Tuesday, November 30, 2004


"Kent Man Killed By Exploding Lava Lamp"

(Via Raw Story)

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

In a little more than a week, a few out-of-town bloggers will descend on New York for the weekend. At least one of them (and I'm not naming names) seems to fear that he won't measure up to expectations.

To which I say: bullshit.

This unnamed blogger seems to be under the impression that the New York bloggers are fabulous and successful and witty and drop-dead beautiful, and also that we all have normal-sized heads. I am posting this entry because I want to reassure him that I've met a good number of New York bloggers, and -- with the exception of me -- this is not true. Well, wait... we do have normal-sized heads, but other than that we're all just normal people.

To help put the unnamed blogger at ease, though, I think it's only fair to let him know what to expect when he finally meets Famous Author Rob Byrnes. This will prove valuable to the rest of you, too, when you are finally granted an audience, so you may want to print out this entry and keep it forfuture reference.

Unnamed blogger, here is a glimpse of the Real Famous Author Rob Byrnes:

1. My real name is just Rob Byrnes, not Famous Author Rob Byrnes. Therefore, unlike, say, when you hang out with the President and have to keep calling him 'Mr. President' all night, even if you're just bowling, there is no need to call me 'Famous Author' while we're cocktailing.

2. I like to think I'm a pretty youthful 45 years of age, but I am 45 years old, and on the cusp of 46. You will see some lines. You will see some damage. Try not to stare.

3. I am a mere human being, not a God. You will not see my bulging biceps, mostly because I'm not even sure I have biceps. I know I have strong abdominal muscles, though, because they've been at work sucking in my stomach for the past four decades.

4. Because I'm now trained at getting up before 6:00 AM on a daily basis, and because I'm not getting younger, it is doubtful that I will be able to keep up with you kids on the drink-a-thons. So even though I know you're having self-esteem issues right now, please don't take it personally if I'm the first New Yorker to call it a night.

5. My head is normal-sized. You'll just have to accept that.

6. This point intentionally kept blank.

7. Depending on my mood, the company, and the competition for attention, I can be any mix-and-match combination of charming, funny, withdrawn, sarcastic, nasty, depressed, manic, or pissy. Pretty much the only constant is that I'll be drunk.

8. I don't do cashmere.

So there you have it, unnamed blogger. Now take a deep breath and realize that the New Yorkers will take you as you are, warts and all.

Unless we don't.

I've been away from home too long. Rochester, New York is seemingly becoming a cross between Springer and Law & Order.


"Internet romance ends in killing, and revelation that groom was once a woman"

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


What do these people have in common and why does it matter to me?

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Hot Toddy's cell-phone number. Perfect for repetitive, annoying 3:00 AM calls.

Bidding starts at $50.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Senator Fritz Hollings expresses the sort of candor reserved for elected officials 44 days away from retirement:
"We had five drunks or six drunks when I got here," the South Carolina Democrat told his colleagues. "There are no drunks in the United States Senate now. We don't have the time." He also noted that upon his arrival there was only one female senator, Margaret Chase Smith (R-Maine), and she didn't say much. "We got 16 or 17 now and you can't shut 'em up. . . . You get in a debate with Barbara Mikulski or Barbara Boxer and they'll take your head off."

More drunks? Less women? More drunken women? I don't know the answer, but at least there are some ideas now on the table.

(Via Wonkette)

By the way, I appreciate your cards and letters wondering where the hell I've been. I'm here, but incredibly busy. That is, incredibly busier than usual. And all good bloggers know that work trumps blogging every time. Usually.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

February 25, 1997: Then-Representative Tom Coburn says plans to air Schindler's List takes network television ``to an all-time low, with full frontal nudity, violence and profanity being shown in our homes.''

October 2, 2004: Kathryn Jean Lopez of National Review Online's The Corner is ecstatic when Coburn wins a Senate seat from Oklahoma.

November 11, 2004: Some ABC affiliates announce that they won't air Saving Private Ryan for fear that language and violence in that movie will earn them a fine from the FCC.

November 11, 2004: The Corner's Kathryn Jean Lopez thinks that fear is 'silly.'

Forever unreconcilable: how Kathryn Jean Lopez could wet her pants over the election of someone who thinks a moving film like Schindler's List is indecent and profane, yet thinks ABC affiliates are over-reacting when they express caution in the wake of an FCC that Michael Powell has turned into the regulatory equivalent of a small-town speed trap.

Maybe I missed the part where Janet Jackson flashed Oskar Schindler.

I really didn't need this referral first thing in the morning:

fisting friends in new jersey

I'm going back to bed. And then we're going to start Thursday all over again.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Yes, I mean you, Jonah Goldberg.

And you, Wonkette.

I had that item six days ago. Keep up with me, will you?

