Saturday, October 28, 2006

Speaking of underwear....


I think thong underwear, like nuclear power and tequila, is one of those inventions that has the potential for either great good or great evil, depending upon the wielder. First, let's make one thing clear – I'm talking about thong underwear on women. Thong underwear on men is not included at all in the afore-mentioned dichotomy; it's just plain evil, and should be shunned by right-thinking people everywhere. On women, however, there is no gray area: thongs either work or they don't. Girls, you know who you are. Me? I happen to think a pair of thong underwear looks especially good on my living room floor in the morning, depending of course on the size of both the waistband and the hangover.

Privates Of The Caribbean

Since it's all about me, I have to confess a dirty little secret. When I was vacationing in Saint Martin with my girlfriend at the time, we went to a nude beach and...

Let me back up. First, this vacation illustrates my much-vaunted ability to understand the feminine mind. I bought my girlfriend and I the tickets to Saint Martin and the all-inclusive resort for Christmas, and made sure the rez was for Valentine's Day. With one stroke of the check-writing pen I got huge romance points for not one, but two Male Days of Obligation. Guys, take note: I got blown for a year for that one.

Also, if you don't know already, the island of Saint Martin is actually divided into two parts (“Saint Martin in duo partes divisa est”). It consists of the French side, where the nude beaches are, and the Dutch side, where the casinos are. This makes perfect sense if you understand the national character of both countries. Iowans often find it confusing, however, so I digress to explain it here.

Also also, it was pretty funny when we checked in at the resort. It had escaped me that my travel agent had convinced me to go the all-inclusive route when I bought the tickets in December, so when the clerk at the desk handed me two cards, I asked him with a blank, peculiarly Midwestern look, “What are these for?” “Everything,” he replied. It actually took me the better part of that day to recall that I had purchased an all-inclusive package. Not that the GF and I didn't take immediate advantage of it, however, mistake or no. They are probably still out of scotch after our visit there.

So – one day we went to a nude beach on the French side. It was a beautiful beach; I was in as good shape as I ever have been; and the girls, while not from Ipanema, were tall and tanned and young and lovely. “What girlfriend?” was my thought balloon. At any rate, I wandered down the beach and eventually stopped in a tent where they sold shit. A woman about my age with the darkest tan I had ever seen was selling swim wear from bins on a table, so I pawed through them, and....

But first, I should tell you that the only thing the tanned swimsuit vendor was wearing was a canvas money belt from which she was making change. I strongly felt at the time, and still do, that such behavior on the part of female shopkeepers should be encouraged without hesitation. As a result of this personal conviction I determined to buy something, anything, from the naked woman. I ended up buying a hideously ugly thong swimsuit for myself.

The pattern of this swimsuit, which I still own by the way, is of some weirdly swirled colors for which there are no names. The cloth looks like it was originally made to approximate paisley on Carnaby Street in the 60's and had been trampled by various large African animals and washed repeatedly in the intervening years. It ain't pretty in and of itself, is what I'm saying.

Add to this the fact that I am somewhat hirsute. That is to say, I have a hairy ass. This is a good thing when you're sitting around reminiscing about bar fights with your male cronies, but it is a less-than-optimal trait to have when you're wearing a thong swimsuit. So I'm told, at least.

Actually, to be honest I have worn the thong in anger only once. My pal Unca Don used to have a hot tub in his place, which happened to be conveniently located a half block from the sports bar we hung out at. Or that was as far as we could stagger, I suppose is a better explanation. As you might suspect, the occasional strumpet found her way over to Don's place for after-hours cocktails and hottubbization. "Cleanliness is next to godliness," we always proclaimed. For most of these impromptu social events the eventual mode of dress was very similar to what the thong vendor wore to work. However, on one particular evening, for some drunken reason lost to history, I decided to break out The Thong.

This proved to be a mistake.

I have never since seen the expression on the woman's face repeated. And if I ever do, I hope I'm not the source. When I entered the hot tub room in my Thong (trying very hard not to mince, incidentally), the poor waif preselected for Hulles looked like someone had sneaked up on her and surprised her with a very thorough cavity search. The expression on her face reflected some odd mixture of appalled horror at the result of me in a thong and repressed glee over how stupid I looked. Schadenfreude is the word we swiped from the Germans to describe this. To give her credit, she tried very hard not to laugh. To no avail, of course.

So that's my only thong experience, lucky for you. Saint Paul has since enacted several local ordinances prohibiting me specifically from wearing my thong swimsuit in places where they serve food or children gather. “Da noive!”, which is Brooklynese for “How dare they!” Oh well. At least it wasn't thong underwear. You can therefore rest assured that, even if I get into a horrible car accident, the fatality count won't instantly double when the EMTs cut my pants off.

- Hulles

Friday, October 27, 2006

In recent discussions with various and sundry on the subject of blogging vs. writing, I have found myself stressing over and over that the wonderful thing about blogging is that blog entries can writhe. By this I mean that once you commit something to print in traditional publishing, there is no going back (not counting revised editions). With web log entries, however, one can rewrite a previous post as many times as one wants. I love this.

For example, I recently posted a blog entry about Scotland taking over the U.S. As I was talking to my avuncular friend Don the other day, however, I came up with a line I wanted to add to the entry:

  • Men suffer frequent embarrassment and bladder discomfort over the same symbol on both male and female restroom doors

So Bob's your uncle, I went back and added it to the entry. Let it writhe, I say.

I also recently added a comment to an earlier entry about spanking the monkey. In the original post I was speculating about needing to masturbate 12 times a day every day (read it if you want to know why). I wanted to add that if I ever dated anyone again, I would have to marry them right away so we wouldn't have to have sex.

So the set of Hulles blog entries can mutate over time. I like that. Some entries will become stronger and breed, and some will become weaker and die. Natural selection in the blogosphere.

However, one disadvantage of writhing blog entries is that you can never be sure that you've read the latest and greatest version of my web log. The only two solutions I can see to this problem are:

  1. You'll have to reread all of my previous blog entries every day just to be able to keep up with the congnoscenti (really glad I got to use that word), or

  2. Someone will have to buy all my blog entries and pay me lots of money and publish them in the traditional immutable paper fashion.

I pick (2), but just because it will save you a lot of valuable time every day. See, I'm just looking out for your best interests, my faithful reader....

- Hulles

I had just returned from my appointment at the palm barber when I read Kat's latest blog entry, Scientists shocked to find that men demand sex while asleep (same scientists later shocked by revelation that "Water is wet"). If you don't know already, Kat's1 pink india ink is a superbly written web log and hilariously funny; go there and tell her Hulles sent you. Anyway, in her post she refers in passing to “plastic tacos,” i. e. artificial vaginas2 sold as adult novelty items (as they say). She helpfully includes a link, but office workers be warned, it's got a fairly blatant graphic image. Most succulent.

Following this link brought to mind another encounter I had with an ad for a plastic vagina. A while back I was at a condo party that eventually degenerated into a half-dozen of us sitting drunk and bleary-eyed around a Formica table (as these things are wont to do). For no reason I can explain, one of the revelers, a retired salesman, went up to his Unit and came back with a sex toy catalog. We sort of passed it around and chortled politely, then we got the hell out of there and went to a nearby bar sans salesman.

The funniest thing about the catalog for me was that I opened tt at random to an ad for “The Pocket Pussy.” There was a picture of a device that looked for all the world like one of those rubber coin purses that you squeeze to open. In the accompanying blurb, however, the phrase that stuck with me to this day is “Never pay for dinner again!”

