Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Date at Your Own Risk

Yes, yes, yes, I know some people have had remarkably good luck with the whole online dating experience. And I'm sure that my own 72-hour foray into the dating-dot-com world might have been unusually horrific (unless you, too, got the response from some dashing casanova whose subject line read: "I love eating pussy!!!")But I must confess, I'm still amazed, amused and have nothing but respect for those who go out in search of cyber-love because it strikes me you're as likely to yield a winner as one of Willy Wonka's golden tickets (though I have little doubt you could probably yield something golden from someone's willy.)

See, having written and shaded my own profile, I'm *a bit* skeptical of the credentials others present when writing their own personal ads. Call me jaded, everyone else does. But I mean when I read any ad--like apartment listings for example--and I see the words "charming & sunny" I immediately go to the "tiny" "17th floor walk-up" place. So when I see a personal add advertising a "charming & sunny" penis, well, you get the point.

Needless to say, when I saw this story today, a story that finally justifies the bitter skeptic in me, the coal miner who operates my heart did a little "told ya so" jig. It turns out, Robert Wells of Walnut Creek, TX, was not just a semiretired physician who enjoys wine tasting, "The Sopranos" and reading science fiction, as he advertised himself on his profile. Nope. Robert was forced to give up his medical license because he's also a convicted sex offender! Hocking his cock on (I shit you not), Wells was eventually kicked off that site and others (Hello, Eharmony! Hiya!), when a woman with whom he was corresponding eventually realized there was something "creepy" about the doctor.

So what does this woman do? Does she block his address from her email box? Does she immediately report him to the dating service? "I kept writing because I wanted to see if there was something wrong with him," she told the Kansas City Star. Well, I think she proved there was something wrong with at least one part of the equation.

But lest you think the cyber outlets aren't on to these predators, the sites specifically warn people to "to date at their own risk." And the CEO of, Herb Vest, says this: "I make a promise to my members. If you are clever enough to get around our site securities, I'm going to prosecute." That's right, if you're clever enough to hit the "I'm not a sex offender" button when you really are one, well look out, big guy cause you might just get a spanking from a man named Vest.

Friday, November 25, 2005

KGB Sunday

Just a quick post-T-Day post before I begin napping off the remaining Tryptophan still coursing through my body...

Assuming you're exhausted from family by Sunday night, desperate for an excursion to reassert your sense of self, and would like to get a few shots of hooch without having to hear anyone say, "haven't you had enough already?" come to KGB bar Sunday night at seven o'clock where you'll not only get to satisfy these cravings, you'll also get to hear four young writers collectively known as the "Best New American Voices" reading from their works. And if this alone weren't enough to entice you, how bout this: I'll be introducing them!

Here are the details as provided by the amazing Suzanne Dottino who normally runs the night:

November 27
Finish off the end of a long holiday weekend at KGB with readings from BBest New American Voices 2006 ­ guest editor Jane Smiley, series editors John Kulka and Natalie Danford hosted by the lovely Robin Epstein.

Jessica Anthony reads from her story "The Rust Preventer"
Amber Dermot reads from her story "Lyndon"
Sian M. Jones reads from "Pilot"
Jennifer Shaff reads from "Leave of Absence"

"This book reminds us of the range of imagination and experience informing
fiction today." ­Chicago Tribune (editors choice)

To recap: that's Sunday, November 27th at 7 pm, KGB bar, 85 East 4th St (near 2nd Ave.) Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

I've Always Wanted a Pseudonym...

...Which is why Lara Zeises , aka Lola Douglas , a fellow writer in the GCC not only impresses but kinda fascinates me.

