off?”

I think the combination of the look he gave me and the thing he did with his mouth in reply would be called a scoff.

“Whoa,” I said, showing him my palms. “I don’t clean up after you.”

“Are you serious?”

“Dude, I was benching that weight with my cock in seventh grade. You ain’t strong enough to not clean up your shit.”

“Fuck you, then,” he said, and scurried away to the front desk to file his complaint.

I don’t do the gym tough guy thing. I’m wearing headphones from the second I walk in, and I usually don’t even look at anyone, much less concern myself with what they think of me. I know they look, but I don’t care. I’m an athlete, not a gym guy. I’m there to get my shit done, to feel good, and then leave. I very rarely interact with anyone long enough to be considered either an asshole or a “tough guy.” This guy, however, has been rubbing me the wrong way for over a year.

Today, our bodybuilder friend was doing dumbbell rows with one hand on the back of an incline bench. He had that whole exaggerated form thing going on – the way some bodybuilders totally overdo it with regard to “perfect” technique. I’m a stickler for proper exercise form and technique, but this guy takes the concept to entirely new levels of stupidity every time I see him. He was working with 60 pound dumbbells – which, again, I could have hooked around the tip of my cock and rowed in seventh grade. I didn’t say that this time, though. I just tried to ignore him.

He was really going at it, too – making noises, grimacing, and strutting around afterward with his Inflated Lat Syndrome (ILS) puffed out for all of us to see.

The song in the background? Fooling Yourself, by Styx.

Why must you be such an angry young man
When your future looks quite bright to me
And how can there be such a sinister plan
That could hide such a lamb
Such a caring young man

And you're fooling yourself if you don't believe it
Fooling yourself
You're kidding yourself if you don't believe it
Kidding yourself

Get up, get up, get back on your feet
You're the one they can't beat and you know it
Yeah, come on, come on, let's see what you've got
Just take your best shot and don't blow it, whoa-o-oh

This scene reminded me of the time a brawl broke out at the club during the playing of Love is in the Air. We didn’t notice at first, but then John the Cop started yelling about it.

“Love is in the air!” Boom!

“Love is in the air!” Pow!

“Love is in the air!” Slam!

That may have been the highlight of my bouncing career.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Pop Stand

So far today, I’ve received a total of fourteen combined emails and text messages from people I know regarding my previous post and the idea posited therein. Every single one of these emails and texts said that moving out of New York is the best idea I’ve had in years. I wasn’t expecting that sort of reaction, and I sure as hell didn’t think it’d be universal, so it’s been a very interesting day on the forward-thinking front.

I actually got the same exact text message from two separate people who live almost fifteen-hundred miles apart:

“Dude, you gotta get the fuck out of there.”

I don’t think things are that drastic, exactly, but the wheels started turning a little more vigorously today. Plus, if I move, I can start listening to country music in my car for free again.


I’m thinking about moving.

I’m not planning on pulling the trigger right away, and I have no particular destination in mind – although I’ve composed a bit of a shortlist – but it’s a recurring idea I feel kind of good about. A glimmering, so to speak – something I’ve thought about for a long while that’s much less of a delusion than it was, say, a year ago.

Part of this is a problem I’ve always had with making friends. This sounds arrogant – what else is new? – but I already have too many. I’m saturated. I made a deal with myself a few years ago that I wouldn’t make any new friends in adulthood – opting instead to stick with the ones I already have. I never seriously enacted this policy, but it’s still a consideration. In theory, anyway.

The way I see things, most people drop the friends they had in high school for newer and more exciting people they meet once they graduate and get out into the world. Then, they trade their college friends in for their coworkers, neighbors, or people they meet through their “networks,” whatever the hell those are. People make friends with the people with whom it’s convenient to be friendly, or at least that’s how I think it works. I could be wrong. I’ve been wrong about a lot of things lately.

I may be wrong about this because it hasn’t worked that way for me. I’ve picked up lifelong friends everywhere I’ve gone, but the majority of my really close friends are people I’ve known since I was a kid. Of the people I consider “very close friends,” I think the shortest tenure of any of them is about fifteen years. From what I gather, I’ve held onto a disproportionate number of my childhood friends when compared to the friend-demographics of most of the people I know.

