29 June 2007

Say it: Machu Picchu

Cameo leaves this weekend for her humanitarian stint in the mountainous ridges of Peru, where she will be volunteering at an orphanage in Machu Picchu for a couple of weeks.

Cam Diaz recently got into a world of shit here in this ancient Incan city for carrying a handbag scribbled with some offensive Chinese slogan. Diaz probably thought the bag said something Confucius-y, but it actually said “Serve the People” a Maoist slogan. This ringing endorsement of Communist China and Mao Zedong didn’t go over so well in Peru, where a Maoist insurgency in the 80s and early 90s resulted in 70,000 brutal deaths.

Luckily, Cameo is unlikely to get into trouble for her fashion choices as her trip is not one of recreation and photo ops but altruism, long pants and closed-toe shoes. This is sure to be a life-altering, as well as fulfilling adventure for her. My only worry is the locals will confuse Cameo for Sandra Bullock and she’ll end up getting all the credit. Back off, Sandy.

Wish her well today.

27 June 2007

More Airtime for Anorexic Slut

I hate myself a little for even writing about this. (And FYI, it'll be chock full of "personal attacks.")

We all know this useless whore will die an anonymous Eleanor-Rigby-like death one day when everyone stops paying attention. Still, the only thing I could think of while witnessing the exchange between Elizabeth Edwards and Slutbag was, “Why oh why can’t she be the one with cancer?” She’s already rotting on the inside as it is. Bring on the slow painful death – sooner rather than later.

In case you haven't heard, the hateful skank -- wearing that same semen-stained cocktail dress --- was shooting her mouth off on Hardball again last night. Halfway through the show, Elizabeth Edwards sneak-attacked with a call-in to confront the bitch about comments she made about her husband, comments that I won't deign to elaborate on here. Edwards, giving the horse-faced wench much more courtesy than she deserved, requested that she refrain from using personal attacks and stick to the issues. Slutbag, from her crazy-infested altered reality, responded: "You're telling me to stop writing books.” Which is not what Edwards said at all.

More logical conclusions would have been:

Edwards: “Please refrain from using personal attacks.”
Tired whore: “I like Curious George.”
Edwards: “Debate on the issues”
Tired whore: “Tomato plants!”

But the disease-ridden loudmouth was only doing what she does best when she is on the ropes: She obfuscates the issue instead of addressing it -- which is the pinnacle of lame. Unfortunately, the people who follow her are too slow-witted and depraved in their own right to see this. These people, her "fans," scare me. Seriously, what kind of horrors were they exposed to in childhood that allow them to support this odious bottomfeeder? Did you see the dude in the crowd with the “marry me” sign? WTF. I guess the logical conclusion here would be that men who support her can only get it up for hideous-looking trannies.

Alas, ratings whores are now on par with the media whores. Much like Paris Hilton, Skankypants would melt away like a wet wicked witch without coverage. It's partly our fault. As viewers, we're taking the bait. We're paying attention, tuning in, talking about it, blogging about it. Oh, God, I freaking hate myself right now.

26 June 2007

Random Quizzilla

1) What are your favorite snack foods?
Edamame with tons of sea salt * LPD’s guacamole * wasabi peas * salt & vinegar chips * Syrian bread w/ artichoke hummus. Holy water retention. Pass the water pills.

2) Do you consider yourself tall or short?
I don’t like the adj. "short." I’m petite, unstatuesque, vertically-challenged: 5’3” With heels: 5’5”- 5’6”

3) When was the last time you bought a new pillow?
Not your finest work, quizzilla. I got my memory-foam pillow sometime last year and was mocked for it. Now, it’s consistently stolen from me by either James or Carrie (get thee to Target) It’s the best pillow I’ve ever had -- when I have it. A ringing endorsement from an insomniac.

4) While at work, have you ever: a) fallen asleep b) been drunk c) kissed someone?

