Thursday, April 30, 2009

If There's One Thing a Horse Loves More Than Running Free, It's Racing Other Horses Around a Track Until They're Killed at an Early Age

The Kentucky Derby is tomorrow (be still thy heart!) and let's not forget what it is all about--stupid hats and shitty minty drinks.

If you're interested in the actual horses, as some millionaires who own them are, Larry Jones--trainer of the second-place horse in the last two races--had this to say about his entry this year, Friesan Fire:
“My colt can be anywhere,” Jones said. “Eight Belles had a wonderful trip here, and I think we’re going to repeat it. He’ll be in running position turning for home.”
"A wonderful trip?"

That poor little horsie broke her ankles at the finish line and was euthanized on the track, in front of everybody (or perhaps behind an improvised bedsheet curtain).

What a doting cross-species sportsman/father-figure that Jones is. Wait--I mean 'asshole.'


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Matter of Schlock

A new screen gem for the international Sideways Set*: fat men struggle--hilariously--to become sumo wrestlers. In Israel. At the end they probably learn something about themselves and maybe even grow slightly.

Aside from the fact that this sounds really boring and familiar, it is also clear that somebody in charge of this fetid turd has no idea how athletic and disciplined sumo wrestlers are--there is quite a gap between them and lazy obese men.

Not only are they more flexible than just about everybody I know, but do you know how strong you have to be to pick up a tree-trunk-legged 400-pound man and carry him out of the ring?

Writer/Director Sharon Maymon, I submit the following for your consideration. Also, here is a pretty fascinating video.

* Sideways Set--the overjoyed target demographic for movies such as: Sideways, Little Miss Sunshine, The Full Monty, Calendar Girls, Juno, etc...


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Somebody Needs to Learn the Meaning of the Word 'Exploitation'

David Foster Wallace is dead--but he has at least two books coming out soon.

One is the project he fretted over for years and expected to be published after his death.

Another is the commencement address he delivered to Kenyon College graduates in 2005. The transcribed address has been available online since...2005. For free. Now it is about to be published by Little, Brown and sold for $14.99.

This is exceedingly irritating to me and I read this review with clenched teeth. At one point, my teeth unclenched in an attempt to bite the head clean-off a man named named Tom Bissell.

It was at this point:
"While some may question the decision to publish Wallace’s address as a book — and its interior design of one sentence per page is not much of a rebuttal to that question — it would take a small, charred heart to find any impure motives here."
A 'small, charred heart?' Is you serious, Tom? You're trying to convince me that this is a pure endeavor? How exactly is this not exploitative and unnecessary? As you said in your own review, more people have read Wallace's Kenyon College commencement address than his magnum opus, Infinite Jest. For free.

Why start charging them now, if not out of greed?

--Small Charred Heart in Los Angeles


Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Education of Goodtime Charlie

For those of you concerned about the accuracy of your Old World period-pieces:
1492----Rodrigo de Jerez and Luis de Torres, in Cuba searching for the Khan of Cathay (China), are credited with first observing smoking. They reported that the natives wrapped dried tobacco leaves in palm or maize "in the manner of a musket formed of paper." After lighting one end, they commenced "drinking" the smoke through the other. Jerez became a confirmed smoker, and is thought to be the first outside of the Americas. He brought the habit back to his hometown, but the smoke billowing from his mouth and nose so frightened his neighbors he was imprisoned by the holy inquisitors for 7 years. By the time he was released, smoking was a Spanish craze. (source: The Tobacco Timeline)
So please don't show any medieval knights smoking cheroots, Roman soldiers huffing opium, etc.

Incidentally, not only was the tobacco plant only native to the Americas, but so was the idea of smoking.

Although opium was a huge trade in the ancient Western world, its devotees chewed it or drank the juice of the poppy seed, rather than smoking it.

Marijuana was also harvested and either chewed or used for clothing/rope. Only one group of people, the Scythians--known for their gratuitous use of scythes and penchant for steam baths--actually burned marijuana and inhaled it.

Nobody thought of smoking opium--a far more addictive manner of ingestion--or marijuana until Spanish sailors brought a New World pipe to China.

Huh. Thanks, Internet!


