remedial media

On a certain day, at a certain bar, when I had consumed perhaps too many beers on a perhaps too-empty stomach, I decided to tell my oh-so-brilliant friend Gregory that he seemed, to me, like the Jewish Malcolm Gladwell, what with the whole British Empire-born, Canada-raised, poofy-haired writerness. I meant this as a compliment.

Today after work, walking through the West Village on my way to have New York's most overrated pork buns at Fatty Crab, I ran into the non-Jewish Malcolm Gladwell, which is to say the actual real true Malcolm Gladwell, himself, whose hair is indeed quite as poofy as it appears in photographic representation.

Of course here by "ran into" I mean "almost body-checked due to walking speed," not "encountered socially and had a pleasant conversation with." That being said, this is a meaningful story not because of the how losery it might be to recognize New Yorker writers on the street (very), even media-prominent ones (slightly less very) with very easily identifiable hair (only a little).

It is meaningful because at first glance, I actually thought it was Greg, and almost inadvertently did that horrible thing where you say hello to a famous person while unaware that the reason you know their face is that they are famous, and not some dude you went to camp with.


enough already

So one of the posts near the top of the screen on my Firefox right now is the inevitable Jezebel commentary on The Whole Emily Gould Thing, written by their flagship voice, Moe Tkacik, who I generally love and want to smother with friend-cuddles distilled into self-conscious, standoffish drink-buying.

Except that Moe is friends with Emily. And her post takes the position of "hey, we all like to overshare," and "trust, kids, I know Emily personally and she is an excellent person, so no harm no foul."

This, to me? This sucks. I don't want to read a friend defending a friend. My beef with "Exposed" isn't that I think Emily sounds like a bad person (I don't) or that I don't write that very sort of stuff myself (I do! Though not in the Times). My beef is -- well, it's pretty well outlined here.

My beef with the Jezebel post, on the other hand, is this: When I read Moe's post and then go off to groom and ride my hyperbole horse, it starts to look pretty similar to some Beltway suit saying "George W. Bush? You know, we all do some pretty shitty things. And George is human like all of us. But over the last year I've really gotten to know Mr. Bush personally, and had dinner with him and his wife, and they're really very lovely people. He's only human." Which is to say, being a very nice person does not excuse completely failing to rise to your platform, Miss Gould. And Mr. Bush. For that matter.

After I read the Jezebel post I had these thoughts and I actually went back to bed and said them out loud to Mr. B.** and he was like YOU SHOULD POST THAT and because it isn't even noon yet on Memorial Day I am going to blame the simple fact of this ludicrous analogy on my sleep-addled brain. And now Mr. B. is wandering in the living room singing the "Good Morning" song from Singin' in the Rain, so I have to go be awake now.

**On the phone! We don't live in sin! Okay that is a lie. It was in person but we don't live in sin, we only Spend The Night With A Change Of Clothes in sin.


vignette: the editorial instinct

. Sent at 4:34 PM on Thursday
me: here is what i am doing
me: (this is INCREDIBLY pathetic)
me: in an epic attempt to avoid work, i copy/pasted the entire text of Emily Gould's nytimes article into ms word
Cassie: uuuuhhhhh
me: it's 7900-odd words
me: i am editing it down to modern love length: 1500-2000
Cassie: ha
Cassie: are you going to submit it as your own?
me: no
me: i'm just seeing if it helps it suck less
Cassie: ha
Cassie: that is hilarious
me: it can be a testament to my powers as an editor
Cassie: maybe it will distill the suckery into one, incredibly potent little suck pill

. Sent at 4:37 PM on Thursday
me: ok, i give up
me: i can't keep doing this simply because i cannot read this again
me: it is so painfully boring that i want to die
Cassie: that is totally valid


faux-twitter: ok ko

Last night I dreamed I was having dinner at Momofuku Ko. It was pretty eh.


one degree

Imagine my surprise when I clicked over to Sart this morning and saw that his Style Profile was none other than The Guy Who Plays Banjo During Sunday Brunch At Union-Smith Cafe in Brooklyn, a.k.a. someone I have eaten several meals within several feet of, and have in fact put a dollar or sometimes two into the cap of, depending on how absorbed I was in his music vis-a-vis my plate of roasted asparagus and bacon and soft-cooked egg (nb: swoon).

