shameless self-promotion

We all know how I feel about McSweeneys, and the folks who accept or reject things from them. Here is our chance to finally earn their love:

The students who put together the Best American Nonrequired Reading are hard at work choosing the pieces for the 2005 edition. As a special feature in this next edition, we'll have a section highlighting the best sentences written in 2005. This means the best sentences, period, from any source—book, blog, newspaper, journal, magazine. Anything published in 2005 in a verifiable medium. Send your nominations to banrr@mcsweeneys.net. Be sure to include the media outlet, the date, and the author's name. Deadline is March 1.
Okay, kids, here's what you're going to do: Sometime in the next 48 hours you're going to reread the 2005 RSGo archives ( June, July, August, September, October, November, and December), find your favorite sentence, and submit it. Whoever submits a sentence that makes it into BANRR gets an acknowledgement in the book that will result from the book deal that will inevitably follow my inclusion.



toe pick! Toe Pick! TOE PICK!

Oh my god oh my god oh my god. If you are anyone who is anyone you love passionately and appreciate the genius of the 1992 piece of cinematic genius The Cutting Edge, which is about a talented but difficult figure skater (played by the actress who is and always will be Mandy from The West Wing) whose heart is melted by her new skating partner, a failed hockey player from the wrong side of the tracks. This movie kicks ass, in the way that only low budget romantic comedy/sports movies from the early nineties can. It briefly occupied a space on my friendster "favorite movies" list, though it was at a certain point replaced by Logan's Run.

So, with that as prefix, a list of facts:

  • Fact: Today is Sunday.
  • Fact: I am bored.
  • Fact: I am watching ABC Family, because Fox has fucking NASCAR on and is usurping all my fave Sunday shows, and ABC Family has Robin Hood: Men in Tights on, and also I am too lazy to pick up the remote, which is all the way over by the actual TV itself.
  • Fact: There was just a commercial on for the fact that The Cutting Edge will be on ABC Family on March 12th.
  • Fact: Which stars Kristy Carlson Romano, the chick from Even Stevens, whose name I have to admit I did not have to look up on IMDB, because of my mild obsession with Even Stevens a few years ago, and the plot appears to be pretty much identical to the original except that instead of being an ex-hockey player, her new partner is an ex-inline skater, because that way it is COOL and RELVANT TO YOUNG PEOPLE and oh my god i am so excited.

What, supersleuth gumshoes, can we synthesize from these facts? Here is what: March 12, 2006, will likely go down as the greatest day in the history of mankind. I'm not really even sure how to cope.


insurance is for suckers

So yes, I haven't posted in a while. I don't have much of a good excuse (being whisked off to a foreign land, and/or abducted by aliens, and/or having actually found an outlet for ranting about chicken nuggets that pays more than the faint glow of pride when my sitemeter hits a nice round number), except that I seem to have fallen into a phase of serenity and boredom and whatever wherein my life is profoundly uninteresting and I have nothing creative to share with the world. But as vaguely has-been bad boy british artist Damien Hirst (or someone, they're all named Damien, aren't they?) once said, sometimes I feel like I have absolutely nothing to say and I want to communicate this. But here's what you're here for, a witty observation about the world:

Riding the subway yesterday there was an ad for TCM Insurance (or is that Turner Classic Movies?). The tagline:

you could save up to $500 or more by switching to TCM
Shall we parse? Oh yes, let's!

