Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Last-Minute DIY Costume Ideas

If you live in the West Village as I do, it's virtually impossible to forget the approach of Halloween. Not only because everyday is a form of Halloween here, but also because stores start preparing for this most holy of days in mid-July. But say you're not Liv Tyler or Gwyneth, Julianne Moore, Jodie Foster, Willem DaFoe or Meryl Streep, and you don't live within spitting distance of me. (And seriously, Willem, if you could stop spitting, we'd all appreciate it.)

Say you also somehow missed the memo that Halloween is all about dressing like a slut. (And seriously, "news" folk, if you could stop writing the same story, we'd all appreciate it.) Well you might just have woken up and thought, "Holy hell! Today is Halloween and I have positively nothing to wear!

Well fret not, children, because I'm coming to your rescue with a list of easy Do-It-Yourself topical Halloween costumes that won't require much work at all. Remember, all it really takes to be convincing is a look of confidence (and a razor blade)!

Grown-Up Suri Cruise - a tee shirt that reads, "My Mom birthed me silently, and all I got was this lousy T-Shirt and thousands of dollars in therapy bills," a lifetime membership card to Xenon's Players Club, and a minder from the Church of Scientology.

LonelyGirl15 - Eyebrow wax, a tank top, camera crew, and the naiveté of a nation of horny young men.

Pre-Op Alex Kuczynski - Fat ass, wrinkled brow, thin lips, low self-esteem.

George Allen - Confederate flag, Jewish star, foot in mouth, flaming bag of "macaca."

George Clooney - smug look, hybrid car, 7,000 gallons of fuel used for his private jet habit.

I'm sure there's also something to be done with Dick Cheney and a shotgun, Barbra Streisand and a potty mouth, Rush Limbaugh and his special room in hell, but no doubt you're creative and can figure these out yourselves. Also, if you have any other ideas you'd like to share, please feel free to do so.

Have a happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Where Did You Go? Where Did You Go Now-ooh-ow-ooh-owowowow?

Readers of this blog will no doubt remember that not so long ago another large presence loomed here, piping up and spouting off about all manner of matter. But that voice (let's call it "Renée") has fallen silent for the past two months or so. Why? you've no doubt wondered. Where did this Renée go? you've asked. Was there some nasty falling out? Did the bizarre love triangle here go horribly awry? Has she fled the country for reasons Roman Polansky could relate to? Is she in a Mexican prison? Will we see her as the next break-out star of Survivor: Djibouti?

These are all good questions, and they bring us to the next new feature on the Shaking Blog where we ask you, our anonymous and sometimes angry readers (hi Mom!), to come up with fakely plausible explanations for her vanishing act and where our dear departed gal might have gone. We also encourage you to provide sightings of her (a la Gawker Stalker) telling us where you last spied Renee and what she was doing at the time.

At some point this "Renée" (if that really is her name) will weigh in, but it's hard to know when this private dancer will get her next smoke break. So let the guessing game begin...

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Tired of the same old Rabbit Habit?

Tonight Em & Lo, sexperts extraordinaire, are running an "interactive presentation" to promote their fabulous new books, Rec Sex and Sex Toy, at the Rizzoli Bookstore (West 57th betw. 5th & 6th) from 5:30-7:00 pm. The ladies describe the event thusly: "We talk trash in this classy bookstore where they serve everyone complimentary Prosecco. Rizzoli is featured in the book Cool Shops of New York."

Having attended their Tuesday night workshop at Babeland, I can assure you that the ladies are up to speed on their knowledge of all things spinning, whirring and binding to and with which you might want to press the flesh. I urge you to go tonight. Seriously, it'll help you with your little problem... yeah, that one. And I mean think about it this way: how many times in your life are you really going to get the opportunity to get a hands on workshop about sex toys with experts while sipping Prosecco in an uptown book shop?

But if for some reason you can't make it, do yourself and your partners a favor by buying their books.
These girls know of what they speak, and they want to speak to you, the poodle and the pope.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


In our ever-evolving (read: glacially lazy) attempt to keep this blog interesting to our rabid readership (What's up, Mom? Sorry I didn't call you back last night!), we like to introduce new features here at the Shaking Blog (that we will eventually abandon like so many of Jay's childhood pets [by the side of the road and/or in the basement freezer]). Well today happens to be such a day, and the new feature is called "Odds-N-Ends." It will basically be a compendium of short things of interest (as opposed to a compendium of "things short on interest," which would make it Gothamist).

