Thursday, December 28, 2006

Interesting Eulogy

"For a nation that needed healing and an office that needed a calm and steady hand, Gerald Ford came along when we needed him the most," Bush said yesterday morning from his ranch in Crawford, Texas where he spoke just hours after the former President's death at age 93.

The President remembered Ford as a "man of complete integrity who led our country with common sense and kind instincts," before adding "I, of course, have taken the opposite approach."

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Open Letters to Rosie O'Donnell and Dominos

I wasn't kidding when I said that I'm bored at work today. All of this free time has allowed me to dash off two quick open letters that I've been meaning to write for a long time.

Letter One:

Dear Rosie O'Donnell,

Please shut up.

Thanks.

Your Friend,

Joe

P.S. You too Donald Trump.



Letter Two:

Dear Dominos Pizza,

Please take these ads off of the air. All you've succeeded in doing is nauseating a great many people and ensuring that they'll refrain from ordering your product for fear of having your delivery man arrive accompanied by your fecal-like mascot "Fudgems"- who will proceed to smear a brown, gooey substance all over their freshly laundered clothes.


Thanks.

Your Friend,

Joe

P.S. Why is it that Fudgems leaves footprints when he's walking away from the house but there aren't any prints leading to the house? Did the delivery guy clean them up before ringing the bell? If so, that's above and beyond the call of duty and he deserves a raise (unless, of course, it adversely impacts his ability to deliver the pies in 30 minutes or less).

P.P.S. Upon further review, it appears that Fudgems is wearing shoes, which begs the question "What did he step in?" See my original point re: nauseating viewers.

Merry, erm... Happy, uh...Christmakkah?

Overheard on the subway this morning:

Man 1: "Hey Scott! How have you been?"

Man 2: "Hey Rob. I'm good. How are you?"

Man 1: "Not bad. What's new? How was your Christmas?""

Man 2: Long stare

Man 1 (notices yarmulke on Man 2's head): "Oh, Jesus. I'm sorry."

Man 2: Longer stare

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Update: I'm so bored at work today that I've counted to infinity. Twice.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Life Lessons: The Incredible Hulk

When I was young I watched an episode of The Incredible Hulk in which the affable Dr. Bruce Banner fell in love with and married a doctor who was fighting a terminal illness of her own.

Conventional treatments had failed her, so she resorted to using a visualization technique in which she imagined a wagon train (her body) as being under attack by Native American warriors (the disease), and the cavalry (her immune system) coming to the rescue. As their love blossomed, she convinced Dr. Banner to use the technique to overcome his rage issues.

Sadly, both were doomed to failure. She died and he remained unable to control the beast within.

Over the years, I've thought about this episode many times and I've carried it's lessons with me. Among other things, it taught me that the power of positive thinking has its limits; that one should never use cheesy clips from 1940's westerns during what is supposed to be a heart wrenching scene; and that following a dying doctor home and falling in love with her will only lead to heartbreak.

However, the most important life lesson I learned was this:

Never bombard myself with gamma radiation in the hopes of endowing myself with unearthly strength, lest I be transformed into a raging, green monstrosity.1

1 Of course, the comic book version of the Hulk's origin differs, hence the famous French saying:
"Au cours d'une opération scientifique qui a mal tourné, le docteur Bruce Banner est exposé à une surdose de radiations nucléaires. Miraculeusement indemne, il sort néanmoins affecté de cette douloureuse expérience et développe le pouvoir de se transformer en Hulk, un monstre vert à la force surhumaine et à la rage incontrôlable. Cette créature ne se manifeste que lorsque ce dernier est soumis à une intense émotion. Mis au ban de la société, le docteur Banner est obligé de se cacher pour ne pas faire subir aux autres sa métamorphose. Le général Ross, le père de Betty, l'ex-petite amie de Bruce, est chargé de stopper le monstre par tous les moyens. Glenn Talbot, rival scientifique de Banner, est également sur les traces de Hulk. Lorsque Betty découvre que la créature a un rapport avec les recherches du père de Bruce, elle devient la seule à pouvoir comprendre ce qu'est Hulk... "

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

An Open Letter to All NYC Tourists

Dear NYC Tourists,

Welcome to New York! You've chosen a lovely time to be here. Festive lights adorn every avenue; carefully crafted holiday displays fill our department store windows; the Christmas tree towers over the ice skating rink in Rockefeller Center...

It's a magical time of year, indeed.

And don't think for even a moment that we don't appreciate the millions of dollars in revenue you bring. I mean, let's be honest here, it takes a special kind of person to blow $500 a night on a tiny hotel room.
It's just that...well...I've noticed a few things of late that I think need to be brought to your attention.

