Sunday, April 30, 2006

Fly Me to the Moon

I felt like Sinatra in the Rat Pack this weekend. On Friday, my friends Sarah and “Velma” and I went up to the Foxwoods casino in Connecticut, and came back this morning. Let me tell you, there's nothing like a few days of drinking Scotch and strolling around a casino with a “broad' on each side to feel like the Chairman of the Board. Although they refused to dress like Joey Heatherton and Ann-Margret, the little prudes.

All I needed was a fedora and to bring some hookers up to the room and I would been Ol' Blue Eyes redux. Good times.

It was a lot of fun, but, of course, I came away about $600 poorer. I never beat the house at a casino, so I don't know why I even bother. I did black jack, tried baccarat, and played a lot of slots, which actually have some of the worst odds of any game.

And, while we were there, Velma got into an argument with a waitress who caught her putting shrimp cocktails (wrapped up, I will say) from a buffet into a bag, for us to snack on later in the room. She was going to put them in the little fridge, next to the $18 Tobler bars.

It was mortifying.

And it was quite a battle of the minds too – Velma pointing out she had paid for the buffet, so what difference did it make if she ate some in the restaurant or later in the room. The waitress countering: what was to stop anyone then from bringing in Tupperware containers, and just filling them up and carting food away for other people who hadn't paid.

Technically, I suppose she was right, but she was also one of those ball busters who gets off on causing grief. I mean, really, who ever heard of a casino frowning on excess?

As I told Velma, they have cameras and security everywhere in these places, looking for card cheats, scam artists and pickpockets. Only she would be busted for swiping shellfish from a $10 all-you-can-eat buffet table.

She's likely banned from all casinos -- and probably Red Lobsters -- in the tri-state area now.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Oy gevalt

Rosie O'Donnell is joining the panel of ABC's "The View."

Because, you know, that's what that show has been missing. A loudmouth.

Hello, can someone do this story?

Hey, New York Times, Washington Post, New York Review of Books...someone! Can one of you guys do a really good, in-depth story about plagiarism and why authors continue to do it, especially now in the days of Lexis/Nexis and Google.

I've always wondered what goes through writers' heads when they basically copy paragraph after paragraph of another author's work and think they will somehow get away with it. It often comes to light with newspaper writers, but it also happens with book authors - novelists and non-fiction.

A few years ago, the issue got a burst of press when both Stephen Ambrose and Doris Kearns Goodwin, presidential biographers and historians, were found to have used others' work as their own.

Now, we see it with hot new lit sensation, 19-year old Kaaya Viswanathan of Harvard, who got a huge book deal for her novel, "How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life," only to have it turn out she had plagiarized many passages from young-adult writer Megan McCafferty's books, "Sloppy Firsts" and "Second Helpings."

As the Times reports: "The similarities between "Opal" and Ms. McCafferty's books were striking in some cases, with many passages in Ms. Viswanathan's novel — (McCafferty publisher) Crown cited more than 40 — echoing Ms. McCafferty's works almost exactly."

I really am fascinated by this. How can these people not think they will get caught?

It's calling out for a great report, and I'd love to know the psychological backstory. Not just that it happens, but why do they do it?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

I love having the gals fight over me

About a year ago, I switched from Time Warner Cable to RCN, because they were offering a special promotional price on the bundled package, where you get phone, Internet and cable TV service.

That promotion ended last month and the bill shot up about $30 a month, so, of course, I switched back to Time Warner, because they had a good offer to lure me back, and also, I sort of missed NY1, the 24-hour New York cable news channel, which is a Time Warner station, so doesn't air on RCN cable.

I just got a call from "Becky" from RCN asking what she can do to lure me back. (And, no, I didn't make any lewd suggesions). Anyway, I kvetched a little about their prices, and played hard to get, I'm very happy with TW, yadda, yadda - and she practically begged me to reconsider. Then said she was going to draw up a special price plan and email it to me and if I go back they will make it worth my while.

Competition is good.

When does the revolution start?

Have you seen this “Super Sweet 16” show that airs periodically on MTV? It's the one where these rich fucks get thrown ridiculously over-the-top 16th birthday or graduation parties, doted on by too-stupid and too-rich-for-their-own-good parents.

The parties cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, feature the kids making grand entrances, as if they were famous or royalty, and usually always contain a scene where the kid is arguing with their parents, bitching about not getting enough, or being pleasantly surprised by a REALLY ridiculous gift.

It's best seen, in a Times article about the show, in a segment featuring Texas sisters of Indian parentage:

“Their Bollywood-themed party for 500 guests will be held in the family's backyard — all 4½ acres, behind the 10,000-square-foot house. The Format, their favorite band, will perform. And they will make their grand entrance on litters, during an elaborate procession led by elephants. The sisters, who plan to perform a choreographed routine at their to-do next month, are also taking dance lessons, and they've enlisted the help of a trainer.

"We both want to lose three pounds," said Priya, who received a Mercedes convertible and an assortment of diamond jewelry for her birthday. Her sister's graduation gift package included a Bentley, diamonds and two homes in India.

"I was really surprised," Divya said, "because I was only expecting a Bentley and one house."

Just last month they gave a preparty where invitations to their coming event were handed out by body builders whom Priya ordered not to smile. "Assistants are not supposed to smile," she explained."

You know, it's always a nice surprise when you're only expecting one home and get a second one too.

All the kids featured on the show are, needless to say, incredibly spoiled brats, invariably obnoxious (especially the girls, for some reason) and very shallow.

But, they are also 16-years-old, and they really don't seem to know any better.

The parents are the fucktards here, to allow this to happen, to encourage it, in fact, and to instill this type of value system in their offspring.

Listen, part of this is probably just seething envy that I didn't get a Bentley and a home when I turned 16 (although I'm not sure I would want one in India, but, you know, I wouldn't have said no to a little place in Vegas), but really, not only do they act like this, it's even worse that they enjoy having the world see it on MTV.

It really does epitomize the era of Bush: the super rich gets theirs, and everyone else can eat a little bit of cake.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

New Jersey and you...and anthrax-ridden mice

Yet another reason to visit the Garden State.

