“Because Saturday is your turn in the barrel.”


J.ko’s traditional Halloween Birthday Bash theme, this year, was “The Best Of…”. You were to wear a favorite costume of yours from a party of hers from years past. One of my favorite parties was the chaos of “Dress as a Drink”. Casting about for a suitable costume, I ran out Saturday evening to buy myself wings, a green t-shirt, 100 plastic shot glasses, and a bottle of Absinthe.


“We arrived at the party late due to an accident. I knew I was in trouble when I realized Al was dressed as a green fairy, and passing out shots of absinthe. thats about where it all goes fuzzy.”

Chasing Zero

It goes fuzzy later than that for me. But not much. A timeline:

1930: “Lara Croft” and I depart for the party.

1950: In a nice old-school touch, picked up bondgirl at her parents’ house, dressed like the photo accompanying the Us Weekly headline “CARLOS ZAMBRANO’S GAY PIC NIGHTMARE”.

2015: Arrive at venue at the same time as Jessica Rabbit and her piano player. Greeted by Magnum P.I. and the Halloween Birthday Bash Chimera.

2020: We crack the absinthe.

2030: Next wave arrives: Elvis, Cookie Monster, and the Great Pumpkin (later rechristened Big Orange by me.)

2045: Absinthe flows.

2100: To my pleased surprise, someone arrives in a stunningly convincing Notorious R.O.B. costume.

2105: The flavor effect of absinthe on subsequent sips of Miller Lite is analyzed.

2110: Emma Peel arrives wearing, as I recall, hi-gloss black latex paint.

2115: Tony and Angela arrive late due to an accident. More absinthe. An argument over who has to drive home ensues.

2120: Magnum — who was, might I add, wearing the finest Wannstache it has ever been my privilege to admire on a civilian — and I begin drinking Rebel Yell out of a decanter fashioned after a 1937 gasoline pump. Shotglasses again provided by the green fairy.

2130: This is the last time I am certain of what time it is or the correct order of events until 0106 Sunday. Things that I remember happening between 2130 Saturday and 0106 Sunday:

…a conversation about my role as office bitch in the Gekko’s business…picking up Emma Peel at least twice…the World’s Greatest Photographer arriving, possibly in costume…promising to send someone an MP3 of something, about which commitment I remember neither the file nor the recipient…more shots…the arrival of two Santas, which I believe to have been Entarte Kunst and Mrs. Claus, who I was disappointed not to be sober enough to have seen more of…talking to Cookie Monster while ferociously resisting bumming cigarettes…wondering why there weren’t more people around to help drink the fucking absinthe…some rum, I think…explicitly not remarking on Jessica Rabbit’s outfit eight or ten times…pressing my faceful of cold sweat against the lovely cool mirror in the bathroom…pressing my faceful of cold sweat against the lovely cool floor of the bathroom…fully committing to my sad state in the same room, so to speak…mopping up the floor as best I could, and missing the bathmat (Thanks, J)…changing shirts and wings (Thanks whoever)…someone giving me Pepto-Bismol (Thanks, I think, Elvis)…getting to the truck (Thanks Big Man I assume)…being driven home unrestfully over 45 minutes on surface roads, with a lot of railroad tracks and hard stops because someone didn’t know how to get from one new house to another on the expressway (Get bent, Lovegood)…more committing out the car window…getting into the house and noting the time, 1:06am, on my way into bed.

A note on the lost time: Please do not remind me — unless you are the person to whom I promised the MP3 — of any of the rest. When one has only blacked out once, it should be experienced in full, and the memory-strobe effect is crucial to the full experience.


“The acid had shifted gears on him; the next phase would probably be one of those hellishly intense introspection nightmares. Four hours or so of catatonic despair…”

-Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas

I woke up at 630, made my way to the kitchen, and drank a liter and a half of water. Took four Advil, two Excedrin, and two Xanax (can’t hurt). I assumed I would sleep til nine and that would be the end of it.

Forty-five minutes later, fifty ounces of water and eight pills enjoyed a brief renaissance between undesirable situations.

Around eight-thirty, Luna thoughtfully got up and got us each coffee and a muffin, my share of which went unused. Around ten, I had a little Gatorade. Briefly. Then I began, slowly, to pass though something akin to the stages of mourning: I was in enormous pain, then I was terribly embarassed for a while, then I was angry at you people who missed the party, as I had to drink most of the absinthe myself, then for about three hours I was intensely angry at myself for the loss of control. All this time, mind you, my brain felt like the water glasses in Jurassic Park.