So this is kind of exciting, and gives me hope that some day The Sartorialist will see me, a paragon of stylishness in my jeans and v-neck sweater and flats, and be all YOU ARE MY MUSE, I MUST PHOTOGRAPH YOU and I will be all ain't no thing, due to having eaten brunch to the soundtrack of one of your earlier subjects, and then I will be a princess in a castle with seventeen ponies and a magical bathtub filled with moonbeams.

note: googlestalking reveals that Michael Arenella (his name!) does not actually play brunch at Union Smith anymore, and has in fact transferred his banjo and dulcet singing voice over to Bar Tabac, which some people hate.


faux-twitter: egg it on

i just mistyped "facebook" as "facebok." I would like that site to exist. It would be a website for chickens.


socialiteism, again

The last time I accused myself of being a socialite, it was because I was attending this incredibly foofy food-world-related event that involved mad dashes to the tasting tables of dozens of restaurants, but did not - wtf - include a really awesome gift bag.

Last night I went to an event that was similar, in many ways, except that it DID involve a really awesome gift bag, and that was excellent. It also involved Berkshire pork pate sandwiched between two pieces of crispy dark chocolate with sea salt (from Blue Hill), potatoes with ramps and black truffle from Casa Mono, black bread with sea urchin and jalapeno (picture! [from Grub Street]) from Jean-Georges, and oh what is the point of listing the infinity of wonderfulnesses, because all it will serve to do is make you jealous of me, which will make you hate me, which will leave me an empty and unloved shell of a girl. Suffice to say that I ate brilliantly well (and, if the empty glasses of tamarind margarita are to be counted, drank not so badly too), and I came home with a giant gift bag of completely useless crap but that's okay because it was a gift bag, and while my rising socialite star is not really an excuse for my posting absence, it is at least a diverting and annoying enough story to make you forget, briefly, that I left you, and instead focus on how bile-raising it is when I go do cool things and then talk about them in public.

Two notes, though:

First, to the lady with the really nice haircut who was standing near the Casa Mono table: At a foodie event, full of chefs and foodie-groupies and food professionals and other horrible types, it is considered somewhat atypical to be very loudly asking your companions THEY SAID THIS HAS RAMPS. WHAT IS A RAMP? IS IT THIS BROWN THING? IT TASTES LIKE A MUSHROOM. THIS RAMP TASTES LIKE A MUSHROOM. FYI: that was a truffle. Other FYI: you were there during the VIP preview, which indicates that you spent $375 on your ticket. It escapes me how you can be the sort of person who thinks it is worth spending $375 for an event like this and yet does not know the difference between a ramp and a truffle. Unless you are like me, and attended via the largesse of your employers, which might be the case with you, in which case I back off a little but not a lot because WHO DOES NOT KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A RAMP AND A TRUFFLE?! (Don't answer that.)

Second, to the organizer of the silent auction: It is really cute that you decided to have a package called "Brooklyn Eats," made up of two dinners: one at Grimaldi's, located in Brooklyn, and one at New Leaf Cafe in Fort Tryon Park, located in Manhattan. Nice.

Up next: Tonight I am going to a black-tie dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria where a seat costs more than half my rent (again, kindness of strangers). Baby's First Gala! That should totally be a christmas ornament.



Sometimes the illustrators at the New York Times really knock it out of the park:

From Lots of Animals Learn, but Smarter Isn't Better," which is an excellent article but not nearly as awesome as the blase Wooo of the fly in the above image.


tequila makes me spell things wrong

Let me just say first, with pride, that I just made a margarita from scratch for the first time in my life. And by "from scratch" I do not mean that I grew the agave personally or even farmed my own salt. What I mean is that instead of buying Jimmy-Buffett-branded margarita mix I instead bought Cointreau and a giant pile of limes, and I mixed things using a jigger in order to generate the correct proportions.

