Bourbon Cowboy

The adventures of an urbane bar-hopping transplant to New York.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

I'm a storyteller in the New York area who is a regular on NPR's "This American Life" and at shows around the city. Moved to New York in 2006 and am working on selling a memoir of my years as a greeting card writer, and (as a personal, noncommercial obsession) a nonfiction book called "How to Love God Without Being a Jerk." My agent is Adam Chromy at Artists and Artisans. If you came here after hearing about my book on "This American Life" and Googling my name, the "How to Love God" book itself isn't in print yet, and may not even see print in its current form (I'm focusing on humorous memoir), but here's a sample I've posted in case you're curious anyway: Sample How To Love God Introduction, Pt. 1 of 3. Or just look through the archives for September 18, 2007.) The book you should be expecting is the greeting card book, about which more information is pending. Keep checking back!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Holiday Plans (Some Blegging)

It looks like I'll be visiting Chicago for Thanksgiving (coming in Wednesday, flying out Monday), and then I'll be in Tucson for ten days or so, from around the 9th to around the 19th.  

The reason for this schedule is so that, this year, I can finally have my first ever truly New York Christmas, which means two things: 1. celebrating Festivus in its natural environment (NYC) on Dec. 23rd, and 2. celebrating Christmas by eating Chinese food and going to the movies.

This leads me to the following requests:

Request #1.) Chicago people: contact me!  I've got a lot of friends there, but it's been awhile and I have nobody's phone number.  So if by some chance you're reading this, email me or something.  I'm not quite sure how to do it, but other people have managed, so I'm sure it's possible.

Request #2.) If anyone knows of something happening for Festivus, let me know!  I imagine that there will be some large thing in Brooklyn announced in The L magazine or something, but still; I'm always willing to hear suggestions.  What if I go to a plain old Festivus party in Park Slope and then discover there was a Festivus concert in Queens featuring the Beastie Boys?  It's my first time; I'd like to do it well.

Request #3.)  This is actually the biggest problem.  I'd like to "eat Chinese food and go to the movies," but I assume most Jews do this with other Jews.  I don't go to Temple, and most of my Jewish friends are actually headed out of town.  Does anyone have any ideas for how to lamprey myself onto an existing celebration?  Are there groups (like, I don't know, maybe knitters or someone else with a Meetup or other overt social profile) who might be doing something like this?  I won't feel truly New York-y until I can pull this off, so this is actually psychologically important.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Black Nerds Unite!

Ta-Nehisi Coates, who is now one of my favorite writers, has a hilarious little article on how NOT to survive as a black nerd.  The article is here, but be sure to read the comments, too, in which the readers add their own experiences.  

By the way, Obama collects comic books.  So he really is a nerd made good.  All hail President Spock!

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Friday, November 07, 2008

Next Up: The Hand Formed in the Shape of a Tiny Pistol

I love this: The stick is inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame.

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Brief Thought on the Inevitability of Gay Marriage

I was quite depressed that California passed Proposition 8 to deny gay people the right to marry.  But after a moment's thought, I believe I can prove that this is only a temporary problem.

The main data point I have here is what we saw in the first two terms with Clinton.  When he ran against Bush Sr., one of Bush's campaign aides turned out to be gay, and Bush let him go, for his obvious political conflict with the campaign.  A mere four years later, another gay person showed up in Bob Dole's campaign (it's like they're everywhere) and Bob Dole didn't fire him, though he clearly wanted to.  In four years of Clinton, prejudice against gay people suddenly became political suicide.  

I predict it'll happen again.  Just by virtue of having a Democratic majority everywhere, the Democratic platform will pretty much be the thing people talk about until everyone's bored, and "gay marriage" won't seem any more horrifying than "green" or "bailout."  It won't exactly sweep the nation, but in urban places like California it definitely ought to change.   

I wouldn't say this, by the way, if the country were incredibly opposed to gay marriage, like they are to having, say, an atheist for President.  But the Prop 8 vote was split almost 50-50, so the opposition is hanging by their fingertips.  An Obama Presidency is just the sort of thing to make their grip loosen.  (Also, the anti-gays tend to be older; in four years there will be thatmany less of them, and a significant number of new voting-age citizens with gay friends and no particular hangups.)

