Thursday, June 26, 2008

Free Tai Chi

While walking through Bryant Park on my way to work this morning I noticed a sign that said Free Tai Chi lessons - Tuesday and Thursday 7:30 a.m.

Now I don't know where exactly Tai Chi (though I assume it's somewhere in Asia) is, but I firmly believe that we have a moral obligation to help others cast of the chains of oppression wherever it might exist, so I was all for learning how to help so, of course, I stopped and waited.

At 7:30, they made us get up and stretch. I suppose they didn't want any pulled muscles or lawsuits resulting from same distracting them from their mission. Afterwards, they coached us through a series of slow motion martial arts movements that seemed designed to tell the Tai Chian1 leaders that if they don't free their people, we're prepared to start moving much more quickly and go all Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon2 on their collective asses.3

Anyway, after about 15 minutes of this I grew bored and found myself gazing wistfully at the Jamba Juice store across the street. Frankly, I could hardly see how this whole slo-mo Akido thing was going to help, so I left.

Next time I'll just ask if I can sign a petition or something.
1 Sorry, I don't know what the proper name is.

2 Though in my case it would likely be more along the lines of Jack Black starring in
Kung Fu Panda

3 Though how well that would work against modern military weapons remains to be seen.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I'll Take Manhattan

I had three revelations the other day as I swam my way to work in the approximately 392% humidity that had descended upon NYC:

1. It’s idiotic to require a person to wear a suit and tie to work when the temperature is over, say, 75 degrees.

2. At some point during the morning I was going to have to buy a new shirt to replace the one I was in the process of soaking through.

3. I. Hate. Summer.

Before you blast me for that last statement, allow me to put it in context. It’s not that I hate summer per se. In fact I enjoy barbecues, softball, landscaping, swimming and a whole variety of outdoor activities. You'll notice, though, that those are all recreational activities. It's going to work in NYC during the summer that I really abhor.

From the uncomfortable oppressive heat and humidity; to the vaguely disturbing odors that waft through the thick, soupy air; to the searing subway temperatures that make the bowels of hell seem air conditioned by comparison, its a miserable few months.

So in keeping with the proud tradition of selling Manhattan without proper ownership - which began when the Lenni Lenape tribe sold it to the Dutch for $24 in beads and trinkets - I’m now offering the entire island to the highest bidder on the express condition that they move it to a cooler climate.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for an industrious nation looking for a can't miss tourist destination. But wait, there's more! Act now and we'll also include the entire population of the city. It's not as if the vast majority of them ever travel more than twenty blocks from home anyway, so it's likely they won't notice the difference. There is one exception to that rule, but that's easily dealt with. Simply rename one of your bucolic villages “The Hamptons” and they’ll all flock there in the now-much-more-temperate summer months without a second thought.

Of course, I realize that the logistics of moving an entire island may prove insurmountable, so if this proposition fails, I’m more than willing to just sell the naming rights to some corportation in exchange for a retractable dome and climate control.

“New York Citibank” comes to mind, but I’m open to other suggestions.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Mint Condition

I slumped to my knees in exhaustion as I gazed upon the detritus of the now eerily quiet battlefield. The carcasses of my enemies lay strewn in piles, the stench burning my nostrils and making my eyes water. It had been a fierce battle. At times I was near surrender before I called upon reservoirs of strength that I never knew I possessed to carry forth the fight. Bone weary I struggled to my feet, to bag and cart away the deceased before the next day’s blazing sun and heat could do its damage, and before their brethren could rally around their martyrdom.

No matter how weary my body, I could not find rest that night. Even the slightest movement of my aching muscles reminding me of the savagery that had taken place just hours earlier. When I did sleep, it was for brief periods that were invariably broken by dreams that ended with me being awoken by the sound of my own screams. Mostly, though, what kept me awake was the ice-cold realization that far underground, the roots of resurgence were talking hold, and that I had only won the first battle in what would certainly be a long and protracted war.

For the remainder of my days, I knew would spend the better part of each summer locked in battle with my sworn enemy: the mint plants that had invaded my garden.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Hey kids.

I'm back for a few seconds to let you know that I have a new nephew (and Jasmine has a baby brother) E.J. was born on Sunday morning. Pics are below.

We'll be back to our regular posts as soon as I can get my head above water here at work.

Just a few hours old and already rockin' the skull cap...

Apparently they ran out of blankets and had to swaddle him in some sort of oven mitt.

Don't worry, E.J. You're not alone. I can't tell you how many times I've had to have someone prop up my head after a hard night of drinking.

Jasmine remains a little ham while E.J. already seems bored with the whole picture taking thing.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Sex and the Star Wars

The internet buzz was staggering, beginning over a year in advance and steadily building until the premiere.

There were pre-premiere theme parties to which many guests arrive in costume.

There were eagerly awaited midnight showings with huge crowds lined up outside waiting to be among the first to experience the extravaganza.

Fans and journalists alike rushed to write about the experience and to analyze every detail of the movie. As was to be expected, some were thrilled with the finished product while others decried every aspect of it - many calling it to account for the myriad ways in which it fell short of the original.

Even the least satisfied fans revealed their desier to sit through repeated viewings of the movie, reveling in every second of its somewhat bloated two-hour plus runtime.

The similarities are endless, but the point remains the same:

The Sex and the City movie is Star Wars for women.

Still, if given a choice between the two crowds, I'd invariably choose the SATC group.

After all, they dress better, there are copious amounts of alcohol served at their parties and, as previously mentioned, they're nearly invariably female.

Probably the most compelling argument in their favor, though, is that when they say that they love the movie because it reminds them of how they and their friends interact, they aren't referring to a 7 1/2 foot-tall hairy guy with a speech impediment and another friend who has an unrequited crush on his own sister.

Monday, June 02, 2008

TSD? I Thought You Said Something Else..

I read an article recently about temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD) in alligators.

Apparently, through some experiments conducted in the early 1980's that were based on controlled incubation in a laboratory and also by carefully recording temperatures in natural nests in coastal Louisiana, they were able to determine that higher temperatures, 32-34° C (90-93° F), produced all males while slightly lower ones, 28-30° C (82-86° F) resulted in all females. Temperatures below 28° C or above 34°C produced a mix of genders, skewing towards female.

Recently, however, scientists determined keeping eggs at exactly 31°C for the entire incubation period resulted in this.1

Which certainly explains a lot.

1 For any non-Americans, here's a link explaining the previous link.