"Up to $500" = any amount from zero to $500.00
"$500 or more" = any amount from $500.00 upwards to infinity, presumably also including theoretical infinities such as aleph-sub-five or 2-omega

So here is the selling point: you will save an amount of money if you switch to this auto insurance (never mind that the illustration on the ad in question was a photo of two guys tailgating, which raises the interesting question of what the overlap is of New York City residents who ride the subway, and people who own auto insurance and tailgate at football games. Predicted subset: nil, as evidenced in the following illustration WHICH I DREW MYSELF:Isn't it pretty?*), and that amount could be any amount at all in the world. Take a risk! Throw chance to the wind! I don't even understand how insurance works, but I know this ad is awful. But I kind of like those caveman commercials. The first caveman who orders roast duck with mango salsa makes me think of Bobby Flay, whose entire culinary career would be obliterated if the mango were to go extinct, and then the other caveman is like "I don't have much of an appetite, thank you" which is exactly the effect that Bobby Flay has on me, therefore I relate to the second caveman, therefore I relate to the advertisements. Not so much relating to the Tailgating Guys Of Indeterminate Savings Amount.

Also I enjoy the feeling of superiority engendered by knowing that GEICO stands for government employees insurance company. Or is it corporation? Okay, 3/4 of a feeling of superiority, plus bonus points for the opportunity to use the word "engendered."

* I should clarify here that by "residents of New York" i specifically mean Manhattanites, because god knows what they do in those other boroughs. And then of course I realize that I saw this ad while on a D train, which technically does spend some time in Brooklyn. So maybe the ad placement was not fully retarded. But definitely at least partial retardation. Like, first-grade reading level in twelfth grade. Not quite cork-on-the-fork. Maybe helmet territory, though.

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separated at birth?

There's only one thing to do when you're snowed in: watch VH1's "101 hottest teen stars" clip show, hosted by Deborah "don't call me that anymore" Gibson, and for which the #1 spot is predictably awarded to Molly Ringwald. Up there in the top 20 was my personal favorite Goonie, Corey Feldman, who oh my god how did it take me this long to notice it looks a heckuva lot like celebrity-fleecer and literary hoax JT Leroy:

The question on all our lips: How does Corey Haim fit into this conspiracy?


Inappropriate Valentine's Day Gifts

  1. A box of Godiva Chocolates, with a card reading "So there's more of you to love"
  2. An appointment with a sex therapist
  3. At-home waxing kit
  4. "101 Tips for Yiffing"
  5. The book of Mormon
  6. Membership to a swingers club
  7. Codependency self-help books
  8. Bacon
  9. Coupon book good for one (1) gangbang
  10. A coat hanger
  11. A restraining order
  12. Flannel pajamas embroidered with the nickname "honey twat"
  13. Herpes
  14. A blow-up doll, with a note saying "thinking of you"
  15. Chia vagina
  16. A human heart
  17. A mattress with a hole in it
  18. NAMBLA membership
  19. your credit report
  20. Chicken Soup for the Christian Soul
  21. A push-up bra
  22. RAID anti-lice shampoo

With thanks to WK and JGal

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stop your wining

I'm on Amazon a lot for work - checking out the competition, reading reviews for our books, checking out what recipes readers hated or loved enough to post user reviews about. And while I'm on there often I'll get distracted by the latest hipster CD release, or some sort of exciting new piece of groundbreaking literary fiction or something, or a kitchen appliance. Amazon = yay. And nothing is more yay than the personalized recommendations section, which generates in me a love so profound and an appreciation so deep that if the personalized recommendations section were a person, I would hide in my room curled in the fetal position holding imaginary conversations with him in my head and not actually ever leaving the apartment to talk to him in person and find out if, maybe, he loves me too.

The thing that's important to me when I'm filling out these reviews in order to generate my personalized recommendations is not that I actually own the things for which I check off "I own this," but rather that I already know it's something I want, and therefore I don't need Amazon to tell me to buy it. For example, I checked off that I owned America: The Book, because even though it is so 2005, I still sort of want it and (yes, I know I know) I haven't read it yet. Similarly I checked off that I own (I can't believe I'm admitting this) Norah Jones's second album, despite never having heard it, because I really liked the song "Lonestar" from her first one.

So I sign into Amazon and the first thing they tell me is that they recommend I purchase a set of two Riedel "O" wine glasses. I got really excited because the truth is that I really sort of do want a set of those glasses - they were the stemware of choice at a cookware launch party at which Jean-Georges Vongeritchen personally served me a plate of chicken he had cooked himself and I nearly soiled myself, but that's not the point. Also it's not really appropriate to describe the O as stemware, since what makes it all revolutionary and shit is that it doesn't, actually, have a stem.