Friday, April 24, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

New Guinness Record for Douching!

Just when you thought shit was dire, what with another corrupt financial executive hanging himself the other day, a pair of plucky Pennsylvanians just went out there and gave us all a reason to smile til we die.

217,000 reasons, actually--217,000 discreet text messages that said "LOL"

What the hell is the point of that? This is something to which they aspired? Something for which they 'worked' tirelessly?

Perhaps those two gaybirds should receive a Guinness-accredited record for "most effective broadcasting of worthlessness" instead.

Bonus: How badly do you think the married one's wife regrets that decision these days?

Hint: Even more than before


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Who Cares?

Why is this such a big story?

I'll give you a hint--it's because even though nobody gives a shit, media outlets really really want us to.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

C+C Music Factory

ISO Wizard-Sleeve Fetishist

Beware, Gents--the incorrigible Nadya Suleman is on the prowl.

Not only is she trying to trademark 'Octomom' (a term which she did not coin) to help sell maternity wear and diapers (hint: Octomom condoms would be far more successful), but she also has a reality show in the works.

The show would follow her around, constantly, as she raises her 14 children and, as if that wasn't enough to make you change the channel or hang yourself, tries to find a man.

What sort of person would want to date this woman?

Out of those men, which scary few would want to do so on national television?

Hmmm...actually, it just might be crazy enough to work--worthless fame whore meets worthless fame whore and they live happily ever after, until he runs himself over in the driveway. Or marries one of her daughters.

Good luck, Nadya! Nobody's rooting for you!

Except for this guy:


How Do You Know You're An Idiot?

You are a bank that buys 450,000 pounds of uranium

What, you mean using other people's money to make yourself endless amounts of money wasn't easy enough for you, Mr. Lehman?

Did you get bored with it after 70 years of nearly unfettered success, since the last time you and your cronies blew it?

What stupid decision will be next?
"Hey, Stoddard! I just got a hot tip from a friend over at the Pentagon--get me 400 million tons of pencils--STAT! We can't lose!"
"Got 'em!"
"Oh, shit--wait..."
The only way to lose money in banking is to be an asshole. Unfortunately, assholes seem to gravitate toward the industry like power-abusers to politics.

At least they learned their lesson--wait...


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Logic, Disney-Style

Disney is desperately trying to figure out what boys want.

So they hired an 'expert'--a middle-aged woman who worked for a riverboat casino company to ask boys questions, dig through their closets, and observe them. They call her "the kid whisperer" and no doubt pay her a boatload; she has an entire "team of anthropologists" working under her.

After 18 months, she discovered that boys want to see R-rated movies, carry their skateboards a certain way, and think most of the shows on TV are purposeless bullshit.

Are those really not obvious? A team of researchers had to find this out?
"What do you mean by the term 'crash?'"
"Ummm...the same thing everybody means when they say it, you dumb bitch..."
Not only that, but the bottom line is that men in their thirties and pre-teen boys are pretty much the same. So...why not hire a fucking man to just sit there and tell you what little boys are like, what they want, etc? It would take a week, tops. Is that just too easy?

If they like to makes things difficult, why didn't they just hire a scary hobo clown who only speaks German?


Extreme Bukkake

Marilyn Chambers, everybody's favorite deep-throater next door, is dead.

According to her interesting and rather graphic wikipedia entry, she was involved in an orgy with four men the day of her death--a trooper til the end, God bless her.

Also according to wikipedia:
"She was noted for her enthusiastic performances of deep throat, anal, lesbian, interracial, extreme bukkake, and double or triple penetration scenes."
If you're new to the world of bukkake, you need to check out the drawing accompanying this entry. You're welcome!


Sunday, April 12, 2009

You've Come a Long Way, Sugar Baby


No wonder the boners on Wall Street were so hungry for dangerous short-term profits--maybe the Obama administration should begin regulating the Sugar Daddy/Baby industry, as part of their oversight of the financial markets.

And maybe I should get a federal stipend to dive head-first into the trenches, as an undercover operative, taking a bullet for my country...
"Hello, Mr. Obama? I've got a proposition for you. Now hear me out..."

Oh, the Irony

Those incorrigible pirates captured another ship on Saturday--the Buccaneer!

