New York World

It Takes a Pillage, Part 4

The scene: A nicely appointed office, heavy drapes, strong scent of freshly baked cookies.

THE AIDE: Senator, our man inside is still working on breaking down the names of everyone in Hollywood who gave He Who Shall Not Be Named that $1.3 million last week ….

THE SENATOR: Big fah-reakin’ deal. If I know Ron, he’ll make sure we can raise at least $1.5 million at his house! [Stands and begins doing a hip-swiveling dance with arms swinging.] Show me da money! Show me da money! Show me da money! Wooo-hoooo! He may be Bill’s de facto pimp, but I love the cocksucker all the same. I’ll take him over Geffen any day. That bitch Maureen Dowd—she’s just mad because Bill never tried to nail her. And you know she would have—in a second! Love that John Podhoretz in the Post took my side—now there’s a smart guy. Now he’s my wittle poodle—I like that: Poodle Podhoretz. Hey, poodle—fetch! Haw haw haw. That’s rich—but not Marc Rich, he’s in Switzerland—haw haw haw! Oh, pardon me, Mr. Geffen! Now what’s the latest on Iraq?

THE AIDE: Penn says not to worry, your 2002 vote will be forgotten once the primary voters get a load of Biden’s hair ….

THE SENATOR: Haw haw haw haw!!! Did Penn really say that? Remind me to send him something. “Biden’s hair …. ” Haw haw haw haw! Now, what have you got on Bill’s whores?

THE AIDE: Unclear.

THE SENATOR: “Unclear?” That’s the best you can give me—unclear? I can get “unclear” from the Punjab pump jockey at the Mobil station. Call Wolfie and find out who my husband’s boning—oh, it’s a long, long way to Tipperary! And if you ever give me an “unclear” again, I’ll beat you so hard you’ll beg for a bullet. Now get me McAuliffe on the phone—I want every Democrat with over a hundred grand in the bank to be told that if they write a check to Obama, they won’t even be able to take a dump within 10 miles of Washington when I move back into the White House. [Stands and, in loud, Ethel Merman–style voice, belts out:] There’s no business like show business, like no business I know!

Awakening to Television

I interviewed my friend Claude Potski about his unique video alarm clock.

Sparrow: How did you find your television clock?

Mr. Potski: One day it occurred to me, “Everyone has a clock radio, but no one has a clock television. Why not wake up to some brilliant vintage comedy on American Movie Classics, rather than the neurotic whining of WINS?” So I looked on the Internet. (I am one of the few people who prefer Dogpile to Google.) And I found precisely one company in the world that makes such televisions: Molari, in Italy.

Sparrow: So you bought one.

Mr. Potski: Yes. My other television was old, anyway. And I always keep my TV at the foot of the bed, so it’s close enough to hear. The Molari is easy to program—though a little trickier than a clock radio.

Sparrow: And now you awaken to great films?

Mr. Potski: Just yesterday Clark Gable woke me up, saying, “I’ve been looking at her kind since my voice changed” in Red Dust!


Dear Guy

Guy is a 41-year-old man living in New York City who has had several successful long-term relationships. Readers may send questions to

Dear Guy,

It seems like every time I have a fight with my boyfriend John, whom I moved in with last year, he ends up calling me a “psycho.” I just don’t get it! My friends all say that I’m totally easygoing, and I think I am, too. I talk to my parents at least five or six times a day—do you really think they’d take my calls if I were “crazy”? But John is so attached to this “psycho” label. Especially when we’re talking about where our relationship is going, John gets quiet and shuts down, so that I end up being the one doing all the talking. Of course, this totally annoys me—because it means that I’m the one doing all the work—but when I calmly explain to him how he’s repeating the old pattern between his dad and mom, he calls me insane. Which of course ends the conversation, since name-calling like that is a roadblock to intimacy, as we all know. I have to tell you, some days I feel closer to my parrot, Sergeant Bigglesworth, than I do to John. (I’m even trying to teach Biggles to speak French!) Anyway, I’m thinking of suggesting to John that he and I go away for a week together, away from all the busy distractions of New York, to someplace quiet, where we can really talk. What do you think?


Frustrated in Flatiron

Dear Frustrated,

You’re crazy!



Dear Guy,

I have been dating Tim for eight years. I love him deeply—he’s intelligent, has a good job, he’s sweet and treats me great. We met when we were both 27, and on our third date he told me he would never get married before he turned 40. You know how it is: You hear things like that so early in a relationship, you just don’t take them seriously (though my therapist would say it was a “red flag”). But Tim has remained steadfast. I turned 35 this winter, and I realized that most of our close friends have gotten married, had kids—and in one case even gotten divorced—while Tim and I are constantly remaining in the same stagnant state. He claims that marriage is nothing but a piece of paper handed down from “the man,” but then he refuses to see my logic—that, if that’s truly the case and it’s just a slip of paper, why wouldn’t he do it just to make me happy? My two best friends think Tim will change his tune once I actually get pregnant. Do you think I should try it, and see if that does the trick?


Perplexed in Park Slope

Dear Perplexed,

You’re crazy!