Just what the economy needed:


I think, of all the Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi is my hands-down favorite. Yes, definitely Abu Dhabi, with Fujairah a close second.

On a related note, get some fire under your ass, Umm al-Quwain! This isn’t pee-wee baseball here.


(i never noticed this about adam rich before–probably because i’ve never really noticed adam rich–but he looks a bit like patton oswalt with a hollywood makeover.)


I helped plan my friend’s bachelor party this weekend, which was great fun except for that awkward and unspoken part where I think I was supposed to know how to find some naked ladies. I have seen strippers perform because if you’re a guy eventually someone will drag you to a strip club whether you like it or not, but I’ve never really gone at my own suggestion. Maybe there are guys who have strippers on speed dial, in case of an emergency–and these are guys I like to call “Paul Stanley of KISS”–but it’s honestly a mystery to me. As far as I know there does not exist any kind of service like for bachelor party entertainment, which I find odd. I mean, it seems like there are tons of online resources you can cross-reference to find out where to get a good Vietnamese sandwich in Manhattan, but nothing like a Zagat’s guide to let you know ahead of time if you’re about to hire a “serviceable” entertainer whose “bloom is off the rose” and who is “also notable” for having a “belligerent pimp” who might “rob you at knifepoint.”

In an effort to do proper diligence in researching this kind of specialty service, I decided to draft a questionnaire to help me screen any potential candidates for bachelor party entertainment. I realize it sounds like a very square thing to do, but it seemed preferable to choosing the first name I found in the local business directory. (This is not meant as a criticism of “AAAA Strippers, Unlimited.” I’m sure they’re a very reputable vendor.) Anyway, I learned this technique while planning my own wedding and downloading forms from sites like, which provide lists of questions to ask your vendors. And creating this questionnaire helped me weed out individuals who were less likely to deliver the level of quality and professionalism this bachelor party demanded.

It was helpful for me, and if you think it might be helpful if you’re planning a bachelor party, or just would like some strippers to come to your dormitory or next church function, you can download this questionnaire as a PDF:

Interview Questionnaire for the Recruitment of Erotic Entertainment Services

[UPDATE: link fixed. thanks, Khoi.]


Traveling home on a late Saturday night subway bound for East New York, our train was besieged by The World’s Greatest Entertainer and his incredible posse of hype-men. (Translation: a young, skinny black guy of indeterminate sexual orientation boarded the train with a few pals, and proceeded to annoy all of the passengers.)

The posse was dressed similarly, in matching yellow t-shirts with the word “SECURITY” across the back, but the WGE wasn’t having that at all. He was dressed one-of-a-kind stylishly, in off-the-ass skinny jeans with a jeweled (and essentially useless) belt, crisp Nike Dunks, and a suit vest buttoned over one of those bedazzled Don Ed Hardy shirts that have become this year’s “embarrassing-on-white-people but weirdly-cool-on-black-people” must-have fashion.

The first thing the WGE did was approach three young black girls who were sitting together. He began telling them which famous people they looked like–“Girl look like Jennifer Hudson!”–and each time he did this, his posse would burst out in uproarious laughter. Sometimes, when laughter wasn’t enough, the WGE would demand a kind of call-and-response, where he would say, “heyyyyy!” and his posse would respond with something like “Whoop de whoop what what huh!!” It was pretty impressive, if maybe a little noisome.

He called a sort of feminine-looking black man in oversized Cazals “Spike Lee,” even though he looked a little more like a member of The Specials. It didn’t matter if he was 100% accurate though, because he was the only one doing it and everyone was entertained until he told them they looked like Lionel Richie or “The O.C.” He also took tremendous liberties with passengers, after gaining their bewildered trust. At one point, I saw him standing over Jennifer Hudson, reaching for a pendant that hung between her breasts. Maybe she wasn’t especially threatened by his androgynous sexuality, or maybe she was just too shocked by his forthrightness to hit him with her Sidekick.

