Thursday, February 28, 2008

i'm the driver, i'm the winner

I won the Neil Hamburger joke writing contest! Well, about five other people did too. I am proud to be this depraved. However, the email he sent notifying me was much funnier than my joke (mine is the Mary-Kate Olson one).
Great news! You were one of the grand prize winners in my joke-writing contest. Read the announcement for all the details. I will need your address in order to send you your prize. In addition, I will need your consent to continue using your joke on-stage, which I may or may not do.

Congratulations! You now have a wonderful resume item, should you choose to pursue a career in jokewriting. (Not recommended.)

Your $1 Funnyman,
Neil Hamburger


Ladies and Gentlemen,

After sorting through LITERALLY THOUSANDS of submitted jokes, many of them quite poor, we have selected our winners, of the first annual Write A Joke For Neil Hamburger Contest.

Before I announce the winners, I would like to mention that this was a difficult decision. There were hundreds of terrible jokes, yes, but there were also dozens of quality jokes, that would put Jay Leno's writers to shame. In fact, there were several runner-ups whose jokes I feel, would be a great addition to my set, at least temporarily, and who I would like to extend a PRIZE to as well! Yes, that is correct, we will have MANY WINNERS in this rigged contest!

Using an old discarded Scientology E-METER found in a dumpster behind the Church of Scientology in Hollywood, we measured audience response to many of your jokes last Sunday at Los Angeles' Spaceland nightclub. Based on the documented great response to some (though not all) of these amateur jokewriting efforts, we feel that additional prizes should be awarded to more than just the top 3 entries. And thus, we are awarding 5 PRIZES (personally inscribed copies of the upcoming "Neil Hamburger Sings Country Winners" album) to the five amateur jokewriters.

Now for the winners. We will not give the punchlines away here in this'll have to attend one of my many shows and hope that you hear them there, in person! (Or, you'll have to harass the winners, who may or may not be willing to share their handiwork.)

Why was Martha Stewart so upset to be sentenced to 5 months in prison?

Why did the blonde have trouble driving at night?

Why did Britney Spears become so addicted to cocaine?

What does disgraced rapper Tupac Shakur have in common with Blockbuster film 'Oceans 13'?

Why did Heath Ledger call Mary Kate Olson as he lay dying?

Thank you to all who tried, and failed. Failure is something that I am very familiar with. I hope you are not despondent over this. It is very possible that as inspiration wanes, I may refer back to some of the runners-up, and offer them a prize for the use of their joke at one or more of my many shows. So do not give up hope.

Your $1 Funnyman,
Neil Hamburger

Neil just put out a country album and when I saw the cover I started snorting from trying not to laugh at work, and pounded the desk just like an elderly person.


American Idol real quick: I like Carly the Irish chick. Probably just because she's Irish. Brooke the blonde guitar girl seems nice but her shiny glow of perfection is a little unnerving. I like Amanda the diesel dyke too, and Kady Malloy even though Simon is getting annoyed with her. Ramiele seems rad. The rest of the girls...meh. Robbie the long-haired ex-boy bander who needs to bring up his authenticity all the time...that guy is a little hard to deal with. Jason Yeager and David Cook of the contrived hair need giant wedgies. I loved the David who sang "Imagine." I can't believe I liked it but I did, I was moved! Danny Noriega is my favorite, he looks like Jessica Alba and you just know he wishes they'd let him perform in drag. Those are the only ones that stand out to me. What say you?

I am thinking of making my cubicle a little more interesting. I could get a welcome mat and stuff.


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

i'm literally confused

Has anyone else noticed how much people say literally these days, and they use it the wrong way? Like I just heard on the radio "He literally put his forehead against mine." And "I was literally scared to death." You're going to notice it now that you've read this, if you haven't noticed already. Also, I get confused when people say "It'll happen next Saturday" but they mean this coming Saturday. I sort of think of next Saturday as being the one after this one. But this coming Saturday is also next Saturday because it's the next one coming up. I just get confused. Yeah? Okay.

those are skittles, are they not?

Trailer for the Supergrass side project DHHM rocumentary. Needless to say it made my week!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

well, dimitry is spelled with an i

This combines two of my true loves, Amy Sedaris and bunnies! I lose it when the rabbit rings the bell with his paw.

