Friday, September 29, 2006

Attention K-Mart shoppers...

George W. Bush, the worst president in history, attended a fund-raiser for a Republican congressman in Ohio yesterday.

According to The Washington Post, "the event was at the sprawling estate of Leslie H. Wexner, chairman and chief executive officer of Limited Brands, the retailing conglomerate that includes the Limited, Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works."

Please boycott these stores, obviously run by a right-wing fanatic. No matter how sexy those little V.S. thingies are. Thank you.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Why doesn't she just start her career at Fox News now?


Stick a fork in her. She's toast.

The one competitive statewide race in New York this year, the contest for attorney general, is basically over now.

As I noted in a previous post, with Eliot Spitzer, and Hillary Clinton expected to crush their Republican opponents in the races for Governor and Senator respectively, the only contest that was even halfway competitive was for state Attorney General. Although Andrew Cuomo was probably going to win, Jeanine Pirro, the former Westchester County DA, was enough of a name, and had some high visibility prosecutions under her belt, to, at least, give him a serious run.

But now we find that Jeanine is - ooops - under investigation herself by federal prosecutors, for allegedly trying to bug her husband's boat to catch him in the act with his mistress.

Not only that, but she went to disgraced former NYC Police Commissioner, Bernie Kerik, of all people, for help in trying to do it. And this was AFTER he had been forced to withdraw as head of Homeland Security after all sorts of financial shenanigans.

In a profanity-laden transcript of her phone calls to Kerik, who was being bugged himself by the FBI in their investigation of him (how much fun is this?) she was also heard belittling the AG job she now seeks as a "been there, done that kind of thing," according to WNBC-TV, which broke the story yesterday.

At a tearful press conference, after the channel 4 broadcast, she vowed to remain in the race, and the GOP says it's sticking with her, but the writing is on the wall. Rudy Giuliani, in fact, has already canceled a planned fund-raiser for her.

So it looks like Dems are going to hold all NYS's major political spots - Governor, AG, and both Senators - for the first time in decades, and, once again, the state's Republican party is self-destructing.

I just wish the national GOP would be as feckless and weak, and we'd all be so much better off. Unfortunately, they're feckless and strong.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel nauseous


He may have played nerdy eighth-grader Samuel (Screech) Powers in the sitcom "Saved by the Bell." But former TV geek Dustin Diamond can now take his place with Colin Farrell, Tommy Lee and Kid Rock as the star of his very own sex tape.

Everyone who remembers Diamond as a lovable putz is in for a shock once they see a 40-minute video in which he engages in a kinky three-way with two women, sources tell us.

We can't get too graphic here, but word is that the action includes some bodily functions and an act known as a "Dirty Sanchez."


- NY Daily News


That damn show had Tiffani Amber Thiessen and Elizabeth Berkley on it. But, noooo - we get a sex tape from fucking Screech.

Doing a Dirty Sanchez no less! Ugh.


UPDATE: Some of the commenters are getting riled up on this. Let me point out, I did give it the "Ugh" designation, although I'm not sure if that was for the act itself or the fact that Screech is involved. Hey, at least we should be grateful he isn't doing a Cleveland Steamer.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I like to think of it as being organized


I am such a creature of habit, it's not even funny.

I went to a friend's wedding this past weekend, one of the 672 weddings I'm attending this year. It was up in Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y., about 30 minutes outside the city via the Hudson River line of Metro North. I'd never been there, but it's a really nice little town, and the reception was at a hall right on the Hudson. Amazing views of the river, with the Pallisades on the other side (dusk pic from my trusty Q). I got to see some former co-workers and had a few cocktails too - if few can be interpreted as the bartender starting to pour the Jack and Coke when I approached. That's a bad sign when a wedding bartender begins to know your drink.

Anyway, being up there has totally discombobulated me. I'm just now getting back to my normal routine. As I have been told, I can be very set in my ways.

And, as I also have been told, as every single person is at weddings, "It's about time we start hearing weddings bells for you!"

Hmm, yes, right about the time Scarlett Johannson (or someone who ranks up there with her in the 9 out of 10 vicinity), gives me a lap dance and, as she's in mid grind, leans in and whispers, "Let's run to Vegas and get married by an Elvis impersonator."

Now that would be fun, I have to admit.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Time Warner sucks

And I say that with love and affection, as I occasionally make money from one of their subsidiaries.


However, the cable system they operate in Manhattan has been pissing me off for the last week or so.


It started several days ago. I was flipping through the channels and saw a blurb for a movie on Showtime On-Demand called “Where the Truth Lies.” The description in the little on-screen menu read (and still reads): “A reporter who sets out to learn the true story of a legendary comedy duo's breakup uncovers a scandal involving murder. Kevin Bacon, Colin Firth, Alison Lohman.”


Now, I had heard about this movie when it came out last year. It was said to be very loosely based on the infamous Dean Martin/Jerry Lewis partnership, and then bitter feud and breakup (the murder thing notwithstanding) and I was somewhat interested in seeing it. So I hit play.


But, what looked like a really, really cheesy movie started. The credits were rolling and I didn't see Bacon or Firth in them. I see Kim Catrall (!) and some other people whose names I didn't even recognize. Huh?


