Old Ladies on the Bus


A blizzard can mean only one thing:  I’m not going to bake a damn pie because I can’t get to the store.

Also:  I’m going to take the bus to the bank tomorrow.  Those are the things a blizzard means.

This is not to say that I won’t bake SOMETHING, so stop hyperventilating, okay?


You need to get an inhaler or something.  That sounds like asthma, or a severe smokers cough.

Well, see a doctor, anyway?  Oh I DON’T? I sleep next to you!  I should know what a death rattle sounds like.

Okay, you know what?  I’m trying to blog right now.  I’m not going to ARGUE WITH YOU.  Because.  You’re IMAGINARY!!!

I’m sorry.  I know that’s not playing fair.  I’m sorry.  Yes.  I know it’s not fair to create you as a narrative device for my blog and then resent you.  Okay.  You’re right.  CAN WE MOVE ON?

Thank you.  Where was I?  Oh, yes.  Taking the bus.

Beware, intrepid New Yorkers.  Beware the bus.  It’s a great mode of transport and everything.  It works well, and it tends to run on schedule, as far as my experience has shown me.  But at least be aware.  You’re entering the territory of the Old Bus Lady. You might notice that I’m getting a confused look.  It not because I’m covertly photographing them.  Old Bus Ladies love to be photographed.  And anyway, they didn’t notice.  What they DID notice is that i sat in the first six seats.  They DID NOT like that.  There’s a sign!  It says, please give this seat up to Old Bus Ladies! Boy.  There was a big to-do about me sitting there. I should mention that we were the only people on the bus.  Old Bus Lady! You’re so silly!

But I respect your territory and pretend I’m Polish.

What’s creepier than Old Bus Ladies on a Wednesday afternoon?


But finding ripe, cheap blueberries that taste good in the dead of winter can run a close second.  It really creeps me out.  But what could i do?  It was more than a pint for less than 5 bucks.  Had to take the mutant hot-house blueberries.

I didn’t have the ingredients to make a pie, so I whipped up some blueberry quickbread for myself and a friend who came to visit.




This was after enduring the outrage and scorn of the ancient Italian Old Bus Ladies.  One of them made deep eye contact and whispered ‘Thinner!!!!”  Right as I left the bus.  Haven’t felt exactly myself since, but I’ve dropped 10 lbs in two days…


People are being dramatic.  People LOVE to be dramatic.  Look at the media.  They can take a phrase like ‘health care reform’ and change it around to read ‘death squads.’   Ta da!

That’s called ‘pushing paper’ in the journalism biz.  You take the most dramatic, most terrifying angle on something and then act like your hare brained half-theory is FACT.

Watch – I’ll show you how it’s done:

Look at this!  Amid all the warnings about white flour and fat and an ever expanding, girthy America – SOMEONE is making duck fat  and heavy cream gravy to go atop buttermilk biscuits.

Why would he ever serve that to a guest?  No one can know for sure, but here’s a theory:  He wants to clog the arteries of his young guest because he’s jealous of him – his beauty, his youth, his energy and light-hearted verve.

What a bitter aging fairy – making a sludge filled breakfast of biscuits and gravy!

See.  I just sensationalized it!  That’s called ‘being a good journalist.’  But don’t blame the journalists.  They’re just putting food on the table.  Blame yourself.  You’re the one reading it.

Wow.  Tangent.

This is not on the floor.  It’s cooling on a metal stool.

It only looks like it’s on the floor.

So,The next morning I made these puppies.  Look at them.  They were quick and easy and full of butter and buttermilk.

I learned a lot on my trip to the bank and the fruit market.  I learned that Old Bus Ladies are not to be trifled with.  They’ve lived longer than you, they know more about the world.  Some of it good, some bad.  They can put a gypsy curse on you.

They’ve worked hard to raise their children and slowly poison their husbands with butter and sour cream and whole milk and flour and heavy cream and lard and duck fat and other mysterious poisons like anti-freeze.

And sometimes, fags – sometimes you gotta respect that.  Sometimes you have to move to the back of the bus, like Rosa wouldn’t, even if there’s nobody else on the bus.