Of course, I’ve realized that my “no new friends” edict was a tad shortsighted and cynical, and I’ve managed to relax this quite a bit over the past few years. When you’ve had jobs like mine, there’s quite a bit of male bonding-type-shit that goes on, and you end up forming friendships because you’re spending inordinate amounts of time with people just like you. You’re in the same place, doing the same thing for the same reasons, so you’ll naturally have a lot to talk about, and you’ll eventually become off-the-job friends.

My issue, then, is not one of not having any friends. I have lots of friends. I have dozens and dozens of names and numbers in my phone, and I call many of them on an almost daily basis. That’s not the problem.

Most of the people I’m closest to have moved out of New York over the past decade. Some have been gone for a while. Others left more recently. Excluding my mother, eight of my top ten no longer live in this area. This list includes family. When I talk to these people, they get me thinking.

“Dude,” they’ll say. “It would be great if you moved to (Place That’s Theoretically More Pleasant Than New York). Life is so much better here, and it would be great to have you living closer.”

This isn’t about ending my love affair with New York. I know I complain about the place constantly, but New York means everything to me. It’s my home, and although I have lived away from here for extended periods of time, it’s hard to imagine moving away permanently. This is the center of my universe, and it always will be.

This is more about carving out a niche somewhere else and staying there for a while. It’s about missing certain people that I’ve come to realize I need to have around, and it’s about having them miss me back. There are people out there in America – some family and some friends I consider family – I’d sacrifice the familiarity of New York to live near again. Coupled with the stagnating nature of my current employment/social/geographical situation, moving has a certain appeal right now.

We’ll see.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I just finished reading Underground, by Haruki Murakami, who became one of my favorite authors a few years ago.

is a collection of interviews with victims of the 1995 sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo subway. It’s a bit of a departure from Murakami’s typical style – this is stating the obvious, because it’s non-fiction – but I like the way he presents the interviews in a logical order, and there’s just enough narrative interspersed between them to make things make sense.

When you contrast the Japanese reaction to the attacks to the way terrorist attacks are perceived and responded to in just about every other country in the world, the differences are fascinating and well worth your time to read about. The Japanese, at least initially, viewed the attacks the way we see things when we discover our wallets are missing – we suspect someone may have committed a crime, but we obsessively continue looking under the sofa cushions every day because such things “don’t happen to us.”

Closet Liberal

When President-Elect Obama kept going on and on about “change” all summer and fall, I had no idea he was setting me up for the past week and a half. No wonder he was elected. The man is a damned prophet.

I should have listened, but I didn’t. And now change is here, and as you read – or didn’t – in one of yesterday’s posts, I was all banged up over it for a few days. Those few days are over, however, so I’ll not be as touched in the head in coming days.

I have a dyslexic friend who can’t spell the word “definitely.” He always types or texts it as “defiantly.” He also always types “conform” instead of “confirm.”

Today he told me that we “must defiantly conform.”

The timing of this email was perfect for me, because that’s precisely what I’m doing. I’m defiantly conforming to a shitload of sudden changes that have inserted themselves into my life this week.

If you’ve ever played football, you know what a “sudden change” call is. That’s what happens when, for example, a series ends, the starting defensive unit runs off the field, and on the first play after the offense takes over, your stupid douche of a quarterback throws an interception.

“Sudden change! Sudden change!”

You have to forget your break time, get your chinstrap buckled, and get your ass back on the field, ready or not. I used to hate sudden changes, even though I always played on both sides of the ball at every level, because you had to switch into an entirely different mindset in the blink of an eye.

Sudden changes sucked, and they still do, but there’s nothing we can do about them. After a while, you stop getting pissed off about being back on the field, and you just say, “Fuck it. I’m gonna go get the fucking ball back.”

And when you scrape down the line, fill an open window, and wrap up and grab cloth with your head on the ball, sometimes the damned thing comes loose and you earn yourself a break.

I just ran back onto the field.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I’ve received a handful of thoughtful emails today suggesting I “go back” to writing about nightclubs and Guidos. These sorts of emails come in now and again, with the general idea that the original appeal of the blog stemmed from readers’ collective hatred of the Guido Phenomenon and everything that went along with it.

The blog served, for longer than I’d care to admit, as a sort of clearinghouse for everything that was wrong with the whole New York Guido scene – which was, in fact, pretty much everything, since there was really nothing right about any of it.

