Tag Archives: General Concerns for the Betterment of Society

Have You Seen Hugo?

To the Editors of Exchanging Pleasantries:

I am writing to you expressing my deep concern regarding the whereabouts of my aquaintance Hugo de Naranja.  I haven’t heard from him since he told me he was going “off the grid” a couple months ago.  My e-mails and phone calls to him have gone unanswered.  He said he needed to get some work done, but I didn’t want to inquire as to what he was talking about.  Sometimes people just have some work to do.  What troubles me even more so than not hearing from him in 60 plus days is that I think I saw him last night and after the incident that ensued I almost wished that I hadn’t.  You guys live in Raymond Chandler Square, right?  Or at least you frequent that neighborhood often.  I’ve seen you milling about the bars in that area.  I once saw The Neapolitan Mastiff and Hugo throwing back tequila shots with an overweight woman in her late 40’s at Loaded.  I was in the back and didn’t want to bother you guys, given your acclaim and all, but it seemed like you were having a good time.  Anyway, back to Hugo.  I saw him last night on the Boulevard in the pouring rain by himself, with a bloodied hand and a pink carnation sticking out of one of his breast pockets, wearing a wig that resembled Richard Knox’s character in the movie Wonder Boys.  He was soaking wet and I think he was crying.  I recognized him and went over to say hi, when he turned to me, grabbed me by the throat and shouted, “What were you meant to do in this world?” Before I had a chance to answer he yelled, “I was meant to love and I’m not allowed to love the person I love. Do you know what that’s like, you fuck?” his breath reeking of some cheap Canadian Rye.  I said, “Hugo, it’s me Todd.” “I don’t know anyone,” he said, before releasing his firm grip from my neck and walking away.  I am sure that it was him and I was mortified, yet unsure if I was more upset with him not recognizing me or the fact that he physically accosted me.  Quickly I felt that it was selfish to be thinking about myself at a time like this.  Hugo needs help and I’m seriously concerned for his recovery.

All The Best,

-Todd Pompano



Dear Mr. Pompano,

Thank you for expressing your concern for Hugo de Naranja.  I assure you that he is not in good mental health, but that he is alive. He stopped by our offices last Tuesday, went to the kitchen without saying hello to anyone, grabbed a creamsicle from the freezer and walked out.  Prior to that he hadn’t responded to any of the inquiries we’d sent him, other than a postcard that had a picture of Bozeman, Montana on the front with no return address written on it, sent you from a “Hugo”.  We’d like to think it was from him, but the handwriting on the card didn’t resemble his.  I wished to discuss the matter with him, but I didn’t even see him walk in.  One of the interns informed me when I returned from lunch.

-Editorial Staff Member 16

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Halloween: To Compromise or Not to Compromise Your Clothing and/or Morals

Two types of nubiles will be going out this Halloween: the glorified stripper and the disgruntled anti-glorified stripper. One will be wearing a proper and thought out costume, something clever, maybe even funny. The other will be wearing a bit of Saran wrap and a pound of make-up.

One type breaks male and female necks garnering attention that isn’t always positive. The other bickers to anyone who will listen about how they’re either: too mature, high-brow, gluten-free or sober to dress like the recession stripped them of everything, but an evening’s worth of MAC make-up and a push-up bra… oh yeah and a pair of angel wings. Or Hermione’s wand.

While the glorified stripper parades around the party like a free piece of day-old U.S.D.A. choice flank steak, the girl who dressed up like an Oompa Loompa, orange face paint and everything, is secretly wishing she could pull a Tonya Harding. Alas, the anti-slut, because she’s mature, cultured, hip to the point of suffocation etc., will instead snidely roll her eyes and tweet/status update about Halloween’s misogynistic roots.

Age usually plays a factor. Anyone who has ever been on a college campus during Halloween knows that there’s only one type of girl in the freshmen class that really thrives. From Isla Vista to Tempe to Indianola Avenue, she’s got her face in front of an ice loge, she’s wearing an obscene amount of make-up and just enough body paint/stickers to not get arrested for public indecency. Granted, there are plenty of girls over the age of eighteen or twenty-one that still wish to be the most objectified belle of the ball.