Now I really like what this phrase says about the kind of guy who would buy one of these items. The ad is precisely targeted at men who get pissed off when they take a woman out to a nice expensive dinner and then don't get laid. So it seems that this little device is more useful that it appears at first glance – it saves the purchasers some money over the long run, and it keeps those guys out of the dating scene, where they would otherwise constantly expect a quid pro quo and, hopefully, be disappointed.

In fact, the more I think about this product, the more I find that I want one. I would not use it for its intended purpose as far as you know; rather I would store M&Ms or sardines in it to distribute among newly-made acquaintances. That's just the kid of guy I am -- tastefully philanthropic to a fault. An additional benefit is that lesbians can appreciate this use of the plastic taco as well. Otherwise, they would just have to look at it with longing then set it on the mantle next to the Georgia O'Keefe paintings.

My birthday is November 6.

- Hulles

1I am of course madly in love with her....

2Interestingly enough, the word 'vaginas' is not in my word processor's dictionary. Is it really 'vaginae?' Even if it is, I selected the option to “insert 'vaginas' into standard.dic”, which is sort of the opposite of the way things normally work.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Apropos of my Scotchtoberfest entry, I forgot to include the following item:

It seems that the world's first full face transplant is imminent in the UK.

There's hope for me yet.
- Hulles

Recently I was making the case to Mrs. Unca Don that every man needs a pair of $80 underwear. You don't need more than one pair. Target is just fine for the others. But you ought to have one pair.

This is another secret I learned from women. When you get dressed up, it's important that you know you have on something special underneath, even though no one else may ever see it. It gives you an elan that you would otherwise lack. This is because you know your unit is swaddled in the best safety and comfort that money can buy. And by golly, your unit deserves it after all it's done for you. Well, mine does, anyway; you can judge yours for yourself.

I bought my “top drawers” at Nieman Marcus. They are made by Hanro of Switzerland, and frankly I don't remember if they cost $60 or $80, so sue me. They're worth it, though, at least to me. They are black “bikini briefs” and are made of wonderfully sheer Egyptian cotton. I find it hilariously funny that I don't actually put these special undies in the dryer, I hang them up and let them drip dry. I even bought a nylon mesh “delicates bag” to stick them in when I put them in the washer, if you can imagine that. Oh my God. When you look up “metrosexual” in the dictionary it probably has my picture by the definition. The ignominy....

However, the point of all this is styling. Your Hanro underwear aren't necessary when you dress up for that big date with Judy Sultry, but they just might give you that slight edge in self-confidence you'll need later when you try to charm her out of her delicates. And after an evening of being coddled in expensive briefs, your genitalia should be grateful enough to make it a night to remember. Otherwise, they know perfectly well that you'll punish them with the torn and stained white Fruit of the Loom briefs they have so learned to dread.

- Hulles

I recently subscribed to The Scotsman, so I now get a daily email from Edinburgh on the news from our kilt-wearing friends. I didn't do this because I have Scottish heritage particularly (although my pedigree is mongrelized, so perhaps I do and don't know it); rather I did it because I like the Scots in general and I find the news interesting and quirky.

Just for example, here are a couple of items of interest from just one day, 10/15/2006:

Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the Roman Catholic top gun in Scotland, publicly expressed support for Scottish independence. Who knew that there was an independence movement in Scotland? Not me, that's for sure. Well, I guess we did it, why not them? Still, I find it interesting.

In other (hopefully unrelated) news, some expert says that “paedophile fear is making children fat” in Scotland. Hunh. Are there lurking pedophiles abounding in the Scottish countryside? How many Catholic priests are there in Scotland? Does Michael Jackson have a UK version of Neverland Ranch in Scotland? Is this some weird Darwinian mechanism whereby children become obese and less attractive to pedophiles (no matter how they spell it), and thus less likely to be victimized?

From this fertile ground, I can confidently predict the following scenario:

  • Scotland gains independence

  • Scotland takes over UK

  • Scotland takes over Europe

  • Scotland takes over US

  • American men start wearing kilts; incidence of jock rot plummets; Fruit of the Loom goes out of business

  • Actors in reality TV shows start speaking with a brogue

  • Engineering becomes the only available major in universities

  • Thousands of bartenders and cocktail waitresses starve to death as tipping ceases

  • Instead of football and baseball, America's sports become curling and throwing logs about

  • Men suffer frequent embarrassment and bladder discomfort over having the same symbol on both male and female restroom doors

  • Surgeon General forbids Michael Jackson images from being broadcast, to combat child obesity

  • Hulles gets to buy Glenmorangie Sherry Wood Finish single malt scotch at absurdly low prices (and about fucking time, I don't mind saying)

All this from just one day of the Scotsman. Keep 'em coming, boys. I'm buying my tam-o'-shanter this afternoon.

- Hulles

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Sorry for the extended silence. I converted my aging laptop from Windows 2000 to Ubuntu Linux last week. Ideally, this would have been the work of a day or two, but there is no “ideally” in the realm of computers. I've nearly gotten the system set up the way I want now, so you can expect (or dread) more sardonic postmodern humor shortly.

- Hulles

Saturday, October 14, 2006

“Tristesses de la lune” is a poem by Charles Baudelaire from Les Fleurs du mal (Flowers of Evil). I reproduce it here (with an English translation) because I really like it and I’ve been thinking a lot about it and it’s my blog, dammit. Sadness of the moon, indeed.

Tristesses de la lune

Ce soir, la lune rêve avec plus de paresse;
Ainsi qu'une beauté, sur de nombreux coussins,
Qui d'une main distraite et légère caresse
Avant de s'endormir le contour de ses seins,

Sur le dos satiné des molles avalanches,
Mourante, elle se livre aux longues pâmoisons,
Et promène ses yeux sur les visions blanches
Qui montent dans l'azur comme des floraisons.

Quand parfois sur ce globe, en sa langueur oisive,
Elle laisse filer une larme furtive,
Un poète pieux, ennemi du sommeil,

Dans le creux de sa main prend cette larme pâle,
Aux reflets irisés comme un fragment d'opale,
Et la met dans son coeur loin des yeux du soleil.

Charles Baudelaire

Sadness of the Moon

Tonight the moon dreams with more indolence,
Like a lovely woman on a bed of cushions
Who fondles with a light and listless hand
The contour of her breasts before falling asleep;

On the satiny back of the billowing clouds,
Languishing, she lets herself fall into long swoons
And casts her eyes over the white phantoms
That rise in the azure like blossoming flowers.

When, in her lazy listlessness,
She sometimes sheds a furtive tear upon this globe,
A pious poet, enemy of sleep,

In the hollow of his hand catches this pale tear,
With the iridescent reflections of opal,
And hides it in his heart afar from the sun's eyes.

— William Aggeler, The Flowers of Evil (Fresno, CA: Academy Library Guild, 1954)

- Hulles

There Is No Middle Ground

Recently, I read the following in Slashdot:

"Never before has something so human and primitive as dating been reducible to such discrete values. A study analyzes the data of an online dating service…. [Some interesting] findings are: men initiate 73.3% of messages, but their initiations are 17.9% less likely to be reciprocated; 78.2% of messages are never responded to."

A comment titled “That’s Odd….” was posted by a Mr. Samuel, saying,

“100% of my messages are never responded to.”

Amen, Mr. Samuel. That’s why I don’t use online dating services. I just go out and chat up the potential Hulles prey in their native habitat: bars.

As I have mentioned before, I used to be quite shy when I was a young man, but no longer. Now my tongue is plated sterling, particularly when it comes to introducing myself to attractive women.

