Friday, November 28, 2008

Bruno the Vindicated Tightwad

Heard this report on NY1 this Black Friday morning: More New Yorkers are planning on spending less on gifts this year, sticking to a budget and doing comparison shopping.

In other words, more New Yorkers are going to be like Meeeeeeeee!

Go to the link for video of real New Yorkers shopping in a mall.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gettin' Ready

Tree getting ready.

Balloons getting ready.

Parade getting ready.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Vatican Pardons Lennon

The Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano had an article forgiving John Lennon for saying that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus back in 1966:
The paper described the remark as "showing off, bragging by a young English working-class musician who had grown up in the age of Elvis Presley and rock and roll and had enjoyed unexpected success". [...]

The newspaper said The Beatles's songs had shown an extraordinary capacity for survival and the White Album album remained a "magical musical anthology".

The Vatican also compared the Aeolian cadences at the end of "Not a Second Time" favorably to Mahler's "Song of the Earth."

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Tree!

It's behind the thing, but people are taking pictures of it anyway.

Saks' windows are behind a thing, too.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I Always Like To Plan in Advance

Now, when somebody tells me to go to Hell, I can make a reservation. (H/T EconoWhiner)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Beau Brummelstones

Extra points if you know who produced this record.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

How To Prepare Your Home To Be Uninhabitable

I've been getting estimates from contractors for the replastering-receiling-recabinet work, not just for cost but for how long it's going to take. The ballpark figure is that my apartment is going to be unlivable for woman or beast for four or five days.

Then again, the last time a contractor said this, we all stayed and managed all right in one little section for the week. And that was some unholy mess! It was an explosion of 150-year-old building smell in the middle of my apartment, and I'm still finding grime in odd corners of the place.

All the furniture will have to be moved into the middle of the room. This would have been impossible a couple of years ago, since there was so much stuff that there was no middle of the room. But it still gives me an excuse to declutter even further and maybe sell some of my things on eBay, if anyone still has a job and money to buy, the contractor.

Monday, November 17, 2008

They Even Have Ballroom Dancing. I'm Serious.

I've been on the waiting list for months for the fancy-shmancy health club that my company has some kind of deal with, and today a space opened up. The membership doesn't become effective until the day after Thanksgiving, but that's excellent timing right there.

Wow, so many things to go to enthusiastically for the first couple of months before losing interest, so little time.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My Life Revolves Around the Commercials

For the past couple of months, my new favorite show has been "House," which I hadn't watched until a couple of months ago. USA's been running Season Three over and over again, and first-run episodes on FOX are up to Season Five. So as my obsession grows, I've been left with a gap in my all-important series development knowledge, leading to a bunch of questions like: "What happened to Wilson's girlfriend?" "Why aren't House and Wilson friends anymore?" and most importantly, "Is this show gonna jump the shark now that I've started getting into it?"

I had some free credits at Kim's Video, so I rented Season Four, eschewing the disdain the film geek clerk showed me for preferring pop culture to obscure independent Czechoslovakian cult classics. I cleared up a couple of hours over the weekend to catch up, which is when I noticed that I was getting annoyed that there were no commercials. Really annoyed.

You think you get annoyed when your favorite show gets interrupted every twenty-two seconds by a commercial, but you don't realize how much you pace yourself and your evening or afternoon by, "I'll do this at the next commercial."

Okay, I tried to be self-disciplined and create my own breaks. "After this episode, I'll vacuum." "When I get to the spot where the commercial would be if this were being televised, I'll do the dishes." (By the way, an hour-long drama without the commercials is about 40 minutes.) But you get on a roll, and you think, maybe I should try to watch all of them really fast and get it over with all at once. And there's always the part where you have to determine, "How long should I break for?"

I have the same problem with HBO and Turner Classic Movies. "I'll wait until the next commercial...oh, that's right, it's HBO/Turner Classic Movies. Damn." And you can't hit "Pause" and run to the bathroom, because it really is being televised.

Perhaps it's time for TIVO.

Meanwhile, my questions have been answered about the missing episodes of "House," except for the one about jumping the shark. I know that in the Season Four finale, it jumps the bus.

