This year’s Annual West Hollywood Halloween Festival was sheer pandemonium. There’s really no better way to describe it. According to official estimates, upwards of 400,000 inebriated and costumed revelers descended upon the tiny city of 37,000, which, to its credit, is no stranger to the freaky, fantastic and the fab-u-lous. As one party goer put it, “Honey, it’s Halloween everyday in West Hollywood.” Amen to that!

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An event of this magnitude, especially one taking place in the City of Angels, is bound to attract major star power, and this year’s jumpin’ (to use the vernacular) block party was no exception. Few events are capable of luring those jaded celebrities out from their paparazzi-proof caves in the Santa Monica Mountains, but the West Hollywood Halloween Festival is definitely one of them.

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Anna Nicole Smith, rising from the grave and looking a bit on the mannish side, was there. I guess death and 500 botox procedures will have that effect on a person. I didn’t have the opportunity to speak with Ms. Nicole-Smith directly, but I did capture a bit of the following interview for your viewing pleasure. You can thank me later.

Beavis, of Beavis and Butthead fame, stopped by, hoping to re-live his glory days as a pop cultural icon; sadly, no one cared. Moving right along….

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Michael Myers was there, along with that guy from Reno:911, and some other guy who took the “clothing is optional” idea a bit too literally.

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For those of you who prefer your Halloween antics with a bit of a spiritual flavor, West Hollywood has—again, to use the vernacular—“got yo’ back.” Monks, recently spirited away from Myanmar (Burma) to West Hollywood as part of Bush’s secret plan to subvert the ruling dictatorship, were out in full force, gleefully bringing enlightenment and promises of re-incarnation (as Madonna or Diana Ross) to the masses.

Even Jesus of Nazareth, sporting lace-up sandals and vintage chainware by Dulce & Gabanna, made an appearance, although I daresay he is looking a bit Asian these days. But if there can be a white Jesus, and a Black Jesus, then why not an Asian Jesus? This, my friends, is called PROGRESS.

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But Jesus wasn’t the only robe-clad vagabond to grace West Hollywood with their presence on this most holy of nights. Former media darling Osama Bin Laden, the man who uses VHS tapes like they’re going out of style, was not content to let J.C. hog all the spotlight. I looked forward to witnessing these two titans of THE ONE GOD go at it, but alas, they both managed to keep their respective cools and remain civil…for now. Besides, that’s what after parties are for.

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Buffed and bronzed gym bunnies were present and accounted for…

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…as were men of questionable girth.

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And then there were the Conservative Christian wackos, one of whom ironically seemed to be going for that whole “militant lesbian” look. While the pictures more than speak for themselves, make sure you also check out the videos. They’re classics.

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And there you have it—Halloween in West Hollywood. It doesn’t get much better (or crazier) than that. I’ll leave you with the following picture from what I like to call my “vault of irony.”

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Homosexuals make me sick to my stomach. Not only do they flaunt their disgusting lifestyle in the face of the rest of us celibate, church-going Christians who, without fail, adhere to every contradictory verse in the Bible, but now they’re trying to burn down the State of California! How’s that—the gays are responsible for the recent inferno of devastation sweeping up and down the California coast? You’re damn straight they are (pun intended)!

Now, you may be wondering how I got wind of this terrorist plot of fabulous proportions.  It’s quite simple, really:  You see, I was once like you, bamboozled by the insidious evil that is the gay agenda. They (the gays) nearly got me: I started supporting equal rights for everyone, including women, children and the mentally handicapped. I engaged in dialogue with people from other faiths (read: heathens). I even—brace yourselves—began to question the teachings of the Bible! I was backsliding, friends, down a slippery, lubricated dildo to hell. I was lost. And then, almost as if it were a part of some sort of Divine Plan, I discovered the following bastion of sound and (work with me) intelligent Christian thought.

