Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Dirty Dancing with the Stars?

At last, the cast of Dancing with the Has-Beens -- I mean Stars -- Season 11 has been revealed (soon to be reviled)! And I know you all will be as thrilled as I was to learn that Jennifer Grey, aka Frances "Baby" Houseman, would be among this season's cast members (even though I have never seen Dirty Dancing).

And as we all know, no one puts Baby in the corner. Not even Dancing with the Stars.

Could this be a glimpse of things to come?

If so, I pity poor Derek Hough (who I heard was to be her dancing partner).

Other "stars" who will be cha-cha-ing, waltzing, and jiving on this season's DWTS are Bristol Palin (note to DWTS producers: Being a single teenage mom does not make you a "star," far from it), former Knight Rider and Baywatch "star" David Hasselhoff, crooner Michael Bolton, and semi-professional tanning artist Michael “The Situation” Sorrentino from the Jersey Shore.

I am not a fan of Dancing with the Stars, but I may have to check out a few episodes this season, just to see if Jennifer Grey still has it.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Talking Cats

Sometimes I think Al Gore invented the Internet just so people had someplace where they could share their videos of talking cats.

Btw, even if you are not into cats, talking or otherwise, these two videos are pretty darn funny.

First up, "Kitty is a very BAD Mystic":

(This video had me and my friend, Larissa, cracking up for days. Yes, we are easily amused.)

Next: "Talking Cat (Wake Up Kitty 2)" (which is not to be confused with "Talking Cat (Wake up Kitty 3") or "Talking Cat (Wake Up Kitty 4)"), which my friend, VB, sent me, and which brought a tear to my eye as it reminded me of my dearly departed black cat Sylvester.

Btw, talking dogs? Totally not funny. Just look on YouTube.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Forget Paris

So much for running for President, or cleaning up her act and being a good role model for girls, like she told Larry King just after she was released from jail three summers ago. (Click the first link to see Hilton's 2008 campaign ad, the second link to read the transcript of King's interview with Paris Hilton, her first after being released from jail for repeated DUI.)

Or maybe Hilton thought that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas -- and out of jail.

In any case, in case you hadn't yet heard, Paris Hilton was arrested in Sin City on charges of cocaine possession late last night -- this after cops stopped the car she was in after seeing marijuana smoke coming from it. (Hey, maybe it was medicinal marijuana, like the kind those cancer patients she told Larry King she wanted to help smoke!)

To top it off, this was the second time this summer that the 29-year-old Hilton heiress was arrested on drug charges (that we know of). The last time being during the World Cup matches in South Africa.

In the words of Elvis Costello: I used to be disgusted, now I try to be amused.

In any case, I am dedicating this Eric Clapton song to you, Paris Hilton. But just remember, as Clapton sings:

If your thing is gone
And you wanna ride on
Don't forget this fact
You can't get it back

Here's hoping that one day -- soon -- Paris uses her celebrity and millions to actually do some good in this world.

UPDATED 8/30/10: "Paris Hilton charged with felony drug possession," but charge may be hard to prove as Paris claims the purse -- and the vial of cocaine inside -- wasn't hers.Uh huh.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Keep your shirt on

Apparently this past Sunday, August 22, was National Go Topless Day. And all around this great nation of ours, in cities like New York (pictured at right), Miami, Chicago, and Venice, California, hundreds of buxom babes proclaimed their constitutional right to bare chests as well as arms in public places, just as men do, by marching around without their shirts. (Wonder if anyone blew his/her top...)

An intrepid CNN iReporter happened to be on the scene at the Annual Venice Beach Topless Day event, which was attended by over 200 bra-less babes and about 50 men. (Really, only 50 men?) Per the CNN Go Topless Day report (which includes some great creatively edited video), "a few Christian men gathered to protest against the women's display of indecency," too. (No doubt shaking their Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issues at the women in disgust.)

And, of course, the New York Daily News was on the scene in New York's Central Park to cover the uncovered. (As per usual, the Daily News' headline, and story, "Topless women march in Central Park for right to bare breasts," did not disappoint.)

Me? I say, Keep your shirts on, ladies, at least in public, except on officially designated topless public beaches -- or ta ta to bearing one's ta-tas in public. (Yeah, yeah, I know: I am such a prude.)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Best horse race EVER

You just can't make this stuff up.

This Sunday at Monmouth Park the seventh race featured a horse named Mywifenosevrything (My Wife Knows -- or "Nos," as in says "no" to --Everything), #3 (which happens to be my lucky number) as well as a horse named Thewifedoesntknow (The Wife Doesn't Know), #7. (Note to self: Look up who owns those horses.)

And as luck would have it, it was Mywifenosevrything battling Thewifedoesntknow down the stretch, which made for some memorable announcing.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Cats do not want you to be productive

Cats just want you to feed them and pet them and provide them with mice and other toys to play with. They do not like when you play with other humans or talk to them on the phone or do work when there are far more important things to do, like playing and talking with them.

