Monday, August 29, 2005

Dr. Grammar's Frequently Asked Questions

Read it, you probably need it. And you probably know you do, so stop making excuses.

Katrina devastation had been predicted

Turns out that scientific-type folks have been predicting for quite some time that a storm could destroy New Orleans. I have friends and colleagues there, and was planning my first visit for my birthday in November. Now, I'm just praying that something will be left to visit.

Pray for a miracle, folks, because the storm has already made landfall.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Terri Schiavo, Cosmo Girl

No words. (thanks, Gawker!)

Alerts everywhere

Our office of Muppet-land Security provides the new terror alert in the left rail; check it out right there <--
Seems to be the day for color-coded safety warnings; Go Fug Yourself has a new one up today as well.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

You know SUVs are bad and nasty....

...and you should just be like me a drive a CIvic, which will help you avoid most accidents through its maneuverability, but is still safe enough to not get you killed whern an 18-wheeler fucker or a distracted caddy crunches into you. But here's an in-depth reminder of why (originally printed in the New Yorker, January 2004).

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Poor poor baby. Welcome to our world.

Men have been reduced to sperm donors, says Buerk
By Martin Hodgson
Published: 16 August 2005

The veteran BBC newsreader Michael Buerk has complained that "almost all the big jobs in broadcasting [are] held by women," and that men have been reduced to "sperm donors".

The former Nine O'Clock News presenter, who now reads the news on BBC World, also said that the "shift in the balance of power between the sexes" has gone too far, saying that "life is now lived in accordance with women's rules".

(Bonus points if anyone can figure out how I can read these articles without paying a pound a piece. I used to have a subscription to the Independent back when Helen Fielding first had a Bridget column. Now she's back, and I'd really like to read it again without breaking the bank.)

Monday, August 22, 2005

Secret, underground, and extremely dangerous

I think that one of the guys mentioned in this Esquire article is a friend of mine. I asked him, and he joked around but did not deny it. And whenyou're dealing with a secret underground society, a lack of a denial is the closest you can expect to get to a confirmation!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Word on the Street

I love Slate, I love Overheard in New York. And now, Slate loves Overheard in New York. My life comes full circle, in bits and pieces.

yeah, yeah, I know you all ready Daily Candy already.

But me, I could use a laugh today. Check out the Marvelous Crooning Child's rendition of Hey Jude:
"Hey Jude, don't make me come and kick your ass!"

Hee. Debaser and Sweet Home Alabama are pretty good too.

The Morning After: sore and tired and angry, but still okay, I swear.

I'm at work. I'm okay, really, and thank you so much to those of you who've already called. I love you all, and I'm sorry to give you a fright.

It amazes me how much achiness a 5-mph collision can cause, but as illogicalvulcan pointed out, an 18-wheeler creates a lot of momentum and force, even going slow.

Here's the whole story, which you can skip if you've already heard enough detail.

I was driving out to Astoria on the BQE for PN at the Bohemian Hall. Yes, I'd just been there on Saturday, but it was sweltering then, and last night was gorgeous. I'd had a lovely night of dinner and gossip on the swing with Manda, and I wanted to cap off the night with some more garden lolling. konomore said that the party was still going strong, so I told her that I'd be there around midnight.

As I passed from the Borough of Kings to Queens, there were two signs: "Left two lanes closed ahead," and "Exit 37 closed, use Exit 36."

I got in the right lane, and soon there was a traffic backup. We were delayed about 15 minutes, but everything was calm and orderly, if slow. After the first merge, from three lanes to two, there were two trucks to my left, a manageable delivery-sized one ahead, and a massive 18-wheeler behind that, right next to me. And we stayed apace until the second merge.

I did have a bad feeling about that Mack, I really did. He wasn't doing anything particularly wrong, not even really tailgating the smaller truck in front of him, but I had this queasy vibe. At the second merge, the car ahead of me went, then the small truck. Then it was my turn, and the Mack was at a full stop to my left and slightly behind me. He should have been able to see me, but as I said, I was having a bad feeling, so I paused for a moment to make sure he was stopped before I headed forward into the merge.

I moved forward; it was tight. No breakdown lane, just this one lane we were merging into, with road cones to the left. Ahead there were Jersey barriers to the right, but first the well-advertised Exit 36.

