Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What a Tripp... for Sarah and Bristol Palin, the Jets, and this blog

If this presidential election cycle wasn't long and strange enough, now we have this: Bristol Palin, daughter of Sarah, the governor of Alaska and erstwhile Republican vice-presidential candidate, has (finally) given birth to a baby boy. The baby's name? Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnston. (Not to be confused with his not much older baby uncle, Trig Paxson Van Palin.)

The timing is downright eerie as just yesterday afternoon I heard a rebroadcast of Terry Gross's interview with Seth Meyers of Saturday Night Live on NPR, in which they discussed Sarah Palin's appearance on SNL and this clip in particular (which does not make mention of Bristol or her baby mama status):

It has also been a long, strange trip (though not to the playoffs) for Brett Favre and the Jets, who fired head coach Eric Mangini yesterday after losing four of their last five games and not making it into the playoffs this year, this despite (or because of?) Brett Favre, whose #4 Jets jersey was the best-seller at NFLShop.com this year. (For the record, I have now officially retired my Jets thong, at least until the 2009 season officially opens and the Jets win a game. But I'll keep wearing my Giants attire as long as their playoff/Super Bowl hopes remain alive!)

And it has been a long, strange trip for me and this blog, which made it onto Jon Swift's Best Blog Posts of 2008 list this week -- and onto the blogrolls of many other fine blogs (all of which I link to at right) over the course of the year. Indeed, in just 11 months I have gone from a trickle of visitors to, if not a tsunami, a rising tide or at least a babbling brook of loyal blog readers, for which I thank you.

Lastly, if you would be so kind and take a minute, I would love to know how you found this blog and where you live (State if in the US of A or Country if not) via a Comment. (FYI: Mom, this does not apply to you -- nor to the kind, patient folks who asked or begrudgingly agreed to be on my New Blogpost Alert email list.)

UPDATED 12/31/08: My mother-in-law just forwarded me this clip of "Uncle Jay Explains" Year End Wrap Up, which I thought worth posting here as it neatly sums up (in song!) the highlights of 2008.

And with that I wish you all a very happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Santa brought me my "official" Obama-Biden t-shirt... so now we can properly celebrate Obamakkah!

(For the record, the "official" t-shirt looks suspiciously like some of those unofficial Obama-Biden t-shirts, though I'm guessing those shirts cost a whole lot less.)

Wow, Barack Obama must be really well connected to get Santa to deliver his t-shirts for him! (Or -- could it be?! -- maybe Barack literally gave me the shirt off his back, since you know these days he prefers to go topless.)

My teddy bear, Bearack Obearma, was so excited about finally getting our official Obama-Biden t-shirt, I let him model it.

He can bearly contain his excitement (like me)!

I hope you all got what you wanted for Christmas and/or Hanukkah this year.

Got something really nifty? Leave me a comment. (However, I will only publish comments rated G, PG, or PG-13 -- and will delete those I deem inappropriate.)

UPDATED 12/27/08 @ 9:19 AM: We finally were home to participate in the Festival of Light, or, as we now call it, Obamakkah, last night:

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holidays got you stressed? Here's a smashing idea to relieve some tension.

According to a Reuters' report, one entrepreneur in Japan is offering the stressed out a chance to vent by hurling crockery against a wall. (Why some Greek entrepreneur didn't think of this first I don't know.)

I think Amanda Peet (shown in the clip) has the right idea.

As does Barack Obama, who is looking mighty fine -- and stress-free -- as he and Michelle and the kids (and dozens of secret service people) enjoy a little R&R in Hawaii.

Mm mm. I can just feel the stress melting away.

And in case I don't blog again before Friday, I want to wish you all a stress-free-- and hopefully joyful -- ChrismaHanukKwanzaa.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

The mysteries of guy think

Considering the differences (and misunderstandings) between men and women, it's a wonder our species has managed to survive this long, isn't it? Indeed, I sometimes think that giving us humans the ability to communicate through spoken language was maybe not such a good thing after all (though I am curious to know if partners who use sign language experience the same difficulties/miscommunication issues). Like take last night.

The spouse and I don't go out much, and almost never to parties, so when the occasional party does crop up, I like to make a good impression, which typically means taking some extra time with my hair (though I have not owned a blow dryer in over 20 years), putting on a little makeup, and maybe wearing a sexy top or dress. And being a woman, I like to be acknowledged for making this extra bit of effort. (As my good friend T. used to say, though, "Fatta Chienza." You figure it out.)

So we arrive at the party (thrown by my mother and stepfather, so the deck was a bit stacked), an annual affair which we hadn't attended in a couple years, and I am immediately hugged, kissed, and praised by family and family friends. Yet does my spouse say a word about how nice and/or pretty I look (which really mainly serves to make him look good), even with some not-so-subtle nudging on my and others' parts? No.

Finally, on the way home, in the car, while rehashing the evening (which was very nice), I can take it no longer and ask him (no doubt in that somewhat whiny, needy, accusatory way we women have), "Don't you think I looked nice tonight?" (or words to that affect). And, continuing to stare straight ahead, he responds, "Yeah." As in, "Oh God, not this conversation again. Anything but that. Look, I love you, and the fact that we are still together after 18 years should tell you that." Which is all fine and good. For him.

Sensing I am looking for a bit more he adds, "I told you you looked good." To which I (of course, immediately) responded, "No you didn't. You told me I smelled good. That is not the same thing. That is perfume [technically Chloe eau de toilette]. Not me."

To which he then cast me a quick glance (in my father's old fleece coat, completely covered up, with a scarf half covering my head) and added, "you look good." As in "Okay, there I said it. Now would you please, please shut up and leave me alone?"

But, being a woman, I would not.

"I was going more for, 'Wow, honey! You looked really sexy tonight. I just wanted to tear that shirt right off you and make passionate love to you right there in the living room.'"

Trying (somewhat unsuccessfully) to stifle his laughter while we waited for traffic to move on 96th Street and no doubt sensing the growing tension in the car he finally responded, "I'm going to the Doghouse, aren't I?" Then he added for good measure, "Well at least I didn't get you a gym membership!"

Men. Can't live with 'em. Can't shoot 'em. (Well, you can... but I prefer just hitting mine over the head with a cast-iron skillet. Just as effective and you probably won't go to jail.)

UPDATED 5:05 P.M. ON 12/22/08: I have removed the picture -- and will not be restoring it. While I appreciate the many kind comments, I liked things better when I was semi-anonymous -- and people argued over my views and not my looks.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow jobs in the news: from Las Vegas to Bernard Madoff

On Wednesday, December 17, over three-and-a-half inches of snow fell on Las Vegas (with up to six inches reported in nearby Henderson), covering the Strip and forcing schools to close and airlines to ground flights. It was the most snow Sin City had seen in nearly 30 years. But it was far from the only major snow job that made front-page news this week.

I am referring, of course, to Bernard Madoff (pronounced "MADE off" -- as in "made off with your money") -- you know, the guy who bilked his friends, charitable institutions, and supposedly sophisticated investors (aka "the smart money") out of some $50 billion in what the media is calling the biggest Ponzi scheme ever.