It's a temporary setback, but the emphasis is on "temporary."  I'll even lay money on it.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

A Dave Fun Quiz: Before and After

Twenty words are clued below.  The ten "Before" words all undergo the same operation in order to become their "After" counterparts, which are in mixed order.  What is the operation--and for that matter, what would have been and/or will be a more thematically appropriate time to post this quiz?  (All words are between 4 and 7 letters long.)

BEFORE Clues

1. Act coquettishly, like Sarah Palin
2. Trade
3. Plugs of tobacco
4. Brightly colored parrotlike bird
5.  A common utility
6.  React to an alarm clock
7.  Crash
8.  Make sanctified, like ground
9.  A male witch
10. Detroit hockey player

AFTER Clues

a.  Call of "anyone there?"
b.  Horse opera
c.  Pig noise
d.  Making renovations to
e.  Like an old bucket of song
f.  Mayhem
g. Mitchum-Russell film set in a foreign city
h. Lever 2000, e.g.
i.  Vacuum cleaner company
j.  Part of a rowboat

I'll show the matchups and explain the whole thing in a later post.  In the meantime, enjoy!

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Triumph of Old Media

Nate Silver says it best:  "Good luck finding a newspaper this morning."

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...And Here's Reason Kajillion-and-One

I was walking home from the PATH station (that's the train to/from New Jersey) and saw the following display at 14th and 3rd Avenue, a good distance away from where the ginormous flag had been earlier.  Apparently someone had brought along a drum.
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It was like this everywhere, even at 3 a.m.  When the subway stopped and the doors opened, you could hear cheers from distant cars.  People were honking horns and shouting "Obama!" at passersby through their open windows.  I can only imagine what it must have been like in Chicago.

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Why I Love Manhattan, Reason Number Kajillion

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At tennish, Obama had 197 electoral votes and we figured we could stop worrying.  So while my friend Tracy and I were leaving a viewing and heading to her place in Jersey (where Jon Stewart lay TiVoed), we passed Union Square (roughly 14th St. and 4th Ave, for you out of town folks), and saw that someone had covered the entire apron near the street with a giant flag that a bunch of people were simply flapping up and down in a celebratory manner.  It was a lovely, fun, and essentially nonpartisan way to celebrate Election Day, and I even got a little video so you get some sense of the size involved.  Thanks a lot, Crazy Benefactor!

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Waiting! It Hurts!

Even though I'm not especially concerned about the outcome--Fivethirtyeight.com gives Obama a 98.9% chance of becoming President--I'm finding that waiting for the coverage and the results is terribly distracting, like trying to sleep on Christmas Eve.  So screw this.  I'm going outside.  Maybe I'll buy a couch.

Wham, Obam, Thank You Maam

For some reason I decided to get dressed up a little for voting day.  I put on a hat, a nice new suit jacket I just bought in San Francisco, and shaved.  It took a little extra prep time, but it was coming on 8am, so I figured even if the line was hours long, I'd still get in eventually.  I brought a book--appropriately titled And Then We Came to the End--and an iPod, and a bottled water and a snack, just in case it took the hours I'd been warned about.

I needn't have worried.  Although some people have reported lines around the block, here the lines were all inside.  It still took a good deal of time (there were two booths for the entire 35th District), but I got in and out in about 45 minutes, which is less time than it took to vote for Kerry back in Tallahassee, where the lines really were out the door and down the steps.  As proof, I offer this photo of the polling place.  Notice the no lines--although I think this says more about its extensive interior space than it does about everyone's excitement.


Speaking of which, it was over rather quickly, and wasn't quite as magical as I had hoped.  I mean, yay Obama and all that, but for some reason I expected to be moved--this is a huge vote and a historic opportunity--and instead I simply felt, "Well, it's about fucking time."  Maybe that's just as well.  Common sense shouldn't feel heroic.  It should feel common.  

Of course there are perks to make this day feel more special.  But please note that while Ben and Jerry's is offering free ice cream, and Krispy Kreme is offering free donuts, and Starbucks is offering free coffee, no one is as committed as Babeland, whose stores are actually offering free sex toys ($15-20 value each)!  Let's hope they don't go bankrupt.  For today at least, and to keep Babeland solvent, I recommend widespread partnered sex in the streets, sort of like V-E Day.    

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