Thursday, September 27, 2012

And now a word from Samuel L. Jackson re the 2012 presidential election

Samuel L. Jackson is m*therf**cking pissed, people. And he wants apathetic Democrats and so-called undecided voters to wake the F**K up this November 6 and go vote for President Barack Obama. Or else.

[Warning: In case you cannot tell by the title of this video, which is "Wake the F**K Up,"* due to the use of a certain four-letter word beginning with the letter "f," and a version of this word with "mother" placed in front of it, this video may not safe for work or viewing with young children.]

Consider this your presidential wake-up call, people. Trust me, you do not want to piss off Samuel L. Jackson.

*The title is a sly reference to the infamous parody of bedtime stories titled "Go the F**k to Sleep," which Samuel L. Jackson narrated for the audio version. To hear it, click here

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

James Bond turns 50; still sexy as hell

Today marks the release of Bond 50 [aka From Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment with Love], a Blu-ray collection of all 22 James Bond films celebrating 50 years of Agent 007 doing what he does best.

My first James Bond film was The Spy Who Loved Me, and, I confess, I fell a little bit in love with Roger Moore that day. That is until I saw Sean Connery as 007, in either Dr. No or Goldfinger, a few years later. Damn, that man was hot. Indeed, for me, Sean Connery is the ultimate Bond.

You know what else I loved about the James Bond movies? The cars. Particularly Bond's Aston Martin DB5. Man, I loved that car. And when I spotted an Aston Martin DB5 parked outside my flat in London one day, I nearly fainted. (Sadly, James Bond was nowhere to be found, but I did get a photo, of the car.) So I enjoyed watching this video compilation of the various James Bond cars (and 007s), put together in honor of 50 years of James Bond.

But wait, there's more, James Bond fans! On November 9 we get the newest James Bond feature, Skyfall, starring Daniel Craig. Let the product placements and promotions begin! First up, this clever James Bond-themed ad from Heineken.

Though, seriously, would James Bond ever drink a Heineken? (A Dos Equis I might understand, if Bond was in Mexico. After all, 007 is the second most interesting man in the world. But a Heineken? No way.)

And while it's true that most of us will never have the adventures, the cars, or the women that James Bond had, at least now you can smell like James Bond with James Bond 007, the official fragrance of James Bond. It's dangerously exciting. (Be sure to check out the comments on YouTube re what the fragrance would smell like.)

So what was/is your favorite James Bond film and James Bond? Let me know via the comments.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Some pig

What would Sunday be without a little bacon?

Alternate title:  What a ham!

Love this video of a little pig rescuing a baby goat from drowning.

That'll do, pig. That'll do.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Top 3 2012 Presidential Parodies for the Week of 9/17/12

Combing the Internet (and YouTube), so you don't have to.

First up, Obama Time, or "U Didn't Build That by MC 'Bama," a clever mashup of President Barack Obama rapping about various campaign issues and Mitt Romney to the tune of MC Hammer's "U Can't Touch This."

Next up, Obama's Anger Translator on the 47 percent:

And finally, Randy Newman, who is dreaming of a white president.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Read this, not that (09/12 book recommendations)

I love a good book -- though I have found them harder to come by lately. Maybe it's because I prefer books that make me laugh, or at least smile, instead of cry or want to slit my wrists (which seem to be the majority of books published the last 10 years or so). Maybe it's because I'm a former book editor and cringe when I read a poorly edited (or written) book (of which I see more and more).

In any case, when I do find a good book, one I can't put down, whose prose and characters make me want to keep reading, and whose ending does not disappoint, my immediate reaction is to tell everyone I know about it.

So following is a list of books I've read since my last Book Nook post. As per usual, I have linked the title of each book (the ones I liked) to its listing on Amazon, so you can read more about it.

Books I liked.... 


A Good Indian Wife by Anne Cherian. A story of an arranged marriage between two attractive, well-educated Indians, a doctor who went to university in the States, lives in San Francisco, and has no desire to get married, especially to an Indian woman, and a sheltered thirty-year-old English teacher from a poor but high caste family in India, for whom marriage is a way to help her family and herself. I didn't love this book, mainly because I found the characters hard to like. But I did find it interesting and thought provoking in its discussion and portrayal of arranged marriage and the culture clash and identity issues immigrants in the United States confront.

