Monday, July 31, 2006

At least he's writing Western mysteries in his spare time

The NY Times sure has a way with photographic illustration these days. For that article about women running off with the hot handyman a few weeks ago, they ran a photo of a faceless man possessed of a Nathan "Good Times" Bookman-like torso.

Then, today, for an article about "Men in Their Prime, Not Working," we get this guy:

I think I owe a formal apology to my husband for ever lamenting his own unemployment stint. I just did not know how very much worse it could get.

P.S. I'm sure Gawker has already delivered with the funny on the topic of this photo today, but I no longer read Gawker. I am finally at the point where I'd rather gaze at my own navel than gaze at other navel-gazers gazing at their navel-gazing friends' navels.
Friday, July 28, 2006

The shit has hit the fan

Or rather, it has hit our basement floor. A sewage line has broken beneath the sidewalk outside of our place, causing a foot or two of crap to flood our basement. Among other things, this means we have to shell out a huge amount of money to have it repaired, money we'll never see again because the city claims it isn't their fault (even though it is -- yay knee-jerk Big Dig-style comprehensive denials!) and our insurance won't cover it. Also, we have to vacate our apartment immediately until the line gets repaired on Monday,

So you make a promise to your readers that you'll blog more and then you find yourself literally knee-deep in shit. So it goes. I guess. Hopefully we'll be back up (Get it? Back up! Ha!) and running on Monday.

Meantime, keep those questions coming!
Thursday, July 27, 2006

You'll notice....

That there was no dog obedience class update this week. When your dog takes that hour to tear open a bag of shelved dog food, make a 14-year-old boy cry, and sleep through the second half of class, ignoring all of last week's commands in the process, it's a little harder to spin his exploits with good, creative cheer. But at least he attempted to shoplift a dog biscuit on the way out of the store.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006

You made me do this

Over the weekend, Dan showed me my stats for this blog, which I'd never looked at before. It was fascinating -- while you can't tell who has actually visited your blog (wipe your brows in relief, my fellow stalkers), you can see what city your visitors hail from. (Also, very occasionally you can see what company they work at, which is how I learned that someone at the U.S. Department Of Labor is stalking me. To which I say, check it! I'm writing this entry at work, fool!)

Anyway, what I learned from this exercise is that not only are not too many people reading this blog these days, but also that most of my long-time loyal readers have dropped out completely. Unless they've all moved to different locales, which I pretty much know not to be true. I feel oddly liberated by this new knowledge, like I can finally stop worrying that so-and-so will think me a pathetic loser if, on the heels of my confession that I kinda don't hate that new Paris Hilton song, I also admit that I kinda don't hate that new Justin Timberlake song.

Still, I feel kinda blue that my readership is so anemic. So to drum up new or renewed interest in BiT, I impale myself upon your good will. To wit:

-For the foreseeable future, I will respond to all comments in my comments section.

-For the rest of this week, I will be accepting any and all questions, be them about myself, or this blog, or whatever the hey you like. Write to me at my Yahoo account or put the questions in the comments section below this post, and I'll respond in a monster blog post sometime next week. All I ask is that the questions not be excessively probing, excessively sexual, or excessively likely to offend someone at the U.S. Department of Labor.

Thanks! Bye!
Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Little sister 1, big sister 0

Phone conversation with my sister last night:

ME: Hey! How was your trip to Miami?

HER: Oh, it was so much fun. We went to this restaurant that had $55 entrees, but the woman we were with picked up the tab, which was something like $1000, and that didn't include the three bottles of champagne that were sent over to our table. And not only was Cuba Gooding Jr. at the restaurant, but so was Magic Johnson and the entire Miami Heat team.

Then we went to the Madonna concert, which was definitely still fun. [Editor's Note: She had already seen Madonna's concert last week in Boston.]

So anyway, yeah, it was a lot of fun. So what about you, how was your weekend?

ME: Oh, it was good, it was good. You know. Friday night we didn't do much because it was raining and we had a flat tire. Saturday we sort of designated as Reading Day, because you know how those New Yorkers pile up if you don't keep on them! Sunday, hmmm, I guess we didn't do much either....

