Monday, November 30, 2009

You lit up my night

They call Paris the "City of Light." And between the hours of 8 and 11:15 p.m., for approximately 15 minutes, most of that light comes from the Eiffel Tower.

Having never seen the Eiffel Tower Light Show, we (my mother, who has lived in Paris the last 12 years yet also never witnessed the Eiffel Tower Light Show, the spouse, my daughter, et moi) decided to check it out last Thursday (aka Thanksgiving), despite the fact that is was pouring.

And were we glad we did. I even was able to record some of the highlights of the show with my little Canon PowerShot SD890 IS, though it was difficult for me to shoot while holding the camera in one hand and my umbrella in the other. But still, IT'S THE EIFFEL TOWER! ALL LIT UP IN PRETTY COLORS! (And I love the conversations the camera picked up, some in English -- mostly J-THREE-O's running commentary -- some in French.)

Be sure to watch all three videos, which are less than two minutes all together, to get the full effect.

Note: If you missed my "Paris, city of pastries and chocolates" post, featuring mouth-watering pictures from our Paris Chocolate (Walking) Tour, click here.

P.S. How many of you started hearing Debbie Boone sing "You Light Up My Life" when you read the title of this post? (You're welcome, Dave S.)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Paris, city of pastries and chocolates

Warning: This post contains serious food porn.

On Friday, as is our Thanksgiving tradition (since last year) we went on a chocolate tour, given by Paris Walks, on the Right Bank of Paris. Our guide, Mary Ellen, an expat who has been living in Paris for 17 years, has a Master's in French History and teaches French school children English, was very good -- as were the pastries and chocolates.

If or when you next go to Paris, I highly recommend the Paris Chocolate Tour. In the meantime, here are some highlights.

First stop Boulangerie-Pâtisserie Gosselin à Paris (Jon and Kate bake great?):

Note: We went to the branch at 125, Rue St Honoré, near the Louvre, and their Opera pastry was the best all of us ever had, which is saying a lot.

Next stop: Le Côte de France chocolatier at 25 Avenue de L'Opera:

Ensuite Chocolat Michel Cluizel:

Et enfin
Jean-Paul Hévin, where we tasted lime-infused chocolates (you put the lime in the choc-o-late you mix 'em all up...):

Mon mari (aka "the spouse"), ma mère (aka "Granny"), ma fille (aka J-THREE-O), et moi also stumbled across a marvelous (and some say the best) macaron (and chocolate) shop in Paris earlier in the week, Pierre Hermé, where we sampled several different macarons:

Here's hoping you had a sweet (or at least tasty) Thanksgiving....

Next up: My Eiffel Tower obsession.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Talk about getting nailed

Literally. Ouch.

Junior and the spouse are having dinner avec ma mere, so I am catching up on the news (after avoiding it the last five days), and came across this hard-hitting story from The New York Times about Swedish nail beds (or nail mats). Talk about getting nailed in the sack.

But to get to the point, apparently, after the initial pain wears off, nail beds (or nail mats) can be quite relaxing, even therapeutic, alleviating sleep problems and migraines (two of my favorites).

Per The Times article, the mats typically measure about 16 by 28 inches and contain 4,000 to 8,000 spikes.

Four thousand to 8,000 spikes?! Yikes. But apparently fewer would really hurt.

In any case, the nail bed/mat sounds like the perfect gift for all you sadists to give -- to the masochists in your life. (Less than 30 shopping days until Christmas and only 17 until the first night of Hanukkah! Order your nail mat today!)

In the meantime, wishing you and yours a very happy (and healthy) Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Watching American football in a Canadian sports bar in Paris

Giants beat the Falcons. In overtime. 34 - 31. On a 36-yard field goal by Lawrence Tynes.

If the Giants had lost (and frankly, they should have clobbered the Falcons -- but their defense has been AWOL the last four or five games), the game would have sucked. But the Giants won. Hurrah. And we enjoyed our time at The Moose, as well as our hamburgers and fries, which were suprisingly good, though the Canadian beer was not.