Oh wait... sorry, I shouldn't have been so quick to jump to conclusions. Don't panic! It was just another screw-up by those people given permission by God to marry so they can, you know, reproduce and, um, carry on a venerated 3,000-year tradition in which, uh, the bridesmaids' dresses are personally designed by Jesus Our Savior himself. But they're like Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve or Madam and Eve or even Waylon Flowers and Madam, so it's okay and they can now meet, marry, and reproduce with someone else.


Tuesday, November 09, 2004


Hot Toddy Pizeek, proprietor of Hot Toddy's Toaster Oven and one of my bestest blog-friends, has demanded asked nicely that I link to him. A lot. He seems to feel that my map obsession is overtaking me, and that -- by linking to him -- I'd provide more entertainment for the world-wide blog-reading community.

Perhaps he is right. Let's consider this blog entry a test of that theory. And in any event, since he links to me every chance he gets to boost his readership by giving people the false impression that we're close friends, I suppose it's the least I can do.

Hot Toddy first came to my attention last winter, when -- for one brief, glorious moment -- the homos were getting married in Portland. Master of sublety that he is, Toddy celebrated by spamming every blogger in the known universe and proposing marriage. Most bloggers quite sensibly shunned him, but I found something unsettlingly amusing in his desperation. And so we he began our friendship.

Eventually, the marriage fad faded, but Hot Toddy did not. After a barrage of requests, I eventually even gave him a reciprocal link. I know... I know... but it wasn't quite the grand gesture it seems. I was in the process of weeding out a bunch of dead links anyway, so it really only cost me 20 or 30 seconds I'll never get back. And if a Famous Author can't give back to his fan base, he has no business reveling in the limelight.

After uploading the link, though, I noticed a change in Hot Toddy. He became distant... aloof... Since I didn't pay him that much attention, I didn't notice until someone tipped me off, but a few weeks later when I finally bothered to think about it, I realized that, yes, the nature of our relationship had most definitely changed. Something had happened when I linked to Hot Toddy, and I knew exactly what that something was.

He had come to regard me as a peer. He had come to think of himself as my equal!

After I finally stopped laughing, I decided to return our relationship to its previous status. But as I was about to de-link him, I had a wonderful moment of clarity.

I hadn't always been a Famous Author, had I? Didn't someone offer me a boost up the ladder of fame and prestige at one time? And now wasn't it time for me to reciprocate?

Oh wait -- that's not at all what I was thinking. I made it on my own, suckers, and don't you ever forget it!

Still, I felt sorry for Hot Toddy, and decided to leave his link on my sidebar, even though, for my own amusement, I listed it out of alphabetical order under the WXYZs for a few months.

In a few weeks Toddy will be flying across the country to see me in Manhattan. You will note that I am not flying to Portland. And that's appropriate, because while I value Hot Toddy's blog-friendship, one of us is a Famous Author and one of us thinks his blog is a kitchen appliance.

You're probably wondering what the point of all this is. Me, too. I suppose the point is that, over the past few months, Hot Toddy and I have seen our friendship evolve and grow. Because that's what friendships do.

Damn. Now I have a tear in my eye...

...okay, not really.

Now wanna see a map of Portland, Oregon?

We Heart Maps! When you adjust for vote percentages and state and county populations, you want to know what Red and Blue America really look like? Try this:

More fascinating images can be found at The Geomblog.

(Via Kottke)

Monday, November 08, 2004

The last thing I remember thinking while watching a stupid movie on Saturday night:

Kurt Russell
is the poor man's
Michael Douglas
is the poor man's
Harrison Ford

Think that's stupid? Then prove me wrong.

That's it. Now they've gone too far. I'm moving to Canada.

I don't think there's any question about how I voted for president, and I do think that people -- especially those of us of the homosexual variety -- should be vigilant. A federal government peppered with names like Ashcroft, Musgrave, Santorum, DeMint, Martinez, Coburn, and too many more to list requires nothing less.

But folks, can we try not to panic? I mean, I've had as much fun with the map of JesusLand as anyone (not to mention the corresponding slave state and trailer park maps), but let's get a grip, 'kay? Bush voters weren't necessarily fascist idiots and Kerry voters weren't all out to save the world and hug little fuzzy bunnies.

Beyond that, where are you going to go? There are conservatives in Canada, too. There are gay-bashings in Britain and skinheads in Germany and people who don't bathe in France. Let's face it: wherever you run, you're almost certainly going to end up living next to a red-state -- perhaps called l'etatier-rouge, but still, a red-stater.

The hysteria is a bit much, though. I mean, at this moment the writers at The Advocate have urine trickling down their pant legs. Eek! It's Kosovo on the Potomac! "(W)ill we know when it’s time to leave just to save our own skins?" Eek! Mommy, I'm scared!! "I find myself standing alone in the school yard, unsure of where to go."

Be concerned about Washington and watch your legislators. Take action and write letters. Talk to your friends. But don't panic. Keep your sense of humor and take it from me, one of the world's oldest bloggers: this nation has been through this before, and we'll go through it again, and reacting by booking a flight to Toronto is about as productive as counting on your Nigerian millions to get you out of debt.