The way I do this is not to care if I make a fool of myself. I just walk up to the person in question and wait to see what cubic zirconiums (zirconia?) come out of my mouth. Usually they’re pretty funny, or so I think. The thing is, these phrases that I seem to dream up not only serve to break the ice, they also immediately cast the person to whom they are said into one of two categories: women I like because they have a sense of humor, and women with whom I would be wasting my time because they just don’t get it (or me). This is what I call the “Razor’s Edge”, because there is no middle ground. Someone immediately either finds me funny and charming or they find me déclassé and obnoxious. It works great either way.

One phrase I seem to use a lot is,

"I love only you. These other women mean nothing to me."

I like this because I think it sounds witty and clever, and I enjoy it even more if I can say it immediately afterward to another woman at the same table. It just rolls right off my tongue like I mean it. In some sense, I think I probably do mean it.

Sometimes I don’t even say anything. I recently mouthed the words,

“I love you,”

to a pretty cocktail waitress. She snorted so hard she almost dropped her tray. By the way, you can always claim you were saying “olive juice” when it turns out that the cocktail waitress’ boyfriend is the huge bouncer at the door.

A while ago I heard myself say,

"Hi. Are you the swine before whom I was casting my pearls the other night?"

This one requires a little thought on the part of the recipient, so I don’t use it on obvious political conservatives or blondes.

Once I heard myself blurt out,

"The purple owl hoots at midnight."

I went on to explain to the attractive young woman that I was a Soviet spy sent to meet a mysterious and lovely fellow agent at that particular bar. I ended up in a really fun conversation with the woman, both of us pretending we were spies.

The following line was used by me recently when I wandered into the Saint Paul Curling Club with a couple of friends:

"Excuse me; I just came in to sniff the curling shoes. You do have racks of curling shoes, don’t you?”

While this line is pretty specialized, it certainly broke the ice with the woman standing at the counter in the curling club. It turned out that they don’t have curling shoes, if you’re curious.

I really like the next one, which I came up with just last week:

"I'm going to go home and thank God in my prayers that you showed up tonight."

This is another one that reflects some sincerity on my part. The woman to whom I said it told me later on that I made her birthday; she glowed all night with the compliment.

Another recent one ran as follows:

"I'm thinking about adopting you and leaving you my fortune."

This of course only works with younger women, but it’s actually pretty funny to see a brief flash of cupidity in the eyes of the listener before she realizes that I’m joking.

That’s it for the Razor’s Edge for now. And if you use these wonderful lines, who knows, you may find that the promise of the directions on the chopsticks package comes true:

"Now you can pick up anything."

It hasn’t worked for me yet, but I have fun trying.

- Hulles

In the tradition of Mickey Must Die and Mickey Must Die, A Reprise I am continuing the epic saga of my battle against pest invasion. This time it’s crickets.

Crickets have been appearing in my house by the score lately. I guess they come inside where it’s warm in the autumn, just like mice. I do not appreciate the extra company. The chirping at night drives me crazy, and it is next to impossible to find the little guys and eradicate them. Ergo, I have a Cricket Problem.

Apparently spiders have an easier time of finding the crickets than I do. This is why I have spiders the size of dinner plates under my bed. A diet of 3 or 4 pounds of crickets per day seems to encourage their growth, imagine that. It also encourages their boldness. I now have to wait up to half an hour to use the bathroom in the morning; the queue of spiders also waiting to get in is a surly one and does not put up with cutting in line. At least I have hygienic spiders.

My cat Mimi loves the crickets as well. She doesn’t exactly eat them, at least not right away. She likes to play with them a little first, and from a cricket’s point of view, she plays rough. I am continually finding cricket legs and wing bits all over the floor from this sport. As it happens, I’m actually glad she goes for the crickets instead of bigger game. Evidently she’s also learned not to fuck with the spiders.

Defenestrated Shih Tzu

I used to feed the crickets I caught to my Jack Dempsey, when I still had a Jack Dempsey. If you don’t know, Jack Dempseys are pugnacious freshwater tropical fish. They are a member of the Cichlid family, and originally come from South America if I remember correctly. My Jack was a beautiful and deadly cricket-killing machine. I’d drop a cricket in the tank, it would struggle a little bit, then BAM! the Dempsey would hit it and there would be just a small bit of cricket leg left in the water. To my great chagrin, an ex-girlfriend murdered my finny pal one day when I wasn’t home. To get even I defenestrated her Shih Tzu.

I might have been dreaming, but I thought I recently read that somebody built a robot that could home in on cricket sounds in the house. I can’t find the article any longer, but I can only hope that the little robot also comes equipped with an automatic weapon of some sort, both to snuff the cricket chanteuse and to defend itself. In my house, the spiders would probably resent the competition and dismantle it. Then they’d trap me in a web and force me to disclose the name of the maker. I can’t be held accountable for what might happen then, but if I were the robot inventor I’d start wearing a fake nose and mustache when I left the house.

In the face of the recent cricket influx it occurred to me to wonder what crickets eat. According to the Insecta Inspecta, whoever the hell that is, must be Vinegar Man’s cousin:

"Crickets feed on just about anything. They will eat plants, dead insects, seeds, leather, paper and old cloth (especially if the cloth is stained by food or perspiration). They are particularly fond of wool and silk."

Great. Not only do they keep me awake at night, they will also eat my books, my sheets, my underwear and my leather Dominator costume. Time to order the damn robot, I guess.

Maybe I can somehow convince the crickets to leave my house without needing to engage in cricket genocide. Maybe they’ll decide to move to Brooklyn and become cockroaches.

- Hulles

Friday, October 13, 2006

Once again I find myself casting a gimlet eye upon male / female relationships in general and sex specifically. This time it’s about seduction.

The gentle art of seduction seems to be slipping away from us. These days, apparently all you have to do to get laid is fall down. This has not always been true, however. Once, seduction was a skill that took years to master. I’m not claiming that I am even a journeyman seducer , but I do know a couple tips for you guys out there in need of a mentor's advice.

Incidentally, I say “guys” because women seldom have need to practice seduction on men. If most males even have the hint of a suspicion that a woman wants to bed them, Bob’s your uncle and the deal’s closed. The only men that women should really need to seduce are priests and married guys. I don’t know anything about seducing priests, thank God, but married guys should be off limits. I know, they’re a challenge to your female wiles, and they seem so safe and cute, somehow, but don’t do it. The emotional cost isn’t worth it.

So guys, say you want to seduce a woman. You have progressed to the point where she has come over to your apartment and is done cleaning your bathroom, now what do you do? Music, my man, music. Everyone knows that Sade is the classic seduction music, and sometimes the classics are best, but I have a special one that you should try. Find a recording of P.M. Dawn’s “I’d Die Without You” (off the Bliss album) and set your stereo to Stun. Make it so the track repeats; you won’t want to be getting up off the couch to play it over again, trust me. This song is so good that it makes me wet just thinking about it. After the first listening, getting little Suzy horizontal will be like shooting fish in a barrel

If Ashley (tch, tch, robbing the cradle, aren’t you?) proves a little more difficult, say because she spent her first 22 years in a women-only bible camp, you still have seduction options left. I won’t desert you now.

