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.


Oh, and while we're at it...

Maybe we're just cranky around here today, but doesn't it seem a tad lazy, just a wee bit credulous, for Jeremy Lovell of Reuters' London bureau to say that the consulting firm behind a study on the world's most expensive cities "describes itself as the world leader in human resources and related financial advice"? In fact, doesn't it kinda prompt the question: "Hey, Jeremy? How do YOU describe them?" But that would mean putting away the press release and really digging deep by, I don't know, going to their web site or something, and apparently London, in fifth place, is so prohibitively expensive that Web access is limited to Richard Branson and certain members of the Royal Family.

Memo to Reuters: Have interns, by all means. But please don't let them file stories without some oversight.

Thank you.


Look, it's Mick Jagger, and he's like 90. See you in late 2008.

Maybe it's the heat, but Mr. Irresponsible for some reason feels compelled to pass along this item by his typist and flunky. It's "cross-posted" from The Huffington Post, whatever that means.

If yesterday's Arts & Leisure snoozer on Ozzfest felt a little familiar to you, congratulations -- your memory is better than The New York Times's. A little digging in the archives reveals that The Gray Lady has done this story no fewer than four times in the last ten years:

Iron Man Slows, And So Does The Industry  (June 2006)
Rock's Bad Boys Grow Up But Not Old (September 2002)
Grandfatherly Rockers Smooth Out The Wrinkles (February 2002)
Second Acts for Aging Rockers (February 1996)*

I don't know what it is about this story that makes the Times go all twitchy every 30 months, on average. Is it the unsurprising notion that rock stars actually age, rather than blink out of existence at 30? (FLASH: MUSICIANS SUBJECT TO LAWS OF PHYSICS... DEVELOPING) Whatever the draw is, they just can't seem to resist it, like an aging rocker who periodically reconnects with a groupie who was once young, when he (the rocker) was himself young, which -- hey, look at that! -- he no longer is.  For that matter, they also seem to find irresistible the use of shopworn formulations like "rocker" and "rock's bad boys," the latter referring to -- Three guesses? Anybody? Bingo: The Rolling Stones! -- but that's for another day. In another two and a half years, presumably.

*Sorry, the pieces themselves are behind the Times's steel-reinforced pay wall, like an aging rocker condemned to live out his days in the well-guarded fortress of the gated community where he now dwells, ironically, because he used to talk about everybody being free and stuff, and man, is that ironic or what?


"Kobe? Are you eating your liver in there?"

There's something ineffably sweet about the Miami Heat's NBA championship. What is it, do you think? It's right on the tip of my tongue... Oh yeah: It's the sight of a giddy Shaquille O'Neal dancing with Pat Riley to Bruce Springsteen's "The Rising," a blissful grin on his face and a giant stogie in his mouth, while Kobe Bryant sits at home flipping aimlessly through the channels and trying to decide whether to repave the driveway. Yeah. That's it right there.


Man to Nature: Take a hike, buddy

Reuters reports this morning that "Americans are less interested in spending time in natural surroundings like national parks because they are spending more time watching television, playing video games and surfing the Internet." To which a thinking person can only reply: Excellent! It's about time we abandoned our hypocritical embrace of so-called "Nature." What's "natural" about a meadow that's been sitting there unchanged since the late Pleistocene, taking up space like an out-of-style loveseat, while we humans have been furiously evolving? Isn't the point of the thing to get bigger and better, to develop our minds and the tools and gizmos which are the extensions of our minds, from automobiles to heavy construction equipment to television, video games and the Internet? Where's Nature been while we've been busting our humps to develop the infrastructure necessary for the large-scale high-speed free downloading of our fellow humans' copyrighted intellectual property? I'll tell you where: It's been taking a nap. It's been slumbering away in national parks and wildlife refuges and other wasted, fallow spaces like the oafish brother-in-law who came to stay a year and a half ago because he "just needed a place to crash for a couple days." Only it's much, much bigger and it has predatory birds. That's right: Killer birds. Big ones, with teeth the size of Bowie knives. Think about that the next time the Sierra Club calls for a mooching handout. Then turn back to the TV, confident that you're fulfilling Darwin's great prophecy of adaptation and improvement. And let that lazy-ass, shiftless ANWR fend for itself.


