Mad Hatters' Review

column bullet column bullet Carol Novack's
Crazy Jane's Advice
column bullet Tantra Bensko's
Strange as it May Seem
column bullet D.A. Eis's
Dear New York
column bullet column bullet Helen Ruggieri's
From Under the Slush Pile
column bullet Lockie Hunter's
column bullet column bullet Pete Dolack's
East of East
Archived Columns - Issue 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 12

'Goatbreath Babble' by Sir Castor BayleyGoatbreath Babble
by Sir Castor Bayley


Another Side of Pain

My two wives don’t like each other very much. Can’t really figure out why either. Or maybe it’s just that I don’t like to think about it. You see, I’m not actually married to both of them—at least not anymore.

One of them is more past than present. The other more present and future. Competing objectives to be sure.

But it’s not just competition at stake here. There’s pride, anger, pain, maybe a bit of vanity. And certainly, the ugly stigma of divorce. Which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. I mean, after all, it’s me the fuss is all about. Me! Big deal. I’ve lived with myself forty years—I’m not impressed. So what is the driving force here?

Must be that I left one for the other, to put it simply. That’s the best I can figure. Although I’m not quite sure why that should matter. Wife number-one told me repeatedly I was good for nothing. She practically threw me out more than once just because I wasn’t good enough, whatever that means. “You have no ambition,” she’d say, echoing her father. And maybe at one time I would have agreed with her.

Then it happened. I met someone who had the audacity to tell me I was somebody. Not like wife number one who happily pointed out that I was nobody and content to remain that way. No. I met somebody who said I was somebody. Right there, where she found me. I couldn’t help myself—I was hooked.

So here I was, a big, ugly, fish dangling from an attractive and dainty female lure. It was then that I had to acknowledge my big mistake. Hyperbole warning: Huge mistake!

In my youthful rush to make a commitment and settle down, removing myself from that species of male we are all told to avoid becoming, the “non-committal beast,” I made the right commitment--with the wrong person.

Sadness overcame us both when we saw it was true, wife number-one and I. Each, for different reasons. Her, because she was being rejected; Me because after living for so long being rejected, I was accepted. Whoopee!! Not. Immediately I was cast into the shadows. The bad guy. So I went out the very next day and bought myself a ten-gallon black Stetson. I’ve been wearing it ever since. black hat

I know I’m no hero; far from it. Hell, by societal standards I’m the lowest, mud-sucking slime to ever jelly-belly across the sand. But that’s okay, it comes with the territory.

Though you know? I have to feel pretty good about life after all is said and done. Because today, ten years after the fact, wife number-two and I are living with the joy and freshness of romance like we just met yesterday. And while in society’s eyes’ I may not even rate as prince of the losers, at least in one person’s eyes, I’m the best there is. And that, is worth all the garbage in the venom heap.

Readers may write to Sir Castor Bayley c/o Place "Goatbreath Babble" in the subject line of your email.

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Crazy Jane's Advice to the Lorn of Love
Image © 2006 Tony Juliano
Crazy Jane's Advice to the Lorn of Love

Dear Crazy Jane:

I bet you know lots about snakes. Well, I have a real dilemma for you, wow. My girlfriend Mitzi has a thing about snakes and I've let her have her way for the last 17 years, but things are getting complicated, like out of hand. Like she started out with safe sorta small skinny snakes that lived in tanks and ate little insects and an occasional gerbil. Nothing that intimidated on our lifestyle but she would really say some strange things at night when we were making love, like she'd often call me the name of the snake. "My name is NOT Booboo," I would insist, immediately losing my erection, which is okay when you're like in your 20's or 30's or so maybe. But then, a bunch of snakes later, increasingly more and more dangerous like rattlers and cobras coming into the bedroom even sleeping on the bed, she brings home this asp she says an asp like she thinks she's Cleopatra, all delusional, walks all over the house without clothes and the curtains open so the neighbors can see her with this snake wrapped around her shoulders, licking her face and boobs with that hideous demonic forked tongue.