“Amen!” I shouted to the heavens as the words of Brother Michael G. Mickey, a wise and astute warrior of Christ, scrolled across my 27″ flat screen monitor which I prayed for seven times and subsequently received—proof of God’s existence and love. I would paraphrase Brother Mike’s words for you, but they are brimming with such power, such awe-inspiring force, I think nothing short of a direct quote will due them justice. Take it away, Mike:

Why is California burning so badly that the entire sky is glowing red? Could it be because the Lord is less than happy with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s recent actions? From a strictly scriptural point of view, I would say, “Possibly!”

In Leviticus 18:22, homosexuality is pronounced to be a sin in the eyes of God. Bestiality is forbidden next in verse 23. But, today, let’s focus exclusively on what the Bible says happens when a land becomes defiled by these sins being accepted and encouraged.

But wait, there’s more! It seems those damn gays are really screwing it up for the rest of us!

Leviticus 18:24-28:

Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you:
And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.
Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you:
(For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled😉
That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you.

Brother Mike at his most analytically potent:

Do these verses establish biblical precedent for us to at least suspect that Governor Schwarzenegger’s recent forwarding of the homosexual agenda in California has brought God’s judgment upon its lands? Yes. Without a doubt.

Could it be that what we are presently seeing on the national news is California spewing out many of its inhabitants as a result of same? Quite possibly but only God knows for sure if that’s the case.

Thank God for people like Brother Mike to educate the rest of us poor, ignorant heathens. Up until now I stupidly assumed brush fires were the result of a nasty combination of drought, strong winds, heat, and an ample supply of twigs and shrubbery. Wrong! Forest fires are God’s little way of punishing the country—no wait, specifically the State of California—for going soft on fags.

But if God was really gunning for the gays—and especially the gays in California—why not just shoot a bolt of lightning through the Castro District?

Oh yeah— HE works in mysterious ways, not ways that make any damn sense.

Well, according to “tradition,” that is. Personally, I think Japanese women—and most women, to be honest—are quite lovely. Marvelous, even. But not the Japanese Sumo Federation. Oh no. They adhere to an entirely different line of thinking.

In a nutshell: “Japanese Sumo tradition forbids women from entering the ring on the grounds that it is sacred and their presence, considered unclean, would pollute it. ” Ouch.

So why all the harshness for the so-called fairer sex (not in Japan, anyway!)? Apparently, some female “terrorist” by the name of Kawaikunai Onna rushed the ring at a recent Sumo match, in a brazen display of defiance against a patriarchal society dominated by alcoholic wrinkly old men. Perhaps she watched just one too many of those bra-burning news clips from the 60s, and decided it was time to take matters into her own hands. Talk about gaman shisugita.

But seriously, isn’t this ridiculous? No? You think Britney Spears’ VMA performance was ten times more ridiculous, even when compared to the sight of several 500-pound wussies—I mean athletes, excuse me—shrieking at the site of a petite Japanese obachan (middle-aged lady)? Perhaps. But at least you have to admit this is a new low for Japan in terms of advancement of the female species.  National shame should be at abunai levels right about now. This is worst than the “women are birthing machines” comment eloquently put forth by that clown who belonged to former Prime Minister Abe. So to recap: Woman is flung from ring because “tradition” stipulates that she, as a possessor of a vagina, is little better than a strand of infectious bacteria.  In other words, girls have cooties.

The kicker for me is that no one has uttered so much as peep about this story.  Where’s the outrage? Where are the demands for someone’s—start with the head of the sumo association—resignation? Where are the legion of women marching through the streets of Tokyo, bras and lighters in hand, threatening a massive Louis Vuitton conflagration?

Oh, I forgot: We’re talking about Japan here, land of the almighty wa (harmony).  The burning of anything other than rubbish and Southeast Asian sex slave records isn’t allowed. That would disrupt the wa, and we certainly can’t have that.

Meanwhile somewhere off in the distance, two sweaty sumo wrestlers, clad in nothing but massive white loin cloths, reassure each other that indeed, “onna no hito wa kitanai yo neeee.”

