Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Blog Entry

Hey that New Year's is here, I only have six months before my son can go to camp! Check out my new site.... for all the updates.

The Reluctant Daddy

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Hey friends and foes - check out my new tricked-out Reluctant Daddy site! It's just been updated and loaded with heinous stories about marriage, children, and other atrocities.

As I have little to no self esteem, don't forget to register as a follower so you can be updated on all the nonsense in my life.

Monday, December 7, 2009


(Continued from HAIR BRAINED Pt. 3)

My taste in popular culture is rather pedestrian. Like most cliched queer boys, I adore THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA, MEAN GIRLS, BRING IT ON and GLEE; further you'll find Britney Spears, Leona Lewis, Lady GaGa, and Madonna seared into every playlist on my Ipod no matter the musical theme, era or genre of that particular list. As a matter of fact, whenever I go shopping at the Itunes store, I always check what Dakota Fanning or Demi Lovato is listening to and copy their play lists verbatim. I have no original thoughts or tastes of my own and figure that if Dakota and Demi likes a particular song, TV show or movie it must be cool because they're in TEEN PEOPLE. I contemplated the sad state of my immature, 14-year-old girl tastes during my morning spinning class while shrieking 'PA-PA, PAPARAZZI' at the top of my asthmatic lungs. Here I was, pathetically perched on a stationary bike, my middle aged, headed-due-south body wedged into horrifying Lycra bike shorts, sweating copiously while shouting the lyrics to a song a man my age had absolutely NO BUSINESS knowing.

If my teenage, TWILIGHT-esque tastes aren't tragic enough, I have a rather gayish affection for movies about gladiators. I know, I know - your eyes are already rolling in their sockets as you smugly recall the infamous line from AIRPLANE, where a lascivious, Captain Oveur played by Peter Graves asks a clueless young boy, "Joey, Do you like movies about gladiators?" In 1980, with my greasy, feathered hair parted down the middle and a big white comb crammed in my pocket, I had only the vaguest inkling as to what made that line funny. Today of course, I get it. Gay guys like movies with the three 'S's,' swords, sandals and sodomy. Not necessarily in that order.

Imagine my surprise and delight when Warner Brothers had the foresight to release a film that satisfied both my craving for the three 'S's' but also appealed to my rather puerile, TIGERBEAT-fueled desire for beefcake. No, not that Mandy Moore clunker LICENSE TO WED, (I'm not that gay!) but the blood-soaked, action-packed, actors-with-their-abdominal-muscles-air-brushed-on-their-tummies, 300.

To me, 300 had it all; muscles, leather, eye liner and best of all, a style of parenting I particularly admired and was thrilled to emulate the night my son Ethan locked me out of his room and called me 'Jew-boy.' According to the film 300, whose parenting insights I value more than that creepy COMPLETE GUIDE TO YOUR CHILD'S HEALTH put out by those so-called 'experts' at the AMA, the moment a young male turns 7, he must be removed from the safety and comfort of his home and plunged into a world of ruthless savagery. He must be beaten, starved and best of all-HIS HEAD MUST BE SHAVED! I figured if it was good enough for those hunky, roided-up Spartans, it was sure-as-shit good enough for my son, Adolph Eichmann.

I felt like a MOSSAD agent as I ran to my bedroom in search of my rat tail comb. Having located my improvised plastic 'key' I jimmied the lock on my son's door and burst into his room to find him hiding in the corner behind the cheesy, overpriced, Pottery Barn catalogue rocking chair. As I flushed him out from behind the chair, he tried to blow past me, but I was able to grab him and wrestle him to the floor. Unlike Eichmann, we both knew that despite his wild thrashing and emphatic protestations there would be no Nuremberg trial in his future. This 'Jew-boy' dad was more than prepared to serve as merciless judge, unforgiving jury and savage 'hair-do' executioner.

My son sat moodily in the barber's chair as his damaged locks were shorn and fell to the ground in frizzy golden clumps. Even though Ethan had apologized profusely for the 'Jew-boy' remark and pleaded for mercy, his sentence was none-the-less carried out. The barber made his final pass with the clippers leaving my son looking like the world's smallest Marine.

After it was over, Ethan rose slowly from the chair and gazed at his reflection in the mirror. A long moment passed, and quite unexpectedly, a broad smile crossed his face. He turned to me, folded his arms and suddenly morphed into Jay-Z and in his best ghetto rap bellowed at me:

"Yo Yo my name is Jay,
born and raised in LA.
Though you call me your boy Ethan,
you the Popo I be beaten.
Now fool, take me to Pinkberry,
so they're Chocolate yogurt I can be eaten'."

