Friday, July 28, 2006

Celebrity Confession Day!

Inspired by Lance Bass’s shocking, out-of-left-field, no-one-saw-it-coming, “I’m gay!” declaration, here are some other startling celebrity pronouncements:

Paris Hilton: I’m gross!
Nicole Ritchie: I’m hungry!
Britney Spears: I’m white trash!
Madonna: I’m too old to still be doing this!
Katie Holmes: I’m being held against my will!
Christie Brinkley: I’m pissed!
Naomi Campbell: I have an anger management problem!
Ben Stiller: My shtick is tired!
David Hasselhoff: I’m drunk!
Paulla Abdul: I’m insane!

And, of course, Tom Cruise: I’m gay!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


"Sorry 'Bout That, Love!" That's what Sean from HP customer support told me after we spent an hour on the phone together--and $100--and he came to the conclusion that my hard drive, she was kaput. After our convo, I decided that "Sorry about that, Love," was a phrase I'd like to see banned from the lexicon. I never never never want to hear it uttered again, and if it is ever said again in my presence, I'm fairly likely to go ape shit on the interlocuter.

But why stop with "Sorry about that, Love"? The more I began thinking about it, the more I realized that there were plenty of other word combos I'd be happier never to hear again as well. To wit, I'd like to come up with a list of Extinctable, a group of phrases, concepts and ideas so awful, they should just go away forever.

Here are a few examples: "She poops soup," Gawker Commenters, "Mission Accomplished," Smoothies, Ann Coulter, etc. and since the Shaking boards have been brimming recently, I ask you to contribute some Extinctables of your own...

[this is a short, lazy post, i realize, but i'm still mourning the death of my hard drive, so step off.]

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Last Night a Wiki Saved My Life

Ever wonder how to erase old marks on a dry erase board? How to survive a ninja assault? How to become a nude art model? Well you're in luck, dear readers, because dollars to donuts there's a Wiki for you!

A Wha-ki you ask? (Okay, let's face it, you're only asking that question if you're old enough to have owned Duane Wayne flip glasses.) Well, Oldies, for you I'll explain it--or more precisely, I'll quote directly from their "what's a Wiki?" page: "wikiHow is a collaborative writing project to build the world's largest how-to manual. With your contributions, we can create a free resource that helps people by offering clear, concise solutions to the problems of everyday life." So one way to look at it is free advice from local yokels you wouldn't slow your car down to avoid splashing on the sidewalk. Another is dangerously unsourced material that could cause you great physical, mental and emotional distress. And what's so wonderful about this stuff is that real knowledge appears to be sprinkled in with fake information with no means of differentiating the two. Why it's just like watching a White House press briefing!

Take the "spotlight advice," How to Deal With Being in Prison, recently featured on Google's homepage. The first piece of wisdom offered made sense to me: "Do not cry, show fear, or a vulnerability publicly. Doing so will quickly make you a target for other prisoners." In fact, I applied that directly to my behavior at my place of employ and have been doing much better ever since, particularly around the seniors and retarded kids working the fry machine. But the second tenet seemed a wee bit racist: "Learn to play spades, chess, or hoops as it makes the time go by faster." I mean I don't want to call a spade a spade, but I think if this white girl tried to jump, she'd quickly become a target. And number 6 on the list absolutely flew in the face of everything I'd learned as a woman in NYC: "Do not become a 'punk' (girlfriend)... Punks are used and abused. They are traded away in card games and sold for cigarettes. It is not a path to long term survival in prison."

The Wiki also stacks relevant ads along the right hand side of the page, so while you're perusing the how to, you can also get pertinent info on where to buy a "prison ringtone" (which must sound something like, "Bend over, bitch!") or where to find the appropriate e-greeting:

(This is the front of a card with the greeting "You Betrayed Me")

Some of the advice offered is going to seem less immediately useful. Frankly learning how to prepare for a conjugal visit just seemed gratuitous to me -- I mean who doesn't know about the importance of flossing? Yet now that I do know how to make a shank out of a spoon and how to smuggle stuff in my rear, I do feel better prepared to handle the vicissitudes of daily life.

