Monday, December 31, 2007

Monday Moment Of Zen - My Smokin' Hole

No. I haven't suddenly developed an affinity for getting punch-fisted. I've always liked that. Rather I thought I would give you a look at how a restaurant owner in Germany has decided to get around and register his dislike of his state's newly enacted smoking ban. Basically, his solution involves poking your head through a giant sphincter in the wall until you hang your personal pie-hole on the outside in order to practice your god-given right to die of cancer. Some would argue this is an appropriate analogy, as only a pretty giant sphincter would go to these ridiculous lengths to poison himself and still remain "comfortable". But you didn't hear me say that.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

One Vagina Martini, On The Rocks

I'm basically running the restaurant alone for the Saturday night dinner shift now, which will work unless we get crazy busy. Then it will be too much for one person. But it's exhausting and I fell asleep last night around 2:30 and didn't set an alarm on purpose. I slept until 1:30 this afternoon. So in lieu of a longer post you'll just have to be content with this story from last week out of Japan. They are so freaky dirty over there, it cracks me up.

By Stephen Yagielowicz
Wednesday, Dec 26, 2007

OSAKA, Japan – In what some observers see as the beginning of a campaign to clean up the area, a popular adult club in Osaka's Minami entertainment district has been targeted by police.
Recently six of the club's hostesses and one male customer of Impulse, a "sexual cabaret club," were arrested on charges of indecent exposure after the hostesses allegedly worked while in the nude while the customer exposed his genitals.

Other allegedly indecent acts have been reported at Impulse.
"As soon as you enter the club, a hostess will give you a hot towel that she has already used to swipe her private parts. You can start fondling the hostesses' breasts as soon as you sit down, but that's nothing. You immediately get a drink, but it's a hostess's urine served on the rocks. They also serve tidbits sprinkled with cuttings of the workers' pubic hair," Shukan Jitsuwa reported. "They also had a service where the ice served in drinks is first inserted into the hostess's private parts. They just kept on getting wilder and wilder and I think they went too far in the end."

While Impulse forbids media coverage, word of the club spread quickly, making it one of the most popular clubs in Minami.

"That place was warned plenty of times in the past for going too far," a sex industry writer said. "I knew there'd eventually be arrests there some day."
"Sure, it stretched the limits, but it never really went beyond them. It didn't provide any sexual services that resulted in ejaculation and if there was any nudity going on, it was never anything more than a quick flash," a call girl service operator said. "Even its most raunchy stuff wasn't that serious. I think the arrests have been made to send a message to others."

"Some people are saying the tough line cops are taking on adult businesses in Minami will only go on until the end of this year. But I think they're wrong. I think this crackdown is going to keep on going for ages," a writer covering Osaka police news reported to Shukan Jitsuwa. "And the reason why I feel that is the cops working on Minami now are the same ones who carried out the massive clean-up a couple of years ago of the Kabukicho district in Tokyo."

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Rest Of The Story

Last night's adventure with the new manager continued to be "interesting". After the last reservations were in and midnight rolled around we finally closed up shop for the night. As I said, I tend to avoid spending any more quality time than necessary with the new manager. I also don't follow co-workers around, making sure they do this or that. I'm not expected or paid to. The vibe around work is that you pretty much police yourself on that front. Unless something goes terribly wrong, one of the things I love about my job is that nobody is micro-managing how I use my time.

So it wasn't until the end of the night that we were thrown together out of necessity. I need to train him on the closing procedures. Registers need to be cashed out. Waiters need to turn in their charge slips, paperwork, money, etc. Change banks need to be verified and re-set. It's thrilling. Really. And it's honestly not that hard as long as you're methodical about it. You need a system. And you need to do it the same way every night. That way it becomes second nature and you generally don't forget to deposit the money or leave the safe unlocked over night.

Wow. Those first two paragraphs are crushingly boring, no?

In a nutshell, the new manager couldn't close because he was drunk.