Despite his alarming transformation from Nazi to street thug, and my own transition from Nazi hunter to the LAPD, I gladly took Ethan to Pinkberry. The pint-sized, often adversarial Jay-Z next to me ordered deep chocolate yogurt smothered in chocolate sprinkles while I ordered plain vanilla with coconut. I chuckled wryly to myself for the symbolism of our respective choices was not lost upon me.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


(Continued from HAIR BRAINED Pt. 2)

As my son Ethan fled in terror to the safety of his room, I sat in the kitchen smiling dementedly while preparing a vodka and tonic. I knew the haircut battle was already underway, and figured that a little libation couldn't hurt. As the ice cubes clinked merrily in my glass, and as I ascended the main staircase of our house, I couldn't help but make a comparison between my current situation, and the infamous scene from THE SHINING where Jack Nicholson chases his terrified son through the snowy hedge maze with an axe. In hindsight, I think Jack's character was tragically misunderstood.

Eons ago, before I made the 'blessed' decision to have children, I would sometimes visit TARGET to pick up some stylish, wildly unnecessary Isaac Mizrahi throw pillows or sheet sets and I would see some frazzled mother freaking out and shouting at her brood of incorrigible kids. I would naively think to myself, "Goodness, why is that ghastly, dangerously unbalanced woman yelling at those darling, precious little angels?!" Like my days of visiting TARGET just for the 'fun of it,' my attitudes towards screaming mommies have certainly changed. Now, when I see a mommy losing her cookies in TARGET I think to myself "Goodness, what have those awful, disrespectful little brats done to that poor, unfortunate woman?!" As I pass her, our red rimmed, swollen, sleep deprived eyes meet and the 'I-know-EXACTLY-what-you're-going-though' look is exchanged between us. As she fights back tears, she smiles at me gratefully. We go back to the management of our dangerous, unruly children, and steal another look at each other. A shared smile crosses both of our faces as we realize that we are comrades in arms and that while we may lose the battle of TARGET, we will eventually (hopefully) win the war.

Like crazy Jack Nicholson, I stand outside my son's locked, barricaded door knocking politely.

"Ethan darling, open the door." I ask sweetly.

No response.

"Ethan, daddy just wants to talk to open the door!"

No response.

"Ethan, open the door now!"

No response.


"GO AWAY JEW-BOY!" my son yells back.

Jew-boy! Jew-boy? Now, I know I should have been enraged, or at least taken some umbrage at the 'Jew-boy' remark, but by now the vodka had gotten the better of me and I became uncharacteristically reflective. I realized that in my zeal to create my eugenically perfect, blond haired, blue eyed, test tube baby son, I hadn't counted on my 'creation' scornfully looking down his aquiline, will-never-need-rhinoplasty nose at my humble (criminally insane) Jewish, Ashkenazi roots. That's fine I thought, if Adolph Eichmann in there was gonna play the Jew card, I was prepared to go Simon Wiesenthal on his ass.

(To Be Continued)

Monday, November 23, 2009


(Continued from HAIR BRAINED)

Believe it or not, even in my shit-kicker high school, we held senior superlative elections. For those who know nothing about high school, or like me have wisely repressed 99% of it, senior superlatives are those annoying 'Best Looking' or 'Most Spirited' honors that are conveyed upon a student by popular vote. That the contest existed at all came as quite a surprise to me, as at the time, my high school was embroiled in a shocking scandal that involved the grisly murder of a popular English teacher by both her lover, a fellow faculty member, as well as the school's shady, 'Person of Interest' principal. (Incidentally, the convicted teacher/murderer, William 'Wild Bill' Bradfield, simply ADORED me and without reservation, gave me an 'A+' in his Latin class. I shutter to think what that says about my lack of character.)

Despite the murder and the intoxicating presence of both the local police, FBI, and national press, our meager lives went on. The school year proceeded and votes for the superlatives were cast. As I was too busy getting stoned and trying to hide my sexuality by masquerading as 'arty', I didn't do the usual lobbying, brown-nosing or outright bullying other students undertook to boost their chances of receiving such a prestigious honor. I shrugged the whole thing off as 'bourgeoisie' and like any cliched gay high school kid, worked feverishly on the sets of 'DEATHTRAP, which in light of the current murder melodrama unfolding at our school was a wildly inappropriate choice for school play.

Imagine my surprise when I not only took home a senior superlative , but won the honor by a landslide! No, I didn't take home some paltry, two-bit 'Best Personality,' 'Most Spirited,' or even 'Most Likely To Succeed,' superlative. I took home the granddaddy of senior superlatives, the superlative that to this day I cherish with the fervor and sanctity one reserves for an Academy Award; 'BEST HAIR.'

As my seven-year-old, gay-bashing, Neo-Nazi son stood before me, his frizzy, chlorine damaged hair vaguely resembling Kate Gosselin's rabid possum hair 'don't' I became incensed. What right did my son have in impugning my fragile sense of sexual self in addition to my quasi-agnostic, had-my-Bar-Mitzvah-for-the-money Jewish identity? More importantly, who did he think he was questioning my impeccable Upper Merion Senior High School class of 1981 'Best Hair' senior-superlative winner credentials? The rage building inside me was palpable as my eyes bored into my son's beady little eyes. As I stared him down, I yanked my iphone theatrically from it's stylish Louis Vuitton case and quick dialed.