Speaking of desserts, I actually learned this one from women – the way into a girl’s knickers is through her stomach. (I know the metaphor is a little odd, but I find it strangely evocative.) Make her food. Make the food you make for her chocolate. And don’t make just any chocolate concoction, make Raspberry Chocolate Mousse. With some girls you don’t even have to make it; just saying it is enough to get them dewy. If you do make it, find a recipe (or wait until I get around to blogging mine) that uses fresh raspberries, Chambord liqueur, and homemade chocolate mousse. Do make it from scratch yourself -- mousse isn’t really very hard to make, but it looks like it is, so you score points for that as well. Once you pull the cute mousse-filled crystal parfait glasses from the fridge – you do have parfait glasses, don’t you – it will be all over but the moaning. Make lots, by the way, as this dish is so rich and decadent that it occasionally makes its way into the bedroom with you for carnal use.

I know I said earlier that women don’t have much use for seduction techniques, particularly with me, but the exception proves the rule. I was in Switzerland a number of years ago, and decided to phone a lovely woman I had met just prior to leaving the States. I dialed her digits from the BevNap (of course) and chatted with her a while, running up my Swiss friend’s phone bill considerably in the process. I told her I’d be returning to Saint Paul in a couple days, and she asked me if she could pick me at the airport, bring me back to her house, and give me a warm bath, complete with candles! It would help me get over jet lag, she said. Damn straight, I thought. Of course this little anecdote had the expected denouement, but I still cherish the memory of that so-romantic seduction that was both unlooked for and unnecessary.

I’ll leave you with an anti-seduction story. I was sitting in a bar once (shut up) and in came a sort of dumpy middle-aged woman who plopped down beside me. She immediately began hitting on me, which frankly doesn’t happen to me that much, but she was pretty aggressive about it and I was saying no. She wasn’t my type, really; I think this is true not only because I found her unattractive, but also because she was an attorney working for the Department of Revenue, two big strikes against her right there. She wasn’t taking no for an answer, however. She reached into my pants and grabbed my dick, in front of God and everybody. Now I felt strongly that this was not really a fair tactic. She was effectively cutting out the middleman and dealing directly with the boss at that point. I certainly didn’t want to go home with her, but it seems the boss liked the attention so he dragged me out of the bar right behind her. I felt helpless and used, cheapened really, but there you go. No arguing with the boss when he sets his sights on something. I’m sure this woman must have been an effective trial lawyer; she certainly had the closer down.

Girls, please don’t try the above anti-seduction technique unless you’re completely arm-waving drunk in a bar and can’t talk well enough to let a guy know you want to jump him. Even then, maybe you could have a friend write a note on a BevNap to give him or something. While the middleman-bypassing ploy is a sure thing, you may want to go back into the same bar another evening without that annoying snickering sound in the background.

- Hulles

Well, it’s back to the bars, at least in this blog. The bar my chum Unca Don and I were sitting in a while back was on Selby Avenue in Saint Paul, called Chang O’Hara’s. It is now defunct, but not because Don and I were slacking as patrons.

We were being our usual charmingly eccentric selves, laughing at things no one else thinks are funny at all, when our friend Ferbs walked in. As he was about to plunk down on the corner bar stool, we solemnly informed him that he was about to sit in The Seat Of Pleasure And Of Pain. He just looked at us blankly and sat down anyway.

The rest of the evening we would periodically ask him, “Ferbs, how’s the Pain?”

“You know, I’m kind of enjoying it,” he would reply.

“Ferbs, how’s the Pleasure?”

“Actually, it’s starting to hurt,” Ferbs would answer.

Based on this interrogation, Unca Don and I determined that The Seat of Pleasure And Of Pain was in need of some adjustment. Maybe it needed to have its chakras prodded or something. We were certainly disappointed with the Ferbs trial.

Chang O’Hara’s management doggedly refused to fix it. They just looked at us like we were nuts when we complained. “What the hell are you talking about?” was, I believe, the typical response.

No wonder they’re defunct.

- Hulles

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Today is my friend Susan’s birthday. Happy birthday, dear.

Besides being a friend, Susan has the dubious distinction of being an ex-girlfriend of mine. Though we broke up many years ago, I still have fond memories of our time together, and I consider myself fortunate that we are still pals. I feel badly that I have been out of touch with her recently, but maybe emailing a link to this page will go some way toward regaining her good graces.

The aspect of Susan that I recall most fondly -- at least as far as you know -- is her sense of humor. For example, I have a priceless photograph of her sitting in my apartment with aluminum foil covering her head so she wouldn’t be controlled by aliens. This was before the movie “Signs”, by the way.

She and I still joke about the fact that the only gifts I gave her when we were dating were a can opener and a bag of dirt. I guess that wasn’t the year I won The World’s Best Boyfriend award. I’m not sure she deserved the can opener, but she certainly deserved the dirt.

Another time, Susan was over and we somehow began talking about beer jello, so I made some. It’s simple – take a package of Knox Unflavored Gelatin and make it according to the directions, but use beer instead of water. After letting it set in the refrigerator for a while, I took the bowl out so we could try it. We both literally ended up rolling on the floor, we were laughing so hard. The thing that was so funny was that it looked like a bowl of beer, complete with a foamy head, but it wiggled. When we finally quit laughing, we both tried to eat the stuff. It tasted like flat stale beer flavored with horses’ hooves. God bless Susan for being game to try it, though.

Now she is married to someone I haven’t met, but who I think I would like if I did. He sounds like a good unit. At least, the last time I talked to her, she was married…. Guess I’ll find out.

Again, happy birthday, Susan. I hope you’re doing well, and I have big hugs for you always.

- Hulles

Recently I was desperately groping for some kind of law enforcement topic to blog about so I could somehow use a wonderful line from Firesign Theater’s Lt. Bradshaw: “Take a tip from a cop who does….” Then it struck me, like the hot kiss on the end of a wet fist -- I was once in law enforcement! I used to mete out two-fisted justice! In fact, I used to be a lieutenant myself!

School Patrol badge

The law enforcement agency with which I was connected was the AAA School Safety Patrol, or the Patrol, as we liked to call ourselves. I think I was in sixth grade at the time. Our mission was to keep the street intersections around our grade school safe for the kiddies younger than ourselves, to whom we were like gods.

Being in the Patrol was considered quite an honor, at least to geeks like me. We got to wear white canvas shoulder harnesses with badges on them, we were issued whistles, and we got to yell at kids. “Walk!” we would scream at a running child. “Cross or die, runt!” we would holler at some unfortunate little tyke. We would catch a kid carrying a concealed slingshot, whisk him off the sidewalk, then haul him screaming into the basement of our Patrol Headquarters and “debrief” him. Often he would never be seen again. We were quite the miniature Nazis. This stood us in good stead later in life when we became parents.

A really cool thing about being in the Patrol was that we got to show up a little late for class in the mornings and leave a little early in the afternoons. This was so we could practice our swaggering and clean the blood off our truncheons.

A select few of us were SS Patrol Officers. There were a couple of Lieutenants (I was one, heh heh) and the Supreme Overlord, or Captain. We officers quickly became strutting little martinets. It was us that maintained unflagging discipline within the ranks of the SS Patrol and kept it from degenerating into a (worse) bunch of thugs. In other words, we were the only thing that stood between the AAA rules and utter anarchy. It was a thankless job, I can tell you.

My function as Lieutenant was to run a string of informers in our grade school. The little weasels would come to me and tell me of overheard threats against the Captain, give me advance warning of potential runners, and squeal about planned uprisings in the fifth grade. As you might suspect, the SS Patrol would then execute the lot of them, often without the express consent of the Principal. We called it “plausible deniability” at the time. (This phrase has since found a wider usage.)