He has a serious drinking problem, despite his attempts the other night to list all the reasons he doesn't. So instead I did the entire close for him. Which is kind of pointless because I already know how to close. And after thinking about it over night and taking in to account the fact that before he was "promoted" to his current position there were several instances where he had to be disciplined for drinking-related problems, I ultimately decided I'd had enough and went to our supervisor. I related what I observed and avoided making any dramatic pronouncements. But I did point out that, god forbid, who knows what would happen if we were to leave him alone one night and something serious were to happen when he was drinking. The potential to be shutdown and/or sued would be a massive risk. After a brief back and forth debate between myself and another manager and our supervisor, we decided that he will be relieved of his position right after New Years.

I feel bad (In a way) that I had to be the one to "pull the trigger" on this problem. But someone had to. And I hope it serves as a wake-up call for this man to see that his drinking is out of control, and so is he. But I doubt it. I don't get the impression he's ready. And you don't just realize one day you have a substance abuse problem. You have to be ready to see.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Talking To A Wall

I've been working all this week with one of the new managers. Aside from the fact that he annoys the piss out of me in general, I had the oddest exchange with him. I try to avoid being in situations with him where we make small talk because I usually can't understand half of what he's saying anyway and when I do understand him it's usually obnoxious or just dumb. Quite frankly, I have no desire to get to know him or vice-versa. But I happened to be having a bite to eat at the bar yesterday when he oozed up next to me and inquired again why I never drink. I finally decided to get it over with and replied bluntly:

"Because I'm an alcoholic."

"No you're not."

"Um. I'm pretty sure I'd know... So, yes I am."

What ensued was a 10 minute conversation about why I'm an alcoholic and how much I drank and how I quit and all the gory details. At least as gory as I was in the mood for.

The conversation ended with him complimenting me on how matter of fact I am about it and how brave he thinks I am. Oh, and we of course had to list all the reasons why he doesn't have a problem with alcohol. AS IF.

So imagine my reaction this evening when the conversation touched on the cases of champagne that were delivered this afternoon in preparation for New Years Eve.

"We're getting ready!"

"Right" I replied, unenthusiastically.

"Are you going to have some champagne with us for New Years?"

I turned my head to him, dripping with disdain (and we know how messy that can be).

"You're a fucking cartoon! Get lost, you Muppet."

OK. I made that last sentence up. I just walked away.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Day, Party Of One

So I ended up working on Christmas Eve after all. It occurred to me after I posted about possibly getting the day off that my supervisor hadn't actually scheduled me to do payroll for this week. It's usually due by noon on Wednesday and my next scheduled shift isn't even until Wednesday night. So I decided to go in for a few hours on Christmas Eve and get the payroll done rather than wake up under the gun or be forced to rush through it on Wednesday. The alternative, where no one gets a paycheck during Christmas week would have made yours truly a most unpopular individual. And we can't have that now can we?

Christmas Day I woke up after dozing fitfully and puttered around watching morning TV. The Disney parade on ABC is just one giant infomercial for Disney nowadays isn't it? I think the Disney Imagineers could go ahead and replace Regis and Kelly with animatronic characters for all the fake enthusiasm they bring to the show. Maybe it's always been that way and I'm getting crusty in my old age.

Had a little coffee and took Jet to the park for a walk. After I got him home we opened his Christmas stocking. Yes, my dog got a Christmas stocking and yes, I shopped for my dog. I'm not completely crazy I didn't wrap anything. He got yet another squeaky toy and about 3 different kinds of rawhide as well as a bag of dog cookies. At one point he kept jumping back and forth from the rawhides to the squeaky toy until I decided that he was just getting confused and put some away for another day. I've already given him more biscuits and cookies today than I ever usually do.