And, as the movie begins, I see what looks like a bad, low-budget, made-for-TV movie playing.


Well, obviously a mistake. So I hit stop and go back to the menu and hit play on that movie again.


Same thing. The cheesy movie. And now I notice the title on the credits is actually “Where Truth Lies,” not “Where the Truth Lies.” Well, that's weird, but, frankly, I don't have the interest or energy to obsess about it, so I move on.


Cut to a few days later. I'm bored yet again, and flipping through the channels. Nothing interests me, but, once more, I come across “Where the Truth Lies” on Showtime On-Demand. Hit play – ugh - same thing! Same bad Kim Catrall movie.


And now I'm slightly fuming: “Did they never realize that mistake? Did no-one call them to complain?”


Whatever, there are 300 other damn channels. I can find something else to watch, so, once again, I move on.


But now, people, it's personal. So, here I am, Friday night, I'm clicking around yet again (and that's quite a life, I have, huh?) I'm at the On-Demand menus again, and, yes, there it is. “Where the Truth Lies” - “A reporter who sets out to learn the true story of a legendary comedy duo's breakup uncovers a scandal involving murder. Kevin Bacon, Colin Firth, Alison Lohman.”


Okay. I figure, by this time, SURELY, they must have realized what was going on. They probably got a ton of complaints. It's been fixed by now, right? So I hit play.


Same goddamn thing. Same goddamn cheesy Kim Catrall movie begins.


Now, working in the biz, (as we say in the industry) I actually know what's happened. The cable systems subscribe to a show-description service for their on-screen menu guides. Sometimes it's run by the TV Guide people, sometimes it's the Tribune company, or United Features, and there are others too. They have descriptions for each movie or TV show, coded by a number for its title or episode, which they plug into their system when they get the schedule from each network. The description for that particular title then appears on your screen when you hit the guide button on your remote.


Obviously, there are these two movies with VERY similar titles. Some idiot has got the title of this movie from Showtime (the Kim Catrall one) but he's looked up the other title, punched in the wrong code, and inserted the description for the Bacon/Firth movie.


And no one, not ONE goddamn cable subscriber in all of New York, a city of 8 million, noticed it.


Or, if they did notice, they never bothered to call Time Warner Cable to complain and get it changed.


Lazy fucktards.


Now I have to do it.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Sometimes I disgust even myself

I really can be lazy and slothful sometimes, and I'm trying to stop it.

I just woke up half an hour ago (about 10:30) and I think I'd still be sleeping, except for a car horn outside, and trust me, that driver's ears must have been burning when I got through cursing him.

Now I'm already contemplating lunch. How terrible is that? I just woke up and I'm already planning lunch: should I treat myself to an expensive meal at one of my fav places in the city, Union Square Cafe, or just go for a more relaxed lunch at Genesis, which has the benefit of being walking distance - not to mention about a third of the price? And the bartender, she is good with the buy backs. Being lazy and slothful, I will probably opt for Genesis.

And if proof were needed of my sloth, I just found a couple of sweatshirts that have been lying on a chair in my bedroom for months. I kept telling myself all summer I should put them in the closet, out of the way. Never got around to it. And now, sweatshirt weather is approaching again, so, you know, I might as well just keep them out.

I need structure in my life. But fuck it. First I'm going to go have some glasses of wine at a delightful lunch. IT'S FRIDAY!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Autumn in New York...


And I don't mean the bad Richard Gere/Winona Ryder movie, I mean the lyrics of that old Sinatra song.


The season doesn't officially change until Saturday, but summer seems over. When I woke up this morning, I was actually chilly for the first time this year, and had to scramble to pull the sheet over myself. And when I got out of the shower, the bathroom mirror was steamed up.


Also, I just got back from lunch at Fetch on Third and sat at one of their outdoor tables, and was quite glad I had wore a denim shirt instead of the polos and tees I've been wearing.


But it's still very nice out, with that crisp, clear air. This is actually my second favorite season in the city, after spring, and before summer and winter. (The only thing winter has going for it, with me not being a cold weather fan, are the holidays and the big Rockefeller Center tree and all that hokey stuff).

Please tell me it doesn't include the smells too

"The New York City transit system has been filmed and photographed, drawn and chronicled in hardback and in newsprint. Soon it will be heard.

All week, a man with a microphone has walked the subway platforms to collect the clattering of the rivets and the whistling horns, the distortion in the loudspeaker, the hush in the compressor’s song and the dying of the brake like some wounded thing.

Even in that racket, some find value. The recordings are the chief selling point of a new reproduction of a subway train by the Lionel model train company made under a license from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for completion by year’s end."

-NY Times

I wonder if you'll also hear those little Chinese ladies who occasionally come through the cars selling bootleg copies of DVDs and batteries for "one dollah, one dollah."

I know several girls who will get aroused just READING the description of this jewelry

There was a little tease in the Times today promoting a story inside about the actress Ellen Barkin, with the tease saying she was putting $15 million worth of jewerly up for auction at Christie's. My first thought was: how the hell does she have $15 million worth of jewelry? She hasn't been in a hit movie in ages.