Lara and Lola EACH have a book that's come out this fall. Each people. Do you know what that means? That means this woman and her doppleganger are intensely prolific and popular people and one of them doesn't even really exist! So. Not. Fair.The book written by "Lara," ANYONE BUT YOU, is a YA novel with this kicky premise: Seattle and Critter have always been best friends. But what happens when they find themselves talking to anyone but each other? The book written by "Lola," TRUE CONFESSIONS OF A HOLLYWOOD STARLET, focuses on teen star Morgan Carter. Turn out Morgan's mom is trying to kill her! (That's gotta be a blow to one's self-esteem, that's all I'm saying...) Anyway, at least that's what Morgan thinks when she's sent to Ft.Wayne, Indiana after a near overdose outside LA's Viper Room. Morgan's going to recover out of the spotlight.Way out. She's given a major make-under, a new name, and a completely different identity. Morgan's plan? To write a tell-all book about her experience and stage a comeback. But when this LA girl finds love and a new life in Middle America, will she abandon it for another shot at superstardom?

But let's for a minute get to some of the praise that Anyone But You has received. Kirkus, which is well known for giving some of the bitchiest reviews this side of Curtis Sittenfeld, said it had “Pitch-perfect narration.” TEEN PEOPLE chose it as one of their Top 10 books, a 2006 Best Books for Young Adults Nominee. And as a writer of teen pop myself, I can tell you this makes me very jealous of this person who may or may not be real... Okay, no, Lara's the real one... or is it Lola? Well, my suggestion is that you pick up both of these books and decide for yourself which alter ego you like better and then go with that one.

And from this point forth, you may also think of me as Renee. Unless you've already been doing that, in which case call me Ishmael.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Games We Play

No, I'm not referring to the "he called me Friday noonish hoping to make plans for Friday night therefore I'll accept the date but won't sleep with him till Wednesday of the following week just to show him who he's playing with" game. (Even though that's one I like to think I play especially well...) I'm referring, of course, to the World Scrabble Championships that took place in London this past weekend.

Word-lubbers from around the globe gathered to test their ability to come up with as many words starting with the letter "q" that weren't necessarily followed by the letter "u" as they could. The scores of these pro-players reached well into the hundreds as they hung their "x's" and "z's" on triple word score boxes. Ultimately, the winner of the game, a 30 year old Canadian mathematician named Adam Logan beat out 30 year old Thai architect, Pakorn Nemitrmansuk, with a score of 465 to Pakorn's pathetic 426. But if I'd been a betting woman I would have chosen Pakorn as triumphant work geek since it appears the fiercest Scrabble competitors have names that predispose them to the game. Take last year's champ, Panupol Sujjayakorn. I mean that guy has two j's and a y in his surname alone!

Okay, now time for a bit of disclosure: my interest in this particular story has nothing to do with the fact that I enjoy a good game of Scrabble or that I think it's high time to celebrate gamesmen of the non-aggressive, one could even say anti-muscular variety. Rather, I was piqued by this subject because this summer I played Scrabble for the first time in years, and I'd been shocked by the result.

You see I talked a mean game before the tiles were set out. I tried to intimidate my competitors with my fierce knowledge of our goodly English language -- I might have even begun speaking in Middle English while doing so -- and I'm certain I alerted those sitting around me that I'd bee practicing SAT vocab since I was in fifth grade and hadn't stopped to to that very day. And yet... and yet I was trounced, routed, demolished, destroyed, annihilated, embarrassed and practically stripped of my diplomas at game's end. The only words I managed to set down on the board were not of the 25 cent "this is why I won a thesis prize"-type, they were penny-candy words at best. I came up with "pop" and "at" and "and." At the end of the game with a score of 23, I was put in the corner and officially pronounced a Scrabbletard. Oh, it smarted!

...But, like any cunning linguist, I've been looking for a way to exculpate my abject humiliation that hot July day ever since. And today, with this story, I have found it! You see, apparently even the best Scrabble players from Trinidad and Tobago to Zambia admit that Scrabble is not really a game for wordies, it's a game for MATH GEEKS. In fact the T&T's national champion admitted that "for the purose of the game, the meaning of the word is not important," and Panupol Sujjayakorn, though he had an encylcopedic memory apparently doesn't have a broad knowledge of English. How else could you explain the totally non-catchy slogan they sold to participants on T-shirts: "Funky not Geeky." That doesn't even rhyme, you lousy word-whores!