According to the AP: "In the past year, two New Jersey laboratories have been unable to account for plague-infested mice and vials of deadly anthrax spores, and top state officials are scrambling to devise better ways to safeguard deadly material."

Come for the beaches, stay for the plague.

Guns, gas, God and gays - the Republican platform

If you're feeling the pinch of rising gasoline prices this summer, here's all you need to know. The Washington Post reports that Republicans blocked measures boosting taxes on oil companies' profits:

"The actions of Republicans hashing out a tax bill behind closed doors indicate that, despite tough talk from the White House and Capitol Hill, the party is not ready to hit the oil companies hard -- even on measures that have broad support in the Senate."

This in a year when ExxconMobil alone "had the highest corporate profit in U.S. history: $10.71 billion for the fourth quarter of 2005 and $36.13 billion for the entire year."

And the chairman of that company just retired with a $400 million payout.

The GOP - watching out for you. As long as you're an oil company gazillionaire, a gun nut, or a rightwing religious fanatic who wants to do a little gay bashing, of course.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Yeah, I'll admit it, I can be a bum

Sometimes I even disgust myself.

Today, the weather was beautiful, and I decided to totally spoil and pamper moi, because, fuck it all, no-one else does (mom doesn't count) – so I was a total derelict all day.

First, I slept late (ok, I admit, that's not necessarily a unique thing for me) and then decided to treat myself to lunch at one of my fav places, the Union Square Cafe, consistently named one of the best restaurants in NYC.

Let me just say, totally relaxing. I sat at the bar, read the Daily News (loving the dirt about the Maury scandal – good stuff!) and started with a fettuccine with braised duck ragu and parmigiana appetizer, then went on to the slow roasted Berkshire pork shoulder on a Parker House roll with mustard fruit. Can I just say - yum.

After lunch, since I was in the area, I decided to check out Trader Joe's on 14th Street. That's the hot and apparently trendy supermarket from California that got so much buzz when they opened because of all the exotic items they sell.

People were lining up to get in when it opened several weeks ago. Which is crazy. Hell, I wouldn't line up to get into Butter, never mind a supermarket. (And that's a moot point, anyway, as I think I'm self-exiled from Butter because of an embarrassing incident some years ago, trying to get in with a few friends, including the infamous Jan Brady. I don't think I could show my face there again.)

I digress. So, perusing Trader Joe's, but not really being a maniacal grocery shopper - I could care less about Thai lime or jalepeno blue cornbread - I had to go over and check out the wine section. Joe's is famous for its house label, Charles Shaw, which sells for ridiculously low prices. I'm talking $3 a bottle. (In California, it's $2 and is affectionately called Two-Buck Chuck.) So, of course, I had to get me some Three-Buck Chuck.

Mission accomplished, and then I swung by Home Depot in midtown to check out kitchen stuff, as the renovation from hell continues. Oy.

Well, that wore me out, so, on the way home, I stopped in at a little martini bar and had a few lemon drop martinis to ease the strain. Because, you know, I hadn't had enough to drink by this point.

And, finally, here is an as-it-happens report on Three-Buck Chuck, since I opened the bottle when I got home a little while ago: ok, it ain't the best wine I have ever had, but, for that price, I wasn't exactly expecting much. I guess I would say it isn't totally horrendous. Three dollars for an entire goddamn bottle. Hell, I was paying ten bucks per glass at Union Square Cafe.

I've been told that some of TJ's other California wines, at slightly higher prices, are a much better level of vino, so, if I go back, I will check them out instead. All in all, an amusing little experience. And what a day! I have to go relax now.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Is there anything he touches that doesn't become a disaster?

Here's an excerpt from a very depressing article in Time magazine this week about how sex slavery has become a growing problem in the "new and improved" Iraq. Go read the whole thing, and, once again, "Mission Accomplished" my ass.

Way to go, President Bush:

The man on the phone with the 14-year-old Iraqi girl called himself Sa'ad. He was calling long distance from Dubai and telling her wonderful things about the place. He was also about to buy her. Safah, the teenager, was well aware of the impending transaction. In the weeks after she was kidnapped and imprisoned in a dark house in Baghdad's middle-class Karada district, Safah heard her captors haggling with Sa'ad over her price. It was finally settled at $10,000. Staring at a floor strewn with empty whiskey bottles, the orphan listened as Sa'ad described the life awaiting her: a beautiful home, expensive clothes, parties with pop stars. Why, she'd be joining two other very happy teenage Iraqi girls living with Sa'ad in his harem. Safah knew that she was running out of time. A fake passport with her photo and assumed name had already been forged for her. But even if she escaped, she had no family who would take her in. She was even likely to end up in prison. What was she to do?

Safah is part of a seldom-discussed aspect of the epidemic of kidnappings in Iraq: sex trafficking. No one knows how many young women have been kidnapped and sold since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. The Organization for Women's Freedom in Iraq, based in Baghdad, estimates from anecdotal evidence that more than 2,000 Iraqi women have gone missing in that period. A Western official in Baghdad who monitors the status of women in Iraq thinks that figure may be inflated but admits that sex trafficking, virtually nonexistent under Saddam, has become a serious issue. The collapse of law and order and the absence of a stable government have allowed criminal gangs, alongside terrorists, to run amuck.

Here's a suggestion, George - look in the goddamn mirror

This is really hilarious. Bush is now asking the government to investigate high oil prices and see what's causing them.

Hmm, let's see, this is the guy who slithered his way up with a big assist from his daddy's connections in the oil business, with a vice president who made his millions in the oil business, and who leads the cabal that allowed the big oil companies to help write the nation's energy policy. This is the guy who told the American people that one of the big benefits of the Iraq war would be freeing up all of that country's oil reserves.

But, ahh, with the 2006 Congressional elections approaching, and Republicans shitting bricks at the public's sour mood, he's suddenly concerned about sky high oil prices.

It's sort of like when Michael Jackson suddenly got concerned about his wacky public image and decided to marry.

A woman.