It also served as a monument for my own inability to improve my own lot in life, at least at the time.

I’ll say this much. I still work as a bouncer – there’s that “needing the money” issue again – so in all probability, I’ll be running afoul of the occasional Guido. In fact, I’ll likely run afoul of one or more this coming weekend. When this happens, I’ll be happy to write about it. I mean, let’s face it – the fountain of Guido material never shuts off.

That said, the whole Guido immersion deal isn’t going to happen again. As they say in the nightclub business, “Fuck THAT.”

Sui Generis

One of the reasons I rarely ever read blogs, and never really have, is because most blogs are written by people who live solely in their own minds. Stating the obvious here, people with blogs write only about themselves. Too often, there’s a massive barrier between the writer’s mind and his surroundings, and the resultant product is skewed beyond recognition. This is fine if you’re interesting, but most people aren’t.

There aren’t many people in the world whose lives are interesting enough for me to want to read about what transpires in the confines of their minds for any sustained period of time. Looking at things from an external perspective, I certainly wouldn’t qualify as a member of this group. My daily life, and the things I think about, simply wouldn’t be interesting enough to hold my attention were I in the market for something to read regularly.

Last night’s post on this site is a perfect example of this. It’s yet another stunning specimen of the “Who Gives A Fuck?” genre that’s rendered personal blogging essentially obsolete and irrelevant.

In other words, I’m getting kind of tired of waking up in the morning, reading something I wrote the night before and saying, “Man, you need to start posting shit in the morning when your publish-button-governor is turned on.”

Squared Away

This is going to be another one of those weird, introspective posts where someone emails me and says, “Wow, nice observation that the rest of the world already knows, you stupid asshole.”

Someone is inexorably bound to write this to me, because whenever people email me to criticize something I say on this site, they invariably call me an asshole. While calling me an asshole wouldn’t be entirely off the mark these days, it’s usually something reserved for people who actually know me – too many of whom can attest to the fact that I’ve been a major asshole of late.

Anyway, I’m starting to think my life is a series of small interconnected events that happen for specific reasons. Like, I’ll take some kind of emotional hit, and I’ll feel like shit for a little while, and then, out of the blue, the right person will call me and make me realize how good I really have it. I don’t know if this happens to everyone, or just to me, but it’s a very consistent thing in my life, and it’s been that way for a long, long time.

I’m not talking about major things here. I’ve taken some major, major hits in my life. We all have, and we all will. I’ve lost several people over the years who’ve been very important to me, and that takes a damned long time to get over. Having been through the loss of three immediate family members in a thirteen year span – including a recent one I haven’t written anything about and likely never will – I always think I’m immune to dwelling on smaller shit until something nails me in just the right place to derail things for a little while.

I’ve taken a few pretty good shots recently. Some of these were admittedly self-inflicted. Others were not. In one case, I was treated rather unfairly by people in whom I’d misguidedly put a little too much faith. In retrospect, this was my fault because I put myself in a position to allow it to happen. I know that now. I didn’t know it a week ago, when I was letting it get to me – and letting everyone around me know I was letting it get to me.

Everything’s relative, though, which is something you realize when you have the right friends. The first friend is a guy who convinced me I’m “better than” the way I was reacting to the situation, and that I’m “better than” the way I’ve been living my life lately. He went on to explain to me how much “better than” me he is, but that had no bearing on the fact that his words sunk in. I’m taking his advice and running with it.

The second friend is a guy whose wife just died last week. She was in her late thirties. They have two young kids. We talked on the phone for an hour tonight, and by the end of the conversation, everything just settled back into place.

This may come as a shock to some people, but even I – with my grandiose delusions that everything that happens to me is exponentially more important than everything that happens to everyone else in the world – can have a sense of perspective once in a while. It occasionally take a few pairs of strong hands to move me back to center, but I’m capable of getting it.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Off the Sauce

I skipped work on Saturday night to watch UFC 91 with a bunch of guys in a room with a giant TV set. This entailed sitting on a couch and some chairs with several white, black and Hispanic guys with tattoos, watching another bunch of tougher white and Hispanic – but no black – guys with even more tattoos beat and choke each other senseless.

Some of the guys in the room wore shirts with skulls on them. One even wore a hat cocked slightly to the side.

“Hey Anthony,” I said. “Someone hit you in the head.”