There’s an art to wearing nothing, while still getting recognized as someone in costume. The shrewdest of this, not particularly shrewd group, knows what makes or breaks a costume without a costume happens above the décolletage. i.e. Pippi Longstalking

  1. Penciled freckles
  2. Pigtails
  3. That’s it. It doesn’t matter what Pippi wore because Pippi never wrestled another girl in an inflatable bed of K.Y. Jelly in front of an entire frat house, ya dig?

And that’s where anti-glorified strippers are born: in the K.Y. ring.

Sure there are exceptions. Not every anti-glorified stripper has a video or two floating around of them flashing Spring Breakers when they were eighteen. There are exceptions. Maybe they were fat when they were freshmen or they were in committed relationships. But dealing strictly with the facts, fat girls don’t really get applauded for wearing nothing, but wings and half of a green corset as a Tinkerbell costume. It just doesn’t fly. (Somebody hit a cymbal.)

Back at your local pumpkin-carving soiree, the anti-glorified stripper is having a horrible time, watching the “slutty mermaid/blowfish/astronaut/water balloon/ladybug”/ whatever she is, get all this libido-driven attention. Meanwhile anti-glorified stripper and discerning reader of Roberto Bolano novels, is becoming more disenchanted by the minute, and may eventually turn into a pickled radish — sexually. Forever.

This isn’t good for anyone. This isn’t good for her self-esteem. It sucks for the guy who’s driving her home, and it generally kills the morale of the party. In fact, the only person who doesn’t get sprayed with this shrapnel of negativity is the glorified stripper who is at this very moment slamming vintage 4Lokos in the kitchen while getting fawned upon by half the party’s male population. While the other half look on  a.) Wishing their date looked like that or b.) Convincing their date that they hate it when girls don’t wear clothes or c.) Thinking they would give a limb to engage the glorified stripper who hath cast a net of pheromones over the party.

In summation, don’t hate the glorified stripper. It doesn’t do anyone any good. And anti-glorified strippers: Shhh…

Happy Halloween!

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An Evening In Oregon With The Neapolitan Mastiff

At first the music of David Liebe Hardt makes me laugh. I imagine I’m at a party, no, a gala. Tuxedos tapered around men who look like Tom Ford and extravagant dresses draped from women who look like Olivia Wilde. Caterers hustle around and shine glasses. My drink is always brimming. When they refill your glass, you are given the opportunity to look one of these caterers dead in the face. And that’s exactly what they are: dead in the face. It’s an industry of pulled back hair, smooth faces and starched shirts. From ten feet away everyone looks ten years younger than they are. The closer you get to one of them, you realize that they are in fact older and far more miserable looking than you first imagined. Twenty bucks an hour did not buy that caterer’s happiness, but what do I care? I’m a guest.  I toast my good fortune.

I make my way to the dj stand. It appears he’s snuck off to have an Amstel Light or possibly to take a piss in the two minutes and thirty seconds he’s allotted himself. I deftly scroll through his playlist. No one notices I’m up there because everyone is too busy talking shit and complaining about the food to realize I’ve commandeered the only thing that all of them are forced to listen to. I’ve found it! David Liebe Hart’s “I am an artist and creator.” This is a very, very, very bad song, but it’s of course great for that very reason. It’s perfect. I set it up so it’ll come on next. I step down and make my way to the balcony. On my jaunt, I’m stopped three times by caterers who want to fill my glass. All three times I stop.

I hear the song come on, but it’s all wrong. It’s funny, but I’m not laughing. It’s the right song, it’s the right atmosphere, but it’s not clicking the manner in which it’s supposed to. It’s still white noise. No one’s noticed, but me and maybe the dj who I can only assume, is now having his way with one of these dejected thirty-somethings caterers in the kitchen’s walk-in freezer or maybe he’s just having a cigarette. I don’t know the man. I don’t even know if said dj is a man. I’m getting lightheaded. I grab the railing. I promise to rally. I try and breathe, but instead cough out smog. My lungs reject the only air that’s available. I slump to the floor. The song is still playing.

I wake up on a linoleum floor. A girl, probably twenty-five years old, with dark brown hair and a nose like a parrot keeps asking me if I’m okay. I notice she has a few choice freckles on her nose.

“Where am I?” I ask.


I shake my head. “I know that!”

She looks around, “oh yeah, you’re in a bathroom.”