At least, until you’re an Old Bus Lady yourself.

God willing.

Enjoy the Blueberry Quick Bread and Biscuits and Duckfat Buttermilk gravy, jerks!!

Keep on Shitting, Ray Ray.


Okay, see this guy?  What?  No that’s not a puppet.  It’s Chris Gethard.

Why would you ask me if it was a puppet?  It’s clearly a person.  Weird question.  Stop asking weird questions and listen:

Okay.  Chris Gethard is a local comic.  He’s a good guy, and he’s done nice stuff for me.  One time this sketch show was looking for gay comics and he got me seen for it.  I didn’t know him very well at all, he just got me seen because he thought I was funny.  He’d seen me in a show.

If you’re not in show biz, that’s a big deal.  Actors and comics don’t often go out of their way to get friends seen for stuff, much less acquaintances.   I never forgot that.  I doubt I ever will.

Sidebar: I made a gluten free quiche over the holidays that nobody in my family will ever forget.

Looks great, doesn’t it?

It was terrible.  It was really not a success.

The filling was fine, but the crust was just…  let’s not talk about it, okay?

Back to Gethard:

Okay, so Chris is a downtown comedy icon.  He’s been on the scene for more than a decade, and he’s a respected teacher and performer at the UCB theater.  He booked a sitcom in 2010 called Big Lake with Horatio Sanz  and Chris Parnell.

Who’s Chris Parnell?  Don’t you dare say that to me, ever.  He was on SNL (fired and re-hired more than once) and he’s widely regarded as one of the most talented, underrated sketch comics of his generation.  Seriously.  Stop asking weird questions.  It’s annoying.

So, Chris Gethard has a show, The Chris Gethard show, at UCB theater.  Usually he does crazy stunts with his ragtag group of funny friends.  Once in a while they pull a nice prank.  But every so often they do something totally inspiring.  You should check out The Chris Gethard Show – it’s worth it.

What?  Oh.  Here’s the thing with a gluten free crust.  Apparently you can’t just substitute your regular pie recipe.  Things should be tweaked, or you should do some research on the internet.  I followed my normal white flour recipe and the crust was nearly inedible.

Some of my family pretended to like it.  Some did not.

HEY.  I said I didn’t want to talk about it.

Him?  That’s Sean ‘Puffy’ Combs.  Puff Daddy.  P.Diddy.  Diddy.  Flapjack and the Doodle Gang.  Sean John.  He goes by many names.

But you know who he is.  Stop acting like you don’t.

Here’s what he has to do with all this:

About a year ago Gethard made a video asking Diddy to come on his show.  I think it might have started as a joke, but maybe it wasn’t.  With Gethard you never know.  But he makes these crazy things happen.  He sets his mind to stuff and he doesn’t ever let go.  Just like Diddy.  Gethard and his friends started hounding people on Twitter to bother Diddy into doing the show.

Seriously.  It was a shitty quiche.

It was really bad.

My family ate it though.  And I’ll tinker with the recipe.  A lot of my friends (including my sister in law, Robin) have gluten intolerance, and a tasty gluten free pie should ABSOLUTELY be in the arsenal.

What?  No that’s not a puppet.  It’s clearly a shitty quiche.


A year and tens of thousands of Tweets later, and Diddy appeared on Chris Gethard’s show.  Sounds easy?  I’m sure it wasn’t.  Sound exhilerating?  I’m sure it was.  Diddy did the show.  All hour long.  He participated in all the bits just like a regular cast member.  Everyone in the community was super psyched that Chris made this happen.  It was hilarious and emotional.

Chris.  Thanks for inspiring me.  Here’s some pics from the show.  Enjoy it, jerks.

Oh look.  It’s my internet (and real life) stalker, Alan Starzinski.

Late Night Baking

Let’s face it.  Winter can really make you stir crazy.  Like really.  Stir.  Crazy.

Okay.  So it’s not that bad, obviously.

I don’t have ‘the Shine.’

I don’t chase my wife and child through a hedge maze.