Ready? Steady? Here we go...

Check out this week's New York Magazine. (Yes, I know I said this would be things of interest, but go with me for a minute.) See this issue features an article on Monsiuer Baguette, aka, Chevalier of the Legion of Honor, aka Renee's papa, and we couldn't be prouder! (Even if we think he's much more handsome than the photo of him Frenching a baguette suggests.)

Watch Friday Night Lights tonight on NBC at 8 pm EST. The show is SO good. Not Showgirls good. Genuinely good. And it stars Kyle Chandler, who I worked with on that horrible Joan Cusack sitcom. Kyle may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but holy shit is he hot. And you know what the irony is? He plays the crumbly old dude on the show. NBC is clearly marketing this puppy wrong because no one is watching it, which is a sin because ladies, it ain't about football, it's about sexy men in tights.

Look what appeared in my e-mail box the other day: a complimentary subscription to Log Home Living. At first I thought this was a magazine for self-hating gay republicans. Then I realized, no, there's apparently a niche for people who live in log cabins. Then I thought, I didn't think people who live in log cabins read, I thought they just wrote manifestos... and who would've guessed they trusted the government enough to deliver their mail?

Barbie: Mystery Diaries, an incredibly hilarious and stunningly compelling video game is now out on virtual shelves everywhere. Listen closely enough to some of the characters and you might just hear a familiar voice (yes, mine). And since someone also happened to write the game, let's just say there's a new Barbie in town (read: flat chested B-Cup Babs), and this one's a Mathlete.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Sound of No Stars Shining

Schadenfreude is an ugly word. It's guttural, it's hard to spell, but mostly it's ugly because it means delighting in someone else's misfortune. And yet.

And yet sometimes, it would seem, it's pretty freakin' funny. Take the experience I had this weekend at a recently reviewed Manhattan eatery. To give you the back-story, Renee and I discovered this restaurant when it first opened over two years ago. Granted "discovered" is a strong word since as soon as it sprung from the hipster miasma of the Lower East Side it was attracting an A-List crowd... and the Bush Twins. But the truth is we have spent many a fun, boozy evening eating and carousing in the place, so it's always held a special place in the clogged arteries of my heart.

Needless to say, when I read via Gawker via Eater (good lawd, PhDs don't do all this sourcing!) that the restaurant owner had written a piece about an upcoming Frank Bruni review for the Times, I was charmed. Though the restaurant is a minted hotspot, his concern for the uber-reviewer's rating was earnest and touching. The facade of the too-cool-for-school kid that pervades the establishment slipped, and he managed to convey a genuine, "gee whiz, I want you to like me, to really really like me!" attitude that you kind of forget exists.

So when the review recently hit, and the restaurant received NO STARS, which means it's POOR to SATISFACTORY, we (yes, it's royal these days) were shocked, offended, and maybe also wondered how much other bad food we'd eaten while blotto over the years. Nonetheless, it seemed important to go back and show support. And that's exactly what I did on Saturday night.

With a very attractive man at my side, I rolled into Freeman's for drinks just before midnight. The seventeen women at the bar (plus the one long haired bearded dude who's head *must have been* cold for he was wearing a jaunty ski hat on this warm night), all turned around to rate us. And after we elbowed Brian Grazer out of the way, we ordered our drinks from the barman who was as precise with his mixology as he was slow in serving the nectar. But no biggie, this merely confirmed my impression that the place was quirky but charming, and happily, a few minutes later we were even able to score seats at the bar since the silky bloused girls needed to get back uptown.

Yet like all hipster enclaves, a little while thereafter a new wave of cool kids entered, and the barman was back to the business of slowly doling out 'tails (each of which he'd taste before serving by dunking a straw in his concoction to check the mix). Attractive-man-at-my-side and I watched all this with satisfaction, especially because this looked like the crowd that was supposed to gather here, and we basked in the "This is New York-ness" of the scene.

Deciding we liked the atmosphere and wanted to stay on for another drink, it took some time to get the attention of the tender bar man. But since he was not in a rush, clearly enjoying the process of getting his peeps knackered, far be it from us to complain. When we finally did command his glance, we asked for a second round.