For God's sake, she's been pushing hard past the middle ages, so she should get over it, don't you think, or maybe she needs to change shrinks? Anyway, I got over it. Why can't she? Maybe that's part of the problem – fear of mortality? Or morality? So she brings this wasp into bed … I mean asp she says it is. She calls it Steve (like who the fuck is Steve?) and she goes oooooh all the time while we're doing it … but she's really doing it with the snake on the sly and also as soon as I roll over I hear these sounds. She INSISTS the snake being in bed makes her have double orgasms and more. Like I do nothing and believe me, I don't need a penis enhancer.. But this snake wraps itself around her and it's been trying to wrap itself around me but I jump up in the middle of nightmares to catch that snake doing it. I swear maybe that snake's a girl but not my type if you get my drift. Probably a girl and a guy or it could be gay. It fucking SMILES at me, but not in a way you like to get smiled at, if you're me. I guess I should look up snakes to figure out if it's a he or she or if snakes are anything gender-wise. Oh shit, that's not the point. It's not like I hate gays or hermaphrodikes. When it comes to snakes, it hardly matters.

Point is I suspect this latest snake's a killer, as in not in the least defanged or whatever it is they do with snakes. Cause it has a funny way of looking at me, as I said like it's smiling. But like a dangerously deranged person in a prison for the dangerously deranged. And it eats the idiot neighbor dogs when nobody's watching. But it throws up and makes messes all over the place. And it's not like I can ask Mitzi, hey is this puking snake defanged? She'll come back and say, Fuck off, Maurice, you hate animals. And that's about as far as I get with her over that snake. Otherwise, we get along real well. We both love ham and Jeopardy and we're in the same party, same golf club and of course the same congregation. Stuff like that.

So okay. I'll get to the question. I'm really nervous. Like doing my best not to pee on the sheets. I don't tell Mitzi I'm real nervous, just act like nothing's wrong when that snake crawls into bed with us and wraps itself around my legs. I'm at my wits end. I know it's going to bite me to death any night. It hates me. What should I do?

Maurice in Mineola

Dear M in M:

You're absolutely right. I do know more than I care to know about snakes. All sorts. Though verily there've been some snakes I prefer to dogs. But never to cats. But this isn't about snakes, Maurice. It's all about aging and fearing the loss of one's sexual faculties, so to speak. And death, non-being, all that. Let's face it: life is nothing but metaphor. So take a cruise. A long cruise, a long long hyphen if you wish. After you lose the snake. Just pick Steve up with tongs or chopsticks you get free with Chinese delivery – but gently, preferably with Bing Crosby in the background, and quoting really bad poetry like greeting card Valentine's Day stuff --- and put the snake gently in the trunk of your car. Then drive the car to the other end of town where there's some callous, greedy, corrupt politician you hate who's ruining people's lives, and leave the snake on his doorstep, knowing that Steve will get in through the windows, no problem. First, however, you have to massage Steve behind his ears and tell it that while you're attached to it and this is a sacrifice, you're leaving it/him/her to do its duty to his/her country. Shed a few tears and leave, but remember to say: BITE that B…. on the ass, Asp! I swear to Juno you'll see a different sort of smile on that snake's face … guaranteed to be a smile you'll love and cherish forever in your fondest memories.



Crazy Jane thanks Carol Novack for contributing the letter in this season's column. Readers may write to Crazy Jane c/o Place "Ask Crazy Jane" in the subject line of your email.

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'Step to the Rear' by Rich AndrewsStep to the Rear:
Tales from a Lapsed New York City Bus Driver
by Rich Andrews

Semi-true stories from your NYC bus drivers.



In general, I like women. They are not sex objects any more than my own mother was a sex object. But when you’re a healthy male and wait at hundreds of red lights a day, with women of every shape and size walking this way and that way and... well, the mind wanders and you wind up ogling them all, whistling “I’m a girl watcher” and “Standing on the corner, watching all the girls go by.” And in the summer, when women wear less clothing? Fuhgeddaboutit.

I sit behind the wheel noting the variety of breasts: big ones that bob and sway, mediums that wiggle and jiggle and bra-less little ones, motionless under tight T-shirts. There’s fat Russian women who strut through the streets of Brighton Beach, their boobs supported by some miraculous feat of engineering; breasts that would in their natural state drag around the ankles, look like raised ICBMs. There are the “skinny guineas” with only nipples, the Irish girls with not even those. And on occasion, there are those rare breed of Michaelangelo Venuses, with bodies so perfect they make you wanna cry.

