WEDNESDAY, MARCH 24, 2004
Poking my head out of my Isolation Chamber long enough to point you to the inane Salon article everyone
is talking about. I won't add my thoughts on the subject, but Scalzi and the Salon letters page pretty much capture my thoughts.
MONDAY, MARCH 8, 2004
This week at PBJ, I interview Marty Beckerman. Lots of naughty words.
Well, this seems to be as good a time as any to announce my next book.
I've been working on Martha Stewart, I Love You
since last year. It's a novel based on the essay of the same name that
I first wrote for this site 4 years ago, rewrote for Ironminds in '01,
and then rewrote again and published in Book, With Words and Pages last fall. It's expanded, obviously, into novel form. And, for many reasons, that's all I'll say about it for now.
Except for this: the events of last week have really
altered some of the chapters (for reasons you can sure you can guess –
the whole "going to jail" thing). I'm still not convinced she's going
to jail, and even if she does it will be for less than a year, but some
tweaking needs to be done. Look for it later this year or early next
year, if things go the way I think they will.
I'm about to go into my Isolation Chamber (TM) to finish
it off and send it off to the agent next week. Websurfing is going to
be kept to a minimum (I'm even deleting some of my bookmarks so I'm not
seduced away from my writing), and it might take me a little longer to
respond to e-mails. Blogging might be light, but check back anyway as
I'm sure I'll post something.
THURSDAY, MARCH 4, 2004
Having hot water again is better than sex.
MONDAY, MARCH 1, 2004
WATER HEATER CRISIS, DAY 3
The plumber who handles these things for my landlord
cannot be found. Another plumber may be called
in for advice. Water heater might be drained at some point, or the
elements repaired/replaced, or something. Third straight day
of below freezing showers. It's like someone telling me, "hey, for this
week, instead of showering with warm water, here are some ice cold
shards of glass to rub on your head and body! Enjoy!"
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2004
Well, this sucks.
Saturday morning, 2:30 am. I'm just dozing off, ready
for my visions of sugar plums, or whatever the February equivalent is,
when I hear a strange sound. Like water, or more accurately, a
waterfall. At first I think it's my neighbor upstairs, turning on his
shower (he works in the early morning), but then I realize that it's a
sound I've never heard before. I get up, stumble to the light switch,
and open the closet door.
Water everywhere. The water heater is leaking. Damn.
I try to find some sort of valve that will shut the
heater off, or perhaps figure out just what the hell is going on. Leak?
Overflow? It doesn't help that I'm half asleep and without my contacts.
Oh, and the batteries are dying in the one and only flashlight I can
find. This isn't going well.
So I get on the phone to my landlord. I'm sure he just can't wait to
not only be rustled out of bed by a piercing phone ring at 2:45 am, but
also have to drive across town to fix a water heater. He tells me to
look around for some sort of shut off valve. I can't find one, though I
do find an old glove that's plugging the drainage hole. I remove the
glove and some of the water at least goes into the hole.
Wait a second. The water is going down a drainage hole?
I live on the second floor. Where does it end up, and how will the
storeowner feel about it in the morning? This is getting worse by the
My landlord comes over and finds the shutoff switch,
conveniently located in an out of the way area, beneath the kitchen
sink, against the wall, behind the Mop-N-Glo and mouse traps. The
heater is off, but still leaking, albeit more slowly.now. But what's
going on downstairs? Surely it's OK, since the drainage hole was made
for this type of incident. The water goes down the hole and collects in
some sort of pipe/basin (I'm sort of vague on this, since all of my
home improvement knowledge comes from Bob Vila reruns and maybe a
summer of painting – badly – the windows at my sister's house).
Everything should be fine.
My landlord goes downstairs. Utter chaos. Ceiling tiles
down, carpet soaked, etc. I guess the pipe/basin was removed or
something at some point.
So, to make a long story short (which is actually
impossible, since I'm only adding to that long story, so how can it get
shorter?), the water heater needs to be replaced, and since it's the
weekend it looks like it will be Monday morning at the earliest. No hot
water at all. My shower this morning was absolutely horrifying. It felt
like someone burying my body in razor sharp ice cubes. The water
enveloped me and I swear began to suck out my very lifeforce. Mother of
God. At one point I couldn't catch my breath and thought I was going to
pass out. How do those groups do it, the ones who go for a swim every
year in the middle of winter? The 80 year-olds who put on their shorts
and run through the snow covered beaches and frolic in the water. Pure
So, how is your weekend going?
