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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Harvest of Shame Indeed

Last night I watched two excellent, compelling, and utterly depressing programs on television. The first was part three of the PBS Frontline "News War" documentary about the current state of journalism. To sum up about five hours of thoughtful investigation and analysis, the current state of journalism is, if I may be blunt, f****ed. This final installment focused on the panic that many news organizations, now beholden to stockholders, are in over declining readership and how that's leading them to make asinine decisions like using Rocketboom and YouTube viewership stats to plan their news coverage. This, while feeding viewers a steady diet of "To Catch a Predator" and Anna Nicole Smith body trial coverage in the hopes that giving America what it wants to call news, not what is actually news, will be their salvation.

Chilling lowlight of the program: Charles Bobrinskoy, chairman of a financial company that is one of the largest stockholders in the Tribune Company--a man who fancies himself an expert in matters of journalism because some of his stocks say "newspaper" on them--issuing the pronouncement that the L.A. Times (a paper that's won 13 Pulitzer Prizes in recent years, and that the Tribune Company now owns) doesn't need to concern itself with covering such national and international issues as the Iraq war. Three papers alone should cover something like Iraq, according to Bobrinskoy: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. The L.A. Times (and, by extrapolation, all other metro papers, save those three biggies) would better serve readers by closing up shop on national and international issues. Yes, if the past few years have taught us anything it's that we would have all been better off if reporters nationwide had just handed the keys to Judy Miller for pre-war coverage and focused on potholes and Little League. Or that we definitely wouldn't have a problem if we all relied exclusively on the newspaper that devotes space on the front page to illuminating such newsworthy topics as "Where the dog sleeps"* and "Joint pain by gender" for our coverage of the Bush administration. Coming from anyone else, this sentiment would have been merely laughable. Coming from one of the guys who now has a say in journalism because of his money, it was terrifying.

It would have been the most disheartening thing I watched all night if we hadn't switched over afterward to Bob Woodruff's special on soldiers who suffer traumatic brain injuries, "To Iraq and Back." It was unspeakably sad, and, as with The Washington Post's superlative investigation last week on the inexcusable conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, absolutely maddening to see the near-criminal negligence of our government when it comes to providing for wounded soldiers.

*42% in the bed, according to these Edward R. Murrows of the new millenium!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Let's Tally the Number of Celebrities I've Rubbed Elbows With in the Past Week

Zero. Now let's tally the number of celebrities my sister-in-law and brother have mingled with: a gajillion. Because while I was slogging through the primordial ooze of a wintry D.C. week, they were out in L.A. for the Oscars. Not "coincidentally, when the Oscars were occurring." Actually for the Oscars.

With the requisite vaguery and evasiveness I will say only that it was my sister-in-law's* executive role that found them there. My brother apparently decided that houses in Atlanta could design themselves for the week and while she pressed the flesh, he lounged poolside and cased the celebrity swag tents for possible porous entry points. Their hotel? The old school glam and recently re-opened to massive buzz Roosevelt. The gift basket in their room the first night? It had an iPod in it. The celebs they were lounging around with (separated only by a distance of a few chairs here or a table there)? Clive Owen, Diddy, and some guy from 24 who doesn't count because that's TV and this is the Oscars for God's sake. And at the big event, they snapped a pic or two of the folks gracing the red carpet.

I've posted two versions of one of their pictures. Above, the cropped one. Below, the uncropped one, proving that celebrities are just like you and me. We all get to have unsightly strip malls obscured from our gaze by fake hedges.

*Yes, this is the same sister-in-law who last year scored off of Jon Stewart at the Emmys.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Uh-oh. I Suppose I Shouldn't Mention That I Won the Nobel Peace Prize, the Pulitzer, and the Pritzker This Weekend

At first I presumed that a little Puck had created BestDCBlog purely as a vehicle to get bloggers and commenters sniping about one another. Upon further review I see that I am, happily, correct. (I say "happily" because it's a niche market just not being served elsewhere on the internet and I think they're onto something fresh.) Anyway after three long weeks, the cognoscenti have finally given me my due by nominating me for "Worst DC Blog." While my nominators go for the obligatory feces reference (yawn) and the linguistic legstretching of "she sucks," it's the following gem that emerges as the clear leader from the Bunched Underdrawers Brigade:

I'm so sick of hearing about Brunch Bird, Brunch Bird, Bunch Bird. You'd think she just gave birth to Jesus. She's the worst because she's overexposed. Blech.