Retirement Gift - Signed Picture
click to view full

One day, I pull into a bus stop and the first thing I see is Madonna. She is a magnificent raven-haired bombshell with hooters that stop traffic. As people are getting on, she comes in and out of my line of vision. By the time she gets to the fare box, I’ve already asked her out just for coffee, then dinner, gone through five hours of foreplay, married and divorced her, become completely despondent about my life and am well into suicide.

The passenger in front of her finishes depositing the fare and asks me for a transfer. I’m too numb and dumb from my mental meandering so she grabs one for herself with an annoyed grunt, then steps away. I look up into Madonna’s face, expecting her to cold-shoulder me into oblivion. Instead she looks into my eyes and smiles! My world suddenly bursts into fireworks and marching band music. But is she just being polite and friendly?

My right hand grips the guardrail that separates us drivers from the passengers and my left foot is up on the emergency brake lever. I project my best Errol Flynn but a voice is shouting in my head, “Are you whacko? She’s a freakin goddess, you moron. After she pays her fare, you can sniff after her like the dog you are.” Thoughts of belladonna replace Madonna. Perhaps a swan dive off the Brooklyn Bridge... then the unbelievable happens: she steps forward, raises her incredible boobs slightly and places them gently onto the guardrail, covering my right hand, for cryin’ out loud!

“Do you go to the Canarsie Market, honey?” she says to me, looking straight into my eyes, the grin never leaving her face. She watches my eyes go to her breasts, wondering if I’m going to wiggle my fingers or what.

“Take your time, driver. We got all day,” says some hockey puck behind me. I don’t even hear him. My fingers are doing that slow dance when Madonna says, “Oh, I’m sorry!” She drags herself away from my hand and whispers, “If you don’t drive, we’ll never get to the market, hon. Then I won’t be able to buy my fresh veggies. I need a cucumber. A large, firm one... think you can arrange that for me?” She runs her tongue over her lips, her perfect teeth, my fingers...

I snap out of it but Madonna’s tits are still on my hand. Other passengers join the hockey puck. I slowly remove my hand, stand up and face the people. “This bus is out of service. Come up front for transfers for the next bus.” Before they can move, I whisper to my new friend, “Just stay on the bus.” She smiles but I can see that look on her face that reads, “Ooops! Maybe I went too far and now he’s going too far.” I ignore it. The people are hopping mad, demanding to know what’s wrong with the bus. They take down my bus and badge number. I don’t care. My brain has gone out of order; Little Brain is now Commandante.

Everyone leaves, I close the doors, throw up the NOT IN SERVICE sign and take off with my prize. She comes up to stand next to me again. We talk about dinner on the way to the Canarsie Market. About halfway there, a dispatcher stops me. I tell him I’m pulling sick off the route. He sizes up the situation, asks me why I’m heading in the exact opposite direction from the depot, doesn’t wait for my answer and tells me to see the location chief when I get to the depot. The chief gives me a two-day suspension, effective immediately. I don’t care. Outside the boss’ office, I kiss the union rep who tried in vain to prevent the discipline.

Madonna and I spend the next two days preparing various tasty things to eat off each other. I like women... but man, I love this job.

Readers may send comments to, Subject line: Step to the Rear. Comments may be published.

'From Under the Slush Pile' by Helen RuggieriFrom Under the Slush Pile
by Helen Ruggieri



Every time you open a magazine these days it’s full of places you’ve never heard of gearing up for a new low residency writing program. There’s the tennis people and the skiing people in Vermont and the Stephen Foster bunch on the Sewanee. For ten to fifteen thousand or so a semester you can buy yourself a degree in poetry writing or fiction writing without (almost) leaving the comfort of your own computer. There must be money in it and there must be thousands of interested students or the colleges wouldn’t be adding this program to their catalogs.

Now the question is this – should you enroll in a program or not. What exactly is an MFA and does it have a social purpose? Don’t expect any helpful advice on that question. We can only list the results of a survey we conducted (our painstaking research a result of our MFA training) to determine the best and the worst aspects of getting a Master of Fine Arts degree.

1. If the book doesn’t work out, you are prepared for a career in juggling.
2. Your family begins to think you might have talent.
3. You get fountain pens for gifts.
4. You can describe that odor better than anyone else in the room.
5. No one expects you to know who got voted off “Survivor.”
6. You get to sleep with visiting poets.
7. You have someone to ask for a reference.
8. The student loan folks know you by your first name.
9. You meet people who know who the Wrights are (not Orville and Wilbur)
10. Inevitably, someone starts a magazine and asks you for work.