I'm almost past the truck and done merging, when suddenly the Mack moves forward as well! He's crunching and digging into the driver side of my car, horns are honking behind me, and the side view mirror shears right off and goes flying into the middle of the road before I can even believe what's happening. I scream (to no one in particular; I was alone in the car with the windows shut and the radio on), and slam on the brakes, and he stops. We're stopped for a second; all the cars behind us stayed where they were (silently? Had the horns stopped, or was I just in shock?). I pulled ahead and to the right a bit, to detach myself from the evil 18-wheeler. Then I opened my door a bit. My mirror was in the street, I had to pick it up. You can't leave your stuff just lying around in the middle of the road, right?

Yeah, I was in shock, not thinking too clearly. But as I started to open the door, and I heard the crunching metal, I suddenly realized that wasn't a good idea. I buckled myself back in, looked around, and saw the exit ramp. Ahead of me the traffic was still inching forward into this really narrow lane, so I was grateful for a convenient place to pull over. I signalled right, pulled ahead slowly, and started down the ramp, which had also been restricted from two lanes to one, with another row of Jersey barriers blocking off the left lane.

I looked behind me, and no cars were coming, to let the truck in. I kept going forward, looked behind me again, and THE TRUCK WASN'T THERE.


He'd stayed on the BQE. I spotted him past the exit ramp, parallel to me and looking over. I got to the end of the barriers, pulled over to the left in front of the closed exit lane (so the other exiting cars could get past me), and rolled down my window. So did he.

"Where are you going?" I yelled actross to him. "You have to pull over!!"

"I can't take that exit."

Huh? I understand commercial vehicle restrictions as well as anyone who's ever rented a U-Haul. But if you've just plowed your 18-wheel behemoth into my little Civic, you'd better damn well pull over and cough up the info, fucker.

"So where are you going to pull over? The next exit is closed!"

"I don't know. Up ahead the road splits, and trucks have to go to the right. I'll go there." I have to say that he didn't sound very concerned.

"And where am I supposed to go?" Did I mention that my door crunched when I tried to open it, the side view mirror was gone, and the steering was almost nonexisitent?

"Get back on the highway up there to the left."

Maybe I should have gotten his plate number at this point. But I was shocked, confused, afraid to get out of the car, and yelling at him across two rows of Jersey barriers and a really wide distance. I couldn't see his plate, and by the time that he'd pulled ahead far enough to see it over the barriers, it would have been too far away to read. I would have had to climb oer the barriers and back down to the highway to see it. I chose, instead, to try to catch up with him again, and pulled back onto the road.

My poor car. It couldn't go. The tire was flat, the rim was bent, and chunks were falling off it as I moved forward. I got to the end of the ramp, turned left towards the entrance ramp, and started to smell burning rubber. Suddenly, I realized how stupid and dangerous this was.

To my right, Queens Boulevard had a breakdown lane. Sweet, sweet breakdown lane. I pulled over just before the intersection with 69th Street, pulled up the emergency brake (the hazards were already on, of course), and burst into tears.

What could I do? Lost in an unfamiliar part of Queens, with all my chances of full restitution headed away down the BQE, in a car registered out of state that I'd already been ordered to change the registration on, with an out of state license, jsut four months after a similarly asinine act of destruction, when an asshole on a cell phone in DUMBO pulled up to my left and then decided to make a right turn. In fact, all the parts of the car that were damaged, were all the parts that had just been replaced. Brand spanking new, now crushed and torn to shreds.

I called 911. Then I called konomore to tell her why I wasn't at the bar yet, and she stayed on the phone with me until the cops arrived. They were comforting and reassuring, and they were nice enough to wait until I'd calmed down before telling me that there was slim to no chance that we'd ever track down the fucker. Even if someone called in his plate, the system does not really have a method to match up that report with mine.

Seems odd, but what could I do? I was in no condition to run off and chase him down. They briefly considered it, but they didn't want to leave me alone, and they knew that by the time another squad car came out to me, the fucker would be long gone.

So I was stranded, helpless, in the middle of Queens. The wonderful cops had already assured me a million times that I'd done everything right, that I couldn't have done anything else, but I felt awful. I didn't want to call my parents and wake them in the middle of the night, when there was nothing they could do that I wasn't already doing. I wept some more.

The tow truck pulled up. Tim was a great guy, a hoot. He made me laugh, he loaded the car gently, and he offered me a ride to Astoria, since his shop was a block away from the bar. konomore said it was last call, but they'd wait for me there and then we could all go back to their place for a much-needed whiskey.

On the way to the bar/shop, Tim drove past the next exit off the BQE, Northern Boulevard, saying that if the guy actually did pull over to wait for me, that's where he'd be. We spotted a while 18-wheeler pulled over at a gas station, and drove around it to check it out. But the passanger cab was green, not white, and there were no signs of an impact, no streaks of silver paint or shards of poor, tattered Civic bits hanging off it.