“I realize that too!”

“Relax, asshole.” She carefully pushes herself up from me. She’s prettier now. Actually, she’s gorgeous. Her arms are toned, but still feminine. She’s probably a weekend warrior on her $4,500 Cannondale. It’s paying off.


“Right,” She turns and makes her way to the door.

“Where am I?”

“I thought you knew…” She flings open the door. It’s the tux and botox crowd. I hate rich Oregonians. They’re so fucking healthy and fit. I hear it’s worse in Colorado. The problem, I surmise as I stand up, is all this health isn’t fucking healthy. There’s no balance to it. Occasionally, a person needs eat something drenched in pork fat, stay up all drinking liquor and then wake up a few hours later and rush off to work. Your breakfast is a black coffee and you don’t give a shit if the coffee beans are Free Trade.

I don’t like the women in Oregon. They don’t overexpose themselves to the elements. They’re conscious about their bodies in a way that doesn’t work to your benefit. I look in the mirror. There are bags under my eyes, my skin looks a little dehydrated. I splash some water on my face and pat myself dry with a paper towel. Good as new. I’m the picture of fucking health.

I once dated one of these overly self-conscious Oregonians. She never slept with me. Finally, after taking her out to dinner for the third time, I asked. “What’s the deal?”

“I would’ve slept with you before dinner, but now I’m full and I feel fat. I don’t feel like having sex.”

That pretty much sums up Oregon for me. Tomorrow I’m getting on a plane and going back to Las Vegas. Nobody is healthy in Vegas. Vegas, now that’s a nice town to live in. A lot of people don’t believe that, but those people live in Oregon. I don’t have any issues with the town itself. As for the people? They’re great. You want to know why they’re great? None of them are trying to run marathons and no one has a tomato garden. People in Vegas are perfectly content with dying of a cocktail of cirrhosis and lung cancer at the spritely age of fifty-three, leaving behind nothing except a paid off condo twenty miles off The Strip. Vegas, now that’s a fine town.

I give myself one last look in the mirror. “I am the –“ I put my hand over my mouth and rush to a stall. I barely make it in time to spew shrimp tapas into that ceramic haven. Fucking Oregon…

-The Neapolitan Mastiff

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Cowboy Boots, Dresses and the Female Biological Clock: The Neapolitan Mastiff Weighs In

Nothing says I’m looking to copulate like a pair of cowboy boots and a summer dress. Try an A.S.U. red light/green light party sporting green, wear a dress the size of a face cloth in Hollywood on a Friday night, stumble naked through Isla Vista on Halloween and you still won’t elicit half as many suitors. It’s a look that transcends races[1] and regions while remaining very North American[2].

During the summer in Santa Monica, there’s a 28ish blonde shopping in cowboy boots and a dress in every aisle of Whole Foods. On a sunny Sunday afternoon at Echo Park Lake, right next to the carne asada, you’ll find pallid women struggling to look like pin-ups, showing more tattoo than skin in their own version of the boot and dress combo. Droves of them fill up the continent. Many women, who wouldn’t be caught dead in the look, find themselves subconsciously purchasing it. While some might claim its on trend[3], others stumble upon it. It seems to be inextricably tied to a woman’s biological clock. Something happens between the age of 27 and 35, where for whatever reason, women don this salacious armor and hit beaches, parks, barbeques and farmer’s markets, all in hopes of a little protected or unprotected procreation.

The odd thing is, it doesn’t look good. In fact, it’s an awful look.  Logistically, the boots cover up the slenderest part of the leg and the dress exposes from around the mid-thigh down. What’s essentially left is the largest part of the calf and a couple bulbous knees. You might have legs like Coco Rocha, but they look like Rosie O’Donnell’s when you’re strutting your stuff in that attire.

And yet those cowboy boots and summer dresses demand the interest of all those who are biologically predisposed to women. It’s comparable to flint and steel. Bang them together and you get a hot spark. When a woman puts on a dress and then cowboy boots, pheromones literally spew out of her. No straight man or lesbian[4] is immune. The androgynous hipster, who is in a band with his MacBook Pro, looks up from his mid-afternoon coffee. The junior agent, who is sweating through his off-the-rack suit, quits eating his Cliff Bar breakfast as she breezes by on Avenue Of The Stars. It’s like a peacock fawning its feathers. It’s nature at work. An E.D. riddled man reading yesterday’s paper on a park bench perks up. A six-year-old boy holding his mother’s hand as they walk the promenade lets go when a woman 25 years his senior swaggers by. It’s an inexplicable, unannounced, seismic, sexual awakening.