"Who are you calling?" my son asked.

"Hey Blane, it's Tod. Ethan's gone RED ALERT. How quickly can you get here?"

Despite my son's surfer boy bravado, I began to smell the fear on him, for It slowly dawned on him that unlike his dreary friends whose dads had the standard doctor, lawyer, and master-of-the-universe hedge fund friends, his gay, dark-haired, Jew-boy, 'Best Hair' senior superlative winner dad possessed a hoard of hair dresser friends happy to make a house call.

As the horror of his crew cut fate became clear, my son darted from the room screaming. I smiled to myself and stood perfectly still for I planned to savor the knock-down-drag-out confrontation yet to come.

(To Be Continued)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


"Your hair looks hideous." I say to my son Ethan.

There, I've said it. I've actually made a negative, rather bitchy declarative statement, completely disregarding my son's feelings, self esteem, or future character development in hopes of advancing my own aesthetic agenda. God, it feels so good to just say what I feel as opposed to the usual conversational mediation I must resort to in hopes of getting him to perform the smallest, most inconsequential tasks such as eating his broccoli, brushing his teeth, or re grouting the upstairs bathroom. My seven year old son who is as argumentative as any trial attorney, negotiates EVERYTHING. I constantly find myself relegated to the role of determined district attorney (Think Julianne Moore or Laura Linney) to his sanctimonious public defender. Each and every request on my part is treated like a federal case, requiring ceaseless explanations, justifications, and evidence. My son rarely responds to reason. My patience begins to wear thin as the case drags on interminably. My role quickly changes from professional district attorney, to tough-as-nails judge (Think Kevin Spacy) determined to prosecute the little shit and place his lousy, entitled ass in the pokey.

My son's eyes go wide as my voice rises and the veins on my throat begin to stand out. Unfortunately, I am now completely lucid, my Grey Goose 'mommie's helper' buzz having been officially killed and my rational, district attorney demeanour now a thing of the past. I've officially entered that hideous 'things-I-promised-myself-I-would-never-say-to-my-kid' land.

"Your hair is brittle, broken, and has absolutely no style." I shriek. "I'm tired of all this bullshit negotiating. You're getting it cut whether you like it or not! Now get in the car before I grab my clippers and shave that rat's nest off myself. Now, move it!"

Unimpressed by my display of power, my son Ethan does not move. He shifts his weight to one leg, and crosses his arms. He stares at me with the curiosity (pity?) one reserves for mental patients or the homeless - a look that simultaneously conveys concern and utter revulsion.

"Well, are we going or what?" I snap.

He takes a small moment to reflect, and then all at once sneers at me "I don't want to get my haircut. I'm a surfer and surfers have long hair. You just don't understand because you're gay."

At first I am stunned. I wonder if I've heard him correctly. When I ask him to repeat himself, he again states that surfers have long blond hair and I don't understand because not only am I gay, I have dark, Jew-boy hair. I'm horrified. I'm appalled. I don't know what upsets me more, his homophobia, his implied antisemitism or FAR WORSE, his appalling assertion that I know little to nothing about current hair styles!
The infuriated tranny in me suddenly rears her ugly, M.A.C. hued head. My right hand is now moving in a perfect circle, my index finger pointing due north, and in my best ghetto accent I snarl 'OH NO YOU DI'N'T!'

(To be continued)


Despite my son Ethan's never ending quest to be the center of the known universe, much to my relief, he scarcely asks for anything materially. He rarely, if ever, asks for the usual childhood 'necessities' such as the latest, glittery Star Wars gadget, coolest skull-adorned clothes, or the standard childhood dream gift; a pony. He seems oddly satisfied by the smallish number of books, Lego's and art supplies stored neatly in his room. As a matter of fact, when guests visit our house, they are often surprised by the sparseness of his room. "Is your son studying for the priesthood?" they drunkenly ask. (Why is it our guests always seem to be inebriated?) With pride, I respond that my son's cell-like room would be the envy of the most ecclesiastical monk.

As Ethan barreled through his developmental stages and the need for blocks, puzzles, and miniature plastic farm animals became obsolete, George and I gleefully emptied his room of clutter. Our need for clean, open spaces quickly overpowered any desire to run to Target and restock his room with poorly-made, Chinese shit. Once our gargantuan, two car garage was filled with enough of Ethan's chewed up, mucous covered, stained cast offs, I would host my annual garage sale. I delighted in converting my driveway into something that closely resembled an exotic Moroccan bizarre stall. The stall's shelves, floors, and racks bulged with Ethan's formerly precious belongings, and like any good shopkeeper, I gratefully peddled my wares to the hundreds of frightfully polite bargain hunters good enough to take this crap off our hands. Despite my having to sell Ethan's toys and clothes for a tiny fraction of what I originally paid, I was happy to see a small child smile broadly for having scored a 'slightly used' BEN 10 action figure for 25 cents.