I blogged from konomore's these wee hours, then made it back to my bed and my sweet sweet monkey for a few short hours of sleep before work today. First thing this morning, you early-bird readers were already calling, and I thank you all so much. I sobbed again when I told my parents, who reassured me that everything would work out. I waited to call the insurance until I thought I was calmer, but then I started crying again.

I'm not hurt, just achy, as I've said. But I'm really really pissed. This guy slammed into me, disrupted my life, and could have really hurt me, and he didn't even care. I'm a safe, responsible driver with bad luck, I did nothing wrong; and now *my* insurance rates are going to be fucked. My car is a wreck, I have to take the train up to Boston this weekend. Jake's off pursuing 50 Dates in 50 States, so he won't be coming over anytime soon to rub my back and tell me everything will be okay. And the Bachelor has never once behaved like the manly hero he claims to want to be, so I don't expect that to change now. This is what I get for dating children.

I'm off for a drink. Maybe there will be flowers to surprise me tomorrow morning. Or maybe a job offer!

I'm okay. Really, I'm fine. But flowers would be nice.

I was in a massive car accident tonight (Wednesday). Just after midnight on the BQE, Triboro-bound, there was a merge to one lane just before exit 36 in Queens. The 18-wheeler behind me to my left stopped to let me merge, so I went ahead, then he decided to go anyway and wiped out the entire driver's side of my car. My side-view mirror is still somewhere on the highway.

I pulled over and took Exit 36, and he did not follow. As he continued in the bumper-to-bumper traffic down the BQE, I rolled down my window and yelled at him to pull over. He said he couldn't take that exit, and told me to meet him further down the highway. And he drove away.

My car was undriveable, so I pulled over on Queens Boulevard at 69th Street and called 911. The cops and tow-truck driver (Hi, Tim!) who came to my rescue were absolutely amazing, but I wasn't able to get the evil driver's license plate number. And that fucker owes me a rental car, dammit! Seriously, after the other accident a few months ago, which was also not my fault, I seriously don't want to be calling my insurance company again, and had hoped to just make a claim directly to his. But instead, he's now a fugitive from a "leaving the scene of an accident" charge.

If you happened to witness the mayhem (oh, wonderful blogoshere), please send me an e-mail. I could really use that license plate number. But flowers would be nice too. Go ahead, be a hero.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

My broken blogging heart

Jake's staying single for a while. And mine is not the only intrepid blogger's heart to be broken.

I totally understand where he's coming from, contemplating marrying a stranger when your heart still belongs to someone else. I've had "Blog about the one that got away" on my to-do list for a few months now, and I promise, once I have a chunk of time and enough clarity of mind to write about George, you'll get the whole story.

But one should not live in the past. So I'm still taking applications. Come on boys, sweep me off my feet!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

It's my own fault, I know

I date younger men. I can't help it, I'm a sucker for potential.

But check this out. Tucked away in this Newsweek article about movie stardom is a great observation about our manliness-lacking generation:
There's a fundamental difference between the big American male stars of Gen X and their predecessors. The icons of the past were men. Paul Newman, Robert Red-ford and Warren Beatty were young and beautiful at the start of their careers, but they were never "boys." Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Will Smith and Cruise, not to mention Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio, are defined by their boy-ishness. They began their careers as kids and, even as they move into their 30s and 40s, have never fully lost their dew.

This was possible only because their parents—the baby boomers—had redefined the culture's perception of maturity, masculinity and aging. The boomers were conscientious objectors to adulthood. (How could maturity be a good thing if you didn't trust anyone over 30?) And as the boomers entered their 40s and 50s, and became the men and women running the Hollywood studios, they still clung to their right to dress like 20-year-olds. How could the Gen-X stars not be boys? That was virtually the only model available. "Youth" had become a lifestyle, a commodity, an ideal, a fetish. Indeed, when a romantic leading man came along who wasn't cut from the American Boy cloth—George Clooney, say—he would be explained as an anomaly, a throwback, a reincarnation of a Cary Grant or William Holden.

And that right there, my darlings, is why George Clooney is my imaginary celebrity husband.

Also, learn to dance, okay? If you ever learn anything at all from the wisdom of Owen Wilson, it is that the ability to dance well will get you laid.

Gawker has a soul

I love my industry. I want to be more involved.

Someone, please find me a job.

Yeah, my family's not connected either.