I made myself a nice breakfast of scrambled eggs with cheese and mushrooms along with three fat slices of Canadian bacon and toast. Then I unwrapped the cards and presents that the family had sent last week that I kept under the tree as well as a couple of gifts from the kids at work. Mom and dad sent socks (which I count on every year), some clothes, about 4lbs. of pistachio nuts, three tins of homemade Christmas cookies (courtesy of dad) and a modest check. My niece sent me a beautiful framed picture of herself that her father (who was a professional photographer) took. I absolutely love it. Also got some candles and a Jet Blue gift card to offset the ticket price when I really can go to visit the family.

I took Jet out again in the afternoon. There were other people walking dogs everywhere. I decided to sit in the park for a while and give him a good brush. He's a gay man's dog all right and will sit for a brushing as long as I want. Plus he knows a biscuit comes at the end. Then I went back to the house and made some Christmas phone calls to family and friends to say a proper thank you for the gifts. After which I dozed off for an hour. I'm usually not one for a nap but I haven't been sleeping too great lately and I had nothing else to do so I gave in. I woke up and made some chicken and mushrooms with diced tomato and Spanish rice. I also baked a potato and have a tray of stuffed peppers I made yesterday. Dinner and/or lunch is set for at least a few days.

The one thing I didn't do all day today was go to into a single open store or restaurant. Not a 24 hr. drugstore or diner and most certainly not a grocery store or restaurant. Many years ago we developed this rule in our family. It comes from years and years ago when my dad used to have to go to work on Christmas day. Before that, stores were always closed. But somewhere along the way, as stores opened up and people started spending money, more and more restaurants and then groceries then all manner of stores, theaters and businesses opened. Because people came in. Money was made. And then more and more people had to leave their families or interrupt or delay Christmas while loved ones had to work. Because people are too lazy or too dumb to figure out what food they'll need one day in advance. Or maybe the toy they bought needs batteries. Or perhaps the camera on Christmas might just need, oh I don't know, film? How surprising it must be that the car will need gas for that trip to visit relatives today. So all manner of selfish fucks will flood groceries because they absolutely can't live without mini-fucking-marshmallows or bread crumbs. And instead of planning ahead and buying a jug of cheap wine because the family will drive him to drink, get belligerent and scream at his little girl, another dumb ass will go into a bar on Christmas night and remark about how sad it is that the bartender has to work. Not sad enough to push his beer gut away from the bar and get his alcoholic ass home, but sad nonetheless.

So needless to say I have no illusion that I will be part of the solution. That genie ain't going back in the bottle. But I refuse to be part of the problem. I have food, my dog has food. I've got milk, bread, contac lens solution, condoms and lube and clean socks and underwear. I've got several DVD's I've never watched, and a few I could always watch again. I've got video games I've never mastered and a book I'm working on. I even stole my neighbor's New York Times this morning. So I don't even need to visit a newsstand. If a few million more people would do the same, maybe someone else's dad wouldn't have to go to work on Christmas. I'm just sayin' ...

Monday, December 24, 2007

"Merry Christmas, Baby"

Come and get your present ....

All I Want For Festivus Is Serenity Now!

Slept in on Sunday. I had an easy week as far as amount of hours but there was a lot of stress leading up to Christmas. The entire restaurant staff has been working pretty hard since Thanksgiving. Entertainment, Tech, Servers, Barbacks and Kitchen as well as host/hospitality have all been putting in crazy hours, long hours or going without days off to get us through the holiday party season. We've begun to fray. At least I have. I unleashed on at least one of the servers. Not that he didn't deserve it, but I uncharacteristically strafed him so bad he'll either get in line or quit. Which I suppose is why I did it. Either outcome is OK with me.

