Friday, July 30, 2010

It had to be me

[Alternate titles: "I'm just wild about Harry (Connick Jr.)" and "It was the best of nights, it was the worst of nights."]

First, let me, in the words of Bing Crosby and Harry Connick Jr., accentuate the positive. Thanks to "Sleepover Night" at our daughter's day camp, the spouse and I found ourselves with the night off Thursday. And somehow we found ourselves in New York City drinking Champagne (or in the spouse's case, beer) and eating delicious French fare at one of our favorite little restaurants, Brasserie Cognac, on Broadway and 55th Street...

then sitting in the eighth row of the orchestra section at Harry Connick Jr.: In Concert on Broadway at the Neil Simon Theater.

To say that Harry Connick Jr: In Concert on Broadway was good would be a gross understatement. It was... amazing. And that is still selling it short. I wish I could have videotaped the concert (I had my camera and thought about it several times but the rather large usher hovering five feet away from me dissuaded me). Then I could have watched it again and again.

Not only was/is Harry Connick Jr. an incredible singer, he is an incredible musician and performer -- and also a really funny guy. And I doubt I was the only one in the audience who was disappointed when the concert finally ended around 10:30 p.m.

But all good things must eventually come to end. And in this case les bons temps stopped rouler-ing seconds after we walked out of the theater when I looked up and saw THIS:

[Conjure image of Stephen Colbert shaking his fist in indignation:] DECKER!

It's like Brooklyn Decker is stalking me. Everywhere I look, there she and her breasts are (even on vacation, when we were flipping channels and happened to catch the ESPYs, there they were).

But Brooklyn Decker's double Ds were the least of my woes last night. For just as the spouse and I were drifting off to sleep, around 12:20 a.m., the phone rang. And I don't know about all of you but I have never had a good phone call at 12:20 a.m.

Sure enough, it was camp calling to inform us that J-THREE-O had sprained her ankle (trying to escape the embrace of a boy -- at midnight, on wet grass) and needed to be picked up. Now. So the spouse (as I can no longer carry our daughter) dutifully got dressed and drove over to the camp at 12:30 a.m.... literally picked up our daughter... drove her back home... and carried her up the stairs to the spare bedroom, which has a futon on the floor, whereupon I cleaned her feet and gave her some naproxen sodium and a kiss -- and stayed awake the rest of the night/morning, unable to sleep, only to discover upon (physically) getting up this morning that... we had no water. None. Not a drop.

So at 8:45 I packed up my toiletry kit and a couple of towels and a washcloth and drove to a neighbor's, so I could brush my teeth and take a shower and shave. (I LOVE YOU, G.! YOU ROCK!)

Fast forward eight or so hours... Still no water, but we have two nice new big holes in our backyard, and just found out we have to replace our water pump and all the wiring. All I can say is, glad we saw the concert last night, cause it's going to be a loooong time 'til we splurge like that again. But at least we should have our water back in the next hour or so... so I can do the laundry and the dishes and the cleaning. Yay!

As for J-THREE-O (aka Sarah Heartburn), she has a mildly sprained ankle (which is now in an air cast) and has been enjoying ordering her father around all day.

I will now end this blog post on a positive note, with this clip of (a much younger and thinner) Harry Connick Jr. singing "It Had to Be You," from When Harry Met Sally (one of my favorite movies):

Btw, Harry Connick Jr: In Concert on Broadway is being filmed for TV (and DVD) tonight, and when it airs/comes out, I'll be watching -- and you should, too.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mets-och-ism (Or how to tell if you are a Metsochist)

Do you have season tickets to Mets games at Citi Field?

Do you watch Mets games beyond the ninth inning, even when you have to get up for work at 6 a.m. the next morning?

Despite being of otherwise sane mind and fully cognizant of the Mets record and history, do you still watch every game and not-so-secretly hope they will win, even when Johan Santana gives up six runs in the first inning?

Then you, my friend, are a Metsochist -- and suffer from Metsochism.