We now resume our regularly scheduled Parisian vacation. (Cruised the Seine on a Bateaux-Mouches yesterday and walked around the sixth arrondissement, where we are staying. Went to the organic outdoor market and to Montmartre today. And are heading to the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and chez Little Miss Cupcake demain.)

Au revoir, mes amis. A bientot....

P.S. As I type this, the spouse is trying to see if he can find the New York Jets vs. New England Patriots game, but I'm not holding out much hope.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fear of flying

And I ain't talkin' Erica Jong, people.

Seriously, between computer glitches, pilots checking out each others "itineraries" in the cockpit, terrorists, geese, and ridiculous fees... it's a wonder anyone gets on a plane anymore. But get on a plane I am scheduled to do, later today (along with the spouse and kid), even though I have yet to pack a thing and have appointments to attend and errands to run.

To say I am feeling a bit anxious or stressed about our imminent trip is an understatement, even though I exercise regularly, which, according to one of the most popular/emailed articles in The New York Times this week, should make me practically anxiety and stress free, which makes me shudder at what I'd be like if I didn't work out every other day - YIKES.

Anyway, it's over the Atlantic and through customs to the kid's grandmother's apartment we go -- providing we don't experience any of the aforementioned flying hazards. And on Sunday I hope to be live blogging the Atlanta Falcons vs. the New York Giants game from a Canadian sports bar in Paris (because that's the kind of football fan and neurotic blogger I am).

So for now, au revoir, mes amis. Hopefully I will see you on the other side. In the meantime, please enjoy this video of Michael Buble singing that Frank Sinatra classic "Come Fly with Me."

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Why did the turkey cross the New Jersey Turnpike?

To get to the other side. (Duh.)

After weeks of trying to catch her, this afternoon New Jersey State Fish and Wildlife officials finally manage to capture Tammy the Turnpike Turkey. Tammy, who officials believe wandered over from Staten Island, had taken up residence among the tollbooths at Exit 14B/Jersey City on the New Jersey Turnpike and was the source of much brake slamming and cursing from New Jersey drivers.

Having driven many times on the New Jersey Turnpike, what is truly amazing to me is that Tammy the Turnpike Turkey wound up at a zoo and not as the Blue Plate Special at one of the state's famous diners.

What's black and white and cute all over?

Presenting Yun Zi (pronounced "youn zhay" -- and meaning "Son of Cloud"), the San Diego Zoo's latest Giant Panda cub:

All together now: Awwww.

During a recent physical, Yun Zi, the fifth Giant Panda cub born to proud mama Bai Yun, weighed in at 12.5 pounds and measured just over two feet. When full grown, "little" Yun Zi will weigh over 300 pounds, which is about 285 pounds (and a heckuva lot of bamboo) more than I can handle. Still... very cute.

Need more panda cuteness? Check this out.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

From Sarah Palin to Jenna Jameson: It's porn week on Oprah!

And I gotta hand it to the queen of the talk show. She knows how to get an audience aroused!

First Oprah warms us up with a little soft (or political) porn, i.e., former GILF and Sean Hannity wet dream Sarah Palin on Monday*. Though while the approximately 60-minute interview may have gotten the job done for some Conservative Republican males, I have to say it left me dry. (Far more titillating would be watching/listening to what Oprah said to Gayle King after the interview, though I doubt we'll ever get to see or hear that conversation.)

Now today Oprah has on Jenna Jameson, "an American entrepreneur" and the "Queen of Porn," to discuss why more and more women are using porn and erotica. (Though why Oprah needs 50 minutes to discuss this is beyond me.) Doing the reporting for this hard-hitting segment is Lisa Ling. (And boys, correct me if I am wrong but is there anything sexier than a sexy Asian chick discussing porn, okay, after performing it?)

Whoever said sex doesn't sell?