It’s funny, at this late date I can’t recall if the Captain was elected by a majority of the Patrol members or just appointed by the school dictator. Regardless, it was quite the honor (see geek comment above). Our Captain was John Peterson. I still salute him out of habit when I see him at our class reunions. At these affairs, by the way, we former School Patrol officers always manage to sneak away from our spouses and end up in a dimly-lit bar singing the forbidden AAA drinking songs far into the evening.

So now you know the story of the heady days of my career in law enforcement. It was indeed an intoxicating few months for Hulles. This is where I learned that power corrupts, and absolute power is actually pretty cool.

- Hulles

Today in Saint Paul it was cold and windy, and it snowed. Snowed! I’m not ready for winter yet, dammit. I was very much disgruntled by this unlooked-for turn of events. This is because my gruntles were frozen off when I was outside smoking a cigarette in the wind and snow. Not even daydreaming about Margo Timmins cheered me up today.
Thank blog I received this nice email this afternoon:
Dear Hulles,
I am an English professor at Wellesley College. I like your blog so much that I am making it required reading for my freshman writing class.
V.I. Knuper, Ph.D.
Excellent! As you can imagine, this email made me very happy and quite proud of my little web log. And do you know what the best part of all this is? The poor kids in the Wellesley writing class will have to read every damn one of my blog entries. 5 Hulles Stars of Gratitude to Dr. Knuper!
I am in fact so grateful to the good professor that I have prepared a multiple-choice final exam on my blog to save him the bother. I present it here, along with the answers:
1: What is a yeast cop?
A: An excuse to not have sex because of a vaginal infection
B: A law enforcement officer in charge of keeping expired yeast off grocery shelves
C: The scum that forms on the top of a beer vat
2: What woman is Hulles not madly in love with?
A: Jennifer Garner
B: Mala Rodríguez
C: Martine Van Hamel
3: What can happen to you if you wear a tongue stud?
A: It can get hit by lightning
B: It can give you lead poisoning
C: It can put someone’s eye out when you sneeze
4: What must the hair tonic people think we hold in our ears all the time?
A: Earwigs
B: iPod earphones
C: Cabbage flowers
5: "How Drug!" was automatically translated from:
A: Swiss
B: Brazilian Portuguese
C: Californian
6: Harry Morton is President of:
A: The Pink Taco chain of Mexican restaurants
B: The Hair Club for Men
C: Liberia
7: Vinegar eels are actually:
A: Nematodes
B: Rubber douching devices
C: Lawyers
8: Hulles' answer to "Is that your Porsche?" was:
A: Yes
B: No
C: Incredibly witty
9: Caroline Haerdi is a
A: Victoria's Secret model
B: Strumpet wrangler
C: Swiss knife thrower
10: What has Poland's zloty been doing amid the recent uncertainty?
A: Rising
B: Sagging
C: Detumescing
11: “My Naked Birthday Dance” is ritually performed by Hulles in:
A: His bedroom
B: Toronto
C: Prison
12: "They shoot, they get naked themselves, and they drive me fearful" was said of:
A: Penthouse Magazine photographers
B: Female guerillas in Liberia
C: Rogue yeast cops
13: Dorothy Parker's parakeet was named:
A: H. L. Mencken
B: Fluffy
C: Onan
14: If you are a male, you can use pantyhose to:
A: Convince your friends you’re straight
B: Beat up your upstairs neighbor
C: Make wigs for your sock puppets
15: If you falsely represent yourself as an iconoclast, the AAPI will:
A: Snivel and whine about it
B: Denounce you to the authorities
C: Pop a cap in your ass and sue your mangled corpse
For extra credit: Hulles resembles the following celebrity:
A: Ed Bradley
B: Brad Pitt
C: Ginger Rogers

If you took this test, you can view your results below:
0 – 4 correct answers: Give me a break. Dumb luck should produce 5 correct answers.
5 – 10 correct answers: Time to sign up for the Remedial Hulles class.
11 – 15 correct answers: If you’re a woman, I’m madly in love with you. If you’re a guy, jeez, I think you’re pretty okay.
16 correct answers: OMG, you’re me!
- Hulles

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Larry Nozzle of Adengoda, Eritrea writes:

I am an avid fan of your blog. I just started reading it, and I’m not sure if you’ve mentioned this earlier, but I’m curious: do you have children?

Only when I can’t have adults, Larry.

Ashley Gordon of Missoula, Montana writes:

I am an avid fan of your blog. I notice you keep saying how you’re madly in love with this woman or that woman. Just how many women are you madly in love with, anyway?

However many there are minus one.

Florence Draper of Deadwood, South Dakota writes:

I am an avid fan of your blog. As I read your turgid and pithy entries, I notice that you frequently use foreign words or phrases. What other languages do you speak? And BTW, I must complement you upon your masterful command of English. Your use of the English language makes both William Safire and Justin look like great big not good users of words.

Thanks for your ebullient praise, Florence; it’s well deserved. And good job in including that hyperlink in your letter, by the way.

Although I studied Latin in college and learned gutter Puerto Rican Spanish (¡coño!) from my stepkids, I really only speak English. Come to think of it, however, I can drink in 5 languages: English, Spanish, French, German and Czech. Whether this is something to be proud of or embarrassed about remains to be seen.

That’s it for the mailbag today. (Alas, I have to confess that I shamelessly swiped the first response from a line in the Ken Russell movie, “Lair of the White Worm.” It’s just too good not to steal.)

- Hulles

[Polemic Alert: the following inflammatory rhetoric is perhaps only of local interest. Saint Paul, my adopted home town, recently passed a law banning smoking in bars and restaurants. The mayor, Chris Coleman, and city councilman Dave Thune were vociferous proponents of this law.]

Saint Paul used to be a tough town. Back in the day, it was home to a motley collection of gangsters, molls, henchpeople and gunsels. If, for example, the mayor told Pretty Boy Floyd that he couldn’t smoke at a speakeasy, he might reasonably expect to be fished out of the Mississippi a week later wearing concrete overshoes. If a city councilman said to Machine Gun Kelly that he couldn’t smoke at Nina Clifford’s brothel, it would not be surprising if said councilman developed a severe case of lead poisoning while driving to the store in his Model A. Admittedly, these guys were murderous punks and we’re better off without them, but the fact remains that Saint Paul was a tough, colorful, resilient city -- once.

Alas, no more. Nefarious influences are at work to drain the lifeblood from the city of Saint Paul and replace it with insipid gruel. Welcome to the emasculation of Saint Paul: Chris Coleman and Dave Thune don’t think you’re smart enough to choose between smoking and non-smoking bars, so smoking is no longer allowed in any bar in the city. And you support them.

You, Joe Smug, have now made it safe to take Mrs. Smug and all the little Smuglets to Costello’s and get them arm-waving drunk without fear of later developing lung cancer, heart disease or emphysema.

You, Susie Self-Righteous, with your fancy hyphenated name and your scowl and fake cough as you walk by me while I smoke in front of W. A. Frost, have succeeded in helping to destroy the pernicious capitalism that so cripples the American economy.

Congratulations. You’ve turned Saint Paul into a pallid milksop of a city.

You may come to regret it.

When Central America invades Minnesota, and the streets of Saint Paul are filled with strutting troops from El Salvador and Honduras, it will be too late. When you at last discover that Coleman and Thune are actually Guatemalan stooges sent as an advance party to pre-pacify Saint Paul, it will be too late.

