Thursday, June 30, 2011

Stephen Colbert, president maker or breaker?

This just in: the Federal Election Commission (FEC) has given Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert, host of The Colbert Report, permission to officially form his super PAC, the Colbert Super PAC. (Click on the link to make a donation!)

You can find out more about the ruling and Colbert Super PAC, including video clips, here and here.

Colbert will also be discussing his victory on tonight's Colbert Report, but in the meantime, here's a clip of Colbert reacting to the news:

Frankly, I'm a bit stunned, and sincerely hope Stephen Colbert uses his super new powers for good and not evil.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The breast defense is not always a good offense

Alternate titles: 1) And that's why new moms shouldn't drink and drive. 2) So that's what breast milk tastes like.

What did we do before smartphones and RSS feeds?

So last night at dinner (on our way home from a lovely long weekend with friends), I was checking my email on my BlackBerry and decided to click on my RSS (news) feed when I saw a headline about a nursing mother arrested for disorderly conduct... for "allegedly" spraying breast milk at a couple of cops. Which I, of course, had to click on.

The deal: a husband and his wife, who was nursing, go to a wedding, drink too much, and get into a fight. (Not exactly news.) The wife gets pissed off, hits her spouse, and locks herself into their car and refuses to come out -- while the husband calls the cops. The cops show up and try to talk to the woman. However, and I quote (Delaware County Sheriff Walter L. Davis III):

"When deputies attempted to remove [the woman] from the vehicle, she advised the deputies that she was a breast feeding mother and proceeded to remove her right breast from her dress and began spraying deputies and the vehicle with her breast milk," Davis said.

[What did she say to the cops? "I've got a loaded breast and I know how to use it!" "Back away, or the little guy gets a face full of titty milk!"]

Eventually, with the help of additional deputies, the cops were able to remove the woman, a teacher at a charter school, from the car (and, I assume, the breast milk from their uniforms) and arrest her, though she was eventually released on her own recognizance after pleading not guilty.

And the moral of the story... ? Let me know what you think via the Comments.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Gone fishing

Am about to shut down the computer, give the cats a little extra food and water and love, herd the kid, help the spouse finish packing up the car, and head off on vacation for a few days (assuming we don't miss our ferry -- ever the optimist).

Although I have now been informed there is WiFi at the place we are staying, computing (including blogging) is frowned upon. So you may not hear from me for a few days.

So until then, I wish you all a glorious weekend. (Especially to my readers in the Northeast, where it's supposed to clear up and get warmer.) As for me, I'm looking forward to some biking, hiking, not making my bed, and not cooking dinner for a few nights. Woohoo!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I want my NFL

Ah, summer, when those of us with lame baseball teams (figuratively and literally) begin daydreaming about football. But thanks to a bunch of greedy, spoiled, self-centered millionaires and billionaires, there may be no 2011-2012 professional football season -- or else a protracted one.

And I say, enough already. It is time for the National Football League's players and owners to come to an agreement, so that come September I -- and millions of other fans -- have an excuse to estrange our families and weasel out of chores on Sunday afternoons.

Btw, it's not just the fans who would suffer if there is no football this fall. According to, the State of Maryland stands to lose $40 million if the season is canceled. And Maryland isn't the only entity that stands to lose big bucks if the NFL lockout isn't resolved soon. Think of all the restaurants, bars, and sporting goods stores that stand to take a hit if football players don't suit up in the fall -- and all the ordinary Joes and Janes who could well lose their jobs if football players don't do theirs. Ditto all the people who actually make football games possible -- from the people who work at the stadiums to each team's back-office and front-office operations to the guys who operate the TV cameras to the guys who squirt Gatorade into players' mouths.

All because a bunch of guys can't figure out how to divvy up $9.3 billion. (FYI, if you are interested in learning more about the history of the dispute, check out "NFL Lockout for Dummies: Explaining the NFL Labor Dispute in Layman's Terms.")

Now comes word that NFL owners and players have made progress toward a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, or CBA, where players would receive 48 percent of all revenue -- but that an official agreement is probably a week or two away, assuming there are no surprises (which is a big assumption to make). SIGH.