Irony has no better footservant than the one who complains about your blog being overexposed by nominating it (saying the name three times) on what is apparently becoming quite the popular blog. And I can allay my benefactor's fears that the misperception exists that I've done something akin to giving birth to Jesus. Rest assured: anyone who knows me knows I don't want to have children.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

My Significant Other and I Go Mano-a-Mano on Oscar Picks

The stakes are high. He wins, and I'm treating him to Cactus Cantina. I win, and it's Two Amy's on him. Points will be tallied. Mocking will ensue. In fact, as we speak he's talking junk. It's so cute how he doesn't even know how much he's toast. I can already taste the roasted olive appetizer now. For those following along, purple is good because it means I picked correctly. Green is bad because it means the S.O. picked correctly. (For illustrative purposes I've posted a picture of Daniel Craig and his ladyfriend because they're the couple that most resembles us. Provided you're high. And intoxicated. And the Mayor of Fantasyland. Because other than the fact that we too have two arms and legs each, we couldn't look less like them.)

UPDATE: Two Amy's it is!

Friday, February 23, 2007

It's Hallmark of Intelligence, Humor and SoForth Award Day

The Altruistic Smarty Pants

There are two types of college students: those who are a bit restless and graduate in three-and-a-half years because the thought of going a full four seems like it will lead to excruciating ennui (cough cough), and those who graduate and decide to come back for more because they want to learn how to master a task: writing or arithmetic maybe. Or, say, saving the world. Well a certain Brunch Bird commenter and ardent proponent of this site from its earliest days has decided to try her dainty hand at the latter. And today she found out that she's been accepted to the London School of Economics and Political Science. Which is great, because I can now get even more reflected-glory mileage out of her. Before at cocktail parties I was only able to finger my pearls and say, "Darling, a friend of mine worked in the refugee camps in Darfur and says we really must do something about it." Now I can say, "Darling, a friend of mine who worked in the refugee camps in Darfur and who is now over in London studying the matter further says we really must do something about it." See how my capacity for smug intellectual banter increases exponentially? Oh, and don't even think about calling dibs on crashing on her couch once she gets there. It was the second thing out of my mouth after a hearty huzzah.*

*Now that London's in the picture, I'm also going to unleash the floodgates of pretentious British linguistic references.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Score One, St. Matthew's Cathedral

Having swatted at St. Matthew's for fumbling a bit on Sept. 11, it's only fair that I credit the Rev. Msgr. Ronald Jameson for giving one heck of a sermon at the 5:30 Ash Wednesday mass last night. Right out of the gate he equated the ashes of the day with the ashes of Iraq, then spent about 10 minutes making an impassioned plea for the couple thousand people packing the pews to use the Lenten season to start actually doing something about injustice here and globally. I would have run up and hugged the chap, but I didn't want to smudge him.

This morning I called the monsignor and without even hesitating at my explanation and request, he said he'd email me a segment from the sermon. (Just hearing him say "Oh, I see, Brunch Bird," when I was explaining the blog title to him was enough to make for a sweetly bizarre kickoff to my morning.) Less than five minutes later I had it in my inbox. We already know who our favorite lawyer in town is. I'm thinking we might have a winner for favorite religious leader. Anyway, here's how he brought it home, which I present as food for thought, regardless of your religious affiliation:

"May our prayer, our fasting, and our almsgiving this Lent lead us to a new awareness of who we are and of what we are called to be. May they also awaken us to the sorry state of our world: the rampant injustices, the great gulf between haves and have-nots, which are the breeding ground for so much of the terrible violence in the world. Lent is about our own change of heart, it’s true, but it is human hearts changed one at a time that ultimately change the world."

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

There Can Be No Denying

that this is my niece. I've already taught her well.

Tuesday Sinner, Wednesday Saint

It’s Ash Wednesday, which in my case marks the first of 40 days and nights of unmitigated crankiness because I give up sweets for Lent. Like any self-respecting Catholic, I crammed as much of my vice in yesterday as possible, snacking on some M&Ms after lunch and eating a half a piece of chocolate cake from Tryst for dinner. Fat Tuesday indeed. I find it takes the sting out of the Lenten kickoff if I get myself to the point where the mere mention of a petit four makes me want to hurl. Mission accomplished. Fair warning though: by Day 15 you’ll likely find me licking the glass at Patisserie Poupon. But what always amazes me is that at the end of Lent I feel thinner, have more energy, and have faster running times, yet my delight over those developments lasts only long enough to locate my Easter basket and start popping Cadbury eggs and Peeps into my cheeks like a chipmunk storing up for a nuclear winter. The health benefits are just never enough in my mind to outweigh the majesty of strawberry shortcake.