Actually, I kind of have to get going.
Monday, July 24, 2006

Dog (Mon)days of summer

You know that scene in Pulp Fiction where Bruce Willis is seeking his ideal weapon and debates the merits of, variously, a hammer, a bat and a chainsaw before pouncing upon a samurai sword?

The dog appropriated that scene this morning in backwards form. In search of the perfect toy, he first alighted on his $15 Kong. But after determining there was no peanut butter inside, Watson next moved on to his fuzzy, squeaky cartoon bone (that, oddly, looks a little bit like Dan.) But the squeaky bone just couldn’t satisfy, so he spent a little while gumming his characterless Nylabone, which has mostly lain neglected beneath the couch these last few weeks.

But then, with a start, Watson dropped the Nylabone and, sporting an "omigod omigod isthatreallywhatIthinkitis?" look, pounced upon…

A TISSUE! First he tore it to shreds, then he ate the shreds, then he spent a little while roaming the bedroom in search of more shreds, which I took as my cue to leave. Can’t wait to show off the dog’s “progress” in obedience class tonight.
Friday, July 21, 2006

No wait, sorry, THIS is the funniest thing I've overheard in a while

For the entirety of our stay in Los Angeles, Dan and I lived in an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood, which meant that come Saturday afternoon, our streets were clogged with young, peyo-ed Jewish men returning home from temple. One time we were walking behind a trio of such men on the way to our neighborhood coffee shop and quietly took note of their animated gesticulations and raised voices. Dan eventually broke the silence, wondering aloud if the three were talking about religion, as you'd suspect, or if they would surprise us by talking about, say, girls. So we got a little closer and surmised that they were indeed discussing some finer point in the Talmud. In that moment, I felt a little sad that the three men had played so exactly to our narrow presumptions.

Yesterday I was walking to yoga and saw three chubby, crazy-haired, sloppily dressed males coming my way. Pegging them as dorks but then feeling badly that I was again casting aspersions based on appearances, I started to reimagine the trio as nascently successful, well-socialized professionals boasting lives full of friends and women and social ease.

As I passed them, I overheard the middle one express a concern to his friends:

"I mean, is there a RULE that says the second movie in a trilogy has to be the weakest installment?"

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Funniest thing I've overheard in a while

Man: "Oh, his name isn't really Ali G.?"
Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Dog Training Day

Last night was our first official Petco dog training class. To briefly recap the pre-class class of last week: it was Dan, myself, two dwarves and a possible stroke victim. The woman running the class started things off by telling us about her three dogs: Mugs, Mr. French and Patsy McLongtail. Dan and I then went into some sort of septic laughter shock and were unable to properly react to the absurdity of the proceedings, even when Dan was asked to play the role of "dog" and ran around responding to each person's "Come here Dan! Good boy!"

Since our last class, however, the demographics had shifted. Dwarf owners only made up one-fourth of the class, and their dogs were relegated to another portion of the store thanks to disobedience issues. We were now joined by Cassie the Portugese Water Dog and Ollie the Goldendoodle, escorted by, respectively, one of Cassie's two daddies and a classic preppy Cambridge couple that seemed to bring out a lot of latent class rage in Dan.

Of course, Ollie and Cassie became instant best friends, in the same way that rich, attractive, intelligent kids always do the moment they're dropped off at boarding school together. So while those two were off plotting future playdates and in-dorm business ventures, Watson was left alone to lick his balls. Which he did so gustily, and with aplomb.

Otherwise, however, he lagged behind. Like the jerks in my class who read Anna Karenina the summer before ninth grade in order to get ahead of the rest of the class (confession: I was one such jerk), Ollie, Cassie and the 'rents had clearly engaged in some unassigned homework the week prior to class. The other dogs already sat and stayed on command and would not bark or otherwise be unruly; Watson, meantime, inspired a special lesson on how to prevent your dog from knocking down strangers. He also tried to pee on the ferret display.

Still, he was a big hit, mostly due to his incredible cuteness. Several people stopped by to marvel over his Southern hound good looks, a small child kept trying to whap him on the head in admiration, and when he dropped to his back for a belly rub after failing to obey the "watch" command, even the instructor melted a bit. And by the end of class, Watson was in fact sitting on command and was generally being not un-well-behaved. Or as the instructor put it on our way out, "You know, he really didn't do as badly as I expected."