*If you missed Oprah's interview with former Alaska governor Sarah Palin yesterday, check out this post/recap from Wonkette. You will not regret it. H/T to Kevin K. at Rumproast.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Tell me why... there are so many songs about Monday

You've got New Order's "Blue Monday" (one of my all-time fave songs):

You've got the Boomtown Rats' "I Don't Like Mondays," the Carpenters' "Rainy Days and Mondays," Fats Domino's "Blue Monday," the Bangles' "Manic Monday"

and, of course, Hank Williams Jr.'s theme for Monday Night Football:

And those are but a handful of the odes to Monday, as this list of "Monday songs" can attest to. I believe only Saturday is more popular. (And yes, there's a list for that, too.)

Hoping you are not having a blue or manic Monday.... (Btw, speaking of blue or manic Monday, anyone planning on watching or TiVo/DVRing Oprah's Sarah Palin interview later?)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Cats do the darndest things

The continuing adventures of Felix the cat...

: Fellow blogger and cat lover Kevin K. over at Rumproast just posted some pix of his adorable kitten Biscuit, in case you didn't get enough pussy. ;-)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Adios Lou Dobbs

Now Stephen Colbert -- perdóname, Esteban Colberto -- won't have Lou Dobbs to kick around anymore! (Or at least for a few weeks.)

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Lou Dobbs
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorU.S. Speedskating

As a parting/early Christmas gift, I am sending Lou Dobbs this fine mariachi band, to serenade him night and day while he contemplates his next career decision. (This one's for you, Unc.)

Adios Lou Dobbs. CNN will be pretty much the same without you.

UPDATED: Just came across this blog post, titled "So, what really happened to Lou Dobbs?" on MediaMatters and felt it worth sharing.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The truth is overrated

I used to tell the truth, but it was always getting me in trouble. For example, you know how women always ask their friends "Do these jeans make my ass look big?" Well, back in the day, I would be the one fool friend who would actually say, "Why yes they do" when they did (usually adding a guilty "sorry" afterward). As a result of this kind of truth telling, I lost a lot of friends.

Similarly, when clients or prospective clients would ask me what I "honestly" thought of their website or some article or press release or blog post they wrote -- earnestly asking me to give them "my honest opinion" -- I did. And if it happened that their website or article or press release or blog post sucked, I told them so (albeit using more professional language and pointing out any bright spots, if there were any). And guess what? I lost a lot of gigs.

So, after years of truth telling, and getting kicked in the teeth for it, I have finally learned what Colonel Nathan R. Jessep (Jack Nicholson) had to explain to Lt. Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise) in A Few Good Men: You [people] can't handle the truth. Oh you say you want to hear the truth, but what you really want is affirmation or confirmation -- to be told whatever it is you want to hear, just like that guy Bernie Madoff and those two Bear Stearns guys, Ralph Cioffi and Matthew Tannin, told their clients... right before they lost all those clients' money.

Want to make friends and win clients? Tell 'em what they want to hear, the truth be damned.

I've even been practicing, so next time you ask me for my honest opinion, I'll be ready. Don't I think your kid is the cutest/smartest/funniest kid ever? "I absolutely agree! [Insert name of a child] is adorable/a genius/a natural-born comedian!" Want my opinion on your little operation? "Really, you had your boobs done?! No, no. They look totally natural." Had no idea your husband was cheating on you and can I believe it? "I'm totally shocked and surprised!" What do I really think of your new website? "Wow. I'm speechless." And your ass? "It looks great in those jeans!"

What's that I hear you say? Lying is WRONG. And I am setting a bad example for little J-THREE-O? (Hangs head.)

Hmm. Now that I think about it, maybe you and the Thompson Twins are right.

From here on out, I promise to be truthier. Would I lie to you?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I feel lucky

It's 11/11 and I'm heading off with G. in a few minutes to Mohegan Sun for our last gambling trip of the year.

