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May 2008

May 15, 2008

First Review of "My Custom Van"

Well, the first review of my book just arrived. It's from Kirkus Reviews, which I reprint in its entirety: Mycustomvancover_3

MY CUSTOM VAN;
And 50 Other Mind-Blowing Essays That Will Blow Your Mind All Over Your
Face

SECTION: NONFICTION

LENGTH: 366 words
Stand-up comedian and character actor Black debuts with an amusing
collection of essays. For years the author has augmented his stand-up career with a variety of roles in film (most notably in Wet Hot American Summer) and television,including great work on the criminally short-lived MTV sketch show, The State. Many of these roles have honed his unique ability to deliver dry, often hyperbolic jabs at, well, seemingly anything that pops into his head. In his first book, those topics include David Sedaris ("It's important to understand that when you read the words 'David Sedaris' and'suck it,' they are not actually directed at David Sedaris the person, but more at the idea of David Sedaris"; shopkeeping ("A shoppe is a place where business is conducted, yes, but it's also a place where friendships are formed, trust earned, scented candles smelled"); Socratic reasoning (the hilarious "Using the Socratic Method to Determine What It Would Take for Me to Voluntarily Eat Dog Shit for the Rest of My Life"); and his own writing talent ("Acceptance Speech I Plan to Give Upon Receiving Some Kind of Important Literary Prize for Writing this Book"). Black also includes plenty of adolescent humor of the sexual and scatological nature, including "This Is How I Party" ("to win...means showing up alone, but going home with the HOTTEST girl who is the LEAST conscious"), "How to Approach the Sensitive Question: Anal?" and "Why I Used a Day-Glo Marker to Color My Dick Yellow." As can be expected in a collection of 50 short essays, there are some misfires,including a couple lame stabs at offbeat erotic fiction and a few half-formed pieces like "Now We Will Join Forces, You and I" and "Stan the Oracle." But the best entries, like his take on the "Infinite Monkey Probability Theorem," are mini comic gems: "Upon closer examination, however, I realized that what I was reading was not Hamlet, but the second act of Your Five Gallants, by the lesser Elizabethan playwright Thomas Middleton. So frustrating!!!" Uneven, but more hits than misses.

[SIDE NOTE: Why are they putting it in the non-fiction section? I didn't really color my dick yellow. (I colored it green) Is there a James Frey-esque scandal looming in my immediate future?]

May 14, 2008

"Don't Drop the Soap"

While in the shower this morning, I accidentally dropped the soap. Whenever this happens, I am reminded of a warning given to young men throughout history when they find themselves in a situation in which they are showering with a large group of other men. Somebody will inevitably say, “Don’t drop the soap,” which is supposed to imply that if you DO drop the soap, one of your fellow bathers will rape you. It only occurred to me today what a stupid thing to say that is. If somebody is going to rape you in the shower, it seems to me they are not going to wait for you to drop the soap to do it. They will probably just go ahead and rape you. Whether you manage to hold onto the soap or not is most likely beside the point. Because that’s the nature of rape. It’s not the kind of activity where an asshole presents itself and a fellow suddenly thinks to himself, “Hey I could rape that!” Unless, perhaps, you are showering with a bunch of rapists. Then maybe a person would have that thought. But if you ARE showering with a group of rapists, then I have to believe you are either a rapist yourself or you are the kind of person who has terrible judgment. Either way, in that situation, there is a chance you are going to get raped. But as I said, NOT because you dropped the soap.

Nor do I think your dropping the soap will be interpreted as a subtle invitation to insert their wieners into your butt the way a lady dropping a handkerchief is a subtle invitation for a favored gentleman to begin courting. The only way I could see somebody making this mistake is if, when dropping the soap, you decide to retrieve it by spreading yourself spread-eagle, asshole agape. Then, perhaps, I could see a fellow bather wondering to himself, “Is he trying to send me a signal?” But it would take a pretty confident man to think to himself, “Yes, he IS sending me a signal. And the signal he is sending me is, he wants my dick up his butt. I will oblige.” I just don’t see that happening.

