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December 2003 Archives

December 31, 2003

New York's Bagels

Exhaustive NYT study today of the state of the bagel in our city. Etymology, social history, and numerically precise measurements in size, weight, color, and age are all discussed. As is the growing popularity of chi-chi blueberry bagels and sun-dried tomato bagels, a worrisome trend for the author.

And who knew about the Bagel Bakers Local 338, a federation of nearly 300 bagel craftsmen formed in Manhattan in the early 1900's? And did you know that many of the city's bagel bakers are now Thai? I agree with his assertion that bagels need only a schmear of cream cheese, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to insist that bagels with any kind of topping or filling must always be toasted. And full-fledged bagel sandwiches? That's just f'ed up.

December 30, 2003

Rich Friendster girls get nasty ++

We're all familiar with the Friendster Slut™, a person who includes mere acquaintances and middle-school crushes among their "friends" to make everyone think they are really popular, but these rich heiresses bring a new, more literal sluttiness to their profiles. Casey Johnson, of Johnson & Johnson, includes "sex, pills, pole-dancing, licking lollipops and making fun of desperate debbies" among her interests, and was at Bungalow 8 last fall when our favorite The Simple Life star Nicole Richie smashed a cocktail glass in the face of the son of the Calumet Farm horse breeding family. Says another rich Nicole in a testimonial: "casey is a fun loving hooker, she blows a good pencil weiner and likes it! she is coragous and addorible... will you be my sex slave?" And here I thought saying in my profile that I was in an "open marriage" was pretty wild. Here's the Robot's profile. Look at all those friends. If anyone has Casey in their Friendster network, let us know. Update: See below.

Note also that Casey is related to Jamie Johnson, who displayed the sordid lives of vapid heirs to the world in his documentary "Born Rich." -amy

Update: Apparently, Ivanka Trump is connected to Casey, et al., on Friendster. We know someone who is connected to all of them. This is someone who fills a special need in our lives: she is our FriendsterPimp™ (her word). Now, due to the highly questionable nature of pimping Friendster profiles to your less-connected friends, we can't reveal her identity, but we can share these Friendster profiles, hosted on our own servers*, so you don't even need a F. profile to view them: Bijou Phillips [bio], Casey Johnson [google]. We may have more in a few days: right now, our FriendsterPimp™ is busy slapping Ivanka Trump around for keeping too low a profile out on the streets lately. -adm

*Servers which, by the way, are hosted on a lighthouse station off the coast of the Isle of Man, outside any national jurisdiction.

NYC's new recycling campaign: "NYC Wasteless"

The city has launched a new website to communicate the benefits of reducing, reusing, and recycling. Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to mark the Phase 2 of the redesigned recycling program Bloomberg has been promising us since he eviscerated the old program. In other words, despite the touting of the animated dumpsters on nycwasteless.org, you still can't recycle glass bottles in the city. And don't forget that your juice cartons don't go in with your other paper products: they go in with the metal and plastic. It took me about 6 months to figure that one out. But the biggest obstacle to effective recycling in the city is the arcane scheduling of recycling days. It's every other week, on a particular day, and that day varies from one block to the next. The pamphlet (a monograph, really) that the city publishes explaining the schedule is one of the most confusing pieces of literature I've read. At least the Dept. of Sanitation provides this site to tell you when to put out your blue and green (or clear!) bags.

But this may be beside the point: the new campaign seems to de-emphasize recycling, and focuses more on reducing the waste you consume initially. The site offers tips on reducing junk mail, donating your old furniture, and using "less toxic products." It's nice to see a city taking a holistic approach to waste reduction, but I don't know how we can really say we're taking the problem seriously unless we start recycling glass again.

December 29, 2003

New Level of Absurdity in Terror War: Look Out for Almanacs

almanacAre we living in fictitious times? Do we have a fictitious president? Today we get a warning from the FBI to look out for people carrying almanacs. Are you f.ing kidding me?

I guess the Patriot Act provision mandating the opening of library records was a hint that we would soon be investigated based on the books we read, and here's the proof. According to the Bureau, a person with an almanac "may point to possible terrorist planning." So is this going to count as probable cause now? Says one expert, "It helps make sure one more bad guy doesn't get away from a traffic stop, maybe gives police a little bit more reason to follow up."

If we needed another indication that the level of hysteria and paranoia about terrorism in this country is completely outside of the realm of reason, this is it. Let me ask you something: are you more likely to be at risk from a person carrying an almanac or the dozens of people you walk by everyday with a prior criminal record? Which is a better indicator? At what point are people going to start resisting this and demand a different approach to security? We are being needlessly intimidated by our own government, and the methods of intimidation being used aren't even helpful. It would be one thing if they would warn us about something substantive once in a while, but warnings like this only serve to show how completely helpless the government really is.

Anyway, go buy your almanac now and carry it proudly. And here's a post we did on Orange Alert from the other day.

Resist the hysteria.

Marriage, Divorce, and the Catholic Church

While the Pope continues his anti-gay-marriage stance, the people of Chile are fighting for their rights too, the right to get divorced. Chile is the only country in the western hemisphere where divorce is illegal (Malta and the Philippines are the only others in the world. ADM notes that divorce only became legal in Ireland in 1997--it was passed by 1/2 of one percent in a referendum.) The only legally sanctioned method of dissolving a marriage is annulment, which is a popular option among US Catholics as well. Annulments are acknowledged by both the Catholic church and governments, and allow marriages to end by claiming that they never legally took place. Common reasons given for the invalidity of marriages are usually "blatant fictions": couples often claim some administrative error or the emotional immaturity of either partner. Chileans also are allowed to end a marriage by claiming that a spouse who leaves them is "presumed dead" if the absent spouse is not available to prove otherwise. It's not much of a surprise to learn that wealthy and powerful people are often the ones who are able to pay the applicable lawyers' fees and marry many times, using the nullification system to their advantage.

Perhaps the Pope would be interested to see how the sacred institution of matrimony is being practiced in Chile, and maybe reassess the "divine gift" that has already been degraded very handily by straight people. -amy

But Catholics in America don't really have to worry about all this, since there are so many non-Catholics. If we marry one of them, and get divorced, we don't even need an annulment. The marriage is invalid by its nature, so we can move right on to the next one! Besides eternal salvation, this is probably one of the few unmitigated perks Catholics get. -adm

Who's Older? Special Presidential Edition

Orange Alert! Orange Alert! We need your help figuring out Who's Older?™ among certain leading presidential candidates! Only 50% of eligible Americans vote in presidential elections, but we're hoping for a much better turnout here today, since the stakes are so much higher. Cast your vote, America. The results will be considered by the Supreme Court next December when they choose the next president!