But, as the story reminded me, of course, it is the extravagant jewelry that (ex-husband Ron) Perelman lavished on her, having decided to part with more than 100 pieces valued at $15 million — a symbolic and literal purging of the union.


“These are just not memories I want to wear out every day,’’ Ms. Barkin said.

The trove, to be sold at Christie’s in Rockefeller Center on Oct. 10, includes a 32-carat apricot diamond ring that Mr. Perelman, who is the chairman of Revlon, gave Ms. Barkin weeks before their divorce; a pair of emerald and gold cuffs designed for the Duchess of Windsor, valued at up to $80,000; an emerald necklace that once belonged to Doris Duke that could fetch as much as $350,000; and a selection of pieces by the cult Parisian jeweler JAR. Only 80 to 90 JAR creations are produced each year, said Fran├žois Curiel, the chairman of Christie’s Europe. “When you have 17 pieces of JAR in an auction, it’s an event.’’

And it once again convinced me: I need a sugar mommy. I won't even ask for $15 million worth of jewelry. I'm not a jewelry person at all, actually, no rings, don't wear a watch even.

But, real estate. Now $15 million worth of real estate. That I could get into.

Filthy rich girls, you can send applications via email and we'll go from there.

Thank you.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

And he also doesn't know the words to the Dreidel song. Honest.

In case you haven't been following the increasingly bizarre Senate race in Virginia, it just keeps getting wackier.


The incumbent, Republican George Allen, is running for re-election against challenger James Webb, a highly decorated Vietnam vet (and Reagan's Secretary of the Navy no less), turned Democrat.


Once holding a commanding lead, Allen has proved to be pretty much a giant dufus in the campaign. Or perhaps I should say a schmuck.


After bristling at a reporter who asked him in a recent debate if he was part Jewish, as had been reported in The Jewish Daily Forward, Allen yesterday went out of his way to signal to his good ol' boy constituents that he really, really isn't (gasp!) a real Jew, telling Virginia's Times Dispatch, the disclosure is "just an interesting nuance to my background." He added, "I still had a ham sandwich for lunch. And my mother made great pork chops."


Yes, folks, although he is technically Jewish, he still eats ham and pork chops. Whew, that was close. Can't have Billy Bob and Daisy Sue thinking he's one o' them Jew boys, ya know.


This clown really is a piece of work. Originally he was easily expected to cruise to re-election, and was even mentioned as a possible GOP presidential candidate for the 2008 race. Webb has now closed to within single digits of catching up to Allen in recent polls. Sadly, Virginia is such a conservative state, Allen still is considered likely to win – but it won't be for lack of being an asshole.


First, of course, there was the infamous “macaca” incident.” At a campaign rally several weeks ago, he spotted a “trailer” from Webb's campaign following him with a video camera. All campaigns dispatch a staffer to their opponent's speeches with a vid camera, hoping to catch them in a public goof.


The young Webb staffer, S.R. Sidarth, who was born in Virgina, was of Indian decent. He apparently stood out in the no-doubt lily-white crowd of Allen supporters, so the senator started berating him, and called him “macaca, or whatever his name is” and “welcoming him to America.”


It turns out macaca is a type of monkey and is a slur used in parts of the world to denigrate dark-skinned people.


The video was posted on You Tube and threw a serious wrench into Allen's campaign, as he spent the next several weeks apologizing and insisting he didn't mean anything racial.


And now there's the way he handled the revelation that his mother is Jewish – first with shock and outrage at the reporter who asked him about it during a debate, accusing her of casting “aspersions' on him.


Apparently, in Allen's good ol' boy world view, being called Jewish is an aspersion.


He later explained that he had known his grandfather had been “incarcerated” by the Nazis, but never really asked his mother about that or her background. She had raised him as a Christian. "Some may find it odd that I have not probed deeply into the details of my family history, but it's a fact," Allen told the Times Dispatch.


Now, I don't know about you, but I think if I found out my grandfather had been a Nazi prisoner, it just might spark a wee bit of curiosity. Maybe that's just me.


The pundits are now saying that even if Allen wins re-election in Virgina, he has no chance of getting the Republican nomination in 2008 after his many missteps. That's too bad. This guy would no doubt self-destruct on a national campaign, and almost guarantee a Democratic win.

Monday, September 18, 2006

And you thought the Bush response to Katrina was bad...

There is an amazing (and infuriating) story in the Washington Post, written by the paper's former Baghdad bureau chief. If you don't mind getting angry and depressed and angry again, I highly recommend it to you.

It's a brief excerpt from his new book about the sheer mess, corruption, cronyism and ideological bullshit the Bush administration made of the reconstruction efforts in Iraq after the ground war ended and the U.S. took control.

He tells of Americans who were applying for positions to work and help in the reconstruction of that country's destroyed infrastructure being asked if they voted for Bush, and what their opinion on Roe v. Wade was. Of a 24-year-old with no experience in business being sent to reopen the Iraqi stock market. Of the removal of the man who was originally sent to help rebuild the country's precarious health system (an expert considered one of the best in the world at doing that) being replaced by a political hack.

As you read, it really makes your blood boil to think how the Bush people not only lied us into an unnecessary war, costing thousands of American lives, tens of thousands of Iraqi lives, and weakened our position on the world stage, but they totally fucked up the rebuilding of that country, when it perhaps could have been turned into a functioning democracy in the Middle East.