I think this could be THE BIG ONE, people, as both G. and I are feeling lucky -- and I am so due. (Mama needs a new pair of shoes, really expensive leather ones with a moderate heel.)

Odds are we will at least have a good time.

Will let you know how we did later.

UPDATED 4:30 P.M.: I am pleased to report the Mohegan Sun "offsite" (aka gambling outing) was a great success, and I made a nearly 400% return on my investment. G. also had an up day. Not bad for a few hours work. And the chocolate martinis were delightful. (Special thanks to Glen, JR, and Pat, our new friends from Rhode Island, who owe us drinks, and to Orlando, our new favorite croupier.) Next stop: shoe shopping in Paris!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Target is proof that God loves us and wants us to be shopping

Never ever go into a Target, especially a shiny new Target, with lots and lots of attractively displayed merchandise, in nice wide aisles, that seem to stretch forever, without:

a) having a list
b) will power
c) having eaten enough prior to entering Target
d) having to be anywhere else
e) all of the above

Because if you do, this:

Will start to look this like this:

And next thing you know -- and $200 later -- you will have a shopping cart full of stuff you don't need and don't even remember putting in there. Just sayin'. (Though I did put back the box of Archer Farms individually wrapped chewy chocolate chip cookies.)

Also to blame for my recent Target foray: the Giants heart-breaking last-minute loss yesterday to the San Diego Chargers (retail therapy)... my mother-in-law getting me a gift card, to Macy's (conveniently located just across the hall from Target)... and the Black Eyed Peas (curse you for coming up with such a catchy song).

Saturday, November 7, 2009

It's Caturday!

The perfect day for funny cat videos.

First up, "Halloween Kitties" (or why you should never try to put a costume on a cat, let alone three cats), from the same folks who brought you "An Engineer's Guide to Cats." (H/T to Larissa.)

Next up, "Simon's Cat." And despite this being a cartoon what you see is real.

Finally, Felix! He takes a licking and... keeps on licking!

Btw, you can also view this Felix video on YouTube, at -- and feel free to share it with your friends. (Hint.)

Wishing you all a very happy Caturday! (Even you dog lovers.)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Another year older...

Not so sure about the "wiser" part.

Noteworthy events that took place on November 6 (besides my birth):

* Abraham Lincoln elected President.

* Sweden begins a tradition of eating Gustavus Adolphus pastries to commemorate the king.

* Meet the Press debuts on TV. (I still miss Russert.)

* The Iran-Contra Affair is revealed. (Good times. Good times.)

And today is the Kona Coffee Festival on the Big Island of Hawai'i. (I'll drink to that!)

Am heading off in a few to meet up with a graduate school friend who is in town for a couple days. He's a respected professor and published author now. And me? I blog. (Guess who's paying for lunch? Actually, it will probably wind up being me.)

Anyway... Happy Birthday to Me -- and to Sally Field, Rebecca Romijn, Mike Nichols, Maria Shriver, Glenn Frey, John Philip Sousa (even though he is dead), and many others -- from Sir Paul and the band!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Oscar Preview (Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin to host!)

For those who haven't yet heard, the producers of this year's Academy Awards (aka the Oscars) have tapped actor/comedians Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin (who co-star in the upcoming flick It's Complicated) to co-host the 82nd Academy Awards, which air on March 7, 2010.

I think the Martin-Baldwin pairing is inspired, and has great comedic potential. Though I have to admit, I'm a little bit worried that Alec Baldwin is an alien and is just using the Academy Awards, which will be beamed to millions of homes around the world, as a way to further soften our brains.

And what better way to further soften our brains than with banjo music? Even better, Steve Martin playing all of this year's Academy Award-nominated songs on the banjo (preferably with Muppets).

GENIUS. Evil genius. But still genius.