At eleven forty-nine, I dragged myself from bed and adjusted my fantasy football team. It was one of the five hardest things I’ve ever done. Some things are too important to miss.

Around two, I spent a little time texting gracious hostess and former bath-mat owner j.ko. Sample exchange:

j.ko: “Feeling human yet?”
Al: “All too”

By the way, setting the phone to “Vibrate” hurt, and the message chime was too loud.

Two days later, I have come to be more philosophical about the whole thing. Binging at parties, even at my (our) age, is something like eating shellfish or street food. You are going to have more good experiences — the party the weekend after the shuttle crash, ginger brandy with the father of the bride, Luna & the Great Pumpkin’s foray into toider repair, Natalie, 4am craps on the advice of legal counsel, goin’ swimmin’ with barenekked wimmen by the light of the Zion nuclear power plant, Christmas shopping, New Year’s plant theft, spreading the word of the Lord and the cards of the Orgy Consultant, overproof penis coladas, convivial dinners at rumjungle, and more than a dozen previous Halloween parties, among many, many others — than you are bad. But you do run the risk of the occasional bad oyster, and for two days hence you will wish you were dead. But it’s worth it. And it could have been worse.

I was thisclose to bringing two bottles of Absinthe.

I Love The 80s

In the past seven days, I have somehow managed to see two of the three bands of my adolescence. Van Halen at the Rosemont Horizon on Tuesday, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at the United Center on Sunday. (The third is gone forever, no matter how much John Goodman and Jim Belushi might try.) A concertgoing accomplishment of this magnitude — by my standards, two shows in a week is the equivalent of following the Dead for a summer — warrants a tale of the tape.

Ticket Price for Comparable Seats
Springsteen: $130 for the pair
Van Halen: $90 (eBay, day-of. Face value of the two was $170)

Promoting a new album
Springsteen: Yes
Van Halen: No

Number of Songs Played From New Album
Springsteen: Nine
Van Halen: N/A

Ticket Value (Price Per Song I Wanted To Hear)
Springsteen: $13
Van Halen: $7.50

Biggest Crowd Reaction
Springsteen: “Adam Raised A Cain”
Van Halen: “Hot For Teacher”

Didn’t Like But Knew Was Inevitable
Springsteen: Political instruction
Van Halen: Ended with “Jump”

Was Surprised To Hear
Springsteen: “Reason to Believe”
Van Halen: Eddie talk.

Tedious Incarnation Of Which There Was Absolutely No Sign
Springsteen: Tom Joad Springsteen
Van Halen: Not Technically Van Halen (What Entarte Kunst calls “Van Hagar”)

Did Not Really Notice The Absence Of
Springsteen: Patti Scialfa. (Who was off attending to a “kid thing”, which if it’s serious explains the phoned-in feel of the show and I forgive them.)
Van Halen: Michael Anthony.

Springsteen: Between indifferent and content
Van Halen: Ecstatic

Springsteen: Between indifferent and content*
Van Halen: Ecstatic

Sign I Was Holding Up In My Head At The End Of The Night
Springsteen: “Your Cover Band Was Better Than You”
Van Halen: “I Need Tix For Thursday Show”

* In fairness, the last time I saw Bruce, it was the 1999 reunion tour, and they were much, much better. Maybe they don’t like the new album either.

God Is Indeed Generous

Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Wannstedt Tears ACL

PITTSBURGH — The latest addition to Pitt’s already long injury list is coach Dave Wannstedt.

Wannstedt missed practice Tuesday after tearing his left Achilles tendon earlier in the day, requiring surgery that took place several hours after he was hurt.

The injury may prevent Wannstedt from being on the sideline Saturday for No. 23 Cincinnati’s game at Pitt. The Panthers (2-4) have lost four straight games. Wannstedt may coach the game from the press box.

“No, Dave, that’s okay. You rest. No, no, we’ll be fine. I insist. Flowers are on the way. No, seriously. Rest up. At home. In bed. Alone. Without a playbook or a phone. It’s okay. The pressbox is full, anyway. Plus we’re having it painted. And remodeled. It’s just not an option. I wish we could help you, but I think the most important thing, Dave, is that you take a week off and give your knee time to heal. Really, Dave. No, we’ll be fine…”

Anyone care to join me in putting my house on Pitt and the points this week?