Coasting on his good looks, his down-home charm and the minimal expectations of his peers? Sounds like Watson's learned a thing or two from our fearless commander-in-chief! I will assure you, however, that while Watson may chew with his mouth open, he would never do so while profanely addressing another world leader.

He sure does love his new bull-penis dog treats, however.
Thursday, July 13, 2006

Man, how'd she manage to get Don to speak on the record like that?

There truly is no end to the cultural wisdom that can be culled from the pages of the NY Times Thursday Styles section. Today's edition offers perhaps the paper's most insightful piece yet in its ongoing, author-emails-her-10-bestest-journalist-
and-publicist-friends-and-from-there-reinvigorates-outmoded-gender-stereotypes series.

The title of the piece, by Stephanie Rosenbloom, is "The Taming of the Slur." The subject? Women are sluts! But wait, not really, they just like to call each other sluts in an empowering sort of way -- "Hi, slut!" being an example of such an exchange offered by our ear-to-the-ground reporter. Also, they like to dress in slutty gear just like their favorite pop icons, Jessica Simpson and Lindsay Lohan, and engage in slutty everyday activities like pole-dancing classes, all of which was totally news to me and not at all something I had read before in about 15 million different mainstream media outlets. Three years ago. What any of this, by the way, has to do with a piece that purports to be about the shifting meaning of the term "slut" as a signifier is beyond me, but whatev. Sluts rock!

But wait, maybe they don't. See, it turns out that maybe women actually ARE sluts. Or at least, some of the sluttier ones are still seen that way, because according to "authors who have studied popular culture," there still exists a cultural double-standard regarding the sexual mores of men and women. No evidence is given to support this statement, but duh, we all know it's true. I mean, my god, remember that slut Samantha on "Sex in the City," how she was like totally judged for her behavior, even though most of the time she wasn't? So there you go. And to that end, it was very important to include a photo of Samantha with the article, because as I've begun to garner from repeated readings of the Times arts and style sections, "Sex in the City" was the only piece of original programming to appear on television in the last 20 years.

Anyway, I could go on, but life is short and the siren call of my inner slut beckons me to walk the dog in my lowest-cut tank top. So to tantalize you like a good slut should, I'll just call out a few choice bits from the piece in the hopes that many of you will go to read it -- especially those among you looking to cultivate the more regurgatory methods of weight loss. A slut's gotta stay slim, after all!

Like “queer” and “pimp” before it, the word slut seems to be moving away from its meaning as a slur.

See, that's really interesting. As a sociology major in college, I was always taught that lumping together three disparate terms like that would render your thesis invalid before your analysis had even begun. But I guess the Times must be ushering in a new era of pomo social analysis, wherein all colloquialisms are interrelated -- nay, interchangeable. So with that new model in hand, lemme try something out....

"Hi, pimp!"

Hey, it works!

A slut, according to the primary definition in the Oxford English Dictionary, is “a woman of dirty, slovenly, or untidy habits or appearance; a foul slattern.” The second entry defines a slut as “a woman of a low or loose character; a bold or impudent girl; a hussy, jade.” For decades, the second definition has reigned.

Endless, heartfelt hoorays to the NY Times for resurrecting the "Oxford's Dictionary defines..." mode of clarifying your terms. I haven't been privy to that device since my sister delivered her eighth grade graduation speech ("Webster's dictionary defines 'teenager' as..."), but by god, I've missed it.

Jamie Breitman, 27, of Manhattan, has a friend she characterizes as promiscuous, a woman who, when they were in a bar in Spain, ended up singing on a stage and eventually making out with the bass player.

See, even though I'm an Ivy League graduate and all, I went to one of the lower rung Ivies and am not nearly as smart as those Times writers. And so I'll admit that I was still a bit mystified as to what, exactly, constitutes a slut. But give it up for Ms. Rosenbloom: about five-sixths of the way through the article, she dug up this indispensible source -- with whom, I'm sure, she absolutely did not go to college or ever share an apartment -- who offered up a true, empirical example of sluttiness. I mean, singing on a stage AND making out with the bass player? Honestly, the mention of either act would have knocked me a bit sideways, but the two denigrating behaviors performed in tandem.... Just, wow.