“Your hat,” I said, pointing. “It’s all cockeyed.”

“Shut up, dick.”

And so on.

Remarkable things were done in this room while the fights were on. Some guys consumed beer. Others ate various snacks. Occasionally, one would let loose with a burst of flatulence. This pattern repeated itself for several hours.

One-liners were tossed out at the rate of approximately seven per minute. Some of these were funny. Others bombed. In a three hour span, I made the room do “LOL” approximately a half dozen times. I made it do “ROTFLMAO” once. My comedic batting average was high.

I ate a full bag of nacho cheese Doritos. I drank three large bottles of Poland Spring. I used the f-word frequently. I got up to take a leak twice. I cracked two jokes linking Brock Lesnar with steroid use – or, on this particular night, a distinct lack thereof. When it was over, I fist-bumped two guys, soul brother handshake-hooked two others, and half-club-hugged another.

I did guy things.

Friday, November 14, 2008


I’d like to clarify something if I may.

Last week, in a post involving gym suggestions, I chided people for their use of the “tampon” when performing squats. The tampon is the cylindrical, Velcro-secured pad you place in the center of the barbell when you squat.

I don’t use the tampon, and I suggest others refrain from using it as well. Because I had the unmitigated audacity to write this, I was called an “asshole” and was told to stop trying to be a “tough guy.” This particular reader went on to explain that squatting without the tampon had bruised him, cracked his skin and made him bleed.

First of all, dear reader, if you’re going to take the time to write to someone explaining how badly you need the tampon on the bar when you squat, I’m thinking you’d probably have a very hard time backing up calling me an “asshole” in person.

There’s your “tough guy,” friend.

Here’s reality when it comes to squatting. It’s absolutely imperative to use proper form and technique when you squat. When your upper body technique is correct, you don’t need the tampon. Correct technique means you’re gripping the bar tightly, your shoulder blades are retracted, your elbows are under the bar, and the bar is sitting on your traps, forming a nice, wide base to support it. If the bar is sitting properly, it won’t hurt.

When you use the tampon, you’re creating a much more narrow base, which in most cases means the bar will be positioned incorrectly on the back of your neck. This creates a rather narrow fulcrum that does little to promote proper balance, and any small bodily adjustment to either side is amplified and projected to one side of the bar or the other. It’s very, very easy to get injured when the bar is knocked off kilter during a lift, even when you’re using light weight.

In fact, most gym injuries happen when you’re using lighter weight, simply because you don’t concentrate as hard on technique when you haven’t prepared yourself to strain. When you’re working with 80% of your maximal strength and above, you tend to focus a hell of a lot more because the primary goal – aside from getting the weight up – is survival.

Additionally, for most people, the lower the bar rides on your back – the “low bar” squat – the more weight you’ll be able to comfortably handle.

I don’t mind when people disagree with me, but can we exercise a tad more civility, please? I drew more vitriol with a stupid gym post than I did when I said I disliked both presidential candidates. I find that very strange.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


When I received the first installment of my book advance, one of the first things I did was purchase my mother a new washing machine and dryer. I bought these items – these durable goods – from a reputable retailer of such things.

Two years later – yesterday, to be precise – I received a call from my mother informing me of a problem with the dryer. The exhaust hose had somehow detached, and there was a pile of lint as-high-as-your-eye in back of the machine. In fact, the size of this pile of lint leads me to believe that the exhaust hose was never installed properly in the first place.

The dryer was no longer under warranty. It became my job to repair it.

I went to the hardware store and bought a clamp to attach the exhaust hose to the elbow-shaped pipe that goes into the back of the dryer. I lined everything up and pushed it all in as tightly as it would go. Then I secured the clamp.

Then I sliced my hand open on a jagged piece of wire that was dangling from the exhaust hose.

Then I said, “Motherfucker.” I stressed the first and third syllables of the word.

Then I bled profusely.

Then I punched the side of the dryer with my non-sliced hand, leaving a knuckle-shaped indentation.

There is a metaphor here somewhere.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Divorced Guy: “I have an embarrassing question to ask you.”

Me: “Okay.”

DG: “Here’s the situation. I’m dead sober, and I had this girl who was really eager to come over. I f----d her and then she blew me.”

“That sounds nice.”

DG: “Does it or does it not mean that it’s not meant to be in that situation if I struggle to finish?”