Meanwhile, the pirates offered to drop their $2 million ransom request for Captain Richard Phillips, if the pirates trapped on the boat with him would be allowed to go free--and the Americans refused!

Why they insist on arresting those pirates, when they have previously stated that there is no way to hold them, nowhere to take them, no court to try them in, is beyond me. Why not obtain the captain's freedom, then storm the pirate village with some Rambo-led black ops division? I mean, we know where they this really that difficult of a decision? Do I need to sail over there and talk some sense into whoever's in charge?


Friday, April 10, 2009

Oh, Yeah, Baby--I Got Them Good Friday Blues

It has come to my attention that many people have today off work. My immediate reaction is: what?!

Once I sat down and thought about it for a minute, my reaction is this:

Why are people who are religious not required to use personal days to observe religious holidays, when religion is clearly a personal issue? If lifting weights is my religion, do I get three days a week off? Or would I have to pick and choose only the big days, like my semi-annual weightlifting exhibitions? Something tells me I wouldn't...

Church and state are far from separated, but at least the US Government has avoided observing most religious holidays--with the glaring exception of Christmas, which should really be renamed Presents and Egg Nog Day, if you ask me (okay, so who's starting the official petition?).

Why is the private sector so surprisingly ingratiating? I mean, paying people for days off for no legitimate reason, when the law does not require them to do so? That doesn't sound like a good way to make five extra cents this quarter!* And since when do companies care about using morale to boost productivity? Didn't that concept evaporate with the 40-hr work week, health benefits, tungsten lighting, vacation days, pensions, and a gold watch?

Do followers of all religions get their holidays off? Which religion has the most days off (I'm guessing the Jews)? What is required for a religion to be deemed legitimate? Can I start my own, coerce a few followers, and choose my holidays?** Why not, right? That is, by the way, how every other religion started--brick by brick, following around a persuasive man with some crazy ideas. It isn't usually until later that the corruption, theft, mind control, and murder begin.***

I'm just full of questions--and, sadly, answers. That's the thing about rhetorical questions, I guess...

* Especially 'in this economy,' long-ago the clear favorite among the many phrases I wish I would never have to hear again.

** The month of September would be the main holiday, known as Adventure, when all followers would be forced to observe themselves having fun somewhere exotic and eat extravagant meals.

*** The Mormon church, for example, is a glaring exception--Joseph Smith was an unabashed con artist from the get-go. Oddly, I actually respect him more than I would have because of that. You won't find out anything about this on his wikipedia site, however, as the good church has probably hired a team of people to cleanse it of truth minutely (they also have a team who purchase any documents available for sale that involve the truth about Joseph Smith). All the info you need, if you are curious, can be found in Jon Krakauer's marvelous book Under the Banner of Heaven.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Totally Coincidental...

Sure, now that somebody from the United States has been taken hostage, the US military is finally engaging those pesky Somali pirates that have been ruling the Gulf of Aden and environs for nigh on two years now.

Whatever happened to preventing such incidents? Like all those times we went to war when it was none of our business, to 'protect ourselves' from the otherwise inevitable and awful communist/oil-less future...

Do they not have enough fossil fuels in their treasure trove?


Come Again?

Why is a bank that received $25 billion in government funds issuing a dividend to preferred shareholders whose shares would be worthless were Wells Fargo not bailed out?

That $3 billion in profit should go straight into the U.S. Treasury, no questions asked.

I mean, am I right, people? Huh? Huh?

Let's all march on Capitol Hill next Tuesday!

(meet at the Quizno's on Pennsylvania Avenue first for sandwiches first)


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Whatever Happened to A Fifth Chance?

Redmond O'Neal is just a victim. Why is everybody always so up on his shit? Can't we just leave him alone and let him do whatever stupid shit he wants to do? God!

Poor kid never had a chance in life...


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Gotta Do It

Saw this video a while ago and loved it. Still do. I recently became aware that a lot of people I know haven't seen it, so here it is. Enjoy.

While we're at it, here's another gem.


Warning: Your World Is About to Be Turned Upside Down

What a waste of time, brainwaves, money, computing power, and newspaper inches.