If you are still worried, a word of advice: if you do find yourself in a situation in which you are showering with a bunch of other gentlemen, and you drop the soap, simply retrieve it by lowering yourself to the floor with your asshole down, not out. Not only will this discourage anybody from inserting themselves into you, but I also think it’s just good manners.

May 09, 2008

I Never Thought I Would Be the Guy Writing to His Congressman to Legalize Pot

And yet, I am. For the record, I do not smoke marijuana, nor do I drink except rarely. Nor do I smoke cigarettes. I do, however, occasionally indulge in hardcore hallucinogenic drugs, but that's just because I like it when the curtains talk to me.

Recently I read a newspaper article about H.R.5843, The Act to Remove Federal Penalties for the Personal Marijuana Use by Responsible Adults (read full text of the bill here). Basically it says you can have 100 grams or less pot for "personal use," and if you get caught smoking in public, it's a hundred dollar fine. Now I don't know how much 100 grams is, but it sounds like a lot. Certainly more than you need to get your rocks off. The bill is sponsored by Barney Frank and Ron Paul, both of whom I like a lot, and it finally seeks to address our nation's drug hypocrisy, which I hate. The hypocrisy is this: 40% of Americans have smoked or will smoke marijuana during their lifetimes. It's less dangerous than alcohol or cigarettes, and yet we allow our political leaders pretend that it's some dangerous scourge that's going to infect our youth and turn them into brownie-munching zombies. To which I say: bullshit. And besides, even if it does, brownies are delicious.

So I wrote my first ever letter to my congressman, Christopher Shays (pictured below).

S001144 I cannot reprint the text of that letter because I wrote it to him directly from his website, and did not save a copy. Keep in mind, Shays is a Republican. Republicans, as a party, extol the virtues of personal freedom and responsibility, unless it's about what you put in your body or do to your body, or who you sleep with. Then they get all up in your shit. Consequently I did not expect his support on this issue, but I figured it couldn't hurt to write.

(For the record, Shays seems like a good guy: he is a fiscal conservative, but votes with the Democrats on a lot of things, including supporting gun control, supporting gay rights, supporting environmental regulations, humane treatment of animals, etc. He's also a Christian scientist who served in the Peace Corps from 1968-1970 in Fiji. Am I supposed to believe he didn't get high in Fiji?)

A week or so later, I received a reply from Congressman Shays' office. Which reads as follows:

Continue reading "I Never Thought I Would Be the Guy Writing to His Congressman to Legalize Pot" »

May 03, 2008

Another Great Link

Hey, my blog shows up in the top 10 Google hits if you search for this. I love you, internet.

This is Exactly Why I Need to Start Listening to Major Quimby

A couple of days ago, I won a SIGNIFICANT amount of money playing poker at my Los Angeles headquarters, the Commerce Casino (see “Hot Poker Sex ”). Naturally I wanted to parade around the streets waving my good fortune in everybody’s face, but my ever-present security guard, Major Quimby (pictured below) warned me that this might prove to be a safety risk, and that I should try to keep a low profile until depositing the money into one of my various Cayman Island tax shelters.

Jameshoodbysheriuncropped It is for precisely this sort of sound advice that I hired Major Quimby in the first place. He was trained by the highly selective Finnish Secret Police (the Policia Finlandeze), despite the fact that he is not Finnish, and really dislikes Finnish people. He served with that organization for fifteen years before a crime of passion led to his dismissal and subsequent extradition to his home country of Andorra, where I met him during a squash tournament. He has been in my employ ever since.

Quimby’s advice is always very sensible, so it is a mystery to both of us why I never seem to heed it. Last night is a perfect example.

