Wednesday, April 26, 2006

When you care just enough to send something somewhat desirable... but not to everyone in the office

Or is it Administrative Professionals Day? Either way, I confess a certain joy at the fact that I have moved beyond the point in my life when the word "assistant" is tagged to my name.

In honor of my former employers, my former positions, and those held by friends both near and far, here's a delightful essay from Slate on why this holiday is tearing apart offices across America.

Oysters? Little oysters? But answer, there came none...

On occasion, I pull myself up by my boostraps and try one of those foods that I have previously held in disdan for their unpleasant taste, texture, what have you. This year on Oscar Night, at a gala cocktail party hosted by the Bruno-Beyers (two delightful friends of mine whose culinary skills are truly a marvel) , I decided to try oysters.

I had seen the aforementioned Mr. Bruno slurp their grey, slimy bodies from smooth white shells at Patis, and I watched in amazement. I'm not shy about seafood. I think muscles and clams are among the tastiest treats available for the palate. But those are cooked.

With the exception of sushi, I tend to have issues with "raw"... especially raw and slimy.

But, I tried one on Oscar Night as the boys put out a platter full of oysters large and small. I quickly poured the liquid slime body down my throat, tasting only a bitterness and sea water, and swallowed. I was underwhelmed, and too squeamish to give it a good chew. I felt as if I'd wasted one of their oysters.

Since then, I've kept my distance, but an article in the Food & Wine section of the Times today has me thinking I'm missing out on something... In The Oyster Is His World, we get a glimpse of the life of an affectionado, a connoisseur, if you will, and it makes you want to start shucking.

Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Eats and Pleats No More!

In order to more fully explore the world around me, and to feel like I'm not confined by my own choice of Blog URL, has been rechristened:

I find that much more suitable.

What to do if you've got hipsters?

The Morning News, an online magazine that often has off-beat and quirky articles on New York and life has finally found a way to rid the general populace of the menace of the holier-than-thou hipster community.

Do You Have Hipsters?

I just had to share.

Monday, April 24, 2006

The death knell sounds for MySpace

MySpace, the punk rock cousin of Friendster, seemed like such a good idea. Give youngesters a way to interact with their friends, express thesmelves, and generally waste time that would have otherwise been spent watching "Prison Break"...

However, now Fox, under the esteemed leadership of mogul-extraordinaire Rupert Murdoch,
is looking to see if the under 24-set will be friends with deodorant.

Can Extreme Makeover Home Edition save America?

Extreme Makeover Home Edition is the nicest show on TV.

Each Sunday night, they take some family's busted old house, or a building that was damaged by Hurricane Katrina, or some ediface owned by someone deemed worthy of a new house by someone who nominated them for the show, and they build them a new one.

A handful of designers, and thousands of workers, both professional and the happy-go-lucky enthusiastic neighbor, work their magic for one week while the family is sent on vacation, and then when they get "home", it's not the place they left, and everyone cries.

Including me.

Kids get fantastic, fantasy bedrooms. The kitchen is right out of some fancy design magazine. Granted, the product placement is not exactly subtle, but who cares if they're giving away stuff to people who could really use it. Sure, Kenmore appliances. Awesome. Thanks guys. Last night's episode even showed how they built a new barn for the homeless horeses that lived at the home/animal shelter that they were rebuilding.

It's so painfully touching that it gives me more faith in my people that I usually get from reading the NY Times.

Because today, Mr. Ken Lay takes the stand in the Enron trial.

Lay will most likely tell everyone that he had no idea what was going on, that all of the scams and fraud, rape and pillaging were done by someone else. Being in charge, he, of course, would have had no idea that the books were as overcooked as a 7-Eleven hot dog.

How, in a country that claims to have liberty and justice for all, can such a sordid character get in front of a jury of his peers (if by peer you mean people who are significantly poorer...) and say that he had no idea that the ship was sinking is beyond my comprehension.

Rather than read the news about Enron's evil pirate leaders, I recommend "The Smartest Guys in the Room", a book and documentary in which employees talk about what Enron was really like. I trust those guys more than Lay and Skilling.

Because if they can get away with this, then there really is no justice in America, even if sometimes, through the kindness of strangers, people get to live in houses they never even dreamed of.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Nothing says I'm pissed off like exposing my penis.