That deeply discounted BEN 10 action figure rekindled the memory of Ethan and I playing one of our favorite childhood games, 'Freakish-Fatal-Car-Accident.' You see, that particular BEN 10 was deeply troubled and had a nasty habit of driving drunk and losing control of his armor plated Hummer truck. BEN's careless, cavalier attitude to vehicular safety often resulted in serious injury to himself, his fellow passengers, and the plastic pedestrians that were unlucky enough to be on the streets when he took the wheel. Due to his hard-partying ways and poor driving record, BEN became the Lindsay Lohan of Ethan's room and was placed in toy box rehab. I prayed BEN would have better luck with sobriety in his new life and would become the dedicated super hero he was destined to be. On second thought, I doubted it, as the smoking, broken down mini van BEN and the child disappeared into looked pretty rough - I didn't see many armor plated Hummers in his future.

As the day progressed, my son Ethan's belongings found their way into the trunks of other battered mini vans, cars, trucks and in one case, a creepy out-of-state camper baring a frightening bumper sticker that read 'It's not stalking, if you love me back...'
Each item I sold jogged my memory of an 'important' childhood milestone achieved by our son such as Ethan's first nosebleed, his first projectile vomiting incident, and even the memory of the delightful, near-concussion I received when Ethan joyfully pounded me in the head with a wooden mallet, as I lay peacefully comatose on the floor of his room.

By noon, our 'bizarre' had come to an end. I quietly close our shop, and whatever odds and ends are left I happily donate to charity. Exhausted, I trudge up our staircase and finding Ethan's room divinely and serenely empty, I lay down on his Batman bedspread and happily pass out. I awake (seconds...minutes...hours?) later to find my son Ethan scrounging noisily around his room. Evidently he was late for a play date and couldn't find those hideous, one-of-the-seven-signs-of-the-impending-Apocalypse Croc shoes he tends to favor. Having finally located them under the bed, he shoves them on his feet, gives me a peck on the cheek and bolts from the room. I am surprisingly sad, for as my grownup son bounds out of the house, I rub my uninjured head and wish I hadn't sold that damn wooden mallet.

Friday, November 13, 2009


(Continued from PRINCESS PT. 2)

I wish I had a nickel for every time some schmuck called me a 'princess.' Everyone I know, at one time or another, has labeled me 'Princess Tod,' 'La Princessa,' 'Her Ladyship' or 'J.A.P. Bitch.' Not only am I not offended by these remarks, I consider them a great compliment. Being recognized for my carefully cultivated J.A.P. (Jewish American Princess) persona, is far more meaningful than the attention I usually receive for trifles like my eerily youthful, bought-and-paid-for complexion or ridiculously overpriced John Varvados shoes. My smugness comes from the profound belief that the world would be a far better place if everyone, everywhere would do as I say at all times.

Last week, as a token of his love (fear) my husband George presented me with an actual crown. Gaudily encrusted with fake jewels, replete in red velvet, and trimmed in blindingly white imitation ermine, it was the ugliest, most ostentatious thing I had every seen. It was love at first sight. My son gingerly placed the weighty crown upon my head and all at once I was magically transformed from middle aged, fatty-fat, suburbanite dad, into the fairest of them all. I could practically hear that stupid CIRCLE OF LIFE SONG from LION KING ringing in my ears as my husband, son and dog knelt before me.

In light of my recent coronation, the irony of being tackled by six burly Prince Charming security guards at Disneyland's Ariel's Grotto was not lost upon me. As a sobbing Belle was lead away by Cinderella and Aurora, my fellow pilgrims ran for their lives, the woodland creatures scurried away, and I struggled under the weight of Snow White's personal security force while protesting loudly that I was also 'royalty' and like the Disney Princesses had been recently crowned. Clearly my 'explanation' fell on deaf ears as Snow White smiled sweetly, made sure no one was looking, and then took the opportunity to kick me in the side of the face.

The blood flowed profusely from my mouth as Snow White sunk to one knee and in her Saccharin sweet voice hissed in my ear,

'Listen J.A.P. boy, I had your number from the second you walked in here. Just because daddy let you max out his AMEX Card at Saks doesn't make you a princess, it just makes you an asshole. Now, try and muscle in on our territory again, and you'll be the one left in an irreversible coma awaiting love's first kiss.'

Snow White daintily rose, and in the same sickeningly sweet, treacly voice, directed her goons to 'escort' me from Ariel's Grotto. The Prince Charmings eventually dumped me in a secluded portion of the cruelly named 'Mickey and Friends' parking structure. My head throbbed mightily as I shuffled to my car. I first checked my puffy, bruised reflection in my rear view mirror, winced and then started my car.