Me: “What do you mean by ‘meant to be?’”

“It means I’m wondering if this person is wrong for this activity.”

Me: “Oh.”

“Would you, in this same situation, bother to try this activity with the same girl again, knowing you’d be in for a repeat of this struggle?”

“I don't know why there was a struggle. Were you not aroused by the girl?”

DG: “I was aroused to begin with. The very idea of having sex got me going.”

Me: “Have you been active frequently in the past few days? If I haven't shot off in a couple of days and I can't finish, that's a warning sign.”

“I can’t remember when I shot a load last. Maybe two days ago?”

Me: “Well, maybe I have no idea what I’m talking about here, but I have a theory. When you don't get laid for a while -- not sure of his time frame here -- and you're used to ‘guiding yourself’ to completion, you get used to having things exactly the way you want them. In other words, when you jerk off, you're creating your own ideal conditions, and you get used to them if that's your only means of release for an extended period of time. When you finally do have to perform, your ideal scenario no longer exists, and you'll either shoot too soon, or you'll struggle to shoot at all.”

DG: “I see.”

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


As I get older, I’m increasingly convinced that slang is primarily the province of empty, soulless people in dire need of attention.

How else do you explain the thirty-year-old piece of white trash walking around the 7-11 in Levittown, NY shouting, “What up, family?” – and a slew of other asinine things he’d heard on Yo! MTV Raps back in 1992 – into his cell phone last night?

Please don't ask what I was doing in Levittown.

This “gentleman” needed the people in the store to hear him saying these things, kind of the same way I thought people in my neighborhood cared when I wore my JV football jersey around town. I was sure they said to themselves, “Wow! That kid sure is cool! He’s on JV!” I was crushed when I found out this wasn’t the case, but I adjusted and moved gracefully on to the varsity, where my behavioral problems intensified.

I think the little white Guido kids around here are happy when it gets really cold outside, because it affords them the opportunity to walk out the door of the club at four in the morning and exclaim, “Yo, n---a! It’s muthafuckin’ BRICK out here, yo!”

Or when they walk up to you at the front door, grab your arm and say, “Yo! Dis n---a be muthafuckin’ BROLIC, yo!” That’s really impressive, too.

When you’re white and you were born and raised within the five boroughs of New York City and you don’t speak like this, the world can seem like a very empty and pointless place sometimes.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I Call Bullshit

Here’s some more sports wisdom:

Sports announcers have no idea what they’re talking about most of the time. This usually extends to journalism in general, but I’ll stick to sports for now.

During last night’s Giants-Eagles game, John Madden and Al Michaels were comparing two players who, at one time, played the same position for the same team. I know one of these players personally, and I’ve been watching the other one play for several years. Madden repeatedly stated that the latter was a “better athlete” than the former, and that because of his “superior athleticism,” his team was at a disadvantage now that the guy to whom he was being compared had taken over his position.

I’m not sure I have the words to describe how incredibly misleading this was, but I’ll give it a shot anyway.

I know for a fact that the first guy is, in actuality, a much better athlete than the second guy. He’s bigger, faster, stronger, taller and can jump much higher. In fact, if you’re comparing the two solely on the merits of their relative athleticism, the first guy’s abilities dwarf the second guy’s. The second guy is certainly better known because he’s been in the league a lot longer, but the first guy, if given a chance – which is happening this year – will go on to have a much more successful career.

When someone says one player is a “better athlete” than another, it leads me to believe that one player is stronger, faster and more agile than the other. Of course, there are other considerations involved with regard to athleticism, and there’s obviously a psychological aspect to it, but I don’t believe that’s what Madden was referring to. Rather, he was talking out of his ass and making a generalization based on which guy has a bigger name in the sport.

Fact is, he didn’t know what he was talking about, so he made something up and put it out there, knowing he’d never be called on it. This is a disservice to the viewer, because the average viewer assumes Madden to be an authority on football, taking his word as gospel when it’s decidedly not.

Most times, you have no way of knowing whether what announcers are saying is accurate or not. It’s frustrating as hell, however, to hear them botch something you know about. That’s why I’d rather just go to the game and see for myself.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Gym Wisdom

1. The people around you have no idea what they’re doing. Even the biggest, strongest, most “ripped” guy in your gym probably has no bloody clue what’s going on, so you don’t have to worry about him as much as you think you do. The average guy in the average gym doesn’t know the first thing about programming, exercise selection, form or anything else. Once you’re aware of this, it’s a lot easier to not be self-conscious when you’re working out.