1. You have to explain (over and over) what exactly an MFA is.
2. You have to be civil to PhDs
3. Everyone expects you to win at Scrabble.
4. People are afraid to write you because you’ll correct their grammar, etc.
5. The student loan folks know you by your first name.
6. You can’t make payments working as an adjunct instructor.
7. A blank sheet of paper is your only friend.
8. Inevitably, one of your classmates publishes a book.
9. Inevitably, it gets good review.
10. Inevitably, you get rejected again.

Readers may send comments to, Subject line: From Under the Slush Pile. Comments may be published.
'East of East' by Pete DolackEast of East

The unfairness of life and the farce of the “mistakes” of Bush

I know life is not supposed to be fair, but it seems particularly harsh that Molly Ivins is gone (and Ann Richards is gone) and George W. Bush is still here. Still in the White House, for almost another two years, still acting like a dictator who just won 90 percent of the vote, not someone who guided his party to a lopsided defeat.

It was Richards, after all, with her famous quip that Bush’s father was born with a silver foot in his mouth, who was responsible for W. setting aside his apparent dream of being baseball commissioner to be handed the governorship of Texas and then the White House by daddy’s hired guns. If there is one thing a Bush can’t stand, it’s somebody telling the truth. Especially about one of the family.

It wouldn’t be fair to say Ivins made her career ridiculing and exposing W., but it did give her a “target-rich environment,” as Donald Rumsfeld might say. But I am one of the few people to have ambivalent feelings about Ivins. I would never underestimate the power of ridicule, although Bush does not seem capable of shame or embarrassment. And Ivins deserved to see Bush go, as much as any other American. But it would more useful to see Bush, and the whole pathologically greedy milieu from which he springs, as people acting in their own interests, albeit in an extraordinarily ruthless way, and not simply as mediocrities who sure make a lot of dumb mistakes. Ivins, like many a good liberal Democrat, endlessly wrung her hands, asking, in so many words, “How can Bush be so dumb?,” or even a generic “How can humanity be so dumb?”

Okay, Bush is not bright, and if he were George W. Jones (a random name, no offense to all you Joneses out there) instead, he’d be a nonentity. So what? Bush has no need for brains. Daddy’s money and daddy’s rich friends bought him an oil company, which couldn’t find oil in Texas; bought him a baseball team, the Texas Rangers, who were perpetual losers; bought him the Texas governorship; and then engineered his elevation to the White House. All this has reinforced the one thing that Bush knows — his sitting at the top of the pyramid, with his foot on the necks of everybody below him, is the natural order of the universe. And why not? After all, his grandfather, Prescott Bush, and great-grandfather, George Herbert Walker, propelled what was already a rich family into the highest ranks of the elite, building a fortune by trading with, and laundering money for, the Nazis, from the 1920s until Prescott Bush had one of his companies confiscated by the U.S. government during World War II for trading with the enemy.

So the extreme rightists who selected him as their frontman knew what they were doing, but then Bushes are never the type to undercut their own class. Dick Cheney, the “vice president,” is really in charge, as former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill revealed after his sacking; Cheney ran the cabinet meetings, commanding silence whenever contradicted, while Bush looked on. Look at the veteran operatives littering the White House — Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bush family consigliere James Baker and a whole cabal of former Reagan figures. Is it really conceivable that such a crowd would put a dilettante like W. in charge and follow him? This milieu has made its intentions plain — it’s all there in the now infamous manifesto of the “Project for a New American Century,” still on their web site.

Invading Iraq because Bush is dumb? Because they really did think Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction? Just too macho to back down from a fight? I’ll concede the last of those theories, but that is merely symptom. The invasion is profitable for the war’s architects and their buddies, and Iraq also represents the spearhead of their plan for global domination. Bush, Cheney & Co. simply aren’t going to give up their mad dreams, nor their profits, and that is why despite leading the Republican Party to defeat in both houses of Congress, Bush has already declared the troops will have to be removed by his successor. (If they’re contemplating a coup to stay in power, they are keeping very quiet about it; but the military now hates them so much they probably have resigned themselves to leaving office in two years.) “Stay the course” and its most recent variant, the “surge” of new troops, really means “Not one less dollar in my pocket.”