A Wretch Like Me

In my basically successful campaign to avoid being made unhappy by irrelevant fearmongering, I sometimes miss things that warrant opinionative correction. When my crackpot friends insisted, in 2000 and 2004, that among the crises wrought by incorrect election results would be the return of school prayer, I pooh-poohed their fears as baseless. But Pete, this weekend, brought to my attention the Good Thing This Isn’t Happening In Kansas Restoration Of Prayer In Schools Act — I’m paraphrasing — and it appears that I have erred.

In fairness to me, I thought it was more Rove Panic Disorder. It never occurred to me they were warning me about Illinois Democrats.

Anyhow, I stand corrected.

I'll Take Three Pick-Sixes From Grossman Any Day Of The Week

Campbell shines as Navy beats Pitt 48-45

David Ausiello
Oct 11, 2007

Raise your hand if you thought Navy lost the game last night in the first overtime when sophomore nose tackle Nate Frazier jumped off-sides just as Pitt was about to settle for a 35-yard field goal in the first overtime.

Raise your other hand if you thought Navy lost the game after Pitt had the ball first-and-goal at the Navy 2-yard line in double OT.

Raise your hand, well, you get the point.

But it was Navy who scored the final points in a thrilling 48-45 double-overtime victory over Pitt.

Raise your hand if you knew Navy couldn’t lose this game.

Three chances to win. Opting to try for a touchdown on fourth and goal from the one, when a field goal sends you to a third overtime. Selecting, as your last chance play, to have a freshman QB throw.

A fade pattern.

On fourth and goal.

From the one.

When a field goal sends you to a third overtime.


Raise your hand if you already know who the Pitt coach is, just from the preceding.

Sing it with me:

There you stood, everybody watched you play.
I just turned and walked away.
I had nothing left to say.
‘Cause you’re still the same.

You’re still the same.
Moving game to game
Some things never change,
You’re still the same.

No Littering

Luna: There is the cutest cat on Cute Overload. He ‘obvy has mad skillz’.

Me: What’s he doing?

Luna: Pooping in the toilet. (pause) Do you think we could teach the Orange to poop in the toilet?

Me: Actually, I think you can get an instructional video on how to do that.

(long thoughtful pause)

Luna: I don’t think the Orange would watch an instructional video.

Reason #3,196 Why I Love Sports Talk Radio

The BS Report, with Bill Simmons. Downloaded from ESPN PodCenter.

Bill Simmons: You’re an old-school NFL fan. No picks pools, no fantasy leagues, no reading up on your team online. You wake up on Sundays, put on a hat, and you watch the games, that’s it. You want nothing more from your NFL experience than that. Are you afraid to cross the line and join the fantasy movement?

Adam Carolla: You know how a lot of people say, like, “I never got into booze; I saw firsthand what booze did to my family. My dad was a horrible drunk, grandmother was an alcoholic. I saw firsthand the tragedy of alcohol”? I feel that way with fantasy football. I see you guys screaming at each other, not speaking half the season, sending vitriolic e-mails back and forth, constantly upset over games that have no meaning in anyone’s life except that you happen to have the long-snapper on that team, and he just bounced one back to the punter, and now your weekend has been ruined. Even though your real team won going away, you still had a horrible weekend because your second team, your fairy-tale football team, has lost. I’ve just seen the bad blood that it creates and I want no part of that.

Bill Simmons: It is amazing how much unhappiness there is during the average Sunday.

Adam Carolla: The real tragedy is hearing everyone’s convoluted scenarios about how they lost. Like, when they go, like, “GREEN MACHINE takes AMANI TOOMER, who I thought was OUT OF THE LEAGUE, until he grabs THREE TOUCHDOWN PASSES in the FOURTH QUARTER of the LATE GAME. So I’m riding a TWENTY-TWO POINT LEAD going into the second half of the late game, and here comes AMANI TOOMER…” and I’m supposed to be upset for him? Because a guy scored some touchdowns in some bizarre scenario? I’ve got a nice beer buzz going by this time, and a belly filled with, uh, Kimmel’s delicious oven-baked pizza, and I’m thinking I should join a league just so I can commiserate with everybody. ‘Cause everyone seems so upset after the games.

Bill Simmons: Well, that’s what it is. The last hour, everyone’s taking turns, waiting patiently for the other guy to finish so they can complain next. “As soon as you’re done with your rant about Amani Toomer, I’d like to tell you my Maurice Jones-Drew story.”

It Is Money They Have And Peace They Lack

The Teabaggers win the imaginary pennant! The Teabaggers win the imaginary pennant!

There’s a parade tomorrow. And speeches.

If you’ll excuse me, I have to figure out what to do with my playoff share. And rinse the champagne out of my eyes.