Just so there isn’t any confusion, this ensemble has nothing to do with the ranchera/vaquera, Mexicana cowgirl thing. It also has nothing to do with those large boned, ‘I grew up on a farm and did 4H in high school’ girls. Those people wear cowboy boots every day and dresses on occasion. This is more an assessment of what drives a woman who doesn’t usually wear cowboy boots to buy a pair and wear it with a dress. The succinct answer: her biological clock. Katy Perry is probably the poster child of this fountain of libido movement. Although dealing strictly with the facts, I can’t say I have ever witnessed her wearing the aforementioned combination. But lets get real for a second, what do you think she’s stomping around Russell Brand’s honey wagon in right now?

I’ll leave you with a bit of advice: If your significant other tries to leave the house wearing the abovementioned, STOP HER… on two counts.

  1. It looks heinous. Strangely seductive, but heinous.
  2. Mark my words sir, if she leaves in that outfit you will be cuckolded[5].

[1] It may or may not transcend race. This article is based largely off of encounters with white girls. Not that Vera Wang, Vida Guerra and Serena Williams don’t dabble, I just haven’t seen it.

[2] Based off a study in 2009, Calgary had more women per capita in summer dresses and cowboy boots than anywhere else on the planet.

[3] It’s not.

[4] This fact hasn’t been confirmed by an actually lesbian, but the Exchanging Pleasantries Office (a gentlemen’s club of sorts, gentlemen in the traditional sense, not in the Spearmint Rhino sense) is still pretty sure it qualifies as a fact.

[5] If your significant other is simply in drag, you’re on your own. We didn’t research that.


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July: According To The Neapolitan Mastiff

Shhyeah!!!                        Nah Bruh!!!

Rooftop Pools                                                           Elin Nordegren’s pay-out

David Liebe Hart                                                      Jetsetting

Trunking It                                                                 Testosterone at the pool

Khachapuri Diet                                                       Untitled (Anything)

Napping                                                                       Power Napping

6 packs (cans, not abs)                                           Canceling Party Down

Patriotic Monokini                                                   Accents

A/C                                                                              Buying organic

Helen Mirren                                                           Maintaining

Jean-On-Jean                                                         Hard Copies

The Neapolitan Mastiff

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Fresh Fare For Summer

In the spirit of shrinking one’s carbon footprint… Squab, it’s what’s for dinner.

Please send any savory recipe suggestions to exchangingpleasantries@gmail.com

The Neapolitan Mastiff

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June: According To The Neapolitan Mastiff

Shhyeah!!! Nah Bruh!!!
Getting in the pool Mixers
“Hola Muneca”-T.Romero Brice Marden
A clean shave Las Vegas, NV
Peter Gabriel covers June Gloom
Denying medical assistance BP
The Living Wake Bols Vodka
Fugitive drivers Ashton Kutcher
Animal Communicators CA’s gubernatorial candidates
Dennis Hopper The W Hollywood
Anyone on stilts Gaza Blockade

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April: According To The Neapolitan Mastiff

Shhyeah!                                                                        Nah Bruh!

Tax refunds                                                                                      Orange County

Vodka by the gallon                                                               Daryl Wein – the actor

Neck tan-lines                                                                                 Russian girls

Daryl Wein – the director                                                “Whose list are you guys on?”

Alumni Soirees                                                                       California Highway Patrol

Walking it off                                                                             Taking a night off

L Bar                                                                                                    Playhouse

ESL                                                                                                     Greco’s Pizza

For here                                                                                             Eddie Rouse

Norman Mailer’s 6th wife                                                         West of Whitley Ave.

– The Neapolitan Mastiff

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On long-term and sporadic relations: A thought

Reliable internet is like having a steady girlfriend. Knowing that she’s always going to be there takes all the fun out of trying to find a strong enough signal to check your email.

The Neapolitan Mastiff

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Protected: Things people do or don’t do and as a result will not be coming to my Birthday Party

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