Cheney was paid $45 million during his five years as the head of Halliburton, although the company has been far more profitable since Cheney became vice president and could dole out massive no-bid contracts. Although Cheney has claimed to have “no financial interest in Halliburton of any kind,” he was paid $740,000 in deferred compensation in the years 2001 to 2004, and last year owned Halliburton stock worth $9 million. Halliburton has been handed several billion dollars worth of contracts with guaranteed profits since the invasion of Iraq and racked up more than $2.7 billion in profits just for 2004 and 2005, compared to a mere $790 million for the previous six years. Oil companies have done even better — Exxon Mobil Corp., for example, racked up a staggering $101 billion in profits for the three years of 2004 to 2006. And whole new fields are being created — Blackwater USA, a supplier of mercenaries, has received an unknown amount of contracts to send private soldiers to Iraq, who are paid at a rate of several times what Army soldiers are paid. The company’s founder is — surprise! — a right-wing Christian.

Handing profits to favored corporations, and providing leverage for U.S.-based multinational companies in general, and forcibly handing over Iraq’s economy to these corporations, is one of the two basic reasons for the U.S. occupation of Iraq. That is why the first proconsul, L. Paul Bremer, moved so quickly to write rules “opening” Iraq to “foreign investment” before handing a phony sovereignty to the Iraqi puppet government. (When rumors circulated late last year that Nuri Kamal al-Maliki would be deposed as Iraqi prime minister, he immediately called Bush to find out if he’d stay in office. Odd behavior for a sovereign leader.) American plans also called for 15 military bases and a super-sized embassy that would have been the United States’ largest. There is no mystery here — the Bush administration intended to convert Iraq into a vast aircraft carrier to use as a forward base to force its way into other Middle Eastern countries, with the goal of gaining more economic dominance in the region. It should come as no surprise that most Iraqis are resistant to these plans. But as the Iraq invasion provides the best opportunity the ideologues of the Bush administration will have to gain control, not simply of the oil, but of entire economies, and thereby push out Europe, East Asia and Russia, gaining more leverage over their rivals in capitalist competition, they are simply not going to give up.

Sadly, moderate Republicans and most Democrats don’t particularly oppose grand plans of American dominance; they simply dislike the reckless unilateral tactics that the hard-right Republicans have used. And so the 2004 presidential campaign became an argument over whether Bush or Kerry would better carry out plans for domination. Most of the ruling class of the country thought Kerry would be more effective — not unreasonably, it must be admitted — and so we witnessed the extraordinary level of support for a Democratic presidential candidate from the highest levels of the establishment. That tendency carried over into the 2006 congressional elections, and with so much of the country soured on the Iraq fiasco, no amount of electoral dirty tricks could prevent the Democrats from their victory. With the Republicans ability to carry out widespread voter suppression and various other operations, and the boost they receive through unaccountable electronic voting machines made by companies run by major Republican fundraisers, the Democrats probably had to win 55 percent of the vote to actually win last year, and they beat that target.

Alas, since most Democrats don’t opposed imperialism, the well-intentioned activists who followed up the Jan. 27 march on Washington by lobbying their representatives shouldn’t hold their breaths waiting for conversions. While cowardice certainly is part of the problem, a lack of fundamental differences with the Republicans is the bigger factor. One again, “no more war” means an end to exploitation. And it means ending business as usual. Until Americans are willing to confront the U.S. system as a whole, “no more war” will remain a pleasant dream, no matter how much skill our humor writers possess.

Readers may write to Pete Dolack c/o Place "Pete Dolack Column " in the subject line of your email.
Tantra Bensko's 'Strange as it May Seem Column'Strange as it May Seem



Before the nightfall descended and fell and otherwise pushed its foot onto my cranium, I sought the aid of the otherwise engaged twiterlings, the glittering long beaked ones who check in on me from time to time when their nests are full of quarrells they prefer to leave behind for an outing into the undimensional, the unconfrontational, the unness of all things, embodied in my own nighttime excursions. I never know where I go in my excursions, of course, as they are unexcursions of my unself, and no one knows what the recursive return of them leads to, but I do them anyway. or, in other words, I undo them, anyway. or unI do them, anyway.