Ever since the day I lost face at my loss of language, I've been hesitant to get back in the game. But now at least I can explain why: in the words of my heroine Barbie, "Math is hard!" So hand me a slice of pie, because yes, Trivial Pursuits, that's what this Barbie girl is all about.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Keeping Up with the Kiddies

Yesterday Renee provided several excellent reasons why you people (and I say "you people" in the most loving way possible) should keep popping out those puppies, (my favorite, of course, being that the miracle of birth provides us well-entrenched single folk in cavair and champagne at the baby parties that inevitably precede or follow said miracle). And today, I follow with yet another reason why it's important to have those little ankle-biters around: they keep us rapidly aging oldies in the know.

Hard to believe, but at age 23 and two days, I was shocked (shocked!) to discover that I am now totally out of tune with youth culture. I just learned about a thing called SuDuko (sp?) that's apparently a HUMONGOUS trend, that a day ago I'd never even knew existed. What's more, this gap in my knowledge of all things "young'n'hip" has merely pulled one layer of onion skin away to reveal an entire universe of things I'm not aware of.

So okay, a test: How many of you out there know of Su Duko? How many of you have heard of My Space? Who's familiar with a Memory Stick? (and no, this neither refers to the 50 Cent song "Magic Stick," nor is it something you use to beat knowledge into another person.) Are you up on the DIY trend? Do you know what DIY stands for? (Nope, it's not Situation Normal All Fucked Up.)

Please, please tell me that I am not alone in my senior citizen ignorance... but if I am, I suppose the little comfort I have is in knowing that by tomorrow I'll have forgotten all about it.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

On Good Press and Good Times

Okay, time for a little truth: Occasionally here at Chat with R&R you'll see us touting say, a book, that it's clear neither Renee nor I have read. And occasionally we'll give props to someone we don't really believe deserves them because what they've done is either fantastically silly, brazenly incompetent or potentially heroic (but most likely something that results in spectacular failure...), see, cause that's what you call "ironic" -- like complimenting Alannis Morissette for her command of vocabulary when it's so clear she wouldn't know if something were "ironic" if it smacked her across the... But I digress (as we're also want to do here.)

But what I want to do today, dear reader, is something slightly different. I want to talk about some genuinely happy occurrences and point you to some things I really think you will like because not only were they written by my friends and/or feature Renee and me, but because I think you'll appreciate them, too.

So first, you must must must check out this week's New York magazine. Not just because it's the Sex Issue. But because our great good friends Em & Lo have written the cover story. Also featured prominently in a different story in the mag is another friend, Rachel Kramer Bussel, who, in addition to having celebrated a big fabulous birthday on Nov. 10th, just wrote an excellent article on Media Bistro featuring Renee and me! And just last week, McSweeneys published another piece by our very sexy friend, Jay Dyckman, who wasn't in the sex issue, but probably because he was too busy getting busy to stop for the photoshoot.

Speaking of birthdays, though, yet another friend, Jordan Roth celebrated his big day with his partner Richie Jackson (also having a birthday) at a very cool party this weekend where I found myself seated next to the irrepressible Judith Light! Yes, Angela Bower from TV's "Who's the Boss?" and late of Pro-Activ commercials. She didn't say one word to me all dinner, but I sensed she wanted to...

Finally, I suppose I should admit it's my birthday today, too. And I must confess, being 23 has never felt better! Oops, the genuine sentiment appears to have just left the building... so I'll sign off now and assume you're sending me unironic wishes for a happy beeday and a birthday check made payable to cash.

From the Washington Post:
TODAY'S BIRTHDAY (November 15). You have natural optimism this year and enjoy the simplest of tasks like anticipating that something wonderful will happen -- and so, it does. Singles meet love in the next 10 weeks. Couples renew their interest in one another in a big way with minor effort. By March, more money is coming in. Love signs are Gemini and Pisces. Your lucky numbers are: 40, 1, 38, 39 and 20.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

If a Blogger Falls in the Woods...