1 : a sports-related perversion characterized by pleasure in being subjected to pain or humiliation on a nightly (or daily) basis by one's baseball team
2 : pleasure in being abused or dominated : a taste for suffering

— Mets·och·ist (noun): one who takes part in Metsochism

— Mets·och·is·tic (adjective)

— Mets·och·is·ti·cal·ly (adverb)

Sadly, as far as I know, there is no cure.

Go Mets!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

That's the way (uh-huh uh-huh) I like it (uh-huh uh-huh)

I don't know about you all, but every time I hear Enrique Iglesias's new song, "I Like It" (featuring Pitbull), which, considering my car radio is tuned to, like, every Top 40/Pop station in the NYC-Tri-State area, is a lot...

I cannot help but think of that other "I Like It" song. I am, of course, referring to KC & The Sunshine Band's timeless classic, "That's the Way (I Like It)"...

the chorus to which, in case you forgot, went

Oh, that's the way, uh-huh uh-huh,
I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh.
That's the way, uh-huh uh-huh,
I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh.
That's the way, uh-huh uh-huh,
I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh.
That's the way, uh-huh uh-huh,
I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh.

At the time, my mother referred to "That's the Way (I Like It)" as "the stupidest [or was it 'dumbest'?] song ever," which I think may have been a bit harsh -- and inaccurate. (Consider the Comments your opportunity to list the dumbest pop song or songs you have ever heard.)

In any case, I'm not so sure the chorus to Enrique Iglesias's "I Like It" is any deeper or more profound...

Baby I like it
The way you move on the floor
Baby I like it
Come on and give me some more
Oh yes I like it
Screaming like never before
Baby I like it
I, I, I like it.

but I like it, too. I, I, I like it.

Monday, July 26, 2010

It was a hot and Storm King day... (art appreciation)

the sun shone in torrents — except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the maple allées (for it is in the Storm King Art Center that our scene lies), rattling the leaves, and fiercely agitating the enormous sculptures that groaned against the heat....

On Saturday, the spouse and I were gifted with a day off. (A good friend of J-THREE-O's invited her over for the day.) So we took the opportunity to drive to the Storm King Art Center, an outdoor sculpture park in Mountainville, New York, where temperature in the non-existent shade was 95 degrees Fahrenheit (though that may be a conservative estimate).

Despite the heat, we loved strolling through the sculpture park and gazing up at the enormous works of art.

(Apparently outdoor sculptors and yours truly have a thing for red.)

After baking in the heat in the name of art appreciation for nearly an hour and a half (that tram didn't arrive a minute too soon), we drove to Cornwall-on-Hudson, a picturesque town overlooking (wait for it...) the Hudson River, where we had a fabulous lunch at the River Bank Restaurant and then took a stroll, which turned into a drive, along the riverbank -- where I captured this shot of one of the prettiest or most scenic gazebos I have ever seen.

I (heart) summer.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Seventeen years ago today...

the spouse and I stood hand in hand in a little building in Kenilworth, Illinois, surrounded by friends and family. (Want to know how long 17 years is? Let's put it this way: there was no digital photography, the Internet was in its infancy, the spouse was a beta tester for something called email being rolled out by a little company called AOL, "mobile" phones were only mobile if you had strong arms and didn't mind carrying around a bag that felt like bricks, and people actually RSVP'd, via the mail.)

As I recall, there was a lot of hair (seriously, what was I thinking?!), a lot of music (the spouse and I referred to our wedding as "the benefit concert" because the spouse and nearly all of his friends were musicians at the time and got up on the stage and played for, oh, four hours, which is why there is maybe one picture of me dancing with him at our wedding), a lot of food (almost all of which was vegetarian, which my mother thought we were crazy to do at the time and which I was too busy and anxious to eat*), and a lot of Champagne (much of which sadly went to waste because one of the servers stupidly opened nearly all of it near the end of the reception without realizing the party was nearly over), and, oh yes, something about promising to love and honor each other. (Obey? Puh-lease. We wanted this marriage to work.)

Oh, and did I mention there was really great music?