I think the media (including the blogosphere) has written plenty on Bernie Madoff (though do check out Paul Krugman's Op-Ed in today's New York Times titled "The Madoff Economy" to get the bigger picture, or snow job that is the investment industry) and all the folks he duped out of millions, many of whom (I am alluding here mainly to so-called financial advisors and hedge fund managers) should have known better or at least suspected something was up.

But what I haven't heard a whole lot about (with apologies to "The Sound of Music") is how do you solve a problem like Bernie Madoff?

How do you solve a problem like Bernie Madoff?
Why didn't you catch this clown and pin him down?
How do you find a word that means Bernie Madoff?
A sociopath! A con artist! A clown!

Many a thing you know you'd like to tell him
Many a thing he ought to understand
But how do you make him pay?
Restore all the funds you gave?
How do you keep a wave upon the sand?

Oh, how do you solve a problem like Bernie Madoff?
How do you force the SEC to make a stand?

So what can we do to discourage such behavior in the future?

Clearly, regulations and/or regulators didn't and don't work (in part because people tend to look the other way when they too are being enriched). So what is left?

Jail time? Eh. That costs the taxpayers and these white-collar jails sound pretty painless. Community service? Better, especially if it involves helping the people and charities and institutions these people hurt.

The even better solution? Call me old-fashioned (or Draconian) but what about before sentencing the worst offenders to a life of community service we tar and feather them on primetime TV then throw them in the stockades for a few hours, with extended coverage on C-SPAN? If that seems too harsh (though really, what is appropriate punishment for someone who knowingly bilked his friends and charities for $50 billion?), then something equally revealing and embarrassing. The thing is to set an example -- and strip these people of the one thing they seem to care about (besides money/power), their pride, or egos.

How would YOU prevent more Bernie Madoffs (and similar Ponzi schemes) and better regulate Wall Street? Leave me a comment and let me know.

UPDATED AT 2:40 P.M.: Well, apparently one guy was onto Madoff, as far back as 1999, but no one would listen to him. Probably because it's tough to take seriously a guy whose last name sounds just like a child's pool game. Still, that's only one guy -- and a competitor to Madoff's, not a regulator or a fund manager doing due diligence.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Meat the new smell of desire

Funny, but I never pictured the scent of seduction smelling like a Burger King Whopper. But what do I know? I get turned on by the smell of sauteed onions.

Introducing FLAME by BK, a new meat-scented body spray* that promises to inflame your desire. (I assumed for a flame-broiled Whopper but in actuality for something juicier, or so the website promises.)

A perfect gift for the man who has everything (except perhaps a job at Burger King), with FLAME your guy can now spray (marinate?) himself with meaty goodness whenever the mood strikes. And it's only $4 a bottle -- about the same price as a Whopper!

Warning: This body spray may not be appropriate for vegetarians -- but I hear dogs love it.

Ladies. Gentlemen. What are you waiting for? Come on baby, light that fire. FLAME on!

*If you click on one frivolous link today, this should be it. Go ahead. Click on it -- and experience the scent of seduction.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

At least he doesn't drink from the toilet

Okay, occasionally Felix, who has some odd habits, does take a sip from the loo, but he much prefers his water straight from the faucet (even though I give him and Flora fresh water at least once a day in a clean, non-toilet bowl).

And yes, I do clean the faucets afterward... most of the time.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Forget Caroline Kennedy. I want Nanny Fine for Senator.

Forget Illinois and its Senategate. If you live in the Northeast the real Senate action and oddsmaking is on who will be appointed to replace New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton when (if?) she is confirmed as Secretary of State next year. And right now (i.e., as of this morning, if the morning talk shows and cable news shows are any indication) the odds-on favorite for replacing Senator Clinton is Caroline Kennedy, whose chief qualifications appear to be her last name (her uncle Robert held the exact same seat!) and friendship and support of President-Elect Barack Obama.

Not that being a fundraiser and editing several books don't count, but I've given away and raised big bucks for charities and edited over a dozen books and you don't see me jockeying for a Senate seat, even though I have a Master's degree in international relations, follow politics closely, and grew up in and have ties to New York. Though now that I think about it.... (Nah. Not interested. Though I would be very happy to serve the Obama-Biden Administration in some other, paid, way. Hint. Hint. In case anyone from the Transition Team is reading this.)

But Ms. Kennedy (who mysteriously dropped her married name some time in the last few years) is far from being alone in wanting that New York Senate seat. According to New York Senior Senator Chuck Schumer, there are at least 12 individuals vying for the plum post, including New York Attorney General Andrew "Hey, MY father was GOVERNOR of New York!" Cuomo and Fran Drescher, who most of you probably recall as Nanny Fine from "The Nanny," who officially announced her interest in the New York Senate seat on "Larry King Live" last night.

I like Fran Drescher, and loved "The Nanny," but I had to change the channel after just a few minutes as there is only so much of Drescher's signature nasal twang I can take. But think how much she could get done in the Senate with that voice?! The Senators would pass her motions in record time, just to get her to shut up.

Still, if it were between Kennedy, Cuomo, and Drescher, my vote would go to Fran (who in addition to being an actress and comedienne also created a charity called the Cancer Schmancer Movement and is an envoy for the U.S. State Department, advocating on behalf of women's health issues around the world). Hey if Sonny Bono and Gopher (aka Fred Grandy) from the "Love Boat" could be U.S. Congressmen, Fred Thompson (aka Foghorn Leghorn) a U.S. Senator, Arnold Schwarzenegger a Governor, and Ronald Reagan President, why couldn't Nanny Fine become a Senator? Lord knows the Senate could use a little comic relief.

Speaking of which...

UPDATED 1/23/09: Caroline Kennedy has officially withdrawn her name from consideration for the New York Senate seat left vacant by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. However, despite my best efforts, the new junior Senator from New York will not be Fran Drescher but Rep. Kirsten "I [heart] David Paterson!" Gillibrand. Sorry Fran. Oh, and for all of you who hit this blog looking to find out if Caroline Kennedy was still married to Edwin Schlossberg, she is.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Is Karl Rove Actually the Great Gazoo?

As the Bush Administration winds down to a close (only 35 more days!), and we re-hash or review all that went wrong during the last eight years, I am suddenly reminded of the Great Gazoo, the little green alien (and self-admitted "kook") from The Flintstones, who invented the Doomsday Button, for which he was banished from Zatox, crash-landed on Earth, found by Fred and Barney, and "hired" to serve them -- though he actually winds up just getting them in trouble (typically lots of trouble) and ultimately serving himself. (Just like Karl Rove!)

As Gazoo (voiced by the late, great Harvey Korman) warns Fred in this clip, "Take heed: Don't ask for more than you can handle. You may get it."

While the introduction of Gazoo seemed like a good thing at the time, it ultimately was the beginning of the end for The Flintstones series as it was canceled the very season Gazoo began appearing. (No such luck for us re Rove and Bush.) Yet I still think there are some analogies to be drawn.

I mean, just look at this drawing and the photo above and tell me Karl Rove does not look like the Great Gazoo, or that Fred and Barney do not resemble Bush and Cheney. I rest my case.

And while we never learned the final fate of Gazoo, at least on the show, I heard a rumor that he is now serving new masters over at Fox News and the Wall Street Journal.

