Saturday, December 31, 2011

Passed Away Resulting from Cancer: Poh Nikbar December

Ed Gein

Bullied as a boy and abused by his mother, Ed Gein developed abnormally. It is sad when a child begins life with such a handicap. It is also sad that he died of cancer.

Though I would never wish cancer on anyone and before your eyes well up for the last time in 2011, note that Ed Gein was the inspiration behind the fictional serial killers Norman Bates from Psycho, Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Buffalo Bill from The Silence of the Lambs. Gein was obsessed with sex, female anatomy, Nazi experiments, necrophilia and cannibalism.

As a suspect for a missing woman, authorities found the following in Gein’s home:
  • Four noses
  • Whole human bones and fragments
  • Nine masks of human skin
  • Bowls made from human skulls
  • Ten female heads with the tops sawn off
  • Human skin covering several chair seats
  • Mary Hogan's head in a paper bag
  • Bernice Worden's head in a burlap sack
  • Nine vulvae in a shoe box
  • A belt made from female human nipples
  • Skulls on his bedposts
  • A pair of lips on a draw string for a window-shade
  • A lampshade made from the skin from a human face

People who do horrific things get cancer, too.

I wrote this blog entry within minutes because I’m headed out for New Year’s and wanted to post the final month of this Cancer Calendar before year’s end. In 2012 stay tuned for a unique Cancer Calendar, updates on Benjamin 2.0 and maybe my 2012 goals, and other worthless ramblings. Have a great New Year, and remember that Milwaukee’s Best ranks #1 as the highest alcohol-per-calorie beer, a critical piece of knowledge.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre serial killer Ed Gein passed away from cancer

Leia Mais…

Friday, December 23, 2011


Sec-Z-Bec and I sometimes revisit our “Top 3 Favorite Things.” The discussion is lighthearted, but I’ve noticed two of my favorites change while one remains: fame, which in this instance is mostly unselfish. My cancer tale inspires people. This electrifies me, and the more famous I am the more people I can touch. Sharing my story has been the greatest benefit of my published book, and one of my most rewarding experiences.

I did not have this foresight while writing my book. The greatest benefit I had hoped for was fame, though not to provide the opportunity to help others or even for wealth, but for lots of girls. Success here, if defined not by quantity but rather quality, is striking: I developed a close friendship with a special girl and never would have without Twice.

Many friends know I can be a free rider, so it won’t be surprising to hear that another great benefit of Twice has been these freebies:

    Catcher, Caught by Sarah Collins HonenbergerNobodies by John Bowe
  • Author John Bowe and I bartered Twice for Nobodies. Bowe’s eye-opening book made me re-think my views on globalization, economics in politics, workers' rights and the value of people in general.
  • Author Sarah Collins Honenberger bought Twice at a signing last year, and then gave me a copy of her book, Catcher, Caught. This excellent novel about a teenage boy with leukemia leads us to consider that there isn't always a right answer when it comes to health, and only after the outcome is decided do we criticize or praise the tough calls of parents or patients.
  • Omega and I bartered Twice for a box of citrus fruit.
  • Hotdog Man and I bartered Twice for pizza.
  • I bartered Twice for drinks with Aaliyah, as an excuse to hang out with her.
  • Homini Emerito by Mango clothing, when I was a model.
  • Lance Armstrong’s signature.
  • A comic book, my first, with a title I can’t remember, sent by the mother of the author. I lent it to my roommate and hope it’s not lost.
  • A Redskins game ticket and autographed ball.
  • A t-shirt and hat from Alexandria Jaycees, after delivering a 30-minute speech at the organization’s meeting.
  • A trophy after delivering a 50-minute presentation at the Toastmasters District 29 Fall Conference at the site of my Bar Mitzvah, the Dulles Hilton.
  • A Relay-for-Life t-shirt and bracelet after speaking to DECA at Battlefield High School.
  • A book party.
  • Joining the CEO of Standard Solar in a suite for a UVA basketball game.
  • Joining the director of USCIS for pizza.
  • Tax-deductible transportation, food and shelter for interviews in Allentown, Charlottesville, Fairfax, and New York City.
  • Tax-deductible transportation for book-delivery house calls.
  • A tax-deductible meal when I got upset for paying too much at a subpar restaurant. Twice was mentioned for future tax auditing purposes. The other three at my table can validate the seven seconds we discussed it.

Leia Mais…

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Hitchhiker

I had just taken a field trip to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in my twelfth grade gifted education class. My mind still back there as I pumped gas on my way home—picturing the mound of dead Jews’ shoes or videos of medical experiments—a stranger approached me. He was a few years older, slim, dressed warm, and staring. “Can I help you?” I said.

“Could you drive me to the shelter?” the alcohol scent was pungent.

“Um, I’m on my way home for dinner.”

“It’s just down by Hoyts Theater.”

“That’s 15 minutes in the opposite direction that I’m headed.”

“Come on, man, I need somewhere to sleep, man.”

“Um, ok.”

