Thursday, November 30, 2006

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Timex Watches

Howdy from the “Music City,” Nashville, TN. My mother and uncle will soon be arriving and I think a fun weekend will be had by all. I’ve got my camera and will snap lots of photos.

Polonium is HOT! HOT! HOT! Ever since that spy died a horrid and mysterious death from this highly toxic element, polonium is all over the news—Paris, Britney and Lindsy must be fuming! Although I hate chemistry, I did a little background research on polonium in order to educate my readership. Polonium was discovered by none other than Marie Curie and her less famous husband Pierre (who died in 1906 when his skull was crushed in a freak horse and carriage accident!). Marie, who was from Poland, named the element after her motherland with the hopes of publicizing the plight of her people who were unfairly dominated by Russian, Prussian and Austrian rulers. It is likely the only element named to highlight a political controversy. Its symbol is “Po” and it has an atomic number of 84. Polonium is very rare. It uses include neutron trigger for nuclear bombs, photography brushes and obviously, radioactive poison.

My 80’s music reviews are clearly no longer coming on a weekly basis so please enjoy my first 80’s Song of the Month: “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley. British-born pop star Astley exploded onto the music scene in 1987 with his debut album Whenever You Need Somebody. “Never Gonna Give You Up” was the first release from the multi-platinum album. This freckle-faced red-head, who looks similar to comic book hero Archie Andrews, has such a distinct, booming voice that had it not been for the popularity of music videos, few would have ever realized that Mr. Astley is not a black singer. Like most of his singles, the song begins with a bombastic drum machine and synthesizer intro before his deep, powerful voice takes center stage. If you believe the lyrics to the song, Rick Astley would make a pretty great boyfriend. He promises that he is...“Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down, never gonna run around and desert you. Never gonna make you cry, never gonna say goodbye, never gonna say a lie and hurt you.” What a sweetheart. It’s an upbeat song—great for exercising—and was a huge smash all over the world. The song was a UK number one hit for five weeks before reaching the top of the Billboard charts in the spring of 1988. Rick retired at the height of his fame claiming his distaste for celebrity and a desire to raise a family.

Christine and I "ran" over the Williamsburg Bridge this morning. It was good fun! Who else is going to join us? It's approximately 2.5 miles back and forth.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

House of Bluebirds

Yeah. I am lazy. Sorry.

Thanksgiving was extremely relaxing. I didn't gorge myself as much as I thought I would. After all, it was my first Thanksgiving feast in four years. My mom’s delicious spread sure beat those rice and beans from Sudan.

I am watching America’s Next Top Model. This show is really nothing more than an opportunity to humiliate these poor naïve girls. The panelists claims that its challenges are representative of the difficulties faced by models in “real” world but I am certain that Tyra Banks has never been forced to dance flamenco or sit in ice cold water for a half hour. Last week was an especially painful episode where the contestants had to do a commercial hocking some assortment of beauty products. The twist being that the girls had to speak in Spanish! Nothing sells makeup like awkward phonetically-learned foreign languages!

My father and I went to Huntley’s annual Turkey Testicle Festival where Illinoisans gather to drink beer and munch of deep-fried turkey balls. No lie. They weren’t half bad. The secret is in the batter! Photos are above.

Tomorrow I am off to Nashville to see the Dixie Chicks in concert. I am happy to get out of the city. It’s been a tough week.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Rumpus Room Round-Up

Monday is here again and I feel like crap. It’s not a cold, or the flu. My body is clearly rebelling against the many unhealthy choices I made this weekend. Firstly, there was the alcohol. This included several bottle of wine on Thursday, followed by numerous beers on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon. On Saturday night, I made the regretful choice of sipping a rummy mug of eggnog. Oh! And I had two beers on Sunday night while watching Desperate Housewives at Urge. I have not consumed this much booze in quite some time and so I think my liver was shocked. On top of that, I ate like a pig. Thursday night I made a healthy and delicious fish soup followed by selection of less healthful Sugar Sweet Sunshine puddings. Friday’s feast of mac-n-cheese and ribs is well-documented on Zain’s site (aptly titled “Triple Chins”). Saturday, it was off to Brooklyn for a game of Risk and numerous cheesy poofs. We stayed in Brooklyn for dinner at Myrna’s. She served a massive spread of pub grub. I will certainly be working overtime at the gym this week.

I bought this sofa on Sunday. The apartment is definitely coming together.

For your consideration…

A Few of My Favorite Things:

Carrie Underwood’s New Single. Last year’s wholesome American Idol victor turns evil in this hot song that currently sits atop the Billboard Country Charts. Sample lyrics: “I dug my key into the side of his pretty little suped-up 4-wheel drive, carved my name into his leather seat. I took a Louisville Slugger to both head lights, slashed a hole in all four tires. Maybe next time he'll think before he cheats.” She also talks about drinking whiskey and hooking up! What has the world come to?!