Sure, you’ll shout “Darn you!” at your new oppressors, make faces at them when they’re not looking, and pelt them with organic rice cakes. Then it’s jackboots on the stairs and your family is hauled off to a “detention center” in one of the 15 or 20 new sports stadiums you unwittingly built them. It won’t matter to you then that the bar of soap that they hand you is Neutrogena, or that the towel is plush Egyptian cotton loop, because the shower you’re headed for is definitely not artesian spring water.

That’s when you’ll need strong men, angry men, profane men -- Dakota County men, because that’s where we’ll be after you drive us out of Saint Paul. We’ll be drinking and smoking in Moose Country in Mendota Heights, watching the tanks roll down Rice Street live on CNN up on the big screen. And not a man among us will be drinking soy lattes.

Don’t come crying to us to save you from the ravening hoards. We’ll blow smoke at you and give you emphysema.

- Hulles

Sometimes it seems that I don’t view the world in the same fashion as everyone else. I keep seeing omens and portents where other people just see stuff. I feel like a peculiar sort of one-man audience, where all the people in the world are unwitting magicians, constantly performing astounding acts of magic that only I can see. In Spanish there is a word, duende, that means ‘enchanting or magical’. I live in a duende world, at least when I can.

In an afterword to Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov describes something similar:

For me a work of fiction exists only insofar as it affords me what I shall bluntly call aesthetic bliss, that is a sense of being somehow, somewhere, connected with other states of being where art (curiosity, tenderness, kindness, ecstasy) is the norm.

Those other states of being are what I’m talking about. I like those states of being. I frankly prefer them to the literal, dreary old mundane world. Here is more on the duende world, from T. S. Eliot’s Preludes:

I am moved by fancies that are curled

Around these images, and cling:

The notion of some infinitely gentle

Infinitely suffering thing.

Wipe your hand across your mouth, and laugh;

The worlds revolve like ancient women

Gathering fuel in vacant lots.

I’ve liked this ever since I first read it in college. This poem speaks to something primordial within me. It feels almost like a religious description of the perception of the magic in the world. In passing, I note that this is why there is no room in my life for someone with the soul of a clerk, not that there have been many applicants these days.

All of this leads up to the following poem by Lewis Carroll, from Sylvie and Bruno. I have always viewed this as being my own personal biography. I present it in its entirety; I hope you enjoy it.

The Mad Gardener's Song

He thought he saw an Elephant,

That practised on a fife:

He looked again, and found it was

A letter from his wife.

'At length I realise,' he said,

The bitterness of Life!'

He thought he saw a Buffalo

Upon the chimney-piece:

He looked again, and found it was

His Sister's Husband's Niece.

'Unless you leave this house,' he said,

'I'll send for the Police!'

He thought he saw a Rattlesnake

That questioned him in Greek:

He looked again, and found it was

The Middle of Next Week.

'The one thing I regret,' he said,

'Is that it cannot speak!'

He thought he saw a Banker's Clerk

Descending from the bus:

He looked again, and found it was

A Hippopotamus.

'If this should stay to dine,' he said,

'There won't be much for us!'

He thought he saw a Kangaroo

That worked a coffee-mill:

He looked again, and found it was

A Vegetable-Pill.

'Were I to swallow this,' he said,

'I should be very ill!'

He thought he saw a Coach-and-Four

That stood beside his bed:

He looked again, and found it was

A Bear without a Head.

'Poor thing,' he said, 'poor silly thing!

It's waiting to be fed!'

He thought he saw an Albatross

That fluttered round the lamp:

He looked again, and found it was

A Penny-Postage Stamp.

'You'd best be getting home,' he said:

'The nights are very damp!'

He thought he saw a Garden-Door

That opened with a key:

He looked again, and found it was

A Double Rule of Three:

'And all its mystery,' he said,

'Is clear as day to me!'

He thought he saw an Argument

That proved he was the Pope:

He looked again, and found it was

A Bar of Mottled Soap.

'A fact so dread,' he faintly said,

'Extinguishes all hope!'

This mordant poem is, to me, evocative of the other magical worlds that I occasionally inhabit. And I often bitterly resent being forced to live in the real world, where the elephant is really a letter from my wife. Call me the Mad Gardener.

- Hulles

Monday, October 09, 2006

“When in Rome, one must be romantic.” – James Branch Cabell

I’m always hearing and reading complaints from women that their men aren’t romantic. I’m not sure what this means, exactly. For instance, I consider myself one of the most romantic men around – I once bought roses for my wife-to-be without anybody telling me I ought to.

Seriously, I do think I have a romantic nature. (See More Dance for supporting evidence.) The trouble is that it is almost always wasted by me ending up in very romantic situations either alone or with “just a friend.” (As in “More Dance”….) So that all this great romance doesn’t go to waste, however, I thought I’d share some of the exotic locations to which I’ve been in a series of blog entries. The places I mean to describe are guaranteed to kick-start the passion of any beer-guzzling, football-watching boyfriend, if only you can get him there. If one of my entries catches your fancy, print it out and tape it to the twelve-box in the refrigerator; he’s sure to catch on if you then explain it in short sentences using small words.

The first place I’m going to describe is near Brienz, Switzerland. The Hotel Wildbach (see also here for a description in English) is nestled in the Swiss Alps in the picturesque Interlaken area. The hotel is “on the shore of the blue-green Lake of Brienz, which gives you the chance to take a swim in the cleanest lake of Switzerland just in front of the house.” The hotel itself is a charming little A-frame chalet, with 2 “family rooms” and 7 double rooms.

I was at the Hotel Wildbach a number of years ago with Danielle “just as friends” (a different Danielle than the “More Dance” Danielle, FYI) and another couple, the male portion of which was my buddy Unca Don. Don was living in Basel at the time, and we had come over to visit him and stick him with Kelly, the female portion of which. The four of us went on a driving tour of the Swiss countryside and made a beeline for the Alps first thing. I made us go to Grindelwald because a friend of mine was working there and I wanted to pop in and surprise her (“Hi! It’s me, Mark!” “Who?”).

We arrived in Grindelwald as it began to grow dark. I went off looking for my friend while the others in the party checked into the lodging situation. I never could find my friend, and when I reconnected with the rest of my posse they were, to say the least, disgruntled with Grindelwald. Everything was horribly overpriced and it was full of American skiers. If that was what we had wanted, we would have gone to Aspen. So we got the hell out of town and drove off into the dark Swiss night to anyplace else.

Driving at night in the Alps in a tiny car with two cranky women is a powerful incentive to find lodgings ASAP. As we drove, we passed the little Hotel Wildbach, then, realizing that we had just seen the magic word “Hotel”, we turned around and went back and checked our asses in. The place at the time was run by a wonderful couple whose names I forget. The woman led us to the common room of the inn and plunked us down by the fireplace. We quickly uncrankified ourselves with some food and a cart of cordials and liqueurs (is there a difference?) that was brought to us by the proprietress. She turned out to be a very charming woman. She chatted with us for a while, then led us off to our bedrooms upstairs. Don and Kelly got dropped off at their room, and D and I were taken to ours. It was a rustic chalet kind of bedroom, imagine that, but it was well appointed. We ended up sharing a bed (platonically, of course) and went to sleep quickly after a long day and in spite of Danielle’s snoring.

When we awoke the next morning, Danielle and I stepped out onto the balcony that runs in front of the chalet. We were astounded to see the sun just rising over the tops of the mountains, painting the western peaks in a vivid rose color before reaching us down in the valley. The lake which the hotel fronted was covered in roiling fog, giving it an eerie but beautiful contrast to the bright pink peaks. Hell, I’d forgotten we were on a lake; it was dark when we got there the previous evening. At any rate, the whole scene was breathtakingly romantic. In fact, even Danielle and I cast an appraising eye at each other, caught up in the passion of the moment. Then we (read she) said “Naw, we’re just friends. Let’s leave it at that.” I am a guy, after all, but I ended up reluctantly agreeing with her after an icy cold shower.