In a week where it was just announced that initial claims for unemployment insurance rose by 9,000 to 429,000, and that companies still aren't hiring, and that housing prices are still in a slump, it is nauseating to hear about millionaires and billionaires squabbling over a million here, a million there.

Still, all that said, I want my NFL. So come on, NFL owners and players: let's sign a deal soon so there will be football this fall -- and less unemployment.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What's worse than the sound of whining?

According to a new study, not much (if anything).

This finding, of course, comes as no surprise to anyone who a) has flown on an airplane with children; b) tried to have dinner out (at a restaurant other than McDonald's or similar) with children; c) gone on a long car trip with children; d) spent more than a few hours with a child; or e) all of the above.

Indeed, what is amazing to me is that anyone would need to conduct a study -- and got funding to do so! -- to figure out that whining (as well as the sound of a baby or child crying and parental baby talk) is highly annoying and distracting. I could have told you that for nothing -- as could any parent or any non-deaf adult who has spent a few hours with a whiny child (or teen).

Btw, the spouse is so going to throw this post in my face. (Whining, it's not just for kids!)

[To read a short summary of the study, click here.]

Monday, June 20, 2011

Ruffled feathers (aka my swan post)

While at the annual Father's Day Picnic at my in-laws' club yesterday, I spied two swans and became obsessed with getting a picture of at least one of them. [If you click on the picture directly below and squint, you can see two white dots through the railing of the bridge. Those are the swans.]

Finally, after hours of watchfulness, one of the swans finally floated within range of my Canon PowerShot S95's zoom lens. Only to proceed to groom itself for what seemed like an eternity. Stopping but briefly to catch its breath and/or adjust itself. It was during two of these intervals (as I ran back and forth along the water trying to get a good angle) that I managed to snap these three pictures. I am particularly happy with the middle one.

They may have nasty dispositions, but swans sure are beautiful.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Paradise by the dashboard light

True story. Make that true pathetic story.

So the spouse and I are driving back from an absolutely lovely dinner, where I have imbibed an entire glass of excellent rose (which is about half a glass too much for yours truly), and we are listening to the Mets game, as we are both Metsochists. And it's the bottom of the fourth inning, the Mets are up and Jason Bay singles and the announcer, Howie Rose, is screaming something like "And Angel Pagan, who had just stolen second base, is rounding third, he's heading for home, and..." and I scream out

Stop right there!
I gotta know right now!
Before we go any further,
Do you love me?
Will you love me forever?
Do you need me?
Will you never leave me?
Will you make me so happy for the rest of my life?
Will you take me away and will you make me your wife?
I gotta know right now,
Before we go any further
Do you love me?!
Will you love me forever?!

Which, for those of you who weren't around (or conscious) in 1977, was the bit sung by the girl in Meatloaf's classic "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" after the famous baseball bridge -- narrated by former Yankee shortstop, announcer, and pitchman for The Money Store, Phil Rizzuto -- which everyone in my cabin that summer of camp had memorized by the time we went home (much to the delight of our unsuspecting parents).

Btw, I had no idea -- until the spouse informed me in the car tonight -- that Phil Rizzuto narrated that classic bit. Apparently Meatloaf was a big-time Yankees fan and asked Rizzuto if he would do the honors. (I also wasn't aware that I still recalled the lyrics. Amazing what the mind retains.)

Even better, the Mets are currently up 6-0. Now if they could only get above .500, that would be paradise.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The best children's book (for adults) ever?

Many of you have no doubt heard about the tongue-in-cheek* new children's book Go the F*ck to Sleep by Adam Mansbach, which is really meant for weary parents. (As a parent of a child who has from nearly the moment she came into the world stayed up later than I did and would scream her head off -- sometimes for hours -- when placed in her crib at bedtime, I can totally relate.)

Now, however, you can actually hear the book being read aloud -- by Samuel L. Jackson. [Note: This video clip is NOT safe for listening to in public.]

Now I don't know about all of you but if Samuel L. Jackson told me to go the f*ck to sleep, I sure as hell would.

Btw, for more great Kids' Books to Read after Your Kids Go to Bed, click on the link (which goes to Slate).