King of Shaves Shaving Gel. I love this stuff—especially the menthol brand. Sure, it’s always on the dusty, bottom shelf at the Duane Reade but this product is smooth and tingly. Plus, you’ve got to love the name! It also has a convenient size that is perfect for travel.

Abizz. Because of its shady location on Eldridge (nestled in between government housing) few know about this restaurant. At almost four years old, it is easily among the top restaurants in the Lower East Side. The large brick oven and warm lighting create a romantic atmosphere. The reasonably priced Italian cuisine includes delicious pizzas.

A Few of My Least Favorite Things:

Marilyn Musgrave. This ultra-conservative Colorado congresswoman vigorously peddles legislation outlawing rights for gays and lesbians. According to Musgrave, protecting marriage is THE MOST important issues facing our country. In addition, she sponsored legislation that would make 2007 “The Year of the Bible.” Luckily she is in a tight political race. Keep your fingers crossed that the Democrats kick her righteous butt to the curb.

The F-Train on Weekends. What the hell? I was forced to take the dreaded G-Train last Saturday! The MTA needs to get this issue resolved I am expected to seriously consider relocating to Brooklyn.

Sweet Potatoes. Yuck. Sadly, this vile tuber was one of the only vegetables that my brother liked as a child. My poor mother always had to cook an alternate veggie dish to please me. They are truly the only vegetable I really cannot stomach.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Danny's Gong

I have just balanced my check book and it doesn't look pretty folks. November is going to be lean! When it rains it really does pour! Between my new contact lenses, health insurance, closet shelving, wedding gifts and a flight to Nashville (to see the Dixie Chicks!) it is going to be a lean month. I had hoped to buy a new collection of Banana Republic dress pants but it will have to wait until December. I may look rich, but I'm really not. Brother can you spare a dime?

Christine used the word 'papoose' in a sentence the other day. She dropped it in our conversation while describing her Madonna Halloween costume, "I wore a white suit and carried a little African baby in a papoose on my back." I should add that she didn't tote a real, live African baby (though that would have been more authentic). Anyhow, I have always loved the word 'papoose' but until yesterday had never heard it used in an actual sentence. Thanks Christine! As a side note, I ran into Christine this evening and she was NOW dressed as Angelina Jolie (and reycled African baby!).

Speaking of Halloween, I attended Catherine's party dressed as a hunky pilot. See photo evidence on her site.

Big News! Jet Blue will offer flight to Chicago's O'Hare Airport commencing in January. This means, I never to fly ATA or United again! Huzzah!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Guinea Pigs Kisses

The family fun continued today with a good old-fashioned pumpkin carving party. I chose to carve a funky white pumpkin which I fashioned into a pretty nifty skull. Kent created a boozebag pumpkin and Karly showed off her skills with a knife and carved up a jolly jack-o-lantern. Mom is still working on her painted pumpkin/flower pot.

For dinner we had Nancy's pizza, "home of the original stuffed pizza!" Deep-dish pizza is a classic Chicago dish and one of my favorite culinary splurges. I don’t want to be controversial but I just don’t understand why people get so excited for a thin, floppy piece of New York pizza. Chicago-style (above) is basically an entire wheel of cheese melted atop a thick buttery crust with toppings hidden deep within the cheesy, gooey deliciousness. Clearly this is the food of the gods. I realize that this fatty pizza alone is very likely the chief cause of obesity in the region but then again, Midwesterners are so mich happier and cordial than New Yorkers. And I am sure this pizza has something to do with that.

I return to New York (and its pathetic pizza) tomorrow.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

It's Raining Menthols

My many weeks of travel have come to an end and with the exception of one brief stint in Kansas City next month, I shall remain in New York through December! November and December are peak fundraising months for non-profits so I will be busy. But I don’t mind. It has been eons since I was actually busy AT MY DESK.

This weekend, my siblings and I converged upon Chicago to surprise my mother and father. They were flabbergasted as I walked through the door although they were not as stunned as the unfortunate mother of a friend of my taxi driver. After, explaining where I was headed for the weekend, my cabbie told of a pal who decided to show up at his parents’ apartment in Queens unannounced after ten years apart. The man’s paperwork had finally cleared and he was now able to immigrate to the USA. When he showed up at the door, his mother was so shocked that she had a heart attack and died on her front stoop. Luckily, my parents survived and we are having a wonderful family weekend together.

Tara Reid has had her botched boob job fixed. Actually, her plight ALMOST makes me pity her fledgling career and horrific nipple scarring.