I’m not best friends with two dead twins, a creepy Bigwheel poltergeist ghost, or a drowned granny.

But I decided to make a midnight quiche, anyway, to ward of the stir crazies.  Remember that movie?  Richard Prior and Gene Wilder.  They don’t make that kind of film anymore.

Now it’s all about high schoolers having sex with pies. Not the same.

I mean.  It can get to you.  Cooped up in your apartment, waiting to book the next acting or comedy gig.

You start having dark thoughts.  Like, what’s the meaning of life?  And, why don’t I poop more often?  Five times a week?  Is that enough?  Am I giving myself colon cancer?

Why does that one bus driver keep looking at me weird and striking up conversations?  Is he a stereotype from a heartwarming movie?  Is he gay?  He seems rugged and un-gay.  Maybe he’s stalking me for his first kill as a serial killer?  Why don’t I poop more often?

I made a mushroom and bacon quiche.

I have been improvising the quiche recipes lately.

Now’s it’s just, mix whatever eggs with whatever cream i have and then throw in some meat/vegetable combo.



Oh.  Sidebar.  I allow myself one off-topic non sequitur per blog entry:

When the Oxygen channel launched, I thought to myself, oh, that’s good – there’s finally going to be a channel that takes women seriously.  Someone’s going to correct the mistakes made by the Lifetime network.  Someone’s finally going to push an anti-misogynist agenda.

Well, score one for feminism.

Good job, Oxygen!

Okay.  Before I hack the bathroom door open with an axe, here are some pics of the quiche.

Stop being so NEGATIVE

AIDS.  There I said it.


Oh, wait.  Sorry.  I wasn’t making a cheap AIDS joke.

I was merely thinking aloud.  I have to get an AIDS test today.

My friend Kazuyoshi and I have been talking about going to get HIV tests together, mainly because we’re both single and both TERRIFIED to go alone.

Also, he’s been bugging me to make a pie for him.  He’s heard about the PIEMAN OF GRAHAM AVE (i just coined that phrase) and he wants in on the action.

Anyway.  Why not make a day of it, I said to myself?

This is a picture of a crystal skull vodka bottle that i filled with coffee.  It has nothing to do with this blog entry, but I felt it was manipulative and ominous.


I’ve been blind baking pie shells lately.  A real NIGHTMARE.  It’s totally different than baking a double crust pie.  You use a blind shell  when you make pies that use a chilled or non cooked filling.  Like custard pies, silk pies, key lime…  That sort of stuff.  I SAID KEY LIME!!!  KEY.  LIME.   WHY DO YOU ASK A QUESTION AND THEN LEAVE THE ROOM????  DRIVES ME CRAZY!!!

So you roll out the crust, line it with tinfoil and then weight down the inside to keep the crust from rising, and making a dome shape instead of a pie crust shape.  Most bakers use ceramic weights that you can buy.  I use change from my dresser top.  Six of one, half-dollar of the other, I never say….

The free, anonymous clinic is on 28th and 9th.  The one I go to is at least.  I want the test to be anonymous, or semi anonymous, because I want to decide how public I want to be about it, if I ever do contract HIV.  I opted for semi-anonymous, which means you get written results, but they take your driver’s license number and probably hound you if you turn up positive.

Still.  It’s nice to have those papers, as ephemeral proof that you don’t have a hard-to-identify super virus attacking your immune system.

I get the idea the people in this poster are not ready to have children.  I hope they don’t have the baby, because they don’t look like they trust each other a lot right now.  Actually, it occured to me that the man feels like he was molested or raped.  He’s not AT ALL glad to have had sex last night.  He didn’t plan it.  Did she rape him????



This was a custard pie, which involves bringing milk and sugar to a simmering boil, then adding egg yolk and chocolate and vanilla. Essentially it’s making chocolate pudding, but much better pudding than that crap you can get in the grocery store.

I chilled the custard in the fridge.