As for the fate of the incoming President, I just hope that Rahm Emanuel (or some other senior adviser) does not turn out to be Barack "Superman" Obama's Mr. Mxyzptlk.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

If the shoe fits... W. pelted by a pair of Size 10s.

Why someone didn't give this guy the boot long ago beats me.

But apparently during President George W. Bush's surprise visit to Iraq today, Muntadar al-Zeidi, a correspondent for Al-Baghdadia television, an Iraqi-owned station based in Cairo, Egypt, decided to give W. the shoe -- both of them. (Apparently, or so Bush joked, they were a Size 10, and the President was able to narrowly avert a footwear war.)

Here's the footage (just posted by MSNBC):

Friday, December 12, 2008

So what's Jennifer Aniston got that I don't got?

Besides a killer body, bodacious ta-tas, fame, fortune, and John Mayer? (Not that I care about John Mayer, at all.)

Even though it has yet to hit newsstands (on December 23), I am already sick of the former Friend's latest GQ cover, where she is shown tying one on -- or only in one tie. And you can bet whoever makes that tie will see sales go through the roof. (Peter Alexander over at MSNBC kept shouting "Where can I get that tie?!" as he was "reporting" on the Aniston cover yesterday, while trying not to drool.)

While I am sure the cover and inside spread will likewise send GQ sales (and male masturbatory activities) through the roof, it is a bane to fortysomething (and even thirtysomething) women everywhere.

We have it tough enough, guys, just trying to get your attention, without you now thinking, "Hey, if Jennifer Aniston looks that hot at 40, why can't you?"

Thanks a lot, Jennifer Aniston.

Ladies, I say we boycott "Marley & Me" this Christmas (even though that little blond lab puppy is really, really cute) -- and all Jennifer Aniston movies, until her boobs start sagging and she has the dignity to show some cellulite, love handles, and a few wrinkles, like the rest of us (who don't have personal trainers and chefs and Hollywood stylists and photographers).

UPDATED 10:05: In somewhat related news, legendary pinup girl Bettie Page has died.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

You can't spell "Blagojevich" without b-l-o-g

Alternate title: "The Audacity of a Dope."

Well, the names may change, but the corruption remains the same. God, I miss Illinois (particularly Chicagoland, where we lived for over eight years). It seems like only yesterday that former Illinois Governor George Ryan, Sr., current Governor Rod Blagojevich's predecessor, was convicted on sweeping federal corruption charges of wielding power to help himself and his friends.

And there was good old Blagojevich, with his black (almost) pompadour, boyish demeanor, and goofy grin (Who knew the mouth on him? Oy gevalt!), promising as he took office to do right by the people of Illinois, unlike that corrupt George Ryan, who was sentenced to 6.5 years in jail.

As noted in an article in today's Chicago Tribune:
In his first inaugural address, before a crowd of thousands, Gov. Rod Blagojevich railed against a "system of corruption that has become too commonplace, too accepted and too entrenched."

"You voted for change," said Blagojevich, the state's first Democratic governor in 26 years. "I intend to deliver it."
Et tu Blago? Oh, the shame, the shame.

For those keeping score, and politics is a game after all, that is now four Illinois governors who have crossed the line (the previous three, Otto Kerner, Dan Walker, and George Ryan, all did or are doing time -- and let us not forget former Illinois Congressman Dan Rostenkowski), making Illinois, in the words of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, if not "the most corrupt state in the United States... certainly one hell of a competitor."

(Btw, it would not surprise me in the least if we found out Patrick Fitzgerald was a cross dresser or had some other dirty little secret.)

But seriously, folks, does any of this come as a big surprise? Let's get REAL. Every day politicians (Republicans and Democrats) work out deals behind the scenes. Politics is all about "you scratch my back, I'll scratch your back." (Or other parts of the male anatomy, in Republican Senator Larry Craig's case.) It's just a matter of discretion -- and not getting caught. And believe you me, stupidity (and/or audacity) is bipartisan.

Even though until recently it's been Republicans making the scandal sheets, there are plenty of Democrats in the Hall of Shame, most recently Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson, who was indicted in 2007 on bribery charges but has yet to go on trial, though he lost his recent re-election bid.

Of course, putting "corruption" and "Louisiana" in the same sentence is kind of redundant. Hey, here's a thought: If political corruption were a Bowl game, it'd be Illinois vs. Louisiana, with only slightly better odds, maybe, on Illinois, just because of their current quarterback, Rod "F@*k 'em" Blagojevich.

So where does the current Blagojevich "situation" now stand? Well, as of this morning, Old Lightning Rod was back at work in the Governor's Office, ignoring pleas to resign, just taking care of business as usual. You can read more in this other piece from today's Chicago Tribune, titled "Barack Obama, U.S. senators, state officials urge Rod Blagojevich to resign."

Go Team!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

What not to get her this holiday season

Personally, I love the Eureka Cordless Quick-Up floor sweeper the spouse got me last Valentine's Day. But I can understand how some women might be a little miffed or disappointed at receiving a vacuum cleaner as a holiday present (even if it did have two bags) or more RAM (which I believe I also received on some occasion) or a piece of gym equipment (though I love my free weights).

However, I think this video* is a bit extreme -- though it echos my father's sage advice: Want to get on her good side? Just get her some hardware (as in the hard stuff you wear on your finger or around your wrist or neck, i.e., gold jewelry, preferably with diamonds or other precious gemstones, not something you'd pick up at Tru Value). Though I understand that for many guys jewelry buying can be a harrowing experience.

Herewith, as a public service, some advice on what NOT to buy your better half for the holidays (unless you want to risk a trip to the doghouse):

* a membership to Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig

* a gym membership or workout equipment (unless she's a body builder or specifically asks)

* season tickets -- to her favorite theatre or dance company, OK; to your favorite football, basketball, hockey or baseball franchise (unless she's truly a fan), not OK

* anything from Stupid.com (unless she has a really good sense of humor)

* a USB Rocket Launcher, Slave Leia Poster, or pretty much anything from ThinkGeek.com (again, unless she a good sense of humor, and you don't mind sleeping on the couch)

* clothing in anything over a size 6

* chocolate (unless it's the really good stuff)

* lingerie (unless you are recently married and/or you really know what she likes and her size)

* Grand Theft Auto IV (or I, II, III or V), Madden NFL 09, or Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (noticing a theme here, guys?)

* sausage products (unless you live in the Midwest and she has a thing for brats)

Btw, I know this list is FAR from inclusive, but I still have the dreaded man cold and am not at my most creative. But you can help me.

Ever gotten a "what was he thinking?!" gift? Or have additional suggestions? Leave me a comment. Similarly, feel free to suggest some really great gifts.

*You can see more Doghouse ads here.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Barack Obama, David Gregory on "Meet the Press"... Go Gators!... Sick and tired...

Just finished watching President-Elect Barack Obama on NBC's "Meet the Press." And while I found Obama's recent "60 Minutes" interview more enjoyable (or humorous), I thought the President Elect acquitted himself rather well, answering Tom Brokaw's questions for the most part, except for the one regarding whether he still occasionally smoked. (And really, could you blame the guy for taking the occasional drag? Also, is it just me or do both Obama and Brokaw look a lot older than they did 20 months ago?)

