Sunday, July 31, 2011


Saw this license plate earlier today. Am hoping it, "69TOPLES" (aka 69 TOPLESS), referred to this guy's car, a 1969 Plymouth Barracuda Convertible (which is apparently quite rare). But you never know.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Old Spice Guy vs. Fabio vs. Darth Vader iPhone repair

Tired of hearing about the debt ceiling? Depressed by politics as usual? Work? All those back-to-school ads in July? Here are some things to make you smile again.

First up, Isaiah Mustafa (aka The Old Spice Guy) goes Mano a Mano against "Italian model" Fabio (Lanzoni) to see who will be the next Old Spice spokesmodel.

Part of me is tempted to vote for Fabio, who is, like, 55? 60? now. (That must be some portrait he has in his attic.) But my armpits belong to Isaiah Mustafa.

Also worth a viewing, this brilliant (albeit slightly warped) video from comedian Mark Malkoff to determine exactly how far the Apple Store's customer service (or hospitality) extends. FYI, the segment titled "Darth Vader iPhone Repair," at 2:02, is hands-down my favorite.

Finally, getting back to our political crisis du jour, here's yet another reason Republicans need to vote on raising the debt ceiling:

Monday, July 25, 2011

And Goodell said, "Let there be football." And there was football.

And Goodell saw the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement, and it was good: and Goodell united the players and the owners.

And Goodell saw every thing that they had made, and, behold, it was very good.

And the evening of September 8 and the afternoon of September 11 were the first and second day of football season.


I am so ready for some football.

Hope the Jets and Giants don't suck this season.

Monday, July 18, 2011

How to pack for camp like a teenage girl

Yesterday, the spouse and I took our now teenage daughter to her sleepaway program, which runs for three weeks. And this year, for the first time, I had my daughter pack herself (armed with the packing list from camp). And let me just say, I'm pretty sure my daughter would give Ginger and the Howells, from Gilligan's Island, pretty stiff competition in the packing department. (I read the student manual, and I am pretty sure it did not say "Bring everything you own." Also, do you really need six 8-inch bottles of perfume... at camp? Or eyeshadow? I know: "Clearly, J., you are not a 13-year-old girl." To which I say, "Thank goodness!")

Now granted, this post is coming from someone who has been known to bring only a carry-on bag for a week's trip -- or who can cram clothes enough for two people for two weeks in a single regulation suitcase. But I am not a 13-year-old girl, and when I was approximately her age we all went to sleepaway camp (albeit for eight weeks, not three) with rather large trunks. Still.

So somehow the spouse manages to fit our daughter's suitcase, which could sleep a family of three (I exaggerate only slightly), her laundry basket (which is crammed with stuff, including a fan -- a total necessity as there is no air conditioning -- laundry detergent, her rain boots, a small desk lamp, and a blanket -- again, all necessities), her backpack (crammed with stuffed animals), her beach bag (not sure what was in there -- but I think a neutron star may be missing some of its mass), her small trunk (again, no idea what was in there -- but I checked and both cats are present and accounted for), and the three of us into his Honda Civic Hybrid, and we motor to camp. (FYI to all you hybrid car owners, if you want to see what crappy mileage you can get, try taking your daughter to camp or college.)

When we arrive at camp, it takes all three of us to transport her stuff to the unloading area where a U-Haul truck will take everything to her living quarters -- and then all three of us will need to haul it across the courtyard and up a flight of stairs (or in the teeny tiny elevator) and down the hall to her room. In 90-degree weather.

And then I see him. This 13- or 14- year-old boy -- or rather his luggage. Which consists of one average-size suitcase and a carry-on-size rollerboard, both of which he is wheeling himself. And then I spot another boy, with just a suitcase and a backpack. And another one. And as I glance around the unloading area, I realize that our daughter has a lock on the award for most stuff. Indeed, no one is even close. I am so proud.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Harry Potter: Everything You Need to Know in Just 6 Minutes

The final Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, opened today. And for those of you who are unfamiliar with the terms Hogwarts, quidditch, muggle, and horcrux, the helpful folks over at Slate V put together this amusing video Cliff Notes version of the previous seven films, which is must viewing.

So today's question: Are you planning on seeing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2? And, if so, will a child be accompanying you?