Let me say secondly, with embarrassment, that I have had ONE SIP of my margarita, via a twirly straw because why not, and as a result there is tingling under my fingernails on my right hand and I am blinking a lot and if I hadn't gone back and corrected all the typos that originally appeared in this post you would just not have freaking believed me. I have spelled my games.yahoo logon name incorrectly FOUR TIMES before finally getting it right by only letting my pointer fingers do the typing. I am fairly confident that I am about to have my ass handed to me at online euchre.

Note: OH MY GOD how much awesome would be contained in Warren-Buffett-branded margarita mix? Answer: SO MUCH.

my plan

A lot of people I know are publishing books lately. Because I am a good friend, and want to support them, I am buying their books. This is also because I know that were I to ever publish a book,* I would want every single person I have ever met in my life to buy a copy, so in order to maintain my karma I must Do Unto Others.

Of course, because I have the inside dish on the sausage factory, I know that my support of their literary careers means that my friends are receiving (in the best cases) only about 10% of the cover price, which is like maybe $2, and in most incidences are probably getting much less. That is, assuming their advances earn out. Which I am assuming, because I love my friends, and want them to succeed.

BUT. I was thinking. And what I was thinking was: instead of me spending like three years writing a book, and complaining to you about the process of writing the book, and agonizing over finding an agent to take me, and forcing you to come to bars to celebrate me getting an agent and then again to celebrate me getting a publisher and then again to celebrate the book being published, and me cajoling you into buying it, and you being forced to pretend that you read it whenever you see me, and me pressuring you in subtle and not-so-subtle ways to give it an awesome user review on Amazon, and you then realizing that actually you have to read the book, because what if I've included a character that is a thinly-veiled version of you?

Instead of all that? You could just mail me a check for $2, and we could never speak of this again.

*It would be a book about an overly-critical article of clothing that likes to cook and has a obsession with grammar.

Note: None of this is in any way intended to imply that I do not like going to bars with my friends in celebration of their books. On the contrary, there is little I like more than casually mentioning that I am friends with the sort of people who live the sort of lives that justify writing a memoir before the age of 30. I just assume that no one would ever want to indulge this sort of behavior in me.


faux-twitter: bacon

What am I doing RIGHT NOW?

I am making candied bacon. Which I will then coat in dark chocolate. Maybe. If I can keep from eating all the bacon first.

Life? Is awesome.


Last night we were all sitting around making fun of Fergie's extremely horrible theme song to the Sex and the City movie "Labels or Love," and making fun of the people who surely must exist (are they in the midwest? This idea was floated and I am ashamed to admit that even though I am from Chicago I did not defend my people) who will take unironically lyrics like "No emotional baggage, just big bags filled with Dior" and "Relationships are often so hard to tame / A Prada dress has never broken my heart before."

And in the course of making fun of these people we were saying thing such as "Let's go shopping--GIRLS NIGHT!!!" and "Oh mah gah I am DYING over your COACH BAG" and then I said "I'm having a FASHION EMERGENCY" and everyone stopped talking and laughing and looked at me expectantly and I was all "what?" and they were all "well, what is your fashion emergency, Helen?" and i was all "that was a joke in line with the jokes we were all making" and they were all "oh. um. because that is something we are all pretty sure you would actually say."

And now I feel, yet again and with much vehemence, that I need to reevaluate my life.


playing chicken

I am a giant fan of Unfamiliar Fast Food. By this I basically mean that while I am bored by the standard McD/Wendy's/BK trifecta of ubiquity (with an exception for chicken nuggets), and am only very mildly excited about B-list counters like Arby's and White Castle, I will drive seventy-five miles out of my way in a snowstorm on my way to the birth of my own child to go to a fast food restaurant whose name I haven't heard before. When I was in LA last summer my major objective was to eat at at least one of In-n-Out, Carl's Junior, Jack-in-the-Box, and Del Taco. The fact that I visited none of these, and instead spent my time driving around in a convertible and visiting Legoland and consuming margaritas at Venice Beach, meant that, essentially, the trip was a giant failure.