Seriously? Somebody had to work really hard to figure out that most cultural events in New York happen at the grandiose cultural centers built in Manhattan, and the most talked-about theatrical performances happen on Broadway?

Without even reading the entirety of her amazing study, I bet she determined that most movies screened in Los Angeles occur in movie theaters.

Thanks, Sarah Williams! Now go drink a fucking bucket of hydrochloric acid* and stop wasting everybody's time.

* I have yet to receive the funding necessary to fully study the results, but I have a pretty strong hunch that this will kill you**. Can you let me know so I can put a little red pushpin on my map of your neighborhood?

** Legal disclaimer: I do not actually want Ms. Williams to kill herself. Maybe she can just quit her day job, move to rural West Virginia, and spend the rest of her life quietly tilling soil and muttering to herself***.

*** I wonder which of those two scenarios is more appealing. I would definitely require a long hard think about it, were I presented with those two options...


Salmonella is So Hot Right Now!

The spicy new Spring 2009 look, as seen on the runway in Milan

What is the deal with corporate food processing plants?

Peanut butter, pistachios, and just about everything I need to convert my entire clandestine growlab to foodstuffs or what?

Will the FDA actually be able to enact change, or will they just ask the CDC to start collecting tainted vomit, diarrhea, and corpses in dry-docked oil tankers until they figure out their next move?



Saturday, April 4, 2009

Depression + Guns = Bad

The economy is in the shitter. Unemployment is at the highest level in 25 years. Every day, more and more lives are shattered.

I had a feeling it would not be long until there was another big shooting spree and, sadly, I was right.
It was the nation’s worst mass shooting since April 16, 2007, when Seung-Hui Cho, 23, shot and killed 32 people in a dormitory and classroom at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Va., then killed himself in the largest shooting in modern American history. In the last month, 25 people, including 2 gunmen, were slain in three mass shootings, in North Carolina, California and Alabama.
If you include the one in Germany recently, that now brings us to a total of...a lot. A lot too many.

Let me now just take a time-out to properly thank God that so many desperate, unhinged men across the Western World have such easy access to deadly weapons for no good reason.

Thankfully, the NRA has chosen to remain silent of late, or I might have had to convince some hillbilly to bust into their offices and self-defend them all to death just to get a point across.


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Nelson: Then and Now

The year was 1990. Everything was cool. Even Nelson.

The twin sons of former teen idol Ricky Nelson unpacked their hot-pink steamer trunks and set up shop atop the Billboard Charts for seven glam-fabulous days of intense sexual confusion for men and women across the nation, as Fabio mulled a lawsuit.

Only second-generation teen idols would have tried to pull off that hair; only third-generation showbiz kids could have gotten a record contract with their devastating cocktail of talent and style.

When Geffen refused to release their second album--Imaginator--because they considered it "too heavy," the boys burned a little more magic from their stash and came back a year later with the DOA dud Because They Can.

Why did it fail, you ask? Well:
The pop music landscape had undergone a dramatic change in the five years following After the Rain, and Geffen chose not to promote the new album and quickly dropped Nelson entirely from its roster. The Nelson brothers then set up their own label, Stone Canyon Records, and released Imaginator in 1996.
With those pesky Geffen suits out of the way, finally, Nelson was able to really open things up, stretch their creative muscles, get dark and deep and raw, and make music nobody ever listened to.

But how bad could things get, right?

As it turns out, pretty bad:

As of Spring 2008, Nelson has become featured band on the Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Circuit, playing on Brilliance of the Seas, among other ships. They performed for the sixth-consecutive year in Epcot's 'Flower Power Concert Series' as part of the annual International Flower & Garden Festival.

In addition to touring as Nelson, the brothers also perform a separate tribute act for their father, called "Ricky Nelson Remembered."

In 2009, Nelson were booked to appear at the third annual Rocklahoma festival in Pryor Oklahoma.

Matthew married model/actress Yvette Nelson in 1995. He filed for divorce in L.A. County Superior Court on March 10, 2009 citing irreconcilable differences and asking for spousal support.

How far they have fallen from those halcyon days of 1990-91... Spousal support? Ouch!