As I drove home, I reflected on the day's chaotic events. Like my unworthy, heretical son Ethan, I too had been cast out of the Kingdom of Heaven. Not only was I to never kiss Walt's Jew-hating frozen lips, thanks to Snow White, I was also 86'd from Ariel's Grotto and put on their terrorist watch list. Further, Snow White had managed to confirm my deepest fears that not only was I not a princess, but in reality was a spoiled, self-centered, princess-poser asshole.

Before I could descend headlong into the usual broken record of self-hatred that repeats endlessly in my mind, a sudden beautiful thought twinkled before me. Despite my bruised jaw, I smiled broadly for I realized that Snow White may have beat me down as a princess, degraded me in front of her subjects and ruthlessly cast me out of the Kingdom of Heaven, what that whore didn't realize was that thanks to my queer-as-a-three-dollar-bill 'birthright' this J.A.P bitch might not be a true princess, but was sure as fuck a queen.

Monday, November 9, 2009


(Continued From Princess)

Belle of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST had a very worried look on her face. She had taken the seat closest to mine, and kept her gloved hand in mine as I bitterly complained about the sad turns my life had taken. She regarded me with a look of sympathy, but I could tell her benevolent look of quiet understanding masked a terrible sense of foreboding. Belle listened patiently as I told the tale of my former life of Hollywood fabulousness that had degenerated into a married-with-children calamity. In weepy torrents, it spilled out of me.

I told Belle of my glorious days of hedonistic sexual promiscuity, how'd I've been to Nice and the isle of Greece while I sipped champagne on a yacht. I
lamented how I had moved like Harlow in Monte Carlo and showed them what I've got.
How'd I'd been undressed by kings and seen some things that a gay boy ain't
s'pose to see, how sadly I'd been to paradise but I've never been to me.

As tiny tears rolled down Belle's carefully powdered cheeks, she blew her Shiksa nose into a tiny gold satin handkerchief. She collected herself, rose and as dozens of cute, fuzzy woodland creatures suddenly surrounded us, Belle began to sing in the sweetest, clearest voice.

Hey lady, you lady
cursing at your life
you're a discontented father
with a hideous, shallow life
I `ve no doubt
you dream about the things you never do
but I wish someone had a talk to me like I wanna talk to you

Please lady please lady
don't just walk away
Cause I have this need to tell you
why I'm not alone today
I can see so much of me
still living in your eyes
won't you share a part
of a weary heart that has lived a million lives?

As Belle continued to sing, I casually glanced around Ariel's Grotto and could see that
Aurora and Cinderella were giving me the stink eye as Snow White furiously screeched
into a walkie-talkie.

Belle's verse had come to an end and as she and all the woodland creatures peered
at me expectantly, I decided to throw caution to the wind. I took Belle's hygienically
gloved hands, waltzed around the room, and while trampling beaming kiddies in
their cheap, Disney Princess knock-off costumes sang:

Sometimes I've been to crying for unborn children
that might have made me complete
but I, I took the sweet life
I never knew I'd be bitter from the sweet
I spent my life exploring
the subtle whoring
that costs too much to be free
hey lady I've been to paradise
but I've never been to me...

As we waltzed, Snow White put Ariel's Grotto into full lock-down and had bitchily
alerted the security guards, disturbingly attired like Prince Charming, to take me out.
Time was not on my side...

(To be Continued)

Friday, November 6, 2009


Yesterday, I had the pleasure of visiting the happiest place on Earth, Disneyland, sans child. Decked-out in my Sovorsky Crystal encrusted Mickey Mouse ears (Yes, I underpaid my nanny to painstakingly apply every precious crystal by hand.) I giddily wandered through Fantasyland, Frontierland, Tomorrowland and Adventureland as if in a dream. As my son had not been invited to attend, there were none of the usual banal cries like 'I'm hungry,' or 'I'm tired,' nor my personal favorite, 'Daddy please stop doing the choreography to GET'CHA HEAD IN THE GAME from High School Musical, you're so not Zac Effron - you're just pathetic.' I was able to wander the park gaily. (God, I've so wanted to use that word!)

I flounced from Pirates of the Caribbean to The Haunted Mansion to Space Mountain preening in my sparkly ears, happily unfettered by the whiny demands of my son who last year had the audacity to announce that he did not care for Disneyland as the rides were 'scary' and 'loud.' Can you imagine such a grotesque pronouncement? Naturally, I berated him for being some kind of pinko-commie, un-American, unholy, agitator-terrorist and reminded him that Disneyland was a God-given privilege not an earthly right. Like Lucifer my son Ethan was now officially cast out of the kingdom of heaven and would remain so until he was imbued with the light and goodness of our God, Walt Disney, whose frozen, Nazi-sympathizing head is rumored to be held fittingly in suspended animation beneath Space Mountain.