So to recap, the GOP impeaches Bill Clinton because he got a bob job. Bush destroys one country and makes our own demonstrably weaker, but, hey, no problem.

Fuckers.

And sometimes there's girls dancing on the bar

WASHINGTON (AFP) - People who consume alcohol earn significantly more at their jobs than non-drinkers, according to a US study that highlighted "social capital" gained from drinking

The study published in the Journal of Labor Research Thursday concluded that drinkers earn 10 to 14 percent more than teetotalers, and that men who drink socially bring home an additional seven percent in pay.

"Social drinking builds social capital," said Edward Stringham, an economics professor at San Jose State University and co-author of the study with fellow researcher Bethany Peters.

"Social drinkers are out networking, building relationships, and adding contacts to their BlackBerries that result in bigger paychecks."

Appealing as this study is, it's probably one of those industry-funded research projects designed to get the results they wanted. But, when I'm having that third martini, I will at least be able to pretend that in addition to being yummy, it's also mysteriously going to help me make more money.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The dogs again

Once again, a dog on a street made me sort of sad tonight.

Now, I'll admit, I've been sort of gloomy lately. Partly because of a whole mishegoss that happened yesterday with a friend...someone who is mentioned on this site occasionally, in fact. I won't say who or what - she knows what happened! In fact, I'd like to pause for a moment right now just to make her feel a little bit guilty.

PAUSE

Ok.

So, I had dinner tonight at my favorite Upper East Side place, and, as I was heading home, I was crossing First, and this guy was coming towards me, walking a little chihuahua. Now, I'm normally not a huge fan of chihuahuas. They always seem so nervous and buggy eyed, but this was a puppy, and how can you not love a puppy? And it was so friendly; it sort of went up on its hind paws to lean toward me as we passed, literally in the middle of First Avenue. And the owner said, “Come on, Buddy.” I don't know if that was his name or just what he called it. But, anyway, it was clear the little guy had a good home.

Not 30 seconds later, I passed a dog tied up to a parking meter outside the C-Town on First. It was a husky/shepherd mix, a few years old, and sort of thin. I don't know if it was supposed to be that thin, but it looked very lonely there. I just don't know how anyone can leave a dog tied up on the busy streets of Manhattan while they go grocery shopping for, what, 20 minutes?

Not to mention, sometimes I see homeless guys with a dog in a shopping cart. Oy. Talk about heart break.

And, yes, I know I should be sad that the guy is homeless, but he sort of has a choice. The dog doesn't.

Anyway, as I passed this C-Town dog, I thought, well, why is he not having such a good life as that little chihuahua? They're both the same species, both innocent of any crime or evilness - why does one have a good life, and one doesn't.

But I guess that's life in general. Why does a baby born in a hellhole like Darfur have to live like that, while another baby, born in Greenwich, CT, lives a pampered life.

Damn dogs. Making me realize, yet again, how fucked up we all are on this planet.

And, yes, I did have a few glasses of pinot noir with dinner - that always gets me wacky and philosophical.

Not to mention how sad I was anyway, after what happened yesterday. Did I mention that already? The mishegoss? The sadness? From a friend?

Yes?

Thank you.

I'm in the wrong line of work

I was up in the offices of one of the major soap operas this morning. It also happened to be a Casting Day, which they do every week or month or something. (And, no, I wasn't there trying out for the part of Brad Rockford or Rock Bradford).

Can I just say, I have never seen so many amazing looking, slinkily dressed, nubile young women in my life. And the hair! I am a big fan of lustrous female hair - and they knew how to work it.

Seriously, there are a lot of amazing looking girls in New York, and I think 60 percent of them were in this office today.

Kudos to the soap opera community for bringing together such a pool of easy-on-the-eyes specimens of female humanity.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

They say it's a depressive, but....

...I don't think so. Is there anything better than cheap martinis on a Wednesday night. Especially when you have been gloomy during the day? No! No there is not!

Gloom


I'm in one of my periodic dark moods today. The weather is gloomy here in New York, with grey, overcast skies, and it's a little damp and chilly.

And I'm also gloomy on a personal note. No details forthcoming.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

That's funny, Omarosa seems like such a sweetheart

According to the LA Times, a new study is showing that celebrities are more narcissistic than average Americans.

I think we can file that one under "No shit, Sherlock."

But, interestingly, the study also says that while musicians, who have the highest skill levels, are least in love with themselves among the various show biz categories, reality show "celebrities" are the most narcissistic:

The study — soon to be published in the Journal of Research and Personality — confirmed that celebrities are more narcissistic than average Americans. And — surprisingly — they seem to start out that way, leading Pinsky and Young (the researchers) to surmise that narcissistic people seek out careers in the limelight, rather than becoming narcissistic when they earn fame. Young thinks this nugget may prove useful to the increasingly popular course of study known as entertainment management.

The average Narcissism Personality Inventory score of Americans — as demonstrated in a previous study — is 15.3 out of a possible 40. Celebrities averaged 17.8. Contrary to what occurs in the general population, women celebrities, across the board, were more narcissistic than males (19.26 versus 17.27). Musicians — who have the highest skill level — are the least narcissistic celebrity group, while reality television stars — the least talented or skilled group — are the most narcissistic.