This is more like it.

a) Yes. Two words: Napping Closet. Every workplace should have one, and some today do. Ours, in the 90s, however, was totally clandestine, known to only a select few employees, most of whom were in their early 20s (i.e, tired or hungover from going out every night.) My co-worker Rob had the sole key to a huge walk-in closet in the media production area on the fifth floor. He set up a pillow, blanket, a CD player and some CDs, and voila, the napping closet was born. This is how it worked: You’d announce you were making a Dunkin’ run, then retreat to the closet for a power nap with your pager (aka alarm clock. This was pre-cell phones). I used to go in there, put on the Unforgettable Fire CD and just linger in that hazy realm between asleep and awake for about 20 minutes. Then, someone would beep me and I'd return to my cube, rejuvenated, sometimes with pillow lines on my face.

b) Yes, a few times. Once, during the end of an ultra-stressful week, Code Red and I dumped some vodka into our afternoon iced coffees. A wiffle ball game subsequently broke out in the Greater Tri-Cube area. Another time, a few co-workers and I took a curiosity field trip to Moon Villa for lunch to see what the place looked like in the sober daylight. (Unimaginably worse) After a few kettles of cold tea, we returned to work, boarding the elevators singing “Moon Villa” to the tune of “Moon River.” There was a whole song that went along with it, but I can’t remember it anymore. One day, I met James for lunch at Fajita and Rita’s and we, in a devil-may-care moment, decided to split a pitcher of margaritas. We both had semi-real jobs at the time so the result was not good. I almost didn’t go back to the office but had a mandatory meeting. I sat there red-faced and paranoid, reeking of tequila, trying not to speak. I wasn't fooling anyone.

c) No. Thank God.

5) Any patriotic plans for the upcoming pre-4th of July weekend?
Aside from dressing Paulie in his flag pants, nothing patriotic is really going down. Meeting old work friends from the Greater Tri-Cube area for dinner in the city, annual Sox outing with the Sepecks, fleeing town on Sunday.

25 June 2007

Showering in the Sun

After screwing us over all month, Mother Nature made it up to us, delivering the perfect sunny Sunday to enjoy a panini-and-champagne brunch and shower LPD and her forthcoming baby burd with baby loot. Here, we engaged in our typical inappropriate shower chats, like swapping anecdotes of accidentally walking in on someone naked (everyone has one).

Pass the mini quiches!

Some shots...




(The trifecta)










Andree, Cam, and The Dream showering in the sun with SPF 50.




For the record, after this pic was taken, Nic (aka "Irish Wisdom") did not shriek "Big face! Big face!" and chase me around until I deleted it.





"It's wahm!"

Princessica needs some shade.


Cameo forsakes her Peruvian guidebooks for a more high-minded read.

Vanity Fair

I'm calling it six degrees of Clint Van Zandt.

On Saturday, I noticed the PU got 1,218 hits in under 20 minutes -- which is about 1,213 more than a typical day. At first, I was bewildered but quickly became giddy: A few vanity Googles revealed that James Wolcott had linked to the PU on his Vanity Fair blog in a post entitled "Blip on Radar Blocks Out the Sun." That's right. JAMES FREAKIN' WOLCOTT. I read his book "Attack Poodles," I read his blog frequently. He writes for Vanity Fair and the New Yorker!

How did this come to be? As usual, the hook up transpired in the most random of ways.

Over the past few year's, Wolcott's had a beef with the absurdity of news coverage -- especially cable news coverage that spends more time covering Paris Hilton than the war in Iraq. He's written about how the 24-hour news cycle has given rise to a whole new breed of media whores a.k.a "analysts" and "experts" who hang around on hooks at the studios, waiting to be called on. This Saturday, because of the missing pregnant woman case, our man, "Former FBI profiler Clint Van Zandt" -- as he is always introduced -- was getting a load of face time on MSNBC. So, in a sarcastic post about the incessant coverage, Wolcott linked to my April PU post musing about how Clint spends his days. Even though it's a tenuous and random link -- a goofy post about CVZ -- I couldn't help but take some pride in it. James Wolcott gets me. The PU is still getting slammed and I'm still giddy.