Brokaw also officially revealed (though it's been buzzed about all week) that David Gregory will be the new moderator on "Meet the Press," and with a warm introduction officially handed over the microphone to Gregory this morning (at least symbolically) -- with the caveat that "Stretch" (Gregory's W. nickname, an homage to his 6'5" frame) was henceforth barred from doing his infamous Brokaw impression (which, sadly, I could not find a clip of on YouTube or anywhere else).

While I am a fan of David Gregory, I am as yet unable to picture him as full-time moderator on "Meet the Press," though I am sure he will do a fine job. Perhaps it is because former "Meet the Press" moderator Tim Russert did such an excellent and impartial job, and made an indelible mark on the show and on political punditry in general. But I truly wish Mr. Gregory success in his new role.*

Onto football, in this case, college football.... While I do not usually watch college football, I found myself glued to the tube yesterday afternoon watching the Southeastern Conference (SEC) championship matchup between #1 Alabama (aka The Crimson Tide and 12-0 upon entering the game) and #2 Florida (The Gators, who were 11-1 upon game time -- and have a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback in Tim Tebow).

Perhaps it was because I was sick and could barely move from my bed (more on this below), or because I know some serious Gator fans, but I could not keep my eyes off the action -- and found myself cheering on the Gators, who chewed through Alabama's defense and offense. The final score, Florida 31, Alabama 20. Could this mean another Heisman for Tebow, who is only a junior, and a shot at the BCS title for the Gators? I have no clue. Ask the President Elect (or my blogger buddy "Betty Cracker," who is a big time Gators fan). But if they do, I'll be watching.

Finally, in reading over this post, I had hoped it would be funnier, but I fear my severe cold has taken a toll on my sense of humor (and just about everything else), though apparently not on my ability to do the laundry. (Sadly, clothes don't wash or dry themselves.) However, things could be much worse. My poor friend Laura in D.C., wife of Dave S., and the mother of two young tots, has been laid up with the flu for well over a week now. (I've already ordered your medal, Dave). And at least I don't have the dreaded Man Cold:

[H/T to Dave S.]

*Personally, I was rooting for Gwen Ifill to get the gig, but am happy the powers that be didn't choose Chucky T. (aka Chuck Todd).

UPDATED 7:34 A.M. ON 12/8/08: I now have the dreaded Man Cold, except I don't have a little bell or someone to attend to my needs if I did have one and rang it. (Full disclosure: Over the weekend I did use my cell phone to summon my spouse, who was downstairs.) Nor has anyone rubbed my tummy and said "poor little bunny," which would have been nice, except I don't like having my tummy rubbed. AND I still managed to propel myself downstairs this morning to feed and water the cats and clean their litter boxes and fixed and packed the child (after washing and sanitizing my hands) her snack and lunch for school and paid bills, all before 7:15. (I'd pat myself on the back, but it hurts to lift my arms.) : (

So I will not be issuing a new blog post today (and not just because both the Giants and Jets SUCKED yesterday and aren't worthy of a blog post), but I hope to get one up later this week, as soon as the haze clears.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Dear Obama for America Team: No, I will not help retire Hillary's debt or buy your official Obama calendar or anything else you are peddling...

until I receive the official limited-edited Obama-Biden victory t-shirt you promised me (pictured at left) right after the election for making a donation to the Democratic National Committee on behalf of the Obama-Biden campaign/administration.

I realize that my reticence or outright refusal to continue to donate to your pet causes is weakening (wrecking?) my chances of getting a job in the Obama-Biden administration, but I promise that once (if?) I receive the t-shirt that I paid lavishly for (well over retail -- and this in addition to the very generous donation I made directly to the Obama campaign in September) and am offered a job within the administration (say a mid-level communications post at the White House or State Department), I will be more than happy to contribute again.

However, as a show of good will, I am reprinting your donation requests here on my blog in case others are feeling more generous of spirit.

Want to help the DNC and get "an official Obama calendar"? Here's how (courtesy of Obama for America):

This holiday season, celebrate the historic accomplishment of our movement for change. Treat yourself or a loved one to a limited edition four-year calendar featuring some of the best images from the campaign trail.
Make a donation of $35 or more right now and get an official Obama calendar to mark an amazing year:
Celebrate our historic accomplishment
Items purchased by December 15th are guaranteed to be delivered before December 25th. When you make your donation, you'll be supporting the Democratic National Committee. The resources they invested in the 50-state organizing strategy made this movement possible -- help us build for future victories together. Share this amazing moment with your friends and family. Thanks to supporters like you, we all have the opportunity to bring real change to America. Get your holiday Obama calendar today: https://donate.barackobama.com/calendar Thank you, Obama for America

Want to help Joe Biden help out a millionaire? Here's how:

President-elect Obama and I have been assembling our team, and we plan to hit the ground running next month.

We want to be ready to go, and that's why I'm asking you to help us honor an outstanding commitment we made during the election.

Our campaign pledged to help Senator Hillary Clinton -- one of the vital members of our team and our future Secretary of State -- retire her campaign debt. That's the money her campaign owes to the vendors across the country that make our political process possible.

Barack and I had the deepest respect for Hillary as an opponent on the campaign trail. Her undeniable intellect, talent, and passion strengthened Barack as a candidate and tested our movement for change.

We welcome Hillary as a partner in our administration, and I hope you will show your support by helping Barack fulfill our campaign promise.

Will you make a contribution of $100 or more now to retire Hillary's campaign debt?

I saw your generosity and commitment to this team throughout the election, and I know we can do it.

In the general election, Hillary was one of our strongest advocates. She traveled the country and did more than 70 events, raising money and bringing new supporters into our campaign.

As Secretary of State, she will be indispensable in furthering Barack's agenda for change.

Let's welcome Hillary to the team and thank her for her efforts in support of our campaign by helping to retire her debt to the hard-working individuals and small businesses that were a part of the election:


Your support and generosity got us this far, and I know I can count on it now.

Thank you,


I believe my work here is done. However you guys (I'm talking to you, David Plouffe, and you, John Podesta, and you, Joe Biden, and the rest of the Obama-Biden transition team) still owe me a t-shirt.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

What is it about Anderson Cooper that turns otherwise sane women into panty-throwing, AC-worshipping CNN junkies?

Or put another way, is Anderson Cooper* the Tom Jones of cable news?

But it's not just women who want to throw their panties at the blue-eyed news lothario of CNN. Oh no. Just check out this guy's site, titled "SHAMELESS ANDERSON COOPER WORSHIP 1" (meaning that somewhere out there there are other shameless Anderson Cooper worship websites and blogs).

So what is it about Young Blue Eyes that makes both men and women (including myself and many of my female friends) want to stay up late to watch CNN or play hooky from work whenever he co-hosts "Live with Regis and Kelly" (when Rege is away)? Is it his finely chiseled good looks? The ever-so-gently tussled, prematurely white hair? Those piercing blue eyes? That dimpled smile? His firm grasp on the issues? His enormous... compassion? The way he looks right into the camera as though he's looking right into your soul?