Monday, February 25, 2008

northwest weekend

My new favorite show is Paranormal State on A&E. It's one of those ghost hunter shows but it's better because they don't sit around going "If you hear us give us a sign" and then squeal when they hear a knock, then ask for it again. They talk to it and then ask it nicely to leave. And my favorite person on it is a medium named Chip Coffey. He's like Mr. Garrison crossed with Corky St. Clair. David imitiates him so well. "Do NOT go over by the stairs, y'all! There is something bay-ud by those stairs!" "I'm getting a Margaret. Who's this Margaret?" Then he stumbles on a gravestone that says Margaret and he shrieks. It kills me.

We watched the Oscars last night in mostly fast-forward. Last year was a prime snarkfest at Amy's, oh that was fun! This time in fast forward we were much less snarky, except about Daniel Day Lewis's wife, what the hell did she have on?! Well, and we snarked about Tom Hanks and Jessica Alba and George Clooney's girlfriend. But it would have been much funnier if last year's snark crew were there. Maybe next time.

And here's more stuff from the weekend.



Got locked out

Going to Starbucks

With Shari at Walnut St. Cafe

Edmonds sunset

hearing test

eye thing

piggy bank contents on skateboard


Friday, February 22, 2008

why i might be going straight to hell

Today I was in the doctor's waiting room while the kids got their checkups. In there with me were about a dozen kids and one legless, fingerless man in a motorized wheelchair. I was trying to keep an eye on my little one amidst the chaos when an 18-month old bumbled over to the man's wheelchair and grabbed the controls!!! The chair was whirrling and spinning in circles, the poor guy was hollering and the mom of the kid was apologizing. I smashed my hands over my mouth to keep from laughing but I couldn't stop and I still can't stop even as I'm writing this. Which is why I might be going straight to hell. Help me.

do NOT turn jesus on

Here is a link that made me bust out laughing.

birthday pictures

My cherubs. 3 & 6 years old.




Wednesday, February 20, 2008

bad blood

The newest Supergrass video was posted today. Just when I think I couldn't love them more then write more music and make more rad-tastic videos.

story group session #2

So, story group session #2 was last night. I'm trying to get down my thoughts so here they are, in outline form. (Because sometimes I do weird things like buy books on Liberace, look up "balls" on wikipedia, and write out my thoughts in outline form.)

A. It feels incredibly strange to be that vulnerable with strangers.

1. You are usually never that vulnerable because in any other setting you might get clobbered...but in that setting you're perfectly safe.

2. You're safe because no one will marginalize or attack you. Everyone is interested and compassionate.

B. I had been nervous about committing to this, but I'm getting more and more excited about it.

1. I am grateful that the people in my group would share their most personal stories with me. It feels like a huge honor.

2. The group is not only interested in the pain or frustration that you have been bearing alone (or mostly alone)...they feel the pain along with you.

a. They feel it so acutely that they sometimes cry or show rage on your behalf.

b. By allowing these people to bear some of my burden I am feeling incredible encouragement and connection

C. It is really hard to allow the group to feel my pain.

1. I think this is because I don't want to burden then with it

2. But the group is happy to be burdened with it, and I believe them when they say they are, because I am happy to bear their pain and cry for them too.

3. I am thrilled to discover this level of relating; just that this exists.

4. I feel like this is what we were made for; to support and be supported. And it is so exciting when you feel like you have an idea of your purpose. It's as close to fulfilling as anything, I guess.

5. I love that this will help us heal from our dysfunctional families, because every family is dysfunctional, and yet we can honor them without letting them hurt us. We can deal with ourselves and what we can control, rather than being passive-aggressive and batting around surfacey issues (i.e., the petty things we occupy ourselves with because it is too painful to dig deeper and feel all those buried feelings). Dig them out and finally feel them, with the earnest support of others bearing them with you, and explore your true identity.

6.It is exciting to know about this, because it's like a new frontier!! A new and enlightened (yet ages old) way of relating and living with freedom and passion. Wow that sounded totally gay, but it really is about both of those things.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

proposed names for 'cashmere mafia' & 'lipstick jungle' spinoffs

Carrie made up these names for the shows Cashmere Mafia and Lipstick Jungle:

> > > > > > Evian Rainforest
> > > > > > Rouge Alley
> > > > > > Louboutin Barge
> > > > > > Chanel Grove
> > > > > > Charmeuse Boot Camp
> > > > > > Powder Puff Isolation Unit
> > > > > > Champagne Riot
> > > > > > Silk SWAT

And here are some I made up.

