Monday, May 26, 2008

Zoom Zoom

Landed! A little jet-lagged but thrilled to be here. 

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Over the River and Through the Woods

The modern world is changing fast.  But some things don't change: A passage to India still takes a really long time. I'm out of commission through Monday.  I hope to keep the posts coming from the subcontinent, but no guarantees ... stay tuned, true believers!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

It's a Peculiar World

Speaking of birthdays, Morrissey turns the big 4-9 today! Check him out here in a woefully awkward 2006 BBC interview.  I was a little stumped about what video would be most appropriate for this post.  My roommate suggested "The Headmaster Ritual" or "First of the Gang to Die."  But I figured that (in the spirit of commemoration) I'd go with "Hand in Glove," which debuted as the first single from The Smiths 25 years and a week ago, instead.  The video's totally foggy-looking but as Virginia Heffernan says:

... YouTube is neither a nascent art form nor a video library but a recently unearthed civilization. Everything’s muddy and looks kind of ruined. If you don’t have firm convictions about visual art, you won’t come on them just by poking around; everything will seem worthless. But while most of the stuff being dusted off and put into baggies at YouTube are indeed bent spoons and dime-a-dozen arrowheads, an archeologist with his eyes open can still be surprised by treasure.

Brooklyn Bridge Bash

The Brooklyn Bridge is turning 125! The big day is Saturday, but festivities kick off today with fireworks, etc. The bridge's mega birthday present is the $300 million cosmetic surgery and structural renovation set to begin in 2009. This cool slideshow (in The Chicago Tribune, actually) has some good shots of the bridge over the years. Did you know that a week after the bridge opened, fears that it would collapse caused a stampede which left 12 dead and 35 injured? Or that it was originally called the East River Bridge? For those sticking around the city over the long weekend, BAM will be screening the 1981 Ken Burns documentary "Brooklyn Bridge" on Saturday (which I imagine will include many such tidbits) ... 

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I Recognized Her From the Gym

News that the Lower East Side has been named one of the country's most endangered historic sites by the National Trust for Historic Preservation got me thinking about the changing face of nearby St. Mark's Place. Over the years, the stretch of 8th St was the hangout of everyone from Thelonious Monk to W. H. Auden to Jeff Buckley, but today, New York magazine sums it up thusly: "It's tacky. It's garish. It's crawling with tourists and trend-starved teenagers." Just 25 years ago, however, it was the place where you might see a still unknown Madonna leaving the gym, as Amy Arbus did:
The picture of Madonna was taken before her meteoric rise. “I stopped her on the street because I recognized her from the gym,” Ms. Arbus said. “She was the one sitting around naked in the locker room the longest. I remember looking at her and thinking that with a body like that, I would too. In the picture she looks as if she knew what was about to happen to her.”

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mulberry St. Library

Shameful confession. The NYPL's newest branch at Mulberry Street has been open for a year to the day tomorrow and (though I have managed to feebly poke my head through its restored 1886 brick and cast iron entrance way) I have yet to touch a book from its shelves. Or sit in one of those super comfy-looking reading chairs. Looks like I better check it out before all the laptops are gone!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Skip Lunch Fight Hunger

I really like the simplicity and efficiency of City Harvest. The Skip Lunch Fight Hunger drive they're holding today is a good example of that -- last year it brought in some $460,000. As of my lunch hour, the organization is well on its way, with $111,241 in donations in today so far. Anyway, that's my plug: Feed the children!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Things that are Younger than McCain

It's not nice to make fun of John McCain for being old. Still, Things That are Younger than McCain is a very good idea for a blog. For example: The chocolate chip cookie. Scientology. The slinky. Spam. Alaska. Bugs Bunny. The polio vaccine. Both of Barack Obama's parents. McDonald's. The AARP. Israel. Superman. And much much more. Here are my additions to the list: Nike. The Lawrence Welk Show. Honda. Charlie Brown. Tupperware. Isn't this fun?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Eleven, Twelve

Though the Twelve Song (aka the Pinball Number Count) is actually Sesame Street genius, when I saw that The Electric Company was making a comeback, it was the first thing that came to my mind.  Where it has subsequently stayed.  Catchy shit!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mothers Day!

I've linked to Postcards from Yo Momma before, but this being Mother's Day an' all I'll do it again.  Below, my favorite entry from the site:

me: MOM!
me: i have internet in my room!!!!
Mom: what
Mom: wow
Mom: right on mf
me: what is mf?
Mom: my fruitcup
me: oh of course

Adventures of Mr. Bones

My brother's adorable pup, Mr. Bones, has his own blog.  The latest Bones Blog entry documents Bonesdiggity's first and second run-in with a turtle.  It's good stuff. Please welcome Bonesy to the World Wide Web! 