Like the Shroud of Turin or the Veil of Veronica, Walt's frozen head is a holy relic, whose viewing is strictly reserved for the most exalted of Disney pilgrims. Despite my Jewish roots and propensity for flamboyance (wink, wink) I'm praying that with the purchase of enough overpriced season passes in addition to buying all those Chinese manufactured Disney 'collectables' I too will be permitted to view Walt's head and like Salome kiss his dead, frozen lips. Please God Walt, let me be worthy!

I was particularly humbled on this particular day I was granted entrance to Ariel's Grotto, which like the Roman House of Vestal Virgins, is home to the purest, wisest, and most enlightened women in the Kingdom of Heaven, The Disney Princesses. Like the Vestals, the Disney Princesses are pure of heart, chaste, and beyond reproach. The answers to life's most damning questions can be found here. Sibyl-like, the Disney Princesses are omnipotent, their powers absolute.

I do not speak and keep my head respectfully bowed as I descend the sweeping staircase that leads to Ariel's Grotto. I take my place at a greasy table and nervously glance at the menu. I take a moment to foolishly debate with my fellow pilgrims whether to order the ghastly short ribs or anemic salmon when I suddenly feel a soft, gloved hand on my shoulder. I glance at my fellow pilgrims in alarm as their mouths have gone slack, their eyes wide, for as I slowly turn and follow their gaze, I peer into the flawless, shining face of Belle from Beauty and the Best.

"Well hello!" Belle says dreamily as she takes my hand in hers, "What brings such handsome men to the kingdom this fine day?"

Shocked, I stammer, "Oh Belle, I have so many questions, so many 'issues,' where do I begin?"

Belle gazes at me beatifically, thinks carefully and with unquestionable sincerity responds, "Perhaps, like any good story, you could start with ONCE UPON A TIME..."

(To Be Continued)

Friday, October 23, 2009


When I was a little boy growing up in our ghastly tract house in Cherry Hill New Jersey, my mother would sometimes get angry at me for failing to live up to her stratospheric expectations. In those bewildering moments she would snarl at me, “You know Tod, some day, you’re going to have a child, and when you do I hope he grows up to be just like you!” At the time, I dismissed her ‘good wishes’ as one too many white wine spritzers, and thought she was paying me some kind of weird, left-handed compliment. Believe me, she wasn’t. But if you really think about it, despite her 70’s era obsession with pageboy hair ‘do’s’, tri-color shag carpeting, Lucite and chrome ANYTHING and unrelenting parental criticism she was incredibly prescient in what was to become of my life.

When not up to her ass in Ajax, my mother was the most glamorous woman at our predictably nouveau- riche, restricted-to-Jews-only country club. I came to call my mother ‘Liz’ as she managed to simultaneously lose her natural nose and Brooklyn accent, while laboring to cultivate the look, manner and affectations of her idol Elizabeth Taylor. Hollywood and Broadway obsessed, my mother raised me on a steady diet of celebrity gabfests like Mike Douglas and Dinah Shore.

Each Wednesday night, like clockwork, my mother would faithfully tune in to her favorite show, The Hollywood Squares. Her hair teased a mile high, buzzed on Pink Ladies, she would shout the correct answers at the screen before queeny center square habituĂ© Paul Lynde could ‘flamboyantly’ respond to the obviously scripted question put to him by Peter Marshall, whose criminal sense of fashion consisted of a plaid polyester leisure suit! Oy Vey! Drunk, manic and lost in her Hollywood reverie my mother was the most glamorous woman I had ever known.

Is it any wonder that my mother’s only son, me (AKA the daughter she never had) would someday move to Holly weird and despite blatant and overt FABULOUSNESS, claw his way to the top of the Hollywood shit pile? I was the American dream incarnate – I owned a thriving business, possessed gorgeous PUBLISHED homes in Los Angeles, New York and Palm Springs, and even found a man to marry me despite my unmitigated narcissism. In the grandest of Hollywood traditions, I maintained a homicidal desire to not only keep up with Joneses, but to grind them into the dirt and destroy them. Despite all of the 'riches' in my life, I felt something was missing. Instead of taking up a hobby like gardening, stamp collecting, or golf, I decided that I should have a baby, as a newborn would give my life ‘meaning’ and would be the perfect accoutrement to my Brioni suits and Gucci loafers.

To my astonishment, the blond haired, blue-eyed ‘accessory’ who came barreling into my glittering egocentric life required not only the standard Hollywood parenting ‘necessities’ such as imported, lactose-free baby formula, cashmere receiving blankets, and round-the-clock Central American nannies, he also demand something of me that was virtually unknown to any of the cultured, effete men, I knew. Some kind of weird, new parenting fad developed by some Swedish doctor in the early 90’s called NURTURING…or neutering, or neutralizing I can’t exactly remember as I was pretty drunk at the time I heard about it.