22 June 2007

Suppah Solstice

(Sea Burds)

To celebrate the summer solstice, we gathered at Tavern on the Water last night for a seaside Suppah Club. The TOTW is a favorite al fresco haunt from the Charlestown era. The back deck is the perfect hang on summer nights where you sit surrounded by views of the harbor, the North End wharves, and the Zakim bridge. The occasional LNG tanker, with its clustered chaos of helicopters, tugboats and armed FBI agents, serves as a reminder that your quaint harborside dinner could be interrupted by an apocalyptic explosion at any moment -- but it's all part of the experience.

It was not terrorism that threatened our estival nosh last night, however, but a Boston.com weather advisory posted by Todd Gross predicting severe thunderstorms and hail (Hail!?) around our arrival in the Navy Yard. Not again.

Brownguy banished our discouragement, kicking off a positive-thinking email chain: Are you going to believe this guy?

(Don't turn around. Uh oh.)

Right on. It wasn't one of those days where the air was so thick and moist that the skies just erupt under the pressure. The "wall of ass" wasn't present. As a weather junkie, I just wasn’t feeling it.

Positive thoughts coupled with a talisman -- an email sign-off of "Fuck Todd Gross (FTG)" for the rest of the afternoon -- seemed to work. But as Jess, Auntie and I made the slow crawl up 93, a text message told otherwise. Brownie sent us a picture from the deck of the Tavern that showed a menacing Independence-Day-like cloud rolling in from the north. FTG.

Amazingly, the ID cloud missed us, and when others loomed, we used Auntie’s hair as barometer: If it wasn’t curling up or fraying at her temples, it wasn’t humid enough to thunder. It didn't.

(Mamas)

As our shelter-seeking anxiety subsided, Suppah Club convo finally kicked off: Jess talked about wanting to go on a high-end safari and we wondered aloud about the difference between high-end vs. low-end safaris. Low-end: A busted-up Jeep, some mosquito netting and the ever-present danger of being mauled. High end: Perched on an African veranda overlooking the desert, sipping martinis and commenting -- in a very affected Howell-ish tone -- "Oh darling, look -- monkeys."


We toasted JAL’s still-legal, always-to-be-legal marriage and marveled at Cameo who is headed to Peru to volunteer at an orphanage for a few weeks. So very proud. It's sure to be a life-altering experience for our friend on many levels. We’re just hoping the alterations don't involve a Peruvian infant in a Baby Bjorn on the Nantucket trip next month. Godspeed!

20 June 2007

The Rookie Cops of Suburbia

Caroline and I pulled into the parking lot for swimming lessons yesterday afternoon blaring and singing Loudon Wainwright: “That’s my daughter in the water…” which was the designated riding-to-swimming-lessons theme song this week.

Another woman who was arriving at the same time with her kids smiled at us and asked me what song we were singing and whether it was a children's song.

The instant I told her the song was from the movie “Knocked Up,”I knew I'd made a mistake.

(Tiny frown of disapproval) “See, that’s why I never put the radio on in the car. Every song is about sex,” she said. "It's all Wiggles all the time for us."

I was going to tell her that we were actually listening to my iPod and the song we were singing was not about sex but I opted out of the conversation saying we were running late.

I also didn’t want Caroline to suddenly bust into one of her favorite songs on the radio these days: “You and Your Hand” by Pink. I was in no mood to be judged by someone wearing a Vera Bradley backpack.

Most parents have no problems admitting they’re completely clueless. Then there are the rookie cops of suburbia like Vera here. They’re probably just as paralyzed by parental insecurity as everyone else but can’t bear to admit it. They pounce on any opportunity to share their rules with you. In 10 years, I guarantee this lady will be burning Leaves of Grass in a barrel bonfire outside her kids’ high school.

Still, these run-ins, which thankfully are few and far between, usually make me second guess myself (which is the rookie cop’s intent). But this time, I didn't feel conflicted, I felt smug. This woman clearly has zero recollection of her own childhood.

Little kids don’t process song lyrics the way we do. They have absolutely no interest in what the song means. They just enjoy the music.

For instance, Caroline actually thinks the name of the Pink song is “You and Your Hair,” but even if she knew the right lyrics, she still would have absolutely no idea what they mean and I’m under no obligation to explain such things to a four year old. That’s all ahead of us. In my experience, making taboo of something she isn’t capable of understanding yet only raises more questions.