While the WGE made his rounds, stalking passengers to grant each individual a few minutes of loud and embarrassing undivided attention, I started to obsess over what he’d say to me. Lisa was with me and could see I was preoccupied (she has become an expert at reading my expressions) so I told her, “I’ll bet he’s going to say I look like Osama Bin Laden.” I’ve heard this before, from an aggressive and drunk UNC student on the street in Chapel Hill. I look nothing like Osama Bin Laden, but it’s still an easy go-to because I have a beard. I am weirdly sensitive to it. I would rather be called “Lionel Richie without a beard” because when someone calls me Osama Bin Laden there’s a part of me that thinks, “oh great, now everyone’s going to hate me.” As if just the suggestion is enough to convince others I’m probably up to some seriously anti-American hijinks.

After a few minutes sweating my inevitable roasting, I remembered that I am also a brilliant entertainer and wouldn’t it be great if he did dance around me and call me Osama Bin Laden while his posse “whoop de what what”-ed around the train and then I turned it on him and shut him right down with an even hotter burn? No…the HOTTEST BURN OF ALL TIME. I started fantasizing about this moment, where I pulled the rug out from beneath his gleeful reign of Friars’ Club terror, and then I actually began wishing he’d say something to me. I was trying to think of ways to make myself look more Bin Laden-y. Should I frown extra hard? Is there some way I could hold the subway pole the way Bin Laden holds a microphone, fingers extended and wrist limp?

Of course, the WGE never did make his way to me. Despite his velocity of delivery, his act quickly became repetitious, and the weaker moments began to stack up higher than the flashes of brilliance. Even his posse grew kind of tired of hyping him, and broke off into a couple of smaller posses, enjoying private conversations. So, to my disappointment (which, minutes earlier would have been my great relief), we never had our conversation. He never got a chance to tell me I look like Osama Bin Laden and I never got a chance to tell him he looked like “Usher’s broke cousin, Cashier“–The Burn Of The Century. (Sometimes, when I’m alone, I think of this line and high-five my memory.)


I was just reading a story linked by the esteemed website,, about the new IKEA in Brooklyn. IKEA has been offering a free shuttle bus between the store (which is located in the somewhat hard-to-reach neighborhood of Red Hook) and a few more convenient Brooklyn subway stops. Apparently, after just a few days of service the shuttle is already being taken advantage of by many of the city’s commuters who have been using this free, comparatively posh transportation to bypass a $2 public bus ride. That is pretty awesome.

Even more awesome is the fact that, according to Gothamist, many of those freeloaders are homeless folks looking to catch a free ride to the methadone clinic. This begs the question: If you are so good at finding a hustle, why are you so bad at having a home and/or teeth? I’m sure the homeless consider this bitter irony each time they hop aboard the IKEA express and heroin-nap all the way to their clinic. (There was one comment on the post that really made me laugh, where a person compared the class disparity on these IKEA shuttles to a Weegee photograph of two aristocratic women being ogled by a crazy-eyed homeless lady. Because, you know, IKEA has always been considered the premier self-assembly furniture destination for the discriminatingly wealthy.)

I’ve often thought there are a lot of public services not being addressed in this city. For example, after visiting the Hamptons and seeing the relatively carefree attitude most of the summer residents have with regards to their home security and personal safety, one could make a fortune offering a low-priced shuttle bus for thieves without cars. Each Friday morning, the B&E Jitney would transport individuals from high-crime neighborhoods directly to Amagansett, where it would leave them to frolic among the many unlocked summer rental homes and convertible cars parked curbside. Tickets would be one-way, based on the assumption that most of the passengers would be able to procure return transportation from one of the many beach parking lots or unattended driveways and garages.

I realize that is only one example, but that’s because I really only had one example. Sorry about that.


There are certain things that serve as irresistible bait for would-be jokers, and yet they have a proven track record of producing exactly zero laughs exactly 100% of the time. That’s why I say “skip it.”