I confess, I didn't always have a thing for Mr. Cooper, quite the opposite in fact. When we were in school together, I thought him a bit of a brat and even annoying. But so many of the kids I attended Dalton with back in the day were like that, the pampered pups of the rich and famous, self-centered, and looking down their often plastic surgeried noses at the bourgeoisie (like me). Although I barely knew Anderson back then, he and his brother, Carter, teased me mercilessly, as did their friends, after I wrote a biography of their mother in fifth grade, for an English or Social Studies assignment, and referred to her as "Gloria," which she had told me to do when I interviewed her. (For the record, while her children were often cruel to me, Mrs. Vanderbilt was always kind to me the few times I saw or spoke to her.)

But I forgive you now, Anderson. (And I was truly dumbstruck and cried when I heard about Carter.)

See, that is the amazing power that Anderson Cooper has! He can make people go from despising him to adoring him!

And on December 11 at 9 p.m. ET/PT -- TiVo/DVR alert! -- (thank you, eldorado59970) Anderson will be once again doing battle (for the planet and for our hearts and eyeballs) on "Planet in Peril: Battle Lines."

UPDATED 6:00 P.M.: Many thanks to my friend, "Barker," for alerting me to this clip. (Don't know how I managed to miss this.)

Swoon. Ain't he dreamy?

So, what makes you want to bake cupcakes for or throw your panties at Anderson Cooper? Let me know...

*Personally, I like the picture on Cooper's CNN page better, but the Wikipedia link has more interesting background/non-CNN-related stuff.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

So why did Bill Richardson really adios his beard?

This morning, President-Elect Barack Obama officially nominated Bill Richardson, currently the Governor of New Mexico, to be the Secretary of Commerce, during a press conference. (Btw, I believe Barack Obama has now held more press conferences as President Elect than George W. Bush did as President.)

I will not re-hash Richardson's credentials or past experience here, both of which are quite impressive. (You can click on the above link, to his Wikipedia entry, if you care to know.) I will also not focus on his being the first prominent Hispanic (Richardson's mother is Mexican) to be chosen for a Cabinet position in the Obama administration, nor the fact that Richardson gave his Secretary of Commerce nomination acceptance speech in both English and Spanish (even though interestingly the latter was not a direct translation of the former, according to a Spanish-speaking reporter covering the event).

No. What I want to know is, What is the real reason Richardson shaved off (or for my bilingual readers, adiosed) his beard?

For those of you who didn't watch this morning's press conference, the last reporter Obama called on, in addition to asking the President Elect about TARP (the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the first tranch of which is pretty much gone), asked Secretary of Commerce-Elect Bill Richardson why he had decided to shave his beard. Good question -- and one which Obama did not allow Richardson to answer himself.

Instead, President-Elect Obama announced he would be taking that question -- and defended the beard, saying it made Richardson look more "rugged" and "Western" (which, we were to assume, are good things). He then suggested that it was Richardson's wife (sure, go ahead and blame the wife) who forced Richardson to shave his chin hair, because she found it too scratchy when she kissed him. A likely story, sir.

I thought that the President Elect would then turn over the beard issue to Richardson to handle, but he did not. Instead he called an abrupt end to the press conference and escorted his Secretary of Commerce Elect off the stage -- leading me (and no doubt others) to believe that perhaps it was the President Elect who forced Richardson to shave his beard. Could this be the first cover-up of the Obama administration?

And speaking of the Obama administration, or rather the Obama fundraising/transition team (yes, I'm talking to you David Plouffe and you John Podesta), I still have not received my limited-edition Obama-Biden victory t-shirt, which I was PROMISED for donating $$$ to the Democratic National Committee just after Obama won the election. Could this be one of many broken promises we are to expect from this administration? I am deeply concerned (and would also really like my t-shirt -- and to know why Richardson shaved his beard).

UPDATED 1:26 P.M.: Also be sure to check out "Bill Richardson's Missing Beard" on the Huffington Post, which includes video footage of the question and answer from the press conference as well as a poll re whether you miss the beard. (When I just checked, and voted, more than 85 percent of voters missed the beard.)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

It's just not Christmas without RankinBass

Ah December, when the air turns crisp and cold, the Northeast turns into a winter wonderland, and for those of us who grew up in the 1970s (and later), the one time of year when we can watch those beloved, cheesy stop-motion Christmas TV classics from Rankin/Bass Productions, whose songs we all know by heart (despite ourselves).

*TiVo/DVR alert! ABC is airing Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town (that's the one with the Burgermeister Meisterburger and Fred Astaire as the narrator) at 8 p.m. ET tonight!*

From Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (who could forget Hermey the Misfit Elf, who longed to be a dentist, or Yukon Cornelius?) to Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town, to Frosty the Snow Man (which featured the voice talent of Jimmy Durante), it just wasn't Christmas without a Rankin/Bass Production.

My favorite Rankin/Bass memory: watching and listening to the Miser Brothers, Snow Miser and Heat Miser, sing their signature song from The Year Without a Santa Claus (which featured the voice talents of Mickey Rooney and Shirley Booth, though not on this song):

*Another TiVo/DVR alert! ABC Family is airing The Year Without a Santa Claus on December 11 at 8 p.m. ET and on December 13 at 7 p.m. ET.*

We all had our favorite Rankin/Bass production. What was yours?

Monday, December 1, 2008

I was tagged and now I have to tell you all six random things about me

What is this, eighth grade? A chain letter? Is something bad going to happen to me if I don't play along? Will Betty (aka "Betty Cracker"), the blogger who "tagged" me, find someone to leave a horse's head under my pillow if I cross her? Sigh.

Well, I wouldn't want to provoke Ms. Cracker, so here goes...


1. Link to the person who tagged you. (Check.)
2. Post the rules on your blog. (Check.)
3. Write six random things about yourself. (Check. See below.)
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them. (Check. See below that. Though a quibble here: This assumes you know six people who have their own blog, which is quite an assumption.)


1. Despite what some people think, I am really good at keeping secrets -- at least secrets I think worth keeping.

2. I really like watching professional football, albeit my teams, the New York Giants and the New York Jets, even when by myself. (I used to really like watching professional basketball, too, back in the 1990s, when we lived in Chicago and the Bulls were the best -- so much so that I INSISTED on listening to a playoff game while in labor, only to have the doctor, a female, and my spouse insist we turn it off as it was distracting me from pushing. If we had had a boy, we may have had to have named him "Michael," even though Michaels are nothing but trouble.)

3. I love cars -- really fast, expensive ones, though I have never driven or been driven in one. I am particularly fond of old Aston Martins and Bugattis. And if I had $250,000 to spare and didn't care about gas mileage or safety I would seriously consider getting this baby, a 2009 Aston Martin DBS (even though I prefer the old Aston Martin DB5) or a Jaguar XK, even if it isn't as/so quick to accelerate.

4. I once had to ditch my panties while walking home from school on Park Avenue in New York City. As I turned the corner on 92nd or 91st street the elastic broke, and I had to duck behind the pillar of a church to remove my undergarment before it fell down. I then had to walk six more blocks, praying that a strong wind would not blow open my (typical NYC all-girl prep school issue) skirt.