> > > > > Cosmeseutical Woodforest
> > > > > Cellulite Cream Casino Corruption
> > > > > Night Cream Consigliere
> > > > > Bag Balm Banditry
> > > > > Bronzer Temperate Grassland
> > > > > Blusher Bid Rigging
> > > > > Mineral Foundation Mob
> > > > > Mattifying Masonic Lodge
> > > > > Eyeshadow Extortion
> > > > > Pashmina Piracy
> > > > > Fleece Reef
> > > > > Angora Desert
> > > > > Anti-frizz SerumTrafficking
> > > > > Concealer Counterfeiting
> > > > > Mohair Tree Line
> > > > > Microfiber Mangrove
But I think the prize should go to The Soup for coming up with Tampon Swamp.

Friday, February 15, 2008

chicken fried bacon

On my birthday we went to the Austin Cantina in Ballard and it. Was. Amazing! (insert my hands gesture here, fingers spread, palms down, shameless dorky enthusiasm on my face.) Carrie reviewed it so I now I won't, just read about it here at her rad-tastic blog. Her reviews of everything (Netflix, Goodreads, Yelp) are hysterical but her true talent lies in not wasting a word. She says it as concisely and brilliantly as is possible and for that I damn her.

My daughter has been a little punk lately. She had to go on the naughty step three times this afternoon. She isn't like her brother in that she doesn't like to get in trouble; she is brazen and cheeky and gee I wonder where she got it from. When I get stern with her she giggles and changes the subject which was always my tactic! Just how does that transfer through the DNA, I wonder. Then this afternoon she just wanted to be nakey. She was running around the house naked as a boiled chicken and could not be convinced to put her clothes on. Then I wondered why I thought it was that big a deal, because it's not.

Dryer went off, sheets are dry, what an exciting Friday night.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

the pioneer woman cooks

I wish I was friends with the Pioneer Woman and her site makes me seethe with jealousy. I am going to make her pan-fried ribeye steak tomorrow, but not her chocolate pie only because Judah requested cherry cheesecake in the shape of a heart. (I do not have a heart-shaped springform pan so he's getting a little cutout with a heart shaped cookie cutter.) I'll make that chocolate pie sooner or later though, prolly sooner.

Monday, February 11, 2008


I had a happy birfday. I am 33. In your face!! Here is my bacon cake.


Hapy birthday?


David & Jason


JP & the cake.


I just love this picture of Jason with the balloons, I don't know why. He looks so innocent and happy.


Someone getting into the candy hearts


Shiner Bock imported just for my birthday! Flown first class in its own seat and escorted by secret service.


A lamp in the Nordstrom lounge that looks like both the Oscar statue and Mr. Hanky.


Back to the grind. I drew my boss Bill's head today during a staff meeting.


PS - Story group tonight was so badass and frightening and joyous all at the same time. I'm scared and also really excited to go to the next one.

clap clap point point

ha ha ha

"i certainly don't know what he believes in"

I shouldn't take responsiblity for what he says and still I feel deep shame and pain in my heart. God have mercy on us all!

story group anxiety

I start my story group tonight and I’m a ball of nerves. But while reading the book the group is based on I keep finding these quotes in the margins, which I will be sharing with you whether you like it or not.

Did you ever think, child…how much piecing a quilt’s like living a life?... You see, you start out with just so much calico; you don’t go to the store and pick it out and buy it, but the neighbors will give you a piece here and a piece there, and you’ll have a piece left every time you cut out a dress, and you take just what happens to come. And that’s like predestination. But when it comes to the cutting out, why, you’re free to choose your own pattern. You can give the same kind of pieces to two persons, and one’ll make a “nine-patch” and one’ll make a “wild-goose chase” and there’ll be two quilts made out of the same kind of pieces, and just as different as they can be. And that is just the way with living. The Lord sends us the pieces, but we can cut them out and put them together pretty much to suit ourselves, and there’s a heap more in the cutting out and sewing than there is in the calico. –Eliza Calbert Hall, Aunt Jane of Kentucky

When a day passes, it is no longer there. What remains of it? Nothing more than a story. If stories weren’t told or books weren’t written, man would live like the beasts, only for the day…. Today we live, but by tomorrow today will be a story. The whole world, all human life, is one long story. –Isaac Bashevis Singer, Naftali the Storyteller and His Horse, Sus, and Other Stories