(And yes I realize that this post conflicts with Jesus's policy of not letting the right hand know what the left hand is doing when it comes to acts of religious sacrifice, but Jesus didn’t have to come up with 300+ blog posts a year.)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I'm Ron Burgundy?

If I'm going to be going on camera I'm going to need a new name and a signoff, no? As for the name, the Significant Other suggested while driving me to work today that I should go with "Cinnamon Surewood," which made me realize that in my contract negotiations I'm going to have to demand a towncar and a driver.

Name ideas to get you brainstorming:
Tweedy Fluffington
Arianna Dewberry

Possible signoffs:
"Thanks for stopping by, nation."
"You stay classy, nation."
"Go **** yourself, nation."
"And that's the way it is, nation."
"How about you do another take. I'll be in the bar."

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go practice my non-regional diction.

Video Killed the Magazine Star

I landed myself on MSNBC a couple years back thanks to an article I wrote that involved teenagers, interracial dating, and bondage. (Write an article like that and try not to have the cable news networks call you.) It was a bizarre experience, especially for someone who's more than a little camera shy (video or any other kind) and whose tombstone will likely read "She Didn't Photograph Well."

Last week, I learned that I may soon have a new role as on-camera newsgirl because of a pilot project, at least until someone realizes the grievous error of their ways. Yeah, you heard me RocketBoom chick. I'm coming for you. If I were the betting type I'd put my marker squarely on "Hilarity Ensues."

Monday, February 19, 2007

Nice gloves, self.

My former set of gloves got a hole in them, so I ducked into a store to buy a new pair on Friday. I wanted white to go with my coat and hat. They only had one pair of white left and I was in a big hurry and said, "Eh, the balls are a little much but I can live with them."

Walking home I glanced down and came to the realization that these gloves were in fact completely ludicrous and if I saw some other chick wearing them I would totally snicker, snap a covert cell phone pic, and blog about them. The post would probably include a snarky Sonja Henie reference, something about Tribbles, and then I'd bring it home by asking if she'd gotten into a fistfight with Frosty.

I find it hard to believe that there's anyone else walking around the city with these things, so if you see them come say hi. You've almost certainly spotted the Bird.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

That's How I Roll

Blogroll renovation can be fraught with peril. An addition can incite sniffs of boredom or derision. A deletion can raise eyebrows. (Someone wrote me once joking that I, like some banana republic dictator, had "disappeared" someone from the roll. But the only reason I've ever taken the eraser to the list is when someone says they're going to stop blogging. I don't like loose ends, so off they go.) In any case, I've finally added some new links.

Outta Mind Outta Site--She's a sly boots. And yells at cabdrivers when they're engaging in unlawful shenannigans.

Deglazed--Who wants writing about the creation of a stuffed calamari dish and a cogent argument for why Rachel Ray is a total buffoon? I do! I do!

A Portable Snack--Within about 15 seconds of launching his blog in December, he was turning in quality product. I'm pea green with envy.

Throwing Hammers--This is going to sound like I'm saying "You know what's a great TV show? Seinfeld!" Really it's just that I'm finally filing the paperwork on this one and getting it on the roll.

Dealing in Subterfuges--When you're named after one of the more interesting female supporting characters in modern literature and your blog references ninja llamas, you're batting 1.000 with me.

VKs Empire of Dirt--I've been asked before why he's not on my blogroll and my response is always the same: "Because people in their 60s, namely my parents and my Significant Other's parents and his family, read this blog, and I'd love to not give any of them the impression that I endorse anime suppuku. And because I've got enough to chat with them about over holiday dinners without having to explain what a t********* is." However, VK's Feb. 15 post was (in addition to being decidely ironic considering the reason I've been keeping him off the roll), on the whole, pretty funny. So his eyebrow raising, sometimes NC-17-rated blog goes onto the roll with the disclaimer that I am not in any way responsible for his content.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Worry Less About the Paper Clip Shilling and More About the Funny

During the payola scandals of the 60s radio stations got in trouble for accepting money from record companies to play their music.

Explain to me how this is different from Staples clearly paying for a season-long commercial* on The Office?

*First we had Kevin extolling the virtues of his Staples paper shredder, followed instantly by a Staples commercial during the break for the exact same product. Then Dwight went to work at Staples and they filmed a scene in a store with him in the uniform. And tonight they've just made about three references to the benefits to consumers of the large office supply companies, which of course culminated in a direct reference to Staples.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Random Cell Phone Pics From My New Orleans Trip

If the title didn't tip my hand, allow me to say that there isn't much of a point to this post. Call it scenic beauty and desolation for scenic beauty and desolation's sake. I won't wax philosophical about the status of New Orleans and the surrounding towns to which I traveled because I was there for a little under a week and am clearly not qualified to opine at length about the state of that particular union. I can only say that both optimism and saddness are pervasive there, and New Orleans remains, for my money, one of the greatest cities in the world.