2. Warm up properly. Don’t be one of these jerkoffs who walks into the gym, swings his arms around, then starts right in on some useless exercise. Take the time to move around and get blood into your muscles before you do anything. If you don’t know how to do this, just get on a treadmill and walk for ten minutes before you touch a barbell or a machine.

3. Never start a workout by doing curls. This is a combination of #1 and #2. Most guys come into the gym, do the stupid arm swing thing from #2, then walk right over to the dumbbell rack and start doing curls. Nothing says, “I have no idea what the fuck I’m doing” better than this.

4. Don’t stand on things to perform exercises unless there’s some biomechanical advantage to doing so.
There’s a guy at my gym who stands on a box when he does shrugs. There’s another one who always has to stand on a bench when he does barbell rows. This is stupid and unnecessary. Don’t do this unless it alters the exercise by lengthening or shortening your range of motion. Climbing on top of something to do an exercise you can perform standing on the floor makes you look like an imbecile.

5. Clean up after yourself.
Put things back the way you found them. Return dumbbells to the rack. Take cable attachments off machines and put them where they belong. Take plates off bars and machines that use them. Nothing pisses me off more at the gym than having to clean up after some slapdick who thinks he’s too important to take a couple of plates off a bar after his big 135 pound bench adventure.

6. Don’t use the squat pad.
That stupid cylindrical black pad that goes around the bar when you squat? Don’t use it. Learn how to carry the bar on your back without putting that thing on there. I’ve squatted 700 pounds without it, and believe me, I’m really not that tough. If the bar is sitting in the right place, you won’t need it. If you need it, you’re squatting wrong.

7. Don’t do Preacher Curls.
They don’t do shit, trust me. I did them for twenty years. The Preacher Curl is quite possibly the most useless piece of equipment in the gym. There are at least twenty more effective bicep exercises. Figure out what they are, and do them instead. Better yet, learn how to do a pull-up. It’s a better bicep exercise than damned near any curl movement.

8. Bodyweight exercises are your friend. For most people, push-ups, pull-ups, ab circuits, bodyweight squats and Swiss Ball hamstring curls would work better than going to the gym and lifting with specialized machines. Honestly? The only reason I train in a gym is so I can lift heavy weights. If you just want to look good, you can accomplish just as much, if not more, by staying home, exercising in your living room, and manipulating your diet properly.

9. Mix up your cardio. Steady-state cardio is necessary to increase cardiac power, it influences your vagal tone in a positive way, and it lowers your resting heart rate. You need to throw in some interval cardio, too. It burns fat like crazy. Instead of walking or jogging on a treadmill, try running sprints. Take the incline up to 15.0 and bump up the speed. Run for 15 seconds, then stand on the rails for a minute. Do this ten times, then walk for a while, then do it again. Monitor your heart rate, and watch the time fly by and the fat melt away.

10. Buy a stopwatch.
Time your rest periods. Don’t just walk aimlessly around the gym taking five minutes between sets. Take two or three minutes between heavy “main” exercises, and thirty seconds to a minute between “assistance” movements.

11. Compete.
Pick a few things and use them to measure yourself. This can be anything – poundage, reps, time, whatever. Do better than you did the week before. Figure out what helps you improve these things. Discard anything that doesn’t. Above all, just keep trying to get better.

12. Have a plan.
If you’re reading this, you have access to a computer. Figure out what you want out of your gym experience, then go online and find a plan of attack. Don’t just walk into the gym and wing it. This is another way to avoid being self-conscious about being there, because when you know exactly what you want to do, you don’t have to worry about anyone but yourself and your own program.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


I don’t like this commercial, because when I see it, it makes me not want to buy the product that’s being advertised. I don’t want to buy this product because I don’t like the guy who’s trying to sell it to me. I don’t like him because he reminds me of every dickhead investment banker I’ve ever met whose main purpose in life is to irritate the living shit out of everyone within a twenty foot radius by overexuberantly raving about plasma screen TV’s and WaveRunners.