Saturday night right before leaving for my Sunday day off it was questioned by my co-worker in that he didn't understand why I was scheduled to come in on the 24th at night since we are only open as a nightclub. I handle the restaurant, Human Resources and payroll so anything involving the nightclub beyond paying their staff has very little to do with me. I agreed and expressed my confusion as well. At which time I was informed that maybe I could take that night off as well. He would let me know. Trouble is, that night, being the 24th, added to my days off already on the 23rd and 25th would mean that I could in fact have gone home to be with the family at Christmas. I suppose I still could if I find out on the 24th that I am indeed not needed. But the ticket price the day of the flight would be outrageous and I haven't bought a single gift, seeing as how it seemed going home was impossible, so I would be forced to sit and open gifts (or at least gift cards) while I would have nothing in return. Now of course I know that mom and dad would say the presents don't matter that it's far more important we're all together. And they'd be right. But I'd still feel like the po' single gay child with no savings but plenty of HIV prescriptions to show for my life.

And that's not how I would choose to spend my holiday. However long it ends up being.

Friday, December 21, 2007

In Other News ...

Of interest. At least to me. Maybe. It possibly doesn't interest you in the slightest.

Friday, December 21, 2007


December 20, 2007 -- In a move that illustrates how television networks are girding for a protracted battle with striking TV writers while also scrambling to fill major programming holes, interactive karaoke restaurant Spotlight Live is closing in on a production deal, The Post has learned.
According to three sources familiar with the situation, broadcast networks ABC, CBS, NBC, The CW and a handful of cable networks held informal talks with Spotlight founder Jen Worthington before the writers strike began about developing a TV show based on Spotlight's concept.
A source inside NBC said the network thought Spotlight, a Times Square club and restaurant that features five professional recording booths and provides professional backup singers and dancers for would-be performers, might be a nice fit with the network's theme parks, or could be a show broadcast on cable or video-on-demand.
While informal at first, sources said the networks' talks with Spotlight, which is being repped by Creative Artists Agency, have ramped up since the writers strike began Nov. 5, and a deal could be in place in time for 2008's mid-season.
Spotlight's talks with the networks have intensified as the antagonism mounts between networks and striking TV writers, and as network sources privately say they don't expect a resolution to the strike before March.
Worthington declined comment for this story. The networks mentioned either declined comment or could not be reached for comment.
Prior to the beginning of the strike, the networks ordered a plethora of reality-show programming that they hoped would tide them over until a deal was reached. But with a resolution not expected anytime soon, sources said the networks will likely need to greenlight additional reality-show programming.
Each new reality-show deal accomplishes two goals for the networks. First, because reality shows don't employ writers, they fill the void created by scripted programming that has been halted or canceled due to the strike. Second, it signals to writers that the networks can withstand a strike indefinitely.
Spotlight, where Jennifer Lopez and Alicia Keys have performed, already has some powerful partners on the music and Internet side of its business in SonyBMG's Epic Records and cable company Comcast, respectively.
Epic has agreed to provide studio time and to record, produce, distribute and market a single from eight winning singers selected by Spotlight's diners, an online audience and Epic judges. Comcast streams videos of the performers through its Ziddio unit.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

It's A Wonderful Life

One more day of private events before Christmas. I still have to work every day but the 25th, including Christmas Eve. I doubt I'll be around long enough to take in the festivities as we host a Jewish Singles event later that night though. Although that really sounds like it's gonna be a laugh-riot. I'll be spending Christmas here in NYC as one day off isn't enough time to hop home and it's right back to work on the 26th.

The following week we'll be open for tourists and people still celebrating as well as those that are winding up for New Year's in Times Square. We're working with some outside promoters and that seems more and more like it's going to be a disaster of biblical proportions.


Wow. Major interruption as I was writing. A brawl broke out at the bar. Police. EMS. Blood. Broken glass. None of my staff was hurt, thank goodness. I have to get the place closed up and calm everyone down. I'll update tomorrow if there's time.

UPDATE: So the fight. Here's how that went down. It was the end of the night. Kitchen was closed. Only about 20-25 bar customers left. I wasn't in the room. Apparently, there was a group (4 or so) of business suits drinking at the bar. They had come in for drinks after another function. All was well until this mook decided that his bag was missing. We never have determined if he actually came in with the damn thing in the first place, but he was liquored up enough to insist he had and it was missing. You have no idea how many people flat out insist something is lost when they never came in with it in the first place.