Valentine's Day As It Should Be: Condensed Into 20 Minutes

After the folks at Delta airlines decided at 10 p.m. that they might want to rustle up a couple pilots for the 8:30 p.m. flight I was sitting on on the Atlanta jetway, I was finally on my way home. So I touched down shortly before midnight, grabbed my luggage and, exhausted, hopped into the Significant Other's truck. There were a dozen pink roses inside. At home, I handed over the signed copy of "The Great Santini" I'd picked up for him in South Carolina recently, and he passed off a box of delicious chocolates. Bingo bango, done and done. Though we've set the bar pretty high with Valentine's Day, I think we can knock Easter down to five minutes.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

New Orleans Update

So I mocked Mother Nature for being able to outrun an ice storm and then New Orleans got hit by a tornado this morning. I think I'll refrain from sticking my tongue out at her for the duration of my time here.

I'm in Chalmette, La., today, a town about 15 miles east of New Orleans. I am happy to report that, total Katrina devastation aside, the people's spirits here are as strong as ever, as is the amount of lard they jam into their foodstuffs. I just consumed a biscuit that I can only assume will do for my arteries what Sherman did for Atlanta.

Do You Know What It Means to Miss an Ice Storm for New Orleans?

I do. Snuck out a day early to beat the alleged storm.

Oh, and the prospect of spending Valentine's Day in a big ole' romantic hotel in the French Quarter? Fantastic.

The prospect of doing it alone, with nary a flower in sight because I'm down here for a story? Not so fantastic. Fingers crossed that I'll get back in time for a romantic Valentine's dinner* with the Significant Other.

*Originally, this entailed Ray's the Classics. I even took care of the reservations because I think it's unfair and arbitrary that the guy always has to be on the hook for the holiday. But now the best case scenario given the weather predictions for when I'm supposed to fly back home is that I'm getting back in time to toss him his present, inhale a veggie burger and get to sleep by midnight.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Cafe Society

Two days, two lovely, languid afternoons that segued into the most pleasant of evenings. Drinks and conversation at Busboys & Poets Saturday with three tall, dark and handsome writers (the female one having just recently become dark in a pitch-perfect change of hair color.) Tea for two at The Willard Sunday for a longtime friend about to usher two little ones into the world. (Does that make it tea for four?) Hope yours went well and also involved gossip and/or scones with Devonshire cream.

Friday, February 09, 2007

One Clear Winner in the FishbowlDC Rising Star Journalists Contest

UPDATE: Things are looking grim. Our man David is now in fourth place. I'm just going to put this out there: Florida in 2000. Ohio in 2004. I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'. Polls close at 5 p.m. today so start voting for him like it's your job.

You could vote for David Francis of The Washington Examiner in FishbowlDC's Rising Star Journalist competition because he's a terribly funny guy, a devil with the ladies (OK, one in particular), and a smashing house/dog sitter (I suspect he loves my and the S.O.'s dog more than we do, and he left his extra beer in the fridge when he went back home). But if you want to base your vote on actual journalistic merits (just for giggles, say) I will tell you this: David Francis is a rare breed of young journalist who operates on the premise that keeping your head down and busting your ass to do good reporting is the best possible course. In other words, he's the complete antithesis of the whiner with the sense of entitlement who comes out of J-school believing The Boston Globe should be waiting at the exit with his g.a. position. So please go now and Vote David Francis. Polls close at 5 p.m. Monday. You can say you knew him when. (Which is good because he'll be completely unmanagable if he wins.)

It's Hallmark of Fatuousness Award Day

The Sorority Sniper

If you want to let the general populous know that you’ve got very little in your arsenal when it comes to commenting on a woman’s character, personality, talent, and intellect, then slam her for being in a sorority. Because nothing says, “I’ve got zilch as a societal observer or writer,” like “I hate sorority chicks.” You know who was in a sorority? Harper Lee, Joan Didion, Dian Fossey, Rosa Parks, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Sandra Day O’Connor, Mae Jemison, Coretta Scott King, and Georgia O’Keeffe. I’m going to let you in on a little secret: bashing a group based on the conception you've mentally whipped up for yourself of a certain type of female only makes one person in the room look like her slip is showing.

