This is the archived text of a weblog I did to promote my book "Mr. Irresponsible's Bad Advice: How To Rip The Lid Off Your Id and Live Happily Ever After" (Volt Press: 2005). I had the idea that if I continued to essentially add to the book every day on the Web, and GIVE THAT WORK AWAY FOR FREE, people would be so charmed that they'd feel compelled to buy the original work.

Not so much, as it turns out. But I had fun anyway.



Hello. Bill Barol here, Mr. Irresponsible's typist. Debbie and I continue to staff the home office, despite the fact that we've had no word from Mr. I in over eighteen months. We believe that he's still in or near Dubai, although Skip (our intern) has fielded emails claiming that he's been spotted in The Hague, in Quito, and in Kearney, NJ. The bills continue to be paid by Mr. Irresponsible's team of lawyers, although we have no idea how, and once a month, in the middle of the night, a case of 21-year-old Black Maple Hill single-barrel Bourbon is delivered to the office. Mysteriously, it always seems to disappear by the time I arrive for work, or shortly thereafter.

We continue to believe that Mr. Irresponsible is alive and plotting his return. We continue to be unsure how to feel about this. In the meantime, it is our best guess that he would want us to remind you that the book is still available at Amazon and elsewhere.



Letter From Dubai

Word from home is that my typist and flunky, who's apparently had little to do in my absence except chip away at my Black Maple Hill and crack wise with Debbie and Skip, has made a half-hearted return to blogging. I guess you could do worse than go take a look. I mean, I guess you could, I don't know, get loopy on prescription painkillers and some sort of rotgut Arabian hooch and end up driving a rented Aston-Martin at a high rate of speed through a souk at three AM trying to get away from the Dubaian cops or something. But that'd be really stupid, and anybody who did that would probably be feeling fairly contrite by now, even if he was too proud to actually, you know, say it.


Back to the Gulf

I've managed to beat back the flu that was sapping my life force, and have returned that job to my lawyers, where it belongs. While I was ill my friends in the UAE arranged to clear up the misunderstanding that had caused me to beat a hasty retreat from the region some weeks back, and an offer was forthcoming to teach a course in "Life Dynamics," whatever that means, at the Dubai City Learning Annex. So I've decamped to the shores of the Persian Gulf once more, where life is cheap, but thank God, so are the cocktails. Will update as opportunities arise. If you happen to be in Dubai City, call ahead before you drop in on my class. You would not believe the penalty they assess on unauthorized auditors. And one more thing: Radio station KAGM/KBOM, in the lovely towns of Albuquerque and Santa Fe back home, has for some reason expressed an interest in talking to me. I'll be appearing with afternoon host Lee Logan today at about 3:30 local time, which is 2:30 on the West Coast, 5:30 in the East and 1:30 AM Tuesday in Dubai. You can listen live here. That whirring sound you hear in the background will likely be the blender at the lobby lounge at the Jumeirah.


{Cough. Hack.}

Mr. Irresponsible's down with the flu and forcing fluids. Clear ones, no less; not the beautiful, bourbon-colored ones I'm usually partial to.

Back soon.


Power To The (Rich and Famous) People

Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee is exercising his duty to even-handedly administer the laws of the land by pardoning the most famous and influential person ever charged with reckless driving in his state. Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards was fined $162.20 for a 1975 incident in which he swerved while "adjusting the radio," and officers smelled marijuana in his car. (In fairness, it should be noted that Richards was well-known in the mid-Seventies for driving an imported Marleymobile, the only production auto ever fabricated entirely from pressed cannabis.) The pardon wasn't Richards' idea; seriously, what are the chances the guy remembers a $162 fine imposed 30 years ago? He's lucky if he can recognize his daughter. No, Huckabee proposed the gimme while mooching around backstage at a Stones concert in March. The incident seems like garden-variety star worship until you learn that Huckabee is an amateur bassist, which explains everything. There isn't a bass player alive who wouldn't swallow ground glass to get a guitar player to notice him.