(End of lecture. Let the flaming begin.)

Friday, November 05, 2004

Via Ken Layne -- who you really should be reading -- we have evidence that everything old truly is new again:

(Click on the image for a larger map with legend)

Speaking of maps, here's a fun one for map fetishists like your favorite Famous Author:

(Again, click to enlarge)

Three days ago, the nation again divided sharply into red Bush states and blue Kerry states. Now, the United States military has begun to wage war against the blue states... starting with New Jersey.

Is that old slogan "better dead than Red" going to resurface? Stay tuned.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Thanks to a tip from my arch-enemy -- Hot Toddy Pizeek -- I came across this most brilliant 'Dear John' letter to the Red States. Go read it.

Some of my best friends and relatives are lawyers, but -- for those of you who think there are just too damn many of them -- I offer you news on how some people are addressing this problem in the State of Washington.

Here's a Missed Connection for you:

Straight male seeks Bush supporter...

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

1. Zogby International sucks. Who did they exit-poll? John Kerry's mother?

2. I don't know what is wrong with you people. Senator Bunning? Senator Coburn? Senator DeMint? Senator Martinez? Why didn't you just elect Alan Keyes, too? The make-up of the upcoming Senate majority makes me more uncomfortable than the Bush re-election.

3. Why is everyone surprised that Tom Daschle lost his re-election bid in South Dakota? He's been behind in the polls for a month.

4. Now for the good news: nekkidness! Not only was streaking U.S. Representative Pete Sessions (Asshole-TX) re-elected, but Jersey City voters have apparently elected Jerramiah Healy as their mayor. Neighbors of Mr. Healy know that he has nothing to hide. Anymore.

5. Oh, and can Mary Cheney be a lesbian again now? Just asking...

Clearly buoyed by Bush Administration efforts in Iraq (oh -- not just Bush... I almost forgot Poland), Virginian David Nash yesterday attempted to liberate an island.

Note that David Nash is a former presidential candidate. Is this Ralph Nader's future?

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Zogby International has predicted that John Kerry is about to kick Dubya's ass, with 311 electoral votes to Bush's 213, and 14 too close to call.

Among the battleground states, Zogby gives the following to Kerry: Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin.

Zogby puts the following states in the Bush column: Arizona, Arkansas, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. Colorado and Nevada remain too close to call.

Okay, now that we've got that out of the way, let me note that I remain unconcinced. Note that Zogby gives Kerry three states (Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania) with 68 electoral votes to Kerry based on how they're trending. Given the uncertainty of this election, no candidate (or supporter) should give to much weight to the Zogby predictions.

In other words, if you haven't moved your ass to the polling place yet, DO IT! Hell, I did it, and I'm a New Yorker who has been written off by the national campaigns since around 1992. Also I'm lazy. So if you won't do this for yourself, do it for me.

In the past few hours, search engines have brought people here looking for:

Famous Political Figures in New York
(Yahoo ranking: #4, as of this moment)
kerry supporters famous
(Yahoo ranking: #21)

But before I get too cocky about finally getting recognition as the Famous Author I say I am, I should keep these other web searches in mind:

wasabi peas safe in pregnancy
(Google ranking: #6)
"salad tossing party"
(Google ranking... YES! WE'RE NUMBER ONE!!)

TRL: Your Information Center for Salad-Tossing Parties. I am so proud.

Monday, November 01, 2004

And while you're at it, pop over to Jeff Jarvis's BuzzMachine and take the Post-Election Peace Pledge:
After the election results are in, I promise to:
: Support the President, even if I didn't vote for him.
: Criticize the President, even if I did vote for him.
: Uphold standards of civilized discourse in blogs and in media while pushing both to be better.
: Unite as a nation, putting country over party, even as we work together to make America better.

The only thing I have to add is that there should be a separate pledge for Bush and Kerry, in which they should promise that, whoever wins, he won't treat his victory due to 475 Fear Factor addicts who get their news from the Pennysaver and just happen to live in Ohio, rather than a state like New York or California where their votes wouldn't determine an important election as a mandate from the nation to pursue extreme, alienating policies.

Bush, to be an incumbent in this position is truly indicative that you're the most tone-deaf president when it comes to listening to the American public since... well, since your father. If you win, remember that in two consecutive elections half the people have really, really, really, really not wanted you in the Oval Office. Maybe it would be a good idea to listen up.

Kerry; same lesson.

Okay, good luck everyone (except the candidate I'm not voting for.) We'll chat again when this election is decided on, oh, December 22.

I wonder why TRL site traffic has dried up. I guess readers only come when there's something new... or at least interesting.

Ummm... let's see... uh, there's a red bump on my upper lip, and right now I can't tell if it's a zit, a cold sore, or cancer of the upper lip.

No? Sorry, then. I got nothing for you, folks.