5. I can't stand mayonnaise, salmon, or olives, though I love Russian dressing, salmon sushi, and olive oil. Go figure.

6. I know all the words to "Escape (the Pina Colada song)," or did:

I was tired of my lady, we'd been together too long.
Like a worn-out recording, of a favorite song.
So while she lay there sleeping, I read the paper in bed.
And in the personals column, there was this letter I read:

"If you like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain.
If you're not into yoga, if you have half-a-brain.
If you like making love at midnight, in the dunes of the cape.
I'm the lady you've looked for, write to me, and escape."

I didn't think about my lady, I know that sounds kind of mean.
But me and my old lady, had fallen into the same old dull routine.
So I wrote to the paper, took out a personal ad.
And though I'm nobody's poet, I thought it wasn't half-bad.

"Yes, I like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain.
I'm not much into health food, I am into champagne.
I've got to meet you by tomorrow noon, and cut through all this red tape.
At a bar called O'Malley's, where we'll plan our escape."

So I waited with high hopes, then she walked in the place.
I knew her smile in an instant, I knew the curve of her face.
It was my own lovely lady, and she said, "Oh, it's you."
And we laughed for a moment, and I said, "I never knew"...

"That you liked Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain.
And the feel of the ocean, and the taste of champagne.
If you like making love at midnight, in the dunes of the cape.
You're the love that I've looked for, come with me, and escape."

"If you like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain.
If you're not into yoga, if you have half-a-brain.
If you like making love at midnight, in the dunes of the cape.
You're the love that I've looked for, come with me, and escape."

I also know the lyrics to Rupert Holmes's "Him." I am not sure why.

Finally, who's next, or "it": Dave S. and EMM at Potpourri for $500, Melanie at BeanPaste, Tommy at Blah Blog Blah, Little Miss Cupcake over at Little Miss Cupcake, and Marindenver over at Rumproast. Surprise!

Obama's dream team, John Mara's Giant nightmare

While President Elect Barack Obama and his advisers are no doubt hoping Congress doesn't shoot down any of his picks for National Security when they go to the Hill for confirmation hearings some time next year, the Giants are dealing with a star wide receiver who apparently was so concerned about being shot down in the VIP room of a Manhattan nightclub Friday night that he shot himself -- with a gun he did not have a permit to carry in New York City. (Hey, at least Obama had the good sense not to nominate this guy for any national or homeland security post, even if he does have a Super Bowl ring.)

So who did Obama pick for his National Security Dream Team? I know this will come as a HUGE surprise (to no one at this point) but he nominated Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State. (And could she have looked any more miserable while he made the announcement? Were those tears in the Secretary Elect's eyes?)

Rounding out the Obama National Security Team [insert Chicago Bulls' player introduction with Barack Obama's dream team edited in here] are Defense Secretary Robert Gates, retaining his current post; Eric Holder as attorney general; Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano as homeland security secretary; Susan Rice (what is it about African-American chicks named Rice and international relations?) as United Nations ambassador; and retired Marine General Jim Jones as national security adviser at the White House.

Argue all you like about whether this is a change we can believe in or even much of a change (from the Clinton or Bush pere years), but I think it shows political savvy on Obama's part, in a lot of ways. However, only time -- and terrorists and whether we have more war or peace -- will tell.

Similarly only time (as in jail time) will tell what happens to Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress, who I will henceforth refer to as Burr-ASS, who surrendered himself to the authorities earlier today.

Per an article in today's NYTimes.com, "According to state law, a person carrying a gun without a permit faces 3 ½ to 15 years in prison if prosecutors prove that the person intended to use the weapon on another person. If intent to use cannot be proved, the person may still face felony charges that could result in up to seven years in prison."

Buh-bye, Plax. What a waste. (Guess you'll have lots of time for that hamstring to heal now, though, huh? Though I wonder if the Giants will actually fire Burr-ASS or just suspend him for a few games and will have to honor his $35 million/five-year contract.)

But do not fear Giants fans -- or mourn for Burr-ASS. As they showed yesterday with their 23 - 7 defeat of the Washington Redskins in Washington, in miserable weather, the G-Men, lead by quarterback Eli Manning, continue to prove they can win without the likes of Burr-ASS, Tiki Barber, Jeremy Shockey, and Michael Strahan, thank you very much. (I will not discuss the Jets pathetic loss to the Broncos yesterday at Giants Stadium, 34 - 17.)

Coming up next (or soon): What is it about Anderson Cooper that makes women (and men) want to throw their panties at/make cupcakes for him?

UPDATED 1:43 P.M.: Just read this excellent article by John Feinstein in The Washington Post, about professional athletes and guns. A must read.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Is there such a thing as too much chocolate?

Rather than wax rhapsodic about turkey on this day of turkey, aka Thanksgiving, I thought I would discuss a food that we daily give thanks for, chocolate.

Ah, chocolate, made from the seeds of the tropical cacao tree, instrument of pleasure and even, occasionally, pain. Associated with virility and fertility, this product of the cacao bean has a long, rich history going back hundreds of years. And in Chicago this Wednesday, the spouse and I, along with our daughter, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and two fellow (unrelated) chocoholics got to experience if not the ultimate chocolate fantasy certainly a chocoholics dream afternoon.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you a Chicago Chocolate Tour, 90 minutes of chocolaty goodness in the Windy City (aka Obamaland) condensed into one blog post.

After meeting up at the main floor Concierge Desk at 900 N. Michigan Ave., on Chicago's Magnificent Mile, we headed upstairs to Teuscher Chocolates of Switzerland, home of "The best Champagne truffles on the planet," per Zagat -- and the J-TWO-O family:

Then we braved the wind and cold to go to More Cupcakes, a feast for the eyes and tummy, run by a mother of five. There we sampled chocolate/chocolate cream and chocolate/vanilla bean cupcakes:

After stumbling out of More Cupcakes in a sugar- and chocolate-induced haze, our band of merry chocolateers headed to Sarah's Candies & Pastries, the creation of longtime candy and pastry lover Sarah Levy (who is only in her 20s -- and proof that chocolate is the secret to happiness), where we got to watch a nice man enrobe candied orange peel in chocolate -- and then eat some.

After all that chocolate, things began to get a little fuzzy (and a little too milk chocolaty) for me. We headed to Water Tower Place, to Lindt, where I vaguely remember standing in front of The Wall of Truffles and eating an extra dark truffle and being cajoled to eat/buy more chocolate, and then stumbling out of the shop in search of some water, in a chocolate-induced haze.

Then we headed downstairs to the Frango store, where I did not even attempt to eat the chocolate-covered minty creations, though my daughter gamely downed both the original and limited-edition candy cane variety of Frango Mint (which has just not been the same since Macy's took over Marshall Field's, a Chicago institution).

Stumbling out of Water Tower Place we headed across several blocks to our final chocolate destination, Argo Tea, where we drank what can best be described as "liquid candy cane" but was some kind of white chocolate mint tea concoction, and were given samples of brownies, which, like the Frango Mints, I shoved into my goody bag.

Engorged with chocolate we waddled back to 900 N. Michigan and to our car -- and headed off to Whole Foods to do some last-minute Thanksgiving shopping.

And speaking of Thanksgiving, as I sit here in my heart-covered velveteen purple pajamas, I wish one and all a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving (one hopefully filled with at least a little dark chocolate, which as we now know is filled with healthy antioxidants).