The Sights
It might be helpful for you to know that as beautiful as the sights are, they are not likely to go anywhere for the next few weeks. With that in mind, you needn't stop abruptly in the middle of the sidewalk every two seconds because you see something interesting. Seriously. It's like walking behind Rosie O'Donnell at an all you can eat buffet.

Also, people probably won't stop and move out of your way every time you want to take a picture, so you'll need to learn to live with the fact that your potential Pulitzer Prize winning shot of the Macy's window display will likely contain the backs of the heads of the other thousand or so people who are taking the exact same shot.

Also, you're using a digital camera so if it doesn't come out right, you can always take another one. Hell, take another hundred in the hopes that one will magically capture the true essence of the holiday.

Dining
Please don't complain about the long lines and wait times at Planet Hollywood, Bubba Gump's, or the ESPN Zone. If you eat there, you deserve to suffer. There are thousands of excellent non-themed restaurants in the city. Go to one and you'll have something to talk about other than the tasteless half-chicken you ate while sitting beneath the autographed script from Van Wilder 2: The Rise of Taj and the prop gun from Police Academy: Mission to Moscow.

Getting Around
There's an unwritten rule here that you can cross the street whenever there is no traffic coming. I know the little red hand across the way says stop, but it's okay - you can go. Really.

If you don't believe me, just observe the people flowing by as you patiently wait at the curb like rocks in a stream. Of course, the stream would be burbling rather than cursing at you, but you get the point.

On a related note, the taxi cabs with their lights off already have fares. They aren't likely to toss out their passengers just because you're on 45th and 6th and your feet hurt too much to walk over to Rockefeller Center.

As for the subways, that's how most New Yorkers get around. We fully recognize that, much like the best parts of our city, they are dirty and gritty. They are, however, relatively safe and inexpensive. You're unlikely to be robbed, but it is pretty likely that you'll be beaten to death for refusing to remove your backpack as you cram onto a crowded car and then complaining about how rude everyone is for not respecting your personal space.

Shopping
Repeat after me: Best Buy is Best Buy is Best Buy.

The ones here are really no different than the ones you have at home - with the exception of the fact that they tend to cram more merchandise into every square foot. The same goes for the other big box retailers in town. Feel free to pass them by, secure in the knowledge that you're not missing a thing.

On second thought, you do want to make an exception for the Macy's in Herald Square. It's so big that you can easily become lost there. In fact, you should go there right now.

Don't worry, we'll send in a search party some time after January 1.

Your Friend,

Joe

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Campbell Apartment

The Campbell Apartment in Grand Central is one of my favorite places in NYC. Formerly the office and salon of John W. Campbell, president and chairman of Credit Clearing House, a privately held financial services corporation associated with financing the garment industry, the space has been turned into a public bar and lounge. Between the beautiful hand-painted ceiling beams, the balcony, the huge leaded glass window and the massive stone fireplace, having a drink there is like being transported back in time to a more glorious era.

Last week, I met a friend there for a few post-work drinks. As we were talking, she glanced over my shoulder and her eyes grew wide. She grabbed my arm and pointed at a nearby couple

"That's Liam Neeson!" she exclaimed

While I'm not one who generally notices celebrities, I glanced over and confirmed that the man did, indeed, bear a striking resemblance to the actor.

"Isn't this exciting?" she asked breathlessly.

"Only if he's paying for our drinks." I replied.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Side Effects

We had our holiday luncheon (yes, I know. we have more holiday events here than any place in recorded history...) today at Dos Caminos - which I think is Spanish for Two...erm....Caminos.

In addition to overindulging in Mojitos, we all ate entirely too much. As a result, the entire HR department is in a stupor - which most people will observe is not entirely different from every other day.

Anyway, as I was watching the news this morning, it occurred to me that commercials for prescription medicines are unnerving for many reasons, but mostly because no matter how quickly the narrator speaks, the list of side effects tends to take up at least half of the allotted commercial time. This, of course, begs the question of whether one would rather have the condition or the side effects.