"Oh," he says, "yeah, sorry, can't."
"Yeah, sorry, can't?" I reply, confused.
"Yeah, I mean when you guys came in here around 12, it was like last call," he says, wiping out the shot glass he'd just mixed with. "And now it's like..." he walks to the back of the bar and opens his cell phone, "12:25. So I really can't." He then puts the cell phone down, and turns his attention back to the folks on our right.
"Dude," one of them says, "this is great."
Slow bartender nods and smiles, "Here, try this," he says and begins mixing another round for the crowd.

I wasn't sure which amused me more: the Carrot Top finesse with which he used the cell phone prop, or the absolute brazenness of the "fuck you, loser, your money's no good here" attitude. It was theater.

So, as I say, though schadenfreude might be an ugly thing, sometimes it is cold comfort on a hot night out on the town.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

If Only Mark Foley Had Read Em & Lo...

Considering the current state of affairs in Washington, it's especially hard to get sex off the brain this morning. We long ago learned that birds do it, bees do it, and now, through an AOL IM weblog, we know Republican Congressmen in charge of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, do it--nay, "Spank it!"--too.

But children, sex (when not forced on a 16 year old page by a repressed 52-year-old Republican) can be quite a glorious thing! This is not to say that even after one hits the age of consent that all of its mysteries are revealed to us. Even if you figure out what goes where, sex and everything that relates to the excitement of those vital organs, can remain a perplexing and difficult topic. Fortunately, two of my very good friends, Emma Taylor and Lorelei Sharkey, aka Em & Lo, have just come out with two amazing new books that help explain all the ins and outs of REC SEX and SEX TOYs.

No doubt you're already familiar with Em & Lo's bona fides, but if you're not, a brief resume: Em and Lo have worked together for the past 7 years developing their informative but fun brand of sex talk. They are the authors of The Big Bang, Nerve's Guide to Sex Etiquette, and the bestselling Position of the Day. Not only were they's first sex advice columnists, they actually CREATED the form for Nerve personals. They've been on The Today Show, CNN, MTV, Discovery Health and other shows and they're currently contributors to NEW YORK magazine. In other words, not only do these girls got it going on, they know their shit cold (hot?).

Anyway, with Chronicle Books they have just published these two new must-reads. Rec Sex is an A to Z Guide to Hooking Up. For instance do you know what the Groucho Marx Syndrome is? It's "Not wanting to belong to a club that would accept you as a member-i.e., finding it a turn-off when someone likes you too much, or wanting only those you can't have." (p. 73) (ed. note: I knew that one already.) Well how about "Google Goggles"? Turns out, those are "The rose-tinted glasses through which one views a new paramour after an exhaustive Internet search on them yields very impressive results." (p.72) (ed note: I've found this can work in reverse, too.) But these are just two examples--and just from the randomly chosen letter "G." The book provides almost 200 pages worth of these essential definitions, and let's be frank, in a sexual situation, ignorance isn't bliss, it's just embarrassing, so the faster you can get up to speed on your vocab, the better your orgasm. I'm just saying...

Now speaking of orgasms, their other book Sex Toy, is an A-Z Guide to Bedroom Accessories. And by "accessories," the girls do not mean duvets and dust ruffles. I'm guessing readers of this blog are already a bit knowledgeable about sex toys, so I won't go into what a sex toy is per se, but I will tell you that even if you're educated on such matters, as I realized after reading this book, there's A LOT left to learn. A Lumina Wand is not something Harry Potter would use (unless Hermoine asked him to). I, personally, had never heard of honey dust, and now I can't believe I've gotten to this ripe age without trying it. This book is full of incredibly useful info and since Chicago's Berman Center found that "women who use vibrators experience higher levels of sexual desire, higher levels of sexual satisfaction, and higher rates of success in achieving orgasm," well, if you're a woman, you pretty much owe it to yourself to buy thee this book.

If you want more information on Em and Lo and all the stuff they're up to, definitely check out their website, They have information on where and when they'll be doing book readings in various cities, they have fun sexual horoscopes, and they often have questionnaires for you to fill out to help them research their upcoming articles.

I can't say enough about these two smart, funny women. Their writing is as seriously informative as it is seriously hilarious and if you're looking for some outstanding bedtime reading, these books can't be beat (although I'm sure they can suggest something with which to beat yourself if that's your thing).

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