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness. The sequel to A Discovery of Witches. Think Harry Potter, if he was a female, in his thirties, with a suave, sexy, sophisticated vampire as a love interest (pick your vampire novel/series). If you are a fan of fantasy, especially tales of witches and vampires, and/or historical fiction (most of the action takes place in Elizabethan London and features many famous literary figures), and/or a good mystery, you will enjoy Shadow of Night. And did I mention it's got hot (or, technically, cold) vampire on witch sex?

The Book of Lost Fragrances: A Novel of Suspense by M. J. Rose. Scents and sensibility. Part historical fiction, part romance, part thriller. If you are interested in the history or meaning of perfume, believe in past lives and/or the concept of soul mates, are a sucker for any book that takes place in Paris, The Book of Lost Fragrances is for you.

Rococo by Adriana Trigiani. I laughed, I cried. Rococo is the story of Bartolomeo di Crespi, B. to his friends and family, a New York-trained interior decorator who has decorated nearly every home in his home town of Our Lady of Fatima, New Jersey. The book is supposed to take place in the 1970s, but the story -- of chasing a dream (to renovate his home-town church), of family (a warm and funny albeit dysfunctional Italian one), and the quest to find the perfect ottoman -- is timeless.


The Violinist’s Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code by Sam Kean. I love a good book about genetics. More than the tale of DNA, Kean (whose parents are named Gene and Jean) explains why crazy cat ladies may not be crazy, why some people are better musicians, and the power and purpose of mutations (though sadly the book does not contain any X-Men references), to name just a few topics covered. Written for laymen, however those with an interest or degree in science will also appreciate.

Kosher Chinese: Living, Teaching, and Eating with China’s Other Billion by Michael Levy. Or an American Jew in Bumfuck (aka Guiyang) China. A fascinating, funny, and endearing look at a part of China and the Chinese we Americans never hear or read about. Highly recommend.

That Woman: The Life of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor by Anne Sebba. All I can say after reading this book is thank Wallis Edward VIII abdicated. England should be grateful. A frank biography of Wallis Simpson, the twice divorced American woman (or possibly man -- Sebba believes Simpson was intersex) who wound up becoming the Duchess of Windsor, even though she seemingly had no desire to marry the former Prince of Whales/Edward VIII.

License to Pawn by Rick Harrison with Tim Keown. This may be the best memoir I've read to date -- or my favorite. I hadn't heard of the book before I came across it at the library, though I love watching Pawn Stars on History. But Harrison's story -- how he suffered from grand mal seizures as a kid, struggled with school (even though he was a math prodigy and loved science), was a wild child who got married and had kids in his teens, and hustled his way into getting a license to pawn in Las Vegas and a reality series -- is a page turner. It's also interesting to read about and from his father, son, and Chumlee, his son's friend who also works at the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop and the so-called "village idiot" on Pawn Stars.

Want more book recommendations? Click here or on the "Book Nook" label at the end of this post.

Books I didn't like.... 

The Lost Prince by Selden Edwards. I so wanted to love this book. Who doesn't love a good, romantic, time travel book? (See The Time Traveler's Wife and Time and Again, two of my all-time favorite books.) Sadly, this was not a good time-travel book -- though a good editor could have fixed that. Indeed, after reading The Lost Prince, I wish I could have gone back in time and returned the book to the shelf instead of checking it out.

The Age of Desire by Jennie Fields. This book made me detest Edith Wharton. Thanks Jennie Fields. Feh. It wasn't that the book was badly written, though it was a bit overwritten (then again she was probably emulating Wharton and Henry James, who is also featured). The real problem, for me, is that I loathed almost all the characters, especially Wharton, which made it hard to like the book.