"Female reality show contestants," Pinsky said, "are off the chart."

Such a model citizen...and derelict

I just returned from voting in the primaries. And drinking a few margs.

Yes, it is primary day in New York, so I did my civic duty and cast my votes. Hillary of course in the Senate race. She's going to win easily, and then, win again in another landslide in the general election in November against whichever sacrificial lamb the Republicans throw against her.

Eliot Spitzer for governor. Same thing, he's going to win the primary easily, and then trounce the GOP candidate in the general. (And I could be wrong, but I think he's one of the guys in that picture from the kosher restaurant I posted yesterday).

Attorney General is a little tougher. It looks like it's going to be Andrew Cuomo winning the Dem primary, so, just to be contrary, I voted for Mark Green. I would be happy with either of them, frankly, and, chances are, the Democrat is going to win in the general, but that race will be a little closer. The likely GOP candidate, Jeanine Pirro, has a following and some name recognition from her time as Westchester County AG. But her sleaze ball husband is such an albatross around her neck, with a tax evasion conviction and a DUI arrest, it could sink her, especially if this year turns out to have a Democratic tide.

Anyway, after being so virtuous, I decided I had to be bad, so I answered the siren call of Cilantro, and sat at one of their outdoor tables and enjoyed some pomegranate margs, chicken quesadillas, and read the Daily News.

Bueno tiempo.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Asshole


Well, that looks about right, considering how he's trampled the ideals of this country and its Constitution over the last six years or so.

I'm pretty sure the guy on the right is called Murray

As I mentioned in a previous posting, I was at the Third Ave street fair on Sunday. As you stroll along, there are always people here and there passing out little fliers. Usually, I just ignore them, but once in a while, I'll take one off their hands. I figure it helps them out, they probably have to give them all away or they don't get paid or something, and it's no big deal. It may actually turn out to be for something good, or, at worst, I'll just toss it in the next garbage can I see. (Although I tend to wait till I'm out of their sight - not that they probably even care, but hey, why rub it in their noses).

Anyway, I passed this one guy who was saying: “Great restaurant info here, and a free gift certificate. You look like you have taste!” It was from a web site called specialsbyzip dot com. "What's the certificate for?" I ask, sensibly. "Park East, you'll really love it," he says.

Well, I certainly love my NY restaurants, so I took one, stuffed it in my pocket, and didn't think much else about it. Until tonight, when I logged on to see what it was all about.

First, you fill out some perfunctory info. Mostly they're looking for a zip code, and they say they will email you a daily list of restaurant specials for that evening in your area. You can also put in a work zip code, so you can get info for that neighborhood.

Hmm, seemed decent enough. So I fill out the little fields, and then comes the info for the free $25 gift certificate, and it's for a place called Park East Grill.

It's a Kosher place. Now, regular Too Saucy readers know I love the Jewish girls, so, right away, not bad (although the Kosher thing does tend to mean you're going to be meeting the incredibly religious, which is not positive for a goy like me. But I have tempted these girls before - heh). Well, then I also see the certificate is good toward a Scotch whiskey tasting dinner. And you know I also love the Scotch whiskey.

Bing boing - this is perfect, right?

And then I check out some of the pictures they have posted from a previous Scotch tasting dinner.

A lot of guys. A lot of bald guys, no less.

In fact, hardly any girls at all in these pictures.

I'm looking at, now I'm just guessing here, a lot of dentists.

Oy.

I will be happy to pass this certificate on to some girls I know, who would probably love to meet a nice dentist, or perhaps to the dads of some girls I know, who might like to hang out with peers. But, wow, did this street fair guy lure me in like a carp, or what.

But, but...doesn't the sun revolve around me?

I have four friends getting hitched this year, and not one - not one - is getting married in Manhattan.

Two in Jersey, one in the Hudson Valley, north of the city, and one on Long Island. Talk about not catering to moi!

Chatting with Jan Brady this morning, I told her that she still had time to switch hers to the Uptown martini bar, which is about a three-minute walk from Chez JBK. Wouldn't that be fun?


I don't think she was buying it though.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Thousands of tube socks and Italian sausages as far as the eye can see....

...and that's just the people! Hey, you've been a great audience, don't forget to tip your waitress.

Actually, of course, I'm talking about New York street fairs. I was at a Third Ave. fair today, which ran from 86th down to 66th Streets. A mile of booths lining both sides of the avenue and selling everything from the aforementioned socks and sausages, to copies of Life magazine from 1927, reggae mix CDs, giant plants, Turkish rugs, Tibetan antiques, French crepes, Asian massages, knock-off perfumes, corn dogs, local bands and $3 tee-shirts.

So cheesy and so fun. Not to mention, all those amazing looking Upper East Side girls prancing around in denim shorts (mmm, love that look) and tank tops.

I went with my recently married friend (his wife only called twice) and then, after a few hours of purusing, we headed over to Mo's Caribbean on Second Ave. to catch some of the ball games and down a few brews. The street fairs actually used to sell beer themselves, but Rudy Giuliani put a stop to that when he was mayor, the fucker. I don't care how good he was on 9-11, for that alone he will never get another vote from me.

