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“Latins are tenderly enthusiastic. In Brazil, they throw flowers at you. In Argentina, they throw themselves." -- Marlene Dietrich

Funniest. Blog War. Ever.

Thursday, November 30, 2006
Many readers and bloggers have become huge fans of Joe Mathlete Explains Today’s Marmaduke (In 500 Words or Less) the past few months.

Maybe it’s his writing style, which takes a mocking yet sweet tone with the ridiculously trite and outdated comic strip. Maybe it’s his overly analytical synopses of the obviously simple subject matter. Or maybe it’s the originality of his blog’s conceit.

In any case, and looking back it seems inevitable, Joe Mathlete has been ripped off. By a cranky, less-funny blogger named Brian Liston who has taken Joe Mathlete’s idea and applied it to The Family Circus, an equally mawkish car crash of a strip.

And the blog war has started.

Liston e-mailed Mathlete praising his blog, alerting him to his own blog, and asking for mutual linkage. Mathlete yesterday posted the e-mail under the headline, “I Quit.” He also didn’t provide his daily dose of witticism of the Great Dane’s escapades.

Though it is unclear whether Mathlete is being serious – and I’d like to think he’s not – the shit has hit the fan at Liston’s site, with commenters reviling him for the death of Marmaduke Explained. One commenter called it “a complete and utter ripoff,” to which Liston responded with a clever “Fuck you” and said he won’t stop doing his blog because of “some asshole commenter.”

Other commenters thanked Liston sarcastically for “killing” Mathlete’s blog, to which he said:

“Well, this is an unfortunate turn of events. I never meant to kill Marmaduke Explained.

I can guess why he quit. He was probably tired of feeling like he HAD to update Marmaduke explained, tired of feeling like he owed the internet something. In shot, the joke got old for him. I understand, I’ve been through periods like that with this blog.

RIP Marmaduke Explained.”

I have enjoyed reading Marmaduke Explained for months now and look forward to Mathlete’s daily dose of tongue-in-cheek humor. Some of his blurbs have made me laugh out loud and envy his observations. I wondered if the same type of blog could be done with Family Circus but hoped it wouldn’t happen since it would just be stealing. That would be like some fat white kid stealing Virgle Kent’s persona for his own MySpace page so he could nail random chicks.

This is not to say that Family Circus doesn’t need lampooning. Along with Cathy or Garfield, which are just awful, awful comic strips. Actually, I wouldn’t mind someone explaining Zippy the Pinhead to me. Anyone who claims to get that strip is just trying to show off.

Hopefully, Mathlete will be back and he was just kidding when he claimed to quit. Because I will NOT have Family Circus mess with my life more than it already has.

Destined for a Mexican Wedding

When The Princess’s friends invited us to their destination wedding in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, over Thanksgiving weekend, our only concern was how fast we could say “Si!” We bought our tickets, booked our hotel, and gladly forfeited turkey and pumpkin pie this year as we left behind the cold DC nights for the Mayan Riviera.

Here is my journal.

Day One

An ominous beginning – while waiting to board our flight at BWI, we see a bird flying around inside the terminal. I feed it a granola bar.

We connect in Mexico City, where no one rushes for anything, magazines cost 70 pesos ($7), and you can smoke in the main terminal. We ate airline food that would have even embarrassed Taco Bell.

We land in Cancun after 6 hours of flying and catch a bus to Playa del Carmen. We soak in the Mayan sun and walk along the Caribbean beach as a startling fact dawns on the both of us -- this place is a tourist trap. Everything is overpriced, there are more gringos than Mexicans, and the main strip (5th Avenue) boasts such local “tiendas” as Burger King, Haagen Dazs, and 7-11, which they DON’T call Siete-Once. We decide the only way to escape this Disney-fied Mexican town is to get really drunk.

We grab dinner at an airy restaurant called Las Brisas. Antonio, our server, brings me the best shot of tequila I’ve ever had and I wonder how it can taste so awful in the U.S. Later that evening, we visit the bride and groom and their families, drink some cheap beer, and go to sleep early.

Day Two

We wake up early and take advantage of the Blue Parrot’s continental breakfast in a veranda on the beach. We decide to escape the confines of 5th Avenue and explore the grittier parts of Playa del Carmen, which, based on our limited field research, consists of a Wal-Mart and a huge supermarket store called Mega Pelican. At least, we think that’s what it’s called since the sign says Mega and has a drawing of a pelican.