I finished pumping and began driving. “'Precciate the ride. Got any money?”

I had never been beaten, robbed, or held at gunpoint, and I considered one or all may happen on behalf of my first hitchhiker. I knew I hadn’t a single bill in my wallet, but pretended to check just so he believed me. “Sorry, I’ve got nothing except some change,” I said, pointing to the middle compartment full of coins.

He took everything except the pennies, or about $10. “'Precciate it.”

He talked more nonsense, I nodded and made agreeable sounds. When I neared Hoyts Theater I said, “Where is the shelter exactly?”

“There’s a Shell station up here, just drop me off there.” I abided without inquiring whether the shelter was located in the malt liquor fridge at Shell.

Ten dollars poorer, thirty minutes late for dinner, and emotions ranging from terror to relief capping an already powerful day, at least I was one companion richer.

One week later Vodka/Benadryl and I visited Taco Bell after school. My jaw dropped upon sight of my new companion standing outside the restaurant.

“Hey, it’s you again, thanks for the ride. Got any money? Can you give me a ride to the shelter?”

I had plenty of cash this time. I thought back to the previous week, fusing this hitchhiker taking advantage of me and the Holocaust into one recollection. “Sorry, but we’re going to eat here, and I don’t have money. Later.”

Never again!

Leia Mais…

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Bolt Up

T2theZ and I visited San Diego three months ago. I had had a voucher for a free round-trip ticket to anywhere in the CONUS, thanks to an overbooked flight home from Zeke’s Vegas bachelor party. And T2theZ is the king of cheap travel and collecting United airline miles. So we chose “America’s Finest City,” with Cleveland the runner-up.

Rowdy fans at San Diego Chargers game
Arm sleeve tattoos are common here
We stayed with T2theZ’s friend in Pacific Beach (P.B.). The doors were never locked, plants grew uncontrolled, and her male roommate was rarely fully-clothed. San Diegans work, worry and hurry less, dress in unique style, and eat burritos for breakfast. The atmosphere in the west coast is rejuvenating, beyond the abundant sunshine.

That includes people’s friendliness and widespread smiles. My three simple requirements for a trip are consuming good food, good beer, and meeting good people. At a backyard bar-b-q I chatted with a pretty blond. “I visited DC once. There was too much cursing!” she said.

I laughed, remembering Tupac’s “Hit ‘Em Up” when he says “f***” 28 times just in the final verse. I think she was referring to her people generally being laid back, as she was.

“You don’t need to say ‘F this’ all the time. It’s more effective when you say it on occasion,” she said.

“I actually agree,” I said. “When I began writing I cursed all the time. My book’s first draft had 'f***' 330 times and ‘motherf***er’ 20. It published with just one ‘motherf***er’ which makes that single instance more valuable.”

She expressed interest in my book and admiration for how I humorize my adversity. I found it breezy to discuss that with her, not uncomfortable as it used to be, and for the purpose of this story I will credit San Diego instead of my increased maturity and confidence.

Speaking of working less, you really want to see the San Diego FOX 5 morning newscasters and their “Dance Party Friday.” Yes, this really is the news.

San Diego is home to dozens of breweries. T2theZ and I must own the record by visiting four in a single day, touring one of them. I have enjoyed learning more about beer (and coffee) the past few months, though I must admit to enjoying Ballast Point’s berry beer the best. Fruity things and I are inseparable.
Stone Brewery in San Diego
Stone Brewing Company's amazing brewery

We went to a Padres game, located in Petco Park downtown.
Petco Park where the San Diego Padres play baseball
Superb open-air, sandstone stadium
We hadn’t planned on going to the Padres game, which is why I hadn’t inquired about free tickets. But I did just that for the Chargers, San Diego's football team. On our Minnesota road trip T2theZ and I had been moderately successful scoring free tickets when I mentioned we were celebrating my five-year cancer-free anniversary. This San Diego trip was one week after my ten-year cancer-free anniversary, so once again I pulled the cancer card. The Chargers PR person wanted to validate my cancerness. “I apologize for having to ask this, but can you provide a doctor’s note confirming your cancer? We sometimes hear fabricated stories.”

“Probably not, but if you visit you’ll see a picture of my hipless skeleton.”

The next day he called me. “I saw your book, and I really don’t think you’d put in that much effort if you made it up. We’re good.” Our free tickets were in the lower bowl about 15 rows up, on the goal line. Props to the Chargers organization for their generosity.
San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium

Outrageous pizza prices at Oggi's in Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego
Way too sober to purchase a $50 pizza at the Chargers game

Before the game we searched for tailgaters to join. Our peace offering was two six packs. On our first attempt the tailgaters said we could hang out with them for $20 each. These were not the friendly San Diegans we were used to. Our second attempt ended in failure, too. Don’t people want our company, or at least our beer? Finally, we found cool people who allowed us to join them for free.

The thought of morning football seemed horrible until I experienced it: wake up and games are already on, no waiting around! And at the tailgate, at noon, we were watching the end of the early set of games. I could get used to that.

Man v. Food tries Broken Yolk Iron Man Special at Broken Yolk Cafe, San Diego
Before heading to the Chargers game we ate breakfast at Broken Yolk Café, which was featured in Man v. Food. If not for the game I would’ve ordered the Broken Yolk Iron Man Special: a dozen-egg omelet served on a 15-inch pizza pan. Next time I’ll order it, and make sure defibrillators are handy for when my heart stops.

P.B. has happening nightlife, as seen in Real World: San Diego. People were also hitting the sauce hard at the bar-b-q we attended. Late into that party someone brought out a piñata, and climbed on the roof to knot a rope to hang it from. He then jumped down, blindfolded himself, and grabbed an ax to bust it open. When the candy exploded of course I was the first to gather some. But when the ax was swung I got the fuck out of the way. Do you see what I did right there?

Leia Mais…

Monday, December 12, 2011

Subway: Colon Fresh

Last Monday I eat half of a three-day-old buffalo chicken Subway sandwich. Immediately I feel nauseous. My body has trained itself to stave off vomit, despite my desire to get it over with, so for three hours I sit in agony at my desk. I’ve vomited in many different places, but never at work: it is time to pull the trigger.

I enter a single-stall bathroom: occupied. Another: occupied. I walk upstairs to the bigger facility: empty. I enter the end stall, place a small tree-worth of paper towels on the ground and around the bowl, and drop to my knees. Just before I go for the finger, someone walks in to get his own relief. I leave and return later.

Empty now, I go for it. Finger in mouth, gag reflex, come on puke! It doesn’t work, an outcome I haven’t experienced before. This Subway is stubborn.

I go home early and sit in my La-Z-Boy motionless, watching Monday Night Football coverage for hours. Finally as I watch Blaine Gabbert cause similar nausea for Jaguars fans, it comes rapidly. I have never missed a toilet, bucket or Mother Nature, and am not about to let Subway top chemo on that front. I shuffle to the bathroom, lift the seat and unload the Subway that has clogged my stomach for the last ten hours. Ah, relief.

I could hardly eat for a day, and then began re-introducing my body to raw fruits and vegetables, the bulk of my normal diet. I don’t think my feed is meant for human intestines: years ago, when I began my quasi-paleo diet, my insides seethed until, I’m guessing, proper intestinal bacteria accumulated. Subway expelled that bacteria, leaving me with daily tummy discomfort until the bugs return in full.

Subway should drop Jared and target its marketing toward the colonoscopy prep industry. Subway: Eat Food Poisoning-Bacteria and get Colon Fresh for Probe! Jared slimmed because of salmonella, not submarines.

Subway's Jared loses hundreds of pounds

Leia Mais…

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Passed Away Resulting from Cancer: Poh Nikbar November

Peter Jennings

My parents have always watched news during dinner. National news anchors rarely change, and when they do—or when the ratings leader gets overtaken—the blogosphere erupts as if Kim Kardashian’s seventh cousin twice removed was spotted on the street. My parents are loyal, following just four anchors throughout my life: Diane Sawyer; Charles Gibson; Bob Schieffer, an old-timer who we thought rocked; and Peter Jennings.

Jennings hosted ABC’s World News Tonight for 22 years, a feat only trumped by his 34-letter name: Peter Charles Archibald Ewart Jennings. In case "Archibald” doesn’t do it for you, Jennings dominated nightly news, winning 16 Emmy’s and 2 Peabody Awards. He also earned Canada’s highest civilian honor, along with Sue Johanson, host of Sunday Night Sex Show. A true national prize.

Jennings didn’t escape without criticism: Toby Keith and Rush Limbaugh slammed him real good. Additionally, an interesting study demonstrated how Jennings’ expressions were politically-biased, which likely influenced voters. He made up for it by covering 9/11 for 17 consecutive hours, and apparently 23 consecutive for the millennium news special in 1999. I became aware of that study when I Googled “Peter Jennings Syracuse University,” because I had assumed that all top-notch broadcasters graduated from there. He apparently never graduated college and even failed 10th grade. He’s a true American Canadian success story.

In April 2005, Jennings informed viewers that he was diagnosed with lung cancer and would begin chemotherapy. He admitted to smoking until his late 40s, and again during 9/11, an event that had a profound impact on him. His heir, Charles Gibson, then closed each broadcast with the phrase, “for Peter Jennings and all of us at ABC News.” Months later Charles informed viewers that Peter Jennings passed away from lung cancer.

I grew up with Jennings, and think very highly of him. Now I rarely watch news and absorb my daily intake by scrolling Google News headlines ten minutes each morning (and reading The Economist). Efficiency guru Tim Ferriss, who I probably mimic to the point of crossing the legal line, would say even that is too much, since world unawareness acts as a great conversation-starer. I can survive without Syracuse-alumni American broadcasters telling me what's important, but sorry Tim, I can't go without Google telling me what the Kardashians are up to.
Peter Jennings passed away from lung cancer

Leia Mais…