“Neee…”

I guess being articulate—even at the level of a kindergarten student—isn’t a requirement for being the next Miss Teen America, as Miss South Carolina masterfully demonstrated during a recent Q & A session. I can just imagine the thoughts slowly cascading through her mind as she’s asked a simple question about maps: “I wish my daddy coulda seen me standin in front of all these purty lights. I shouldn’t have had that second plate of pig’s feet for breakfast this morning. Hmmm… just what in tarnation is a “map”?  These city-slickers and their fancy words.  I bet my uncle jimbo knows; too bad he was eaten by an alligator last week.”  Okay, that last one was a flagrant stereotype; alligators aren’t found in South Carolina.

Thankfully, this vapid discoverer of “the Iraq” is from the good ol South (sorry, Faith), and not from, say, California, because then I’d really have to reconsider my decision to remain in the education field. Although I’m sure there are plenty of little Californians who would also be compelled to mention saving South Africa (where did that come from?) to explain why “US Americans” (so as to differentiate from “Canadian Americans,” I guess) can’t locate their own country on a map. This could also explain why people seem to harbor the belief that Japan is the country to buy loads of cheap shoes. For example: “So, I heard you just came back from Japan. Nice! Dude, I bet you bought a load of cheap shoes! I should have totally had you bring me back a pair of Nikes.” No, dumbass, that’s the other rice-eating country—you know, the one that manufactures all those cheap-looking American flags you’ll be waving around come 9/11. But I digress. Enjoy the video!

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Japan’s most cherished pavilion in all its golden splendor.

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If you’re up for a harrowing journey through the annals of human history, I highly encourage you to pick up Guns, Germs, and Steel. Exhaustively researched but never quite exhausting to read, it manages to be both informative as well as interesting. And unlike that other book about the storied history of mankind, Jared Diamond’s work is based on sound science, archaeological evidence, with a dash of anthropological field studies thrown in for good measure.  Happy reading!

What is it about tequila that makes it such a fine drink? Some have suggested it’s the way a shot burrows down your throat, burning away every shred of shyness and inhibition. Others seem to think it’s the way it mingles with salt and lime to form a drunken trifecta of alcoholic goodness that loosens both tongues and lips. Me? Well, I think it’s a simple case of magic. Yes, magic. You see, tequila is derived from blue agave (also known as Agave tequilana azul), which is used by local people to perform various spiritual (aka magical) rituals. These magical rituals usually happen like this: a group of young, attractive poeple gather in a circle, with each member in the group holding a small glass of the clear, fiery liquid. In their other hand a slice of lemon is perched between the index finger and thumb. Salt is then gently sprinkled on the back of the hand. Once these preparatory measures have been completed, all members shout “cheers!” or “salud!” (or”kampai!”if you happen to be in Japan), lick the salt, down the tequila and devour the slice of lime. A bit of warning is in order: taking a tequila shot in an order even slightly different from the one just described can result in loss of hearing, blindness, heartburn, and in some extreme cases, erections lasting more than eight hours. If you suffer from any of these symptoms while taking a tequila shot, please consult your physician immediately. Readers from the United States should make a brief stop to the ATM before seeing their physician; the cash will surely be needed.

Legend has it that blue agave and its ubiquitous offspring, tequila, have been used to cure such common afflictions as “broken heart”-itis, chronic “oh my god she dumped me” disease, advanced “I hate my boss” syndrome, and “Dude, I totally bombed that exam!”a particularly nasty strain of the flesh eating virus. Scientists are notexactly sure how the agave, and by extension, tequila, came to be endowed with their extensive healing properties, but research projects are currently underway at the Patron and Jose Cuervo breweries in the heart of Mexico to discover the source of this potential fountain of youth.

Skeptics about the so-called healing abilities of tequila abound, but the proof is in the pudding—or in the margarita, in this case. They argue tequila, rather than healing societal ills, is actually responsible for a host of problems, including but not limited to “I can’t believe I slept with the football team” syndrome, “oops, I just threw up all over your vintage Abercrombie & Fitch 5,000 thread count polo shirt” disease, and “Ah shucks, I just drank away the mortgage,” which is mysteriously derived from advanced mono mononucleosis.