Next thing you know the dumb fuck is demanding his bag and up and throws a beer bottle at one of my bar backs. He missed and took out a couple of bottles in display. The sound engineer was close by and grabbed the freak before his friends intervened and took him away from the bar to calm down. He assured them he was fine. Immediately after being released this drunken overgrown fratboy proceeds to take a $500.00 computer kiosk touch screen and smash it on the ground. At this point the police were called and his friends and some good Samaritan customers tried to hustle the asswipe out the door. As they were pushing him towards the elevator the dickwad took one more opportunity to grab a glass from a nearby table and throw it at the head of one of my waiters. With that, at least two of my staff and one bystander tackled the fucker and they all tumbled down a small set of stairs. The dumb ass then smashed his own face down on the carpet, underneath which is concrete, and split open his forehead. A fate he completely deserved.

By then the police had arrived, at which point I came upon the scene. The drunk moron was laying on the floor bleeding like a stuck pig as his friend continued to berate the staff and yell at the police. I honestly thought he had been stabbed at first. While I got the whole story and made sure my people weren't hurt, EMS arrived and began to treat the perp and get him ready to transport. After interviewing staff and customers and taking names and statements, the police pretty much discounted their version where my employees suddenly and without provocation started beating on a patron for no reason, and were instead pretty clear that even though he was now drunk and bleeding on my carpeting, this douche-bag had committed at the least attempted assault, destruction of property and whatever other charges add up to 35 year old alcoholic white guy with rage issues.

In the end, my contacts with the police department tell me he was treated at the hospital and placed under arrest. My employees may have to answer some follow-up questions but there's no trouble for them on that front. I ended up cleaning up all the bloody tablecloths and napkins, as well as all the bandages, saline and plastic gloves the EMS workers discarded at the scene. The night crew was left to quickly shampoo the puddle of blood left in the rug. They did a great job, by the time we re-opened late this afternoon, you could barely see it.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Monday Moment Of Zen

Little Pothead, Big World

Here's "Midget Mac", one of the contestants from
VH1's heinous hit I Love New York 2.

Observe how cute his tiny little hands are as he holds on to that big fat blunt. I would venture to say it's the only time he ever feels high. Get it? 'Cause he's so low ... I'll be back for the 10 pm show. Try the lamb.

-images via Rhymes With Snitch

Sunday, December 16, 2007

She's Pooped!

Closed the restaurant on Friday midnight and back again to open and work a party by 10 am. There was 3 1/2 hours of fitful sleep in between. Then I worked a regular restaurant close on Saturday night as well. A double shift on a Saturday! Don't these fuckers know how old I am? I keed. Sort of. I am beat. I ran out of gas around the half-way point but I rallied again at the end and managed to attend a going away gathering for one of the managers after work. I left after the third bottle of champagne was started and the second round of shots was downed. When you don't drink anymore, being at a bar is only fun up to a point. And that was as good an excuse as any to beat feet and get home to the dawg.

As a side benefit, I got a little extra cash for dragging my saggy white ass around the joint for 14 hours and then on top of that, the party hosts on Saturday afternoon left some cash for the managers to split. Not unheard of but very rare and most appreciated. Considering I was trying to stretch my last 10 dollars out until next Friday's payday. I now have more than enough spending money to carry me through the week and part way in to next. Huge relief. First thing I bought? A big bag of dog food and some extra cans.

I'm such a good dad....

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Jack Mackenroth Is Really, Really Gay

In fact, he may be running for Mayor of Gaytown judging by this YouTube video. - via Queerty.