The Three Weissmanns of Westport by Cathleen Schine. How can you like a book when you hate or have no respect for all the characters? While the writing was fluid, I disliked the plot and the characters -- and was so frustrated I stomped around Block Island cursing out the author (and myself, for not having brought something else to read).

Monday, September 17, 2012

Jewish New Year's Resolutions

In honor of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, I offer up the following New Year's Resolutions. (Note: Any resemblance to real Jewish persons is entirely a coincidence.)
  • I will not brag about my son... the doctor... who graduated from Harvard, with honors, and was just listed by some big important magazine as one of the best doctors in [insert name of city here]. (And did I mention he and his lovely wife just bought a lovely new house and are about to give me my first grandson?) 
  • I promise to have sex with my husband, that is, if he can tear himself away from that blonde shiksa he hired. (I have no idea what he sees in her. Also, her boobs? Totally fake.) And would it kill him to get his back waxed?
  • I will not brag about my new car (a Maybach, only cost me $425,000). 
  • I will not nag my children about calling me more often, though would it kill you to pick up a phone once in a while? (Email, shmemail. Feh.) 
  • I will keep my mouth closed about my daughter, who insists on living in sin with that no-good deadbeat. Would it kill him to get a real job? And what's with the earring? 
  • I will not brag to all my friends about my grandchildren... though, did I mention, my granddaughter was just accepted at Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and Princeton?  
  • I will listen to my wife complain without rolling my eyes.
  • I will not post embarrassing pictures of my children/grandchildren on their Facebook pages. (Bar and bat mitzvah photos from the 1970s and 1980s don't count, do they?)
  • This year, I will lose 20 pounds. Now would you be a dear and pass me more noodle kugel? 
  • I will not pass judgment upon others. (Though did you see [insert name here]'s house? It's like animals live there. Disgusting. And did you see what she wore to the club the other night? What does she think she is, 25? And him! Running around with that woman. Shameful.)
L'shanah tovah!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Everything I know about high school I learned from glee

For those of you who think the popular Fox show glee is purely a work of fiction (like I did, until this afternoon), guess again.

I don't know what I was expecting when I walked into my daughter's high school earlier today, my first day as a volunteer in the high school library. Probably the same thing I experienced when I volunteered at her middle school.* Yes, I am that naive.

Looking around, I felt I was in a frickin' episode of glee, complete with cheerleaders IN UNIFORM in the middle of the day. (My daughter's high school even has similar initials to the one on glee.) There were the jocks in one section, some pimply faced boys in another, a group of token outcasts/rebels, and a smattering of pretty, quiet studious girls and nice-looking studious boys. I seriously kept waiting for everyone to break out into song -- with a pre-choreographed dance routine.

I'm just relieved no one slammed me into a locker or threw a slushy at me.

*I attended a small, private, low-key (at least back in the day) all-girls high school in New York City -- with no football team or cheerleaders, though apparently a handful (or two) of Gossip Girls

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Do you have Gangnam Style?

And if you are saying to yourself, WTF is Gangnam Style?! Then the answer is no.

So what is Gangnam Style? Gangnam Style is a video by the Korean group PSY -- and the latest YouTube sensation, with nearly 153 million views (on just the original upload) in only two months.

You're welcome.

(If it makes you feel any better, I am also rather late to the Gangnam Style party, having not understood what "Gangnam Style" was until earlier today. And the teenager, who knew about One Direction before any of her friends did, had not heard of PSY or Gangnam Style either. Score one point for Mom!)

More importantly, did we really need another dance craze? (That would be a rhetorical question.)

I am still trying to figure out how to do the Macarena.

Indeed, the last dance craze I probably mastered (though "mastered" is a bit of a stretch) was the Hustle. And I think I was 9 or 10 when the song came out.

So in 10 or even 5 years will we be going to weddings and sweet sixteens and bar and bat mitzvahs and dancing Gangnam Style? I don't think so. Then again, as Judson Laipply so whimsically (painfully?) demonstrates in his Evolution of Dance videos, we've lived through worse.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The best song you've never heard?