I know I might have fooled you with a "last name" like Kennedy. But in reality I am a first-generation Italian, 100 percent. In New England, where I grew up (hence the "Kennedy" moniker), there were few enough Italians around that *I* was most people's example, or stereotype, of what we're like. That is, Northern Italian, tall, bilingual (and pretty well-spoken in both), college educated. More Giorgio Armani than Tony Soprano, shall we say.

It wasn't until I moved to New York that anyone had the temerity to think I might have Mob connections. One guy who was trying to pick me up in a bar dashed all his chances by insisting repeatedly that my grandfather was a mafioso, because of course he knew my grandfather better than I did (hah). For the record, my dad's a physics professor. And the closest I've ever come to the Mafia was when a former (WASP) coworker's boyfriend's brother (did you follow that?) had his car blown up over bad gambling debts. So there.

(And if you're wondering where the Maggie comes from, this bridge is near my house in Tuscany.)

Friday, August 05, 2005

I bet you thought I was kidding, didn't you?

Foolish of you. I sent him three photos and the following halfway decent proposal:
Hi, Jake! Here's a few reasons why you'd want to marry me:

1. I'm up to date on all my shots, including the Hep B series.
2. I carry my passport and a stash of foreign currency with me at all times.
3. I can knit your nephew a really cute baby hat! (see eggplant)
4. Once I almost got arrested for swimming in the Navy Memorial in DC (apparently that's a felony), but I talked my way out of it.
5. I haven't fully stripped down in public, but I have flashed folks in the East Village. And there's a shot of my ass up on my blog.
6. I have really great hair and a few other superpowers, such as rockstar parking luck.
7. I can say two things perfectly in Russian: "I love you," and "I speak Russian very poorly."
8. A leprechaun at Macy's once told me I'd find a guy who makes me laugh. And you do that every time you post an update.

So give me a ring, baby!

And all of the above is true, by the way.

So maybe we could make this a chain proposal -- if you want me to marry you instead of Jake, send me an e-mail and let me know why I should.

Hmm, this could be the start of something big. Or crazy.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Huh? Dove is for "fat chicks"?

Since when is a size 12 fat? As pointed out in the article's comments, the average woman in the US is a size 14. And I think it's wonderful that Dove is showing more realistically proportioned women in these ads, though I gues sit's true that the camera adds x pounds. I would have thought that the range of these women goes to a size 16 or so; I guess I'm a little less thrilled.

Mr. Stevenson has loved the spongmonkeys in the past, so I can't dismiss him completely. But this time he and I are having a bit of a disagreement.

Late again, but for the better

Yesterday I slept right through my 5:45 alarm, missing my Tuesday run at 6:15. This sucks because I only ran 1.25 miles on Sunday, because the damned cold would just not be shaken, and I was feeling like DEATH.

However, when I woke up at close to 9 a.m., I suddenly felt much better, better than I have in weeks. So I was really disappointed that I had missed the run, and went last night instead. Took it a bit easy still, did a total of 2.5 miles, maybe 2 running and 1/2 walking. Also, on my way into the park I ran into my coach, who biked along with me until I reached the turnaround, and then was waiting for me at the finish line, so I couldn't slack. I really do perform much better under the pressure of a watchful eye. I did the 2.5 in about 27 minutes, which is about 11 minutes a mile -- my best time yet! I need to get a stopwatch and keep better track of my stats.

While we're on the subject of my running progress, I found out the details of the four-mile race. It will be Saturday, September 17, at 9:15 a.m. in Central Park, sponsored by Fitness magazine. As I said, I do much better when people are watching, so if you want to turn out and cheer me on, I'll love you forever. And you'll be so impressed with me, and proud! But if 9:15 is too early on a Saturday for you to get out of bed just to stand around and cheer, I understand.

This morning, lots of weights. I expect to be sore. Tomorrow, I'm supposed to try to do FOUR miles, to catch up on my lost progress. Better not drink too much whiskey with the Irishman tonight....

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

girly secrets

And I think that every single one of these bits of advice is true, depending on the occasion.

down on the corner

Ah, the dizzying ascent and stomach-lurching fall of exclusivity.

Monday, August 01, 2005

missed ms. phair

dammit, first someone steals her cd from me (along with my carefully gathered Christmas collection), now I find out about this show after it's already sold out. Pout.

Here's my chance!

I'm going to submit my brilliant lobster ice cream idea to this Häagen-Dazs contest! The best part is, it's so outlandish, I know they'll never steal it unless I actually win the contest. "Oh, we didn't get that idea from you; we'd been planning a seafood-based ice cream for quite some time now." Hah!