I read all seven books, as soon as they came out, but I only saw the first film. My daughter, however, has seen all seven films and is looking forward to seeing the final Harry Potter film while at sleepaway camp later this month.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Cats: three things you didn't know

1. Cats can sing -- or trololo (though apparently only when pet in a certain way)...

[A tip o' the paw to Dave S. and his lovely spouse for this one.]

2. Cats are fearless and brave -- and know how to pack some serious heat...

[More interesting, or definitely more amusing, is the Behind the Scenes - Medal of Honor Cat clip. Btw, some of the YouTube comments on both are pretty darn funny.]

3. Cats have an on-off button...

Who knew?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Is your spouse a dishwasher Nazi?

Per the spouse, I am a dishwasher Nazi, meaning I have a very specific idea of how our dishwasher should be loaded (which I refer to as "common sense, so you can fit the most stuff into it to conserve energy" or "a place for everything, and everything in its place") and get annoyed when other people just randomly jam dishes and bowls and glasses wherever they please. And I am not alone. Indeed, the spouse and I, through years of observation, have come to the (unscientific) conclusion that in most households with more than one person, one of them is a dishwasher Nazi.

For the record, unlike real Nazis, I have never tortured or gassed anyone for putting a plate or bowl in the wrong slot, though I have been known to sigh and cast dirty looks. (Though seriously people, how hard is it to figure out where that plate should go?! Come on!)

Interestingly, in the several other cases of dishwasher domination we know about, it is the man who is in charge (by choice) of loading the dishwasher -- and woe to the spouse or child who attempts to place a plate or glass without his permission, or puts that fork or knife in the wrong side up. (Speaking of forks and knives, we no longer have this issue as our dishwasher has a silverware tray, but do you believe the sharp end should go up or down?)

So, my question to all of you is: Is there a dishwasher Nazi in your household? And, if so, which one of you is it?

[Btw, I just Googled the term "dishwasher nazi" and there are 714,000 results. Clearly, this is a bigger problem than I suspected.]

Monday, July 11, 2011

Support your local farmer!

When I was a little girl, I used to tell people that when I grew up I wanted to own a farm in Maplewood, New Jersey -- Maplewood, New Jersey, being the most bucolic place I had been at the time. (Whether this desire was a result of watching too much Green Acres or being an unhappy city kid I do not know. But running a small farm seemed like paradise to my six-year-old self.)

As I got older and saw more of the world, the thought of living in Maplewood, New Jersey, and running a farm receded. I was going to be a city girl and run a magazine! But I still liked the idea of growing things, as my mother did during our summer sojourns on the East End of Long Island.

So imagine my excitement when, finally, 11 years ago, the spouse and I moved to a house with a big yard, seemingly perfect for a vegetable and flower garden! And imagine my keen disappointment when one neighbor after another warned me not to bother planting a garden as the deer and/or other critters would make quick work of whatever vegetables and flowers we grew. (And yes, we thought of getting a deer fence, but that did not deter deer and burrowing critters from ruining our neighbor's garden. And frankly, gardening seemed like an awful lot of thankless work, especially with a job and a young child to look after.)

Fortunately, every summer I can get a vicarious farming thrill (picking the fruits -- and veggies -- of someone else's labor!) by visiting Quail Hill Farm (where the first two pictures, below, were taken), where my stepfather, a member, takes my daughter (and me) picking whenever we visit. And this year, as an added bonus, our friend, Carissa, a truly gifted baker who just started Carissa's Breads, is selling her breads (pictured below) and muffins and pies at Quail Hill Farm on picking days.

And now there is yet another organic farm in town (that is my stepfather's town) for us to visit, Amber Waves Farm, which grows and mills its own wheat* (see pictures, below), as well as many wonderful vegetables (like squash and zucchini and rainbow kale and garlic) and herbs.

Walking around Amber Waves Farm with co- founder/farmer Katie Baldwin (her partner, Amanda Merrow, spent most of the time weeding) really made us appreciate the value of local farms -- and how much work and love and passion farming takes. Indeed, I have a whole new appreciation for farming after this weekend, and will be patronizing our local farmer's markets more often.

So if you want to truly invest in America, support your local farm(er) -- either through Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs), by visiting your local farmer's market, or buying locally grown produce!

*and now hops, which it plans to sell to local microbreweries! Mmm... beer.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Do you know my good friend, Tina Fey?