Speaking of really great music, this would not be it, but it seems extremely appropriate considering that today we are celebrating our 17th Wedding Anniversary** and our fondness for The Flintstones. (Seriously, you describe a situation and the spouse and I can probably quote you something appropriate from a Flintstones episode.)

[H/T to the Spouse.]

Yabba dabba doo! Which means... Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart.

*After the party was over, and we had changed, the spouse and I made a beeline to our favorite deli/diner, The Belden, in Chicago. I had a turkey sandwich. Don't recall what the spouse, who was a vegetarian at the time, had. Sadly, The Belden closed many years ago. Thankfully, we are still going strong.

**As far as I know, neither of us bought the other a piece of furniture, the traditional gift for the 17th wedding anniversary -- and apparently we will have to wait until our 20th wedding anniversary to get those new plates we've been thinking about. (We still have the set of Dansk Bistrowear we got for our wedding, even though it's a little chipped and worn down -- like us!)

Friday, July 23, 2010

When a picture is worth a thousand words

Last night the camera (my Nikon D70) and I attended an event with the spouse at the Sunset Terrace at Chelsea Piers.

Now I know why they call it the Sunset Terrace.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Flying pasties, racing snails, and why you should never argue with an ibex

In this week's chapter of News of the Weird, J-TWO-O brings you the latest must-have item for frequent flyers (particularly if they happen to be in the adult film industry, Vegas showgirls, or work for Hooters), flying pasties; the results from the World Snail Racing Championships in England; and why you should never argue with an ibex.

First up, Flying Pasties. But before proceeding, I have to admit I was a bit hesitant to blog about this subject, even though I have blogged about breasts (and things that cover them) on several occasions.

Maybe it's the word pasties, or it could be the voluptuous pastie-only clad model on But, heck, if that bastion of the Right, the Wall Street Journal, can write about Flying Pasties, gosh darn it, so can I!

In a (coco) nut shell: Flying Pasties are, and I quote, "meant to obscure your private parts when entering a typical airport scanner," thereby protecting your privacy.

You can learn more about these little rubber privacy protectors at -- or via the WSJ article (which I linked to).

Btw, I love the quote from the "Pilots of America" on the site: "Ingenious." (I wonder what the airport scanners union has to say about them....)

Moving right along...

In the lettuce entertain you category: Last week the World Snail Racing Championships took place in England and around 200 snails slugged it out to win the honor of World's Fastest Snail.

Ready... set... escargot!

Snail Bonanza - World Snail Racing Championships from Rii Schroer on Vimeo.

Finally, this gem, courtesy of friend of the blog Larissa, on why you should never argue with an ibex:

Bon appetit and safe travels...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Real men eat cupcakes

As I was driving back from taking J-THREE-O to camp this morning, I heard a piece on NPR about a (relatively) new cupcake bakery in NYC called Butch Bakery that "makes manly cupcakes for manly men." (Butch Bakery's tagline: "Where Butch Meets Buttercream.")

So what do "manly cupcakes for manly men" taste like? Apparently beer and bacon (albeit not in the same cupcake).

Actually, Butch Bakery currently sells 12 different kinds of manly cupcakes, about half of which are soaked in some kind of alcohol (rum, whiskey, kahlua, or beer), and two of which include bacon. Note: Manly men apparently also like pretzels and peanut butter in their cupcakes.

Interestingly, as the NPR story noted, despite the butch message, it's mostly been (manly?) women buying the cupcakes.

Man enough to try a Butch cupcake for yourself? Well, if you live outside of New York City, you're out of luck. As for those of you with a Manhattan, Brooklyn, or Queens address (sorry Bronx and Staten Island residents), you can order a box via the Butch Bakery website. (A storefront is in the offing, but no word as to where or when it will open.)

Note: Hey, David Arrick, how about a round for writing such a nice blog post (totally unsolicited) about your bakery? ;-)

Monday, July 19, 2010

A pirate, a cow car, and a zedonk

Is there something about Block Island that brings out the quirky -- and the inner pirate -- in people? Because in 48 hours on Block Island, I saw more quirky stuff -- and pirate paraphernalia -- to last me at least 48 days, if not longer.

