Sunday, January 29, 2006

God Save The Queen

Until I decided to start preparing for the GRE exam, C knew never to come home from work without my crack.

By this, I mean the British tabloid papers and magazines left behind on the planes. While his colleagues fought over InStyle and Vogue for their wives and girlfriends, my man was bringing home The Sun and Heat magazine. Early on, he thought it would be fun to give me some slices of British life in print; what he wound up doing was creating a monster.

At the start, I was not prepared for The Sun’s "Page 3 girl". You open up the cover page of this family newspaper and WHAM! boobs are staring straight out at you.

But apparently, Brits like nothing more than a cuppa with a side of boobs in the morning. Sure, there's a thoughtful quote from the Page 3 girl included, but I get the feeling that's not the point. The Sun is a sister publication of the New York Post, published under His Murdoch, yet they are nothing alike as you've probably figured by now. Nor are Heat and Now magazines remotely similar to our Us and InTouch. Why? They just don't care. It’s like this:

Us is the girl who is saccharine sweet to your face, while slamming you behind your back. She's running for Homecoming Queen. Heat, on the other hand, is the chick who pours the salt in your wounds while looking you in the eyes. With a raised eyebrow. In front of the whole school.

Within days of perusing the take-no-prisoners style represented by the British media, I am hooked. It's like reading Page Six, only expanded into a fifty-page snarkfest. My mind can't take it all in and my heart starts racing at the sight of the neon pink and yellow covers. One particular day, C came home with a Hello! Magazine and I was not amused. The overkill of spin-doctored interviews and prettily posed photos is the closest thing to American celebrity reporting...

'Here’s Heather McCartney making a five course meal, with perfect hair and make-up. Sweat glands? What sweat glands? Here she is in the den on a pristine, ivory carpet. There she is again in the loo by the Italian marbled bidet, wearing an evening gown. Just because.'

I told C: if you love me- never, ever bring it home again.

And the human interest stories. We're in no way that interested in our fellow Americans, but the Brits love human interest stories. Instead of being displayed in publications that feature alien abductions and the "Elvis is alive" repertoire, the lady who hasn't washed her hair in 12 years is featured just page right of Tony Blair.

Too much information, luv

It's trashy, pushes the envelope, and rots your brain; but it's compulsory reading in the UK. Gotta love it.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Rockin' the media - 1860s style

Yahoo does a pretty credible job of giving me my quick fix of headlines on their hompage. They sum everything up so well. It's an exercise in simplicity and clarity, within one beautifully crafted sentence, and it draws you in for more. For example- today's offerings, and I'm not making them up:

Fred Savage attracts curious stares at a gay bar

(I always knew Winnie was a beard)

Aaron Spelling Sued for Sexual Harassment

(Don't think about this one too much. No really, please don't.)

And then this one just screamed at me:

Gene mutation may have caused Abraham Lincoln's gait.

(Yes, our man Abe. Who's sporting this fresh hairdo in trying to keep up with the times.)

Stop the presses! Hamas has just taken control of the Palestinian government, but Abraham Lincoln had a funny gait!!!! In the name of research grants, this is where our tax dollars go?

Oh, but it gets better with this colorful quote from the story:

"If a president had it, and he was disabled but still running the country, maybe people would lighten up on disabled people a little bit," said Smith, 57, of Manteca, Calif., who said he was once arrested for drunken driving because of the disease's symptoms.

I'm not making fun of disabled people, people with lurching walks, or anyone named Abe, but the point of all this is? FDR had polio and ran the country in a wheelchair, but I guess that pales in comparison to gene mutation. With this modern lesson in sensitivity training, what is there left for bullies nationwide to do?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Middle-class white folks can rap too

The SNL "Lazy Sunday" video has spawned a slew of jump-on-the-bandwagon merchandising (Andy & Chris bobbleheads on eBay, anyone?) and copycat imitators (See Poor Man's Lazy Sunday) And is that Mark Feuerstein in the West Coast rap? Mark, I'm embarassed for you. Fire your agent. Or go get yourself one.

Like The Fight Club, you didn't talk about "Lazy Sunday". It was like a secret, but shared, appreciation for the irony in that a white-boy rap about cupcakes and Patrick Swayze could actually be somewhat...good? It legitimized rap for the rest of us. Admit it. There was a moment where you thought, "If Tim McGraw can sing it with Nelly, then so...can...I."

"Wigga, please!"

Thus began battles with your friends in remodeled, hardwood kitchens out in the badass 'burbs of Philly. Singing to a pomeranian in a tutu that you wanna Shoop, Shoop, Shoop, while everyone hollas for your mad skillz. Yelling out "Snack attack, muthafucka!" while selecting your quiche at Dean & DeLuca, which may seem somewhat inappropriate to the general public, but Fiddy could appreciate it. And that was all that mattered.

But like a moth to a flame, the moment is gone. The thirteen-year-olds from South Bend, Indiana have taken over and made the song their own, posting their lip-synch videos up on the web. And I tell you, that's just when it really jumps the shark. What started out so pure and simple, in its hilarity, has been bastardized to within every inch of its life.

Yes, the validation has gone. And so we're all back to wearing Banana Republic and ordering sushi with the low-sodium soy sauce and zero irony, while waiting for the next Great White Hope.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

What would Christo and Jeanne-Claude say?

Not did they recycle The Gates, but they BeDazzled them as well:

Friday, January 13, 2006

Real estate wishes and no-fee dreams

This morning, I'm riding the elevator to the lobby and it stops at the 8th floor. A woman gets on and we smile to each other a silent 'good morning'. But then all of sudden, she turns a sharp left to me and says, "Are you still thinking of selling your apartment?"