No one bought it.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Woke up this morning

After what some grumbled was a slow start to the new season, with the first few dream sequence/metaphorical episodes (although I thought they were quite interesting, and definitely a cut above the usual dreck on TV) HBO's The Sopranos has hit its stride recently.

The gay mobster story line has been fascinating, and, this week, the show did a great take-down on the goodie bags that celebrities regularly accept as part of their privileged existence.

The look on Christopher's face when he saw the swag being offered in those gift bag rooms – the jewelry, cell phones and Blackberry's, the sunglasses, clothes, and watches, the vacations, spas and cars – was priceless.

Freebies like that go to rich fucks who need it least all the time, it seriously wasn't exaggerated, and it really is one of the more disgusting elements of our celebrity-worshipping culture.

When you see movie stars who make $20 million a film, TV stars who make a million bucks an episode, singers who make $10 million an album, being showered with gift bags easily worth tens of thousands of dollars, it does make you want to start a revolution.

And this is coming from someone who has been in these rooms. Hey, I will admit, maybe some of it is just absolute seething envy that the most I've ever been able to score for myself is a pair of Rayban sunglasses, a Polo shirt, and a dinner at 21
Club, but seeing these pampered celebrities casually walk around to the various stations in the room and point out what they want is really pretty nauseating.

As Ben Kinglsey said on the show (and I'm paraphrasing here): “I know. It's obscene. These bags are worth $30,000, which some people don't even make in a year.”

I obviously don't condone violence, but when the Jersey goombah smacked Lauren Bacall for her goodie bag, and later they cut to Christopher and the goon on the plane heading home and laughing at the Variety headline about the attack, I had to snicker.

Give me a cup of Dunkin' Donuts coffee for a buck anytime...and some freaking sharks with laser beams

I see that people are, rightly, outraged at the price of gasoline, which is over $3 a gallon in a lot of the country.

Now, living in Manhattan, and not having or needing a car, it doesn't directly affect me that much. I have my monthly Metrocard for the subways and buses that run 24 hours a day, plus 30,000 yellow cabs, and they're all I need to get around.

Of course, the prices of goods shipped into the city are no doubt impacted when fuel prices drive up costs for stores and restaurants, but, the point is, I'm not feeling the pinch every week when I fill up a gas tank like those folks in suburbia have to do.

What I don't understand is people bitching at paying $3 for a gallon of gas, but thinking nothing of dropping $5 for a 12-ounce cup of coffee at Starbucks.

What is that per gallon? About $50, if my calculation is right.

That's ridiculous.

It surely takes a lot more to obtain, refine, and distribute that gasoline selling for three bucks a gallon, than it does coffee selling for fifty bucks a gallon.

You Starbucks fans are just nuts. Topped with chocolate drizzle, of course.

Speaking of movies....

I hadn't actually planned to see The Da Vinci Code film when it hits theaters, mostly because I'm one of the few people I know who haven't read the damn book, and, while the plot sounds somewhat intriguing, it also sounds somewhat hackneyed.

But now that I see that right-wing Christian groups are denouncing the Tom Hanks adaptation, setting up Web sites, and airing broadcasts blasting the movie, I think I will go, just to shove it to these bastards.

Any movie that the slimy James Dobson of the sleazy Focus on the Family group is against, I'm for.

(And I hope Tom eats a tiny corn on the cob in this one, like he did in Big. That cracked me up.)

Hooray for Hollywood

Saturday was a great day and night for movies. It was crummy weather here in NY all day - grey, cloudy, rainy, and I think the temperature even dipped to the 40s (what the hell happened to Spring?)

My friend Scooby Doo Velma came over and we had a cable movie marathon. We went through five – count 'em – five!! movies, through the course of the proceedings.

Multiple movies along with pizza, red wine, beer, Jack & Cokes (me) and screwdrivers (her). Sure, totally derelict, but fun.

We watched “Man on Fire,” “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country,” “Crash,” “Suspect Zero” and “Working Girl.”

Well, ok, let me clarify - I started to watch Working Girl. (I think I've actually started to watch it in the past, too, and have never quite made it all the way through).

I dozed off when Melanie Griffith still had big poofy Staten Island hair and racoon eyes, and woke up toward the end when she was more stylish. One of these days, I will see this film from beginning to end. I hear it's not bad.

In my defense: A) it is a major chick flick, and B) by the time it came on it was about 2 am, and, at this point, I had consumed, well, wine, beer, and bourbon. Velma, on the other hand, has amazingly feral tolerance.

She also has a habit of commenting on scenes, talking to the characters, and tearing up at emotional moments (a total wreck during parts of “Man on Fire”). As I tell her, if I wanted the commentary track, I would get the DVD, but she never listens to me.

Friday, April 21, 2006

I don't have to open the door myself - yeaaa!

Looks like the doorman's strike was averted, which is great.

On the negative side, I played an away game last night, if you know what I mean, which meant I had to slink past the regular doorman a few hours ago. I really am getting grumpier, because I hate not being in my own house when I wake up. I have issues.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Why don't they just keep 'em chained up in the kitchen. Barefoot of course.

Some people have been taking comfort in the thought that even if some states do criminalize abortion, women who live in them, and are in need of one, simply have to go to another more enlightened state to get the procedure performed there.

Setting aside for a moment that this penalizes poor women, who often have no means of transportation, certainly can't afford an airline ticket, and can't easily leave a job or kids they may already have for days at a time, we might also now want to consider what will no doubt be a growing movement by the anti-choice crowd: the punishment of women who do cross state borders to get a legal abortion.

A law has been proposed in Ohio to do just that. The Chillicothe Gazette reports:

“Ohio house bill 228 introduced by Tim Brinkman, R-Mount Lookout, in April would make it a felony for a woman to seek to terminate her pregnancy and holds the same penalty if she chooses to leave the state for the medical procedure.

Additionally, anyone who helps coordinate an abortion or transportation to leave the state for one could be charged as well.”

Think about that. You're pregnant. You live in a state where abortion is illegal. You have an opportunity to cross over the state line to get the procedure at a medical facility. But if discovered you could be punished - fined, jailed?

Is this America any more?