Also, when in our lifetime have there not been songs about sex on the radio?

Growing up, we’d go to the Cape every year with a bunch of my parents’ friends and their kids. When we were about 6 or 7 years old, we played “Solid Gold,” and put on lip-syncing shows for the adults. My favorite song to perform was Alicia Bridge’s “I Love the Nightlife.”

Here’s a sampling of lyrics:

I want to go where the people dance
I want some action,
I want to live
Action, I got so much to give
I want to give it
I want to get some too

(Only now can I appreciate how hilarious this must have been for all the parents parked in lawn chairs drinking Schlitz.)

I don’t recall, at seven years old, analyzing what the song meant but I probably thought it was about dancing or staying up late to watch the Love Boat -- not trolling the clubs for anonymous sex.

My friend Heather’s song was Donna Summer’s “Bad Girls.” In her six-year-old mind, she was singing about mean girls in Fayva shoes, not about prostitutes.

My brother’s song was “I was Made for Loving you” by Kiss which starts: "Tonight I wanna give it all to you. In the darkness, theres so much I wanna do." Knowing six-year-old P, he probably thought it was about camping.

So, I'm not concerned that my kids are being tainted by pop music. My only concern is them belting out certain songs in public places ala the "He doesn’t look a thing like Jesus" epidemic of 2006. Lucky for us, the "clean" versions on the radio and iTunes automatically omit words like“dickhead" and "motherfucker."

18 June 2007

The PU is TWO

The Pointy Universe turned two years old this weekend. And you thought that humungous bouncehouse in the backyard on Saturday was for the kids? Two years of blogging, narcissism and nonsense have left me strangely uncluttered. I’ve noticed the heap of crap under my bed has gotten smaller. There are fewer boxes overflowing with post-it notes, scribbled–on cocktail napkins and ticket stubs, there are fewer piles of journals and vacation quotebooks. Instead of tucked away in five-subject notebooks, the random musings and mind clutter are out *there* and not in here. This blog has been the perfect outlet for my obsessive documenting.

Joan Didion said “Keepers of private notebooks are a different breed altogether, lonely and resistant rearrangers of things, anxious malcontents, children afflicted apparently at birth with some presentiment of loss.” While anything but private, blogging is a similar affliction. But it’s much less lonely. For me, the PU provides a connection, a way to keep up. This is especially important when you work alone at home (or Panera, Whole Foods, other WIFI hot spots) While I can’t imagine ever going to an office again, it gets lonesome in the alcove sometimes.

Blogs can also be a decent creative outlet for the nicheless. I still don't know what I want to write about. I want to write about everything -- my dog's stalker, the appetizers at Suppah Club, etc. I don't know if it's a presentiment of loss so much as classic oversharing, but I'm compelled to do it.

What I love the most about the PU, however, are the comments. I live for them -- the hilarious and insightful ones, even the ones from angry trolls. Without comments, I'm just a nut banging on the keyboard, screaming at the ocean. So to all who lurk and participate: I'm glad you’re part of my tiny universe.

Which sometimes, doesn't feel so tiny: Someone from Zurich answering a quizilla, random comments from South Africa, etc. With 30 billion+ blogs out there, it blows my mind when someone finds mine.

My anonymous writer friend who consistently exacerbates my inferiority complex but never ever disappoints in the comment box stumbled across the PU searching for a North Carolina musician whose name resembled our pal Giana’s in Seattle. Random.

And God knows how many 70s throwbacks have collided with the PU over the past two years, Sabrina Duncan.

In the spirit of silliness, I thought I’d share a smattering of the search words that have been typed into Google to find the PU. Yikes. Not sure I want some of these birds in the universe. At first glance, you’d think this was some Judeo-Christian fetish site. And what’s with all the pork references?

Pork Wizard
Isle of man slut
T-bag Jesus
spotted dick recipe
Is humping a stuffed toy harmful for dogs
Massive Armenian Clusterfuck
hog sauce
pork trailer busting at seams
video of anorexic woman tap dancing with an umbrella
doggy style fishnet stockings
lente loco pantsuit
goat piƱata
cameltoe cheeseburger
Manly Jesus
submissive quaker parrot baby
Anal Egyptian Prostitutes
naked jewish chicken fight
Bong hits 4 Jews

Make a sentence:

“I went overboard with the hog sauce and now my pork trailer is busting at the seams. So, I put on my lente loco pantsuit and paid a visit to the Pork Wizard.”