Hey, wait--maybe that can be the title of their next self-released album? Well, if they can cobble together the necessary funds from Matthew's alimony payments and/or Peanut M&M pity sales in the subway, that is...

Oh, and for those of you that are curious, they have also gotten marginally-better, faux-lesbian haircuts.

[Editor's note: contributed most of this article]

Bonus 1990 tidbits, for those reading on the company dime:

- The first McDonald's opens in Moscow; the Cold War officially ends.
- The Royal New Zealand Navy discontinues its daily rum ration
- Hubble Telescope launched into orbit
- Exxon Valdez catastrophe fouls the waters off Alaska
- Twelve paintings, collectively worth from $100 to $300 million, are stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachusetts by 2 thieves posing as police officers. This is the largest art theft in US history, and the paintings (as of 2007) have not been recovered.
- In New York City, a fire due to arson at an illegal social club called "Happy Land" kills 87.
- Food poisoning kills 450 guests at an engagement party in Uttar Pradesh.
- Republican George H.W. Bush raises taxes like a goddamn socialist, despite earlier promises to the contrary
- Iraq invades Kuwait; oil companies and military contractors begin mobilizing war effort

Meanwhile, in Britain, during Thatcher's last year in office, shit sucked:
- "The Second Battle of Trafalgar: A massive anti-poll tax demonstration in Trafalgar Square, London, turns into a riot; 471 people are injured and 341 arrested.
- Strangeways Prison riot: The longest prison riot in Britain's history--3 weeks and 3 days--occurred at Strangeways Prison in Manchester
- In London, a man brandishing a knife robs courier Nicholas Lane of bearer bonds worth £292 million (the largest mugging to date).
- The Chunnel opens for business, bringing more drunken Brits to the Continent

In religious news, shit also sucked...
- A stampede in a pedestrian tunnel leading to Mecca kills 1,426 people.
- Homosexual acts between consenting adults are decriminalized in Queensland, Australia.
- The World Health Organization removes homosexuality from its list of diseases
- Robert Mapplethorpe's "The Perfect Moment" show of nude and homosexual photographs opens at the Cincinnati Contemporary Art Center, in spite of accusations of indecency by Citizens for Community Values.
- National Cathedral completed in Washington, DC. Intelligent people everywhere ask, "Why?"


Poor Tony Krause Lives Another Day

How do you know you've led a sheltered life?

You say something like this:
"I guess I'm really just not used to people with tears in their eyes."
I would hardly call Arlington Heights "a well-to-do suburb of Chicago," but aside from that, this article is pretty spot-on, highlighting a problem that has always been there and grown exponentially of late--libraries being overtaken by homeless people who enjoy unfettered bathroom use, relief from cold and rain, and free internet-porn viewing booths.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Ellis Island Re-Opens to Service Record-Breaking Exodus

In a bold move earlier today, the United States government decided to adjust its policies to mirror those of the Norwegian government, in an attempt to emulate the Scandinavian country's nearly universal economic, social, and cultural success.

As they say in Oslo, "Hva tilbakeslag?"

The legislation, sponsored by Senators John McCain (R-Arizona) and Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) stipulates that all first & second-generation immigrants and non-whites currently residing in the United States are to be immediately deported if they do not choose to flee of their own accord.

The citizens who remain shall then receive--by no later than October of this calendar year--free health care, free university education, breathtaking public transportation, and their fair share of the plunder from the homes of the departed.
"Trust me on this one, America--as soon as we are able to successfully streamline our social policy and get our computers back online, you will enjoy all the benefits you should already have been receiving. As for those leaving us behind, we surely hope they come back one day as deep-pocketed tourists, but are well-aware that probably won't be feasible on the $2/day they will be making from now on."
- Sen. John McCain
As for the location of their new home, qualified candidates have their choice of any island in Indonesia or any nation on the continent of Africa. Military transport or inflatable rowboats will be provided as needed.
"Good luck to you out there! May you carry on the fine pioneering spirit of your ancestors or selves!" - Sen. Richard Shelby
Teen participation in the workforce, specifically in the food service, construction, and harvesting industries, is expected to increase dramatically over the course of the next fiscal quarter.


The Party Had to Stop Sometime, Florida...