Also, Rocket Scientists Pronounced "Brainy"

Is there anything more beautiful than the love between a celebrity and a major news organization -- or, in this case, Reuters? The wire service goes all shy and dewy this morning describing Julia Roberts' trip to the Tony Awards. To refresh your memory, Roberts is currently starring in "Three Days of Rain" on Broadway, and has drawn reviews ranging from the faintly positive ("I think she may have stunk a little less in Act Two") to the downright dismissive ("A lifetime of pain crammed into two and a half excruciating hours. I watch this performance and every unpleasant thought I've ever had coalesces into a vast, buzzing nimbus of misery. Imagine the worst toothache you ever had. Now multiply it by a million billion trillion. Now imagine having that pain and being seasick at the same time, and all the while a legion of demons are stabbing you in the eyeballs with poison-tipped pitchforks and screaming the awful, unnameable Song of the Damned. This performance is just a little bit worse than that").* With this as background, Reuters implies, Roberts' appearance at last night's Tonys constituted an act of classy selflessness rivalling Lou Gehrig's farewell at Yankee Stadium, not one more desperate attempt by a megalomaniacal publicity hog to shoehorn her mug into the public eye:

Hollywood's most highly paid actress, Julia Roberts, was panned by critics in her Broadway debut this year, but she may have won a few friends in New York at Sunday night's Tony Awards by eating humble pie...

Well, not so fast there, Reuters. A close examination of Roberts' remarks -- or for that matter, a quick scan over coffee and Danish -- reveals the self-congratulatory narcissism of the Movie Star lurking just below the skin of the Working Actor:

Roberts won a warm round of applause for acknowledging her lack of stage credentials: "I just want to take this opportunity to say that you people are insanely talented," the Oscar-winning actress told the audience full of Broadway stars.

This must have come as a tremendous relief to the Yale Drama graduates marooned in the highest balconies, or, more likely, unable to attend because they were waiting tables at Joe Allen. Good news, kids! Julia Roberts thinks we're talented! Now we can soldier on with our miserable hand-to-mouth lives for one more lousy year! Hey, that's MY Caesar Salad!

And what to make of the fact that Roberts' encomium drew applause, rather than the puzzled collective "Wha?" it so richly deserved? Only this: Celebrities can say any obliviously insulting thing to any damn body they please, and the only response it's likely to draw is "Thank you, Sir, may I have another?" Which is why it's so wonderful to be a celebrity. But you don't need me to tell you that. You people are insanely smart.


*Not actual reviews.


Box Full of Heart

John Biggs of Gizmodo has a nice, dry take on the year's most medically significant and aesthetically disturbing battery-powered device:

No time for a sit-down lunch? The Organ Care System lets you take your viable human hearts, kidneys, or livers anywhere, allowing you to enjoy the taste of fresh meat anywhere—in the park, after your work-out, or in Deepwater Cave down by the old sawmill on the edge of town.

There's even a video. Two words of warning, though: 1) It's gross. 2) When the time comes for my inevitable liver transplant, I hope the tech assigned to deliver the organ works with a tad more urgency than the guy seen here sauntering across a hospital parking lot carrying a $4.99 Igloo cooler like he's on his leisurely way to a 4th of July cookout. I know he's the "Before" in this "Before & After" scenario, but that's my liver in there. Would it kill him to stop by the Gas'n'Go for Luckies after he's delivered it to the OR?


Hunka Hunka... Ah, The Hell With It

Skip has asked me to clarify something: Those of you with Squeet subscriptions don't need to do anything to keep receiving Mr. I by email; your existing subscriptions will continue just as before. But he asks me to urge Squeet subscribers to switch over to Feedburner so you won't be bothered by text ads in the emails you receive. Just click the "Unsubscribe" link in the next email you receive from Squeet, and God help me if I have to type "Squeet" one more time, and re-subscribe via the Feedburner link at bottom right. See? Easy! I pray this is the last thing I will ever have to tell you about this, because if I have to listen to Skip explain it to me any more my head will do this.