Don't believe me? I give you Exhibit A:

(Don't let that those innocent "Who me?" looks fool you. Those cats know perfectly well what they are doing, and it's downright anti-capitalistic, I say.)

Need more proof that cats do not want their humans to be productive? I give you Exhibit B.

Truly, it is amazing I get any work done. (Yeah, yeah, save the wisecracks. I can hear what you are thinking.) Btw, as I've been typing this, Flora, the cat pictured at left, has been in my face, sitting directly in front of me and pawing me as I type.

And if dealing with 15 pounds of feisty feline weren't bad enough, Felix (the black cat pictured above right) has taken a real shine to my shiny new Sony VIAO laptop, particularly the fan. Every opportunity he gets, Felix curls up on top of the computer, inevitably causing the keyboard to lock up. Nice.

But still, I love my cats, and find it sweet that they want to keep me company and do things with me (unlike certain adolescent females I can think of), which is why I am very gentle when throwing them off my desk or out of my office.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Space... the final frontier

On this day, August 20, 33 years ago (or 1977 for those of you who have trouble with subtraction), NASA launched Voyager 2. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no spacecraft has gone before.

And while Voyager 2 has yet to find new life or new civilizations (at least as far as we know), it has found a lot of other really stellar stuff (including rings around Jupiter and new moons around Uranus*) over the course of its 21 billion kilometer voyage. And it has sent back some out of this world pictures, like this one of Saturn and its moons (Dione front; Tethys; Mimas right; Enceladus; Rhea left; and Titan distant top**).

*Please feel free to share your "moon" and "Uranus" jokes in the comments. I have not had any coffee yet and am not feeling particularly witty or creative.

**To see more Voyager photos, check out the Voyager Images gallery on the NASA JPL site.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pucker up for peace

This Saturday, dozens of couples gathered in New York's Times Square to recreate the V-J Day kiss made famous by photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt -- and the spouse and I just happened to be there, albeit slightly before the big "Times Square Kiss-In" began (and were quite disappointed to learn we couldn't officially participate).

The big draw at this year's "Kiss-In," which commemorated the 45th anniversary of V-J Day and bore the memorable tagline "Pucker Up for Peace": the unveiling of a 26-foot sculpture of Eisenstaedt's "kiss," which literally stopped traffic.

To paraphrase Neil Armstrong, what started out as one kiss for a man has now turned into one giant kiss for Times Square.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

It's a Pop Pop Pop Pop-Tarts World

Perhaps the ultimate pop-up store, Pop-Tarts World, a store dedicated to the iconic Kellogg's breakfast pastry, opened this week in New York City's Times Square (on the south side of 42nd Street between Sixth Avenue and Broadway, to be exact). So the spouse and I, who had our share of Pop-Tarts back in the day, decided to go check it out.

Behold, the power of Pop-Tarts!

Truth be told, we were rather unimpressed with Pop-Tarts World, despite the allure of creating your own custom box of Pop-Tarts and the Pop-Tarts sushi (which we didn't sample). Like Pop-Tarts themselves, the Pop-Tarts store was/is way more about good marketing than good taste. And once January comes, and its lease expires, all that will be left of Pop-Tarts World will be a few crumby memories. (Though maybe Pillsbury will open a Toaster Strudel Universe in its stead.)

Friday, August 13, 2010

No wonder we're not more productive ("The Office" has nothing on this guy.)

I saw this video, titled "The Conference Call," on a friend's Facebook page -- and thought it was one of the funniest videos I had ever seen, mostly because... IT IS SO TRUE.

For anyone who has ever sat in on a conference call (or 12), you will so appreciate this video.

Btw, the guy in the video, David John Grady, he's not a professional comedian. He is, in fact, the Vice President and Manager, IT Risk & Compliance for State Street Corporation (at least per his resume). Which makes the clip even more brilliant.

*bloop, bloop*

Oh, I'm sorry. Gotta get back to my conference call now.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Why can't the Mets win every game?

Or at least go on another 10-game winning streak? (Those two questions, btw, are rhetorical, for those of you who were going to say or comment "Because they SUCK!")

I know many of you think the New York Mets have gone to the dogs...

(Wonder if David Wright minds that some pooch is wearing his jersey. And yes, I left a "tip.")

And I know that many of you fair-weather Mets fans wouldn't bother to go all the way to Citi Field to watch a .500 team who has little chance of making the playoffs this year.

But I am a Metsochist, and when someone offers me free tickets to see my beloved Mets play at Citi Field (YOU ROCK, MR. B! THANK YOU!!!), I am not about to say no. And boy am I glad I said "yes."