After some walking, we grab some empanadas and tacos at a small lunch dive called Adrian’s. This $6 meal proves to be La Princesa’s favorite and quite the memorable one for me since they had Coke in a glass bottle, a reminder of my childhood in Argentina.

With the November sun high above and hotter than we expected, we hit the beach. Despite the MANY exposed boobies we see, it is NOT a topless beach, a detail which doesn’t seem to bother anyone with half a bikini on. I am, obviously, pleased by this fact until I realize that most of the women going topless really shouldn’t be. One woman” looks like a man and I almost call her senor.

The Caribbean Sea is a crystal aquamarine color that reminds me of my first car, a teal-colored, salvaged ’89 Hyundai Excel. The water is warm, the sand is soothing, and the breasts are flying. I buy La Princesa a Coco Loco, a coconut filled with rum, vodka, tequila, and dog’s blood. At least I THINK it was dog’s blood because it was pretty damn strong and lives up to its name of making us crazy drunk.

Day Three

The sidewalks are crammed with turistas and incredibly aggressive vendors, many of whom mistake us for honeymooners. Some are outwardly surprised by my amazing Spanish-speaking skills and ask me where I learned it. Responses of “Soy Argentino” are greeted with laughter and well-meaning teasing.

We hit the beach again and negotiate a fair price to go snorkeling. La Princesa goes on the catamaran with me and a couple of newfound friends, Bo and Adam. We are led by Pancho, a seasoned and well-tanned guide who tells us he’s been taking tourists snorkeling for 10 years and often finds crates of Columbian cocaine ditched on the waters. The coral reefs are amazing but I am distracted by my desire to NOT be impaled on their sharp edges.

After a long afternoon siesta, we attend the main event Carmel and Emiliano’s beach wedding. The officiant reminds me of Latka from the 70s TV show Taxi as he repeatedly tells Jesus “Thank you very much”. He also asks the crowd if he can get a “whoop, whoop” for the couple and proves to everyone that marijuana is not hard to come by in Mexico.

The sun sets and we hit the open bar, downing Sol cerevezas and margaritas. We meet up with some acquaintances that La Princesa knows and befriend some new people. The reception starts in the early evening and after some more drinking and a buffet dinner, the dancing begins. Not sure what year we’re in, we dance the Electric Slide and the Macarena, the dance steps of which come back to me a little too easily. A toothless wedding crasher scares the maid of honor. The bride gets food poisoning and spends the next two days throwing up in her suite.

Day Four

We wake up early and meet up with our new best friends Bo and Karen for a daytrip to see the Mayan ruins in Tulum and Coba. We rent a VW Pointer (yeah, we’d never heard of it, either) and make our way south. My excitement at the realization that I’m driving a manual car in Mexico quickly gives way to an amazing amount of concentration as every car flies by me despite the 100 KPH signs. The roadways are not exactly littered with information but there are signs everywhere telling cars to slow down because our “families await us” and that “after an accident nothing is the same”.

Instead of speed bumps, the Mexican highways are covered with well-hidden speed ropes and speed launching pads, one of which I saw too late and sent our little VW Pointer flying through the air like in the Dukes of Hazard.

Tulum is pretty cool but the ruins are in a well-manicured park swarming with tourists. We sightsee for some time and head down to the beach. After lunch, we drive west to Coba where the ruins are stunning. We hike through the forested area, find the imposing Pyramid of Nohoch Mul, and climb to the summit, where we have the most incredible view of the Yucatan Peninsula.

This is the moment I had been craving since getting to Mexico -- high above the forest, soaking in the sun stretching toward the horizon, I forget the annoying tourists, the job I’ll have to go back to in less than two days, the world below. I sit by the edge of the pyramid with my arm around La Princesa and can just feel the goodness of the moment.

Day Five

We pack our bags, now heavier because of La Princesa’s souvenirs. We check out, catch the bus, and make our way back to Cancun for our long flight home. “This is our last hot sun for a while,” La Princesa says as we walk into the airport, “soak it in.” We land in BWI at 11pm, where I replace my shorts with jeans, my short-sleeve linen shirt with a coat. The Customs officer stamps my passport and welcomes me home. “Gracias,” I say.