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Green Porno

From the lovely and talented Lulu: Green Porno! In these short videos produced for the Sundance Channel, Isabella Rossellini brings her old-school elegance and poise to some spiffy bug costumes as she -- with the help of some spiffy cardboard bug dummies -- acts out the mating rites of insects. Yeah, it's weird, but it's funny and edifying too; there's just something riveting about bug sex.  And Rossellini's performances in this series are nothing short of inspired.  Fun fact! Rossellini's son and his buddies are Green Porno extras

Bees are so complicated and they are so much of a community that I couldn't really play all [of them]. I needed some actors, so I hired my son and his friends to play the male bees.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Good Enough for Me

Good ol' Cookie Monster. "As opposed to many of us who need many things to try and make us happy, he only needs one thing, and that's a cookie," says Frank Oz. "That is his one obsession, and he's insatiable." This NPR interview and article on the "sensuous" muppet is cute cute cute. (Among the features, Cheryl Hansen's explanation of where all the cookies go and Cookie Monster singing the "C is for Cookie" song were my favorites). It's Friday! Have a cookie, you deserve it.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

SkyMall Murder Weapons

Via Jezebel and completely self-explanatory.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Christopher Columbus is Stranded

Well, the scaffolding is down, and the face of the newly renovated Museum of Arts and Design (formerly the American Craft Museum) at Columbus Circle is ... Eh? (f)eh? he(h)? I'm not sure. Looking at this quick history of the building's design and construction, it seems that given architect Brad Cloepfil's limited parameters (he needed to work around the building's original infrastructure as he spruced it up but also pay homage to its original historic design in his update), he's done a decent enough job. The renovation appears to free up more gallery space inside, and the new building certainly "fits in" with the others on the block. But as this grouchy Tom Wolfe Op-Ed rant from several years ago insists (Wolfe was reacting to Cloepfil's then-proposed plans), the Columbus Circle aesthetic itself is still a touch ludicrous:
... the buildings beside, behind and across from the museum, make Columbus Circle, minus the museum, look like the Downtown Renaissance of some decaying midsize Rust Belt city from which the factories have decamped to Mexico and the retailers have fled to the malls. In a Downtown Renaissance the terminally weary buildings left stranded downtown get ''revitalized'' by a couple of new, ludicrously colossal glass-box towers done in the 1950's Modern mode . . . such as Columbus Circle's Trump International Hotel and Tower, originally the Gulf & Western tower, and the Time Warner complex. So many roadways cut into and right through the Circle itself, the marble statue of Christopher Columbus out in the middle looks like a stranded pedestrian who has shimmied up a 77-foot pole to keep from getting killed and is waiting for the marble people lounging about the base of the Maine Memorial at the southwest entrance to Central Park -- Courage, Peace, Fortitude and Justice, by name -- to come rescue him. So if that is what Architect Cloepfil and the Museum of Arts and Design want their brainchild to ''merge'' with and have a ''dialogue'' with (a favorite coherently challenged theoryspeak term -- nobody ever reports what the ''environment'' said), they might want to brace themselves for an earful and a half.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Oh Doo Da Day

From Mark Halperin's blog via my brother (of course):

Hillary Clinton enthusiastically picked a filly named Eight Belles to win the Kentucky Derby and compared herself to the horse. Eight Belles finished second. The winner was the
favorite, Big Brown. Eight Belles collapsed immediately after crossing the finish line, and was euthanized shortly thereafter.

Fog Lifted Early

Loyal readers, apologies for the drought of posts of late.  Busy times for the blog proprietress.  This weekend was spent cleaning, dismantling and discarding old stuff; purchasing, assembling, and organizing new stuff; riding utility elevators, climbing stairs, bargaining, finagling, cursing, celebrating and so forth. Hard work for soft hands accustomed only to the gentle demands of the mouse and keyboard! At any rate, while sorting through my stuff yesterday, I stumbled upon this poem. It's from Nobel Laureate Czeslaw Milosz's Collected Poems 1931-1987 and it's called "Gift":

A day so happy.
Fog lifted early, I worked in the garden.
Hummingbirds were stopping over honeysuckle flowers.
There was no
thing on earth I wanted to possess.
I knew no-one worth my envying him. 
Whatever evil I suffered, I forgot,
To think that once I was the same man did not embarrass me.
In my body I felt no pain.
When straightening up, I saw the blue sea and sails. 

Friday, May 2, 2008

In the Belly of the Beast

Via New York Magazine's Approval Matrix: Jane Smiley and Curtis Sittenfeld agree to pen Lexus-themed literature for Lexus Magazine. What? Also, 51% of Lexus owners spend more than 30 minutes reading each issue of Lexus Magazine. What?

Party Time

From Matthew Yglesias's blog (via my brother):
The chart illustrates the fact that, contrary to myth, the Democratic edge with young people has usually been pretty small but now it's huge. In a micro-sense, of course, anyone whose experience consists mostly of eight years of peace and prosperity under Bill Clinton followed by Bush acceding to the White House under dubious circumstances and then leading us into inept governance, failed wars, and a shaky economy is bound to favor the Democrats.