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Giving Thanks

As Thanksgiving is only two days away, I thought this an appropriate time and space to give thanks to all the people, things, and events I am thankful for this year.

I am thankful...

* that I have a spouse who not only loves me but supports all of my endeavors, including this blog (on which he often comments).

* that I have a daughter who can't say "I love you" enough; who does her homework without being asked; and who loves to learn and to read and to write. (Now if only we could get her to clean up after herself....)

* to have two affectionate cats who keep me company and make me laugh in sickness and in health (one of whom is currently batting a rubber ball all over our wooden-floored house and the other of whom is pawing my hands as I type and swishing her tail across my monitor).

* for all of YOU, my blog readers, especially the ones who take the extra time to leave a comment. (With special shout outs to Dave S., who is like the brother I never had and always wanted -- and was the one who encouraged me to blog, and EMM, who makes me laugh, over at Potpourri for $500; Larissa and her haikus; my mother, who reads EVERY blog post, bless her, and always emails me a nice comment; "Moishie," also one of my most devoted readers, who leaves me funny comments; Tommy over at Blah Blog Blah; "Betty" over at Betty Cracker, one of the best political blogs to come out of this election year; and Melanie, the estimable mistress of BeanPaste, one of the funniest, sweetest, and tastiest blogs on the Web, who gave me two honorable mentions and links recently, for which I am most grateful.)

* similarly that there is this wondrous thing called "the blogosphere," which has given me (and a lot of other folks, for better and/or for worse) an outlet to say the things (well, at least some of the things) I've always wanted to say or write -- and allowed me to discover many other wonderful writers, thinkers, and photographers (many of whom are listed in my blogroll, to the right, which I recommend you check out) whom I may not otherwise have known about.

* for the work opportunities I have had and the new ones awaiting me.

* for the roof over my head, especially now that it no longer leaks.

* for the delicious food I hope to be eating over Thanksgiving break.

* for my health and the good health of my family and friends.

* that BOTH the Jets and the Giants are in first place. (And Lord, if it's not too much to ask, a Jets vs. Giants Super Bowl XLIII?)

* that Barack Hussein Obama will be our 44th President -- and that Sarah Palin will NOT be the Vice President (at least not for the next four years). For both these things, I am especially grateful.

What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving? Leave a comment and let me know.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Football! Beer! Sex! Pumpkin pie!

Finally, a blog post for everyone.

First, football. (And ladies, if you are not interested in me talking about a bunch of guys with no necks and upper arms the size of your waist in too-tight short pants constantly touching and trying to tackle each other all for a little pigskin, just scroll down the page a wee bit. I promise you will not be disappointed.)

So football. As many of you already know, yesterday afternoon the big story here in the New York City Metro Area (and probably in Tennessee, too, albeit for different reasons) was the New York Jets mowing down undefeated Tennessee for a Titan-ic upset (think crop duster and Cary Grant in "North by Northwest"). The stunning 34 - 13 upset now gives the Jets an 8 - 3 record, leaving them securely atop the AFC East. (Well, at least for another week.) Who'd a thunk it?

And, while I admit I am a wee bit disappointed that the Jets did not wear their New York Titans uniforms, I am not disappointed in the least with Brett Favre (who now has the most passing touchdowns in NFL history, passing Dan Marino -- and yes, probably the most picks, too), Leon Washington (that guy can MOVE), Laveranues (I rest my case) Coles, and the rest of Gang Green's performance today. Well done, Jets, well done.

As for the New York Giants... 10 and 1, baby -- and still leading the NFC! Giants. Could. Go. All. The. Way. (The crowd goes wild. Okay, I go wild. And the spouse. And, okay, probably several million Giants fans watching the G-Men put away the Arizona Cardinals last night, Eastern Time). Final score, 37 - 29. And they got it done without my man, Brandon Jacobs, who sat out the game with a knee injury; without Plaxico Burress, who had hamstring problems; and without David Tyree, the guy who made that amazing (and memorable) Super Bowl XLII catch. But you would have hardly known anyone was missing the way the Giants played yesterday.

I am definitely smelling Super Bowl (though it could just be leftover beer from last year's team-changing Big Game, which was also played at University of Phoenix Stadium).

And speaking of leftover beer...

As some of my readers may remember, this summer, while biking in the Pacific Northwest, I was introduced to Fat Tire Amber Ale, and quickly became addicted*. This addiction quickly turned into obsession when, upon my return to the Northeast, I discovered, you cannot get Fat Tire in the Northeast. Bereft and distraught (after discovering I could not even get New Belgium Brewing to ship me a case, nor could I find someone online who would ship me some), my dear friend, T. from B., who as far as I know isn't even that into beer, then took it upon herself to purchase and have shipped to me 20 22 oz. bottles of this nectar of the beer gods.

Beautiful, are they not? Talk about Drinkability. Mm mm.

Well, sadly, we are now down to eight bottles, two of which we are saving to give to my stepfather, who relishes a good beer, in a couple weeks. (And no, T. from B., this does NOT mean you need to order me more. Your original gift was more than generous.)

Besides, you know what too much beer leads to, right? Sex. Well, if you are lucky, guys. You know what else can lead to sex? Doing the dishes. (Hey, my man Obama is no fool.)

Just look at that picture. Is that sexy or what? Ladies, you know what I am talking about. The best part? I did not even have to ask the spouse to clean those filthy oven racks. He just donned his bright orange latex gloves and started scrubbing away, while our oven was self cleaning and we were watching the Jets game (see above). I think that behavior deserves a reward.

Which is why I made this:

That be mighty fine pie -- topped with the best homemade whipped cream you never had. (My secret: rum. And vanilla. Hmm. Guess it's not a secret anymore.)

Okay, technically, I made this delicious-looking (and tasting!) pumpkin pie because our neighbors (both of whom are Giants and Fat Tire fans) invited us over for a pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving feast yesterday, and we were tasked with bringing a pie and a vegetable. (I made a big autumn salad, even though it feels more like winter.) Also, the kid's been pestering me to make a pumpkin pie for years.

In all, it was a mighty fine Sunday. A win-win-win. (Great football. Great food. Great fun.)

Coming up next on J-TWO-O, things I am thankful for. Stay tuned...

12 NOON OFF-TOPIC UPDATE: This just in: Tiger Woods will no longer be forced to drive a Buick. According to reports, GM will no longer use Woods as a pitchman after this year, which is reportedly fine by Tiger as he hated being taken for an eighty-something driver and wearing those funny driving caps.

*A clarification: I am not technically addicted to Flat Tire (or any other beer or form of alcohol), though it sure felt that way during the latter part of the summer. It was a TURN OF PHRASE, a bit of hyperbole. Happy now, J1?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

"Bronx Mowgli" and what else NOT to name your child

I get the whole "let's be original! our child needs to stand out from the pack!" mentality, parents of Suri, Sunday, Shiloh, Moses and Apple. But Ever Gabo? Zuma Nesta Rock? And Bronx Mowgli? Give me -- and the poor kid -- a friggin' break! Not that I am saying everyone should name his or her kid something traditional (i.e., English or Biblical -- and let's face it, there are some mighty odd names, at least by today's standards, in the Bible). Just something spellable and pronounceable, that won't give the poor kid a complex.