On the way to the clinic I met up with a number of straight people I know.  It was one of those serendipitous days in New York City where you meet just about every goddamn person you ever did comedy with, went to college with, or used to work at a bar with.  They all asked ‘where are you headed.’ Now, mind you:

Most of the time that I’m on the way to the Aids clinic I don’t run into people – but IF I DO, and if they are straight, I usually don’t tell them where I’m going.  I don’t know why, exactly, but I’ve heard a lot of my gay friends say the same thing.  Maybe it’s some internalized shame over being gay, or maybe we’re just trying to spare the straights the quarterly horror of us having to face our own mortality – being in a ‘high risk’ group for AIDS.  I don’t know.  What I do know is ON THIS DAY, I told all the straights i saw where i was going.

This pie was a nightmare.  I had some extra crust leftover, but I didn’t have enough for a full pie.  I thought i would just roll the crust out thinner.  Mistake.  It shrank, and buckled and basically acted like an ASSHOLE.  Plus look at it.  It’s clumsy and hideous.  But it was tasty.

I was surprised at the reactions I got from straight people.  Most looked surprised.  Mostly this was my fault.  “Where are you off to?” they would inquire in a balmy tone of voice.  “Off to the AIDS clinic,” I chirped back, trying to mimic their tone of voice as if to say, oh, you know, bank, AIDS clinic, food shopping – ERRANDS!!!

P.S.  Sidebar – American Apparel is making a t.v. show?  I bet it’s not as good as the British version, which I’m still not totally sold on.

But yeah.  Straight people.  I guess on some level I want them to know and hear about my AIDS test.  I want them to know that I live in constant fear for my life, just for expressing love.  And I know EVERYONE can say that. And I know that EVERYONE should get tested every three months.  And I know that ONLY GAY AND BI PEOPLE ACTUALLY DO.  Because we (along with prostitutes and heroin/meth addicts) are the high risk group.

I whipped cream and then broke chocolate chips up into fragments for the topping.

I’m tired of feeling ashamed that I’m going to the clinic.  I’m tired of feeling like it’s gauche to bring it up to my straight friends.  I’m tired of them acting panicked when I DO bring it up.

I hope the gays reading this blog will be a little more visible/audible about practicing safe sex.  Straight people need to realize that going to get an AIDS test doesn’t make you slutty or depraved – it makes you responsible.  We need to shed our shame about it, straights and gays – so that we can acknowledge the fundamental fact that our lives are very different.  Being straight can be harder than being gay in ways that gays cannot fathom (childbirth, child rearing, sex with the opposite sex – ew).  But being gay ain’t no cakewalk.

Though.  Sometimes, there’s pie involved.

Kazu and I both came up negative.

The pie was hideous, but delicious.

Thanks for asking, jerks.

Subtext: If you get Syphilis, make sure it’s WORTH it.

Who’s better than ARI SCOTT?

Nobody.  Nobody is better than Ari Scott.

What’s that you’re nattering about?  Okay.  I guess Jesus.  Jesus is better, if you’re speaking semantics.

I mean.  He did start one of the world’s big three problem religions, so maybe Ari IS better.   Don’t get mad, I’m not saying your beliefs are dumb, I’m merely pointing out that a lot of blood has been shed over the Christian/Jew/Muslim thing over the last few thousand years.  Right.  And still.  Now.  We’re still doing the bloodshed thing.

What?  All this secular talk is unpopular and people want to hear about Ari Scott, and her connection to pie?

Fine.  Will you pay the National Grid bill, if I get to the blog entry?  WHAT?  You don’t have 41.75 in your bank account?  Oh man.  I gotta move outta Williamsburg.  NO.  It’s not funny that you’re broke.  Yes.  I do have a sense of humor.

Clearly Ari has a sense of humor:

See that photo?  It’s funny.  Mostly out of irony, which, fuck you guys, is not dead.  I agree – the insufferable hipsters people NEARLY beat it to death in the aughts.

Ari clearly proves that irony is not dead and is still very funny.

SHE’S not a strident upper-middle class housewife with a dog, as this picture clearly suggests.

She’s a thriving, relevant New York Comedian.  Musician.  Let’s settle on Photographer and call it a day.