UPDATED: H/T to friend of the blog AVW for reminding me of this classic Steve Martin SNL sketch. I am actually not a big fan of the Oscars, but I would watch -- even pay money to watch -- the Academy Awards just to see Martin and Baldwin (filling in for Dan Aykroyd) as those two wild and crazy guys, the Festrunk Brothers:

Monday, November 2, 2009

Pillow Talk

The uninhibited post about a carefree social media marketer... a careful blogger... and how they learned that pillow talk is no fun... for just one!

Alternate subtitle: How one well- meaning blogger went from mattress hopping to mattress -- and pillow -- whoring (though there is nothing lewd or debauched about this post, sadly)... and gave her readers the chance to win a free pillow!

So here's the story -- and why I am in a position to offer one lucky reader a luxurious Nature's Sleep - Azlon/Soybean Pillow. That's a $64 value, people, yours, for free! (But more about this in a minute.)

Apparently my post about the spouse and I trying to find the perfect mattress came to the attention of some nice folks at, a division of, the #3 Online Retailer in Home Furnishings according to the Internet Retailer Top 500 Retailer Guide 2009! And they told their boss, a nice man named Tyler P., whose job is "to align with quality sites like [J-TWO-O]." (I am hoping Tyler's job involves other duties as well.)

Anyway, here's what my new BFF (or for this week) Tyler wrote to me: "I love your site, J-TWO-O, and think it provides your readers with fantastic content. We are very interested in creating a mutually beneficial partnership with you."

When I was done laughing my ass off and got up off the floor I replied to Tyler, thanking him for his kind words and explaining to him that J-TWO-O was a satirical blog, meaning it pokes fun at things, albeit in a (hopefully) clever way -- and sent him a link to the site as clearly he had never actually read it.

Amazingly, Tyler was undeterred, even offering me and my readers the chance to win fabulous prizes (okay, one prize, the Nature's Sleep - Azlon/Soybean Pillow) just for including a link to the Simmons Beauty Rest section of And seriously, how could I possibly deprive my readers of the chance to win a pillow that "surrounds you in pure luxury while allowing you to experience the inherent natural health benefits of Azlon fiber from soybean and corn... [with] fibers that activate the growth of collagen protein in your skin!"

So... Want to win a free pillow? Here's all you have to do: Just leave me a brief (G-, PG-, or PG13-rated) comment ON THE BLOG re a funny mattress- or pillow- or sleep-related experience you've had, or why you need a new pillow, making sure to use your name or nickname or nom de blog (i.e., no commenting as Anonymous) between now and this Friday, November 6 (which happens to be my birthday), at 5 p.m. ET.

Then next Monday a team of totally objective blog readers will pick the winner, whom I will reveal on the blog.

The only catch? The winner must live in the continental United States and you will have to provide me with your name and address via email (no one else will see it, except for Tyler, who is totally on the level -- and has a really cute Facebook picture), so can ship you your Nature's Sleep - Azlon/Soybean Pillow.

Oh, and if you do happen to need a mattress, do check out the Simmons Beauty Rest section of or any of CSN Mattresses other fine mattresses.

This has been a non-paid advertisement.

UPDATED 11/09/09: AND THE WINNER IS... Dave S.! Here is the note I received from Tyler:
Hi J,

I think I would love to give this to Dave S. and his apparently sick daughter… short and sweet comment, but quite convincing. Let me know Dave’s shipping address and phone number and I will have the item shipped to the winner right away.


Congratulations Dave S. And thanks to everyone who weighed in with a comment.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Because apparently watching the Mets implode three years in a row wasn't enough.

And here I was really hoping the Giants would recover this week, and CLOBBER the Philadelphia Eagles, especially as Eagles star RB Brian Westbrook was "inactive" for today's game. Ha! Or maybe the Jets would win two games in a row and take revenge on the Miami Dolphins over at Giants Stadium. Nope!

As a result there will be no wearing of waving of the Giants or Jets thongs this week.

Oh, and consider this an open thread. You are free to leave any sports-related or Halloween comments.