So herewith I give you "J.'s Rules for What Not to Name Your Child." (Note: The opinions expressed herein are J.'s and are not necessarily shared by her family or friends.)

1. Do not name your child something offensive or obsene (or just downright stupid), like "Shithead" (pronounced "Shuh-TEED") or "Loser" (though Loser turned out to be a winner, while his brother, Winner, turned out to be a loser), both cases mentioned in the book Freakonomics. In New Zealand, authorities have the right to turn down names that are openly offensive or obscene and have already said no to Fish and Chips, Yeah Detroit, Stallion, Twisty Poi, Keenan Got Lucky, Sex Fruit, Fat Boy, Satan, Adolf Hitler, and 4Real. For real. In fact, the parents of "Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii" lost custody of the child, who went by the initial "K" instead, she was so embarrassed by her name.

2. Do not name your child after a borough of the City of New York. (Yeah, I'm talking to you David and Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham and you, Ashlee with two "e"s and Pete Wenz.)

3. Do not name your child after a beach. (Do you know what kind of sludge washes up onto beaches?)

4. Do not name your child after a beverage, adult or otherwise. (Does the world really need another "Budweiser" or "Zuma"? Though the parents of the latter say they named him after the beach. Though really, is a beach any better? See above.)

5. Do not name your child after a day of the week, unless you are a member of the Addams Family. (Though, okay, Tuesday -- nee Susan -- Weld was pretty cute, though she suffered a nervous breakdown at 9, started drinking heavily at 10, and tried to kill herself at 12. Are you paying attention, Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban?)

6. Do not name your child after your or anyone else's car. (Why? Do you really want to hear some guy say "Oh what a feeling to drive a Toyota" when you know he's not talking about the car? Enough said.)

7. Do not name your child after a menu item, even one from a fancy French restaurant. (Yes, I'm talking 'bout you, parents of all those "Happy Meals." And while I love a good cupcake, I do not suggest naming your child after one.)

8. Do not pick a name you can't spell, and then come up with some weird spelling that no one else can spell or pronounce. (FYI, If you, an adult, can't spell it, what makes you think your kid, his friends, and/or his teachers will?) PC Warning: The only possible exception to this rule is if you know for sure your son is going to grow up to be a professional basketball or football player in the United States. And even then, can't you cut the announcers/commentators some slack? Their job is hard enough as is.

Special note here for my Welsh and Irish/Gaelic readers: This rule does not necessarily apply to you, especially if you reside in Wales or Ireland where I assume you and other people will know how to spell your child's name, even if the rest of us don't.

I am sure if I sat here long enough, I could come up with more rules, but I need to take little Hard Day's Night Two-O shopping for some winter outerwear.

P.S. If you want to have a little fun researching baby names, try the The Baby Name Wizard, where you can "explore name trends letter by letter."

UPDATED 12:08 P.M.: I just came across this blog/web post titled "Baby's Named a Bad, Bad Thing: A Primer on Parent Cruelty," which is also pretty darn funny (and/or scary, depending on your point of view).

UPDATED AGAIN AT 3:55 P.M.: How could I have possibly left off Kal-el Coppola Cage, Moxie CrimeFighter Jillette, or Soleil Moon Frye, who named her children Jagger and Poet? (For more unusual celebrity baby names, click on the link.)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Will it be the (NY) Titans vs. the (TN) Titans this Sunday? And other things on my mind...

First, the Jets, and this Sunday's big matchup against the Tennessee Titans.

Think of the mayhem and witty repartee that matchup would elicit from the CBS crew covering the game, especially the color commentator, if the Jets decided to wear their New York Titans uniforms! (Laura S., cover your ears.) It would be the (New York) Titans vs. the (Tennessee) Titans, both of whom are first in their respective divisions (albeit the ones from Tennessee are undefeated)!

Btw, for those who did not read my previous post on this subject, where I asked "Yo Jets, what's the deal with the 'Titans' uniforms?, I get that the Jets (who play in New Jersey, though originally played in New York, at Shea Stadium) started life in 1960 as the New York Titans. And I get the whole nostalgia, yearning for the glory days, it's a great marketing opportunity/sell more stuff thing. But let us recall, dear Jets management and sports fans, it was not the New York Titans who won Super Bowl III. It was the New York Jets.

And this whole throwback uniform thing has got to stop. Well, after Sunday anyways, that is assuming the Jets do don their Titans regalia, which they probably won't. I mean, did you see the Pittsburgh Steelers throwback uniforms the other week? Pathetic.

More importantly, you do not see the Baltimore Ravens donning Colts uniforms (even though, technically, they were the Cleveland Browns). No. Nor do you see the Houston Texans donning Oilers uniforms (though technically the Oilers are now the Tennessee Titans, as opposed to the New York Titans, who are, as we know, now known as the New York Jets, even though they play in -- everybody now -- New Jersey). As for the current Cleveland Browns... I'll just leave that one alone.

Getting back to the Jets... As I was saying, I get the whole nostalgia + cool new uniforms = $$$ thing (though I doubt that New York Titans jerseys and paraphernalia are exactly flying off the shelves), but enough already. Or enough after this Sunday.

Please, Eric Mangini and Mike Tannenbaum, grant me this one little wish and have the Jets wear their New York Titans uniforms one last time? Then, boys, it's back to business and to being Gang Green, not Gang Teal and Gold, OK?

Btw, I am not 100% sure about this, but I am pretty sure the Jets Flight Crew (aka the Jets cheerleaders, pictured above, obviously before winter came early) never donned Titans uniforms, though someone please correct me if I am wrong. And don't they look fine?

No matter which uniforms they wear this Sunday, though, I wish the Jets luck in their matchup with the (soon to be defeated?) Tennessee Titans, though the spouse and I have a soft spot for Titans QB Kerry Collins, who once played for the New York Giants. Still, if Brett Favre doesn't throw a pick (or three) and doesn't get sacked, and the Jets defense holds, I think the Jets could just clip the Titans.

Other Things on My Mind (in No Particular Order)...

* Dave S.'s theory of grocery bagging, which I don't have a problem with, as long as he's the one left holding the bag(s).

* Cupcakes! My friend, Cat, who lives in Paris, recently started a cupcake business and blog -- and the cupcake pictures alone (which she took) have me continually checking the site.

* When the will-she-or-won't-she drama over whether Hillary Clinton will be Obama's Secretary of State will end. (Please tell me this psychodrama will end BEFORE Thanksgiving. Please?)

* Why lawmakers (i.e., Congress) are holding the auto industry to higher standards (something they should have done YEARS ago) than the financial services industry, which has also done a good job of pissing away money, and taking consumers for a ride.

* Wondering if there is a new post up on my new favorite humor blog, I'm Not Feeling You.

* Anderson Cooper. (Blog post to come soon, Lizzy.)

* The Puppy Cam!

* People who walk behind moving cars (namely mine), i.e., see you moving but decide to walk or run behind you as you are backing out anyway and then get annoyed with YOU.

* And, should I be concerned that my spouse now has a Facebook page?

Have something on your mind that you want to share with the group? Go ahead and leave me a comment.