P.S. For more photos of our trip, check out my Flickr album.

Busted at work for playing Minesweeper

Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Everyone’s been there: you’re bored at work, you’re not paying attention to a valuable training course on Microsoft Access, so you play Minesweeper on your computer, never thinking you could get caught.

Well, I got caught. In front of the whole training class. On a giant projection screen.

I hadn’t been this embarrassed since Mr. Jorjorian caught me cheating on a Geometry test in 10th grade. Algebra? I was a genius at it. Givens, hypotenuses, and obtuse angles? No clue.

Here’s what happened. During Day 2 of a three-day training course on Access yesterday, I had to leave for half an hour for a meeting. When I got back to training, I was a bit behind and had trouble catching up. We were close to breaking for the day so I thought, “Oh well, I’ll figure it out later. I hope this computer has Minesweeper!”

Sure enough, it did. Being positioned in the second-to-last row of the classroom, I opened the game and started playing. After a few minutes, my buddy Brewey’s Chewies, who was sitting next to me, asks the instructor a question. Meanwhile, I’m off in my own digital minefield world, completely oblivious to what’s going on.

The instructor, who was guiding the class on a giant screen, had trouble understanding Chewie so she decided to access his computer and project his screen for the whole class to see. She takes control of his computer. Only it wasn’t his computer. It was mine, so to speak.

I look up to find my Minesweeper game looming 20 times larger against the front screen. Panicking, I try to close the program but my mouse has no control over the cursor since the instructor mistakenly took over MY computer.

She looks at the screen and says, “What the…?”

Chewie, ever the great friend, says, “That’s not my screen,” at which point EVERY SINGLE STUDENT looks at me.

Timidly and unsure of what to do, I reply, “Yeah, um, that’s MY Minesweeper game.”

Everyone busts out laughing, especially Chewie, and I can feel blood flushing my face. Even the instructor was amused.

After finally getting control of my computer, I close out the program and cower into my seat as the final minutes of the class tick off. Chewie, unable to stifle his laughing for 10 minutes, turns to me and says, “At least it wasn’t porn.”

Chewie also decided to tell a couple of our co-workers, and the information of the Great Minesweeper Fiasco of 2006 spread through the office like it was Amway. So today I come into the office and my boss greets me, “Hey Minesweeper.”

I get to my cubicle, which is littered with screen shots of the controversial game on my computer, on the walls, on my phone. I check my e-mail to find that Stormin’ Norman has written the ENTIRE OFFICE the following missive:

“Let it be known to all across the land, [Arjewtino] shall be dubbed "Sir Minesweeper"!!! You may refer to him as "Minesweeper". If you have any questions regarding the origination of this order, see [Chewie] or the Microsoft Access instructor. If these folks are all unavailable, you can see Sir Minesweeper himself.”

Another co-worker sent an e-mail urging me to enter the 2006 Vienna International Minesweeper Meeting. And yet another is already talking about creating a shot called Minesweeper, which I will be required to drink at every office happy hour.

By the way, my best score in Minesweeper was 22 seconds.

The fantasy world no one cares about

Tuesday, November 21, 2006
This is the time of year when I might hear the following statements from my friends:

“I’m not sure who to start at quarterback this week.”

“Portis is out for the season? Great, there goes my playoff hopes.”

“Nice touchdown! AND he’s on my fantasy team!”

Having a fantasy sports team is like asking a co-worker about his weekend: you really don’t care and you only asked because you want to talk about yours.

Every fantasy team owner I’ve ever known, and this includes me, loves to talk about his team. We love to talk about the keen insight we showed when setting our pre-draft player rankings, how many points we got last week because we were smart enough to start Player X instead of Player Y, and what our chances are to make the “playoffs”.

Whenever I hear someone talk about his team, all I can think is, “How long do I have to stand here and listen to him before I can start talking about MY team and how awesome it is? Is 30 seconds enough?” Realizing how boring it is to listen to someone rattle on about “his players” made me realize something: no one cares about MY team, either.

But how is this possible? Isn’t everyone interested in knowing that I’m 7-4 this season without having Shaun Alexander playing all year? Doesn’t everyone want to know why I started Romo instead of Delhomme last week even though he was inexperienced? How can no one care that I’m well-positioned for the playoffs but would like to pick up another solid running back before the trade deadline?