As you no doubt either know by now or don't care, Jack was forced to withdraw from Project Rungay in last night's episode due to a recurring staph infection. People are talking now about how courageous and brave he is for being upfront about his HIV status. Fine, great. But honey, as far as I'm concerned Jack is the bravest queen I know for appearing on national television (OK Bravo) looking like Goldie Hawn in the First Wives Club! But he did take the time during several post-show interviews to explain what this (MRSA) staph infection is, how it's difficult but not impossible to treat, and how it's not really related to HIV. It can be a very dangerous infection, and left untreated people can and do die from it. It's also extremely painful. HIV+ people do, in fact, contract this infection, but it seems that you are either kind of susceptible to it or not. I speak from experience, of course, as one of my former roommates, or They Who Will Not Be Named, suffered from a recurring MRSA infection several years ago. I visited him in the hospital, I was there when he dressed the wound and I even lived with him for part of one bout. The whole time, I was of course also HIV+ and never caught it.

Happily, Jack reports that he is fully recovered and feeling fine. In fact, according to published reports he has pointed his Chelsea man-breasts to the wind and hooked up for several dates with Top Chef token-gay Dale. Bitches.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Anybody Want A Paycheck?

Every Tuesday I do the employee payroll. All the waiters, busboys, runners, bartenders, bottle servers, nightclub servers and now lately all the retail employees. I collect all their schedules, check their hours, record and report their tip money and make sure they get paid for all the private parties and events we do. Then I take all the data and record it on an Excel sheet and send it off to our payroll department. The checks come on Friday. Sometimes an employee will wait for me on Friday afternoon to point out a mistake I've made, lying in wait outside the office ready to pounce before I even get my coat off. Of course, they usually only make that mistake once. Sometimes an employee who really should know better will just try to verbally request I pay them more. Like I just send in undocumented requests for checks and they give them to me. I wouldn't be crushed under a mountain of credit card debt if that were the case.

We actually have a software program that should speed up this process but we've never been able to co-ordinate the collective will of myself, the employees, the other managers and the various individual and now outsourced payroll departments to be able to get it up and running. I am determined to remedy this by January 1. But in the meantime payroll takes me about 4 or 5 hours every Tuesday. Today it took me from 11:30 until just after 8:30. Not counting a soup run and some bathroom breaks.

This is in large part due to the increased amount of parties and events in December. The holidays and all. 'Tis the season. Because I work so hard on the payroll, I really try to make sure mistakes are kept to a minimum and everyone gets the money they're due. I basically created the rudimentary stone and tablet method we use to accomplish it every week, and I find I'm quite sensitive to accusations I've made an error or that someone hasn't been paid. It also drives me wild when the payroll department nitpicks for forms and signatures when all I want to do is get someone a check. I realize it's their job. It still makes me crazy.

Many times, an employee will plop down in my office and a bit too arrogantly for my taste announce they were shorted on hours or "something's wrong" with their check. I always dutifully try to address the problem as soon as possible, often spending an hour or two trying to re-construct the week in payroll and find out what's wrong. Sometimes, if I'm not sure, I pay them anyway. But I freely admit to taking a bit of smug satisfaction when I can prove right on the spot in front of witnesses that the "error" was in the person's shoddy or non-existent record keeping, and my borderline OCD use of documentation and filing was, in fact, perfect.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Monday Moment Of Zen - Craigslist Ad

Naked In The Dentist Chair - 50


Because nothing says hot like a chance to "rome" around a toothless, fat, hairy guy with his "paints unziped". Still, it's nice that he's discreet.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Saturday Spotlight (5)

Just plain folk that are awfully good singers come by all the time and belt out a number. Add in some backup vocals and a music track and bring a friend who knows how to hold the camera steady and voila!, a fairly decent Saturday Spotlight. Here's a woman named Shea and her rendition of Natural Woman.