First up, who gets a life-sized pirate lawn ornament?! Were they all out of gnomes? Though apparently back in the day Block Island was frequented by pirates (as opposed to gnomes). All I can say is "Aaargh."*

And speaking of pirates, while window shopping in Old Harbor, I came across this "Pirate Personals" t-shirt, which I asked the spouse to model.

[Click on the picture to get a larger view, me hardies.]

And then there was the Cow Car, which seemed to be everywhere. Who customizes their white Range Rover to look like a long-horned cow?! (Apparently I missed that episode of Pimp My Ride.) Though I have to admit the bumper stickers were very funny. (Hmm... I wonder if it mooed when you honked the horn.)

And speaking of strange animals, anyone else never hear of a zedonk? I know I had never heard of a zedonk before visiting Block Island. Anyway, as the name implies, it is (supposedly) a cross between a zebra and a donkey, which, looking at the picture, I think you can see. Again, though, who comes up with this stuff? What is this, the Island of Dr. Moreau? (Technically, it was/is the Manisses Animal Farm, though I think that's just a cover.)

*Want to have a little pirate fun on Facebook? Next time you are there, click on your name and scroll down to the end of the page and look on the left, where the language is highlighted, just after "Facebook (c) 2010." Click on the language (in my case "English (US)"). Then choose "English (Pirate)."

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Life's a beach... which is why you need a bikini

So dear, wonderful, marvelous friends of ours who live in Massachusetts (you know who you are) invited J-THREE-O to come stay with them for a week -- last week -- and attend the summer art camp at the MFA with their daughter. So the spouse and I decided to take off a few days and go to Block Island.

The trip was nearly derailed at the last minute when the proprietor of the inn we were to stay at called the night before we were to leave to inform us there had been a plumbing disaster and our room was not habitable. However, she said, they could put us up in a smaller room with no view or reserve us a room similar to the one we had reserved just down the block, at Payne's Harbor View Inn (which hadn't received as great reviews on TripAdvisor as the place we had booked).

To further dampen my once euphoric mood, it had been POURING all day, and the forecast wasn't looking too good for the next day or two -- and we had planned on bringing our bikes (just our bikes, no car, which we couldn't bring).

I was ready to cancel, and save us (okay, me) some money and heartache, but the spouse convinced me that we should go, taking the room at Payne's Harbor View. And boy am I glad he did! (More below.)

While the weather was not great (cloudy and relatively cool -- but no rain!), it was perfect for biking and walking. And, on a trip into town to look for footwear (I somehow forgot my sandals at home), I found... a bikini!!!

Apparently I had been looking for a bikini in all the wrong places, namely in swimsuit shops and in the women's swimsuit department.

As it happens, I am a perfect Size 14. Girls, that is. Which I discovered while looking at swimsuits in a sports apparel store on Block Island. I hadn't planned on going in the store, but then I saw a rack of colorful swimsuits, which I made a beeline for -- and immediately found a nice-looking bikini. But I could not believe the tag, which said it was a size 14. A size 14?! Maybe that "1" was a mistake.

So I asked the saleswoman to tell me what size the itsy bitsy polka dot bikini was. She took a look. "It's a size 14," she confirmed. "A girls size 14."

Now while some of my female readers will huff and puff about me being petite enough to fit into a Girls Size 14 anything, let me tell you that the thrill of being able to buy your clothes at GapKids wears off after about five minutes. Also, you cannot buy work dresses or suits at GapKids. And really, would you want to look like a barely adolescent female, with no breasts and the added bonus of a flabby flat ass?

Yes, having a taught tummy is nice, but so are breasts. And did I mention all the stretch marks and wrinkles (on my face) I have accumulated over the years? (During the trip I decided my Indian -- excuse me, Native American -- name should be "Squinto" or "Many Crows Feet.")

