Friday, February 24, 2006

There is a G-d

I opened my favorite morning newspaper, the New York Post - ie brain candy for sleepy minds- and in their Pulse section was a story about Holla Back.

Fucking brilliant. I wish I'd thought of it myself. What better way to get ward off the lecher cabbies and reduce the possibility of a repeat offense of this predatory type of behavior. Frustrated women, including me who posted about this problem last summer, are rejoicing.

It's ironic as well, because just this morning a guy started playing with my hair on the train. I felt someone pulling on a strand of my hair and assumed it had been caught in my bag. But I still felt the tugging sensation after I had adjusted my bag, and there he was, twirling a strand of my hair in his fingers. When I made eye contact with him and gave him a "what are you doing?" look, he said: "I love your curls." Because this is New York City, I couldn't decide if he was harassing me or if he was a hairdresser.

All around, I wanted to say, "Drop the curls and put your hands up in the air. That's right, step away from the curls." When I was in grade school, my best friend then, David Berkowitz (yes, that was his name, he was born before the Summer of Sam), constantly threatened to cut off my hair when I wasn't looking. Thus, I developed a complex about my hair. Don't touch the curls with your dirty hands that have been G-d knows where. I just wanted to run back home and take another shower.

Love-your-curls Dude must have figured his line wasn't going to get him anywhere, because he stopped touching my hair and I moved away. Thankfully, some of the other passengers had the insight to make room for me to do so. And then after I had transferred trains, I read the article about Holla Back.

I know I will continue to be subjected to leering and jeering by random strangers, so it's a small satisfaction to know that in some small way, I can fight back. But contrary to the Holla Back's tagline, next time I will slap them if they even so much as lay a finger on me.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Fact: Work makes people crazy

Remember what I said about the the loo and related issues? Turns out I'm not the only one who feels that way. One person decided to make their feelings known, dammit!

I work amongst crazy people. I came back into the office today to find the women I work with laughing over an anonymous missive that was posted on the mirror in our restrooms. I decided to go check it out and this is what I find:

Because the image is so small, the actual text is shown below. And I'm glad that I have this photo, because I don't think anyone would believe me if I tried to just say it happened. And I can't believe I just re-typed the entire text here, but it's just too out there not to be true.


There is a certain level of betrayal felt when you are on the telephone with someone and all of sudden you hear a flush.

Unbeknownst to me, my urination was broadcast through someone else's phone conversation, to G-d knows who. It was only the other day in the ladies' room, suddenly, I heard a voice, a male's voice, coming from the stall next to me.

Thinking I had walked in on something raunchy, I peeked under the stall to confirm or deny my suspicion. Only two feet in there, and they were wearing heels.

Turns out the male's voice was coming from the other end of a phone call about, of all things, how rude some people can be.

Was I on the MTV show "Boiling Points" here, or did that really happen? This is serious business.

It's not bad enough that I have to seriously sanitize the nasty toilet before I sit down, wait in line to wash my hands and then try not to touch the door handle, because I watched two people grab it after not washing their hands. Now I have to worry if I'm peeing too loud and being overheard by a complete stranger.

There is not reason you need to be having a conversation on the toilet. I repeat: There is no reason you need to be having a conversation on the toilet.

Can these people not wait three lousy minutes to call up their roommate and ask what time the "Friends" marathon is starting?

Is there any remaining human being with manners? Bathroom etiquette must be a thing of the past.


As for whomever wrote this, although I think you're completely out of your mind, I commend your style of crazy. Sing it, sister!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

You Know What Time It Is

Can I just say how much I lurve Flava of Love? Is anyone out there feeling me on this? My heart swelled when a bunch of us were at Dos Caminos and my friend said to me, "M, do you know what time it is?" (a catchphrase of the show). I practically shot out of my chair with my hand in the air, whooping, "I know what time it is! I know what time it is!" Then I remembered we were in Dos Caminos and not KFC.

The Clock ceremonies! The romantic dates at Red Lobster! The ten dollar weaves! The delusion that they'll be set for life with this Babydaddy x 10! New York goes postal on Pumpkin in the previews for next week's Clock ceremony! And nothing was as fascinating as Hottie rockin' the fashions, pushing the limits of trying to make one little swatch of fabric cover so much booty. RIP Hottie's outfits. We hardly knew ye.