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2004
"Mr. Eisner, God on line 2."
For a short time this week, The Internet Movie Database listed "God" as one of the writers
of The Passion Of The Christ. He even had his own page, though the only credit he had
was this particular movie, where He was listed as the writer of the "novel." (Huh?) The page was taken down yesterday, so
I didn't even get a chance to see it, but the good folks at E! online
have a story about it, along with a screen capture. Make sure you
click on the pic to get a better view.
The article asks if God will accept his Oscar if he happens to win. What I want to know is, if he does
win, who could He possibly thank in his acceptance speech?
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2004
Yes! This is just what I've been looking for.
The tagline is "Real Girls, Imaginary Relationships." I guess that's better than the other way around.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2004
You may have noticed the new Amazon Honor System box on the main page
(there's also a box
on the bottom of this page). Basically, if you like this site, you
click on the "click to give" button and give me a $1 or more. Pretty
and painless, really. And it will help keep me off the streets, where
I'd forced to stand in my tattered coat and hat, yelling blog entries
to people walking by.
It's not exactly island-buying money, but any little bit
that can help pay for my connection and upgrades to the site is
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2004
I know, I know, no new Professor Barnhardt's Journal in quite some time.
Really busy on the novel, haven't sent out any pleas for submissions, etc. New stuff coming next week.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2004
You know that Pepsi commercial, the one that shows a young Jimi Hendrix picking Pepsi over Coke?
We're supposed to feel relieved that since the guitar store was next to the Pepsi machine, he was inspired
to play the guitar instead of the accordian near the Coke machine. Actually, every time I see the ad, I
think that if he did pick the accordian, he'd probably be alive today.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2004
Another dream update. What goes through my head in the wee hours of the morning…
1. I'm in a large house with Sean Young and Lara Flynn Boyle. (Great, even in my dreams I can't get A-listers).
2. I have the feeling of water all around me, but
there's no water at all. I guess this means I'm drowning in the air
around me. (Ooooo, poetic).
3. A crazy dream (as if the above aren't?) that I really
can't decipher, except that it involves a small nightclub, a singer
screaming into a mic (though I don't hear any music), me drinking beer
out of a bottle, and someone is running for some sort of political
office. I think. Not sure.
Psychiatrists and psychologists, feel free to e-mail me with your thoughts.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2004
Stephen King's speech at the National Book Awards
ceremony is finally online.
So the Yankees get Rodriguez. For Red Sox fans, it's like the most perfect, most cruel punch line to a really sick joke,
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2004
Ah, Valentine's Day. All you damn couples with your holding hands, your candy hearts with gooey
sentiments, your Hallmark cards with the puppies, your evenings filled with movies and romantic
dinners and the having of sex. Go away. I don't want to hear about it.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2004
Oh my God, it's happened: Barbie and Ken
are breaking up.
I don't have any faith in long-term relationships
anymore. I mean, if these two can't make it, what chance do the rest of
us have? Of course, they spent 43 years together, which is a lot longer
than most relationships. The article says
she was born in 1959, which would make her 45 years old, but that she
and Ken had been dating since 1961. So they started dating
when she was two? How old is Ken? Has anyone ever investigated his
They weren't married? I guess they were just living in
sin in that Malibu Dream House. And why didn't they have any kids? I
guess a two-career family – and one
that involved modeling and the entertainment industry – it just didn't
leave any time for any Beanie Babies.
Of course, it's hard to have kids when your boyfriend doesn't have a schlong.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2004
Announcement: since I never know if I'm going to suddenly swear or flash a usually-concealed-by-clothing
body part, I am now imposing a 5 minute delay on this blog.
I don't want the FCC on my case…
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2004
Things That Don't Make Any Sense (#214 in a never-ending series): tea bags that have staples.
I mean, come on…staples?!
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2004
I had this whole rant prepared about NippleGate 2004, but so much has been said about it
already that I don't really want to add to the maelstrom. Except for this: I think Justin
Timberlake is getting a raw deal.
Think about it. The line in the song is "…gonna have ya naked, by the end of this song."
