Butterflies in the Stomach

My mono-ped buddy Kiki Wistone. Since Thanksgiving was yesterday, I changed my Facebook profile picture to this amusing image of me in a turkey suit flanked by my beloved pug Winston in a pilgrim hat, with Enemies List favorite Mara Marini and Jonny Award winner Jesse Merlin looking on disapprovingly. I just thought it was a cute way to denote Turkey Day until Ms. Wistone took it to the next level by pondering "So are you a man pretending to be a turkey or a turkey pretending to be a man? I'm confused." It reminded me of the famous quote by Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi which goes something like "Last night I dreamt I was a butterfly. Now that I'm awake, I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man."It's a sentiment that seems deep when you're first confronted by it when you're a middle-schooler watching an old episode of Kung Fu, but when you're an adult you simply respond "You were just dreaming you're a butterfly, idiot. Butterflies don't dream. They have a brain the size of a grain of salt." But for some reason Ms. Wistone's question gave me pause to think, and I responded "I'm a frightened little boy pretending to be a man. And before you judge me for it, let me assure you that every other dude is doing exactly the same thing. They just lack my panache."After mulling that over for a while, I got depressed and wished I was a butterfly. My salt-sized brain wouldn't be capable of wrapping itself around such questions and I'd only have a life span of about a month, which means I wouldn't have to put up with Ms. Wistone and her ilk for any significant amount of time. Plus I'd sport some really pretty wings so I wouldn't have to pull stunts like wearing a turkey costume in order to get some attention. It sounds like a great deal; I'll have to sleep on it.

Tom Ashworth, who has been rendering me some assistance on Jonny's 2013 Christmas Extravaganza, which debuts next week. Since the content of the Yuletide spectacle is always top secret until its unveiling, I can't tell you what service Mr. Ashworth is contributing to the production. But, like Liam Neeson in Taken, he has a very particular set of skills; skills he has acquired over a very long career. Skills that make him a nightmare for people like me. I threw in that last part because Mr. Ashworth possesses a strong creative conviction; a conviction which almost never agrees with mine so that whenever a choice was made on his section of the project, we would exchange at least fifty e-mails explaining in detail why the one who sent the e-mail was completely, 100% right and the one receiving the e-mail was a tasteless asshole. Ultimately, we always came to solutions which were mutually agreed upon and which I grudgingly admit made the thing better than what I had originally envisioned. But when it's all over, I only hope that some kidnappers abduct me in Paris and try to sell me as a sex slave. I could use the rest.

Bro Joe, who invited me to join his mysterious Adventurer's Club on an outing last Saturday. The shadowy group usually spends its weekends performing death-defying stunts like jumping out of airplanes and bare-knuckle boxing with White Rhinos, but Saturday's affair was the tame pursuit of riding in a hot air balloon through the skies of Temecula, California wine country. It was something I'd always wanted to try so I decided to tag along, and even agreed to drive a car pool of Adventurers living close to Joe and me. This required me to rise at 2:00 a.m. (allowing me to walk my beloved pug Winston so that I wouldn't return to a house covered in errant dog poop) before meeting up with his cronies so that I could chauffer them for the two hours plus it took to get to Temecula. The balloon ride was a pleasant idyll (although the captain was none too pleased following our landing when, after shaking hands with the male passengers and smooching the female ones, he was enveloped in a massive bear hug by Joe to offset his Richard Dawson circa Family Feud-like face-sucking with the ladies) but I learned my true role in the event when we touched down and were immediately handed glasses of champagne, followed by wine tastings at several of the nearby vineyards. My body requires wine the way most people's bodies need white blood cells but I take the covenant of the Designated Driver devoutly, so I nursed a glass of lukewarm tap water as Joe and his fellow Adventurers got blissfully hammered. The day finally ended and I was able to drive my designated sober ass home as Joe and his fellow adventurers slept it off on my rich Corinthian leather upholstery, until about an hour into the journey when one of the party announced that I needed to pull over so he could puke his guts out. As I held his hair while he vomited into the shrubbery on the Interstate 15, I saw my own reflection in my rear-view mirror and it occurred to me that Temecula hadn't witnessed such a disapproving look on a man's face since the pilot of our balloon was forced to spoon with Joe.

Stephanie Fredricks, who bemoaned "Just saw a breakdown for ‘An aging hooker in her mid to late 30s.' Seriously? I'm past my hooker prime??" What Ms. Fredricks fails to take into account is that your average streetwalker ages in dog years: for every year she spends selling blow jobs to middle-aged dudes with disgusting fetishes in the alley behind Seven-11, she ages seven years. That means that a 36 year-old prostitute (assuming that she started the trade at age 16 after taking the bus from Omaha to Los Angeles to get away from the attentions of her grabby uncle) is 156 years old in human terms and should be played by an actress like Judi Dench or (if a tighter budget is called for) Everybody Loves Raymond's Doris Roberts. The parts that are really a bitch to cast are 76 year-old hookers since they can only be plausibly played by Wilford Brimley in a wig and fishnet stockings. Ms. Fredricks needn't worry about that, since she is still prime casting for a youthful hooker of 21 who is just starting out in the trade and hasn't even opened her 401(k) yet. And if she needs to research the part, she can meet me in the alley behind Seven-11. I'll just need to see some ID that proves she's of legal age.

Jonny Award-winner Jesse Merlin, who I sucked up to this week by posting an ad for an action figure depicting some of Mr. Merlin's most prominent acting roles like the decapitated Dr. Hill in Re-Animator: The Musical, Hannibal Lechter in Silence! The Musical and Captain Corcoran in U.S.S. Pinafore, the musical send-up of Star Trek on which we met and as a result I go to sleep every night cursing the name of Gene Roddenberry. One of the special offers in the ad is the Jesse Merlin "Werewolf Hitler"doll, spoofing the character Mr. Merlin played in the gross-out comedy FDR: American Badass in which he enacted a lycanthropic version of Der Fuhrer. I was forced to crop the image of the doll in the ad so as not to display the Nazi armband Mr. Merlin wore in the movie because when he attempted to post an image of himself in character complete with armband on the social network, the image was not only deleted but his Facebook account was temporarily suspended for posting Nazi propaganda. While Mark Zuckerberg is free to set down whatever rules he chooses for people with a Facebook account and I'm all for stopping anti-Semitism in its tracks, Mr. Merlin is no more a Nazi sympathizer than is Jackie Mason and I thought Facebook's reaction to his posting a picture from a funny independent film was a little extreme. Unless Mr. Zuckerberg and Company were upset by the idea of werewolves wearing Nazi armbands, which I can see is cause for concern. Still, I could have really freaked Facebook out and included an action figure of Mr. Merlin in his role as George W. Bush in the musical The Beastly Bombings, with an American Flag lapel pin replacing the Nazi armband. That may not have any racial overtones but it's a hell of a lot more scary to think that a nimrod like that once ran our side. At least a werewolf president would probably be able to pronounce "nuclear."