While watching football yesterday, I saw the same Levitra ad six times. For those of you unfamiliar with Levitra, it's a drug that treats erectile dysfunction (or, as it used to be known, impotence). This morning, I looked up the side effects and here's the list I found:

BODY AS A WHOLE: anaphylactic reaction (including laryngeal edema), asthenia, face edema, pain

AUDITORY: tinnitus

CARDIOVASCULAR: angina pectoris, chest pain, hypertension, hypotension, myocardial ischemia, myocardial infarction, palpitation, postural hypotension, syncope, tachycardia

DIGESTIVE: abdominal pain, abnormal liver function tests, diarrhea, dry mouth, dysphagia, esophagitis, gastritis, gastroesophageal reflux, GGTP increased, vomiting

MUSCULOSKELETAL: arthralgia, back pain, myalgia, neck pain

NERVOUS: hypertonia, hypesthesia, insomnia, paresthesia, somnolence, vertigo

RESPIRATORY: dyspnea, epistaxis, pharyngitis

SKIN AND APPENDAGES: photosensitivity reaction, pruritus, rash, sweating

OPHTHALMOLOGIC: abnormal vision, blurred vision, chromatopsia, changes in color vision, conjunctivitis (increased redness of the eye), dim vision, eye pain, glaucoma, photophobia, watery eyes

UROGENITAL: abnormal ejaculation, priapism (including prolonged or painful erections)

If even half of these things happen, the poor guy won't need a pill to help him get aroused, he'll need a miracle.

The ads closed by saying something along the lines of " "Call your doctor if you experience an erection lasting more than four hours." to which I say this:

If I ever have an erection that lasts more than four hours, I'm not calling my doctor.

I'm calling everyone I know.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Week in Pictures LXX

Random Friday Thoughts:

And so we come the the end of the craziest week in recent memory. I had hoped things would slow down, but that wasn't to be. I'm exhausted and badly in need of a drink.

Of course, that could have something to do with the holiday party that I attended up in Stamford yesterday. I realize that I criticized that city recently, but it is actually much nicer when you've been drinking. This company throws more holiday parties than anyplace else in the world.

Our new contract recruiter has the strangest shaped head. It looks like portion from the top to the cheekbones was put in a vice - forcing any fat to migrate southwards towards his cheeks. Looking at him is like watching an anorexic chipmunk try to eat a grapefruit whole.

Anyway, let's move on to an abbreviated version of the WiP:


The Vatican is reportedly re-thinking it's new "first to touch the dead pope" method of choosing the papal successor.


Worst. Sinus. Infection. Ever.


A farmer is fighting to evict a family of three that has taken up residence in a sunflower on his land.


Church & Dwight Co., Inc., the manufacturer of Trojan brand condom, have been contracted by Superman to develop a prophylactic that's strong enough to handle his rod of steel.


In a related story, astronomers have traced the source of a mysterious object that landed in Smallville in the 1930's as having come from a now defunct planet called Krypton.


The star of the hit movie "Happy Feet" will be the subject of a touching television special about his first visit back home after making it big.


Tiny Grand Pianos are the latest must have item for people who enjoy "a little music".


The Fox network has cancelled it's short lived reality series "Butch the Cross-Dressing Dog"


Gratuitous picture of Ciara.


Overly tight speedos are being blamed for the Chinese men's synchronized diving team's poor performance at the Asian Games.


And finally, a gymnast is undergoing treatment for a horrible case of athlete's foot that developed on his head.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Sometimes it Pays to Open Up

A group of us were busy devouring steaks and killing off more than a few bottles of Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon at the Post House recently when one of them blurted out the following:

“Well, she’s pretty shy when it comes to talking about sex. Now, I don’t mind taking the time to experiment and learn what she likes in bed. It’s just that she needs to understand that if it involves a turkey baster and jumper cables, it’s going to take me a while to figure that out.”

Which pretty much sums up why I love my friends...

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Life Altering Events

Despite my general avoidance of all things 9/11-related, I spent part of last night reading a book called The Zero by the immensely talented Jess Walter which contained the following passage about the impact of that day:

“It just surprises me, I guess. Afterward, I thought that everything would change...I don't know...that we would be different. Stores would never open again, businesses shut down...lawyers quit their practices and run into the woods."
In the days after 9/11, everyone talked about it as a life altering event - which I suppose it was, but just not in the way we all expected. It was supposed to be the thing that made us to re-examine our priorities and focus anew on the things that truly matter. Somewhere along the line, though, it seems that all of that became lost. Now, it seems to have in many ways became the "where were you when...” moment of my generation – just as the Kennedy assassination and Pearl Harbor were for previous generations.

I suppose that it’s just too difficult for people to sustain that type of generic mourning. Once the shock off, we begin to crave normalcy and the comfort that comes with our everyday routine. It was the same with the Oklahoma City bombing, the tsunami in Thailand, and the flooding of New Orleans. I think for things to truly change us, we must feel them personally.

So with that in mind, I ask you, what happened in your life that shook you to your very core and fundamentally changed you? What uplifted you and showed how amazing life can be? What tore you down and forced you to crawl from the rubble and build your life anew? What event in your life was so profound that you could never look at things the same way again?
Or you could just tell me that my theory is wrong...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Lesson One

If I've learned one thing in the five hours that I've been in California thus far, it's this:

The Sublime style is, indeed, still straight from Long Beach.