While I'm talking about work (again) anyway, I thought I'd mention that we did a party last weekend for the Romanian consulate here in NYC. Ordinarily that news and the ensuing party would be a snooze-fest, and it would have been were it not for the fact that one of our tech guys seriously fucked up and made a major faux pas in international protocol. Due to a missed cue and a technical glitch we inadvertantly played the US national anthem (being the host country) before the Romanian (being the guest country). A musical version of a loud fart during dinner and one the party planner had a mini meltdown over. Ooops.

The other, way more interesting story of note had to do with the guest list at the party. Out of all the people you would expect to find at a snooty cocktail reception and dinner thrown by the Romanian embassy, I would venture one of the last would be this guy:

That's right folks, I couldn't have been more delighted to see America's Most Smartest Model finalist, alleged serial groper, Romanian born (aha!) Andre Birleanu. I thought about trying to dress up like Poland and see if he wanted to try and re-create the Soviet invasion, but in light of the fact that we had already risked one international incident, I decided to stand off to the side and giggle like a schoolgirl instead.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Very Funny, Universe

I was just about to post a quick blurb letting you know I was around and fine. I had the day off yesterday and spent the time cleaning, watching internet porn and putting out Christmas decorations and putting up the tree.

Then just before I logged on here I pulled up my checking account on-line. My roommate's rent check bounced. Which means my rent check will bounce as well unless I figure something out right quick. Not good people. Soooo not good.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Thanks Universe!

So a couple of days after I wrote about the sad tale of my jacked up finances and my landlord's demands to, literally, get my house in order, I had set about advancing cash into my checking accounts and looking under every financial seat cushion I could find hoping to discover some hidden change that would make things better.

I also took the time to update my resumé and began answering Help Wanted ads. Although I pretty much love my job, I haven't been happy with my salary for quite some time, and I really have been pretty vocal the last couple of months about that very thing. My financial meltdown simply spurred me on to take the bull by the horns and launch my rapidly aging ass back in to the marketplace and see if I could find another company willing to pay a little better for my multi-faceted skill set. My intent was to possibly parlay a better offer into a raise. Unless I managed to stumble into an obscene compensation offer for my services in which case I would disappear faster than a diaper changer at Britney's house.

So imagine my surprise when I found myself alone one morning with my boss, who initiated a conversation about some future plans at work. One of the original managers is leaving, opting to return to Las Vegas and escape the cramped and depressing housing she found herself in here in NYC. There's a bit of a churn at work in general now, and it wasn't lost on me that people had begun jockeying for position. In any case, my boss inquired about whether I was willing to accept some increased responsibility in the new hands being dealt, and offered a salary increase to go along with it. I quickly agreed to an increase in both my responsibilities and my paycheck. Although quite honestly, I already have quite a bit more responsibility than even he seems to be aware. But that's a discussion for another day.

I decided not to ask about the size of the raise at the time. I didn't want to appear greedy. I did however mention that I had begun looking for another position, explaining that money, or rather my lack thereof, had been a serious consideration and I was prepared to leave if my financial compensation didn't improve. If I do say so myself, I think I lobbed that one exceptionally well, placing it directly between my offered raise and the actual figure. I said I'm not greedy, but she's a crafty one.

The upshot: Today I was given a 10% pay increase effective January 1st. It was exactly what I was hoping for. It's what I should have been making all this year. Again, that's another discussion. And while 10% won't translate into any kind of sea change in my quality of life, it will help. More importantly it makes me feel better.

And feeling better is half the battle isn't it?

And while I'm thanking the universe anyway, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention stumbling on to a repeat marathon of the Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency, or as I prefer to call it, the Asses I'd Jam A Stick In My Eye To Eat show. It was during said marathon that they ran promos for the new season that began airing tonight. In the opening episode, La Dickmesoon brilliantly (in my opinion) decides to open a Latin division of her "agency". The result? An hour enjoying some Ben & Jerry's Vanilla Caramel Fudge watching a coke-addled, collagen-lipped, white trash harpy screech in borderline racist Spanglish at some hot Latin male models in their underwear. Heaven! I can't think of a better way to celebrate. And that's a pretty amazing statement to close on.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Monday Moment Of Zen - Acres of Ass ...