All those romantics out there with dreams of one day owning a boat, or even just joyriding in one for an afternoon with a handful of strange, now is the time to be you. Just head out to the coast and scoop one up, yo!

All those bored businessmen and backwoods billies who spent their days wondering what it would be like to commit a relatively benign white-collar crime, who wondered whether they would be smart enough to get away with it, well done and thanks for helping the aforementioned dreamers out.

Sorry not all of you got away with it:

Too bad the law ain't so slam-dunk with the assholes who caused this Great Depression Redux in the first place...

Happy boating, dreamers!


All Aboard the USS Koala!

Now that I'm thirty and approaching the end of days, I tend to look back on my life a bit more, reevaluate things, maybe even gain a little perspective. Sometimes it's intentional, when I try to dig up some memories, try to find some meaning, and sometimes it just hits me like a brick in the face.

Just the other day, in fact, I was doing dishes in the kitchen and I had to sit down to catch my breath after remembering those long-forgotten, furious two years I ran koalas in San Diego.

But let me begin at the beginning...

After college out east, I was a bit more full of myself than I should have been, had a bit of Francisco Pizarro in me, you might say. I was invincible and mirthfully flaunted every law your lawyer ever heard of, partly for kicks, partly as a philosophical undertaking. I was like a flame-fresh sword, full of menace, but not yet cooled.

I moved west because that's where cowboys belong. I needed to stretch my legs, bounce around, crow and prance.

After one particularly exhausting morning of displaying my finery, I thirstily swilled bourbon on a park bench along the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, scanning the scenery for opportunity, when I happened to overhear a tanned and fit young mother complain to her friend that the US government would not allow her to purchase a koala. Evidently her son was a fan of some Disney show and sort-of wanted a pet koala real bad and the United States Government denied this simple request.

I drained the bottle, chucked it through the window of The Gap, kneeled before said yuppy milf, and offered myself as hero, for I saw not only a lucrative reward, but also a delightful opportunity to once again scream 'fuck you' to the oppressive men running our country, who whimsically tell us what we can and can't do.

My flight landed in Sydney about two weeks after it left. Or so it felt. I think I watched four Keenan Ivory Wayans movies and slept half a lifetime. At some point, I even thought about acquiring a new hobby.

Once on foot, I made haste for the Cross and pounded the pavement, gathering information the only way I knew how--from hookers.

After a few dozen entertaining-but-dead-end leads, as I began to study the zoo perimeter for weaknesses, I finally found a loose-lipped dame that let slip I might be able to find a koala in a sanctuary on the outskirts of Sydney.

Evidently, the little minx went there on a school field trip once, a few years ago, and remembers seeing at least three koalas, but, sadly, could give me no useful information when I hinted I was curious about their security strategies.

In terms of area, Sydney is twice the size of Los Angeles, and the fringes are pretty wild, let me tell you--man meets Bush. The beautiful neighborhoods splattered on postcards are like so many diamonds floating in an unflushed toilet.

Looking around at the grody townscape, I was surprised the koalas hadn't taken over already.

It certainly wasn't out of weakness, as the first little shit I tried to abduct slashed my shoulder like a vindictive (and wildly inaccurate) lover with a carving knife. I tell women the scar came from a knife fight in Calcutta and the most sporting ones believe me.

After a spell of wound-nursing, plotting, and several stomachfuls of shiraz, my second foe dropped like an acorn after I blindsided it and its mother with a hefty log.

I disarmed the unconscious little devil with a wine cork on each claw, shoved a couple prescription sleeping pills down the victim's hatch, and threw it in a canvas sack denoted "Laundry for Mom," a high-school-graduation gag gift from my aunt finally put to good use.

On the way out the door, I checked the pulses of the crudely-tranquilized Koala Sanctuary staff, figured they would live, hijacked the security tapes, lit them on fire in the street, and hailed a gypsy cab to the airport.

I spent the next two hours, in traffic, deciding whether or not I would be able to kill my driver if I needed to, to cover my tracks.

At the Qantas counter, I proferred the beach blonde behind the ticket counter my fake passport and reservation number, then turned on the charm. Why not make time for a quickie pre-flight? Life is short, my man.