Point is, she doesn’t HAVE to pick.  She’s great at all of that stuff.

Check her out if you don’t believe me:


I’ll wait here a minute and preheat my oven.

Back?  See?  I told you.

So, Ari had a 365 project in 2010.  Photos.  You can see it on her website.  Go back.  BACK.  USE THE PAGE NAVIGATOR.  THE ARROWS!!!!!!!  THE ARROWS!!!!  Okay.  Now click on the icon that says Flicker #1.  That’s her stuff, fool. She had this 365 project, where she took a self portrait every day for 365 days.  Guess what?  She finished it.

Him?  That’s John Frusciante.  Ari’s fiance.

NO SMARTASS, not the guitarist from RED Hot Chilli Peppers.  He’s a comic at UCB theater and in New York and on the Internet.   He organized a nice surprise party for Ari.  He had some of her friends bring laptops to the UCB training center and set them up like a gallery, but on iMacs.  Hot, right?  It’s a start.   She’ll be in art galleries soon, kiddo, not to worry.

By the way, John’s nick name is Fresh Titties.

Why?  Because that’s the freshest supply of tatas.  Clearly.  Stop asking questions.  WHY DO I KEEP YOU AROUND?  Put your pants on.  I remember now.

I made another Mexican Silk for this party.  I wanted to get the recipe right, and I think I did.   Didn’t I?  Oh right.  You didn’t get any of it.  BECAUSE YOU LEFT THE SINK ON.


Oh come on, you know you di…  never mind.

I got it right this time, with more cayenne and cinnamon to really pack that punch in the crust.

A lot of fun, funny people came to support ari and her surprise party.  I was busy obsessing about the pie, but I heard them saying nice things about her.

“I’m Leslie and I’m super cool.  I wrote a show called Love Can Suck a Dick with Megan Nurenger.  It’s super funny and it’s playing on Friday at 7:30 at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater with Pam Murphy’s award winning The C Word.  Wow this pie Michael made is world class.”

“I’m Geoff Garlock.  Yes, you really spell it that way, why? I’m in a buncha bands and I write comedy for Maude night and other stuff around UCB and New York.   AND the internet!  Do you like my new haircut?  I change my look often, and this is a capricious throwaway.  Tomorrow, preppy, maybe.  Michael Martin is funny.”

“I’m Kirk Damato.  This is my girlfriend Sarah.  No.  Not her.  Not the smiling one, that’s Pam.  Why would she be smiling if she was my girlfriend?  The smirking one.  Yes.  Yes.  I know.  I AM LUCKY. Why am I looking sullen?  Because I have a desperate need to appear interesting, just like every other comic in the world.  Speaking of comedy, I am on an improv team called Decoster at UCB.  Or I was.  It’s complicated.  Now I’m in Japan.  Look my acting adventures up on www.talkingbreakfast.tumblr.com.  The point is, I’m here for Ari’s party and to tell Michael how hilariously wonderful EVERY SINGLE THING HE’S EVER DONE IN HIS LIFE IS.”

Stop it Kirk. GUYS.  This is about Ari.


Speaking of God, did I say something secular?  I did.  Yes.  Good.  I’m kind of secular.

Ari is a wonderful lady.  Very kind.  Very talented in many areas.  John is a good fiance.  They are lucky.  Here are photos of the event.

This man is not funny.

BD 11

Don’t touch that.  Just don’t!  Because I said so.  Now you’re rubbing your eye.  Now you’re sneezing and crying.  BECAUSE, DUMMY.  It’s not cinnamon – it’s cayenne pepper.  I told you not to touch it.  It’s going into my next set of pies.  Specifically, I’m whisking it into the flour before I cut the fat into the crust.

You can’t see it but it’s in there.  There’s cayenne pepper and cinnamon.  It’s mostly invisible – like Mary Kate Olsen.  Or Ashley.  Whichever is the one who doesn’t ever eat.

OH?  Both of them?  Really?

Do you KNOW that, or are you just spreading rumors?

Then shut up, this is my blogging time.