Time’s covetousness is forever. Time devours and devours – and gives back nothing. How terrible to face death without ever having claimed freedom, even in all its danger! –Frederick Nietzsche, in Irvin Yalom, When Nietzsche Wept

What is to give light must endure burning. –Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search For Meaning

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. –Marcel Proust, Remembrance of Things Past

Love slays what we have been that we may be what we were not. –St. Augustine

Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life? –Mary Oliver The Summer Day

a letter from dr. phil

I love Dr. Phil. He is so hysterical and smug and his head is so matte! You just know they dust him down good with powder during commercial breaks and he has got to hate it. He's from the town in Texas where I got stuck for a few years and the stories they tell about him are solid gold. So imagine my delight (or don't) when I found this on McSweeneys.


- - - -
Whether it's Martha Stewart telling us how to poach an egg or Dina Lohan telling us how to raise children, the best advice comes from famous people. That's why my groundbreaking self-help book, Everything Is Wrong With You: The Modern Woman's Guide to Self-Help Through Self-Loathing, includes letters written just for you, the reader, by certified famous people. And who better to start us off than the most famous man in daytime, Dr. Phil McGraw?

- - - -
Ladies, I Love You: A Letter From Dr. Phil.
- - - -

Dear Ladies,

Oh, hello. Don't mind me, I always smoke my pipe by the fire with no shirt on. Does that make you uncomfortable? Good.

Sometimes in life, we need to feel uncomfortable in order to change.

But you know what's not uncomfortable? Baby oil. Why don't you grab that bottle I've left out on my leather settee?

Do you like leather? I do. Pleather, leather, vinyl, mesh, I like it all. My wife, Robin, has a very nice leather evening gown that I bought her for the Daytime Emmys.

Where's Robin, you say? Ooooh, she's just having a little "special cellar time." It's important for couples to have separate activities. That's how we keep our marriage alive.

You seem tense. Why don't you have a little lie-down on that bear rug? Be careful. That bear is still alive. We became friends when he was a guest on my show during Bear Week.

Would you like some champagne? I drink mine from a bucket.

Well, I brought you here today to tell you that you are great. The only thing getting in the way of you having a great relationship is you!

There are so many great things about you. Your hair is shiny, your eyes are pretty, your hands are great for grabbing. You keep your apartment very clean.

How do I know that?

I've been living in your closet for six weeks. Don't worry. It's just part of my research for the show.

How have I survived in there? Lunchables and malt liquor.

Don't scream. You'll wake the bear. I just want you to know that you are a beautiful woman who deserves to have happiness in her life. That's why I've decorated the attic as a replica of your childhood bedroom just for you.

Don't bother trying the door.

I promise that I am going to be there for you forever. As long as you don't try to scream or run. Or talk. Or hum. Humming really bugs me. The last girl hummed.

Remember, only you can make you happy, so if you are unhappy in the attic, it's because of you.

Now, please go to your room. Entourage is starting.

Love you,
Dr. Phil McGraw

Thursday, February 7, 2008

something i won't be buying my daughter

I will let my daughter play with Barbies because I wasn’t allowed to and it fueled a major obsession with them. I will let my son play with toy guns because, like the Barbie deprivation syndrome, not allowing them to tends to fuel an obsession for them. But I don’t think I could ever bring myself to buy this doll for my daughter.


ashes ashes we all fall down

Last night David and I went and got ashes on our foreheads. Explanation here if anyone gives a rip.

Two shopping days left till my birthday. There's still time to pick me up a Volvo XC90 with park assist and blind spot information system that runs on dreams and starlight!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

wellness formula to the rescue

Simone told me about Wellness Formula to save you from coming down with a cold and I’ll be doggone if it doesn’t work. Last night I felt a cold coming on and I went to Whole Foods to get some of this stuff Simone has been talking about and this morning I was healed. Healed! They smell bad enough to knock a buzzard off a gut wagon (as my grandaddy would say) but I can deal with it if it saves me from my usual eternal winter cold.


I was just in a meeting with 15 of the emergency room doctors. I kept thinking that I was in the best place ever to have a medical emergency, but because of my magical Wellness Formula I was just fine.

The kids have been saying cute stuff lately.

Judah: "Mary Poppins is making stuff so lovely in there!" - as she unpacks her carpet bag.

Judah: “George is the handsomest name in the Beatles. I wish my name was George.” "I’m a fan with the Beatles.”