14 June 2007

The Price is Right, According to Bags

It may be a week late but Bags finally found some time on the P&B bus this morning to jot down his final thoughts on the demise of The Price is Right. Let her rip, Bags.

TPIR - RIP

Last Friday, after 35 years, Bob Barker decided that he wasn’t going to “come on down” anymore and called it a career from The Price is Right. It got me thinking that there were so many things that were so awful and so great about this TV game show.

Bottom TPIR Items:

1) The feeling of being lobotomized. The games were so freakin mindless and insulting to your intelligence but even though you knew you were going to be deprived of an hour of your life, you somehow watched the full 60 minutes to see which contestant won the year’s supply of Turtlewax.
2) The audience was typically a genetic cesspool. How else could all of these people have the day off from work?
3) Stupid message on t-shirts. Inevitably they would always choose some braless wonder with huge rack in a shirt made for a toddler with some ironed on message, like “San Antonio loves Bob Barker,” in order to get up on stage.
4) Contestants winning the wrong gift. It always seemed like a sailor doing a 12-year tour would win a new car. You could almost see it appearing instantaneously on Ebay.
5) Plinko – A no-skills-required game that was probably stolen from the Marshfield Fair. Awful and annoying, much like Wally the Green Monster.
6) Roll it Granny. Watching some 112-year-old cripple not being able to spin the 700-pound wheel for one revolution in order to advance the showcase showdown.
7) Not handicap accessible. Everyone was running down to contestants row, jumping up and down and bear hugging Bob. I never once saw a wheelchair contestant.
8) The first showcase showdown. This was always some lame showcase full of ceramic Dalmatians and prizes you’d never want, (which was always deferred to the second winner to bid on first.) This should have been called the showcase shaft-down. The second showcase always had some ridiculous prize like a six-month European vacation and accompanying sports cars.

Top TPIR Items:

1) The TPIR drinking game. Like most collegians, we at Providence College routinely skipped our 11:00 – 12:00 classes to drink beers while watching TPIR. For example, if a new car was offered as a prize you had to slam the beer you were holding.
2) Barker’s Beauties. How else could the TPIR pimp out some sponsorships that nobody had any interest in? Easy, get some modeling agency rejects to saunter across the stage in tight outfits to lather up the crowd. Anytime there was a close up, (on the older shows anyway) most of the models looked like leathernecks with bad plastic surgeries.
3) Contestant selection. With the exception of the OJ Simpson and Michael Jackson jury selection, you’d never see people that dumb lined up in a row having to make a decision.
4) Cliff Hanger – The game where the yodeling hiker went up the mountain based on the over / under bid of the contestant. There is a great bit in a recent Family Guy episode about this.
5) Mean audience members. You could always see the laughing audience members intentionally yelling bad numbers to the idiot contestants that couldn’t correctly price something nominal like a box of Rice-a-Roni.
6) The one-dollar bid. This bid indicated to America that the other contestants were dumb shits and they have all over bid on said product.
7) Bob Barker. He always presented himself as royalty or an aristocrat, when in fact he was nothing more than a cheesy game show host that was being sued by most of the prior Barker’s Beauties. In reference to his signature sign-off line, ‘he should have been spayed or neutered.’ What a douche bag.
8) The feeling of being stuck in a time warp. Much like when I go to visit relatives in Western Massachusetts, TPIR had no intention of changing its existence. The set, clothing, scenery, and games were encapsulated in the 1970’s.

I’m sure there are important items I’m missing here, but I guess work has not allowed me to take a closer look at this American icon for the past 15 years. However, “Are You As Smart As A Fifth Grader” looks like it could be a possible replacement for TPIR.