I left the dragon ladies of Iowa in the church basement, an astonished look on their faces and headed upstairs to retrieve my husband. The funeral had mercifully come to an end and George was slowly walking by himself in the solemn procession that followed the casket. The grief of losing his grandmother had finally hit him and the tears that had welled up in his eyes rolled slowly down his cheeks. His eyes searched for me and when our gaze finally met, I decided to throw all this ridiculous caution to the wind and joined him in the procession. As we walked to the cemetery hand-in-hand, our baby gurgling, the townspeople regarded us with a guarded curiosity, but no malice. We took our place on the receiving line and as each of the dragon ladies politely shook my hand they congratulated George and I on the birth of OUR son. George's aunt, the beetle lady, shook my hand and whispered into my ear, "You're here! You're Queer! We better get used to it!" My son took that opportunity to projectile vomit all over my jacket. As I cleaned Ethan's vomit off my coat, I couldn't help laughing to myself as my mother's words rang in my ears, "You know Tod, someday you're going to have a child and I hope he grows up to be just like you." In that moment, I understood her words PERFECTLY.

Monday, September 21, 2009


(Continued from LIFE AND DEATH PT. 2)

Last week, my seven-year-old son Ethan nonchalantly told me that upon my death, he intended to use his sizable inheritance to buy mountains of candy. He further asserted that as my funeral service and burial would be a mere formality on his way to a life of sugary goodness, he had no plan to attend either.

"But wouldn't you miss me?" I asked naively?

"Maybe a little, but it's OK if you decide you want to die." he answered.

Ethan maintained a rather pragmatic view of death. To him, my death would be an unfortunate, but necessary step on his way to a dreamy, polysaccharides future. The moment my small, wiry, Juvaderm and Restalyne infused body was placed in the sun-kissed yet stunningly fire-prone, Forest Lawn grounds (I was not able to purchase a plot near Micheal Jackson, as those fascists at Forest Lawn insisted I was neither a celebrity nor a 'person of note.' To my dismay, I had witnessed the funereal equivalent of the velvet rope!) my son Ethan's life would morph into the real world equivalent of CANDYLAND. His dreams of a never ending buffet of M&M's, Snickers, Three Musketeers, Kit Kat Bars, and Butterfingers would FINALLY come true and would culminate in a fantastical marriage to the dowager of CANDLYLAND, Princess Frostine, who would no doubt be administering the Insulin injections he will ultimately require. Like a high-fructose corn syrup SID & NANCY, Ethan and Princess Frostine will wind up in some seedy motel, the floor of their room littered with empty candy wrappers, cookie bags, and cake tins. Unable to break their shared addiction, Princess Frostine will have to support them both by turning tricks in the molasses swamp with Lord Licorice, Jolly Dino, King Candy and those fucking annoying, tree-stump-living Keebler elves, while Ethan lies unconscious in the filthy motel bed due to an Entenmann's-induced sugar coma.

I've decided to keep living, just to spite him. Besides, whatever sizable inheritance he thinks is coming his way will be spent on 'necessities' such as costly facial fillers, plastic surgery, and various go-go boys who will moonlight as my 'assistant' or 'companion.'

Of course, none of this occurred to me years ago, stranded in that ghastly Iowa town. I stood alone in a church basement, surrounded by narrow-minded biddies, protectively clasping my crying baby son to my bosom. Having not the slightest inkling that the tiny, helpless infant I held would someday blossom into the stunningly beautiful, yet frighteningly conniving cave troll who would eventually wish me dead, I decided to take a political stand. (I pray to God that I'm NEVER placed on life support and left in my son's 'care' as I'm certain that given the choice of keeping me alive and finally realizing his dream of never-ending, golf ball-sized chocolate bon bons, he will make speedy, legally-binding use of the non-resuscitate clause in my will. I can almost see him feigning sadness at my Shiva while sneering to assembled loved ones that he preferred to end my life with 'dignity,' while a big, chocolate mustache stained his greedy mouth.)

As the narrow-minded, Pat Buchanan-loving, Fox News-watching town matriarchs slithered up to me, I resembled a Prada and Gucci-clad version of The Madonna with Child. I sat imperiously in a chair and allowed each old lady an opportunity to view the infant. They all finally gathered around me in their TJ Maxx sweater sets, munching on mayonnaise sandwiches (I kid you not) and clucked about George and his mystery wife being so lucky in producing such an adorable baby. As I stared incredulously at these clueless old broads I began to wonder if these women were so sheltered and delusional that the appearance of two immaculately attired and coiffed 'confirmed bachelor' men (wink, cough) bearing an infant could be ANYTHING but two LA fruit flies and their larva. I suddenly channelled my inner Margot Channing and instantly came to my feet. I twirled around furiously and snarled, "Ladies, fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy night. George has no wife and I'm neither his business partner, army buddy, or 'colleague.' I'm his lover and this is OUR baby."