BUT THAT IS NOT THE POINT. The point is. I was really excited, dorkily, and decided to find out why they recommended the glasses to me. So I clicked on "why," expecting to see that they had noticed that I had purchased parmesan cheese (shut up, I ordered cheese from an online bookseller) or that most of the items on my wishlist are made by Le Creuset or that I had actually been checking out a lot of wine books on the sly (you can't be a foodie without sort of becoming a ...winey?).

But no. They recommended these glasses - explosively popular, a little expensive, wry and witty as far as pieces of glass can be wry and witty, the Banana Republic of wine glasses - because of America: The Book and Feels Like Home. Liberal and wussy. Ergo wine drinker. Based on two things I lied about owning, they identified something I really actually wanted and made me realize how horribly painfully lame I am.

I hate you, personalized recommendations. You are dead to me.

God I'm too young for this. I'm crying a little inside.

Update: dudes, why did no one tell me that this was riddled with spelling errors? I thought you people were my friends.

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rudyard kipling does not approve

For those of you in need of inspiration (I'm looking at you, faux-lesbian-from-my-junior-year-who-will-not-be-named), James has provided the world with a list of tips for the modern man. Highlights include references to both Nazi Germany and Bob Vila.

Honestly I believe this is an incomplete collection of tips. Not being a modern man myself, I can't contribute. At least, not with credibility. But as I've said before, this is why God invented the comments section.

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MSBHL > LGBDV so there

I never used to watch TV until i got tivo, and now i am a crazed television addict who, by way of example, is upset on Monday mornings not because it's Monday and I have to go to work, but rather because none of the shows with which I am obsessed air new episodes on Monday, and my life feels empty. Lucky for all of us that I don't blog about my television obsessions, because this week would likely run along the lines of:

February 6
ooh tomorrow is Tuesday! I wonder when House will be back on. Mmm Hugh Laurie.

February 7
Hee hee Scrubs is so witty. Mmm Zach Braff.

February 8
ANTM!!! Mmm Nigel. oh wait it's February. Project Runway!!!!!! Mmm Daniel V.

February 9
Beauty and the Geek is so underrated. Mmm, Wes.

February 10
hurrah, there's a new Family Guy AND a new Iron Chef America this Sunday! Oh no, what am I going to do until then? (ps. Mmm brian the dog)
Anyway it's clear this would be bad for everyone. So I'm very glad that Leila picks up the slack, recapping and overanalyzing at the very least Project Runway, where she shares my love for Daniel V. and has in fact christened him as "My Gay Boyfriend Daniel V.," and speaking of V. i am v. impressed with her restraint in not yet acronyming it to MGBDV which I probably would have done after a single usage. Though it raises the interesting semantic question of whether when referring to him I should actually modify the name/acronym to "YGBDV" when talking to Leila directly, or "LGBDV" when discussing the matter with third parties. It's like when I was 6 and in Hebrew School and they pointed out to us around Hanukkah time that dreidels, whose lettered sides N G H and Sh stand for a phrase which translates to "a great miracle happened there," in Israel had different letters on them because the great miracle in question actually happened right there, so it's N G H and P for "a great miracle happened here" and my mind was blown because holy crap what if you took an Iraeli dreidel and took it out of Israel because THEN THE DREIDEL WOULD BE LYING and for the love of god we can't have that.

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musicgeekery, part 2

This is a little piece of utter genius. Download, listen, and revel in your simultaneous culturedness and phenomenal dorkitude. I personally have listened to it nonstop since it came to my attention approximately 12 minutes ago.

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adventures in the forgotten borough

I'm po'.