And I still have store credit at Kim's, where there is a lot of obscure film I haven't viewed. So many opportunities to practice self-discipline, so little time.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Carnival of the Contractors

I've started auditioning contractors to do some stuff to the apartment that the landlord isn't going to pay for; mainly, to remove some fugly acoustic tile from the ceiling put up by a previous tenant and replace it with nice smooth sheetrock.

This was something that got interrupted two years ago at this time when Jim's cancer took a turn for the worse. I was planning massive changes to the apartment as a way to stay sane and feel productive. Little by little over the past year, many of those changes have been made without the pressure I felt back then. The pressure was because I felt like I had to do it all at once, mostly because I thought I'd procrastinate and not do it at all, and also because I was going to sail to the edge of the earth and fall off.

But there has been life after the unthinkable, and there have been renovations, most of which I haven't had to pay for. When I think about what I was willing to do and pay for a couple of years ago in order to forestall the inevitable, I feel like taking a nap. Or maybe it's just this gloomy rainy day, and the thought of a bunch of guys who don't speak English trying to convince me to fix things that don't need fixing. One sheetrock at a time, please.

PS: Here's a guy who's been in his Village apartment as long as I've been in mine. I remember that Live Poultry market!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Reality Check on the Left

When Dubya was (re?)-elected in 2004, Marc Cooper spoke to Democrats the way P.J. O'Rourke's column this week spoke to Republicans.

In his last column for the LA Weekly, he again takes libs to task, this time for grumbling over new appointees that aren't progressive enough:

Obama is obviously an extremely intelligent, liberal politician and social leader whose objective is to build a liberal governing majority that can actually initiate and pass significant reform legislation. Sorry to break this news to you, but self-styled progressives, socialists and even liberals do not — even remotely — constitute an organized electoral majority in this country. So to pass that legislation, Obama must build working coalitions and alliances, and even, gasp, make deals with and compromise with a whole lot of unsavory people whom you or I might not want to sit in the same room with. That’s just one reason why he’s the president. And why the rest of us are arguing about this over Chardonnay and finger food

Read the whole thing. Or just read that piece I quoted there; that was a good one. And read Marc's blog, too, because now you can't read his column anymore.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Not Chico; he's always needed. I mean the little TV. After next February, there won't be any broadcast television, just cable. So what do I do with my faithful little battery-operated Watchman that's been my lifesaver during two blackouts and whenever the cable is out and when I'm between "regular" TV's?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Loyal Opposition of Yuks

Now that the country may be moving a little bit to the left, expect a resurgence in right-wing humor.

Lileks has resurrected The Screedblog:
Conservatives cannot help but be saddened and left out – the only possible event that could lift their spirits right now would be a headline that said REAGAN, BACK FROM THE DEAD, EATS BIN LADEN AND CRAPS TAX CUT

And here's a new one in the Weekly Standard from P.J. O'Rourke: (Link courtesy of The Moderate Voice)

No Child Left Behind? What if they deserve to be left behind? What if they deserve a smack on the behind? A nationwide program to test whether kids are what? Stupid? You've got kids. Kids are stupid.

These are guys I enjoyed even while I was yelling stuff at Karl Rove on my teevee, and I'll keep on enjoying them and keeping myself honest.

Life In The Fast Lane

This week, my company cafeteria has Thanksgiving dinner.

Next week, it will have Christmas dinner.

The week after that, I will go from being 54 to being 82.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"This time we are not victims, but winners."

For the past week, here in New York we've been acting like an occupied country that just got liberated by the Allies.

This article in New York describes what's inside many New Yorkers pretty well:
Victimhood, at least, was a familiar part of New Yorkers’ repertoire. Now we have no choice but to be both cheerfully pro-American and earnestly optimistic, which are not exactly our default positions. Around 2003, most of us became highly invested in loathing a national regime that we know is wired to loathe people like us. A symbiosis was established. We’ve been shouting and pounding on a locked door with mounting fury for three, four, five, six years—and now that it’s suddenly swung wide open, all of us outsiders welcomed right inside, we’re sweaty and breathless and a little unsure exactly what to do next without someone to demonize and blame. New Yorkers enjoyed being prophets without honor in their own land. Righteous political umbrage felt good. An Obama-loving friend admits that now he actually feels slightly let down without his beleagueredness and anti-Republican rage to energize him. A majority of Americans … agrees with us?