This was one of those days when I really appreciate New York. The weather was perfect, and it's so great to be able to do something cheesy, like a street fair, then derelicty, like being in one of those crazy bars (on Sundays especially) when all the sports fanatics gather to pound beers and gobble pub grub, and then still just easily walk home after multiple cocktails - and not have to worry about driving at any time.

But, alas, winter is approaching, and I will no doubt go through my annual “Maybe L.A. wouldn't be so bad” routine. I seriously hate the cold.

The pleasure and convenience of being able to walk everywhere rapidly loses its joy in February, when it's 18 degrees outside and you're jumping over a slush puddle at the corner. I really have to find someone to keep me here this winter or I'm seriously thinking of heading West (or to the Keys). And, yes, yes, I know I say that every damn year (at least the L.A. part), but this time I mean it. Honestly.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Moon over Manhattan



That picture is from my little cam phone, taken Thursday night about 10:30 pm, walking east on 42nd between 5th and Madison, right by the main branch of the library. Those are the NYC scenes I love.

It's hard to tell, but that big blob of light under the flag was an incredibly bright and full moon. It was major league full last night, but I didn't notice more than the usual level of craziness around me.

Of course, that's the Chrysler Building at the left. The Chrysler may actually be my favorite NYC skyscraper, more so than the Empire State Bldg. or 30 Rock, both pretty great buildings in this city, but that one is just so damn art deco cool.

The day started out sort of gloomy. I was guilt-tripped by a friend (and thanks again for that, Jan Brady!), and then went to a subdued reception and screening for a Cinemax documentary about 9-11. Called "Brothers Lost," the director had lost his own brother in the attack on the WTC, and made this gentle, moving tribute, not only to him, but to other guys who had lost their own brother that day. I had already seen it, and was going to leave after the reception ended anyway (I mean, subdued or not, how can you pass up free booze and food on HBO's dime?), but stayed for the first 10 minutes or so of the screening, and as soon as the lights went down and the film started, you heard little pockets of sniffing and soft crying among the audience members, who were all from families who had lost someone that day. Oy. Then I definitely knew it was time to hightail it out. So it was good to see the Chrysler Building in the sky later.

After I left the screening, I went across the street to meet a friend at Bryant Park Grill for a few hours of outdoor imbibing, nice to do while the good weather holds. He's recently married though, and is on a short leash these days, so had to slink home at 10. But I stayed out, as is my want, and headed over to one of my regular Thursday night haunts. One of these days, I will stop being a derelict, I promise.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

If I didn't have bad luck, I wouldn't have any luck at all

Sometimes I think I must have been Josef Stalin or some other evil bastard in a previous life, because I sure as hell seem be getting punished in this one.

First a little back story. I have a bud who was a big fan of Craig's List, the on-line dating/apartment hunting/job searching marketplace. Except he never used it for apartments or jobs.

I was always simultaneously fascinated and repulsed at the whole thing. It just seemed sort of cheesy, meeting a total stranger from a Web site.

He hung up his Craig's List cleats a few years ago, but kept urging me to try it. “Give it a shot, it's fun, you never know...”

Well, I finally broke down. I mean all the kids are doing it, right? And you know me, I always like to jump on the bandwagon...about five years after something has peaked. I call it market research.

I also asked myself: Can this really be any worse than, say, meeting a sloshed stranger in a bar?

Well, the answer to that is apparently – yes. Yes, it can be.

Anyway, I put my little ad on line. Nothing too crazy, sort of cute, I thought. Some nice wordplay. I can turn a nice phrase once in a while, ya know.

Then, the next morning, I open my mailbox, and sure enough, there's a whole bunch of replies. Not bad.

Well, first, my adviser had told me to ask for a picture, and if a girl doesn't send one, that's a big red flag. There were a few without pix, so I eliminated them. (Of course, with my luck, the perfect girl was in that batch, never to be met now because she was too cheap to get a goddamn digital camera or a scanner.)

I digress.

Ok, then I'm looking through the responses that did have pictures. And, to be honest, none were jumping out at me. Yes, I can be shallow as hell (I totally admit it), although some say I simply have unrealistic expectations of what's out there – and thank you, Sarah, for that dime store analysis.

Actually, I like to think it's just that I don't want to settle.

But, seriously, there was no one in these responses I would have looked at twice in passing on the street, or if I saw her in a bar.

And then I open this one email and Hello! Bing Boing! - there is a face staring back at me. Gorgeous. I mean absolutely stunning. This is a 9 out of 10. In fact, this is a 9.3. And that's high praise coming from me. Did I mention I'm shallow as hell?

I read the little note with it. It was just a few sentences, which I will reprint here, in their entirety.

“I liked your ad. I'm TG. If you're interested, write back.”

Hah? TG. What's that, I'm wondering? Is it her initials? Does it mean Thank God?

Not a clue.

Then I remember there is a web site that defines all those abbreviations and the cutesy lingo people feel compelled to use on these things.

So I click merrily over there and start looking for TG.