This afternoon Mets Pitcher Johan Santana was masterful, pitching a complete game against the Colorado Rockies -- even getting a key hit. And despite (or maybe because of) David Wright not being in the lineup (Mike Hessman played third base), the Mets went on to beat the Rockies 4-0 -- in barely 2.5 hours.

Ironically, today's game was a near duplicate of the last game the spouse and I attended at Citi Field, around this time last year, where Santana likewise pitched against the Colorado Rockies -- and likewise pitched the Mets to a shutout victory in just 2.5 hours. We even sat in the exact same section (Excelsior 330) on the third base line as last year (albeit four rows further back).

It was a GREAT day for both me and the spouse and the New York Mets (except for Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez, who spent the day locked in a holding pen at Citi Field, awaiting arraignment for assaulting his fiancee's father).

And now we are seriously thinking of going back to Citi Field Saturday night to watch them play against the Philadelphia Phillies, while the kid spends the night at her grandmother's. (Though if Jerry Manual starts Oliver Perez Saturday, all bets are off.)

Here's hoping you had a great day! And remember, kids: Only four more weeks until football season officially begins!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Whatever happened to giving 2 weeks notice?

[Alternate title: "50 Ways to Leave Your Employer."]

First we had JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater's creative exit strategy -- which involved telling an uncivil JetBlue passenger to "be fruitful and multiply" (though not in those words) over the plane's PA system, then exiting the passenger jet via the emergency chute, though not before grabbing a nice cold beer from the beverage cart.

Now we have "Jenny," a maligned office assistant who gave notice via a dry erase board. (Click the link to see the whole story -- i.e., the 33 photos of her 33-part resignation via dry erase or white board.)

Both of these individuals, btw, are being hailed as "heroes." And while their antics may be amusing -- and are making headlines -- I don't think it's behavior someone who is hoping to be employed in the near future should emulate. I mean, would you hire Steven or Jenny?

Also, there is this:

Don't get me wrong, I have had my share of "Spencers" and quitting fantasies (not unlike Jenny's), but I also had fantasies about getting another hopefully better job, one which might require a reference, which is why you will not find pictures of me in short shorts and a tank top giving my two weeks notice. (Though I know of a couple of bosses who would have enjoyed that.)

But let me throw this issue out to all of you: Do you think giving two weeks notice and continuing to do your job during that time is old fashioned? Have you ever quit a job in dramatic fashion -- and, if so, did it come back to bite you in your HPOA? Let me know via a Comment.

JENNY UPDATE: As I and many of you suspected (though still hoped it wasn't so), "Jenny" is actually an actress, as revealed here. (Thanks to Friend of the Blog "L" for sending me the link.) As for Steve Slater, he may get up to seven years in jail for his "prank."

STEVE SLATER UPDATE: Slater is out on bail and basking in his new-found celebrity. Read the latest here.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Enough with the political ads (except for these two)

I cannot wait for primary season to be OVER. Between the constant calls from every individual running for political office here in the Nutmeg State (emphasis on nut) and the nonstop bitter political ads on TV and on the radio, I've had enough of this election season -- and we still have over two months to go until the actual election. Yippee!

As for tomorrow's primary, I am planning on exercising my right as an American citizen and voting, but it will give me little (or no) joy, not considering who the candidates for Senator and Governor are. Seriously, if these folks are the best and/or brightest, I may need to move -- not that any other state has much better to offer.

Speaking of the Connecticut race for Senator, for those of you who do not follow Connecticut politics, the leading Republican candidate to replace outgoing Democratic Senator Christopher Dodd is Linda McMahon, the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment (which, to be fair, is not unlike the United States Senate), featured in this campaign spot:

(Or maybe I should have said campaign spoof, though the events depicted in the video clip all occurred -- and the voice over is the same one used in her actual ad.)

The ad -- spoof -- cracks me up, though not as much as this brilliant sendup of political attack ads:

Note: For those of you who are interested in a quick summary of the political farce that is Connecticut's primary season, I highly recommend New York Times columnist Gail Collins' recent piece titled "Yankee Doodle Daffy," which even those of you who do not live in Connecticut will find amusing (or tragic, depending on your point of view).

And remember to vote tomorrow!

Friday, August 6, 2010

What's on your iPod?

Am thinking I may need to download some new (or old) songs onto the old iPod this weekend. Anyone got any suggestions for a techno-dance-pop fancier who also likes old-fashioned reggae and jazz?

So far, thinking of downloading "Cooler Than Me" by Mike Posner, "Cry for You" by September, and "Words" by Missing Persons. (Btw, for those of you who think Lady Gaga is an original, take a look at Missing Persons lead singer Dale Bozzio, below. Ahem.)

Note: Current music is welcome, but am also looking to supplement my teeny bopper/Britney and Lady Gaga loving tastes with something perhaps a bit more refined. Or not.