With that as background, it may surprise you to learn that Mr. Irresponsible is in favor of moves like Huckabee's. I believe governors should have widespread discretion to offer amnesty to anybody they please. And I'm not saying that because of an outstanding incident in which I was stopped outside of Chicago while operating a rented Bentley at a high rate of speed, shooting an automatic weapon into the air and balancing a cooler full of tequila shots on my lap. (Are you listening, Rod?)  I just feel that we creative types should have a little leeway to express our outsized joie de vivre in a suitably boisterous fashion. It's for that reason that I want to bring the following incidents to the attention of the relevant governors:

-- Tom Petty ticketed for shooting off a Sidewinder missile from the parking lot of a Jacksonville rib joint, 1987
-- Randy Bachman detained for rolling a homemade soapbox-derby racer into a ditch and injuring some ducks, 1978 (no charges filed)
-- Leo Sayer held overnight in Buffalo for repeatedly accosting a local DJ with the words "Ha! Got yer nose" (settled out of court), 1976
-- Rupert ("Pina Colada Song") Holmes questioned in connection with sales of yellowcake to Saddam Hussein (2003)
-- Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top thrown out of an Atlanta Gap store for demanding free khakis because "Everybody crazy 'bout a sharp-dressed man," 1999

Details on request. (And Governor Blagojevich? I really am feeling contrite about the thing with the weaponized Ebola. Call my lawyers. I'm sure we can work something out.)


Mr. Irresponsible Meets Mr. Cruise

I'm not sure how or why, but my assistant Debbie managed to land me an interview with this Tom Cruise guy. I thought it went well, all things considered. For some reason, though, his "people" weren't pleased with it. And man, have they been steamed -- calling, emailing, threatening legal action. Which is really kind of funny, considering that threats of legal action are pretty much the air we breathe around here at Mr. Irresponsible World HQ.

Anyway, see the results here and judge for yourself. And then, if you want to strike a blow against the deadly hegemony of crybaby movie stars and their PR handlers, send the URL to your friends. There's a link right below. See? It's fun! It's easy! Best of all, the First Amendment will thank you, metaphorically speaking. And so will Mr. Irresponsible.





The Glasgow Kiss

Whatever Marco Materazzi may have said to provoke Zinedine Zidane's gargantuan loss of composure in the World Cup final, that's between the two of them. On what "The Ballad of Billy Jack" memorably called "the bloody morning after," it seems worth considering the good things to come out of the incident.

1) It is shining a well-deserved spotlight on the conversation-ender to end all conversation-enders, the vicious headbutt. It's sometimes seemed that the headbutt has been overshadowed in recent years by reasoned debate and a willingness to hear the other party out -- a by-product, I guess, of political correctness and the advice-giving culture, which holds that ultimately no one is personally responsible for anything.  Nice to see that noodle-headed attitude put to rest on a vast world stage. The vicious  headbutt is brisk, direct and unambiguous. It affirms one's active engagement in the discussion. "You said it," Zidane's action subtextually read. "Now own it. Here, let me help you."

2) It has brought back into public use the many colorful nicknames given the headbutt over eons of bar-fighting, including the "Glasgow Handshake," the "Glasgow Kiss" and the "Gorbals Kiss" (the term of art applied within Glasgow itself, where generations of Glaswegians have had time to not only perfect the technique but to pinpoint its origins).

3) It has spotlighted the overlooked rhetorical device of the toponym, or a name derived from a place or region. (See #2 above.) Other examples: Angora wool, Neanderthal Man, the Havana cigar and the Philadelphia Howdy (a quick, debilitating sucker punch to the kidneys).

4) It has allowed me to quote from "The Ballad of Billy Jack," a/k/a "One Tin Soldier," the pinnacle of 1960s pop songcraft.

With all that in mind, we shouldn't be treating Zidane with scorn. We should be thanking him. He has made the public discourse richer this week. It's inspiring. In fact, I'm thinking I may go out tonight, have a few boilermakers, and in Zidane's honor, make it a little richer myself.


"I'm so, so sad... Hey! Get out of my key light or I'll have you killed! KILLED! So sad... "

People change, lives go in different directions, and sometimes it's inevitable that partners split. If you're in this predicament, you could do worse than follow the six-part example of actress Hilary Swank, who's splitting from husband Chad Lowe and handling it in the dignified way actors handle these painful, private things -- by spilling her guts to Vanity Fair.