So last night at dinner my mother and stepdad are telling this story about their friend and neighbor "Alec," who was seated next to my mom at a recent dinner party. After politely chatting with a handful of female admirers, he turns to my mother (whom he has known for years) and asks her where she's from. And she says "a suburb of Philadelphia." Alec presses her for the name. She tells him, and Alec says, "I have a good friend from around there, Tina Fey!" (I will let you all guess who "Alec" is.) Only in the Hamptons...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Would it kill you to pre-treat your laundry?

Or change a roll of toilet paper?

But getting back to today's subject -- pre-treating one's laundry.

I don't mind doing the laundry. Really. But it really pisses me off when, after I tell the spouse or kid to "pre-treat that really nasty stain," they totally ignore me and just throw whatever it is in the hamper -- and I wind up washing it and drying it and then when I'm about to fold it see that the stain or (more typically) stains have now set in and the shirt or pants are probably done for. Sigh.

Anyone else have this problem? Or a solution?

On a related note, I wonder if you can still buy Calgon water softener....

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

When the Mets beat the Yankees at Citi Field

As many of you know, I am a huge fan of the New York Mets. And this Sunday the spouse and I attended our first game of the season at Citi Field, where the Mets were hosting the Evil Empire New York Yankees.

I was a little nervous about attending the game as thunderstorms had been predicted, we were leaving our teenage daughter home alone, and the Mets had lost the previous two games to the Yankees. But fortunately my fears (on all three counts) were for naught. And despite a 90-minute rain delay (even though it wasn't raining), and being surrounded by screaming Yankees fans ("Let's go Yankees!"), the Mets ("Yankees SUCK!*") and I did just fine, though we both had our moments.

Indeed, the July 3 Yankees-Mets game at Citi Field was one of the most exciting baseball games I have ever attended, and not just because the Mets managed to win the ballgame 3-2 in the bottom of the 10th inning (though that played a large part).

I also managed to capture some rather unusual photos during the game, including...

proof that Yankees' third baseman Alex Rodriguez (aka A-Rod) walks on air (even when he strikes out)...

Here's a closeup:

(Who knew steroids -- or was it Cameron Diaz? -- could get you high?)

Mr. Met, the New York Mets' mascot, shooting up (t-shirts, that is)...

as well as a fan giving Mr. Met a big hand (literally).

And two lovebirds watching the last innings of the Mets-Yankees game:

*While I am sure Red Sox fans agree with this sentiment, the Yankees, at least in terms of the MLB standings, do not suck in the least and, in fact, are in first place in the American League East. This was merely what us poor trod upon Mets fans shouted each time those obnoxious Yankees fans shouted "Let's go Yankees!"

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A little Fourth of July music

I love John Philip Sousa and the Boston Pops as much as the next gal, but I'm tired of hearing the same old patriotic ditties year after year. So this year I'm offering up some alternative Fourth of July music.

First, I highly recommend Schoolhouse Rock's "Fireworks," which is both fun and educational!

Next, give a listen to Josh Turner's "Firecracker."

(I like American Idol's Scotty McCreery, but he's no Josh Turner.)

And (at least for me) it wouldn't be July 4th without a little "Afternoon Delight," a song that I will forever associate with my first summer at sleepaway camp and July 4th (and, more recently, the movie Anchorman and glee).

Finally the late great James Cagney singing "Yankee Doodle Dandy" (because I'm a sucker for old movie musicals).

So what do you like to listen to on the Fourth of July?

(Here's what Michael Behrenhausen of Reverb thinks are the best Fourth of July songs. Do you agree?)

Wishing one and all a fun yet safe Fourth...

Saturday, July 2, 2011

D'oh! A deer (and a really cool dragonfly)

Yes, yes, I know deer are giant, tick-infested rodents, but this doe, who has a broken left front leg and a fawn who looks just like Bambi (not pictured) just stole my heart. (In the immortal words of my late father, "Walt Disney screwed us.") And she looked so beautiful and serene resting in the shade of a tree in our backyard that I had to take a picture. (Click on the photo to get a larger view. Then hit the back button to return to the post.)

I actually stood in the backyard for several minutes, letting the deer get used to me, before I took her picture. And it was only when I got pretty close that she stood up and moved away.

Also hanging out at the J-TWO-O spa and all-you-can-eat salad bar yesterday, this dragonfly.