I’d never IM’d with John Carney before today; the first topic was the investigation of a joke I couldn’t remember. The joke involved an Indian, His Horse, and Said Horse’s Large Dick. I still don’t know what it is, but Andrew offered up a decent alternative. We spoke of our experiences Googling the joke, and how they were, at best, sordid. “Whatever you do, don’t image search it,” he warned. Sage advice, if I’ve ever heard any.
The second topic of conversation was Thomas Fleming, a guy who - according to Wikipedia - was noted by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a key intellectual of the “Neo-Confederate” movement. He’s the editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, and is the ideological crack baby of Barry Goldwater and Ted Nugent. Naturally, this is somewhat in line with Carney’s sensibilities, and John Boy wrote an article for them back in the day, which you can download as a YM exclusive here.
Now, if you’re too lazy to download the PDF, the January 2004 article is about John’s foray into becoming a smoker - as a libertarian and general asshole, it’s his job to take up The Habit proceeding the Great Smoking Ban at the lung-ripened age of 30.
That’s funny, because I’m an asshole, and I occasionally read Esquire. And I distinctly remember Esquire fiction editor and writer-at-large Tom Chiarella writing the exact same article, entitled, of course, Learning to Smoke. Three years later. And I imagine he got paid, handsomely, for it.
Now, I’m not saying that Chiarella plagurized Carney, or that he even stole the idea from Carney. But, from Carney’s article:
On my way home that evening, I lit my ﬁrst cigarette. It took four matches. I learned not to try to light the cigarette in the sulfur but to wait until the ﬂames caught the cardboard match stem, and I learned to cup my hands just so against the wind. My lungs felt as if they were being pulled apart. My eyes watered. I kept spilling ash on my lapels and had trou- ble not burning my jacket. I experimented with a few different grips, settling on a cupped-in-the-hand style that not only kept the ﬂame away from my clothes but made me feel like Steve McQueen. Best of all, I didn’t cough.
And from Chiarella’s article:
My first: walking home the four long blocks from the school where I teach. I didn’t know how to hold it. My fingers, clamped on the little cigarette, looked porcine, oversized, poorly positioned. The smoke, ashy and light, filled my mouth, made my eyes water. I coughed on every drag, even though I barely inhaled. I covered all this up by walking fast, figuring I’d just look like a man with places to go, a busy man, smoking his daily fact of life, not a poser considering the small elements of style that obsessed me: Was the cigarette well lit? How deeply should I breathe? Somehow, I cared, like some dumbass kid in ninth grade.Conclusion? An uncanny resemblance in certain areas. Questioning Carney - who’d never seen Chiarella’s article, delivered a near-perfect review: “He’s much more boring than I am. This goes on for far too long.”
Chiarella’s writing once came up in conversation, and my friend started telling me about his latest human-gerbil piece. As it turns out, he’d sat at a poker table with Chiarella towards the end of his experiment. “Yeah, he’s a fat fuckin’ slob, and he took up smoking for Esquire, for a month. He’s not doing it any more. He got rolled at the table that night.” Also, for the record, John Carney still smokes. Attaboy.
In the end, Advantage: Carney (again, you can read his article by downloading it here). Rule to remember? If it’s in a magazine, someone somewhere else has probably discussed it previously, in a much more entertaining matter, and in some cases, less words.
Me? I started smoking when I was 15: Kamel Red Lights. I’ve since smoked Marlboro Lights, Camel Lights, Parliament Lights, and in an attempt to quit smoking, Pall Mall’s. In high school, people were immensely turned-off by the habit, but by senior year, they were all smoking, and by college, they were doing fucking roll-o’s of Drum. I could quit now if I wanted - famous words, right? - but I kind of just do it to do it, now. It’s a good excuse to get out of a bad conversation, and it gives you something to do when you’re bored, pissed, or not in the mood to think of actual remedies to the issue driving you to smoke (or, inversely, it’s something to do while you think of a remedy to the issue driving you to smoke). The real thrill was getting away with it when you were under the legal age, and also, doing it when nobody else was. Also, driving. Driving and smoking and especially smoking while driving a manual transmission - now that’s great.
And that joke? Still don’t know it. But cigarettes are made with organic horseshit. That’s funny. Close enough, I guess.
UPDATE: The compiled smoking histories of YM!
99: Smoked for two weeks when I was twelve. Bought the pack from the vending machine in the police station. No shit.
Smoked Commanders my last quarter in college when I was dating an annoying smoker. I talked about non-smokers rights all the time. It infuriated her. She would exclaim: “But you smoke!”. I would explain to her I was a smoking non smoker. She had great tits; give me some slack.
I smoke Dunhills when I do. Sherman’s on occasion. Love their ‘mint’.
Krucoff: Except for the handful of times I’ve smoked a butt or two in a state of total intoxication, I’ve never been a tool of big tobacco’s death industry. Smoking cigs never made sense because it seemed like the biggest sucker draw in “will this make me look cool” teen accessory. And yeah, I was punk rock about things like that. On the other hand, drinking and drugs I understood. That shit fucked you up.
This isn’t what you were looking for but it’s an oldie and goodie…
A man boards an airplane, and takes his seat. As he settles in, he glances up and sees the most beautiful woman he has ever seen boarding the plane. He soon realizes she is heading straight towards his seat. A wave of nervous anticipation washes over him. Lo and behold, she takes the seat right beside his. Eager to strike up a conversation, he blurts out, “So where are you flying to today?”