Anyway, I bought the suit, and proceeded to wear it around Block Island, and the world didn't end. Hey, if Helen Mirren can do it, so can I (and she's got over 20 years on me)!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Bikini FAIL

As I was recently reminded, it takes four things to successfully wear a bikini:

1. Good abs;
2. A tight tuckus (aka a firm derriere -- or bottom, butt, booty, moneymaker, or ass);
3. Boobs -- specifically ones that are bigger than your spouse's; and
4. A whole lot of self confidence (or be seriously in denial)

And apparently I possess just one of these attributes.

While I long ago realized I would never be a Victoria's Secret or Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, I had always harbored hopes of one day looking good or better than okay in a bikini. And I thought my moment had finally come after giving birth to my daughter, when I suddenly had breasts. (God, I loved nursing.) Sadly, I also developed a gut and hips from all the hot dogs and ice cream I hoovered down to keep up with her relentless nursing schedule. So I put my bikini dreams on hold.

Then a few years ago, due to illness and stress (as well as eating less and exercising more), a miracle occurred: I suddenly had abs. Really nice abs. I wouldn't go as far as to say I had a six-pack, but definitely a three-pack, and to reward myself, I bought a bikini. And man, I loved that blue bikini -- so much so that when the straps broke, I sewed them back on, by hand. But when they broke a third time, and then the elastic went, I had to send blue bikini to that big swimming hole in the sky -- and figured my days of wearing a two-piece swimsuit were over. After all, I was "a woman of a certain age," and suddenly felt self-conscious about exposing my midriff (and other body parts) publicly, as I discussed in this post.

But then several friends, as well as the spouse, told me that wearing a bikini had nothing to do with age and everything to do with attitude and that if Helen Mirren could rock a bikini, so could I. And so buoyed by this thought, and summer, I recently went bikini shopping (forgetting that although she is/was 63, Helen Mirren: a) still has great-looking breasts and b) a bottom that doesn't hang out of her bikini bottom).

First piece of advice re bikini shopping: Never ever shop for bikinis in the presence of lean, leggy, busty teenagers or twentysomethings. If you see these temporary freaks of nature (just wait until they've had a couple kids and are in their 40s!), just put down that suit you were planning on trying on and quietly leave. Come back another day when they are in camp or at work and the store is empty or filled with matrons or German tourists.

Second piece of bikini shopping advice: Be sure to wear seamless flesh-colored underwear, the skimpier the better. No matter what shape you are in, there is no way that bikini bottom is going to look good tried on over your granny panties, polka-dot hipsters, or lavender briefs.

And my third piece of bikini shopping advice: Take a good friend or someone who truly cares about you with you, if for no other reason than to give you a hug and tell you are still beautiful as you stand there weeping and wailing after having tried on, oh, at least a dozen swimsuits, all of which made your ass look big and flabby and your breasts look like ant hills someone just stepped on.

So no, I did not buy a bikini this weekend -- and doubt I will be buying one any time soon. And come winter, I will put those Victoria's Secret catalogs I keep receiving to good use, in my fireplace.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Lady Gaga rocks Rockefeller Center and The Today Show

In cased you missed Lady Gaga on The Today Show this morning...

First up, Lady Gaga doing a mashup of "Someone to Watch Over Me" (just beautiful -- even the spouse thought so) and "Bad Romance." (Say what you will about Lady Gaga, she puts on a great show -- and can sing.)

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

A bit later she performed her new single "You and I," which showcased Lady Gaga's rock 'n' roll side (and had a bit of a Melissa Etheridge feel):

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FYI, Lady Gaga's appearance on The Today Show this morning garnered the largest audience EVER for its Friday Toyota Concert Series, with an estimated 20,000 fans jamming the Plaza at Rockefeller Center. Though as my daughter pointed out, those of us watching from home on our TVs had a much better view.

Wishing all you Little Monsters a good weekend...

Apparently I missed Lady Gaga performing "Alejandro" live....

Thursday, July 8, 2010

It's the Wine-O-Matic!

This just in: Wine vending machines! Hate dealing with those snobby or totally clueless liquor store clerks? Well, if you live in Pennsylvania, soon you will not have to. You can buy wine from a vending machine, right from the convenience of your local supermarket!