Later that morning we left Interlaken and passed into my memories. The point of the story, of course, is that once again Hulles found himself in the most romantic of settings without any chance whatsoever to acquire an STD. But you can have that chance, if you grab a partner of whatever sex you prefer and drag them off to the Swiss Alps and the Hotel Wildbach. It will be romantic, guaranteed. And tell the doctor Hulles sent you.

- Hulles

A while ago I posted an entry about, among other things, the Onion (the entry was “Anarchists Adopt Robert's Rules of Order After Melee”). As part of my court-mandated public service, I would like to direct your attention to several other funny organs (insert your own joke here).

When the magazine The National Lampoon first came out it was the funniest thing ever published. Prior to TNL, that distinction probably fell to Mad Magazine (remember Cracked, a competitor?). The first year of the Lampoon had a couple classic things in it that I still remember. One was a full-page picture of a girl’s bicycle with a scratch-and-sniff sticker on the seat. Another was a letter to the editor that ran something like this:

“Dear National Lampoon,

“The world’s longest palindrome has heretofore been “A man, a plan, a canal, Panama.” I would like to announce that I have created a longer palindrome: “A foof, a man, a plan, a canal, Panama foofa!” Would whoever is in charge of this sort of thing please send me a check to the enclosed address.”

If you should ever go to a palindrome web site, the above “longer palindrome” often appears without being attributed to TNL. Now you know better.

The magazine also ran a column on Canadian stuff so that they could get a cheaper postal rate for delivery in Canada. This might have been joking on their part, but I believe it to be true. I also believe that this column eventually evolved into the SNL skit “The Great White North,” which in turn spawned the movie “Strange Brew.”

Another funny organ that is now defunct was “The Citizen Harold”, a free newspaper that was published right here in the Twin Cities. I miss this rag a lot. It was very similar to the Onion in content. One headline that I still cherish is:

Special Export Not Really Exported

Not Very Special Either, Study Finds

I love that. They also did a very funny short article about Gary Zukav and Deepak Chopra getting into a bar brawl (“I’ll stuff your soul so far up your ass you can taste it!”).

There. I’ve completed this segment of my public service so I can show it to my probation officer. Now I can go back to writing about vaginas.

- Hulles

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Since I wrote the “Trouble in Taco Town” entry, I’ve been thinking about vaginas. Not vaginas per se, actually, but things that look like vaginas. There are many things that fall into this category, and Georgia O’Keefe painted most of them. In fact, I thought about calling this entry “Georgia On My Mind”, but the title I used is just too good to toss out. Besides, it’s more relevant to the content, as you will see.

Like many of us, I’m a sushi lover. My favorite kind of sushi happens to be clams. In season, I’ll order hokkigai and akagai before any other sushi or sashimi. I also love asari sakamushi, clams in sake broth, sometimes called “drunken clams.” I guess I’m just a clam kind of gai[1], ha ha.

One kind of clam that I seldom order is called mirugai. I just don’t happen to care for it as much as the other kinds. It has nothing to do with the fact that I think it looks very much like a vagina. In fact, I find this an endearing trait; it makes me want to like it more. Alas, I prefer hokkigai and akagai. I note in passing that mirugai is not a kind of clam itself, rather it is the spout (or siphon) of the giant clam. I found this out myself just moments ago; live and learn.

I was thinking that the cool thing about mirugai is that you women could use it as tool to weed out substandard men without having to invoke the Ten Date Rule. This could save you lots of time, effort and anguish. I present the following scenario as a public service to heterosexual women everywhere, although now that I think of it the ‘heterosexual’ qualifier is unnecessary. I guess it’s more universally applicable than I originally thought.

First, you make the guy take you to a Japanese restaurant. If he acquiesces, this is already a good sign. Second, you somehow make him order mirugai. If he downs it without batting an eye, this bodes well for your future physical relationship. If he goes squeamish on you, you might want to reconsider dragging his ass home to bed. If he orders a second helping, jump him in the car as soon as you leave the restaurant.

Before we leave vaginas (withdrawal is the technical term for this), I want to mention that evidently some women have two of them. It’s called didelphic uterus. Box Set has this condition, and posts a blog on this very topic. It makes for interesting reading. You can find it at The Esquire article referred to in the blog says that the woman being interviewed lost her virginity twice:

“The first time was when I was eighteen. Then I lost the other side two weeks later. To the same guy. You'd think I could have saved one of them for marriage.”

She goes on to say that, although she has to use two tampons when she gets her period, she is recompensed by the fact that she can have two orgasms simultaneously. Dang. Being a man, I can’t help but also imagine the kind of performance anxiety a guy she’s dating must experience: “No, honey, I’m sorry but I only came in the left one that time, too.”

See, the Internet is good for something besides downloading porn. Today we not only learned about giant clam siphons, we discovered the strange new world of dual vaginas. Tune into Hulles tomorrow for your further edification; who knows what we’ll learn together as we penetrate new virtual frontiers, thrusting ourselves into the vastness of webdom, piercing the veil of online ignorance….

- Hulles

[1] ‘Gai’ is the Japanese word for clam.

It occurs to me to say just a little more about BevNaps, referred to in the previous entry. It had escaped me that BevNaps seem to be an American phenomenon. Nearly every bar in the U.S. uses them when they serve drinks. In Europe, I recall getting little paper coaster thingies instead (when the drinks weren't just hurled at me by angry Frenchmen). Those little coasters would be tough to use as toilet paper. Good thing I live in the States.

- Hulles

Friday, October 06, 2006

The other day I found a crumpled BevNap in my pocket that said “6/25 – Taco Flavored Kisses.”

First, you should know that BevNaps are my friends. In case you don’t know what BevNaps are, they are white cocktail napkins made by Acclaim, a division of Georgia Pacific. I have a plethora of uses for BevNaps – as facial tissue, as toilet paper, as stationery and even, sometimes, to put cocktails on. I always hope that the ones that I find in my pocket were used as stationery. I use BevNaps to write notes to myself so often that, geek that I am, I wrote a computer program to store their contents for later reference. I called this program “Bevnapster”, cleverly enough. (You should know that I can read the thought balloon above your head right now that says “Dork,” and I’m very offended.)

I have no idea what Taco Flavored Kisses are. This BevNap was salvaged after a cocktail too many at some bar, and I can’t even remember who said it, let alone what it pertained to. I’m pretty sure a woman said it, though. The “6/25” part is easy – that’s the date it was said. I record this stuff on my personal calendar, so that next June 25th I’ll see that it’s “Taco Flavored Kisses Day (2006)” and wonder what the hell it means all over again. (I see that thought balloon again, dammit.) That, by the way, is how I know that this weekend is Socktoberfest.

The first idea that occurs to me regarding TFKs is the obvious one – kissing someone after hitting Taco Bell. Hopefully this wasn’t a complaint, since I have been guilty of this myself, both as the kisser and the kissee. I don’t think this kind of TFK is so bad, myself, but then I routinely do things that would make many Lutherans faint.

The next idea I have is a little more risqué. Apropos of this, Bette Midler achieved infamy with her joke, “if God hadn’t wanted man to eat pussy, he wouldn’t have made it look like a taco.” So if that’s the taco flavor we’re talking about, and it was said by a woman, it sounds like bitching about the results of oral sex, which strikes me as a little ungrateful to say the least. Assuming that it was her taco, of course. I have been guilty of this one, too, but fortunately only as the kisser.