13 June 2007

Fathers' Day Gifts to Avoid

(Prefatherhood Bags: Identical to Postfatherhood Bags)

Lots of fathers and fathers-to-be this year. LPD touched off a wee email war yesterday. Subject: "The Perfect Fathers' Day Gift for Bags." Inside: A photo of this Wally mobile. "Just think of the soothing, sweet dreams the new Baby Beaudin will have with his/her very own Wally the Green Monster mobile. The perfect Fathers Day gift, available exclusively at Target."

As many know, Bags harbors inexplicable ill will toward the furry green rally monster. For some reason, the only thing Wally rallies within Bags is the desire to hurl concessions at him.

That said, when you're out doing your Fathers Day shopping, here are a few gift ideas to avoid.

BAGS: See above.



WMD: A nice pair of Crocs. Preferably turquoise.





James: The J Geils Greatest Hits CD with bonus DVD and iron-on decal.







SAC: A lifesize poster of Beyonce. (on second thought...)

11 June 2007

Don't Stop Believin'

Thud. It was neither bloodbath nor blaze of glory: Tony Soprano went out with an onion ring nosh and a Journey song. I can only imagine the collective profanity when David Chase abruptly pulled the plug mid-scene and millions of people thought their cable had just gone out. The entire family is alive and well, Tony is not under arrest or heading into the witness protection program. Phil’s dead. Carry on. This series has never tied up storylines up in a neat bow but I admit it: I wanted more. In the final scene, it is the Tony we’ve always seen – the guy who shoots someone in the face, then goes for an eggplant parm sub. He is a monster but on many levels is just this goombah from Jersey working hard to get his fill.

Such is life:

“Some will win, some will lose, some were born to sing the blues.
The movie never ends, it goes on and on and on.”

You know Chase was totally was fucking with us there.

So the Sopranos are going on with their lives as they always have but we won’t be able to watch them anymore. Until the movie version,for which this ending has clearly left open the door.

08 June 2007

Little Paulie Walnuts Turns 3


Within hours of his birth, Paul was immortalized as "Little Paulie Walnuts" by his Uncle Billy. So it's only appropriate that Paulie's birthday falls on the same weekend as the Soprano's final episode.

Believe it or not, Little Paulie Walnuts turns 3 today.

Our babysitter/magician showed up this morning with a Spidey suit for the birthday boy. He's been rolling around in it ever since with Caroline hot on his heels providing the soundtrack: "Spiderman, Spiderman, friendly neighborhood Spiderman."


Happy Birthday, Boulos!


Toss her in a Landfill

(Recycle me)

Paris Hilton wears her stupidity and uselessness like a tacky tiara. So you know she is absolutely thrilled to show the world that she’s too weak in spirit to serve her sentence like a big girl. She loves sending the message that the laws don’t apply to her and her ilk. Just as she gets a rush from cutting the lines at LA’s nightclub of the week – she gets off on everyone knowing that she has privileges that regular people don’t. “You will never get into my club. Suck it, peons.” When you’re Paris Hilton, you don’t persevere or be penitent, you do some jumping jacks and get taken out for a Slushpuppy. When you’re Paris Hilton, you don’t suck it up in private shame, you get dumb toadies like MTV VJ Suchin Pak calling you “courageous” for showing up on the red carpet at the MTV Movie Awards.

Luckily, this whore has an expiration date. Karmic retribution will come with middle age when she’s marveling at her own boring irrelevance. Something tells me that ferret face is not going to age well.

Anyway, the big question today: Will she or won’t she go back to the slammer? There is all this talk about “overcrowding” but she’s a waste of space whether she’s in jail or not. My solution: Her soul may be plastic but she’s biodegradable. Screw jail. Toss her in a landfill somewhere. Stuff her ass in a recycle bin and turn her into a sustainable energy source. Maybe she and her natty hair extensions can finally make themselves useful

07 June 2007

Random Quizzilla

1) Do you have any odd rituals or customs?
I don’t know if it’s a ritual so much as it’s random, but it’s definitely "odd" and has been going on for more than 7 years. James clipped this freakish looking monkey/ape/gorilla head thing from a brochure for the Boo Boo Zoo in Maui during our Maui/Kauai honeymoon in 1999. Knowing I get up for at least three bathroom breaks a night, he taped the monkey/ape/gorilla head thing to the bathroom mirror at the hotel -- which completely freaked me out, especially at 3 a.m. with a fuzzy Mai Tai buzz. Since then, the monkey/ape/gorilla head thing has been passed back and forth – with neither warning nor comment -- showing up in places like the driver’s license window of a wallet or the inside of a book; it's been taped to the side of a Diet Coke can and to the middle of a steering wheel; it’s arrived in the mail, etc.