My deep love for Unfamiliar Fast Food is so deep and such an essential fabric of my being that, a few months ago, Mr. B declared that he had a very special surprise for me and took me, by car, into the wilds of northern New Jersey, where he proceeded to pull into a mall parking lot, take me into the mall, up an escalator flight, to a food court that had a Chick-Fil-A, where he proceeded to buy me a sandwich. I love this man.

The rabid followers of Chick-Fil-A will completely grok that a single incidence of exposure to this chain leads to a case of I Need More Fried Chicken Sandwiches Now Please, which is unfortunate considering that I am in possession of neither a car nor an NYU student ID (the only Chick-Fil-A in the city is in the NYU student center), and it is unseemly in a grownup mature relationship for a girlfriend to beg and plead for her boyfriend to take her to the food court of the mall that is an hour away for dinner. So I am, as the kids say, fucked.

EXCEPT. Perhaps as a person in possession of DVR I missed some massive commercial fanfare, but DUDE. McDonald's has a Southern-Style Chicken Sandwich, which plenty of other bloggers have noted is a point-by-point replica of the classic Chick-Fil-A sandwich, down to the limitation to only two slices of pickle. And there is a McDonald's approximatly 100 vertical and 50 horizontal feet away from where I am sitting RIGHT NOW. Which most of the time is cause for much annoyance and holier-than-thou on my part. BUT TODAY IT IS AWESOME AND WONDERFUL AND A CAUSE FOR JOY.

I shall report back.


Cinco de Moron

Because I am on basically every restaurant mailing list in the entire city of New York, but notably because I am on the mailing list of Essex, which is (omg) on Essex street, I just got an emailed invitation to an upcoming wine tasting dinner. Restaurants do this a lot. A fancy tasting menu in the price range of a factor-of-ten birthday dinner, generally built around a region or theme or wine purveyor. I've never actually gone to one, largely because I have neither the financial nor social wherewithal to arrange weeks in advance to go to a hundred-ish-dollar dinner celebrating, like, The Rare Alsatian Chartreuse Beet Prepared In Twelve Courses or whatever.

Anyway I get these emails all the time, not because I am special but because I am overly trusting and give out my email address to anyone who asks. And this one is particularly, spectacularly stupid. The menu looks nice and the price, at $75, is not entirely ludicrous. But:

So ok. Um. Short of the fact that they do in fact have a cinco de mayo in Spain, by virtue of the fact that el cinco de mayo is the day that comes after el quatro de mayo (fun fact: I had to count up to four in my head in Spanish, and started out doing it in Hebrew and got confused), there is absolutely no connection between Spain and the celebration of Cinco de Mayo. Cinco de Mayo celebrates a battle between Mexico and France. Cinco de Mayo is an American celebration of Mexican-American heritage and identity. Spain? Is not Mexico. Not all people who speak Spanish are the Same. Freaking. Nationality.

So why, genius party planners at Vinous Events, and presumably intellectually functional managerial staff at Essex, did you not choose to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with wines from, I don't know, Mexico? Is it because Mexico does not make wine? OH WAIT NO. They acknowledge on the menu, in an ungrammatical and weirdly informal way, that Mexico does!

I do not get it. Jesus H. Christ, folks, this is completely moronic.

On another critical and hyperfoodsnobby note: the part of the invite that I didn't crop out (which is here), lists the menu. The menu includes a mini-paella served in a tortilla shell. I am willing to bet the cost of this dinner* that by "tortilla shell" they do not mean the Spanish version of tortilla, which is a potato-and-egg tarty-omelety-esque thing (which is, as it happens, included in the next course), but that rather they mean one of those fried bowls that help make the Taco Bell taco salad tip the scales at close to 2000 calories, and which are not a Spanish food but are in fact a Mexican food.

I am in fact almost tempted to go to this dinner to find out, but it costs the same as the swan shirt plus shipping, and the swan shirt does not make me want to punch people for failing to use wikipedia in a time of need.

*I will, in fact, bet the cost of this dinner. If anyone has any way of disproving the corn-or-flour tortilla hypothesis, I will buy you $75 worth of the Mexican foodstuffs of your choosing.

service journalism

Analysis: murderous Islamic leader will not be missed

Thanks for that insightful headline, Times of London.