As nightfall descended more aggressively, putting its foot down without a doubt, the twiterlings sang their songs to me so sweetly, I was moved to offer them some poppy seed tea. Their mouths opened wide, and I dropped it into them, bit by bit, as I opened my mouth a bit in sympathy as I dropped the seed tea into their grasping gullets. Ah, the joy of the way the gullets reach up to the droppers, reach up to my love, reach up to the nothingness of it all and drink it in so consolingly, so ridiculously. Ah, a rash of twiterlings has come to my nightwindow, and done me in. They leave me as nothing but love, nothing but knees of reverence, nothing but twitches of wonder. I can’t believe they chose my window of all windows, my heart of all heart, my poppy seeds of all poppy seeds.

And as I am not an I, so enthralled by love I am, so one with the twitterlings, the poppy seeds, the dropper, and the raising up so suddenly of their little gullets, I can get away with anything. I can be spread apart into the night sky. I can scintillate as little particles that pulse off and on. I can see you with my little eye, wherever you are. And I don't have to bow to plot. I need no conflict, no plot, and that’s exactly why the twitterlings come to visit me when their nests are so full of plot. I am the receptical of non plot. I am an antistory. I welcome you with open arms. Come bask in the lack of an event curve. Come drink my poppy seed tea, raising your throat to the non Iness of it all. Be the night sky with me. Come drink. Drink.

Readers may write to Tantra Benski c/o Place "Strange as it May Seem " in the subject line of your email.
'Dear New York' by Debbie Ann EisDear New York


We Have a Dream!

We had normal New York lives — tight black clothes, dirty mouths, bad bosses, claustrophobic homes in tall buildings that reached up above the honking cabs and littered sidewalks.

We were happy. But we were blonde.

When we married and became pregnant, we knew the danger, understood where all the metro trains headed. We had heard rumors about Connecticut.

We avoided the Grand Central, took the subway, never car service, tried not to acknowledge Republicans. But they found us, noticed our blonde hair and protruding bellies. They rounded us up, as ambivalent brunettes watched from distant windows.

We were crammed into train cars with pastel luggage, collared
T-shirts and comfortable shoes. We squeezed next to each other — linen brushing cotton or worsted wool, skin touching skin — our bodies swollen, ready to push out more blonde life.

They walked down the aisle, passing out tennis racquets and cookbooks. They told us to fill out applications to dinner clubs and benefit committees. We asked what the benefits were for, but we were hushed. It didn't matter, they said. What mattered was the process, the details. The how, not the why. We were told to stop the whys.

We had our babies when it was cold, and our husbands bought us large cars, as big as houses, to lug our baby paraphernalia. We read how-to mommy books and tried not to talk about politics.

Once in a while, one of us would make a deter, disagree with a Republican at the town meeting, admit she found world politics more interesting than children, quit tennis, sell her SUV, have an orgasm. We would shift our eyes towards her and each other, knowing what could happen, what they could do. One of us would volunteer to lead the deviant away to Pilates class..

We plodded along, huddled at houses to plan parties, tennis matches, bridge club luncheons. We waited for the world to reach out to us, for a brunette to investigate. No one bothered.

The babies grew up, took drugs, ignored us, and we began to feel strange. Hot, then cold. Hot, cold, hot cold, hot cold. We became angsty and tennis hurt our knees. We hated our SUVs and wondered why we still needed them. Our husbands obtained paramours or turned gay while we obtained wide hips and got sick of women.

We dreamed of revolution, of brunettes marching down our streets to free us, taking the husbands prisoner, removing SUVs from our driveways. We would hobble, yes, with our stiff joints, wide hips, angsty moods, but we would march with the brunettes. Once out, we would alter ourselves to prevent detection. We would change our names: Ice would become Eis; Johnston, Jeungling; Morgan, Morganstern. We would dye our hair red, black, gray. We would drive VWs and discuss the plight of the poor.

We would never forget the metro trains that took us here. We would never forget tennis, SUVs, bridge clubs. This could never happen again!

But dreams have a way of dissolving into hours, days, weeks, years. And there was always golf.

There was always golf.

Readers may write to D. A. Eis c/o Place "Dear New York Column" in the subject line of your email.
'Random Acts of Insanity' by Shirley HarsheninLockie Confidentials
Solutions to Your Most Profound Questions
by Lockie Hunter


CONFIDENTIAL to Slugs in My Garden:

Why not groom your dog! Just cut some of your dog’s hair, any part of the pooch will do, and sprinkle it around your favorite blooming plant. The slug crawls into the hair, and it just rips their little petunia-eating insides to pieces! If you don’t have a dog then I’ve
heard that human hair works just as well.