So I urge you all to check out some Wiki's for yourselves, and if you happen to be an expert on something, or, even if you haven't ever survived a ninja attack but still feel confident enough on the subject to share some tips, know that people will be grateful even if they become blissfully misinformed as a result. I mean hey, Fox News viewers have to look at something when they finally turn off the TV, right?

Monday, July 17, 2006


I think I also speak for Robin and Jay when I say that we just love reader feedback. To know that our message is making it out into the world and that people are listening and writing back just really validates this whole exciting blogging adventure. Robin and I especially, as old women, really need that validation. Jay would prefer a cocktail, but see what you can do.

And then there are the Baboonheads. Those are the readers who are a little crotchedy, who make comments that appear to entirely miss the point and feel the need to do so a little childishly. Maybe they got up on the wrong side of the bad. Maybe they're jerkos. Maybe they're stupid. I don't know.

But I do know that we care even about the meanies like Baboonhead, and we want to deliver blog product that they'll enjoy too. So here's a little video link to something special, something as special as Baboonhead. Click on that and scroll down to the story called "Kitten Born With Two Faces." Guess what? That's exactly what it is.

It's just the kind of nuanced and socially compelling content we thought you might like, Baboonhead, and that we do our best to dig up everyday. Can't wait to hear what you think.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Loneliness Officially A Crime

In probably the most tragic story I’ve read in weeks, and a sobering reminder for Robin and Renee, a woman in Oregon was arrested recently after using the 911 system to track down “the cute cop” who had answered her door earlier that the evening about a noise complaint.

That’s a crime??

Here’s how the lonely-hearted defendant, Lorna Jeanne Dudash, explained it to the dispatch operator: "He's the cutest cop I've seen in a long time. I just want to know his name. Heck, it doesn't come very often a good man comes to your doorstep."

But the hater operator found no sympathy in her heart for poor Lorna Jeanne. After being stonewalled, Dudash continued her appeal:

“Honey, I'm just going to be honest with you, OK? I just thought he was cute. I'm 45 years old, and I'd just like to meet him again, but I don't know how to go about doing that without calling 911. I know this is absolutely not in any way, shape or form an emergency, but if you would give the officer my phone number and ask him to come back, would you mind?"

And then the heartless bastards of Aloha, Oregon, arrested poor Lorna Jeanne.

I’m appalled. We all know how tough it is out there. is a joke. The bars are an insane asylum with a two drink minimum. And 45, as both Robin and Renee can attest, ain’t no walk on the beach. So let’s have a little sympathy for poor Lorna Jeanne Dudash. An immediate pardon is in order. And for god’s sake, someone get that woman a date.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

File Under "Bitter Much?"

Raoul Felder, who represented Mr. Giuliani in his divorce from Ms. Hanover, said he had see works of art and record collections slashed by angry spouses, a puppy put in the microwave and a cat in a washing machine. "The puppy died, the cat lived," he said. Real Estate and Rubble: When Marriages Go Awry

My jaw dropped when I read this story this morning on the subway. I mean I can completely understand the urge to toss kitty in a washing machine, but blowing up a perfetly good town house in this outrageously expensive real estate market almost made me puke. What was this schmuck thinking?

Granted, this Dr. Bartha, the Upper East Side blower-upper, was one crazy sonofabitch. Shortly before the explosion he e-mailed his ex-wife to say he was incredibly disappointed in her because she was supposed to educate her children "and I do not think that a cook and a seamstress is a very good result" -- his daughters respectively became a chef in New York City and a designer for Nike in the Netherlands.

Just imagine having the good fortune of being "treated" by this man...

"Hello, Doctor Bartha, good to see you again."
"You? How is it possible that you're still alive?"
"Oh, ha, ha, Doctor, you're such a kidder!"
"No, seriously. Last time you were here I was so bored by the whining about your heart problem, I prescribed you nitrogylcerin enough to explode a small Japanese city.

"What seems to be the problem?"
"Well, Doctor, I--"
"I'll tell you the problem: you're fat, ugly and stupid."

"Morning, Dr. Bartha, I've been having an irregular heart beat recently."
"And I'm a little worried it'll, you know, kill me."
"This would be a bad thing because...why?"

"Doctor, am I going to die?"

Monday, July 10, 2006

Ahhhh, Zizou!