Lesson two, I suppose, is along the lines of people in SoCal considering 60 degree temperatures to be something akin to an arctic blast. From the airport to my hotel, three different people asked me why I wasn't wearing a jacket.

The rest asked me why I couldn't just stay in New York.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Morning After

I packed my suitcase at 3:00 this morning after stumbling home from the after-party, so I'm a little concerned about what I'll find when I open it later tonight. Meanwhile, my liver is busy sending messages to my brain telling it that it may need to take today off. It's a fair trade, I suppose, given how many days off my brain has taken of late.

To make matters worse, a sadistic recruiter out in California scheduled a candidate to meet with me at 8:00 this morning - despite the fact that she knew that the holiday party was last night. It's for a position on my team, so I really couldn't say no, but you can bet that it's going to be a topic of discussion between the recruiter and I at tomorrow's meeting.

Meanwhile, the poor woman sat there trying to sell herself while I kept wondering if it would be bad form to pass out in the midst of the interview. It might have been embarassing for her had I done so, but it would have been balanced out by the fact that I'd have been left with no choice but to offer her the job.

Frankly, I'm exhausted. The bagel I just ate seems to have magically regained it's original shape and size when it reached my stomach - and also seems to be slacking when it comes to doing it's job of soaking up any excess alcohol that I haven't metabolized.

I'm not sure there's enough coffee in the world to get me through today. I need to face facts. I just can't hang any more.

My 6:00 flight to Long Beach, seems an eternity away and I can't wait to crash on the plane.

Erm...that's not what I meant to say.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Tao Now

If you need me tonight, you'll find me chillin' (as the kids say) over at Tao.

You've got to love working for a company that chooses a place like Tao their annual holiday party.

It almost enough to make having it on a Tuesday night palatable.


Almost...

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Week in Pictures LXIX

Friday Thoughts:

Next week is going to be insane. I have meetings all day Monday through Wednesday - with the office holiday party on Tuesday evening - and then I fly out to Newport Beach, CA on Wednesday evening for more meetings on Thursday and Friday (and another holiday party on Thursday evening).

Actually, now that I think about it, the two days of free food, drinks, and dancing - as well as a weekend in California - make it kind of tough to complain. I just hope that by the time I arrive, Doug will have fixed that weather issue that he wrote about earlier this week.

Funny line overheard at lunch the other day:
"He's happier than Michael Jackson at a Harry Potter book signing."

As I was driving up to Stamford yesterday, I noticed that there were a number of houses where people had apparently raked the leaves in their front yards but not their backyards. At some point, some of the leaves from the back had blown into the front, making the yards appear as if they had bad comb-overs.

I hate the fact that when you incorrectly type in the word verification in blogger's comments section, it almost always gives you a more difficult one. If I got it wrong the first time, what makes them think I'll get the second one right?

I hate negative reinforcement.

Anyway, on to the WiP:


Police are on the lookout for a flock of turkeys that escaped from their cells on Thanksgiving, just hours before they were scheduled to be executed.


Several animal adoption centers have formed strategic partnerships with orphanages in an effort to streamline processes and reduce overhead.


The fear of many came to pass when Pope Benedict XVI launched his fleet of spaceship churches as a precursor to an all out attack against mankind.


A bee was arrested yesterday for public indecency after being caught performing an oral sex act with a flower in the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.


Gratuitous picture of Paula Patton


New York City finally opened it's long awaited amusement park on Liberty Island.


A group of people walking past a winery barely escaped with their lives when they were caught in a flash flood caused by a spilled bottle of Merlot.


A crisis at the Lincoln memorial was narrowly averted when an anti-terror squad disarmed the 16th President's shoe bomb before it could detonate.


Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker is offering a $10,000 reward for the return of his lightsaber, which he last saw when he set it down in order to use a public restroom.


I can't help thinking that it would be so cool if my penis looked like that.

Our video of the week is "9 Crimes" from Damien Rice:



The Playboy Channel announced that it's launching an updated version of the Hollywood Squares.


For the first time ever, Santa Claus will be delivering presents to sea creatures this year. He's even hired a new team to help pull his sleigh underwater.


David Blaine will lead 100 children selected by The Salvation Army on a shopping expedition at Target after the magician successfully freed himself from a gyroscope he'd be shackled to in New York's Times Square. The Salvation Army reportedly turned down far more generous offers to the children that were made on the condition that they leave Blaine strapped to the gyroscope for eternity.