And what does he do? He tries to get Janet naked by the end of the song. Shouldn't Timberlake
be praised for keeping his word? In these times when people lie and they don't stay true to their
word and are inconsistent, isn't it great that he actually followed through on his promise? Parents and
educators should be thanking Timberlake for his honesty and commitment.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2004
For something visual to go along with what I wrote below, check out Justin checking out Janet and her ring.
OK, so let's talk about what everyone else is talking about this morning: Janet Jackson's nipple.
I feel sorry for all you people who threw away all that
money to watch the Lingerie Bowl during halftime. Hey, we got to see a
boob. For free!
Let's get something straight right off the bat: MTV
and/or Janet and Justin are lying when they said that wasn't staged. I
mean, think about it: if that wasn't supposed to happen, then what WAS
supposed to happen when Timberlake ripped at her clothes during
"…have ya naked by the end of this song?" Was he supposed to rip at
her clothes and reveal…um, more clothes?? Of course not. It was
publicity. Janet Jackson certainly needs it (I mean, really, singing
"Rhythm Nation?" Isn't that song from the first Bush presidency or
something?). Maybe Justin wanted to do something to top his ex
Britney's lip lock with Madonna.
And Janet, do you really think that a Jackson family
member flashing her tit (or even a clothed one) during the biggest
television event of the year while her brother is about to go on trial
for sexual molestation is the best move? (Maybe this is what CBS meant
when their ads said a "surprise guest" would be making an appearance
My roommate taped the game, and I've been going over and
over that scene like it was the freaking Zapruder film, trying to see
what she was wearing in that area, looking at her reaction, etc, etc.
My verdict is that it was totally staged. But I'll keep watching the
film just to make sure.
CBS issued an apology almost immediately (after several
complaints, of course), saying (and I quote) "there was no indication
any such thing would happen. The moment did not conform to CBS'
broadcast standards…" Uh, CBS? Did you actually SEE the rest of the
halftime show? Even if the J and J breast grab-o-rama didn't happen, I
think Nelly yanking at his crotch and the highly suggested lyrics and
dance moves were inappropriate enough. And maybe I'm getting old or
something, but Jesus, was that one of the most confused, unbearable
halftime shows of all time or what? What a monstrosity. I kept
thinking, if one of those helicopters they used in the pre-game could
just fire one rocket onto the stage, they would take care of a lot of
what's wrong with pop music today.
The network says it's "highly unlikely" that MTV will
put on another halftime show. I think I speak for all of America when I
say "thank you."
But what about the rest of the day? Tune into PBJ later
today. We'll have a complete review of all the new commercials and more
on the halftime festivities.
Oh, and there was a game played too! One of the best in
history, in my not-much-of-a-football-fan opinion. Brady and Vinatieri
rock the fazizzle.
Did I use that right? Just wanted everyone to know I'm not a total old fogey when it comes to kids these days. Dude. Yo.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 28, 2004
Talk about spin. Joe Lieberman, after his 5th place showing in New Hampshire, tells the crowd that
"he's in a three-way tie for third place." Huh? What is that, the new math? He got 9%, several
thousand votes behind Clark and Edwards, who tied at 12%. Joe, Joe, Joe. I know you're trying
to be positive and rally the troops, but you probably made even your staff roll their eyes and
stifle a laugh.
He opened his speech by exclaiming "Is New Hampshire a great state or what?!" If he's going by
the votes he got, I would say he should be leaning towards "or what."
Not sure if I mentioned this before, but if anyone wanted to buy me this, I wouldn't
TUESDAY, JANUARY 27, 2004
Today's Oscar nominations prove one thing: holy crap I don't go to the movies enough.
I've seen LOTR: Return of the King, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Master and Commander, all great flicks,
and they got a bunch of nominations. But the rest? Mystic River? Haven't seen it yet. Lost In Translation? Haven't seen it yet.
Finding Nemo? Haven't seen it yet. House Of Sand And Fog? Haven't seen it yet. Monster? Haven't seen it yet.
I want to see all these movies, and dozens of others
that were released in the past year. But when you take the fact that I
really don't have anyone nearby who would want to see these kinds of
films, and combine that with money concerns, it's really hard to see
all of them. I guess that's why God created DVDs and video stores.
MONDAY, JANUARY 26, 2004
Darth Vader called me the other night.