"Ah Zidane! Why this?! Why now? Why tonight?!" the French announcer yelled out, echoing the horror felt in every living room in France on Sunday night.

It was the 110th minute of one of the most high-stakes World Cup finals ever, when player #10, Zinedine Zidane--national hero and global soccer icon, unironically described as the best soccer player in the world--got himself disqualified. Up until that 110th minute the game between France and Italy had been nail-biting, exhausting, and just plain beautiful soccer. No one had scored since the first twenty minutes, and it was pretty clear no one would until the penalty kicks at the end. And then Zizou, beloved, worshipped and about to retire, lost his cool. The whole world watched him head-butt an Italian forward in the chest in response to a provocation that would remain a mystery until today.

The World Cup essentially ended when the referee gave Zidane a red card, benching him for the rest of the game, and quite literally ending his mythic career with this huff of petulance. I don't doubt the Italian player did and said something incredibly prickish, but in that moment--watching Zidane lash out--I finally understood what sports spectating can be all about. I'm a very late, stupid bloomer undoubtedly, but if anyone had ever told me that sports could have this real dimension of heartbreaking tragedy, I definitely would've watching all these years.

We didn't see Zidane again after that--he didn't come out for the medaling--but we did see the brilliant French defender, Lilian Thuram, who couldn't hide his disappointment and sheer sadness. The tears kept coming. As the same French announcer concluded, quietly, inconsolable.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Kenny Boy Grants Himself Early Parole

Admit it, something smells funny about Ken Lay’s sudden departure from this mortal coil. Not exactly known as a model of courage or integrity, Lay’s “passing” has all the earmarks of a Valley of the Dolls exit strategy. He drops two months before he is sentenced to the rest of his life in prison? Someone call the CSI kids, we got a mystery to solve.

Now, I don’t come here to bid “good riddance” to Kenny Boy or invoke the obvious karmic consequences of what happens when one cheats thousands of elderly out of their life savings and pensions. No, I’ll leave that for Lou Dobbs and the other pundits. What I am here to do, is raise an arsenic-laced martini in Elmer “Enron” Fudd’s honor and say “Amen, brother, I’d have done the same.”

I mean, think about it. Prison. Among my many recurring nightmares, prison ranks a solid third, only slightly behind snakes but still way behind moving back into my parent’s house. Now, the specter of prison doesn’t keep me up at night because I engage in a lot of criminal activities. No, prison keeps me up at night because, like the genesis of most fears, I watch A LOT of movies and television shows about prison. Oz, Prison Break, Tango and Cash (it’s been on HBO a lot recently), Lock Up (Stallone really made a career out of this genre), Shawshank Redemption, American History X, etc. And from these shows I’ve come to a conclusion: prison is not for me.

The rules I’ve gleaned from my vast screen research tell me that in prison I’m getting gang raped early and often, I’m joining a gang most likely based on ethnicity as opposed to shared interests, my Ivy League background is shown little to no respect, and I’m unsuccessful in starting the prison water polo team. So prison and I probably aren’t the best match. Now, I’d like to think that I make more or less decent life decisions that would keep prison somewhat out of the picture, but, even if I didn’t, even if I did actually push the guy playing the steel drum on the 42nd street A/C/E platform onto the subway tracks because he was REALLY annoying and everyone else totally thought so too, I still think I’d take a cue from Kenny Boy and take the easy way out.

So here’s to you Ken Lay. Maybe the smartest move you’ve made in years.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Countdown Has Begun

When my six-year-old niece, Maddie, chose to become a vegetarian, the content of a hot dog played no small role in her decision. One afternoon she just tugged at my sister's skirt and said, "Mom, you know chicken?" My sister said, "Yes, I know chicken, what about it?" Maddie continued, "Well, when we eat chicken, are we really eating a CHICKEN?" My sister nodded. Maddie's eyes widened. "And turkey?" she asked, "Is that like really TURKEY?" My sister bit her lip, sorry to have to inform her young child about the horrors of the food chain, but she nodded yes to that as well. "Oh, no!" Maddie replied, her mouth dropping open, "So hot DOGS are really...?"

My sister did try to reassure Maddie that hot dogs didn't come from actual dogs but rather from unidentified animal snout, hoof, hair and lord knows what else. Still, the damage had been done, and meat became verboten in the mouth of my wee niece.