*or f*cking hilarious

[H/Ts to StrangeAppar8us and TLEC]

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Books to add to your summer reading list

With just a week until summer, now's the time to start stocking up on or making a list of good books to read. And I've read quite a few good books since my last Book Nook post, which I've listed below (along with a link to, where you can find reviews and buy the book). Btw, you can find even more great reads by clicking on the Book Recommendations link in the right-hand column (or clicking on the link just a few words back ;-).

Got a book you think others would enjoy, which would make for good summer reading? (I am desperate to find some lighter fare, something fun and a bit romantic.) Let me know via the Comments (or Facebook). Btw, THANK YOU for all of your past suggestions. I have read many of them, as have many of my readers.

File under "non-fiction," "travel," and "serious chick lit" (and "for food lovers" for the first two):

Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes by Elizabeth Bard. The title pretty much sums it up. Humorous and touching, and well written, reading Lunch in Paris made me want to hop on a plane and have lunch in Paris. Btw, you don't have to be a chick to enjoy the book, but it helps (as does being a New Yorker and/or an art history major and/or foodie).

Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War
by Annia Ciezadlo. You think living in New York City is tough? Try living in Beirut and/or Baghdad. Despite the many hardships she faced, though, Ciezadlo writes fondly of her time in the Middle East and of all the interesting -- make that amazing -- people and food she encountered. A fascinating read.

Kabul Beauty School: An American Woman Goes Behind the Veil by Deborah Rodriguez. Another amazing story about an American woman in the Middle East, in this case a big-hearted beautician whose good intentions (and naivete) ultimately wind up doing more harm than good.

The Discovery of Jeanne Baret: A Story of Science, the High Seas, and the First Woman to Circumnavigate the Globe by Glynis Ridley. Love subtitles. Makes my life so much easier. In a word: fascinating. I am in awe of Jeanne Baret -- and am so glad Glynis Ridley was able to tell her story. Another eloquently written book about an ordinary woman's extraordinary life as the first woman -- disguised as a man among hundreds of sailors -- to circumnavigate the globe, who made important scientific discoveries in the fields of botany and pharmacology along the way, and got zero credit for any of it during her lifetime and hundreds of years after.

File under "non-fiction" and "boys will be boys":

Artie Shaw: King of the Clarinet by Tom Nolan. What is it about musicians? It seems the greater they are at making music, the greater they are at effing up relationships (and friendships and finances). And Artie Shaw was one seriously great clarinet player and asshole. But the ladies loved him, even after they divorced him. A fascinating look at Shaw and the swing and big band eras. If you love jazz, Artie Shaw is a must read.

Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer. My takeaway: memorizing stuff is really hard work. An entertaining read, which I think my male readers will really enjoy.

File under "fiction":

I Still Dream About You
by Fannie Flagg. Another good read from Fannie Flagg, who seems to be obsessed with death of late. This time Flagg's central character is a 60-year-old former Miss Alabama (and almost Miss America) now real estate broker who has decided to end it all, except things keep getting in the way. Funny and poignant with some great characters, though I found it hard to relate to.

Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani. A great working girl story set in circa 1950 New York, specifically Greenwich Village and B. Altman. (I still miss that department store.) While the writing was uneven, I was swept up by Lucia's story -- which describes what it was like to be a happy 20-something working girl, making custom-made dresses for B. Altman's high society and celebrity clients, and trying to find a husband who would respect her -- and found myself wishing I could travel back in time to 1950s New York City just for a day and a night.

Mr. Chartwell
by Rebecca Hunt. A poignant first novel that examines (though that's not quite the right word) how depression, in the form of a large black dog, Mr. Chartwell, affects Winston Churchill as well as a young widow. To quote the author, "Mr Chartwell isn’t just a book about depression. It is equally about redemption, courage and love. And, for me, it is predominantly and most importantly about hope." Me? I couldn't put it down. (Btw, if, like me, you suffer from bouts of depression, you will absolutely relate to this book.)

The Various Flavors of Coffee
by Anthony Capella. Loved Capella's book The Wedding Officer, so grabbed this when I saw it on the recommended fiction cart at the library. While well written, I didn't enjoy The Various Flavors of Coffee as much. I guess you could say it was a bit bitter for my taste. But if you like historical fiction (as I do), coffee (ditto), English novels (ditto), with two teaspoons of romance (ditto), you will most likely enjoy this book, which is set in late 1800s England (and Africa), and follows the exploits of an aspiring writer (and sex fiend) who gets sucked into the coffee trade.