The truth is, your fantasy team is boring to everyone but you. Talking about it is like showing off your vacation photos, going on about your new MySpace template, or retelling that story about how wasted you were that one Saturday night.

So stop it. Please.

By the way, I went with Terrell Owens over Andre Johnson last week and he got me 17 points. Just saying.

P.S. Read Throwing Hammers' hilarious pre-season post about meeting Peyton Manning and practicing with him.

Snippets: Thanksgiving in Mexico and singing with David Bowie

Monday, November 20, 2006
In three days, The Princess and I will be spending our Thanksgiving weekend at this hotel in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, for a friend’s destination wedding. We are looking forward to the traditional Mexican-Thanksgiving fare of turkey tacos, cranberry quesadillas, and pumpkin pie burritos. You may begin envying us now.
Had a great time at my end-of-the-season kickball party Saturday night at Rumor’s as Captain McDreamy and I debated who was better-looking and some kickballer asked me if The Princess and I have “an open relationship”. Later that night, celebrated Tits McGee’s birthday at Bedrock in Adams Morgan and I was reminded of how much fun it is to hang out with good friends.

I felt like a kid on Hanukkah morning this past Friday as I went home to find my new Canon XTi D-SLR waiting for me. I took some practice shots on Saturday while in Georgetown and can say two things: (1) the quality is WAY better than my old point-and-shoot Kodak Easyshare, and (2) I’m going to have to take a digital photography class. Now I just have to figure out a way for Sweet not to steal it.

Despite losing to Tampa yesterday (not a word, BK Broiler), the Redskins are definitely on the right track with Jason Campbell behind center.

Laughed my ass off at this guy’s post about a run-in with a turkey and the accompanying video.

You’ve never full experienced Labyrinth until you’ve watched it with The Princess. It’s like karaoke night as she sings the cheesiest songs along with David Bowie, who plays Jareth the Goblin King. Sorry, she wouldn’t let me take video.

Lazy Sundays are for the comics

Sunday, November 19, 2006
While watching football and reading the Sunday Post comic section:

The Princess: “Would you like some miso soup?”

Arjewtino: “If you’re making it already, yeah, thanks.”

--Three minutes later, after the water boils--

The Princess: “Can you come make the soup? I have to go the bathroom.”

Arjewtino: “I can’t, I’m busy.”

The Princess: “Doing what?”

Arjewtino: “Reading Hagar the Horrible.”

The Princess: “Come on.”

Arjewtino: “I don’t know how to make it, it sounds complicated.”

The Princess: “Yeah, instant soup is really complicated.”

Duckpin Bowling Plus Disco Night Minus Drunk Driving Equals Fun

Friday, November 17, 2006
Hours before some drunk, hit-and-run douchebag sideswiped me while driving home, some friends and I drove out to Roosh’s hometown White Oak, MD, for some good, ol’ fashioned duckpin bowling. Superfun Disco duckpin bowling, to be exact.

Duckpin bowling, for those wondering, is a 100-year-old game started in Baltimore. The balls are smaller, weigh about 4 lbs., and have no finger holes. The pins are shorter and fatter, and tougher to knock down. For these reasons, breaking 100 is much tougher than in regular bowling and no one has EVER bowled a perfect 300 game.

We got there at 9pm, an hour early, so Baby Bien and I ate a late dinner of greasy fries and a cheeseburger, which tasted oddly like a Wendy’s Super Value Meal. We noticed a lot of teenagers, overdressed and giggly, and it took me back to being 15 when Blue and I would go to Woodlake Bowl in LA and we thought we were the coolest, which we know now was just a delusion.

We goofed around for a bit, and then the eight of us got a couple of lanes and started bowling. The thing about duckpin bowling is that the balls are light. Very light. You’re not going to strain your arm since it’s like tossing a cantaloupe. But you WILL, in all probably, see balls flying through the air as most bowlers forget their own strength.

We tried to keep our duckpin balls in our own lanes, but this was not as easy as you might think. It being Disco night, there were a lot of lights flashing, music blaring, and people dancing. The alley sold $2 Buds, proving what a class establishment it is and solidifying White Oak as the entertainment capital of Maryland (followed, of course, by Scaggsville, based purely on its name). Baby Bien showcased his through-the-legs bowling technique, which no one scoffed at after seeing him hit a strike.