I am not a big fan of Heineken beer, but I am a big fan of the songs they play on their commercials (which you probably have not seen unless you watch a lot of baseball and football, which I do). And ever since I saw Heineken's latest ad, titled "The Switch," I've been obsessed with the song played in the background.

(Is it just me or is that singer a dead ringer for Amy Winehouse?)

So finally, last night, after seeing "The Switch" a half dozen times (we watched a lot of sports yesterday: football -- GO JETS!* -- baseball (Mets still suck, sigh), and the U.S. Open women's tennis final, which was awesome, though could someone please put a mute button on Victoria Azarenka already?)  I went Googling to see who sang the song played in the background.

Turns out, the song is called "Love Letter," and it's by a group called Clairy Browne & the Bangin' Rackettes. And it's even more awesome than I thought. (Also, I am clearly not the only one who saw and heard a resemblance between Clairy Browne and Amy Winehouse.)

"Love Letter" is totally going on my iPod, and if you like smokey, jazzy, R&B songs (or Amy Winehouse), I recommend you put it on yours.

So if any of you know of an awesome song most people probably never heard of, please leave a Comment with the name of the song and the YouTube link.

*So are the Jets this good or were the Bills that bad?

Friday, September 7, 2012

How harsh a parent are you?

The spouse and I were amused reading New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor's recent article about the Obama girls, Malia and Sasha. Specifically, we were amused by Michelle (and Barack) Obama's rules for the girls, which included (and I quote):
  • Technology is for weekends. Malia may use her cellphone only then, and she and her sister cannot watch television or use a computer for anything but homework during the week. 
  • Malia and Sasha had to take up two sports: one they chose and one selected by their mother. “I want them to understand what it feels like to do something you don’t like and to improve,” the first lady has said. 
  • Malia must learn to do laundry before she leaves for college. 
  • The girls have to eat their vegetables, and if they say that they are not hungry, they cannot ask for cookies or chips later.
While some children (and their parents) might find these rules on the harsh side, the spouse and I did not. Indeed, while we allow our daughter to use technology and watch TV during the week, she only does so after doing her homework. And she had to start doing her own laundry when she turned 13. We also put her on a clothing budget when she became a teenager, which has taught her to look for coupons and watch for sales, and I have taught her how to comparison shop. And we told her she can only cook (or bake), an activity she loves and has gotten quite good at, if she cleans up after herself.

Are we being too harsh, or strict? We don't think so. (Hey, compared to Prince Charles -- and Queen Elizabeth II -- who just sent Prince Harry to Afghanistan for four months as punishment for misbehaving*, we are softies.)

But what do you think of the Obamas "rules" for their girls? And what rules do you have for your children? I'd love to know, via the Comments.

*No, the Queen didn't really send Harry to Afghanistan as punishment. At least I don't think so.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Lies, lies, lies, yeah (they're gonna get you)

I am so sick of all the lies that the Republican presidential candidate Willard Mitt Romney and his sidekick, vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan, have been spouting -- and repeating even after nonpartisan fact-checking organizations have called them on their lies -- I want to scream. The only time I want to hear lies is in the lyrics of a song, preferably one with a beat that I can dance to.

So, as I have been told that wiring the presidential and vice-presidential candidates to a lie detector (and an independent fact checker) during the debates and having the moderator administer an electric shock every time one of them lies, the bigger the lie, the bigger the shock, would probably kill them, I propose playing a snippet from one of the following songs each time a candidate lies.

So which song should it be? The Thompson Twins' "Lies"?

The Eurythmics' "Would I lie to you?"

Or Depeche Mode's "Policy of Truth"?

Or do you have another suggestion?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Mighty erections

Alternate title: Another visit to the Storm King Art Center.

I love a good outdoor sculpture park. And what better way to enjoy a lovely late summer day than to stroll the grounds of Storm King at dusk?

Here are a few of my favorite photos from yesterday's visit. (You can see photos from our previous visit to Storm King, back in 2010, here.)

Click on the photo to see a larger view (as well as the name of the sculpture and artist).

[FWIW, the spouse took a most unflattering photograph of me taking the second-to-last picture, which, if you are interested, you can see on both of our Facebook pages.]