(I'm still looking for images of Hottie to illustrate, but apparently this sort of thing is banned from public viewing on the Internet.)

I heart this show with a passion and pray he doesn't find anyone so that we can have a Season Two. How they will find crazier women than who they already have, I don't know. But here's hoping for it.

New York is my personal favorite, not because she's my hometown girl which she is, but because of her diction. Her articulation of her feelings. The way she talks to the camera provides endless amusement, as she passionately declares her love for Flav in this way that I can't even describe. It's obvious even Flav, of all people, thinks she's nuts and the producers probably bribed him to keep her on the show. But who cares? She's worth every single head-tossing, psychotic second of it.

"Girl, you could have Trish from The Bachelor for a snack!"

No one did a faster 180 than I did upon watching my first episode. When I first heard of this show, I passed it over immediately. But one day at the gym, for lack of anything else to watch, I settled on this. Within ten minutes, I was standing on the treadmill, laughing my head off like a nutter. Maybe everyone else was looking at me strangely, but I'll have you know they changed their channels to VH1 like a shot.

After it's over, I will be inconsolable. I will be sobbing into my pillow. This show is so bad, it's good. The only comfort to me would be a DVD of the entire season and my very own Flava Flav doll (with the clock and gold teeth, natch).

Sigh. I love this show.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Stupidity: A Photo Essay

Courtesy of So you don't have to ask- yes, it's real. There is in fact a store catering to people who wish they'd been conjoined to someone else at birth.
Because nothing is a better motivator than four people feeling your thigh fat.

"Now that we're, like, all Siamese, Janine, I'm punkier than ever!"
"Word! Punky Brewster ain't got nothin' on me!"
It's not okay to raise your child without giving them issues.

Taking co-dependency to a whole new level


Endorsed by your local chapter of the Cuddle Party organization

(check out the "Cuddlemonials" for truly compelling reading)


Santa's elves are serving time at the North Pole Jail. They've been chain-ganged for dipping into the toys.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Leer in the rear view

Someone must have branded an "X" on my forehead while I was sleeping. Like, "Hellooooo, over here. Total sucker over here!" Or maybe karma is a bitch and I got mine for all the times I've ranted in the back seat of a cab, piss drunk and needing the loo. "You don't undershtan'...I realleh have to pee!"

I had a bag of stuff with me to take with me, since we'd be out of town until next week. I suggested to C we share a cab downtown, so he can be dropped off at the Social Security offices and I go to work from there. It was a totally normal, pleasant ride until we dropped C off. Then, things turned funny.

I should have suspected something right away, because the driver became chatty. And not only was he chatty, but I understood every word he said. I got one of the few New York City cab drivers who spoke fluent, accent-free English. If that's not an omen, then I don't know what is.

So he's chatting away about getting ticketed by the police and I agreeably "Uh huh" and "Right" along, thinking about a cup of coffee. At one point, he starts talking about his fiancee and baby, so I'm thinking, "This guy's normal. He's not going to hit on me or anything". Because it's always a concern when you have a highly loquacious cabby and you're only one girl in the car.

But then he drops the bomb.

"I met my fiancee when she was 24, and she was a virgin. I taught her everything I know. That's quite a lot." Leer.

I snap to from my coffee thought. The best response is no response. "Right. Okay. The building will be on the right hand side after you pull onto the avenue."

He shifts back to safer territory. "We fight a lot. We're both Geminis. You think that has something to do with it?"

The New Jersey in me pops out. You know, the part of the country where strangers actually converse with other strangers, regardless of what they may have just said 5 minutes ago. "Oh yeah, one of my closest friends and my dad are Geminis! Makes sense."

He nods. "Yeah, tell me about it. That's what I don't get. I'm blankety-blankety-blank-blanking to her blankety-blank-blank and then we get in a fight. She just totally goes Jekyll and Hyde on me."

After I pull my eyebrows down from my forehead, having heard something that can't be repeated in any public forum without nauseating everyone, I hold out my money as he pulls up to the curb. I wonder for a moment if someone from the Howard Stern show is going to pop out from the passenger seat, like "Surprise!", and we'll all slap our knees and have a good laugh about it.