And finally, we have the man I hope will one day sire me a gaggle of Duke lacrosse-playing, Goldman Sachs-toiling, Joe Francis-worshipping sons, one Don from Albany:

When I think of the word slut,” wrote Don Reisinger, a student doing accounting and law work in Albany, in an e-mail message, “I think of a woman who has been around the block more times than my dad’s Chevy. I might date a slut, but I certainly wouldn’t marry one.

FUCK, dude, there's no need to bring your poor dad's car into this! But seriously, I have the best joke for you: what do you call the skin around a women's vagina? The WOMAN, dude! Awwww yeah.

So anyway.... call me?
Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Immediate disclaimer: he also chatted up a rather squat middle-aged woman standing nearby

Last night I stopped in a Store 24 to grab a bottle of water before my yoga class. As I was being rung up, a prototypical Store 24 counter-loiterer sauntered up and started chatting with the cashier.

Him: "Yep, I'm thinking I'm gonna be staying in Boston for a while. A LOT of pretty ladies in this town, you know what I'm saying?" Throws a leer my way. "I know you know what I'm saying, cuz I'm looking at one right here."

Me, employing my standard weird-giggle-punctuated response to all comments of that ilk: "Oh. Thanks."

Him: "Don't thank me, thank your mom and dad!"

So, thank you, mom and dad, for passing along that sexual-harassment-invitation gene. I'd have maybe preferred the perfect-jawline gene, mom, or the good-at-public-speaking gene, dad, but no, no, actually, this one's been grand. Thanks again.
Monday, July 10, 2006

More yoga wisdom

When, at the start of class, your yoga instructor goes around the room asking if anyone has any injuries she should be aware of, it's probably best not to mention that your left wrist and thumb are virtually paralyzed due to the fact that you spent a sunny afternoon playing Asteroids and Megamania on the Atari 2600 that your husband brought home earlier in the day after supposedly raiding his childhood home for living room furniture possibilities.

Then again, these yoga instructors are professionals. I'm sure they've heard it all before.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Yoga party

Some people have asked me the differences between Los Angeles yoga and Boston yoga, and it's true the chasm is pretty profound. My studio in LA was located in a new faux-Grecian building with unlimited free parking; my current studio is housed in a third floor walk-up with a smelly pizza place below. The owner of my LA studio was a gorgeous, blonde, former music producer and film executive; the owner of my Boston studio, according to her online bio, turned to yoga after years of eating disorders and profound depression. My favorite male yoga instructor in LA was an actor on "Passions"; my favorite male yoga instructor in Boston is missing most of his teeth.

It's nice to be home.

Still, my yoga insecurities in Boston are alive and well thanks to the ever-present chink in my armor: my inflexibility. Recently my favorite male Boston instructor spent the class focused on hip-opening moves, which in my world translates to 90 minutes of unmitigated discomfort. As I was worming my way into a basic position with the help of a block, a blanket and a strap, the instructor started talking about all bodily limitations being in the mind. “You can run away from your discomfort, hide and pretend it doesn’t exist,” he said, “or you can be brave and face it head-on, see how that feels for once.” Immediately I started scripting my sudden dramatic departure, which would begin with a snort of displeasure and would end with a triumphant monologue: "You think yoga is truth? Yoga isn’t truth! It’s just one more pseudo-religious paradigm in a sea of paradigms, YOU DIRTY TOOTHLESS HIPPIE!!"

Ahem. Really, he's very nice and I was just cranky that day. But it did remind me that I am not the biggest fan of the one-to-one equating of body and mind. I believe the correlations and causations between the two to be significant, but as holistic a thinker as I can be in other areas, I just don't believe my physical limitations to be a result of my psychological flaws. Or at the very least, I just don't have the energy to go into every yoga class thinking that way. So call me obstinate or a yoga flat-earther, but in my body paradigm, constructed of equal parts moodiness and fear, sometimes the physical is just the physical.

And with that, I'm off to a yoga class with a woman named Chanel Luck. Insane instructor names: the one intercoastal truth.