2) Have you been craving any particular food(s) lately?
Yes. Lobster. And I still can’t bring myself to eat it. While I’ve enjoyed lobster in some frutti di mare dishes from time to time, I have not indulged in a straight up, hard core boiled lobster with tons of melted butter and lemon since summer 2005. And, believe me, this is no small task when you’re part of a family with a multitude of lobster traps bobbing around in the waters off Scituate and Cohasset. I place the blame squarely on David Foster Wallace, whose fantastic book of essays “Consider the Lobster” may have turned me off the aragosta for good. The title track essay, originally published in Gourmet Magazine, began as a piece on the Maine Lobster Festival but ended up a discourse on the ethics of boiling lobsters alive – “Is it all right to boil a sentient creature alive just for our gustatory pleasure?” The essay is quite graphic and could make even the saltiest among us squirm and cry. Wallace admits that his own way of dealing with this conflict has been to avoid thinking about the whole unpleasant thing. Me too. I’ve always made it a point not to be present for the lowering of the lobster into the pot and I’ve actually only done it once: Goy and I were making a birthday dinner for one of our roommates in Brighton. We hyperventilated over the stock pot with the writhing lobsters, trying to rise to the occasion like big girls: “Ok , ready...on the count of three... 1-2-3!” We dropped them into the pot and ran screaming from the kitchen. We stood quivering in the living room for a solid 15 minutes until we could compose ourselves enough to make some side dishes. That said, I’m trying to not to think about it and hope to indulge soon. It’s killing the old fish wife in me.

3) What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
“Stop signing up for the fucking LSATS!” --- courtesy of an editor/friend.

4) Go to the Shuffle feature on your iPod. What are the first five songs that come up (no cheating)?
1. Porchlight - Buffalo Tom 2. Hey, Delilah - Plain White Ts. 3. Does Everyone Stare – The Police 4. Midnight Blue - Lou Gramm (yeah!) 5. I’m So Tired - The Beatles. Not bad at all. It could've been so worse as my pod has been polluted with SSDs (secret shitty downloads) courtesy of my brother P who downloaded a good chunk of the Back Street Boys catalogue without my knowledge during one of his visits. Not funny. Also, this random showing lends credence to LPD's theory that the iPod may have artificial intelligence. She noticed that all of her Christmas music started popping up on Party Shuffle last December. My pod has been busting out an abnormally large number of Police tunes lately. Maybe it senses our anticipation about the upcoming show at Fenway. Ok -- a huge stretch, but how cool would that be? Even freakier: The 6th song on Shuffle was "Read my Mind" by the Killers.

5) Tony Soprano: Alive or dead in this Sunday's finale?

You know it's going to be a total bloodbath, but I think Tony will end up alive. It seems too easy to just kill him off. I think some or all of his family will end up dead and he'll linger in the witness protection program, living out the remainder of his days alone and miserable, perpetually looking over his shoulder. Maybe in the final scene, he and Paulie Walnuts (who I hope has not betrayed Tony despite credible suspicion to the contrary) will walk off into the sunset together, Casablanca-style.

05 June 2007

Too Much Joy

This past weekend, the kids attended a birthday party for one of their pals at the Paragon Carousel at Nantasket Beach. Thumbs up to Gwennie: This was an all-around great idea for a children’s b-day party – even from an adult perspective. Being outdoors, by the ocean, instead of holed up in some crappy Chuck E. Cheese incarnation was reason enough to celebrate.

Not to mention, faced with the prospect of unlimited rides on the carousel, all of the kids were practically convulsing with glee, running in circles, rejoicing, jumping up and down, becoming unglued with excitement -- and this was way before the birthday cake and subsequent frosting conniption.

(Unbridled enthusiasm: You can power a city with this.)