Acronym Jokes
Ever find yourself in a room with a bunch of people, often at work, and you stumble across a mysterious acronym? Someone will recite the acronym and wonder, “what does that mean?” The instant this happens, a weird silence usually falls over the room as everyone revs up their minds, racing to be the first to construct a goofball interpretation of the acronym. Then someone will blurt one out, and soon all the remaining quickwits will follow with their own version. AND NONE OF THEM WILL BE FUNNY.

Or, rather, I should say, they will be funny if you are the type of person who finds the following things uncontrollably funny:
– Mad Libs
– The card game, “Apples to Apples” (or, as I like to call it, The Enron of Party Games)
– Click and Clack
– Whose Line is it Anyway?

When an acronym is dropped on a group, I often sit back and remain quiet, knowing I am not going to contribute to this forthcoming disaster, while also bracing myself for the loud, animated death march that is sure to follow. Rounds of acronym humor give me the same stomach sickness I experience when I am trapped in a room full of musical theater enthusiasts. It’s never a pleasant ride, and it’s rarely a short one.

I see the appeal. There’s bound to be something funny one could make out of an acronym like AHTFA, right? Wrong. Here’s what you can make out of AHTFA: a bunch of silly words combined with no logic or context. In other words, comedy for toddlers. So please skip it.

Killjoy McHarshmellow

p.s. Sorry if I seemed over Andy Rooney-esque here, and to show I’m not totally intractable, I would challenge you to prove me wrong. Create a joke based on what the acronym “AHFTA” stands for, send it to me, and I will (probably) post it here for all to see!


I am trying to avoid turning this into some kind of tedious wedding blog (no offense, ‘’), but I really need your help this time. Just a little honest feedback is all I’m asking. Keep in mind that this is still a ‘rough’ draft–the typeface or colors might get tweaked a little before we go to print–but let me know what you think of our wedding invitation design:

It’s not too fussy, is it?


Sometimes I speak too much in the superlative, which causes me to second-guess myself. (“Should I really have said calfouti is my favorite custard-based dessert? Is that going to come back to haunt me?”) To remedy this, I’ve gotten really specific in my rankings. Over the weekend, while speaking with my optometrist, I steered the subject of conversation (away from women he’s trying to date and the foibles of his dog) to The Feelies and their imminent reunion this summer. He asked if I really like the band, and I replied, “Absolutely. They’re my fourth favorite band of all time!” I guess this is like small children giving their ages in quarter-years (“I’m four and three quarters, biatch!” etc.) but it’s important for me to accurately represent myself. For instance:


  1. The Pixies
  2. Velvet Underground
  3. Led Zeppelin
  4. The Feelies
  5. Eric B. & Rakim
  6. The Wedding Present


  1. French Bulldog
  2. Pug
  3. Golden Labrador with faded bandana around its neck
  4. Boston Terrier
  5. Basset Hound
  6. Pit Bull with all teeth removed
  7. Anything overweight


  1. Corgi*
  2. Standard Poodle
  3. Miniature Collie
  4. Chow Chow
  5. Any dog with a silky ribbon in its long, idiotic hair


  1. Banh mi
  2. Pulled pork with cole slaw
  3. Chicken salad, bacon, lettuce & mustard on wheat bread (from Eisenberg’s in NYC)
  4. The “magic sandwich” – turkey, mayonnaise, tomato, avocado, and fresh pepper on toasted sourdough bread


  1. shit on a shingle (this is what my mother would offer if i asked her what we were having for dinner more than once, thereby trying her patience.)

*exceptions include: corgi with wheel legs and corgi sleeping on back


I like you, muxtape. I still think the concept of making a mix with no particular recipient in mind clashes with my old-fashioned idea of what mix tapes and CDs are supposed to accomplish i.e. make someone want to kiss your mouth.

Still, I appreciate its brevity (12 songs per mix, maximum) and it’s nice to jump in and hear an occasionally well-curated 45 minutes of music from a complete stranger. That said:

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