File under "fantasy" and "if you miss Harry Potter":

The Lost Gate
by Orson Scott Card. For those of you who don't know me well, I was a huge sci-fi/fantasy geek back in the day, at least reading wise. And I still pick up the odd fantasy or science fiction novel when one catches my eye. (Read the entire Harry Potter series before the kid.) And Orson Scott Card's latest, a coming of age story about a young man who discovers he has god-like powers (which isn't entirely surprising as he's part of a family of banished Norse gods), definitely caught my eye. If you liked the Harry Potter series or well-written fantasy/young adult novels, or have a pre-teen or teen who does, check out The Lost Gate.

I also read An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin and Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell, but was not enamored of either of them. Though if you were an art history major in college or are into the New York art scene, you might be amused (or appalled) by the Steve Martin book. (As for Sarah Vowell's latest work, about the decimation of the native Hawaiian population by American missionaries, I found it depressing at best -- without any of the wittiness of her prior book, The Wordy Shipmates.)

Happy reading -- and please recommend some escapist fiction for me to read this summer!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Are you and your mate TP compatible?

[Alternate title: How's it hanging?]

Forget about money, sex, the toilet seat, and toothpaste caps. You want to know the real source of marital or relationship discord or success? Toilet paper. More specifically toilet paper rolls -- and which way to hang them.

Joke all you want, but I have seen and heard couples nearly come to blows over whether the end of the toilet paper roll should hang over or under the bar (and why certain people seem unable to replace an empty roll). And it's not just couples. Ask your friends -- or really anyone -- about the "right" way to hang a roll of toilet paper and you are guaranteed to wind up in an argument eventually.

Indeed, people have very specific opinions about how to hang toilet paper (like this guy). Hence the 3,770,000 results for the Google search term "how to hang toilet paper." One guy even goes so far as to scientifically demonstrate that there is a right way and a wrong way to hang toilet paper.

Sadly, I am apparently doing it the wrong way -- the "under" way. And per the Angry Aussie will be going to Hell.

Fortunately, the spouse will be going there with me. For he, too, prefers his toilet paper to hang under the bar. I think it's an aesthetic thing, for both of us, though I swear we use less toilet paper when the end hangs under the bar (as opposed to over). In any case, it is one less thing for us to argue about (though we hardly ever argue).

But let me put it to you, dear readers. Which side do you fall on on the great over/under debate? Does your mate agree with you?

Do me a favor and take a few seconds to do the (totally anonymous) poll below, which closes on Saturday, June 18, at 12 noon ET.

How's your toilet paper hanging?

Thank you.

UPDATED: Blog reader Anonymous asked the following question in the Comments, which I felt compelled to reprint here: "Do you fold or crumple your TP?" You can let me know via the Comments. (Too lazy to put up another poll.)

Friday, June 10, 2011

You'll get a charge out of this bikini.


Introducing the solar-powered bikini!

As Paris Hilton would say, now that's hot!

No more worrying about how to charge your iPod at the beach, ladies -- though forget about swimming. (Though really who swims in the ocean anymore, especially in a bikini?) That's because the solar bikini is made of dozens of photovoltaic film strips and USB connectors, providing enough juice to keep you in iTunes for hours. [Bonus: Also increases breast size!]

There's also a male version in the works, called the iDrink, which, in addition to powering an iPod, allows guys to keep their favorite beverage cool in the hottest situations (and places). [Makes a swell Father's Day gift!]

You can learn more about the solar-powered bikini and the iDrink at Solar Coterie. Custom orders now being accepted!

[H/T to friend of the blog JJV]

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Why do people have to be jerks?

I realize this question has many answers, and I would love to hear some of yours.

I guess I'm just naive, or stupid, or this heat is making me particularly sensitive (and cranky), but I am constantly amazed, and hurt, by how incredibly insensitive or thoughtless or mean people can be -- especially so-called friends. (I am not even going to touch on bosses or people we work with. That is a whole other blog post.)

Do people get off on being jerks or making others feel bad? Does it make them feel better making others feel worse? (Btw, those are rhetorical questions.)