After a couple of games, we decided to take our combined scores and use them to seed us in a bracket-style, single-elimination tournament.

I, of course, was seeded first (with a two-game total of 200), followed by Schneider, GoPats, Baby Bien, Agent J, Sparkplug, J-Vo, and Tits McGee, who was amazingly skilled at finding the gutters. Much like in March Madness, most of the favorites advanced to the second round except for one key upset, with #7 seed J-Vo knocking out #2 seed Schneider by one pin (82-81) in a controversial game marred by accusations of bad math.

I then beat J-Vo in the semifinals with a game-high 125, advancing to the final against GoPats. The Duckpin Bowling Championship of the Universe, however, was postponed since the alley closed at 1pm.

So I highly recommend you try duckpin bowling, at least once. If you like cheap beer, wholesome fun, low-impact exercise, and ridiculously unglamorous evenings, White Oak Bowling Lanes is for you.

Just be careful on the drive home.

Me. In South Park. Waiting for the bus.

Thursday, November 16, 2006
This is what I might look like if Tre Parker and Matt Stone were mad wizards.

And this is what The Princess would look like. She blinks in all her photos, too.

What would you look like? Credit goes to Sweet on this one.

An apology

Wednesday, November 15, 2006
While waiting to start our kickball playoffs Saturday morning, my friend Horizontal and I were tossing a football around. We weren’t running any set patterns, just playing catch. Our teammate Five Cents came over and asked me to pass him the ol’ pigskin.

So I do.

He reached out with his left hand in what he would later say was an attempt to save the ball from hitting a teammate (though the ball was at least five feet away and in no danger of smacking her in the noggin). The ball made contact with his left hand, bounced off for an incomplete pass, and broke two of Five Cents' fingers.

Though wincing in obvious pain, Five Cents was able to play the kickball game (which we won; we later lost the quarterfinal game in which our opponents accused us of cheating. First of all, who cheats at kickball? Second, we’re too dumb to cheat). But he went to the hospital later that night and sent me a text photo seen here. He also wrote:


What I owe him is beyond me. I didn’t purposely break his fingers, I didn’t even wish the ball to do so. I merely threw it in a game of catch that carried a reasonable expectation of risk on our parts. But someone asked me, “Did you apologize to him?”

Apologize? For what? Despite my Jewish issues of shame, I know I didn't do anything wrong. But Five Cents IS a friend, so here it is:

I’m sorry, Five Cents. I’m sorry you can’t catch a football. I’m sorry your fingers are so brittle they crumble when struck by a relatively soft ball traveling at no faster than 50 MPH. I'm sorry you spent Saturday night at the hospital while I was out having fun. And I'm sorry going to the bathroom just became much tougher for you.

There. I feel much better.

This is Paddy, the arm-humping beagle

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Paddy will hump your arm to prove his dominance.

He likes to have orgies with Clifford and Snoopy.

He’ll stare at you while you sleep.

And, yes, he IS named after the whisky.

Thank you to GoPats for the superb pic.

Mancation, Part III: Sushi and Dirty Friends, Phoenix Style

Monday, November 13, 2006
After a four-day Mancation full of dog-humping and Pats vs. Colts as well as Election Day working and Jesus hitting on me in the bathroom, I was ready to blow off some steam and reconnect with my old friends, Susie Q and Special K.

Q and K were really good friends of mine several years ago when we all lived in LA. Q and I worked as servers at an Argentinian restaurant called Gaucho Grill, where we quickly bonded over empanadas and chimichurri. Nearly every weekend, we all went dancing and drinking, spending our early 20s feeling like the indestructible team that we thought we were. Life was different then, when our biggest concerns revolved around how much we earned in tips or how crowded Maloney’s in Westwood would be.

Then we grew up.

I moved to DC in 1999 and Q and K moved to Scottsdale shortly thereafter. We spoke less often, we dated, got married, had a kid, got real jobs, moved on. Sure, we still felt some semblance of friendship as MySpace friends, but it wasn’t the same.

So I was pretty excited when GoPats assigned me to Arizona to work as a freelancer to cover the election. I e-mailed Q and told her I’d be staying with her and her 4-year-old son, Z.

After spending some time catching up Monday night over wine and beer, enjoying Arizona’s amazing 80-degree evenings, we went out Tuesday night with K to a Japanese restaurant/bar called Ra.

We ate excellent sushi and edamame, downed martinis and sake like it was our 21st birthdays, took photos, sang and danced, and shared stories racked up the past 7 years. It was like no time had gone by. Q and K were just as warm and beautiful as I remembered them, with deep memories and great wisdom learned over a lifetime of experiences. I realized that night that friendship is as friendship does and that the best ones are eternal. Q still had those powerful eyes and K’s giggling laughter made me recall great times.

We went home after several hours and I left the next morning, returning to DC on a long flight made easier because of my old friends. I only hope it doesn’t take another 7 years for me to remember why I love them.

Anyone see a drunk driver last night? He owes me $1,000

Sunday, November 12, 2006
After a fun night of duckpin bowling with friends Saturday night (more to come on that later), I was driving home from White Oak, MD, when some fuckwad in a white car swipes me on my right side. I take control of the wheel, honk for him to stop, and start thinking about exchanging insurance information.

Then the guy takes off. I don’t mean starts to drive fast. I mean Road Runner, bat out of hell, Aladdin on his magic carpet ride FAST.

I flash my brights and start chasing him down New Hampshire Ave at 1am but The Princess’ Honda Accord, practically powered by steroid-infused hamsters under the hood, gets left in the dust – even though I had a spoiler.

I pull over, call 911, and wait for Maryland’s finest to come. I wasn’t able to get the guy’s license plate number and so the officer had nothing to go on except my description of the car, which was white and had MD plates. I always told myself that if I was ever in such a situation to MEMORIZE THE PLATE NUMBERS. But I guess I was too concerned with saving my life. My bad.

Still, as I recreated the scene in my head over the next couple of hours, I realized that he had been in the left turn lane with me a minute before so he must have come out of the bowling alley himself. He was drunk, since there was no way he would have hit me on a straightaway, wide-laned road. He was swerving even after he hit me, but had the wherewithal to leave the scene of the crime.

It could have been worse. I was physically fine but the car’s right rear door was scratched and dented. Fixing it will probably cost $500-$1,000, but it’s drivable.

So if anyone sees a white car with MD plates and a dented left side (with dark-green scratches), do what I didn’t do. Get the plate number.

Mancation, Part II: Finding Jesus on Election Day

Friday, November 10, 2006
So luckily, during my THREE HOUR LAYOVER at National Airport, The Princess Metro’d out to see me. Well, not me, but her friend Amanda who was visiting from Wisconsin and just happened to be flying in the same hour I was at he airport. We had lunch at the TGIF in the airport and I really got to know Amanda in the five minutes we met before I had to go catch my flight.

The reason I was going to Arizona was for a freelance assignment for a non-partisan Web site that tracks election policy nationwide. They sent me out to cover the elections in Florida four years ago and in Pittsburgh two years ago. I guess they like my work. Also, it helps that GoPats is one of the head honchos there and feels sorry for me.

The assignment ended up being fortuitous since my friends Susie Q and Special K live in Scottsdale. I hadn’t seen them in perhaps 7 years so I was really excited to spend some time with them. Susie Q said I could stay with her so I embarked for the Grand Canyon State looking forward to reuniting.

At the Phoenix airport, I rented a PT Cruiser and asked for the GPS navigation system, which I secretly love because of the woman’s sexy voice telling me what to do. “Turn right.” Yes, order me around, you sexy global positioning system.

I spent all day Tuesday driving around the Phoenix metro area, hitting such great spots like Scottsdale and Tempe. There’s really nothing to describe about Arizona you can’t learn about from watching Road Runner cartoons. A lot of open land, cacti, and heat. Oh, and strip malls. Lots and lots of strip malls. And more strip malls.

Though I was working as a non-partisan, impartial reporter, I listened all day to Air America hoping that what the prognosticators were saying would be true. I stopped at many polling places and asked elections workers and voters how voting was going (if you really care to read my report, go to Electionline.org Election Day blog), and called in to the DC office with occasional reports.

At the Tempe public library, I stopped to file a report and use their free Internets and was amazed at what I saw: EVERY KID WAS ON MYSPACE, or The ‘Space, as Tasha calls it (read her Thursday post on MySpace, very funny).

One of the issues I was looking for in particular was Arizona’s new law requiring ID at the polls. But reporting in mostly white areas wasn’t yielding me a lot of interesting reports. So, thanks to my trusty GPS woman, I drove to Guadalupe, AZ, a 1-sqaure-mile, mostly Latino community that, though poor, was spectacularly beautiful. There was an amazing church sitting at the edge of a dirt lot and many of the mostly poor residents I spoke to were warm and welcoming.

When I got to downtown Phoenix, I found Jesus. Literally.

I stopped into City Hall to use the bathroom and when I came out of the stall, a Latino bathroom attendant asked me, in Spanish, if I spoke Espanol. I don’t exactly look like a Latin, so I replied, “Si, como sabias?” (How did you know?). This is the conversation that followed:

“No se, queria ver. Como te llamas?” (I don’t know, just wanted to see if you did. What’s your name?)



“Mucho gusto.” (My pleasure.)

“El gusto es mio.” (The pleasure is all mine.)

“Ah. Che, sabes donde votas por aqui?” (Oh. Hey, do you know where one votes around here?)

“No se.”

“Ok, gracias.”

At this point, I started to leave the bathroom.

“Tan rapido te vas?” (You’re leaving so soon?)

“Eh, si, tengo que trabajar.” (Uh, yeah, I have to go work.)

“Que pena.” (What a shame.)

“Eh, ok, chau.” (Uh, ok, bye.)


I got out of there wondering why he thought I would stay in the bathroom with him when I realized that, even in Phoenix, I am as attractive as I think I am.

I filed my last story of the night after the polls closed and got ready to go out with Susie Q and Special K.

To be continued: Mancation, Part III: Sushi and Dirty Friends, Phoenix Style

Mancation, Part I: Dog Orgies and Patriot Losses

Thursday, November 09, 2006
Two years after flying to Tempe to watch the Patriots slaughter the Arizona Cardinals, GoPats, Luddite, and I took another mancation this past weekend to watch the Pats take on Manning and the Colts in Foxboro Sunday night.

We probably should have stayed home.

Luddite picked me up Saturday morning and we drove to BWI. He brought along his wife’s lavender bag/purse as a carryon and, while in line at the gate, spotted a man holding the same bag his wife took with her to Richmond.

“I almost brought the same bag,” he said.

“That would have been embarrassing,” I replied.

Not exactly putting the “man” in “mancation”, we settled into our seats where Luddite proceeded to spank me in completing Southwest’s inflight magazine crossword. It was a pretty decent flight, much better than the one two years ago when we were delayed a few hours because there was A TORNADO NEAR THE RUNWAY.

We got to Providence, where Luddite’s parents live and were letting us spend the weekend, and I was immediately arm-raped by their dog Paddy (yes, named after the whiskey). The nymphomaniac canine kept humping my arm until he got tired, after which he sought out his stuffed animals on the ground and started to screw Clifford and Snoopy in some crazy dog orgy to prove he was in charge. Point taken, Paddy.

We took Luddite’s mom out to dinner for her birthday that night, hitting beautiful downtown Providence, which, I was assured, was a city built not on rock and roll but on the efforts of a corrupt mayor with ties to the mafia.

Did anyone ever watch the show “Providence”? Did it do for Providence what “Dallas” did for Dallas?

Anyway, we went to a really great restaurant called Cassarino’s in Federal Hill. Our waitress had the thickest Rhode Island accent and I made Luddite and GoPats – who are vegetarians cry by eating veal. In my defense, it was already dead and, therefore, recommended by the chef.

After dropping Mom off at home, we went to a downtown bar and Luddite insisted on wearing his ascot.

“My greatest shopping moment was when I found this ascot for my sister’s wedding,” he said. “It’s like having a massage around your neck.”

On Sunday, we went to TJ Maxx because my friends, worried about freezing to death at the game, wanted to buy some long underwear. I passed, but found an awesome black blazer for $35 recommended to me by the middle-age gay couple shopping for leather jackets.

On the drive home, Luddite and GoPats argued about whether Arby’s roast beef is reconstituted powder. It was perhaps the funniest, if not most inane, conversation we were to have all weekend. Luddite argued that Arby’s takes roast beef, processes it and pulverizes it into powder, which the restaurants then reconstitute with water, bake it as a loaf, and then slice it to make sandwiches.

“You’re thinking of The Jetsons,” GoPats said.

We watched the Redskins play the most amazing game I’ve ever seen against Dallas, then made our way to Foxboro. On the way, we stopped for some grinders at Tommy’s Pizza, which caused Luddite to sing, seemingly to himself, “Hot lettuce, how come you taste so good?”

When we got to Gillette Stadium, it was a madhouse. We parked on a car-logged patch of grass overcome by burning campfires, rabid, drunk Massholes, and cars parked too close together. Seriously, it looked like some post-apocalyptic zone reminiscent of Mad Max.

We tailgated for a couple of hours, met some cool people who let us watch the end of the Steelers-Broncos game on their TV, then went inside the stadium. We had SRO (standing room only) tickets and spent the whole night freezing and watch Tom Brady break GoPats’ heart and throw away the game to the Colts.

When we got home at 2am, tired and bleary-eyed, we stole some of Luddite’s dad’s best whiskey and walked to this “shmutz” creek near the house and drowned our sorrows. It was like we were teenagers again, whispering and stealing off into the night with some alcoholic contraband.

Luddite’s mom made us breakfast Monday morning and I took off for Phoenix, but not before enduring a THREE HOUR LAYOVER at National Airport…

To be continued: Mancation, Part II: Finding Jesus on Election Day

Mancations aren’t gay…right?

Friday, November 03, 2006
Two years ago, I went to Phoenix, AZ, with my friends GoPats and Luddite to watch the Patriots take on the Cardinals. It was a great trip. We met Tom Brady and I showed him how to throw a tighter spiral. He asked me for some advice on how to read corner blitzes more accurately, but we had to go hiking in Sedona.

That mancation (I heard the term this week on a TV news promo) was so much fun we’re going to New England this weekend to watch the Pats take on the hated Colts. Peyton Manning called me this week to ask how his team can improve its awful run defense but, being loyal to my buddy GoPats, I told him to fuck off and die. “My fantasy team* totally kicked your ass when I played you two weeks ago!” I shouted at him as I hung up the phone, but not before I heard him break down and sob.

I’ll be mobile-blogging my incredible insights of the game from Foxborough Sunday night. I predict the Pats will win 34-17, Luddite will wear his Yankees shirt under his Pats jersey and piss off a Masshole, and GoPats will have a panic attack by kickoff.

I’m also traveling to Phoenix on Monday morning to cover Tuesday’s election as a freelancer for a non-profit at which I used to temp. While I’m there I’m staying with my great friend Susie Q who I haven’t seen in 7 years. Hilarity, I iron-clad guarantee, will ensue.

Attached are more photos from last weekend, when BFF Sarah was in town visiting from Japan. Thanks for finally lifting your “head out of the jet lag fog,” Sarah, and sending the pics. Great times were had at Jaleo (mmm, morcilla and sangria!), Bedrock Billiards, her first-ever trip to Target, and waking up at 7am Sunday after Saturday night’s Halloween extravaganza in the Atlas District.

BFF Sarah and The Princess at Jaleo

Superman as a DC Tourist, lost and reading a map on the Metro.

DC Katastrophe as a dead Audrey Hepburn come back to life.

Drew as the Ipod commercial dancing shadow guy.

Superman as a DC Tourist saves BFF Sarah from...something.

BFF Sarah and The Princess didn't dress up for Halloween. But their Cleavage Contest was pretty scary. And by scary, I mean hot.

A cranky Arjewtino and Foxymoron, dressed as a Congressional page, take the long, slow Metro ride home at 3am.

*For those who care, my fantasy team is 6-2 and in 3rd place.

Crazy Video Friday: Japanese man can make water dance

In the Chinatown area of Kobe, Japan, there exists a magical man. A man who makes tourists gawk. A man who makes Americans take out their cameras and push past onlookers to get a better shot. A man who, using only his magical hands, can rub a metal bowl and make water dance.

This is that man.

I shot this in March during my visit to Japan with The Princess. Watch the Japanese businessman in the beginning of the video rub the bowl to try (unsuccessfully) to make the water shake; then watch how easily the magical man does it.

Bad costume idea

Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Arjewtino: What are you going as for Halloween?

The Princess: I don’t know. Nothing. What about you?

Arjewtino: I was thinking of going as my blog.

The Princess: What do you mean?

Arjewtino: I was going to wear my Argentina flag as a cape and put a yarmulke on my head.

The Princess: ...

Arjewtino: I’m just kidding.

The Princess: Thank god.