The bill is apparently stuck in committee, as it may be too much even for some anti-choicers. It also likely would not stand up to an appeal if a women is actually prosecuted under it. Not to mention, how the hell could it be enforced? Would they actually expect people to spy on their neighbors and report that a pregnant woman disappeared for a few days, and then came back not pregnant and without a baby?

But it shows the mentality of the neanderthals behind the increasing movement in this country to steadily chip, chip, chip away at women's rights and return them to second-class status.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Hello Satan, my usual table, please

I did it again. Another blind date from hell, Tuesday night.

I've said before that one of the definitions of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result each time, so I might actually be clinically insane to keep going on these things. But, in my defense, I will also say that I am an eternal optimist when it comes to the heart, so who knows.

I usually don't talk about personal stuff on this blog, but this one wanted to take a picture of us together on her cell phone cam, and, with my horrible luck, she probably has her own damn blog and I will end up on it.

Actually, this one wasn't as bad as previous b.d.'s, at least as far as a bizarre proclamation from her – like the girl who informed me within 10 minutes of meeting that she was a virgin and planned to stay one until she got married (yeah, that's just what a guy wants to hear on a first date - talk of virginity and marriage). Or the charmer who told me she hadn't shaved her legs in 3 years and hoped that didn't bother me (strangely enough it did). Or the one who still lived at home and had a 10 pm curfew! (don't worry, hun, I get the feeling this won't last too late).

How my friends come up with these girls, I don't know. I almost think it's a cruel conspiracy for their own amusement to fix me up with the most bizarre girls in NYC – and that's saying something considering some of the wackadoos that are out there.

Anyway, it started out fine. We met for happy hour drinks, and she was very cute (as promised) and we had a good convo going. She worked in advertising, and had some funny stories about her job. And she liked to drink, which is always a plus. But, I will say, she was downing some vodka concoctions faster than I was my Jack and Cokes, which is astounding, and I only mention this because of what happened later.

At about 9, we were getting hungry (I had been painting my kitchen much of the day, and I hadn't even had a real lunch) so I suggested sushi. Well, to my surprise, she told me she had never had sushi before. Now, who hasn't had sushi? Consumption of it is practically a New York residency law.

But she had only moved to the city last year, and apparently sushi wasn't a big thing in the little town in Colorado, where she was from.

So we headed to Haru and I pointed out a few innocuous items on the menu she could probably handle, and she seemed to like them. And we had several little bottles of sake with the food, of course, which she also had never had before.

Now, I don't know if it was the multiple vodka/sake combo, or the raw fish, but at about 11 she started to look a little green, and excused herself to go to the bathroom. Well, you can see where this is going. She was away for a long time, even for a girl (hah) and when she came back, let's just say there was evidence of, er, spillage on her shirt.

Yes. This girl threw up on a date with moi.

It really doesn't get any more ego-gratifying than that.

But the topper was that she was actually mad at me! I shouldnt have let her have the sake, I shouldn't have suggested sushi since it was probably spoiled.


I'm going back to pornography. It doesn't give you grief.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I hope they don't rent hotel rooms later for a post-dance party

PBS did a show recently about the movement in South Dakota to ban all abortions, no exceptions even for rape or incest. And in it, Digby found an astounding segment highlighting another reason you really don't want to move to South Dakota.

They hold events where young girls come from all over the state with their fathers to a “Purity Ball.”

It looks like a prom, the girls get all dressed up, they dance with their fathers - and then they pledge to them that they will remain virgins till they get married.

Is it just me, but is this a little creepy?

First of all, going to a prom-like event with your father is pretty strange in itself. But then to literally have to verbally pledge to him you are not going to have sex until you get married just ups the weird factor by a thousand.

Jeezus, many girls I know lost their virginity in the aftermath of a school dance, if not right in the middle of the damn dance floor.

Here's an excerpt from the NOW show on PBS:



We think that its important for fathers to the be the first ones to look into their daughters eyes and to tell her that her purity is special, and its ok to wait until marriage.


"I make a promise this day to God...


GIRLS RECITING PLEDGE: remain sexually pure...until the day I give myself as a wedding gift to my husband. ... I know that God requires this of me.. that he loves me. and that he will reward me for my faithfulness.

“To give myself as a wedding gift to my husband..."

It's not just chipping away at abortion rights - these people want to return to the time when women were nothing more than property, passed off from a father to a husband.

And they say white people have no rhythm

That's it. I'm moving to Finland, where I will apparently be the best dancer in the country.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Did they finally run out of swamp land in Florida to sell?

I take a back seat to no one in my love of animals. In fact, I like many animals better than I like many people, who, let's face it, can be annoying as fuck.

But, sometimes, even I just have to shake my head.

I had one of my periodic bouts of insomnia last night, so there I was at 3 am, flipping through the channels looking for something to watch. (And couldn't find a damn thing, by the way, even though the cable starts at NY1 and goes up to something like ch. 1926, including every goddamn movie station, all their multiple feeds and on-demands, etc. I ended up watching “Sex and the City” on HBO, because, you know, sometimes you get to see Kristin Davis' boobs).

Anyway, I digress. So, I'm flipping and come upon this late-night commercial for something called Doggie Steps. Have you seen these ads?

They are little 3-step stairways that look like they're about a foot wide, and, apparently, they sell them to people whose dogs are too small or too arthritic to be able to jump or climb.

And they show footage of dogs merrily prancing up these little stairways to get on beds or in cars.

I mean, jeezus

First of all, if you love your dog so much, and you allow him to sleep on your bed, just pick the damn pooch up and put him there. And is it really that convenient to lug this “stairway” outside to the driveway to get him in the car? Can that actually be somehow easier than picking him up?

And evidently there is a whole Coke-Pepsi rivalry thing going on in the highly competitive and no doubt cut-throat doggie steps industry. This ad said their product was much cheaper than others that sell for $100! And, of course, in typical late-night commercial spiel, it said if you order one, you get a second free, just pay shipping and handling (which is probably a hundred bucks anyway). But, hey, you can never have too many doggie steps, I guess.