Instead, he turns around to look at me and says, "You got a minute?" I'm still rendered mute from his last comment and trying to quell my shock. He takes this as affirmative and continues. As he espouses on his issues with maturing his fiancee sexually, I feel like I've got my face pressed to the windows, mentally screaming to the people outside to help me. He's totally turned the tables on me and now the taxi driver, not the passenger, has become the confessor.

Finally, after what seems eons as he keeps talking and holding my change in my hand, a guy walks up to the cab having the seen the light go back on. Instead, my driver puts the car into park, waves the person away, and continues talking. What am I? Dr. Judy?

I just don't want to know.

Finally, I grab my bag, say "Keep the change" and hurtle myself onto the sidewalk, gulping down breaths of clean, fresh air. I'm feeling dirty and gross with the assault of way too much information at 8:30 am, having just heard the most intimate details of the cabby's sex life.

I like my random subjections to other people's perversions to be a little more short-lived, so it's back to riding the subway for me. I'll take the risk of being flashed, or having my ass patted by a dirty old man, over this any day of the week.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

2006 NYC Employee Winter Olympics

As the Winter Olympics are currently taking place in Turin(sorry, Torino), it occurred to me that they are not much different from the rat race of the American office environment.

Every day presents a challenge, as employees strategize on how to outwit their colleagues and go to excessive lengths to one-up each other. By denying workers their basic rights and allotting them only 2 weeks of paid time off per year, you too can create an Olympic environment of competition, scandal, and backbiting!

And now I present to you the categories for the 2006 Employee Winter Olympics:

Speed bitching - Two employees (usually female) run in circles around the office to bitch about their competition. The one who can slander the worst, turn the most people against the other, and ruin their professional reputation faster, wins. Weight and appearance are fair game.

Long distance sitting - The employee who comes in the earliest and stays the latest at work wins. This person then holds the bragging rights about how late they were at their desk after everyone left, regardless of actual work accomplished and how many games of Solitaire won.

Freestyle blaming - When something goes wrong in the office, the most creative method of passing the buck to another individual gets the highest marks. “It’s totally Fiona’s fault. And if she doesn’t know what you’re talking about, it’s because of stress-induced amnesia from trying to cover it up. It's a side effect from 'Nam.”

Budget ducking - This category is for employees who can expense the most meals at Campagnola and lap dances at Scores, without management batting an eye. For ideas, past winners have:

- cited an LV Speedy as a protective carrier bag for their work-issue laptop
- expensed 20 gallons of Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey to keep the hypoglycemia at bay during work hours
- been reimbursed for daily hour-long phone calls to their mother in Kazakhstan, who is a world renown expert on corporate information technology and goat-herding

Lunch asceticism – The most steadfast employee, who works through the most federally mandated lunch hours, obtains the honor of being Holiest-Than-Thou. At noon, when you run out to do quick errands or to go get lunch, the winner can hold their stomach while protesting in the name of The Office, they have too much work to do to perform the act of food consumption.

Holiday two-facing - The employee who can best confuse everyone by spreading the holiday cheer - i.e. chocolates on Valentine's Day, candy eggs on Easter- while being the most miserable human being alive on other days, is always highly regarded by our esteemed panel of judges!

Death slalom - otherwise known as the Bruce Willis Unbreakable category. The employee who takes the least amount of sick time off, preferably none at all, is the undisputed winner. This intrepid employee who comes in and infects the rest of the office with influenza, forcing them all to stay home, should be immediately recommended for a promotion. Overall productivity be damned, it's every man for himself!

A side-by-side category with the above is the Vacation Volley, where contenders fight to maintain the highest visibility and brownie points by refusing to take their personal time off. Should you end the year with the most extra days off that can't be carried over to the next fiscal year, you win! You also reserve the right to instill guilt in any employee who took their time off for holiday, surgery, tending to their sick child, or for bereavement. Tans are frowned upon and grieving is for sissies.