Like Puss in Boots and a rain slicker, last night I slogged through the streets of the Lower East Side to attend the book party for
Ron Hogan's "The Stewardess is Flying the Plane!" , a coffee table tome documenting American Films of the 1970s that Publisher's Weekly calls "one of the year's most fun."

Ron has been a good friend to R&R, frequently mentioning us in his highly regarded book blog, Beatrice, so naturally, anything we could do to support his book pleased us tremendously. In addition to turning up for an early peek at a book that looks to be a photo-orgasmic experience, I must say I was also curious to see who else would be at the party. Because in addition to running Beatrice, Ron has recently been hired to do the book news blog at Media Bistro's Galleycat, he is clearly one of the most influential book world bloggers. It struck me that the party would therefore be lousy with other famous bloggers, and as a ranter myself, I thought it would be cool to mingle with my peeps.

Well, I have to be honest: the party may well have been chock'a'block with litty bloggers, but I really have no freakin' clue. Since none was wearing a necklace or nametag spelling out his or her URL, I couldn't figure out who anyone was. And it forced me to come to the harsh conclusion that though these writers have achieved a certain superstar status in my mind* (*with notable exception to those who didn't mention SHAKING in their blogs despite repeated pitches, pleas and bribes and whom I now think of as "superassholes"), it was more like being in a room full of plain-clothed Peter Parkers.

This is not to suggest that they were all as ugly as Tobey Maguire (who looks to me like he suffers from a little bit of Downs), but rather that though bloggers have a goodly amount of influence within their circumscribed worlds, in the real world, they don't have that palpable shine that starlets do. It's weird, but when I was living in LA, I found I could identify who the up-and-coming actors were without having to be told. It was like those people just had a certain glow to them, like a spotlight was permanently trained on their faces. The bloggers... not so much.

Now certainly people who read and write about books seem worthier of celebrity to me than, say, a sister Hilton, but for some reason, I'm not convinced we'll ever see a copy of InStlye Magazine featuring an inky scribbler. That depressed me. However, if InStyle does choose to go in another direction, they should know that Renee and I are more than ready for our close-ups, and we'll even bring our own spotlights to add nuance.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Arrrrgh... Pirates!

On the one hand, it's not funny. On the other, it did make me laugh, so maybe it was just a wee bit amusing... I'm talking, of course, about the attempted pirate attack the other day on the "Spirit" cruise ship as it floated through the untroubled waters of Somalia.

Now the story may have made me snort because just last week I saw Pirates of the Carribean for the first time, and the notion of being attacked by Johnny Depp seems somehow attractive to me. Or maybe another reason for the "ha ha" was because I've long believed anyone who goes on a cruise ship a little bit gets what he deserves, be it a vomiting virus, pirates leaving rocket propelled grenades on board, or a Kathie Lee Gifford floor show. And let's not even talk about the elephant in the room--no, I don't mean probability that your "unsinkable ship" will hit an iceberg--I mean all that weight gain! Honestly, cruise ships are just like 24-hour-a-day floating buffets (as opposed to 24 hours a day of Phoebe Buffet -- enough with the "Friends" syndication already!)

But the fact that these gluttons are vacationing off the coast of Somalia, I mean doesn't that deserve some sort of retribution?

Okay, no: no one "deserves" to get attacked by pirates (unless it's some sort of sex fantasy, in which case "Arrrgh, matey, unbatton thy hatches.") And I suppose the notion of "shipjacking" is a lot less glamorous if it doesn't involve my crush from Jump Street. But if Leon Klinghoffer taught us anything, it's that even if you're on Disney's Big Red Boat, you may be floating in the Happiest Place on Earth, but you're still a sitting duck. (Arrrrgh, that was in bad taste, and I apologize a little.)

Friday, November 04, 2005

Slander and Super Glue: The Testicle Wars

Generally, we here at Chat with R&R tend to avoid discussing our own personal relationship issues and romantic escapades in our blog rants because for one, these things are none of your beeswax, and for two, see number one. But invariably our adoring readership will ask us questions like "Hey, R&R, how would you behave in such&such a romantic situation?" and "Hey ladies, how is it possible that gorgeous girls like you aren't you married yet?" And though we aren't relationship experts, per se (or, say, at all) occasionally we can't help but proffer advice on matters of the heart that we have had some experience with.