I don't know which is sadder - that there are people gullible enough to spend money on these silly things, or that there are companies greedy enough to take their money?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

And I thought TOM was sort of wacky

I saw a strange thing Saturday afternoon. I met a friend for drinks in midtown, and while we were sitting at the bar, this guy went into the corner and started playing guitar and singing. And I mean really loudly. He wasn't bad or anything, it was just pretty distracting.

There were some other people at the bar, and a few who had come in with him were applauding, shouting out requests, and one girl was even taking pictures of him.

I didn't think anything of it at first, but this was about 4 pm, which seemed pretty early to have live music going, so I asked the bartender why they had him there so early.

It turns out the guy wasn't hired by the bar. He had literally just walked in off the street and started playing his guitar and performing.

The bartender asked me, “Is that wrong?” suddenly realizing that this was an unusual occurrence. (That's a real quote there, by the way, folks. I don't make these things up).

Now, perhaps this is the time to mention that the bartender was the ever-innocent Littlest K, one of the infamous K Sisters. She had scored a bartending job at this little pub, this was her third time behind the bar, and Middle K (Jan) had called me to meet her there so we could give her sister lots of tip money.

Anyway, the manager wasn't there, and Little K was in charge.

Or not.

But this troubadour, whoever he was, had fun, I guess.

At another point, the Littlest K was talking to us, and a customer at the end of the bar caught her eye and signaled for a drink, and, I swear, she looked at him all puzzled, and then suddenly realized - oh yeah, she was actually there behind the bar, and was supposed to, you know, serve people drinks.

Let's just say, it might be a while before she is juggling liquor bottles around like Tom Cruise did in “Cocktail.”

(Although I wouldn't mind seeing her make out with someone who looked like Elizabeth Shue. But my luck is never that good.)

Friday, April 14, 2006

And she still doesn't understand why I call her Corky

My friend Corky sent in a comment to an earlier post I wrote about a seder I attended on Wednesday, and, in it, she said she had went to one too, taking the time to also point out in her comment that she is Jewish.

So I sent her a humorous text message this morning: “You're Jewish?” - as if I hadn't known.

She texted me back, in all seriousness: “Yes”

How she managed to figure out the text function on her phone is still a mystery to many of us.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Watch out Ecuador, we're coming to take your spot

If you had any doubt that the Bush regime seems determined to make the U.S. a Second World country, then consider that some of our best scientists, especially those conducting research in fields like stem cells, are increasingly moving to other nations, where they feel they can do their work unfettered by religious fanatics persuading the legislature to pass laws limiting, if not outright banning, their research.

The AP reports: “Singapore's siren song is growing increasingly more irresistible for scientists, especially stem cell researchers who feel stifled by the U.S. government's restrictions on their field.

Two prominent California scientists are the latest to defect to the Asian city-state, announcing earlier this month that they, too, had fallen for its glittering acres of new laboratories outfitted with the latest gizmos.”


"I am absolutely amazed at what they have. It's just knock-dead gorgeous," said Dr. Judith Swain, a University of California, San Diego, heart researcher who will decamp to Singapore in September to run the country's new Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences at a state-funded research wonderland called Biopolis.

Swain's husband, Dr. Edward Holmes, who is dean of the UCSD medical school and a ranking official with California's stem cell agency, is also going to Singapore to work as a government researcher.”

This is in addition, of course, to GOP moves to prevent serious discussion, never mind research, into global warming, and the continuing drive to put “intelligent design” into the classrooms, to be taught on a par with evolution.

It really makes me wonder what this country's scientific community is going to look like in a few years.

We've already lost much of our manufacturing base, which paid decent salaries to blue collar workers, and wages overall are being driven down. Now we are in danger of losing a solid scientific community to innovate and discover things that could make our lives better.

If Bush and his cronies have their way, the U.S. will be transformed into a nation filled with unskilled and unsophisticated consumers, happily shopping at Wal-mart after a long day of work toiling at the local, er, Wal-mart.

On all other nights, I don't have a cannon ball in my stomach. On this night, on this night, only a cannon ball

I went to a seder Wednesday night at my friend's family's house, up in Chappaqua. I love going to Pesach dinners. I love the fun and the togetherness. But, oy, the food.

Jocelyn's mom had a brisket. It was tasty, but it might be in my colon until Labor Day.

But the many glasses of wine thing is always a positive.

I thought her little brother was sort of glaring at me during dinner - you know, me being prince of the goyim, and all. He's actually pretty religious. Certainly the most religious in his family. I was tempted to make sure he caught Jocelyn doing something unspeakable to me at some point during the evening, but I refrained.

You see. Good won out over evil.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Working the refs

I see the right-wingers have found a new target to go after, in their never-ending media bashing efforts to shut down any critical thought – Meredith Vieira.

Yes, Meredith Vieira of The View, who some righties are now blasting as a raving liberal.

And why are they going after the soon-to-be co-host of Today?

Because she actually dared to criticize the Iraq war, its rationale and the incompetent conduct of it by the Bush regime.

This, in the eyes of the conservatives, is tantamount to treason. Because, you know, we should never criticize Boy George.

Vieira is fighting back, telling the Philadelphia Inquirer: “I'm an independent. I'm not a Democrat or a Republican. I'm not particularly interested in politics, truth be told. Every time you read the paper, somebody lies about something [about the war.] I've been vocal about it.”

"Every day there are new questions. I want to know why we are there, what the game plan is, what the discrepancies are between what we're being told and what's really going on. [Conservatives] can paint me as anything they want. I know what I am. I'm comfortable with the positions I've taken in my life."

The Vieira bashing, of course, is just part of the ongoing strategy by conservatives, in which they target the print and broadcast media, loudly proclaiming it as “liberal,” a word they have tried to tarnish as somehow unAmerican. They do it constantly to The New York Times and Washington Post, they do it the big three networks, especially CBS News (hell, they almost called for a lynching of Dan Rather), and now they are doing it to Vieira.

Sports managers often do the same thing with the referees in their games. They constantly cry that the refs are biased against their team, and making bad calls. Sooner or later the referees will be so wary and tired of the constant bashing, they, usually subconsciously, go out of their way to make calls in favor of the complaining team.

The media, already under ratings and circulation pressure, and after years of being called liberal, often times will go out of their way to bash a Democrat (see the treatment suffered by Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry) or give a free ride to a Republican (see Bush, McCain, etc.) as if to say: “See, we're not liberal at all.”

I hadn't even realized Vieira had spoken out about that debacle of a war. Anytime I've seen The View, she seems to be talking about sex or her boobs. But, I have new respect for her now that I know it, and I hope she continues to speak her mind.

Not to mention: she ain't Star Jones. Or that ditzy blonde.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

(S+C) x (B+F)/T = V

I am a big supporter of science, so I'm glad to see the right-wingers haven't totally shut down every important avenue of research.

Coming soon to a state near you?

A few months back, I commented on Samuel Alito going on to the Supreme Court, and advised women, somewhat tongue in cheek, to say goodbye to their uteruses as the government now controls them.

In El Salvador, which has some of the strictest anti-abortion regulations in the world, the government literally takes control of a woman's uterus if she is suspected of having had an illegal abortion.

There was a fascinating article in the Times magazine this week about what goes on in that country. Back-alley abortions are the only way for women to end a pregnancy, and women and doctors convicted of having or providing abortions are jailed for years. If a woman visits a doctor or hospital and is suspected of having had a back-alley abortion - they frequently go wrong and result in medical complications - then the authorities get involved:

“As they do in any investigation, the police collect evidence by interviewing everyone who knows the accused and by seizing her medical records. But they must also visit the scene of the crime, which, following the logic of the law, often means the woman's vagina.

"Yes, we sometimes call doctors from the Forensic Institute to do a pelvic exam," Tópez said, referring to the nation's main forensic lab, "and we ask them to document lacerations or any evidence such as cuts or a perforated uterus." In other words, if the suspicions of the patient's doctor are not conclusive enough, then in that initial 72-hour period, a forensic doctor can legally conduct a separate search of the crime scene. Tópez said, however, that vaginal searches can take place only with "a judge's permission." Tópez frequently turned the pages of a thick law book she kept at hand. "The prosecutor can order a medical exam on a woman, because that's within the prosecutor's authority," she said.

In the event that the woman's illegal abortion went badly and the doctors have to perform a hysterectomy, then the uterus is sent to the Forensic Institute, where the government's doctors analyze it and retain custody of her uterus as evidence against her.”

Just contemplate that. The government literally retains custody of the uterus as evidence.

And the GOP and the Christian right just had an orgasm thinking about that. Not that they actually have orgasams. Those are dirty.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Warning: New York chauvinism coming up

I went to a little work-related function tonight at Morton's (let me just say, yum, to the mini cheesburgers), and ran into someone I used to work with, which is one of the pleasures - or dangers, I suppose - of toiling in a relatively small field with a somewhat incestuous social circle.

Anyway, we were chatting and she told me that our ex-boss is now living in South Carolina and working in real estate.

I don't know what seemed more disturbing to me. That he's working in real estate, or is banished to South Carolina.

People suck

There's a reason I like animals better than people. Mankind is fucking annoying. And by mankind, of course, I often mean womankind.

Case in point, I had to go to the post office today to get a stamp. One lousy little stamp. Now, there's a machine there that sells individual stamps. It even takes pennies! But, today, the 39 cent stamps were sold out. And, needless to say, there were huge lines at the windows.

There was a supervisor by the machines and I asked if they would be filling the stamps up any time soon, and she said no, but I could purchase an individual regular stamp at the commemorative stamps window, where they sell special issues that collectors buy.

There were only 4 people at this window (most people don't know you can buy regular stamps there, I guess) so I thought I had it made.

Alas, it was not to be. There was a woman ahead of me, who spent, and I am not exaggerating, at least 15 minutes on her order. “Oh, I don't know about these, I like the purple better, they're prettier. What about flag stamps, I don't need them, but they would be good to have too.”

So fucking annoying.

And I mean, really – who gives a rat's ass about stamps? Does anyone actually notice if they are pretty? Don't you just rip the envelopes open?

I was ready to strangle this fucktard by the end of her decision-making. Fifteen minutes to buy stamps.

There used to be a cheesy singing group called Up With People. I swear, if I could carry a tune, I would form a new group, Down With People, the rat bastards.

See what happens if you put your mind to it...and burn a few cars

I harangued Americans last week for not being riled up enough about the disastrous policies of the Bush regime, especially the tax and economic policies that are so unfair to average Americans and are clearly designed to give a multitude of breaks to the richest segment of society.

Well, in France, they know how to protest, and that country has been rocked in the last several weeks by students and union members angry at a law that allowed employers to fire anyone under 26 without cause.

And I mean rocked. You may have seen it on the news, thousands in the streets, and general chaos.

Today, the French president announced the law is being removed from the books.

Score one for being riled up.

Of course, here, workers are cowed by management, and terrified of causing trouble. People can be canned at the drop of a hat, jobs are being outsourced, and unions are actually frowned upon. There are swatches of the south where unions basically aren't even allowed. And it's only getting worse.

Last December, the MTA's union here in the city threw a strike and people were outraged at the inconvenience. I heard some muttering about how the transit workers shouldn't be complaining, because they didn't have to pay toward their own health insurance, get to retire at 55, etc.

Instead of being angry at them for having those clauses in their contracts, more American workers should have been asking – why don't I have those benefits?

Friday, April 07, 2006

Are they delusional?

Every so often you hear people excitedly say that Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of this burg, is going to be running for the Republican nomination for president in the 2008 elections.

There's yet another story speculating about just such an event in the Times today.

And folks get all excited. Oh, they love Rudy, they love how he responded on 9-11. "America's Mayor" he is sometimes called. Giuliani is traveling the country now, fund-raising for Republican candidates, which could give him some chits to call in if he does run.

But, I have to ask - are these people who think this is really going to happen nuts?

I don't care how well Rudy performed on 9-11 - and, sure, he did great on that terrible day. It was his finest hour. He showed compassion and resolve, and was a calming presence on the scene and on our TV sets in those confusing hours and days after the terror attack.

But let's also be honest about it: he simply did what any competent leader would have done. Try to calm the populace and prepare them for the horrible news that was coming out. He gets such high marks because our exalted President was cowering in a bunker in Nebraska, and when W. finally emerged and spoke on TV, he looked like the scared little empty suit he is. So, yes, compared to Commander Bunny Pants, Rudy did magnificently.

But I digress. These people talking up Rudy are delusional. Do they honestly think that today's Republican party, controlled by the religious right, and conservative southerners, is going to nominate a guy who is pro-choice, pro-gay rights and pro-gun control.

A guy who has a penchant for dressing in drag (he's done it a few times at those annual press dinners the NYC media holds, and even on a Saturday Night Live skit.

A guy who is on his third wife. (And, by the way, announced he was divorcing his second wife, Donna Hanover, during a live TV press conference, which is how she found out about it. And, for added bonus points, when she threw him out of Gracie Mansion, he stayed in the apartment of a gay couple he is friends with).

Now, don't get me wrong. I love his positions on the social issues. He is basically what is called a RINO (Republican in Name Only) and he is one of the few Republicans I have ever voted for in my life.

But, seriously, do these people talking up his chances for the GOP nomination honestly believe that the party of James Dobson and Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson would permit Rudy Giuliani to get on the ticket? Not a chance.

You say you want a revolution

It still surprises me what topics attract comments here among the brilliant yet enigmatic readers of too saucy. I post a pithy and scintillating take down of George Bush's disastrous foreign policy and, yawn, no one gives a rat's tiny ass. I use a random throwaway line about the Brady Bunch in another post, and it gets a shitload of scholarly comments.

I make an offhand post on Thursday about Katie Couric finally signing with CBS - mostly out of my relief that all the media chitchat about will she or won't she? can now end – with a casual aside about a Daily News article on her salary ($300,000 a week) and, of course, the commenters get all riled up.

And they made some good points, mostly about how the obscenely wealthy – and Katie, believe it or not, is really just in the middling level of obscene wealth – get so many breaks it's not even funny.

Case in point, I saw this article in the Times a few days ago about Bush's tax policy and who it benefits, and, frankly, was so disgusted, and so not surprised by the information, that I didn't even have the energy to write anything about it. But, given the commenters' quite disgusted takes on Katie and her salary, here are a few fun facts from the article to rile you up:

The first data to document the effect of President Bush's tax cuts for investment income show that they have significantly lowered the tax burden on the richest Americans, reducing taxes on incomes of more than $10 million by an average of about $500,000.


Among taxpayers with incomes greater than $10 million, the amount by which their investment tax bill was reduced averaged about $500,000 in 2003, and total tax savings, which included the two Bush tax cuts on compensation, nearly doubled, to slightly more than $1 million.

These taxpayers, whose average income was $26 million, paid about the same share of their income in income taxes as those making $200,000 to $500,000 because of the lowered rates on investment income.

So, folks, with April 15 fast approaching, as you're sitting down with your accountant, or perhaps slogging through the IRS forms yourself, looking for every pathetic little break you can get to save 300 bucks on your taxes, just remember, some smug turd making $10 million got his taxes reduced by $500,000, courtesy of W.

A big thing the Republicans in power have going for them is that Americans, unlike Europeans, don't like to practice class warfare. I guarantee you, someone out there is reading those tax statistics and saying, “Oh good, when I make 10 million a year, I will get that huge tax cut too!”

Sorry, Cletus, I hate to burst your bubble, but – unless you are an undiscovered superstar singer, actor, or sports phenom, or you're going to invent the next Google - chances are, if you are an employee somewhere, an average working person, even one with a really, really good job, you aren't going to make $10 million in your lifetime, never mind in one fucking year. So all those generous tax breaks for the super rich aren't going to help you.

Oh, and Britney Spears made about $35 million last year. Again, just note, you aren't going to make that in your working lifetime, all those long decades you will spend sitting at your little desk, year after year after year, slogging away for 40 hours a week, with your sad little 3-week vacation each year. After year. After year.

Until you can finally hobble into retirement at 65 - although they are talking about raising the retirement age to 72, to get a few more years out of you. Of course, that's actually if you're one of the lucky ones. With corporate America getting everything they want from the GOP, you could lose your job to outsourcing and have to beg for work at a Wal-Mart for minimum wage with no health insurance or retirement plan.

Anyway, Britney is no doubt swilling champagne right this moment in a fabulous Las Vegas hotel suite, wondering if she should get the seaweed wrap or the Swedish hot stones massage tomorrow, probably not even aware that her taxes dropped by a couple million bucks this year. And you're getting up at 7 a.m. to make your way into your job, wondering if you should bring a sandwich with you to save the lousy $8 that lunch costs at the Soup Nazi.

Goddamn it, what does it take to stir you peasants up for a revolution?

I tell you, it's very lucky for Bush that I live the relatively good life, or I would be rioting in the streets right now. I mean, really, people. Fight the power.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Katie did...finally

I'm glad all the hoopla about Katie Couric is finally over. I'm not a Katie-basher by the way. To be honest, I just don't watch morning TV (it's a little too early for my taste), so I don't have any strong opinions one way or the other about her. She seems competent at the job, more personable than a lot of other folks on TV, and is able to handle a hard news interview just as easily as the silly cooking segments and celebrity schmoozing that's such a big part of the morning shows. (Presumbably the cooking and celeb stuff will not be a part of the CBS Evening News deal.)

But, the whole thing once again reminds us of the ridiculous salaries these on-air people make.

The Daily News put it in perspective today:

"Does Katie Couric's estimated annual salary at CBS - $15 million a year - boggle your mind?

Think of it this way: it's almost $300,000 a week.

Or $60,000 a day. The average schmo in Manhattan, meanwhile, makes just $405 a day."

So, when you're trying to decide if you should splurge on a $6 cab ride instead of hopping on a bus, just remember, that same day Katie earned 60 grand. I don't know whether to be envious or nauseated.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

What the #&*$@?