Endurance e-mailing - Points are awarded to the individual who totals the most pointless e-mails, to the exclusion of any face-to-face interaction with other members of their 'team' that sit twenty feet away. By generating the biggest time suck since watching NBC's time-delayed, primetime coverage of the Games- when the results have been posted on the Web hours ago- you're going for Gold, baby!

The Employee Olympics are a constantly evolving and mercurial arena, as are the categories; contributions and suggestions for categories are most welcome. Good luck to the competitors! My own colleagues are quite formidable contenders, but maybe there is in fact someone you know who can outwit them all. May the biggest hypocrite win!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Spreadin' the love

Happy Valentine's Day! I'm not going to bore you with details of the day or tell you that it's the first one C and I are sharing as a married couple. You don't want to hear that.

So instead, I will share with you a few of the things that I love. Like:

1) New York Post Headlines (because they're such an arbiter of good taste)

Dick Cheney accidentally shoots a fellow hunter during a quail hunt in Texas, sparking countless late-night TV jokes and comparisons to Elmer Fudd. (The cover speaks for itself.)

Middle aged people are hornier than ever.

Pro: This should give us all hope.

Con: This makes me think of my parents (shudder)

Batman is going to fight terrorists and catch Osama.

(So this means that the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus are for real, right?)

2) Agata and Valentina's mozzarella cheese

This will be the first of many references to what C and I fondly call "Aggy and Vally". Their mozzarella is this spongy, homemade ball of goodness and is just like the mozzarella they used to have at the old Balducci's on Sixth Avenue. Whenever I see the guy behind the cheese counter doing the Cat's Cradle with the ropes of mozzarella, stretching and preparing it for consumption, I'm hypnotised. I just want to tackle him down to the ground and run off with the bowl, so I can squirrel myself away somewhere and gnaw away to my heart's content.
3) Guinness stout
Only 31 days until St. Patty's Day, when these bloggin' eyes will be smiling.
4) Rollerblading
Especially from the Hudson River Bike Path, because not even Nicole Kidman or Calvin Klein can stop little old me from looking into the windows of their Richard Meier-designed apartments.
Nicole favors mauve.
5) Miami Beach
It's New York City South/England West - so C and I both feel right at home.
You think I'm kidding?
5) Zoe Dog
It's Valentine's Day - give the dog a bone! (Yeah, I know. She's all about the self-promotion.)
And most importantly - C (this is where you may want to stop reading)
Happy Valentine's Day, babe - this time will make up for having to be apart last year - I love you!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Blizzard 2006

Sunday, snowy Sunday

"All the other dogs are so gonna make fun of me"
Nice day for a drive - there's no traffic!

Strollers and blizzards just don't go together

Good luck digging that out, buddy

The Yellow Snow Bandit of the Upper East Side has been apprehended, jacketed, and cuffed.

Good times

Friday, February 10, 2006

The Curry Sauce Gods Have Smiled Upon Me

Tesco has announced they will be coming to the U.S. in 2007. My days of food porn will be over. No more going to their website and drooling at images of their Finest line of curry sauces, especially the Jalfrezi Piri Piri, as well as Chicken Tonight.

If two people were ever candidates to be arrested in Customs and sit in their little jail for smuggling curry sauce into the country, it would be C and I. Because to be honest, it's been done. We are shameless. C's friend came over in December to celebrate C's birthday and we issued him a warning: if you don't have Chicken Tonight with you, turn around, go back to England and get some. And make it the Honey Mustard flavor.

Opening a jar of the sauce is somewhat of a ceremonial rite in our home. You don't just open a jar and start cooking. No. First, you announce to me that you're making a Tesco's curry or Chicken Tonight, so I can do a dance around the apartment. Then, you open the jar and let me sniff the contents, before mixing all the ingredients together to cook. Then, I nag you to death if it's ready, to which you then serve the meal piping hot and pray that I burn my tongue. Once we polish off the entire meal, you let me lick the serving spoon and pretend I'm not the disgusting individual that I really am.

Drool, slobber, slurp

There is the the issue of supply and demand, however, because apparently Knorr did try introducing Chicken Tonight to the U.S. and it just didn't take. Had I known this at the time, things would have been very different today. But alas, I didn't; hence the smuggling now. However, Tesco has presented me with an opportunity and I've got to beat that drum.

We've been hard at work, sharing the goods, and have already converted one friend to the Finest range, educating her until she knew the names by heart. We were supplying her until C started his application for the K visa last summer. Then he asked me, "How would I explain to everyone we can't marry in New York, because I got busted at Customs for curry?" I thought about it, weighed the benefits of C against the curry sauces in my mind, and concluded, "Yeah, that would kinda suck."

So now it's up to my fellow Americans to Give Tesco a Chance. Think of people like me, who trek down regularly to Kalyustans to annoy the shit out of the staff and stinks up their floor of the building, in misguided attempts to recreate the taste of the beautifully preserved Finest range. It might be healthier to do it from scratch, but it just isn't the same. Tesco's sauce is like a British Chef Boyardee, with a little more elbow grease involved.

So let's spread that artificial goodness and debunk the myth that British food is no good! Let's go, Tesco!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Tastes like...

I'm a media junkie - I think we're establishing that over the course of this blog. I've got a journalism degree which is going to waste, love surfing for news, DVR TV newsmagazines like Dateline and 20/20 regularly, and gobble up the papers on the train in the morning.

But there are days like today, when it feels like my news got served with cherries and cream on top. There are days like today, where you read a story like this. With a teaser like "Woman does Mouth-to-Beak to save chicken", how do you pass that up?

I wish I wrote this story so I could say I met this crazy lady who did CPR on a chicken, just to see if she's still got it. I wish I'd been there when these words came out of her chicken-lovin' lips:

"I breathed into its beak, and its dad-gum eyes popped open," Morris said. "I breathed into its beak again, and its eyes popped open again. "I said, 'I think this chicken's alive now. Keep it warm.' "

It takes a brave woman to say, "Salmonella be damned, I'm going to save this Boo Boo from becoming a McNugget!"
Ms. Marian Morris of Arkadelphia, Arkansas, this beak's for you.

"Come know you want to"

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Time for me to get serious (really)

If you missed Dateline's 3rd installment of their To Catch A Predator series this past Friday, you missed pretty riveting (and disturbing) television.

The premise was the reporter, Chris Hansen, works with a group called Perverted Justice, and a local police department in southern California, to trap online sexual predators. They use a decoy to pretend she's either a 13 year old girl or boy, and lure these guys to an empty house. Once the pervs show up, and I mean lots of them show up, Chris Hansen surprises them with a Q & A attended by a camera crew. When any guy tries to leave the property, he finds himself kissing the front lawn with his hands cuffed behind his back. In total, 51 guys were arrested over the course of three days.

Watching this is not for the squeamish, because it's abundantly clear that all these different guys - of every age, race, marital status, social background - are there for just one reason. Some of them bring booze, others bring condoms, whipped cream, what have you. Hey, one guy bought Viagra. Some of them are convicted criminals and sexual predators out on parole. One of these guys was caught in an earlier installment of the series, saw the police arresting another dude in front of the house, and still he goes in! The point I'm trying to make is, just like the police chief says on the show, the only thing all these different guys have in common is the Internet. And however perceptive you think you are, you can't tell what a predator looks like when he's walking down the street. Pardon my French, but it's fucking frightening.

The biggest problem I had with the show is that they interview the creator of iSafe, the police chief and the county DA. They're all talking about how vulnerable kids are, how parent should educate themselves and their kids about the risks. And not once, did any of them suggest the action that would represent the most common sense: don't give your kids Internet access in the privacy of their rooms!

The Internet is a privilege, not a right, for minors. Everyone on the show talked about controlling online predators, giving them longer jail times, and whether they could be rehabilitated. But they shrugged their shoulders when it came to the kids. In turn, parents will too, just like the ones on the show who had indignant, but slightly clueless looks on their faces. They're all blustering about trying to educate the kids, but nothing about limiting their exposure to the Net. Call me old school, but kids are quite lucky to have a computer in each of their rooms these days. I had to beg pretty damn hard for my own phone line when I was in high school. The family computer was in the living room, which everyone shared. And I walked barefoot in the snow, five miles to school and back every day....

I know the times they are a-changin'. I understand it's hard to get by without a computer just to do a homework assignment now. But kids don't need 24-hour access to the Internet in their rooms, in order to do their homework. And if your kid honestly does need it, then there's something wrong with them too.

Therefore, I support that old school concept: Internet connections in common areas. Why was it such an outrageous concept that the experts on the program didn't even dare suggest it?

The way I see it, we're at a generational crossroads when it comes to parenting and the Internet. As a new generation of parents comes onto the forefront, which I suppose will include me one day, they are a lot more technologically savvy when it comes to the Internet and what their kids could be up to. Because, let's face it, kids can be sneaky. I know, I was one. We were light years ahead of our folks when it came to the Web; we had to teach them what it was all about. But that's slowly changing. Over time, you and I will become responsible for taking that edge, and awareness which we have, and applying it to the future.

And that by no means is a choice. It's an obligation.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Speedwagon or Die

I could not have been more excited than when I found out that REO Speedwagon will be performing at Harley Davidson’s Bike Week while we're in Orlando next month.

Fluffy, like a Chia Pet...

Yes, that REO Speedwagon. The REO Speedwagon of camp song fame, before they got outfluffed by Richard Marx.

They were the Depeche Mode of their time. Campers laid in their bunkbeds on rainy days and pined for that cute CIT, to which REO Speedwagon was the soundtrack to their love, their life. Maybe he wasn't paying much attention to you this summer, but next year it would all be different. The braces would be off and you were really going to be a knockout at the opening bonfire ceremony, when the 'Smores couldn't get stuck in the wires anymore.

And now REO's back, performing for their hardest-core fan base - the Hell's Angels. And I just have to be there, because this just makes sense in a totally Clockwork Orange kind of way.

Hey...he looks like my ex!

In the next several weeks, across the highways of America, countless bikes will be migrating their way to their Mecca, just so they can see one of the greatest aging emo bands, in the tradition of Journey and Styx. And after they arrive, we'll all bond over tequila shots and the Biker Babes will have an induction ceremony for me, making me an Honorary Member. My look will be that of Jane Fonda in Klute, with the badass shag hairdo and funky boots. (Donald Sutherland was so hot back then.)

Upon the opening bars of "I Can't Fight This Feeling", my new best friend, Spike - he of the tobacco stained beard and metal cuffs - will confide in me: "This song always makes me think of Patsy, back up at the Devil's Pit roadhouse up in the Carolinas (sniffle)."

And I'll say, "Really? What was she like?"

Spike: "She had the real nice bleached, blond hairdo, all feathered like Farrah. And the vest, man. It was all macrame and shit, with the feathers and the tassles. Yeah, she'd have been a fine piece of ass sitting on the back of my Hog."

Me: "Was this when the band was, like, huge in the late '70s?"

And he'll give me a look before spitting a mouthful of chaw on the ground. "Nah, this was just on the way down here."

He'll take my lace-edged hankie to dab his eyes, while I pat him on the back and say out loud, with feeling, "There's. Got. To. Be. A. Way." Kevin Cronin will then wink and cue the band into a rousing, very special Speedwagon rendition of "Kumbaya", lifting bikers off their feet to raise their lighters into the air. They will rally around Spike, telling him he's got to get back up there and tell Patsy, that he don't wanna sleep, he just wanna keep on lovin' her!

Spike will hop on his Hog and the crowd will part like the Red Sea, cheering and waving him off as he rides off into the sunset, to lay claim to his lady.

Thus proving that pure hearts lie beneath those leather jackets and dark glasses, and that REO Speedwagon is the soundtrack to all of our lives.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

A dark day

C's iPod died yesterday. We will commence sitting shiva tonight at sundown.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Colonel Sanders, New York Sports Clubs thank you... more ways than one.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Saddam's last stand

I don't claim to be a political pundit; I just call things as I see them. And in following the trial of Saddam Hussein, let me sum up the whole thing in one sentence: this trial is a joke.

Is this a judicial court or a soap opera? There is more drama and lusty declarations within five minutes of this trial, then there is in one entire season of Desperate Housewives.

"That dress is an abomination of Allah!"

Around these parts, they'd throw your ass back in jail and declare a mistrial faster than you can say Boo.