Lolly was doing ballerina twirls yesterday and David said “How come you’re such a good ballerina?” and Lolly said “It’s my job.”

i like to dislike tyra

It is kind of a hobby for me.

sarah vowell

I'm reading Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell (well, I get around to it when I'm finally bored of reading Us Weekly and my Ava Gardner biography) - and I thought this bit was worth putting here because it struck a chord in me -

On the bus home, I flip through my Assassins program from the night before and read the director's note. Of course talking about the murders of previous presidents is going to open the door to discussing the current president. That's what I like to call him, "the current president." I find it difficult to say or type his name, George W. Bush. I like to call him "the current president" because it's a hopeful phrase, implying that his administration is only temporary. Timothy Douglas, the Assassins director, doesn't say the president's name either, but he doesn't have to. Clearly, Douglas is horrified and exasperated by the Iraqi war. He writes,

Proportionate to my own mounting frustrations at feeling increasingly excluded from the best interests of the current administration's control in these extraordinary times helps me toward a visceral understanding of the motivation of one who would perpetrate a violent act upon the leader of the free world. My capacity for this depth of empathy also gives me pause, for I have no idea how far away I am from the "invisible line" that separates me from a similar or identical purpose....Please allow me to state for the record that I am completely against violence of any kind as a way of resolving conflicts.

That crafty explanation slaps me in the forehead with all the force of "duh." Until that moment, I hadn't realized that I embarked on the project of touring historic sites and monuments having to do with the assassinations of Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley right around the time my country iffily went to war, which is to say right around the time my resentment of the current president cranked up into contempt. Not that I want the current president killed. Like that director, I will, for the record (and for the FBI agent assigned to read this and make sure I mean no harm -- hello there), clearly state that while I am obsessed with death, I am against it. Like director Tim Douglas, my simmering rage against the current president scares me. I am a more or less peaceful happy person whose lone act of violence as an adult was shoving a guy who spilled beer on me at a Sleater-Kinney concert. So if I can summon this much bitterness toward a presidential human being, I can sort of, kind of see how this amount of bile or more, teaming up with disappointment, unemployment, delusions of grandeur and mental illness, could prompt a crazier narcissistic creep to buy one of this country's widely available handguns. Not that I, I repeat, condone that. Like Lincoln, I would like to believe the ballot is stronger than the bullet. Then again, he said that before he got shot.

"I'm worried about the president's safety," I said at a Fourth of July party in 2004 when this guy Sam and I were talking about the upcoming Republican National Convention here in New York. "I think you've seen "The Manchurian Candidate" too many times," said Sam. Guilty. Still, I dread bodily harm coming to the current president because of my aforementioned aversion to murder, but also because I don't think I can stomach watching that man get turned into a martyr if he were killed. That's what happens. It's one of the few perks of assassination. In death, you get upgraded into a saint no matter how much people hated you in life. As the rueful Henry Adams, a civil service reform advocate who marveled at his fellow reformers' immediate deification of President Garfield after that assassination, wrote, "The cynical impudence with which the reformers have tried to manufacture an ideal statesman out of the late shady politician beats anything in novel-writing."

Monday, February 4, 2008

mankind's best chocolate cake

On Saturday I made a cake that was the most magical cake in the world. It's gone now but we can make more. Recipe is here.


I like this short.

Friday, February 1, 2008

birth, yes, day


I like this birthday cake picture. I want to grab a handful of it and squish it in my fingers - I always have that weird urge when I see a cake. My birthday is next week. I love my birthday and wish it lasted a whole month. One week and one day to go! I'll be 33! It's on a Saturday this year. I shall proclaim it my day of sloth.

Here is a pretty poem by Sylvia Plath.

-Overnight, very
Whitely, discreetly,
Very quietly
-Our toes, our noses
Take hold on the loam,
Acquire the air.
-Nobody sees us,
Stops us, betrays us;
The small grains make room.
-Soft fists insist on
Heaving the needles,
The leafy bedding,
-Even the paving.
Our hammers, our rams,
Earless and eyeless,
-Perfectly voiceless,
Widen the crannies,
Shoulder through holes. We
-Diet on water,
On crumbs of shadow,
Bland-mannered, asking
-Little or nothing.
So many of us!
So many of us!
-We are shelves, we are
Tables, we are meek,
We are edible,
-Nudgers and shovers
In spite of ourselves.
Our kind multiplies:
-We shall by morning
Inherit the earth.
Our foot's in the door

--Sylvia Plath