While driving to the mall today, Bananarama’s "Cruel Summer" came on the radio. In the cold, dreary Chicago weather, the song seemed wildly out of place but it is such a great tune that I was ready forget that winter is fast approaching. So, today’s 80’s Song of The Week is “Cruel Summer.” British girl-group Bananarama was founded in 1981. Their first studio album was released in 1983 and yielded several modest hits on the UK pop charts. Bananarama’s self-titled sophomore effort was released in 1984. It was a modest success in America fueled prevalently by the popularity of the single “Cruel Summer.” The song was featured in the blockbuster film Karate Kid (I believe it plays as Ralph Macchio and his divorced mother relocate from dismal Jersey City to the even more dismal Reseda). Bananarama’s style of singing is sometimes enthusiastically described on websites as being “unique” for its lack of harmonizing. Basically the three members of the band sing the same melody into one microphone. It is unclear why this particular factor should be touted as it seems to imply that Bananarama were relatively unskilled musicians. No comment. Anyways, “Cruel Summer” is indicative of this particular singing style but it is really the calypso beat and melancholy instrumentals that assure “Cruel Summer” a spot in 80’s history. The song peaked at number nine on the Billboard charts--their first of the three top ten hits in the USA.

Please peruse these photos of Katie and Dan’s beautiful Brooklyn wedding. Kudos for booking the Bar Tabac ragtime band! October is clearly the month for weddings these days...

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Eskimo Hair Pies

Today is my birthday inching me ever closer to 30 years old. Brett greeted me with balloons, a hot new digital camera and a tasty brunch at THOR. Next, we headed over to Prospect Park for Katie and Dan's wedding (photos later in the week). The weather, ceremony and reception were perfect and now I sit in bed with heavy eyelids.

We actually celebrated my birthday this past weekend when Zain and I co-hosted our first annual “Birthday Extravaganza.” Although I cannot promise that there will be a second, it was indeed a smashingly good time. We bowled, we drank, we consumed cupcakes, we leafed through porn and we partied with C-List celebrities. Could it get any better? Above find a slew of photos documenting the momentous occasion. The semi-famous folks we boozed with at a Hell’s Kitchen dive bar called Siberia included Kieran Culkin (celebrating his birthday) and “Finch” from American Pie (the one who seduces Stiffler’s mom). Christine signed Kieran’s stomach with an oversized novelty pen while he declared that the reason people were signing his stomach (and not mine) was because “he is special.” I disagreed with Kieran and attributed it instead to my hairy stomach. He did wish me a happy birthday though. My only complaint is that despite the aforementioned porn (thanks, Tamar!), there was overall a surprising lack of gifts. Could it be that my friends are growing cheap in their old age?

Ever since my life has become a slightly duller version of Where In The World Is Carmen San Diego?—I doubt that any gumshoes ever had to venture to Dayton, Ohio—I am finding that the most satisfying sleep I get today is aboard airplanes. I sit down, buckle up and pass out. Often, I manage to doze soundly from before take-off until after we land. Even Jet Blue’s 36 channels of in-flight direct television fail to keep my awake. By the way, last week I flew on Jet Blue’s inaugural flight from JFK to Columbus, OH. We were given posters of downtown Columbus and upon exiting the plane walked through a balloon archway.

111 Rivington welcomes new roommate Renee! And I haven’t had a chance to express my elation at the departure of Catherine’s vicious, evil and rotund feline, Xena. I will not miss being greeted by hisses and jiggling belly fat. This by no means indicates that I shall not miss Catherine, just her bi-polar, psycho hell-cat.


A Few of My Favorite Things:

1) Lost. Finally! This week’s season premiere was mysterious and suspenseful. We are at last getting a glimpse into the lives of “The Others.” Why are they on the island? Will they torture their captives? Or are they simply misunderstood? I can hardly wait until next Wednesday night.

2) Kristen Wiig. KW is the newest female cast-member on Saturday Night Live. She has impeccable timing and does some hilarious impressions including Drew Barrymore, Katherine Hepburn, Judy Garland and Jane Pauley. Kristen earns laughs even during the most rambling and unfunny sketches. I hope that she steals some of the thunder from that overexposed and overrated Amy Poehler.

3) Glen Campbell. His song “Wichita Lineman” has been named by numerous publications as one of the greatest songs of the 20th century. It is one of the most emotionally-riveting country tunes of all times. Other noteworthy songs include: “Gentle On My Mind,” "By the Time I Get to Phoenix", "Galveston" and his best-known work “Rhinestone Cowboy.”

A Few of My Least Favorite Things:

1) Dane Cook. Who is this guy? And why was he hosting the inaugural episode of SNL this past weekend? Survey says: “Not funny and not talented!”

2) Dennis Hastert. As a morbidly obese, conservative Republican involved in an unforgivable sex scandal, Congressman Hastert is repellant in so many ways.

3) Pigeons. They are dirty, poop all over everything and New York would be a much more enjoyable place without them.