I was asked to another fancy party, and I’m making a pie.  What’s going on with my calendar this holiday season?  Not that I’m complaining.  It beats ringing in the new year with the Sissor Sisters at Metropolitan Bar.  No, I’m totally excited to go to the home of a well connected Asian American Broadway Legend and TV star.  Look, I’m not going to spell it out for you, mostly because I forgot to ask permission to use his name on my website.  But, piece it together, dummy.


So it’s going to be a Mexican Silk pie.  I took the traditional French Silk recipe and made some minor changes. Along with the crust, laden with cinnamon and cayenne – I’m adding Smoked Hungarian Paprika to the chocolate filling.  I want it to be smoky, chocolaty, and spicy – like a Mexican Hot Chocolate.

Once I had a ‘Mexican Hot Chocolate’ during spring break at South of the Border.  You know what?  I’m not going to tell that story right now, because I realize that I’m using the phrase euphemistically to describe a sex act with a certain equine barnyard animal.  The point is, I’ll never take mushrooms again.

Also, if you see a half human, half donkey from Mexico looking for his father – you never met me.  Got it?

There were no mushrooms in this pie, just chocolate, eggs, butter, and sugar.  Lots and lots of sugar.  And that Hungarian Paprika.  I know, it sounds weird right?  It was actually really good.  Like, so so good.  And you have to realize – there were wealthy New Yorkers there!  You can’t serve them DINER FRENCH SILK PIE!!!  You have to serve them something crazy that sounds like garbage, but is really quite elegant.  There’s no cooking in NY anymore without being an insufferable foodie.  Insufferable,I said.  INSUFFERABLE!!!!!  WELL THEN COME OUT OF THE BATHROOM AND SHUT THE SINK OFF, DUMMY.

Sheesh…   Okay.   So.  This guy on the billboard?

This is Daniel K. Isaac.

He’s a nice guy.  He’s the one that invited me to the party.

What?  Yeah I GUESS he’s good looking, if you like tall dark and super cute.

I guess so?  I never thought about it.  Okay.  Yes.  He’s handsome.  Anyway…  YES.  HE’S VERY GOOD LOOKING.  CAN I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION BACK PLEASE???  Lordy.  You’re unfocused today.

Okay so I topped the pie with whipped cream, and white/dark chocolate fragments.  It was supposed to look like confetti, for New Years.  What?  Yes, I suppose it was a little ‘on the nose.’  Thanks for pointing that out.  Jerk.

On top of the confetti, I made pie crust ‘cookies.’  They’re covered with dark and white chocolate.

What?  It’s an 11. Stop gaslighting me.

Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse in which false information is presented to the victim with the intent of making them doubt their own memory and perception.

Oh yeah, this is Jon Norman Schneider.  I know, super cute, right?  I have to mention that he was a huge help with the pie, and designed the typography for the 11 that you were just being so snide about.  What?  I guess so…  I never thought about it.  Yeah, I guess he IS a hottie.  Pay attention.  YES.  I AGREE.  HE’S VERY GOOD LOOKING!!!  CAN WE MOVE ON???

Sheesh…  Jon is a talented actor and has ruined many shows up and down the east coast and really, all over the country.  He continues to book film and tv work.  Look for him in the upcoming Bryan Greenberg movie The Normals.  He ruins it by playing a weirdo.  (He doesn’t ruin anything – he’s great.  AND hold on to your hats, ladies – he remains unmarried)

There were a lot of unmarried men at this party.  A LOT.  Do I have to draw you a picture?

Hm… Okay…  When two men love each other very much, and have been dating for a significant amount of… never mind.  Just leave it in the same head space as the Mexican Hot Chocolate comment.

I mean.  Some of the people in this photo HAVE to be women, right?

Somewhere in there?


Okay.  This blog entry is getting out of hand.  I’m going to have to lay down the LAW with you guys AND establish some ORDER.  What?  I said I’m going to have to…  just turn the sink off and come out of the bathroom, will you?  No?  Okay, then I’m not telling you whose party it was.    No.  I’m not.  I’m ending the blog entry. Yes.  I am.

Happy New Year, jerks!