Good luck and happy gardening!

CONFIDENTIAL to Can I Still Touch Him Down There:

Woah kid! I have a rule that may well apply to your situation. It is, “If it is sticky or oozing and it is not yours, don’t touch it.” It may serve you well to remember that if your boyfriend has these “uncontrollable needs” then he should consider pleasuring himself until the penicillin has done the trick. Tell him he can wait until the sores have diminished, and while you are having a heart-to-heart I would ask him just how he got this little infection when the two of you are “exclusive to one another.” Good luck and keep your hands, and other body parts for that matter, to yourself.

CONFIDENTIAL to Confused Cross Dresser in the Carolinas:

I think the key here is to choose accessories that best accentuate your skin tone. Olive complexion? Try a winter palette of reds of dark blues. For lighter skin types pastels colors work best. Unsightly panty lines? My transvestite acquaintance tells me that after he has tucked away his little friend that he uses a special tape to secure him in place. He tells me it is as easy as one, two, tuck, tape. Then he goes commando and voila, no panties lines to ruin the flow of the garment. Oh, and pass this next bit on to your wife. I’d be a little P.O.ed as well if you stretched out all my bras. Go to the JCPenny lingerie department and ask for the big girl section. They’ll be happy to help.

Good luck!

Oh, and I tried to use the word p*nis, but those pesky copyeditors keep putting little asterisks in my words. Those prudish copyeditors!

‘Little friend’ is a nice euphemism, but really the word p*nis is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s a medical term for f*ck’s sake.

CONFIDENTIAL to My Husband May Be a Cheating As*hole:

I will answer your questions in reverse order as there is something that I need to discuss immediately. Nauseated is when something (or someone) makes you sick, dear. Nauseous is when you make others sick and while I am not saying that you don’t make me or others sick, I think the word that you are searching for in this case is indeed nauseated. Regardless of what you were “taught” you should explore using proper language. I would suggest consulting Merriam Webster but I think your problem extends beyond a mere choice of vocabulary. I also noticed several grammatical errors in your letter, and I think you would benefit from the purchase of Strunk and White's classic Elements of Style. My Strunk and White is well thumbed, cross referenced, and highlighted from my time as a PHD student in Literature. Oh was I going to set the literary world on fire! Now I only use my 70,000 dollar education to correct the grammatical mistakes of the readers of my column. Thank you for the opportunity!

Question two. Pay attention now. Firstly butterscotch pudding is the only pudding that would work in your situation. And it must be homemade. If you get my drift. However, it seems that your problem is larger than you are disclosing. Hubby seems to be a snoring, insulting, slovenly, unfaithful alcoholic, as*hole . Tell me if I’m off base here! So Reader, are you going to tell the real truth?

Good luck!

CONFIDENTIAL to It Still Hurts When I Do This:

Don’t do that. Good luck!

CONFIDENTIAL to My Teenage Son is Ruining My Marriage:

Sounds like you’ve got a tough one here. I agree that your son did not need to show everyone his new c*ck ring at the Thanksgiving table (you must admit it added a little je ne sais quoi to your evening, no?) and there was certainly an increased element of embarrassment since the priest was in mid-carve on the ol turkey bird, yet I found no malice is his actions. I doubt that he is “purposefully and systematically trying to destroy everything that you have built up all of these years.” It seems to me that he simply needs some good old fashioned family love. Since he insists on wearing a dog collar, why not take him to the park?

Good luck! Have fun! They’re only young once!


Readers may write to Lockie Hunter c/o Place "Lockie Confidentials" in the subject line of your email.
'Random Acts of Insanity' by Shirley HarsheninInformal Interviews
by Shirley Harshenin

This issue I chat it up with Phil Nelson, one of our fadulous cartoonists! Phil's the creator of Coconuts Comics - A crazy mixed-bag of characters whose endlessly absurd and hilarious ventures on a small desert island are the basis for this witlessy witty race to the edge of madness.

You don't want to miss this! CLICK HERE TO READ.

Readers may write to Shirley Harshenin c/o Place "Shirley Harshenin's Informal Interviews" in the subject line of your email.
Mad Hatters' Review, Edgy and Enlightened Literature, Art and Music in the Age of Dementia
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page updated on: June 25, 2007