No, really. OK, so it wasn't "Darth Vader" per se, as if the character became flesh and bone
and looked up my phone number and called me to get my opinion on how to make the perfect Death Star
or what I think of Ben and Jen (Jen and Ben, Ben and J Lo, Bennifer) breaking up – OFFICIALLY. It was actor
James Earl Jones. He left a message on my phone, wondering if I'd like to try Verizon. He even gave me a
phone number to call, though he didn't say it was his home number. Maybe it's his cell phone. Wouldn't that
be freaking cool? To call James Earl Jones on his cell phone and shoot the shit. But it was probably a number
of some sales rep who works there. Oh well.
One odd thing: I already have Verizon. You would think that they'd know that already, since they're, like,
my phone company and called me on the phone.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 23, 2004
Huh. I mention the New England Patriots in a blog entry and wham! the ads above change to all Patriots-related
So, let me take this opportunity to say, "Tyra Banks naked!"
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 21, 2004
I just spent that past 4 hours trying to come up with a new design for this site, surfing around
various web sites for ideas, downloading fonts, wondering which logo I should use, which colors
would look best on this page and that page, trying to come up with a "theme" for the whole site,
when I just finally said to myself "oh, for Christ's sake, why aren't you writing?"
A note to whoever was manning the camera during Bush's State of the Union speech: when Bush mentioned steroid use
in the NFL, you shouldn't have zoomed in on New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
Why was he invited anyway? Doesn't this send the wrong message to the Carolina Panthers and their fans? Maybe Bush
thought Patriot Act = Patriots! That's it, they're America's Team (TM)!
THURSDAY, JANUARY 15, 2004
Remember those commercial parodies on Saturday Night Live for products like a cookie dough sports drink
and the floor wax that was also a dessert topping? They don't seem so crazy now.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 14, 2004
I'm not his biggest fan, and I have no idea why he's doing this, but
I'm all for it. Hey, I'm for anything that gets me the moonbase and jet pack we were promised back in the 50s, damnit!
MONDAY, JANUARY 12, 2004
So I'm at Best Buy, looking at the Mr. Show box set, and there's a blurb on the cover that says
"Must be seen to be appreciated." WTF? As opposed to, what, second-hand information or rumor?
"Music: it has to be heard to be appreciated…"
FRIDAY, JANUARY 9, 2004
BREAKING COLD NEWS: It might go down to 0 degrees for the big Patriots game tomorrow night, and
all of the local forcasters have checked their weather history, going far back to when they started to
keep records of these things, and have discovered that it hasn't gone down to 0 in this area since…um…well,
THURSDAY, JANUARY 8, 2004
To judge by the coverage on the local news, the current
cold snap in Boston is THE MOST IMPORTANT STORY OF THE CENTURY. Each
Boston station devoted no less than 10 minutes of their 30 minute
newscasts today to the cold weather: street interviews with
people all bundled up in their coats and hats and gloves, reporters
reporting "live on the scene!", meteorologists talking about
the history of cold weather, etc. And it was the lead story.
In New England.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 6, 2004
New Pop Culture Guy column is up, with my picks for the Best and Worst TV of 2003.
Shameless plug: I'm interviewed in the new edition of a great book, The 2004 Online Markets For Writers,
guide to writing on the web, from submission guidelines and pay rates,
to insider tips and a ton of other useful info. Written by Anthony and
Tedesco. It's an e-book (PDF), and you can order via PayPal.
Quite possibly the greatest newspaper correction of all-time.
Happy New Year! And how did you spend your New Year's Day? If you're like me, you spent it
in the emergency room, lying on a table.
I had chest pains early in the evening of Jan 1. Or, to be more specific, I had "pains" and they
were in my "chest" but they weren't "chest pains," if you know what I mean. I had this inkling
that it was just a pulled muscle in that area, from twisting the wrong way or sleeping on it wrong (it
certainly can't be from exercising or manual labor, that's for sure), but wanted to go to the ER just in case.
To summarize: EKG was fine, blood pressure was fine, no other signs of anything. The doc told me to take some Advil,
put some heat on it, follow up with my own doctor this week, which I will do.
Weird thing about the ER: it was just an empty waiting
room, a TV in the corner, someone to check you in, and a couple of
people on staff.
No Maura Tierney running around, no explosions, no helicopters
following off the roof, no gunfire. How disappointing.