They stood silently gaping at me, their cheap, Cover Girl hued mouths forming a perfect 'O.'

(To Be Continued)

Friday, September 18, 2009


(Continued from LIFE AND DEATH)

My good friend Kate, whose affluent and sheltered life in Austin, Texas degenerated into a Gothic novel of sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll debauchery, is surprisingly proud of her DAR roots. At first, when she alluded to the DAR, I thought it was some kind of acronym for drug rehab or sexual addiction as at the time we were stumbling down Hollywood Boulevard, having been evicted from a dive bar for our 'innocent' accosting of some fat tourists whose ghastly December-in-Los Angeles wardrobe choice of fanny packs, 'Daisy Duke' short shorts, and day glo knitted tube tops offended our 'we're-in-the-entertainment-industry-therefore-better-than-you sensibilities.'

Kate, staggeringly drunk on organic cranberry & cucumber, anti-oxidant martinis, (only in LA) slurred in my ear that the DAR stood for DAUGHTERS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION and drunkenly elaborated that her racially 'pure' bloodline of Anglo-Saxon, land-grabbing, Native American-murdering, alcoholic, oil industry executive ancestors could be traced back to their arrival aboard the good ship WILLIAM AND MARY during the formative days of this country's bloody break with England. Having proudly shared her family's lily-white, blue-blood origins, Kate suddenly lurched forward, turned a pale shade of green, and projectile vomited all over Ronald Raegan's star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. Like any good girlfriend, I held Kate's hair as she purged herself on our 40th President, her DAR ancestors no doubt spinning in their graves due to her blatant disrespect for Raegan, who certainly shares a condo with them in that special place in Hell reserved for thieves, rapists, axe murderers, and actor-turned-politicians. As we continued to trudge down Hollywood Boulevard, Kate leaning into me, her head perched semi-consciously on my shoulder, I begin to reflect on my own family tree - or in my case, family shrub.

According to my mother, my ancient ancestors were the lowest-of-the-low thirteen tribes, shit-kicker Jews who dug ditches, disposed of animal carcases and probably cleaned Egyptian latrines with their tooth brushes. As the centuries slowly passed, my ancestor's fortunes did not improve. Housed in dense urban ghettos or far-flung Russian 'Shtetls' (towns) my relatives piously prayed to God to improve their fortunes - only to see themselves the victims of discrimination, pogroms and eventual annihilation. Disillusioned by the God that had seemingly forsaken them, my relatives, including my great grandfather, emigrated to the United States in the latter part of the 19th century seriously pissed-off. Eager to shed his Judeo-Russian roots, and acclimate his immigrant family as quickly as possible in this strange, new land my great grandfather, a tailor, joined the garment union and imprudently became a founding member of THE COMMUNIST PARTY. That's right sports fans - unlike Kate's revolutionary ancestors who shit stars and stripes, my ancestors were not only lowlife Jews, but were 'commies' to boot!

As we drove through the verdant corn fields of Iowa, my son Ethan uncharacteristically asleep in his car seat, surrounded by George's suspiciously polite Midwest relatives, my thoughts drifted to Kate's revolutionary ancestors and my BETTER DEAD THAN RED great grandfather. What would they have made of a gay, Jewish man arriving in the nation's heartland, his grieving male lover, rent-a-womb baby, and ostentatious Louis Vuitton luggage in tow? All of these revolutionaries - Kate's DAR ancestors and even my idealistic, misguided great grandfather fought and died for their beliefs despite impossible odds and inconceivable struggle. What, if any beliefs did I have, and what sacrifices was I willing to make for those beliefs?

Having deposited our luggage at the horrifying MOTEL 8 that to my astonishment lacked the most basic of hotel 'necessities' such as a pool, 600 thread count sheets, or a decent mini bar, George, Ethan and I were whisked over to the funeral home for the formal 'viewing' of George's dead grandmother. As my husband George, our son Ethan and I entered the funeral home, I could see the assembled friends and relatives glance our way and secretively whisper to one another. The room suddenly fell silent as George and I approached the casket. George glanced down at his dead grandmother and tenderly kissed the top of her head as a single tear slid slowly down his ruddy face. As I stood there holding OUR son, George's aunt, a small, round beetle of a woman approached me and hissed into my ear how nice it was that George could attend his grandmother's funeral despite his wife's absence, and how considerate of me as his 'business partner' to bring their baby.

As I watched her scurry away, I remained silent out of respect for George's grandmother. Outside on the steps of the funeral home, feeding Ethan his bottle, I began to seethe. In my fury, my revolutionary mission and plan of action suddenly became crystal clear. I thought of the great American patriot Samuel Adams who once wrote, "It does not take a majority to prevail... but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men."

I held Ethan tightly to my chest as I glanced out over the graceful, undulating fields of Iowa corn, a matchbook from THE MOTEL 8 crushed in my palm.

(To Be Continued)