To wit, today's subject: What's an appropriate way to behave after a break up?

Well, as it turns out, there are two cases in the news that I'll discuss, then give my "expert" opinion on how I might have acted differently. The first involves NJ Senate candidate and milllllllionnnnnaire Jon Corzine and his scorned wife, Joanne. The second involves a woman who super-glued her ex boyf's penis to his stomach, glued his testicle to his leg and glued the cheeks of his buttocks together.

But first to the Senator: Apparently, Joanne Corzine, the woman who got thrown over for a labor leader that wasn't even Charlize Theron, is pissed. (Rightly so.) But instead of going all Ivana Trump on his fat bank account, Joanne issued a public statement in Tuesday's NYT, to the effect of, my husband's a cheating bastard and a fuckwad. Well, sure enough, Corzine's competition, Doug Forrester decided to pick up on her statement and turned it into a TV ad called "Quote," blasting this message on TV.
When I saw the campaign ad where Andrea Forrester said, 'Doug never let his family down and he won't let New Jersey down,' all I could think was that Jon did let his family down, and he'll probably let New Jersey down, too.

Hmmm, I gotta say, Joanne, that's not cool. I know you think your husband is a cheating sack of shit, and there's no defense for his actions, but this is not good break up etiquette. It makes you seem a lot less classy, it warns other men that you're a loose cannon, but more importantly, it makes you less sympathetic to the judge (probably male) who will be deciding your divorce settlement. So next time you have the urget to open your mouth, pop a Starlight mint in there instead because you'll smell all the sweeter for it.

Now onto the other interesting story of the day, and let me just reiterate the offense: A Pennsylvania woman, so angry with her ex, glued his penis to his stomach, glued his testicle to his leg and glued the cheeks of his buttocks together while he was sleeping. She evidently did such a bang up job with the glue, that nurses had to peel his dick off. You really should read the story for yourself--oh, and be sure to watch the video. But as it turns out, the woman didn't just stop there. After she did her bit with the glue, she went on to pour nail polish on his hair.

Here's my advice to the lady: Sweetheart, the nail polish was completely unnecessary. Overkill. In the sitcom world it's known as "a joke on a joke." You detract from the main event when you try to embellish it with nail lacquer. Next time just "stick" to the basics!

Hope this helps...

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

I'm Not Blaming My Parents...

Well, not entirely. But I do think there must be some correlation between me growing up a cable TV-deprived child at the dawn of the "I Want My MTV" era, and the fact I was up till 2:30 last night watching the music television. As a young (annoying yet adorable) child, I'd relentlessly campaigned for premium TV, only to be rebuffed time and time again by parents who told me I didn't need to watch any more TV than the 6 hours a day I was already logging. They explained cable was an "unnecessary evil," that would rot my brain -- which only made it that much more appealing to me. Naturally as soon as I was out of my parents' home I got the whole cable set up, and, much to my chagrin, so did they. Apparently the desire for brain rot is genetic.

In fairness to my parents, even if I had had my MTV as a child, I probably still would have been bewitched by the young residents of Laguna Beach last night (those kids are foxy!). But my bizarre fascination/total lack of understanding/perspective on things I didn't have as a kid is troubling. And I know I'm not alone in this. In fact, every time I see a grown person flinging himself down the street on a Razor scooter, I think to myself, "now there's a kid whose mother never let him ride a bike without a helmet or swing too high on the swing set." I also think to myself, "someone should push that loser off that silly thing." Really, it's incredibly undignified.

But I am perplexed by the phenomenon and am curious what obsessions others have these days that they think resulted from restrictive parenting. So please spill.

Don't worry, I promise this will be a supportive forum and you'll only be mocked for your mania if you're a spammer wanting me to bookmark your dating site or if you're obsessed by something really stupid, you know, totally unlike MTV, Big League Chew (the gum designed to look like chewing tobacco) or glitter-based make up products. Cause those things are just cool.

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