As a result of my po'ness (po'verty?), when I am not working my delicious day job of grammar and recipes I am doing lots of standing up at the front of a room talking about the LSAT to people who under no circumstances would I want to represent me in a court of law. But it pays well, and it's fun, so no complaints.

Except that. Except that tomorrow I agreed to go to Staten Island to spend 90 minutes convincing people to sign up for an LSAT prep course. Let's recap: Staten Island. My mental associations with Staten Island include: Melanie Griffith in Working Girl ("I've got a head for business, and a bod for sin." [no, that was not a typo. She actually says "bod," no Y]). Oh, and apparently they have a landfill there.

But I can deal with this. I'm a resilient gal, I can get up early on a Saturday and catch the 9:30 ferry to make it there in time to teach my 10:30 class. Except that I, genius that I am (I wouldn't want me to represent me in a court of law either, though I'm marginally preferable to most of the other folks who are taking the LSAT), misread the assignment and it actually starts at 10:00am. Which means I have to take the 8:30 ferry. Which means I will have 30 minuts to kill. In Staten. Fucking. Island.

Suggestions welcome for ways to amuse myself. There's only so many times I can put on that little-girl voice and say "bod for sin" and try to steal Harrison Ford from Sigourney Weaver before it stops being funny... or is there?

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the decline and fall of the six-piece empire

To bring things full circle, I stopped into a McDonald's yesterday after work to do some field research on these chicken nuggets I've been hearing so much about. Dollar-oh-eight in hand, I strode up to the counter and ordered a six-piecer. "Two-seventy-six," sayeth the girl behind the counter. Turns out the 6-for-a-dollar promotion ended on Jan 31, bringing us back to the less cool but not entirely suckly reign of the four-piecer.

At that point, though I was too discouraged by failure to eat the nuggets, so I gave them to a homeless dude, who subsequently informed me that he was going to eat the chicken like he wanted to eat his dog. Creeptastic.

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this is why i moved away from the midwest

I've spent far more time today than I really want to admit doing google image searches for Kevin Federline and Robert Van Winkle (aka Vanilla Ice) in order to prove to the world that besides having tremendous overlap in the insufferable douchebag department, they actually do look remarkably alike. I was all set to write an exciting and amusing post about that (potential titles: PopoWow; Separated at Bizzearth; Jigga What-Ho!; Ice Ice Federletus), but I was having a hard time finding pictures of the two gangsta-affected white boys striking similar poses while simultaneously wearing similar head coverings and having similar facial hair patterns.

So how about this: put together your mental picture of K-Fed (overdone hair, high cheekbones, weirdly attractive in a greasy and chlamydial sort of way) and your mental picture of V-Ice (overdone hair, high cheebones, embarrassingly... you get the idea), but minus the weird eyebrow shaving things. See!? Aren't they REALLY REALLY ALIKE?

Okay, gedankenexperiment aside, here is the critically important part of this story: Vanilla Ice has an official website. And on this official website there is a photo gallery (which I visited purely for research purposes, and in no way out of an unresolved crush on Mr. Ice dating from 1989, thank you), and in this photo gallery there is a variety of subgalleries, one of which is called V-Ice Tats.

The casual reader might think this was a collection of photographs of the tattoos covering the arms of Vanilla Ice. The casual reader would be wrong. These are photographs of people who have had images and logos related to Vanilla Ice indelibly tattooed on their bodies, presumably while in a state of mind under which they would legally be allowed to, say, draw up a last will & testament. Though actually if we're going to be fair, if you're the sort of person who now, 15 years after the fact, are still so enamored with The Ice that you want to commemorate it upon your flesh, well, I personally would not actually entrust to you any sort of legal rights. But that's just me.

Anyway, rights are not the point here. The point is:
I won't even start on the fact that the dude on the left has some seriously conflicting ideologies going on in the backne region, unless that kanji character in the center means "Boy do I ever love both anarcho-satanism and white rap built on an impercepibly modified Queen/Bowie sample."

I also realize that there are only three images in this gallery. But that is three more images than a godly earth ought to contain.

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