Hunka Hunka Burnin' Feed

In a housekeeping move that seems sure to baffle everyone except Web geeks, Skip (our intern from the junior college) has moved this blog's email subscription service from something called Squeet to something called Feedburner. I'm not sure what this means to you, or more importantly, to me, or why he did it; the kid had that crazy, quavery Please please let me explain to you why this is so much better thing in his voice, and at times like that I just find it easier to say yes than to listen to him. But he assures me the switch will result in a zippier, more efficient delivery of fresh snark every day. Or at least every day I'm not otherwise occupied, or meeting with my lawyers, or trying to squeeze in a quick 9 before lunch. The larger point is: Hey, look down on the right! It's Mr. I by email! Go nuts, if you so choose.


Graduation 2006

...We must build walls. A wall obviously across the entire southern border. That’s the answer. That may not be enough—maybe a moat in front of it, or a fire-pit. Maybe a flaming moat, filled with fire-proof crocodiles. And we should probably wall off the northern border as well. Keep those Canadians with their socialized medicine and their skunky beer out. And because immigrants can swim, we’ll probably want to wall off the coasts as well. And while we’re at it, we need to put up a dome, in case they have catapults. And we’ll punch some holes in it so we can breathe. Breathe free. It’s time for illegal immigrants to go—right after they finish building those walls...

Mr. Irresponsible isn't in the habit of quoting willy-nilly from other people, because I don't care for other people. There's so many of them, and the law of large numbers dictates that a lot of them are going to be mouth-breathers. But Stephen Colbert is firing on all cylinders these days. As evidence -- if his flame-throwing performance at the White House Correspondents' Dinner wasn't enough; say, did anybody blog on that? -- here's a transcript of his commencement speech at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. The only mystery is why an A-lister like Colbert is talking to the graduates at Knox, while flavors-of-the-month like Anderson Cooper score the plum gigs at places like Yale.  Or, for that matter, why I myself ended up addressing the graduating class of someplace called St. Barney's Occipital Teachers College in San Diego (see yesterday's entry). Don't think I won't be having a stern talk with my agent about that.


And We'll Split the Strawberry Parfait in a Craftsman Tool Chest

Mr. Irresponsible was forced to spend some time in San Diego, CA this weekend, a town that experienced travel writers have dubbed "Paterson with hills." While there I heard about a mid-priced seafood restaurant called "Rockin' Baja Lobster," a name that so clearly bears the stamp of overzealous focus-group testing that the place might as well have been called "This Restaurant Was Named By a Focus Group." The trademark of Rockin' Baja Lobster -- well, besides the apostrophe that says "This Baja lobster's fun, it's now, it's got zazz, baby!" -- is, and I am not making this up, a selection of seafood entrees that are served in buckets. Yes, buckets. Like you mix paint in. I don't know precisely how the gimmick is effected, because I was too busy rubbing my eyes in disbelief; I mean, do they ceremoniously bear the bucket to your table and dump the contents in your lap, or do they give you a small hand shovel and instruct you to dig for your supper or what?

This may be overbranding at its silliest, which is saying something. At that, though, the people-pleasing folks behind Rockin' Baja Lobster (whom I imagine to be a faceless multinational with ties to the Saudis and a name like "EvilCo LLC") are only riding the latest wave in food service, which is to deliver you your entrees in something approximating the shape of Oddjob's hat. Denny's has just started promoting an appalling variety of bowl-based offerings (you can see them here, but don't say you weren't warned -- the Ham & Swiss Bowl looks like something your puppy did), and KFC has been all over the NBA playoffs promoting a glutinous construction of mashed potatoes, corn, fried chicken bits, gravy and cheese, served in -- yes! say it with me! -- a bowl. As far as Mr. Irresponsible can see, this is one more bit of proof that America's laziness is reaching near-pandemic levels. When did eating food off plates become too much trouble? Did somebody say "You know, using a knife and fork to push my food together into a series of mouth-sized portions... darn it, it's too much work! If only there were some sort of conveyance in which my food would just sort of slide together by gravity"? Have we all lost our minds? Or are we just too shiftless to live?

Either way, I know what my next move is. I'm having all my food served to me on plates, beautiful china plates that are as unbendingly flat across the middle as America herself, and that includes soups and coffee. I may end up with lunch in my lap, but I'll still have my pride.