I guarantee you this guy has never opened a door for a woman in his life. He doesn’t know you’re supposed to, so he just goes in first and leaves you on the sidewalk. We’re all here to pay tribute to him by being just as intense about his Escalade as he is. When he drives by, we’re supposed to nod our heads slowly, just like him, and say, “That’s right, motherfuckers. There he goes.”

Who’s this ad targeted at, anyway? Vintage 1999 alpha males hanging on to the last vestiges of Massengill before the Massive Redistribution? I mean, I have no desire to see anyone taken down a notch because of my own failure to capitalize, but the sooner guys like Mr. Eyebrow King here become anachronisms, the happier I think we’re all going to be – at least until the next brilliant financial clusterfuck starts taking shape and they’re back to make everyone’s skin crawl for another few years.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Geographically Irrelevant

I spoke to my sister tonight, which was bizarre. Even more bizarre was the first thing she asked me. She wanted to know if I’d dressed up for Halloween. I don’t know why she wanted to know, but when people ask me this, I fall back on two stock answers:

1. “I’m a taxpayer.”
2. “I’m Comfortable Man.” This one was stolen from Family Matters. Urkel asked Carl what his Halloween costume was. Carl got all aggravated and shit, told Urkel to step the fuck off, then put him right in his place.

“You should have seen what my fiancé dressed up as,” she said.

“You’re engaged?”

“Yeah. He dressed up as a Guido.”

“Wait,” I said. “You’re engaged? To what?”

“Mom knows all about it. Ask her.”

“I’m asking you.”

“I don’t want to talk about it right now,” she said. “I only want to tell you about the Guido thing, because it reminded me of you.”

“What about it?”

“He dressed up as a Guido, and nobody knew what it was.”

“You live in Maine,” I said.

“It was disappointing.”

“Did he do the spiky hair?”

“Yeah,” she replied.


“Yeah. He even wore a Sergio Tacchini velour track suit.”

“Why does he have one of those?” I asked.

“I don’t know, but he looked really authentic.”

“Did he take the final step?”

“Which one?”

“Cologne,” I replied. “Did he pour a bottle of cologne over his head and rub it all over his hands?”

“You know what? I think that’s what was missing.”

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Stay Home

“Getting out the vote” is absurd.

You shouldn’t need someone to tell you to go out and vote. If you do, you shouldn’t be voting.

You shouldn’t need someone to knock on your door and tell you to register to vote, assuming you’re an able-bodied adult American citizen. If you do, you shouldn’t be voting.

We all have the right to vote – and society theoretically loses if we don’t – but if the idea of voting doesn’t occur to you until someone comes on TV or rings your doorbell reminding you what day it is, you’re a damned moron and I don’t want you voting for the people who’ll be governing me.

Monday, November 03, 2008


I work with a guy who’s coming unhinged. Like, we think he’s going to come to work one day, pull out his Colin Ferguson bag, and spray the whole place down.

I think this is kind of funny, but I’ve been told it’s not. In fact, I didn’t like the way I was told this was not funny, because it was done in a stop-me-in-my-tracks sort of way, where the person who was telling me it wasn’t funny was trying to make me feel like an asshole for laughing at someone who’s quite obviously having serious psychological problems.

When the guy who’s coming unhinged eventually comes unhinged, I’ll be the first to go. This is because we’re at the point where I’m consistently busting his balls about being so tightly wrapped. At the beginning of each night, I congratulate him on surviving another week. At the end of each night, I wish him good luck in making it through the week to come without harming himself or others.

At first, I think he found this funny. Now, I believe I’ve been added to his list.

I don’t blame him for adding me to his list. I’d be on my list, too, because I’m an asshole. I’m an asshole because I made fun of the guy for offering me more bouncing work. He asked me if I wanted to work on his “crew.” This fascinated me. I couldn’t help myself. He told me his “crew” would be working at “certain select” bars and clubs around New York, and that he’d love to throw me some work.

I asked him who would be on his “crew.”

He told me his “crew” would be constituted of guys he trusted, understood, and could get along with on jobs.

I supposed, out loud, that his “crew” would be constituted of twitchy, tightly-wound, chain-smoking bouncers who appeared as though they were about to snap.

He said it wouldn’t, and then he gave me a look that signified, to me, that I’d been added to the list of people he’d be aiming for during the massacre.

I told him to please aim for the head so I don’t suffer, and he nodded.