I’m going with the second idea, I think. It reminds me of something I heard once, “sex is only dirty if you do it right.” Amen, sister.

Before we leave tacos, you’ll be happy to know that Lindsay Lohan has been dating Harry Morton, albeit as her third choice after Johnny Depp and Ashton Kutcher. What does this have to do with tacos, you ask? Harry Morton is the president and CEO of “The Pink Taco” chain of Mexican restaurants. It seems that Harry got into a little bit of trouble in Scottsdale, Arizona when he tried to open a restaurant there. Some people evidentally found the name offensive. Quoting the Wikipedia entry:

“This generated a complaint from Mayor Mary Manross who said she was offended, although she did not see the name in a sexual way until the complaints were raised.”

Poor Ms. Manross, is what I’m thinking. She’s probably someone who would bitch about a TFK (Definition 2), if she was lucky enough to get one.

- Hulles

I’ll bet you thought I forgot all about it, or that I’d let it pass without comment. Well, you’re wrong, dammit.

I’m talking about Socktoberfest, of course. This weekend it’s all about the socks. Well, okay, it’s also about the beer, and the buxom wenches, and the non-stop partying, but it’s mostly about the socks. To celebrate socks and Socktoberfest tomorrow, I plan to party like they’re on sale for $19.99.

It’s not that I’m a sock fetishist or anything. (Some people are, apparently.) In fact, mostly I don’t think about socks at all, unless one of mine gets a hole in it, or I need something to stuff into a partner’s mouth during Loud Sex. That’s why Socktoberfest is such a big deal to me: it’s the one weekend a year when I can pay homage to my little cotton friends and not feel too weird about it. And when I pay homage, believe me, homage will be paid and then some.

This year, to celebrate Socktoberfest, I considered going to a sock museum. There is quite a reputable one in Yokohama, Japan, called the Sock Museum. I just recently learned of another one located in Serbia. Oddly enough, it is also called the Sock Museum. It’s like having two Louvres, I suppose. Unfortunately, I had to rule both pilgrimages out because I can’t afford the airfare. For that matter, I can’t afford bus fare to the airport. Perhaps next year….

I think the United States needs a sock museum. We suffer enough from world opinion without the ignominy of having no sock museum. Maybe I can get a grant of some sort to start one. This would meet several needs at once – America can at last proudly hold its head up in the hosiery world, Saint Paul would get a much-needed tourism boost, and yours truly could skim a bunch of money off the grant. I’ll keep you posted.

The U.S. used to have a sock museum. It seems that Nero, New York, once called “Sock City,” had one, but they lost it in the ‘70’s (just like I did). I quote from You Can’t Go Wrong, Stories From Nero, New York & Other Tales:

“The 1970s renewal of Nero was fraught with poor ideas - an unpopular sock museum, a downtown hotel with a leaky roof and a parking garage prone to flooding.”

I guess the Nero museum must have housed a substandard collection of socks; that’s the only reason I can think of for it being unpopular. They should have hired the curator away from the museum in Japan. This would have caused Japan to lose face in the sock world, while at the same time giving the Nero museum the much-needed boost in expertise to establish its collection.

It’s no use crying over spilt milk, I suppose. (I can, however, cry in frustration over my word processor continually changing ‘spilt milk’ to ‘split milk’.) I guess I’ll just have to drown my shame in beer this weekend. At least I won’t be partying alone. It’s the biggest weekend of the year for my sock puppets, so it’ll be zany times at the Hulles household for sure. Woo hoo!

- Hulles

Monday, October 02, 2006

If I’ve counted correctly, this is my 50th blog entry. Happy anniversary, Hulles. Thanks. Thanks also to the people who have encouraged me in my writing. You know who you are.

This will be a short one, but one that’s important to me, and one that I seem to be unable to stick anywhere else. It’s a quotation from the book Justine, by Lawrence Durrell, and is spoken by the title character:

“You have the soul of a clerk.”

There is no worse insult in my book. If you use it yourself (and I have), please use it with care. Ironically, for someone accurately described by the above sentence, it’s probably not horribly insulting at all.

- Hulles

All throughout adolescence and a good part of my adulthood I was painfully shy. If I had the opportunity to address an attractive woman, I would usually just keep my mouth shut; if I said anything at all it would invariably sound inane and inappropriate to my ears and embarrass the hell out of me.

No longer. These days I am, as they say, a silver-tongued devil. I not only kissed the Blarney Stone, I took it to orgasm. Four times. Now, when I address an attractive woman, I am the wittiest conversationalist I can possibly imagine. “Glib” and “facile” are words that leap to mind when I reflect upon my ability in this regard. All of this is a result of a dramatic change in attitude that I had at some point – I decided I didn’t give a shit what anyone else thought about what I said and from then on I would simply say whatever the hell I wanted to. The arrogance implant I had didn’t hurt, either.

Having said that, at one point my pal Unca Don and I were both working in Toronto. Neither of us really knew anyone there socially, so I was constantly exercising my conversational talents with strangers of the female persuasion. It is not too much to say that Don was awestricken at my ability to win over young ladies with my charm, frankness and self-deprecating wit. As a case in point, we were sitting in the cocktail lounge of a hotel, and I wagered that I could make the lovely woman sitting by herself at a table come and join us in ten minutes or less. Not only did I win the bet, she enjoyed talking to us so much she blew off the wedding rehearsal dinner which had brought her to the hotel in the first place.

Of course, as with all arrogant people, I eventually had my comeuppance. Unca Don and I were sitting in a small bar on Queen Street in downtown Toronto drinking Belgian microbrewery beers at the time. His back was to the window onto the street, but I sat at right angles to it and could (and did) watch the passersby as we talked. At one point, a gorgeous brunette with a phenomenally cute ass walked by the window. She was wearing skintight blue jeans; I could read the date on the loonie in her pocket. As she walked by, my head obviously tracked her passage as I sat there chatting with Don. She noticed me watching her, walked in the door, walked up to me, stood next to me, and said to me, “Is that your Porsche outside?”

Now there are two words that could have been created specifically to describe me at this exact point in time: ‘dumbstruck’ and ‘poleaxed’. My brain flatly refused to believe that this totally hot woman would come in off the street and start flirting with me. “That’s it,” said my brain. “I’m out of here until reality starts up again.”

Don later said he thought to himself at this point, “Here we go. This will be like shooting fish in a barrel for Hulles.” As a few moments went by, however, he noticed my stricken look, and incredulously heard me say:


And silence reigned.

At this point, Don figured out that I was completely stunned by this whole thing, and began struggling hard not to laugh at my obvious discomfort.

This plucky woman was not to be deterred so easily, however. After a couple of minutes of uncomfortable silence, she looked at the Belgian bottle in my hand and said, “How’s the beer?”

Good,” I replied.

After a few minutes more of silence, she turned and walked out of my life forever.

Freed from restraint, my putative pal Unca Don began rolling on the floor me. Me, I just sat there and quietly whimpered until my brain turned back on. Color me chastened.

I felt then, and feel now, that such an incredible event as this beautiful stranger walking in off the street to chat me up will never happen to me again. But if it does, I’m ready. I have about 20 Porsche lines prepared, and I’ll buy her as many Belgian beers as she wants if I have to steal from church collection plates to do it.

Come back, dear. I’m better now.

- Hulles