SWF, I know that one. BBW, oy, not for me. (Shallow, remember). Ah, there it is.

TG.

Transgender.

In the immortal words of Austin Powers: “It's a man, baby!”

That, my friends, is my luck in a nutshell. One reply with a gorgeous face, and it's a goddamn guy.

Not that there's anything wrong with it, as they say, but just not my cup of tea.

I also got a little pissed, frankly, because my ad was in the standard Male Seeking Female section, not the wacky Anything Goes section. So this, er, guy? girl? must have been trolling through, answering some ads, and hoping the guy getting the mail wouldn't know what TG meant, and wouldn't bother finding out, and then he/she could no doubt seduce him with his/her wiles after a few drinks.

And, frankly, it could happen. If the voice was as good as the face, I don't know if more than say 2 out of 10 people would realize this was a TG. And I've seen women with Adam's Apples before, too, by the way!

Anyhoo, thus begineth and endeth my little Craig's List experiment.

I'm staying with the wholesome, age-old, traditional way of our forefathers - meeting some drunk chippy in a bar while Bon fucking Jovi blares over the sound system.

Or else having my friends continue their ongoing, semi-sadistic scheme to fix me up with every single Miss Wrong in the Manhattan white pages.

And sometimes Brooklyn.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Now, which is the copy and paste button again?

Did you ever try to explain the intricacies of the Web to a parent - or even just the basics?

Oy gevalt.

About ten years ago, I gave my mom an old computer. It was still working fine, but I was getting a new one, and she had been wanting to go on line, so it seemed like a good idea.

She lives in Connecticut and has Cablevision for TV, but didn't want to deal with them for the Internet, and, frankly, wouldn't be using it that much, so was happy to just sign up with MSN, which was offering, at the time, a monthly dial-up package for $12.95. (It's gradually went up to $22.95).

Like AOL, it's pretty user-friendly, and a good way to get acquainted with the Web if you're not really a heavy surfer.

Of course, whenever I was up there visiting and jumped on to check my email or read The Times, I would be pulling my hair out at how slow it was. 56K - Jeezus!

I would whine that I didn't know how she could stand it. It was so slow, so frustrating. (I get frustrated pretty easy, in case you haven't figured that out by now.) But she said she never really used it that much - sent emails once in a while, IM'd with her sister in the U.K., looked at some shopping or recipe sites, so it was fast enough for her.

Apparently the looking-at-porn gene skipped a generation.

Anyway, that old computer finally shuffled off to the big hard drive in the sky, so she bought a new one yesterday. In fact, it's actually better than mine, now, damn her. And I said, ok, that's it, you're not wasting this on dial-up, you have to get a high-speed connection.

She still didn't want to deal with Cablevision for the Web, but her local phone company is AT&T, and they offer a 3Mbps DSL service for $17 a month. Perfect. Not as fast as a cable modem, but still many times faster than the dial-up and yet six bucks a month cheaper.

But she's been spoiled by being caught in that comforting MSN time warp for the last decade, so the fun was just getting started.

People, I just got back to the city a little while ago from setting up her new system, and my head is ready to explode.

First of all, now she just has to turn on her computer and she's instantly logged on to the Net, which you would think is actually easier than having to click the little MSN butterfly icon to log on - but, no, that threw her.

But now she has to open an Internet Explorer browser instead of being brought to the MSN home page. (I was actually going to download the Firefox browser, which I love, it's so much superior to Explorer, but I knew better than to try to explain the whole tabs thing to her. Maybe later.)

Anyway, instead of the friendly MSN home page with a little envelope icon to get to her emails, she has to open an Explorer browser and go to her mail program. (AT&T offers email with their service, of course, but I told her to ignore that, and I set her up with a Gmail account).

Well, the mail became a whole issue in itself:

Mom: So I can't just click on an envelope to see my mail?

Me: Well, no, there is no “envelope” now, but just open a browser and...

Mom: A what?

Me: Uh, click on the little E in the circle, there on the desktop, that opens a browser window.

Mom: What's that?

Me: Well, a browser is what lets you read the Web pages.

Mom: I didn't have to do that with MSN.

Me: Well, no, they basically used a built-in, stripped-down version of IE.

Mom: What's that?

Me: Internet Explorer.

Mom: Oh.

Me: Anyway, open the browser and then just go to your Gmail account to see your emails. See, I put Gmail right at the top of your favorites.

Mom: But on MSN my email was always there at the top of the home page with the little envelope.

Me: Well, yes, but this is just as good, plus now if you change IPs again...

Mom: What's that?

Me: Internet Provider. Anyway, if you decide to go back to MSN or even switch to Cablevision, you will still have your Gmail name. This will stay with you all the time.

Mom: So I can only have my email page open? I can't look at other Web pages?

Me: Well, sure. Just open a browser for your Gmail, then minimize it and...

Mom: How do you do that?

Me: Click the little dash on the top right of the screen, up by the X and that other symbol (I didn't even know how to describe that middle one) and that will minimize the browser window you have open, and then just open another browser to go on and see whatever other Web pages you want. And that way your Gmail will still be open in the background.

Mom: Well, when I had MSN, it would signal when I had a new mail if I was on another page.