1) Marginalize him.
Getting, say, an Oscar? Thank everybody from your manager to your gardener, and "forget" to mention the man you've been involved with since you were 18.

2) Twist the knife. Getting, say, another Oscar? Ostentatiously remember to acknowledge your husband, turning it (and him) into an awkward punch line. Then sit back and enjoy as the cameras find him squirming in his seat!

3) Out him. If your spouse is, let's say, struggling to maintain sobriety after a difficult period of substance abuse, by all means feel free to disclose that fact in a major magazine cover story. The timing of this step is crucial: Let just enough time elapse that readers of the tabs will have forgotten your initial statement that you "continue to be friends." A month should do it.

4) Undermine, undermine, undermine: "(Drug addiction is) an enormous obstacle to overcome, and he's doing it," Swank tells Vanity Fair. "He's living a sober life. I know how difficult it is... "  And I would be the first one to feel terrible, Swank could have but probably didn't add, if the shock of public betrayal were to send him hurrying back to the dope. But ultimately that would be his problem, although I would continue to be proud of him for struggling to overcome it. Again.

5) Remember: Other people's problems are all about you, and your only defense is your own acuity. "I knew something was happening, but I didn't know what. When I found out, it was such a shock because I never thought he'd keep something from me. And yet, on another level, it was a confirmation of something I was feeling that was keeping us from being completely solid." So, you know: Phew. That worked out pretty well for her.

And finally, 6) Assume responsibility. A leeeeeetle bit of responsibility. "It takes two to make something work or not work," Swank tells Vanity Fair, proving that in some cases actors can do math in their heads. But, she adds in the last delicious little soupcon of malice: "Would I say that his substance-abuse problem helped us? Absolutely not." Bonus points here for answering the ridiculous rhetorical question that even Vanity Fair wasn't craven enough to pose.

Hey, here's an idea: When Vanity Fair hits the newsstands later this month, what do you say we all just kinda... go spend our money on something else?


"And here's Miles with a nutty story about death from the skies!"

You have to love CNN for its devil-may-care approach to Armageddon. LARGE ASTEROID ZIPS PAST EARTH, The Most Trusted Name In Newstertainment banners a story about a half-mile-wide boulder that just came within 269,000 miles of torching the Earth, melting the polar ice caps and sending what's left of our planetary home into a second Ice Age. The "Everybody mambo!" part is, I guess, implied.

Alas, that kind of tone-deafness is typical of cable news. Maybe the broadcasters need some help. Maybe they need a succinct set of guidelines. Herewith, as a public service, some suggestions:

FORBIDDEN WORDS 2006 (Cable News Edition)

  • Chilling
  • "What do you think? We want to hear from you."
  • Blogosphere
  • Dramatic
  • "You're in the Situation Room."
  • Tragedy
  • "Your {insert noun here} headquarters"
  • Lockdown
  • {Insert noun here} Watch
  • Ominous
  • Shocking
  • Icon
  • "Stay tuned for Rita Cosby."

Other nominations? Send 'em along.


Here's The Creepy Imaginary Pizza You Didn't Order

Ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi has come up with a sticker that, when attached to the peephole in an apartment door, makes it look like there's a pizza guy outside. The product is the first release from Saatchi's "Scaring Agoraphobics Silly Lab," and, honestly, the mockup frightens even me. Maybe it's the imperturbable look in the pizza guy's cold, dead eyes; the caretaker in "The Shining" unnerved me less. Maybe it's the fact that Papa John's famously features something called "Cheesesticks," which are served with marinara sauce; don't look now, but that's a side of pizza you just ordered with your pizza. Or maybe it's that I don't want even the square inch of optical glass that sits between me and the outside world (well, that and a steel-reinforced door, a sophisticated security system and a cunning array of booby traps) colonized by Madison Avenue. And where does it end? What's to stop some prankster from coming up with a sticker featuring Rita Cosby, Sharon Stone, or one of my lawyers? Because baby, if that happens I'm coming out shooting.