Part of me (the part that loved when you could buy Cadbury chocolate from a vending machine at just about every London Underground station, especially late at night, after a pint too many) thinks this is a brilliant idea.

[Note to concerned parents: In order to actually obtain a bottle of wine, you must first swipe your driver's license, look into a camera (to verify you are who your driver's license says you are), and breathe onto a sensor (to make sure you are sober). Then use a debit or credit card. Though I am sure some enterprising youths will find a way around these requirements.]

Another part of me (the part that remembers when cigarettes were sold in vending machines, where underage smokers could, despite the dire warnings, get their mitts on them) thinks this is not such a great idea. Though that said, maybe I should see about trademarking the name "Wine-O-Matic," cause I think these babies could be big.

What do you think? Would you buy wine out of a vending machine? Let me know via a comment.

Btw, Pennsylvania is not the first place to sell liquor out of a vending machine. Apparently this spring Maker's Mark Whisky set up several vending machines in London, in the City and other highly trafficked places of business, which may or may not have explained the corresponding dip in the London financial markets.

FYI, you can read about Pennsylvania's "wine kiosks" here.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

How far would you carry your wife for a beer? How about a keg of beer?

Would you carry her for 832 feet?

That's how far 55 apparently very thirsty men, hailing from 15 different countries, carried their mates -- through water and over hurdles -- this past weekend in the 15th Annual Wife-Carrying Championship in Sonkajarvi, Finland.

The things some guys will do for a keg of beer. (The winning team is rewarded with the wife's weight in beer. And no, I don't know what kind of beer or if the winner gets his choice.)

Watch CBS News Videos Online

More about the 15th Annual Wife-Carrying Championship (including some fabulous pictures) here. (How can I get a job writing for The Daily Mail? Those blokes have waaay too much fun.)

Bummed that you missed out on this year's Finnish wife-carrying competition? Never fear! The 11th Annual North American Wife Carrying Championship will take place Saturday, October 9, 2010, in Newry, Maine! Sign up and start practicing now and a keg (or two) of beer and glory could be yours come Columbus Day!

Want to learn more about the sport of wife carrying? Click here. (FYI, per the "rules," "The wife to be carried may be your own, the neighbor's, or you may have found her further afield; she must, however, be over 17 years of age." Also the wife must be at least 49 kg [107.8 pounds]. If she is under 49 kg, "the wife will be burdened with a rucksack containing additional weight such that the total load to be carried is no less than 49 kg.")

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Possibly the funniest cooking video ever (The return of the Muppets Swedish Chef)

I just found this video titled "The Muppets: Pöpcørn," featuring the Swedish Chef, on YouTube and had to share.

For those of you who are (or were) Muppets fans or who, like certain people I live with who shall not be named directly here (ahem) are, shall we say, not the the tidiest in the kitchen (four words: the Whoopie Pie Incident), you will love this video of the Muppets Swedish Chef attempting to make Popcorn Shrimp. (Let's just say the Swedish Chef will probably not be the Next Food Network Star.)

Note: Pay close attention to the captions.

In the words of the Swedish Chef: "Börk, börk, börk!"

Friday, July 2, 2010

What the Founding Fathers fought for

1. The right to blow up rockets... and set the night on fire...

I just love a good fireworks display, don't you?

2. The right to watch cartoons on Saturday mornings... and occasionally learn something in the process...

Gosh, I miss Schoolhouse Rock...

3. The right to shove as many hot dogs into our pie holes as we want (aka Nathan's International July Fourth Hot Dog Eating Contest)...

Even though six-time champion Takeru Kobayashi has threatened not to participate this year...

Mmmm... hot dogs...

4. The right to dress in funny clothes and parade around in public...

I just love a good (or bad) parade, don't you? (Actually, not so big on parades. Like the idea, just not the reality. Ditto circuses.)

5. The right to drink a cold beer on a hot summer's day (or night)...

Note to self: Remember to go to the liquor store later and stock up on beer.

6. The right to say "I'm proud to be an American. Happy Birthday to the USA!"

May you all have a fun -- and safe -- July 4th Weekend.

Happy Independence Day everyone!