Why when a friend tells you she never went to a prom and has prom envy would you say "I went to six proms! Proms are great!"

Why when a friend tells you she is on a diet would you eat a big hunk of chocolate cake in front of her and announce, "I love chocolate cake! Don't you?"

Why when a friend tells you he is really struggling financially would you say "Hey, want to go for a ride in my new Ferrari? I just got her, and she only cost a quarter mill!"

Why when a friend tells you he was just laid off would you brag about your promotion?

Why when you opine to a friend, "I'd love to be able to go out more," does he then go and on about all of the great restaurants and parties he goes to?

Why do people leave nasty anonymous comments on blogs?

And what is with all of the one-upping?

Let me know via the Comments.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Happy National Chocolate Ice Cream Day!

In case you missed the memo, today is National Chocolate Ice Cream Day, which should make J-THREE-O very happy. (She looooooves chocolate ice cream. Me? I am more of a chocolate chip fan.)

It is also Daniel Boone Day -- the day when American pioneer Daniel Boone "discovered" Kentucky.

But wait, that's not all. Today is also the beginning of Shavuot, the period commemorating God giving the Israelites the Torah on Mount Sinai and the first harvest of the season. And how does one commemorate Shavuot, you ask? By eating at least one dairy meal. (Mmmm... chocolate ice cream.) I kid you not.

So in honor of National-Chocolate-Ice-Cream-Daniel-Boone-Shavuot-Day, I will be eating a big bowl of chocolate ice cream in my coonskin cap watching a replay of various Kentucky Derbies while reading some Old Testament. (The Book of Daniel, perhaps?)


Monday, June 6, 2011

What's in your cabinet?

With the new Capital One Venture Cat, you get double the fur, every time you open a cabinet door!

I don't know about the rest of you cat owners, but our black cat, Felix, is absolutely obsessed with jumping into cabinets. And the one pictured above is nearly five feet off the floor!

We used to try to remove him, but it created such a mess -- and scars -- that we now just wait for him to get down on his own.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Keep it in your pants - and out of my inbox

Sigh. I wasn't going to blog about Anthony's Weiner, but since inquiring minds wanted my opinion on the distinguished member of Congress (h/t Jon Stewart), here goes:

I don't care.

Oh, you wanted the longer version. In that case, allow me to quote Jennifer Senior of New York Magazine:

"The real problem with Anthony Weiner... isn’t that he may be blitzkrieging college co-eds with pictures of his dick. The problem is that he’s behaving like one."

Actually, if Congressman Weiner (who has been known to stick up for foreign supermodels) is tweeting crotch shots of himself, the problem is he's a misguided narcissistic bonehead, but I believe that is a prerequisite for "higher" office these days.

More important or serious: Who or what gave guys the idea that emailing or tweeting or texting women pictures of their penis, in any state, is sexy? (Yes, I'm talking to you, Brett Favre, and to a certain former business associate who, come to think of it, bore more than a passing resemblance to #4, who thought drunk texting me pictures of his nether regions was a great idea. It wasn't.)

But don't take my word for it, guys. Take hottie Taryn Southern's.

[H/T to Another David S.]

UPDATE: Holy crap! It's all true! It was Anthony's Weiner. (Click the link to read the latest.)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Feeling Naughty

I love a good beer -- and a good beer label. So when I saw the Naughty Nurse display at Whole Foods, I could not resist.

Anyone care to play doctor with me? ;-) (Love me a good cheeky amber ale.)

Per City Steam's (really lame) website, the Naughty Nurse is a best seller (though I'm guessing their summer ale, titled Blonde on Blonde, will give that amber wench a run for her hops). But I think if they had a really great tagline and/or advertising campaign they would sell even more ale.

Think of the possibilities!

"Take home a Naughty Nurse tonight!"

"Naughty Nurse, it goes down smooth!"

"Grab yourself a Naughty Nurse!"

[I am restraining myself -- barely -- from typing some of my racier taglines.]

But why should I have all the fun? What do you think would be a great tagline for Naughty Nurse Amber Ale? Let me know via the Comments (or on the J-TWO-O Facebook fan page)! I may even treat the winner to a beer!