It's snowing. The fifth day of April, Spring is underway, it's been in the 70s already this year, and now it's snowing. How strange.

I'm looking out the window and people on the street seem pretty miserable.

Ahhh, I think I'll have another cup of coffee. Maybe head to the jacuzzi later.

And he actually won a damn war

According to the AP: "A month after the American colonists issued their Declaration of Independence, Gen. George Washington made plans to defend New York against a British attack. He also put in his order for wine, brandy and an assortment of liqueurs.

Washington's list called for:
_1 box Claret
_1 Cag. Brandy
_1 box Muscat wine
_1 Basket Cordials
_1 box Ratafia
_2 Cheeses — old — 58 lb"

(A box is a case, and they think cag is probably a keg.)

Of course, our current President is anti-alcohol and doesn't drink at all. Now which one would you say is the better leader?

As Homer Simpson once said: "To alcohol! The cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems."

"Kvetching with desiah..."

This is pretty funny.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Now, if I can only get them filled with Jack Daniels and served to me by a hot 19-year-old blonde

I am in greedy pig heaven. One of the 3,000 Duane Reade's around here has broken out the annual shipment of Cadbury's chocolate eggs.

Chocolate, in general, is one of my weaknesses, and these babies are my downfall.

They come filled with creme or caramel, covered in that delish Cadbury's chocolate, which is so much better than Hershey's pathetic excuse. And, of course, I had to get a three-pack of each flavor.

It's no wonder I can't drop the 10 pounds I want to - I eat crap like this all the time.

“I am big, it's the pictures that got small.”

It's a beautiful thing to watch Republicans around the country panic and go into meltdown over their plummeting poll numbers.

Tom DeLay is out in Texas. And, down in Florida, Katherine Harris, running for a U.S. Senate seat, is far behind Democratic incumbent Ben Nelson, and is showing increasing signs of lunacy.

Harris, of course, was the Florida Secretary of State, who also happened to be the state coordinator for the Bush-Cheney campaign in the 2000 election (no conflict of interest there!) and helped throw that stolen election to her team.

But, her poll numbers are anemic, and her campaign staff is deserting her in droves.

According to the Tampa Tribune, in the past 10 days, Harris:

•Had locks changed and posted a security guard at the door of her campaign headquarters in Tampa and had former staff members escorted in to retrieve their belongings.
•Told a gathering of supporters in Cocoa Beach on Saturday that the Republican Party had "infiltrated" her campaign staff to put "knives in my back."
•Told a reporter that a longtime, trusted political adviser had leaked a story about her staff members quitting, then called back to retract the comments.
•Announced hiring her new staff without identifying them.
Those events come atop previous reversals and contradictions, including her announcement last month that she would spend her inheritance from her father on her campaign, which she changed, saying she would sell her assets.
Former campaign manager Jim Dornan, who left in November, called the most recent events in the campaign "unbelievable."
"It smacks of real paranoia," he said of the headquarters lockout and comments about infiltration. "That campaign staff was so loyal to her, and to be treated like that is absolutely unconscionable."

Harris' appearance, the weird makeup and frozen face, always reminded me a little of Gloria Swanson as Nora Desmond in that classic movie of Hollywood behind-the-scenes, Sunset Boulevard. Now, she's apparently went batshit like Nora too.

They had me coming and going

I went to Blondie's tonight to watch the NCAA's with some buds, and, at one point, I had to go to the bathroom.

The bar, of course, was crowded as hell, so I took my beer with me. I know my friends. They either wouldn't have noticed if a busboy cleared it away, or if someone stole it, or, more likely, one of them would drink it.

There was a healthy line at the can, so I was taking sips of my Bass as I stood patiently waiting, and, when I finally got in to do my bidness, I was still drinking. I was literally drinking and peeing at the exact same time.

I am really fucked up sometimes.

Instant karma's gonna get you

DeLay won't seek re-election. The charges are moving closer and closer to him, and he saw the writing on the wall.

It seriously couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

Monday, April 03, 2006

What's next? Sending suicide bombers to Cancun?

The right-wing is continuing its drive to turn us into a laughing stock among civilized nations.

One of the wingnuts, a hateful talk radio host, Michael Savage (whose real last name, by the way, is Weiner - very appropriate, for such a little prick) is urging his listeners to take to the streets and burn Mexican flags, to show their displeasure over immigrants.

According to Media Matters: "Savage claimed that the only way to combat the onslaught of illegal immigrants is through protest and asked his audience to "[b]urn a Mexican flag for America, burn a Mexican flag for those who died that you should have a nationality and a sovereignty, go out in the street and show you're a man, burn 10 Mexican flags, if I could recommend it. Put one in the window upside down and tell them to go back where they came from!"


So now they want us to look like those mobs you see in Gaza or Iran burning the U.S. flag and chanting Death to the Great Satan.

I know we're supposed to get all outraged when we see that, and fume - oh my God, they're burning Old Glory, but I always just laugh at those mobs. They look so pathetic and impotent. To get so riled up and your big response is burning a piece of cloth. Pitiful.

And now, that's what the hatemongers on the right want us to do to another nation's flag.

By the time Bush and his crowd get out of office, we're going to be using witch doctors and potion makers for medicine, and cowering in fear at eclipses. Today's GOP - buildng a bridge to the 18th century.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

F-me pumps at brunch?

When I go to brunch, I tend to dress casually. Unless I'm going someplace particularly nice for a special occasion, a Water Club, say, I like to be comfy - khakis or Levis, sneakers or boat shoes.

Today, my friend Sarah and I went to E.J.'s on the East Side for a casual brunch, and, as usual, they were lined up waiting to get in. And, milling around on 3rd Avenue, was a gaggle of girls (flock of girls? school of girls?) who looked like they were on their way to go clubbing. Without fail, every one of them was in expensive designer jeans and spiked heels. And I mean high and spiked.

Are those things comfortable? From the usual complaining I hear from girls about their feet killing them, I can't believe they are.

But here this was this pride of girls, five of them, all doing their best Carrie Bradshaw.

To go to E.J.'s!

I just can't figure girls out sometimes.

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