Fortunately for the fans of sport, exactly the opposite was true on the boardwalk of Coney Island yesterday where the 91st installment of the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog-Eating Contest took place. It was an especially exciting event this year as four-time world champion Takeru Kobayashi of Japan looked to make history defending his title against top eaters from around the globe.

According to Nathan's own site: "Kobayashi, who secured his fifth straight win on July 4, 2005, by consuming 49 Nathan's Famous hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes, weighs only 144 pounds. His main competition this year is expected to come from Sonya Thomas, a 100-pound, 37-year-old Korean-born resident of Alexandria, VA, and Rich LeFevre, a 135-pound, 60-year-old resident of Henderson, NV."

Let me just say I was in Coney Island yesterday, but arrived too late to see the storied contest. And this is something for which I thanked my lucky stars. A vegetarian I'm not, but the thought of watching people shove dog after dog after dog after dog down their throats kinda--ooh, what's the right turn of phrase?--gags me with a spoon. It ain't just because I learned how hot dogs were processed in 7th grade health class, it's just that encouraging competitive eating is such a raunchy idea, so insulting to let's say the whole third world and so much not what we should encourage in this obese nation of ours, even thinking about it makes me want to barf.

Though they were already taking down the championship bandstand when I got there, evidence of the contest was everywhere apparent nonetheless. When it's a hot and steamy day on the boardwalk, one really gets a chance to see born & naturalized New Yorkers in all their glistening glory. But not only were the patrons of the C.I. gargantuanly fat, the sea gulls were so overfed, they were the size of ostriches. They'd gained so much weight thanks to their surroundings, they were no longer capable of flight. They could barely waddle, and this struck me as dangerous to their health for a host of reasons, not the least of which being that once the dogs were gone, those birds of trash prey could easily find themselves sandwiched between two buns.

But good news, gulls! Thanks to the Nathan's countdown clock we know you only have 364 more days of hiding till the next 4th of July hot dog smackdown. Meantime, bon appetit, birdies!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Read It and WEEP...

What an amazing document. What a shame our President doesn't read the papers...

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred. to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Joyeux 4 juillet!

Since only three people in all of the entire blogosphere are online today (hi Mrs. Epstein! Shout-out to the Shaking fans in Beijing!), and since I feel sincere gratitude and symathy for those of you who are, I'll keep it short. I'll also keep it short because I'm tryping on a French keyboard and why the frigging Q is where the A should be, and why they hide the period up above the semi-colon like it's something to be ashamed of--I don't know. But they do, and the going is a little typo-ridden. But, in brief:

I'm on vacation, and I'm in Paris. It's not yet 6pm, and I'm sitting on the terrace ofmy father's apartment typing (props to pops for getting wifi), sipping a glass of chilled Muscadet and eating really salty Greek olives. That's awesome.

Every year, France experiences a heatwave at some point during the summer. The heatwave can be brutal, since this is--how shall I say?--an AC-agnostic country. France is currently experiencing its 2006 heatwave. In other words, the lack of air conditioning on the buses and subways and in the exhibition rooms of the Dan Flavin exhibit I saw today at the National Museum of Modern Art--you know, a globally-ranked institution in a country that considers itself the cultural leader of the world but where they seemed to have failed to budget for climate control--makes it really fucking hot. That's less awesome. But I'm coping fine with this awesome mango-flavored Vittel water, and a cool panache (beer and lemonade) every 2 hours. That's what the cafes and vacation are for, people, use them.

Since just two years ago, during that summer's heatwave, thousands--literally, thousands--of elderly people died, the country's feeling a little chastened this year, and so on the news at night there're lots of stern reminders to "Hydratez!" and lots of video of old people in nursing homes sitting around tables drinking colored water. I'm just making like he Parisians do.

At night, when I go out to meet for friends for dinner about 9 or 9:30, it's still light out, and dusk doesn't come until almost 10 o'clock. So that just as you're tucking into your tartare or you carparccio starter, all the buildings turn pink, and it feels like the evening is only just beginning. That's awesome, too.

Just to conclude, things today are shaking out as being pretty awesome. In case you were still wondering. I wish you an equally awesome 4th of July, and some very merry fireworks.

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