Friday, September 26, 2008

The Great Schlep from The Great Schlep on Vimeo.

Sarah Silverman says, go to Florida and convince your Jewish grandparents to vote Obama.


The past two nights, I was supposed to go to night town meetings and crawled under the covers instead. I didn't feel all that guilty either time. When will I buckle down and do my goddamn job, trapped though I may be?

I wish every day was one long yoga class interspersed with flying trapeze stints, with time set aside each morning and night for reading, writing, chai and ice cream - and that I went home to sleep in my sunny studio apartment in the West 90s. Anyone want to join me in my dream? (Just get your own apartment.)

Monday, September 22, 2008

adolescent summers

People are noting the cancellation of the MTV series TRL, which has long showcased screeching teens at their most vapid. But the daily show was a welcome break as a teen during the annual August week the parents dragged my brother and me to a guest house on a beach near Portland, ME. There, just before entering high school, I remember watching the day Tom Green's "Bum Bum Song" hit number one.

That was good television. Many are mentioning Mariah Carey's unscripted entrance, but Tom Green deserves a shout-out. I loved watching his antics as a teen because they were unapologetic, crass and absurd. The day his song topped the list, he ran a victory lap into the squealing masses outside as the cameras, caught by surprise (it seemed) struggled to keep up with him and showed confused security officers struggling to deal with chaos.

After triumphing, Green retired the song to leave room for "real" music videos, even as the canny fool muddled MTV's standard definition by getting footage of a man in a superhero suit with a fake backside into an album sales-boosting category.

Friday, August 27, 1999
1) Tom green - "Bum bum song
2) 'N Sync - "Music Of My Heart"
3) "Britney spears - "(You drive me) Crazy"
4) Lfo - "Summer girls"
5) 98° - "I do (Cherish you)"
6) Christina Aguilera - "Genie in a bottle"
7) Mariah carey - "Heartbreaker"
8) Kid rock - "Cowboy"
9) Jennifer Lopez - "Waiting For Tonight"
10) Orgy - "Stitches"

Saturday, September 20, 2008


A veteran police dispatcher said that crimes rise with a waxing moon, and that things are quieter as it wanes from full to new. It doesn't make sense, she said, but 19 years on the job have born out the observation. The loonies emerge; men beat their wives.

"Some of them are funny," the dispatcher said of the stories she hears as the moon grows. "Some of them are sad, and some of them are just, 'Grow up, idiot!'"

This is a great theory, but it still can't be my favorite; I have a friend convinced that the shorter she cuts her hair the bigger her arse appears to be.

Friday, September 19, 2008

today's advice from a surrogate aunt:

"Don't do anything rash without calling me first."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

red velvet letdown (smackdown?)

My red velvet cupcakes (via E's brilliant recipe) are yummier than the ones at Crumbs, which instigated my connoisseur's pursuit. Their frosting is not cream cheesy but generically vanilla and the cake is chalky. FYI. If you want the best ones, you'll just have to come visit New London. And sweet-talk me into brandishing my skills.

paradigm shifts

One thing about eating disorders is that someone might flee its hellish clutches but continue finding ash caked into her shoes, even three-odd years after deciding perpetual suffering was bullshit when living could be an option.

The consistency of my reactions to upsetting affairs - physical desire, Sarah Palin - retain an unnerving comfort even though the upshot is uncomfortable. My perceptions of others grow fuzzy, trapped in that funhouse mirror that makes a person look rotund and warped, Botero smoking a Picasso pipe minus the uplifting colors. Others’ speech approximates the “Muppet Babies” nanny. The unpleasantness diverts my brain from some realer source of anxiety.

This extreme distortion is dormant on a “normal” day, though my self-perception still shows a gal a few dress sizes above the skinny chick that I am. I’ve been told that, in the battle against an eating disorder, body image is often the last symptom standing. I’ve learned how to reality-check by the consistent fit of my clothes and by holding close those rare, accidental glimpses when, from the corner of my eye, I see the reflection of a young woman who looks awfully thin and vulnerable, and awfully like me.

But like that autumn day in college when I walked onto Riverside Drive and everything was brighter, as though my senses decided I could handle life in bigger doses, my brain surprised me one day last week when I woke up, looked in the mirror and found that I was thin.

I was confused until I realized I was seeing my body with accuracy for more than a moment for the first time since I was 16. I dropped my eyes from the reflection down toward the female self-hatred zone. My stomach and thighs were thin. Really thin. Wow.

All the women I passed were bodies instead of the usual – heads perched atop hideous blobs emanating waves of anxiety across the sidewalk. Anyone not skeletal caused a repulsion so routine I did not notice it until it disappeared that day, replaced by an inkling as to why Western art seems like one long interpretation of female curves (aside from it giving male artists an excuse surround themselves with passive naked women).

The rest of the day felt like wandering Montmartre for the first time, which in New London is saying something.

Monday, September 15, 2008

ten million thumbs up

This Jezebel post from today is dead on about what it's like for a brain to be trapped in anorexia. It's the most accurate thing I've ever read written by somebody else.

hrc at barnard

"Dear Friend," began an e-mail that came in at 9:17 this morning from Barnard's PR office without hiding recipient addresses. ("I like the fact that you're right close to Charles Gibson on the list," wrote a friend to whom I forwarded it.) It continued:
We were honored and delighted to meet many of you at last week's reception for President Debora L. Spar, which was hosted by Anna Quindlen '74, Chair of Barnard's Board of Trustees, and Martha Nelson '76. President Spar would like to convey her deepest thanks to all who attended, as well as the many more who offered their warmest wishes and kind words of good luck.