As a proponent of consuming vast quantities of tequila, I would like to offer the following photographic evidence (see below) as proof of tequila’s healing powers. Consider: Healthy people are happy; happiness comes from drinking tequila. Therefore, tequila is a wonder drug. Not since Johnny Cochran’s infamous “If the glove fits you must acquit” has a sounder argument been so eloquently put forth.

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Faith-sensei is back! And in video form. Join her as she leads an expedition to desecrate explore the sacred lands of the Navajo Nation.

Stay tuned for more on this harrowing adventure, as Ellison and Faith “explorate” this untamed swath of the American heartland.  Technically, Arizona doesn’t constitute the”heartland” in the traditional sense, but why should Kansas and Nebraska get all the glory?

Disclaimer: No animals were strangled in the making of this video.

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Well, not quite. But just about! I guess there’s something to the old adage about a man and his car, because I’ve fallen head-over-heels in love with my new Yaris. Love at first drive, you might call it. And how could you not become enamored with such a beautiful piece of ass fiberglass? It has everything you could ask for in a car (or partner): looks that could stop a man cold, complemented by a svelte body and perky headlights. Throw in a meteorite metallic tan, an ardent passion for gas sipping (as opposed to the gas guzzling of its SUV brethren), a MSRP of $12,000, enough cargo room to transport a pack of raging hyena, and the Yaris suddenly makes its cousin, the Prius, feel incredibly over-hyped. In fact, I tried to make a move on a 2007 Prius, but was ultimately turned off by its over-engineered body (think Joan Rivers), its obsession with Evian water (think Mariah Carey), and its steep asking price (think Paris Hilton).
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After a low-key ceremony at the dealer, the Yaris, Faith (a southern girl with a southern charm, if you know what I mean), and I set out for Arizona. We figured there’s nothing quite like a good old-fashioned American road trip to break in a new car. And we were right! The Yaris handled the 6-day, 2,000-plus mile expedition to Arizona’s surprisingly rugged terrain with aplomb. Not that Arizona did try everything in its power to thwart us wayward explorers, unleashing torrential rains (well, torrential for anyone used to LA weather), hordes of insects including a mutant moth, and an army of mule deer hellbent on testing the limits of my uninsured motorist coverage.

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Greetings from sunny Southern California! A quick note before I embark on what promises to be a historic road trip to that sun-baked state to the east, Arizona. Now, I’m not sure what exactly qualifies this trip as worthy of the “historic” label, but whenever Faith McCollister is involved in something, history-worthy things usually take place. Case in point: that one time at band camp. I would elaborate, but I’ve been sworn to secrecy. I guess you’ll just have to use what’s left of your television, facebook, and XBOX 360-ravaged imaginations to figure it out. Ahem, as I was saying before I veered off on a wildly unpredictable tangent much like the current one you find yourself reading, Faith and I, a team of explorers not seen since the legendary Lewis and Clark, are going on a 7-day road trip to Arizona, with stops at various national parks, The Grand Canyon, a Navajo reservation, and the cities of Phoenix and Tuscon, which are “famous for” (to borrow a page from the Japanese) vast quantities of staggeringly tall rocks and painfully bright sunshine.

In any case, I’ll be out of commission for the next week or so. Do try and carry on with life, although I realize it will be a bit on the difficult side. Impossible, even, for some of you. Be strong. Taking up yoga helps, according to Esquire magazine. Or was that Vogue? Details, perhaps? Ah, it’s great to be home and surrounded by such fine reading material!

One last thing before I sign off. Henceforth, (I love that word!) new posts will fall under the brand-new “California Dreamin” category, in order to reflect my relocation to, well, California. Duh! For an excellent and award-winning literary and photographic retrospective on my life in Japan, feel free to peruse entries in the “Live from Japan” Category.

Adios!

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