The oft ridiculed Chicken Dance is finally getting its due with a performance by the prestigious Martha Graham Dance Company.


American Music Awards presenter Katherine McPhee had to back out at the last moment after she became so nervous that she wet herself.


Later in the show, Torri Spelling received a 15 minute standing ovation for getting Clay Aiken to shut up.


And Britney Spears tried to re-launch her career by flashing her breasts as frequently as possible.


Speaking of Spears, her soon to be ex-husband is reduced to scrounging for food after being cut off by the pop princess.


In sports, a quick thinking teammate saved the life of Lyon's John Carew when he began choking on a blade of grass.


The Knights Templar, whose order was thought to have been officially ended in 1314, are apparently alive and well. According to their Grand Master, they've spent the last 700 years "kicking back, drinking beer, and watching cricket."


The struggling New York Knicks spent their entire workout today practicing leaping for rebounds with grace and fluidity.


Blind item: What famous fashion model was spotted having dinner with her biggest fan the other night?


After feuding for nearly two centuries, the Goldilocks and Bear families patched up their differences over a hearty Thanksgiving meal.


And finally, Men Against Condoms (MAC) launched an aggressive poster program designed to educate people about a phrase that the group feels will be extremely effective in preventing unwanted pregnancies.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Excessive and Unacceptable

Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the 50 shots fired by cops involved in the Queens strip club shooting that killed an unarmed man on his wedding day "excessive and unacceptable" yesterday.

Comedian Michael Richards said yesterday he did not consider himself a racist, and that he was "shattered" by the comments he made to two young black men during a tirade at a Los Angeles comedy club, The Associated Press reports.

Flanked by most of the two dozen community leaders with whom he had just met, Bloomberg went out of his way to note that the investigation is far from over and that he supports Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

But in saying the dead man, Sean Bell, 23, and two friends who were shot and wounded had done nothing wrong, he appeared to be at odds with police accounts that one of the victims, Joseph Guzman, 31, had left the club to get a gun. No gun was found. And while police sources say there is no evidence to indicate the shooting victims had a gun, police have still not ruled out the possibility a fourth person may have fled the scene with a gun. They also said that Guzman, an ex-convict who according to state records served time in prison for drug possession, weapons possession and robbery, may have planned to get a gun elsewhere, then return to the club.

Bloomberg's comments followed a morning meeting at City Hall in which he and Kelly talked with a number of noted activists and politicians from Jamaica, including the Rev. Al Sharpton and Rep. Charles Rangel.

"It's hard to understand - and keep in mind I was not there at the time - why shots should be fired," Bloomberg said. "To me, that sounds excessive and unacceptable."

Richards appeared on the Rev. Jesse Jackson's nationally syndicated radio program, "Keep Hope Alive," as a part of a series of apologies for the incident. He said he knew his comments hurt the black community, and hoped to meet with the two men. He told Jackson that he had not used the language before.

"That's why I'm shattered by it. The way this came through me was like a freight train. After it was over, when I went to look for them, they had gone. And I've tried to meet them, to talk to them, to get some healing," he said.

Richards, who played Jerry Seinfeld's wacky neighbor Kramer on the TV sitcom "Seinfeld," was performing at West Hollywood's Laugh Factory last week when he lashed out at hecklers with a string of racial obscenities and profane language. A cell phone video camera captured the outburst, and the incident later appeared on TMZ.com.Richards told Jackson the tirade was fueled by anger, not bigotry. He said he wanted to hurt those who had hurt him."I was in a place of humiliation," he said.


But New York PBA president Patrick J. Lynch said the mayor's comments were "premature and not based on a full and proper investigation."Premature statements made without the benefit of all of the facts only serve to inflame tensions and prejudice the rights of those who are presumptively innocent," Lynch added.

Richards' publicist, Howard Rubenstein, said Saturday that Richards has begun psychiatric counseling in Los Angeles to learn how to manage his anger.Jackson, who has called Richards' words "hateful," "sick," and "deep-seated," said the comedian's inclusion on the show was a chance for a broader discussion about "cultural isolation" in the entertainment industry.

Richards noted that the racial epithet he used is frequent in the entertainment industry, and acknowledged that it could have consequences."I fear that young whites will think it's cool to go around and use that word because they see very cool people in the show business using that word so freely," he said. "Perhaps that's what came through in that ... the vernacular is so accessible.


The shots were fired within 10 to 15 seconds, police sources said, adding that it would appear to be a violation of the training police officers received.

Kelly said officers are told that in incidents in which they shoot their weapons they should assess the situation after firing three times.

But one officer, a 12-year veteran, fired 31 times from his 9-mm pistol, meaning he emptied the gun's magazine and then reloaded.