The kids lined up and parents snapped pictures of their respective offspring on the flying horses, offering up the mandatory geeky commentary: "Woo hoo, hold on, here we go!" But by the fourth go-round, it was anything but merry. Parents, increasingly squeamish, looked at their kids in horror as they jumped back in line for a fifth go-round. “Oh my freakin’ God…Again? Seriously?” We had to flip the“suck it up” switch that most parents of young children have --- the same switch that allows you play Candyland for the 20th time or watch Heat Miser every night straight into June without becoming suicidal.

Faces draining of color, we got back in line for the carousel because we knew it brought the kids joy. It’s joy by proxy. (euphemism for "what a bunch of f-ing sucka-chumps").

The whole sentiment reminded me of something I read in the reviews for the movie “Knocked Up” last week. Apparently, there is a scene where Paul Rudd’s character – the father of two rambunctious little girls – speaks wistfully about how juiced his kids get over little things like bubbles. However, their joy brings forth a covert melancholy in him that is exclusive to grown-ups: "Their smiling faces just point out your inability to enjoy anything," he says.

(I’d attach an addendum: “an inability to enjoy anything that doesn’t include wine and snacks” but that's irrelevant here.)

There is something slightly depressing, I guess, about how mesmerized Caroline and Paulie are by the fish tank at the pediatricians office -- or by an ant -- because I know I will never feel that kind of wonder about such things again. But you get over it pretty quickly, say, when one of them tries to lick the fishtank or eat said ant.

And it's not that you're incapable of experiencing joy after a certain age, it's just not as pure as it is for a young child. It's basically the same reason we don't eat Fun Dip anymore. But while fewer things inspire a physical manifestation of joy these days, they still exist: I assume winning the lottery would be one such occasion.

My recent "literally jumping for joy" memories: U2 unexpectedly returning to the stage to play a stripped down version of Original of the Species at the Garden 2005 * the Red Sox beating the Yankees in 2004 (this not only brought joy but also the adrenaline to pick up Vito and march in a victory circle) * Learning of new additions -- human or canine * We practically have a parade every time Paulie uses the toilet so I guess we're doing ok on the joy front.

So, this past Saturday, we and other ministering mommas and poppas tried to harness some of the joyful feelings of yore and get back into the game. We mounted these so-called flying horses of the storied Paragon Park and rode side saddle with the kids.

The result: A bunch of green-faced adults dry-heaving on the Nantasket boardwalk. Perhaps there IS such a thing as too much joy.

01 June 2007

WATCH: THE ASSASIN


UPDATE: Alex won! With one eye closed -- literally. Click here to see his post-fight interview.

Also: Check out this write-up on Alex from Saturday's Las Vegas Sun.

*****
Who is this swarthy-lookin' kid?

It's none other than Alex “The Assassin” Karalexis, brother of my sister-in-common-law Maria, a.k.a P’s girlfriend of 9.5 years.

As many of you know, he was on the first season of the Ultimate Fighter reality show a couple of years ago. Although he didn’t make it to the finals, he was involved in what was clearly the most humorous episode of the series -- the one where dim-witted Diego Sanchez, in a pathetic attempt at pre-fight theatre and trash talk, got in Alex’s face and said: “I’m sick of your potty mouth.” Alex burst out laughing. It was a ridiculous display.

Unfortunately, he ended up losing to that idiot but has remained in Vegas and in the industry these past few years. He is currently undefeated in the World Extreme Cagefighting Lightweight division and his next fight is this Sunday at the Hard Rock in Vegas. He’ll be fighting Josh Smith, “one of the tallest (6’0”), most promising lightweights in mixed martial arts today," according to the WEC web site. “And for that, Karalexis plans to use his heavy hands as a promise to knock him out quickly as he continues his climb to the WEC Lightweight Championship.”

A win for Alex could mean a UFC fight later this summer – and more important, an excuse for us to take that Vegas field trip we’ve been putting off.

Oh boy. As usual, I’ll be watching through my pointy fingers – these fights are difficult to watch!

9 p.m., Sunday, June 3 on VERSUS
(Channel 62 on Comcast Digital Cable, 608 on DirectTV and 151 on Dish Network)