My sleep-addled brain takes a moment to process what she's talking about. Then the elephantine memory kicks in and I remember who she is, as part of one of those wierd twists of living in this city. She's the lady with the note.

Over the summer, I entertained the idea of buying the studio next door, when the owner, Sue, approached me about it. We checked it out and the possibility of knocking down the wall between the two apartments, converting it into a nicely sized 1 bedroom. In the end, we decided not to because it needed a lot of work and had only one window. That window barely just made the NYC Building Code for windows.

And her asking price was funny. Not funny strange, but funny ha ha - in a really hysterical way. Almost to the point of being a bit sad, because I started to wonder what delusions of grandeur brought that figure on. I think she realized it too, because eventually she took it off the market.

But before she did that, right before the wedding, we ran into Sue on the elevator. Some small mundane chit-chat about her apartment and our wedding was traded. Thrown in there was a vague statement about how we were now considering a move to Brooklyn in about a year, the thought of which only began to crystallize around that time. Then we went off on our respective paths and I barely noticed the other person in the elevator, who also congratulated us on the impending nuptials.

That night, I come home from work to a note under the door. It was the other lady from the elevator, congratulating us again on the wedding. Then she wrote we should call her straightaway not if, but when we sell the apartment. Like we were hauling ass outta there the following day.

We were so sniffed out, I tell you. Sniffed out like prey with fresh wounds. We weren't even married yet, much less ready to even start looking. Give it to the woman, she was good. As I type, she could already be knitting us a onesie.

Still, that note has been filed away until further notice. Brokers do suck.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Flight to nowhere

C works for an international airline and it looks like a passenger committed suicide on one of the incoming flights over the weekend (it's still being investigated). C believes that it could quite possibly be one of the first such occurrences in the airline industry.

How sad is that? And it pisses me off too.

Iit's sad because you don't know if this person was supposed to be leaving their loved ones or coming to them. Did the people who said good bye know it was going to be the last time, or were people waiting in anticipation to welcome this person? It doesn't matter if it's on a personal or professional level, because really, when someone commits suicide, it's got to hit home all the same. That person chose to take their own life.

I'm mad too. Listening to C and hearing him tell it, you know he was affected. And you know the other passengers on the plane were affected. And you know the cabin crew were affected.

They say suicide is a selfish act and it's true. Done in the privacy of your home, it hurts your loved ones when they're left to deal with the aftermath. That's huge. And then doing it in this manner, you hurt complete and total strangers, by virtue of occupying that seat. It's going to haunt them, whether they they tried to help someone that didn't want to be helped, or just simply witnessed someone who actively willed their own life force to drain itself. The ripple effect is left behind in those strangers and their loved ones.

It's just so fucking wrong. If you're going to end your pain, fine, but don't think just because you don't know someone, they're not going to care.

I don't understand what brings a person to such depths of despair, yet I do recognize and accept that people have and will continue to take their own lives. For some people that's the only solution and that's their choice. No matter how much awareness is raised and what methods of prevention there are, it will happen.

And how I wish the effects and repercussions on others could be minimized. In particular, so that I wouldn't see my husband wake up the next morning, feeling fragile and in his own personal hell, if only for a brief moment in time.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

You ain't got nuttin' on Drew

Lindsay Lohan has announced she was bulimic and dabbled in drugs.

Lindsay, Lindsay, Lindsay - haven't you learned? There is only one undisputed queen when it comes to this kind of revelation:

So, get on it girl. Put your PR people to work!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Human discourse is going to pot

At work, I notice this a lot on the phone: I'll end the conversation with a thanks and the person on the other end says in response: "Unh-huh".

Is it just me or is that rude? To me, it can go either way, sounding very snotty or like a neanderthal. Either it's that they're doing you a favor (sometimes when you've done them one), or they can't be bothered to form the words in their mouth.

When a person says thanks, thank you, or thanks a lot, you say "You're welcome". Not "unh-huh" or "mmm-hmm".


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

I'm not your Plan B

With the advent of a bright new year, and a clean slate of sparkling possibilities, is the return of the same old shit.

Our NYE dinner reservations with the A's didn't happen, because male A had to work that day and we couldn't guarantee we'd make our reservation. Still, we all still wanted to spend New Year's together, so C and I went to where they were staying at, while in the city. As a result, several of their family members and a couple of friends also joined us, as female A said it was cool.

Now - the fallout. Certain people have decided to give me the cold shoulder because they weren't invited. What is this - the Romper Room? Get over it. Yes, get over it. So, it was New Year’s. The invitations didn’t go out weeks in advance, because there were no invites. There was no “Save the Dates!” It was not my home to begin with. That simple – so don’t try to make it all complicated.

I’m don’t go pouting every time I’m not included in other people’s plans, even as events are rehashed in front of me at a later time. I don’t expect to be included in everything. I don’t dish out comments like “I was so hurt when I wasn’t invited” or “Why didn’t you invite me?” although I’ve gotten them – several times. Invitation Guilt over something so small is unfair and selfish, and I'm not alone in thinking that. As someone else so eloquently put it: Boo-fucking-hoo.

Which is funny in a way, because the same people who are annoyed with me, are the same people I haven't spent time with on a one-to-one basis in a long time. Should I assume that they're only interested in spending time with me, as long as it's a group situation? Maybe I smell bad? Maybe I'm boring. But I'm will not stomp my foot over it and go around feeling sorry for myself.

So I reserve the right to spend more time with certain people exclusively, and not make a big production of planning and inviting everyone. Just as some of you should and will reserve the right to do the same.