And this Borowitz Report describes it even better:

Failure to Blow Election Stuns Democrats

Monday, November 10, 2008

Yippee! I Can Eat Again!

My test was A-Okay!

Repeat again in 3 to 5 years.

I can eat again! Solid food! Yaaayyyyy!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

"This Must Be What Evil Tastes Like!"

The stuff I had to drink tonight.

This makes the rest of my life seem so, so good.

Off to a Good Start

Ashley helps me file.

I'm at home all day today preparing for a routine medical screening tomorrow, the one where you have nothing but liquids the day before and then a big beverage that tastes like pond scum for dinner and then the next morning, up your nose with a rubber hose. You other old people will know which one I mean.

So what am I doing while I'm housebound? Am I getting caught up on my chores, my reading, my correspondence? Yeah, sort of. But mostly my brain is still set on "political junkie" mode, so I'm reading blogs and watching CNN all the livelong day, with shows like "Yes, Even More Stuff About the Obama Presidency!"

The Conventional Wisdom right now is that Obama will govern from the center. This makes me smile, because centrist Democrats are about where I'm at as far as what I think will be good for the country right now, so listen to me 'cause I'm one of those liberal elitists who know what's good for ya.

Amba was also watching CNN, Rahm Emanuel on This Week, and said that Emanuel kept hammering the message of helping the middle class. That should bring a smile to my mother's face, because she watches This Week too and she likes it when the Democrats say that.

What I liked was that he said that the auto industry should look for ways to use the money they've already received and look for a way to turn the crisis into an opportunity. This is in line with my philosophy of "Before you go shopping, use what you have."

So I'm happy, and optimistic. Or just hallucinating from lack of solid food.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Here's Where You Get To Solve My Problems

I've been falling asleep in meetings at work. This is not due to a boring speaker, but to the white noise in the conference room.

And it doesn't matter if I've had a full night of sleep, or how energetic I feel that day. I sit down in the conference room and bam, my eyelids start getting heavy and I go into this alpha state. And then instead of the IT Department showing us new software, the Pope is singing "Cool Jerk" and he's got six cardinals for a back-up group.

And the last time, my boss caught me at it, which you really don't want when there are big-time layoffs going on. Usually I try to position a few bulky people between me and her, or I try to force the eye open that's facing her. But during the last meeting I was suddenly jolted out of my reverie by "Wake up, Melinda, this applies to you."

The positive thing is that the next time I do suffer from insomnia, I could always sneak into the conference room and grab forty winks.

I could also mention this problem to co-workers and see if anyone else has had this experience. We'd still have to have our meetings there, but at least I wouldn't feel so weird about my seeming narcolepsy.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Happy Smiling People Cereal

Accept no substitutes:

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

All I Have to Say on This Historic Occasion Is...


I'm older than the President!

I'm older than the President!

I'm older than the President!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Anybody going to an Election Day party tonight? I'll be having a one-woman bash in my easy chair, flipping back and forth between CNN, Fox, NY1 and a mini-marathon of "House."

I'll also be checking in on the live-blogging festivities here, here and here, while having "a glass of win." Hopefully.

Update, 11 PM EST: It sounds like New Year's Eve outside my window. I don't even know where it's coming from. It's like the whole neighborhood is cheering.

11:20 PM: I stepped outside and it was the whole neighborhood cheering--people walking down the street cheering, stumbling out of bars cheering, leaning out windows cheering. Especially young black people. Especially young black gay people. (Hey, it's the Village.) Car horns are honking.

McCain is giving a very classy concession speech. My country is very classy tonight.

Monday, November 03, 2008

In An Ideal World...

The McCain of 2000 would be running against the Obama of 2004.

And I would be me when I was younger, thinner and cuter.

Saturday, November 01, 2008


Ashley, sleeping off her vet visit. We're looking into the extra tail thing.

Ashley and I had our shots this week. Ashley had her distemper vaccination, and I had my company-sponsored flu shot. I figured I'd get all the perks while they lasted.

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