I spent the day shuttling in and out of meetings with various important Hollywood types: reflexologists, animal psychologists, etc. After dinner and several spirited games of hearts with Quimby, he decided to retire for the evening. However I was still feeling revved from my invigorating day in Los Angeles and wanted to hit the town. Had I asked, Quimby no doubt would have accompanied me on my outing, but he has been feeling under the weather and I did not want to disturb his rest. So I grabbed thousands of dollars in cash and hit the streets alone. Bad idea.

Los Angeles is a city best suited for driving, but it was a warm night and I decided to take a leisurely stroll through some areas of the city with which I was not that familiar. I ended up in a part of town called Inglewood, which is near the airport and seems to be a little “rough around the edges.” After walking the miles it took for me to arrive in Inglewood, I was feeling flushed, and needed to cool myself. I remembered the photo I took of myself in which I used all of my hundred dollar bills to create a fan. “Ah-ha!” I thought, “Necessity really is the mother of invention.” Quickly I reached into my billfold and splayed dozens of hundred dollars into a passable fan. I immediately felt relieved, and began singing a little song about how good it felt to have all that money waving around me like a palm frond.

Continue reading "This is Exactly Why I Need to Start Listening to Major Quimby " »

May 02, 2008

A New Service From Me For You For Free Because I Love You

Because I love you I have decided to start offering film/book/music recommendations. Whenever I am particularly inspired/impressed/agog, I will offer share with you whatever delights I have discovered. First up, a fantastic little film called "This is England:"

This_is_england

If you like movies about British skinheads in the 1980's as much as I do, this is the film for you. It's got a little bit of everything: suspenders, the phrase "you want to suck my tits?," repeated references to the Faulkland Islands War, some sort of candy that looks like a fried egg, a great handlebar moustache, and SPOILER ALERT: social commentary.

Hot Poker Sex

Last night I went to my favorite place in Los Angeles, the Commerce Casino, for some hot poker sex. Did I win? Let’s put it this way: yes.

Photo_120_2

Most of you have probably never seen that much money in one place before and chances are you’re freaking out. I don’t blame you. That’s A LOT of money. So much money that I don’t feel safe walking around, even with my ever-present security guard Major Quimby (pictured below).

Jameshoodbysheriuncropped

Normally I like to tell my readers where I’m going to be on a daily basis (donating blood, helping orphans, etc.) but Major Quimby has advised me to keep my whereabouts a secret until I deposit this cash in one of my numerous offshore accounts. Major Quimby is a total fag. 

USC

Last night I did a show at USC, which is why I am currently in Los Angeles (and because I have some BIG IMPORTANT HOLLYWOOD MEETINGS!!!*). I thought the show was good last night, although it ended up costing me forty dollars because there was a very sweet guy in the audience who got dressed up in a suit to see me (referencing Stella), and was obviously very into this girl he brought to the show. When he went to the bathroom in the middle of the performance, I asked the girl if they were boyfriend/girlfriend. She broke into laughter like it was the funniest thing she had ever heard. Far funnier than anything else I had said in the show to that point. "No, no, no...," she insisted. They are not boyfriend/girlfriend and could never BE boyfriend/girlfriend, despite the fact that were both attractive, unattached young people When the guy got back, I first pointed out that he hadn't buttoned his pants (which was weird), and then I asked him if he'd like her to be his girlfriend. He basically said "yeah," and then I told him that we'd been talking about him while he was gone and that I got the impression she was open to the idea. (Exactly opposite of what she had said.) At that point somebody in the audience yelled out that I was being a dick, and after thinking about it for a second I realized I was being a dick because I was setting up this guy for grievous emotional injury, so I brought him up on stage and gave him twenty dollars to take her out to dinner. He rightfully pointed out that twenty dollars was not enough for dinner, so I gave him another twenty. And just like that I was out forty bucks. I made them promise that they would actually use the money to go out to dinner and not just split it between them. I have no way of knowing if they did go out to dinner, but I feel pretty confident that I helped two lovely people make a love connection.

(*Big important Hollywood meetings is code for "going to the casino and playing poker.")