[NOTE: To a see a newer, slicker version of September's "Cry for You," click here. (Embedding is disabled.)]

[NOTE: Also check out this version to see Dale Bozzio in an outfit that would shame Lady Gaga. Again, embedding is disabled.]

Thursday, August 5, 2010

More summer reading (or five fabulous book finds)

First off, thanks for all the great book recommendations you all have left in the comments or emailed me since I started these book posts (just click on the link to see a list of my book posts and favorite books). I really appreciate you sharing your favorite books on the blog (and via email).

I also know that some of you are a bit offended or perturbed that I have not read and/or listed some of your recommendations on the blog. That is because I am a notoriously picky reader (as the spouse will happily attest to), prone to depression, and cannot read deeply depressing books or books about miserable, unhappy, or unlikeable people right now (which is why I couldn't get through Olive Kitteridge or The Imperfectionists, even though both are very well written and have received all sorts of acclaim and awards, nor have read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo).

That said, please do NOT stop recommending books on my account. But, if any of you know of any light-hearted and/or funny books, books that make you laugh instead of cry, bring 'em on! I could use a good chuckle.

In the meantime, I wanted to share five fabulous recent reads with all of you (presented in the order I read them). To learn more, click on the link, which will take you to a description on Amazon.

Map of Love by Ahdaf Soueif

The Gift of Rain
by Tan Twan Eng (This was one of the most beautiful, powerful books I have ever read.)

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen

A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff

Romancing Miss Brontë by Juliet Gael

Happy reading!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Finally, a butt-lifting blog post

I swear to God, you can not make this stuff up (except maybe on Seinfeld). And if I thought it actually worked, I would actually buy one.

What am I talking about? Why, the Biniki ButtBra, of course.

Yes, you heard (or read) me right, ladies (and gentlemen), it's a bra for your butt.

Per the Biniki website, the Biniki ButtBra:

• Holds up the weight of the buttocks
• Smoothes out the back of the thighs
• Lifts and defines the buttock’s curvature
• Maximizes small/flat derrieres [They are so talking to me.]
• Leaves no visible line under most clothing
• Enhances the effect of form fitting clothes
• Adds comfort because of support
• Provides a put together look [Shouldn't that be a butt together look?]

And it's not just for flabby female posteriors. Oh no.

I give you... the Maniki (though I will spare you the visual, which is not pretty, IMHO), which comes in small, medium, and large. (What, no extra large?)

Having a small, flat (make that flabby) derriere, I was initially very excited to hear about this miracle product -- until I actually saw one. I don't know about all of you, but a couple of skinny bra straps ain't no way going to lift, define, and smooth this old booty. What I need are a couple of ace bandages, stat (or, perhaps, a pair of Spanx).

But (butt?) if any of you are inclined to or have tried a Biniki ButtBra or the Maniki please do let me know the results.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Too many choices

Or, How many types of orange juice does the world really need?

While choice can be a good thing, too much choice -- or too many choices -- can sometimes be a bad thing, especially when it involves supermarket shopping and your spouse (or partner or boyfriend).

Gone are the days when a woman could simply write
  • orange juice
  • milk
  • shampoo
  • conditioner
and expect her helpmate to return with exactly what she wanted. HA!

Ah, if life were still that simple.

Now instead of confidently reaching for a container of orange juice, the ill-prepared male is accosted by a barrage of choices, nine out of ten of which are likely to be the wrong one (per his spouse or partner or girlfriend). Yet how is he to know pulp or no pulp? With or without calcium? Home style or grove stand (whatever those appellations mean)? From concentrate or freshly squeezed? Or which brand to choose when there are typically four or five or more brands, many of which look the same?

And buying milk is no easier. Do you get whole, 2%, 1%, or skim? Organic or not? Pasteurized or ultra-pasteurized? And don't forget to check the expiration date!

Though the worst aisle in the supermarket to navigate may be the health and beauty aisle, which has been known to reduce normally decisive, confident men to blubbering idiots. Does the world really need 10 shelves of shampoos and conditioners? Feminine products? Don't even bother. And as far as facial creams, I have to admit, to the inexperienced, Nivea and Neutrogena and Noxzema do look and sound awfully similar.

To combat supermarket overload, one woman I know (or, more accurately, whom the spouse knows) actually sends her husband shopping with a detailed spreadsheet, which no longer seems as whacky as it once did. (To minimize phone calls from the supermarket as well as having to return items later, I actually typed up a detailed, bulleted list, organized the same way our Stop & Shop is organized, for the spouse the other day, which I both printed and emailed to his Droid. He said it worked great -- and I didn't have to return a thing.)

Don't get me wrong. I am all for freedom of choice. I just sometimes think too much choice can be a bad thing -- though it's a nice segue to/reason to include this classic Devo song: