The Hot Dog Eating Contest


published in Yankee Magazine


Granted, it's not routine for a restaurant critic, accustomed to appraising champagne vinegars and savoring amber flan, to enter a hot dog eating contest.  But there I was, peaceably strolling through a summertime street fair in downtown Attleboro, Mass., when an announcement crackled over the PA system looped overhead, that a genuine old-fashioned New England hot dog contest was about to begin.  How often does life throw such opportunities our way? read more     

Is "Doggie Style" Hyphenated?


published in Salon

My stint as a copy editor at a skin mag taught me more than I ever wanted to know about the sexual proclivities of the American public.


Let us call him "Mr. Green": a varnished old rogue in a stained ascot. At a New York writers party featuring various penniless scribes crushed into a room the size of a janitor's closet, Mr. Green watched as I spoke touchingly of my wife's second pregnancy and the financial burdens presented thereby. Then he asked if I wanted freelance work. "Copy-editing jerk-off letters for a skin mag," Green said. "Your eyes will glaze over but the money's grand."  read more

Fistfight in the Age of Aquarius


published in Madison


Punching a guy in the nose has got to be one of the grislier sensations.  It's like slugging an orange: You can feel the pulp right through your knuckles. Yet punching can also do great things for a friendship – provided you let a little time pass to let things cool off.  Thirty years after I punched a pal in the nose, I called him to pick up where we had left off.               


"This is someone from the long ago," I began.  "Ready to dig way back?" read more

Simon Says Eat Shit


published in Salon

first appeared on Father’s Day as the lead article, where it generated some 200 letters calling for my head.  What more discerning readers pointed out was that the piece was supposed to be, um, a spoof…


I rather enjoy having kids. Again.  All over again.  After having two boys with my first wife, to raise to adulthood, having two more boys with my new wife, to raise to adulthood.  Doing the same things.  Mostly the very same things.  Day after day.  Year after year.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m mostly rapturous about doing it again in my 50s. read more



published in The North American Review


Why identify body-parts? Ask the mailman, ask the grocer, ask anyone who has become involved in this rewarding and fast-growing pastime. Ardent “body-part hounds” are to be found in practically every community across the land, oftentimes banding together in clubs and renting a hail somewhere. And whether they specialize in photographing body-parts, or training them, or simply talking about them, all these clubs welcome new members to share in their slide shows and sing fests.  read more