She turns and smiles, and says, “To the Annual Nymphomaniac Convention in Chicago.” He swallows hard, and is instantly CRAZED with excitement. Here’s the most gorgeous woman he has ever seen, sitting RIGHT next to him, and she’s going to a meeting of nymphomaniacs. Struggling to maintain his outward cool, he calmly asks, “And what’s your role at this convention?”
She flips her hair back, turns to him, locks onto his eyes, and says, “Well, I try to debunk some of the popular myths about sexuality. “Really” he says, swallowing hard. “And what myths are those?”
She explains: “Well, one popular myth is that African American men are the most well endowed when, in fact, it is the Native American Indian who is most likely to possess this trait. Another popular myth is that Frenchmen are the best lovers, when actually it is men of Jewish descent who romance women best, on average.”
“Very interesting,” the man responds. Suddenly, the woman becomes very embarrassed and blushes. “I’m sorry,” she says, “I feel so awkward discussing this with you and I don’t even know your name.”
The man extends his hand and replies, “Tonto. Tonto Goldberg!”
Okay, I didn’t want it to come to this, but here we go. I’m almost positive someone told me a joke about an Native-American and a horse’s dick last night. I remember laughing heartily about it last night, and waking up this morning and trying to remember it. I couldn’t.
If you know this joke, you would be doing me a great favor by telling me the rest of it (or all of it). Because Googling “Indian” and “horse’s dick” when you’re not drunk is no fun. We won’t give you a stuffed animal, but I will buy a drink for you. I am totally serious about this.
Dashiell thinks the Palin pick is a brilliant move for McCain and says, “Listen closely, because this is the important part. Any and all conversations about Iraq, from now and until forever, begin and end with one statement from his running mate. “I’m a worried mother, and my eldest boy, my baby, is fighting in Iraq right now so that you can sit on your ass and eat salads.” End of discussion. Not even the “we want to bring him home now” defense is useless against the boy’s own mother. You can’t argue with a mom. You just can’t.”
Really? Can’t argue with a mom about a son or daughter in Iraq? You might want to ask Cindy Sheehan about that.
Great, now we have presidential campaigns with candidates from Hawaii and Alaska: America’s Outer Boroughs. What happened to the country I used to know?
Dispatch from a Day Off: So this is what it’s like to be “self-employed” on a Friday, huh? Just woke up and I’m about to, in the words of Calvin Broadus Jr., get my “smoke” on. Crowdsourcing: does anybody know approximately how high one must be in order to tolerate the Brooklyn DMV? Meanwhile, I’m not sure exactly what it is Tyler’s doing today, but I’m into it.
The YM Mind is in synch. I was just about to link to the same. Also, Brooklyn Eagle profiled Squadron the other day and The Brooklyn Paper will give its nod next week too. Here’s the debate held at their editorial office. Remember, this district covers Brooklyn Heights, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, DUMBO, western Williamsburg, and most of Manhattan below 14th Street other than Greenwich Village. If you’re reading this, you probably live in one of those neighborhoods! (Apologies to the esteemed Astoria Tumblr Contingent.) And Tuesday, meet the candidate at a free booze event on the Lower East Side.
Here’s how John McCain (maybe) just won the election. What are his weaknesses?
1. He’s old.
She’s 44. (And kinda hot.)
2. He’s a rich bastard.
Her husband is somehow a fisherman, an oil man, and a steelworker all at the same. Fuck you, Amtrak.
3. He’s not Hillary Clinton.
She’s a mom, who shoots guns.
Listen closely, because this is the important part. Any and all conversations about Iraq, from now and until forever, begin and end with one statement from his running mate. “I’m a worried mother, and my eldest boy, my baby, is fighting in Iraq right now so that you can sit on your ass and eat salads.” End of discussion. Not even the “we want to bring him home now” defense is useless against the boy’s own mother. You can’t argue with a mom. You just can’t.
And (dear god forbid, no one wants this, so hopefully just suggesting it is a jinx, because lord knows, no one on the tv dares whisper it) if something should happen to her son while he’s overseas (anything bad at all; i don’t need to remind you of the possibilities) … they win. It’s over. Could anyone anywhere deny a grieving mother?
Even if nothing happens (and I truly hope he comes back safe), it’s a brilliant pick. I really think he’s going to win.
(P.S. Which brings up a legitimate non-partisan question: Should the son of a potential vice-president really being serving in a war zone? In the infantry no less? Especially if they win; wouldn’t he have to come home?)
Fuck the Citizen’s Union! No love for our boys, Paul Newell and Daniel Squadron. ‘No preference’ for the Silver race? Bah. Though Squadron might get the nod next week.
Krucoff is totally nice in person. He’s just a prick on the internet.
»Posted by Choire at 10:02 AM on August 28, 2008
Well, sometimes he can be a prick in person too.
Linkblog showdown! Kottke is, no surprise, the deserving big winner here but look at our little Rexy. He’s up 70% since moving to New York! (Disclaimer: yeah, we know.)
Salad of the Weak: OMOG, this writer for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel LOVES the Olive Garden salad!! More crazy news? Priest accused of running out on Olive Garden bill faces attempted murder charge!! (Haha, his name is Priest!)