A man snaps a photo from his cellphone of a protest of nude farmers in downtown Mexico City, Mexico, Friday, April 21, 2006. In recent years, the protests from the group 400 Pueblos - who fight for land rights for poor farmers - have become an anual event for city residents, as the men and women from rural southern Mexico stand naked or nearly-naked along the city's busy avenues. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

When one wife just isn't enough...

So, now they're going after the polygamists becuase of taxes, according to an article in today's New York Times. Really, now? Taxes? With things like Big Love making its debut on HBO, and countless episodes of Dateline NBC, and the book Under the Banner of Heaven, by John Krakauer, the best thing they could come up with was property tax evasion?

But I suppose that's how they got Capone.


Bigosity, adj.: 1. the quality of having unnatural and
indimidating size 2. a general state of pecular largeness,
often referring to something that is usually small (see Image 1) 3. of or
relating to Biggie Smalls, aka The Notorious BIG, aka the
late Christopher Wallace.

Special thanks to Leo Stezano for brining the term to my attention. Please go forth and proclaim bigosity wherever it may lurk, and to Vanessa Ferro, for providing the above illustration of a fish demonstrating bigosity at its finest. The normal sized human being is her cousin Adrian.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The occasional spurt of fiction...

This is a short story that I write from time to time, chronicling the life and times of Dr. Harvey Weinstein, pet psychiatrist. Other stories may be interspersed, along with my opinions on stuff because, well, I have to start branching out from this technology writing business.

A quick recap of the day's news before I pass you off to the wild world of Weinstein:

The handicapped are being taught how to have sex. Now I'm all for it, and think that classes in romance and intimacy should perhaps be taken by everyone. Especially sweet are the photos of couples dancing.

Everything else is typical Bush administraton poopy. Only now we won't hear that from Scott McClellan, and Karl Rove is freed up from thinking about how he can ruin policy to how he can sabatoge elections. Awesome.

Dr. Harvey Weinstein At Your Service

Dr. Harvey Weinstein was sitting with his head on his paws, looking at his empty food bowl with mock consternation, as if he might fill it through sheer force of will.

It had been a long week for Dr. Weinstein, pet psychiatrist, and he was worn out. Tired from a long week of dealing with the problems of his canine friends and looking foward to a lazy weekend with Darlene, his beloved owner, whom he most praised for her laziness and disinterest in walking him farther than two blocks.

Dr. Weinstein got enough stimulation during the week.

First it was the Bichon Friese with the acute anxiety every time her owner went to the gym. Chloe would see Mrs. Parker get out the yoga mat and her little doggie heart would race. She feared Mrs. Parker, who she thought was too old for such things, would pull a muscle and not be able to pick her up.

Chloe was, in short, nuts.

Things had gone downhill from there.

Every day at around noon, his walker, Carl, a ex-hippie who lived in the East 70s would come by Dr. Weinstein's place on 84th between Lexington and Park and strap on the leash. Then they would trot over to the dog park and Dr. Weinstein would begin his work.

After Chloe on Monday he talked with Samson, a middle-aged Golden Retriever wtih a chip on his shoulder. Samson was in love with a Bulldog bitch named Ella, but Ella wasn't having it. She would turn her head and walk away when Samson tried to sniff her butt. She stood still, staring at him, when he tried to play chase. Ella was cold. Samson had to realize that it wasn't personal. She'd never gotten over being spayed, and secretly dreamed of puppies of her own. Even if she did have a litter, Dr. Weinstein figured she'd still be a pain in the ass. He didn't like the Park Avenue dogs with their gilded collars and steak dinners.

Dr. Weinstein sighed as he started at his empty bowl. Darlene was late, and his stomach knew it. He tried to amuse himself by moving over to the window. He perched up, with his paws on the sill, and stared down at the evening traffic on 84th Street. A Schnauzer pulled at his leash. A woman walked a double stroller, Dr. Weinstein's favorite kind to shade himself behind on a summer afternoon in Central Park.

"Where could she be?" thought Dr. Weinstein.

But he was no good at finding the reasons for human behavior. Those beasts were beyond him.

Dr. Weinstein preferred his canine bretheren -- furry and fierce. Although he had to confess that it was hard to find a fierce one among the Upper East Side dog park set. Most of his patients were depressed. Longed to see what real, natural dirt felt like under their paws. Very few were openly angry.