She is starting the new academic year off with a bang -- at 2:00 p.m. this afternoon, President Spar and Barnard College will host Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), and members of advocacy organizations for a press conference addressing a new U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on pay inequity in the workplace.

I was invited to that reception but, seeing as I live in New London and it was a normal Tuesday, I couldn't go. There's a sweet Barnard trustee who makes me feel valued and adds me to invitation lists, which was how I ended up receiving the above note.

I was free to see Hillary this afternoon - and was already going to be at Barnard - so I RSVP'd with my paper affiliation for me and a friend who is a Barnard senior but, today, was a colleague who forgot her press pass. No matter that this press conference was clearly irrelevant to Day coverage. We sat next to the economics professor who taught my freshman-year intro lecture. He told me I still looked like a student. Is that a good thing?

When it was Clinton's turn to speak, she spoke about pay equity and then used the forum to segue into speaking about today's Wall Street debacle as evidence of a failed Bush presidency, calling its response to the current recession "haphazard at best" and calling on Bush to convene an economic summit.

"Pay equity is a critical issue, but having the jobs underlying that pay equity is absolutely essential," Clinton said.

A reporter from WNYC asked Clinton what she would have done if she were president last night, as Lehman Brothers and Merril Lynch tumbled, and the "3 a.m." phone call arrived.

"I would've answered the phone - I'm not sure that President Bush did," she replied.

Anyway, I was close enough to where Clinton was standing to see that she is much prettier in the flesh than she appears on camera. She is more petite, and she has large, gorgeous blue eyes. (She could use a new haircut - my friend and I agreed that it veered too close to mullet.)

She also has a knack for making her reactions to other speakers clear without deflecting attention from them. She listens closely and is sharp and can reel off parallelism-laden political rhetoric with one brain hemisphere tied behind her back. It was interesting to watch her use the lectern to weigh in on Wall Street despite it being just vaguely related to the GAO report, because it underlined the fact that anything that comes out of Hillary Clinton's mouth gets close attention. That can be a negative on the campaign trail, but she understands how to harness that power as an asset too.

(Photo Credit: Dorothy Denburg. Debora Spar is behind Clinton on the right. She seems delightful.)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

don't have any reasons, i've left them all behind

New York was disgusting today - sticky and smelly. And glorious.


A friend, E, and I went to MoMA and then shopping, and then I visited the best three year old on the planet (someone else can take the title once she turns four, but I don't care who, because then the best four year old in the world is most important).

I was trying on clothes at the Esprit in Columbus Circle this afternoon, where the sales staff takes the clothes people carry while browsing to start fitting rooms. Edgar took my clothes and then told me that he was distracted explaining a store promotion because I had beautiful eyes. Heard it all before, but it is my favorite compliment.

When I finished browsing, he said that he would love to be my second opinion when I tried on clothes. I pointed out that I brought a second opinion with me (and she looked quite entertained by my ability to attract zaniness). Every couple minutes, Edgar yelled my name across the dressing room corridor, asking if I had something to show him.

"I'm only trying on boring long-sleeve shirts and things," I finally replied.

"I'll get you a dress to try on," he called through the door. A moment later, he returned with a gorgeous argyle sweater dress, a size too small and a bundle above my budget.

"What happens," I asked him, "if I refuse to try it on?"

"I won't let you out of the dressing room," he said. Well then.

He had me model it by the three-angled mirror for another bored sales guy and a stricken female employee before I was permitted to slip back into my own clothing.


Later, E cozied up to an Upper West Side Starbucks while I visited best three year old. (E: "You have such a soft spot for that child.")

She started French immersion preschool this month. Her mother told me that most of the kids are either fluent or proficient in the language, and only a few - including hers - don't know any. All the other non-French speakers had meltdowns the first week, she said, while her daughter ran out of class, gaily remarked, "Mama, I can't understand anything they're saying!" and then ran back in, unfazed.

Also, the pint-sized teenager allayed my fears that she wouldn't remember me after a few months' absence by rolling her little eyes as she said, "I know you."


File this under "Did I just make that up?": Comparing yoga biceps with college thesis adviser.

Friday, September 12, 2008

this in from syria

A friend living (and blogging!) in Syria this year wrote a post that formed a lump in my jaded journalist throat. Waiters in a restaurant found their own way to express sympathy about September 11. Read on.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I dreamed last night that I agreed to be a surrogate mother for a yoga teacher so that she could continue her training uninterrupted. Moments after the implanting procedure, I realized it was a giant mistake.

But I couldn't get an abortion, because the damn thing wasn't mine to abort.

(I woke up grateful about how unlikely it is that I'd ever make such a self-sacrificing decision.)

Sunday, September 07, 2008


This video's all over the internets (thanks, E - this was what my hard-to-distract editor was distracted watching the other day!), but I like it.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

hockey moms, and dads

I went to the Ledyard Fair last night, because I have no life, and was wandering around in search of a story when I came upon a town council member. He's a sweetheart - fun to joke around with, intelligent, charming - but mega-conservative. So conservative.

"Did you watch the RNC speeches?" he asked me, after introducing me to his 9-year-old daughter.

I told him I'd watched Joe Lieberman's speech, and Sarah Palin's.

"Did you see that Sarah Palin - wasn't she fantastic?" he said, grinning.

"I don't think we can have this conversation," I replied.