There seemed to be some unpleasant confusion, however, when I explained that I was trying to move my flight up a week, to get on the next one out, even though I'd only been there for a day and a half.

As soon as I saw a supervisor moving toward me I knew I had one choice: run. And so I ran. I ran like hell.

I got all the way to the wrong side of town, on some sketchy stretch of harbor, my contraband koala conscious and ornery, and found myself out of road. Never one for a shoot-out, I realized I was going to have to get wet.

As if a sign from the Lord above, the bottomless bass vibrations from a friendly horn-toot on a US Naval Battleship--pulling out of Sydney Harbor after a photo-op with the HMS Warramunga--practically made my decision for me.

I swam out to the departing ship with gusto, clutching the koala bag with white knuckles, a green gleam in my eyes, and climbed aboard unseen.

During the next seven days spent on my hands and knees inside an emergency lifeboat, I not only found out my captive koala--whom I quickly, endearingly referred to as Wino, since he was covered in wine corks, never got his sea legs, and slept 23 hours a day--was a male, but also trained him to sneak out and steal food.

It sounds like a simple survival solution, but the skill came in the planning of the affair, so that the only hour in the day Wino would be awake would also happen to be the most ideal moment for theft. The boat was only yay big and full of cagey men with keen eyes--it was a delicate game.

By the time I swam ashore in north San Diego, hitchhiked south, and waved goodbye to my adorable merchandise at a Subway Sandwich Shop on the Mexican side of town, I decided I would never fly again--too dangerous. It was to be the sea for me from now on--courtesy of the US Navy.

I also decided that I would do it all over again if another client were to emerge. $10,000 cash for a good old-fashioned harmless adventure? Shit, I'd kidnap a baby for a nickel more!

The clients trickled in at first, but it wasn't long before I was drowning in them. It got so I knew a long stretch of the Pacific Ocean like the back of my momma's hand. Koala protection agencies eventually pooled their funds and set a group of rag-tag bounty hunters on my trail.

But I was good. Too good. And I was having fun.

Cocktail parties on the lawns of harborside Sydney estates, Don Giovanni at the Opera House, awkward dates with Nicole Kidman, textbook fornication with drunken international supermodels that bought the Hollywood producer line, surfing and binge-drinking with the beach crowd in San Diego, sobering up aboard a US naval vessel, or series of vessels depending on their routes...I led an adrenaline-fueled social life that even a young Jack Nicholson would be proud of.

But all things must pass. If it wasn't pure hubris that got me in the end, it was the champagne and shrimp cocktails.

As a result not so much of my gratuitous koala-trafficking, but more of a sticky visa-violation situation in which my initial fake identity eventually became embroiled, I had the law after me. By this time the alias was as historic as my innocence, but there was one major problem--they had my picture, and there was no disguising this blindingly handsome mug.

I floated back Stateside and tried to get out of the racket, to conquer my addiction to the rush, and was successful for a bit. I lived anonymously, a walking ghost who slept under the pier at night and wandered the beach all day, staring at young women and masturbating in the shadows. I grew hungry.

My friends in San Diego, the few people I trusted enough to let-in on my double life, play shuffleboard with, surf with, turned out to be not-so-good. Once the word got out that I was a marked man, I was yesterday's taco to those two-bit turncoats.

With nowhere else to turn, I agreed to do one more rounder for a desperate and generous client, and promised myself I would use the proceeds to open up a little shop somewhere, somewhere quiet.

I wasn't Down Under very long before I discovered the vaunted Australian Customs officials were trying to make an example out of me.

As I walked out of the Sydney Public Library downtown, cackling with jittery joy at the thought of some howdydodat opening The DaVinci Code to find one of my well-placed malnourished turds, I fell headfirst into a spider's web even I couldn't escape.

After a brief stint in Guantanamo, I turned state's evidence and snitched on not only a fictional koala-poaching mastermind (sorry, Bruce!) but also on every single one of my clients.

The poorest ones did a stretch in minimum-security; most of them got away with a slap on the wrists and an audit.

After all these years in Witness Protection, waiting tables in Bozeman, skiing 120 days a year, living the dream, I'd completely forgotten about all that craziness til now.

Huh. Weird how the mind works sometimes...