Except, of course, for Enid, the Rotweiller. Why she lived in the city Dr. Weinstein could hardly fathom. She'd come from the Chicago suburbs where she used to have her own yard, she would boast. Yard. Sticks. Wild rabbits to chase. Paradise, she called it.

New York City was purgatory.

Dr. Weinstein listened to Enid on Tuesdays and Thursdays, trying to get her to see that things weren't so bad in the city. Fresh food. Nice walks. Other dogs to play with. The occasional kid to throw a stick. It's a good life, he would say. A good life.

The line repeated itself in his mind as Dr. Weinstein curled up on his doggie bed, facing the door, and closed his eyes.

It's a good life, he thought, as his mind faded and his dreams turned to he seaside, where he could romp among the waves, forgetting he ever knew the feeling of concrete beneath his paws.

Dr. Weinstein's Encounter...

Dr. Weinstein woke up at the foot of Darlene's bed to the sound of her alarm clock, blasting the news in a soothing yet too loud voice. He heard the familiar grumble as she got her bearings, rolled over and slapped the snooze button.

This would happen three more times. He would bet his breakfast on it.

After the third snooze, as he had predicted, Darlene swung her legs over the side of the bed, ready to receive Dr. Weinstein, tongue out in anticipation of a thorough and pleasing head scratch. She reached down and dragged her nails along his head, behind his ears, and he felt his back leg quiver. Dr. Weinstein loved his morning head scratch.

Darlene throws on shoes and a coat, and takes Dr. Weinstein to the curb to relieve himself.

Back inside, he lay back down with a contented sigh as she scurried off into the bathroom, tossing pajama remnants as she walked. Turned on the water. Did what humans do in there. She always came out smelling like fruit. He found it strange, but it seemd like she meant to.

When she emerged, laced with cucumber melon, Darlene donned her robe, swung her hair in a towel, and moved to the kitchen. Being New York, the kitchen wasn't far, and Dr. Weinstein waddled along behind her. It was Wednesday.

His master busied herself with breakfast and dumped a cup of doggie chow into Dr. Weinstein's bowl. He has no idea what she does next, completely absorbed with his breakfast. He is laying himself down next to the empty bowl when he hears the door open, keys jangle, door close.

Now he waits for his walk.

Dr. Weinstein is on the sofa, a forbidden locale for the torpid bulldog, but when he's alone, he can't really get in trouble for it. He hears the door open and his walker's friendly voice.

"Time to go boy!"

Dr. Weinstein leaps from the sofa, tail a-wag, and gets a good scratching while being hooked to his leash. He is spry on the walk to the park.

The day was sunny and warm, early spring, and Dr. Weinstein was looking foward to socializing with the usual suspects. Chloe was there. It wasn't Enid's day, so he was off the hook.

Once in the confines of the dog run, Carl let Dr. Weinstein off the leash, and he trot over to visit with Bubba and Charles, two golden retrievers who had much nicer dispositions than Samson. They were debating the merits of the retractable leash when Dr. Weinstein arrived.

"Dr., there's somebody I want you to talk to," Bubba said as he approached.

Great, thought Dr. Weinstein. And on my day off.

"Of course," he said. "What's the problem?"

"That little dachshund over there," Bubba pointed with his nose to the wee dog, curled up at her master's feet on a nearby bench. "Charles overheard her talkin' to Chloe about how she wants puppies, but she's fixed. She's pretty messed up about it."

Dr. Weinstein cast his gaze over in the direction of the petit pup.

"I"ll see what I can do..."

Dr. Weinstein decided to spend the first few minutes watching the dachshund. She was full of sighs and watched the dogs play as if she wanted to join, but something was holding her back.

"I'm Dr. Harvey Weinstein," he said, finally approaching. "I do pet psychotherapy, and wanted to offer my services. I hear you've been feeling down lately..."

"What's it to you?" snapped the dachshund. She then cast a guilty stare down at the ground. "Sorry. I'm Rita."

"Nice to meet you Rita," said Dr. Weinstein. "How often do you come to the park? I don't recall seeing you here before."

"We usually go to the dog walk over by the river," she said, "but we moved. Now we have an elevator. It's pretty nice."

Dr. Weinstein nodded.

"Well, I'm around most afternoons about this time, if you decided you'd like to chat," he said, and with that Dr. Weinstein waddled back over to the retrievers and began helping them chase their tails.