It's video hooch Angel Lola and more junk in more trunk than anyone could possibly need. If you're feeling out of sorts today, just pull up this photo and contemplate the boo-fucking-tay.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Saturday Spotlight - (4) Sunday Special

So long, Whoopi.

Whoopi Goldberg has been broadcasting her morning radio show Wake Up With Whoopi from our venue every Friday morning for the past 15 weeks or so. It was on the air either incredibly late or ridiculously early in the New York market, depending on your point of view. Either way, I rarely see 5 am from either direction these days. So while I did get a glimpse of the Whoop-ster on several occasions as I was making my way home, I never actually met her. Several people on my staff not only met her, but dealt with her extensively. Lest you think I'm setting up something scandalous, all my employees had nothing but the highest praise for Whoopi. They all said she was funny and nice and a pleasure to be around. That and she really, really likes bacon.

Alas WKTU, the station that carried her show in New York, discontinued airing her ratings challenged talker last week. And just as quickly, we got the memo that we would no longer be hosting her Friday broadcast.

So this weeks Saturday Spotlight (On Sunday) features R&B and soul singer Ryan Shaw and a quick glimpse of Whoopi at the end. It was nice working with, and not meeting you, Whoop.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

AIDS- It's Not Just For Breakfast Anymore

The following facts and statistics from the international AIDS charity AVERT.

In 1981, the United States of America became the first country to identify AIDS as a distinct condition. Since then many thousands have become infected, and by the end of 2005, more than half a million people had died of AIDS in America – the equivalent of the entire population of Las Vegas. There are currently more than one million people living with HIV in America and around a quarter of those are unaware of their infection, which presents a high risk of onward transmission for future partners.

Yet the USA has no formal AIDS strategy, and thousands of uninsured Americans struggle to access good HIV care and antiretroviral therapy. The world’s biggest donor of AIDS-related funding is itself facing a major, ongoing AIDS epidemic, and the situation grows worse each year.

There are also variations in the geographical distribution of AIDS cases across the USA. Once an epidemic that was concentrated mainly in the gay populations on the East and West coasts, AIDS has also now taken hold within Black and Latino communities in many Southern states. The map on the right shows how AIDS cases were distributed across the US in 2005.

New AIDS cases across the US, 2005 (brown = highest concentration, light yellow = lowest)

The USA has no national prevention strategy or prevention targets. Prevention initiatives that actively work to prevent people becoming infected tend to be carried out on a state- or city-wide level, either by local authorities, or by HIV support organizations. Such prevention initiatives may concentrate on particular communities or groups of people, or they may be more general in their focus. Independent organizations play a particularly big role in preventing HIV among injecting drug users, as it is illegal for federal money (and occasionally state or city money) to be used for needle exchange programs.

One area where prevention efforts have successful in the US is the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT). Routine HIV testing for pregnant women in many states, and good treatment and care, means that diagnoses of HIV in babies have dropped dramatically since HIV was first discovered in the US.

In other areas, prevention efforts have had less of an effect however, and while combination antiretroviral treatment has helped to dramatically reduce the number of people developing and dying of AIDS in America, overall, around 40,000 continue to be diagnosed with AIDS every year. This suggests that HIV infection levels are not declining.

In September 2007, over 100 AIDS organizations joined together to call for the introduction of a National AIDS Strategy that would set out a clear national prevention plan and bring an end to the 40,000 new infections that occur each year. The campaign targets the candidates for the 2008 presidential election.

“The wealthiest nation in the world is failing its own people in responding to the AIDS epidemic at home. Our country must develop what it asks of other nations it supports in combating AIDS: a comprehensive national strategy to achieve improved and more equitable results."- Rebecca Haag, Executive Director of AIDS Action.