Me: (Pausing to let stomach acid stop churning) Ok, ok, I will download the Gmail notifier, which signals when you get a new mail.

Mom: (Doubtfully) All right.

Anyway, it went on like this for about half an hour. Suffice it to say, I needed a double J&C by the end of the session. And mom was able to nag me about drinking on a Tuesday night.

Good times for all.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I guess they haven't finished picking clean the corpse just yet

NEW YORK (AP) -- It was billed as the great ''publishing event'' of the fall -- ''a shattering, provocative and mesmerizing true story'' so momentous that booksellers ordered copies without knowing what they would receive.

Now, the secret is out: publisher William Morrow has confirmed to The Associated Press that the mystery work is Paul Burrell's ''The Way We Were,'' the latest tell-all about Princess Diana by her former butler, who also wrote the 2003 best-seller, ''A Royal Duty.''


Will they ever let this woman rest in peace? Of course, the public is also to blame. They keep buying this shit.

I've been pantsed

Has something ever went missing and you JUST. CAN'T. FIGURE. OUT. WHERE. IT. CAN. BE?

And is that not the most incredibly annoying thing?

I'm missing a pair of pants. And I know that sounds sort of funny - haha, whose house did you leave them in? But, obviously, I didn't come home one night without pants on.

I keep all my pants hanging neatly - some of my more analytical friends would say too neatly - in my bedroom. They aren't there. In fact, they aren't anywhere. And it's so #%$(* frustrating!

This is a Manhattan one-bedroom. There just aren't that many places they could be. I've turned every square inch of this place inside out - and still can't find these pants. And yes, I checked my current dry cleaning ticket. Shirts but no pants in there.

I just don't get it.

Did someone take them? Who would do that? Why would they do that?

I want them back.

Jesus H. Christ in a chicken basket

Finally declassified after many decades, the tape of the unedited second audio channel of the conversation between Houston Control and Apollo during the moon landing.

Monday, September 04, 2006

I promise, I'm going to read some Camus and Shakespeare soon

Among my ongoing guilty pleasures are those incredibly cheesy made-for-TV movies that occasionally pop up, dramatizing the behind-the-scenes intrigue and conflict that plagued some popular, and (of course) in themselves inherently cheesy, TV shows.

I've seen ones now about The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family, Three's Company, Charlie's Angels, Mork & Mindy, and, tonight, NBC aired one about Diff'rent Strokes.

They are so fucking bad, they're good. I love them.

And the funny thing is, I don't actually watch the series they are about. I absolutely promise I have never seen an entire episode of Diff'rent Strokes all the way through. Or a Mork & Mindy. (Ok, I have watched the Brady Bunch, especially the later years, when Marcia and Jan were growing up quite nicely heh.)

But the great thing about these movies is, you don't really have to know the actual shows they are about too much to enjoy the Hollywood Babylon aspect of it all. If you have the tiniest familiarity with the programs, you can't help but sit there mouth agape and loving it. They depict the tantrums and the child exploitation and the jealousies and the drugs and the general star/corporate/parental sleaziness behind many of the beloved shows airing now on Nick at Nite or in syndication.

The actors in them are usually picked more for their resemblences to Greg Brady or David Cassidy or Farrah Fawcett than for their acting skills - and that's part of the fun. Especially since they never quite look 100 percent right.

Sometimes there's an unnamed generic network suit "bad guy," and sometimes they have someone depicting real-life execs like Aaron Spelling or Brandon Tarkitoff, dealing with an out-of-control star.

You also have to take them with a grain of salt, of course. Usually, these movies are simply a two-hour dramatization of well-known tabloid reports and insider gossip, like Suzanne Somers going nuts with her giant ego on the set of Three's Company, or Robin Williams' out-of-control drug use on Mork & Mindy, or David Cassidy chafing at the pablum of the Partridge Family.

This one tonight apparently was done with the cooperation of Todd Bridges and Gary Coleman (Willis and Arnold, of course), who, during the commercial bumpers, actually appeared and commented on what was going on. To their credit, they didn't always come off as angels in the movie. Also, it looked like a little payback was going on, as their parents were portrayed as exploitative scum. (There was one funny scene where Gary's mother and father pull out of the studio lot in seperate Mercedes, as they went about siphoning most of the money from his $80,000-a-week salary. He ended up working as a mall security guard at one point in his life, also depicted in this instant classic.)

I have to admit, for this genre, it was actually done pretty well, and didn't pull too many punches, up to and including a not very flattering depiction of Bridges' self-destructive drug use, and the spiraling life and sad death of Dana Plato (Kimberly), as she ended up losing all her TV money, posing for Playboy, working as a clerk in a Las Vegas video store, then robbing that store, and, soon thereafter, dying from a drug overdose. It almost negated the whole cheesy aspect of it.

Time in New England...

Well, summer is over. Not officially, I suppose, but it always feels that way after the Labor Day weekend draws to a close.

I just got back in the city a little while ago after spending a few days up in Connecticut, where the weather, frankly, was shitty, then, a few days in Cape Cod, where it was very nice, although I had to wear a jacket on Sunday evening. That's when you know summer is basically over.

But copius amounts of seafood and bloody marys were consumed, so good times, good times.

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