Trust me this week’s Hallmark of Fatuousness honoree, you’re not alone. I’m always puzzled by the number of people who feel it is socially appropriate to arrange their facial features into a look as if I’ve just waved a vial of skunk funk under their nose and exclaim in a disgusted tone that’s light on the politeness and heavy on the ignorance: “You were in a sororrrity?! Oh god, I never would have guessed that about you. Whyyyyy?!” In my conversations with former members of collegiate athletic teams, newspaper staffs, indie bands, film schoolers, College Democrats, College Republicans, minority student unions, glee clubs, chess clubs, and Magic the Gathering clubs, I’ve never once found anyone who says they receive this same reception with such stunning regularity.* And (deep sigh), please don’t tell me that you didn’t join a sorority because you didn’t need to buy your friends, because I’ll put your bar tab from college up against my sorority dues receipt any time.

*Fellowship of Christian Athletes alum may be the exception to this, but the ignorami usually at least keep their mouths shut to these folks’ faces.

Editor’s note: Lest you think the Hallmark Committee is a tad on the cranky or defensive side, don’t worry. It will also bestow the Hallmark of Intelligence, Humor, and SoForth awards, too. But let’s be honest, you don’t come here to read about the planes that land safely at the airport.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Do Yourself a Favor

A lot of you read McSweeney's anyway, but blogger Static Cling called this to my attention, and now I'd like to do the same for you. Along with Aasif Mandvi's "the flying shards of a better tomorrow" Daily Show segment on the Israel-Lebanese conflict last summer, it offers warm reassurance that satire is alive and well.

A Very Special Guest in the Comments Section!

You know I love all the people who comment on my blog. But just like your mother fibs a little when she says she loves you and all of your siblings equally, well, I'd be lying if I didn't say I have one overwhelming, undisputed favorite. Remember The Leg Lamp? (And if you don't, it was like two days ago, what the hell?) Anyway, late yesterday, everyone's favorite member of the bar commented on that post. And his comment even jogged my memory that the card hadn't said "a special prize" was inside. No, it said something even funnier. Ladies and gentlemen, my favorite blog comment ever:

The Leg Lamp Guy said...
As the proud owner of the lamp, I was thrilled to get a call from Brunch Bird. I was surprised to learn that the building guard knew exactly what she was inquiring about before she said "leg lamp". Now, as I bask in the glow of the lamp, I thank BB for spreading the word about my Major Award.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Most Obnoxious Writing That Nobody in This City is Reading

So someone hands you a nice juicy, platform for your writing. About 1,500 words in a big glossy magazine that, although largely regional to one state in circulation, is still a quality product respected and routinely honored for its sharp writing, design and content. You get a coveted spot opposite the back cover, for personal essays, to boot. And you choose to lead your piece with this:

"As a Texas mom, I always assumed that college would be a no-brainer. If you wanted your child to get a world-class education, you sent him to the University of Texas. If you wanted him to have unnatural congress with barnyard animals, it was off to Texas A&M."
Now, it's no secret that I'm partial to the state of Texas, to Texas A&M University, and quite specifically to one particular product of both. But that's your knock-'em-dead opener essayist Sarah Bird? A "they have sex with sheep at A&M" joke? Well, maybe you had better luck closing this piece about touring colleges in advance of your son's entry into the collegiate world. Let's take a look:
"My favorite parent question, though, came from the Korean dad on the Princeton tour. After the admissions counselor--herself a recent grad with, perhaps, a bit too much Ivy in her high-fiber ego--told us that P'ton admits roughly one out of every 9 million applicants, Korean Dad made up his mind. Stolid as a sumo wrestler entering the ring, he treated the admissions counselor like a particularly cagey used-car salesman who'd somewhow managed to close the deal and gravely announced, "Okay, my son go this school. Where I pay?"
What, no "Me so solly" joke to round out the characterization of "Korean Dad" and end this 1,500-word exercise in non-sensical, unfunny, snobbish, stereotypical hooey? At least the layout editors had your piece pegged. They titled it Tour de Farce". Suffice it to say Sarah Bird, my feathers are a little ruffled that we share the same last name.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Attack of the 50-Foot Eyesore

I believe it is a truth universally acknowledged that the greatest thing to come out of Canada in 1941 was Paul Anka. Fifty-four years later, Mr. Anka cemented his place in our hearts with his appearance on a Treehouse of Horror episode of The Simpsons. In the segment, lightning strikes giant advertising icons like Springfield’s famed Lard Lad, bringing them to life. They lumber around Springfield wrecking shop. Trying to halt the destruction, Lisa Simpson works with an ad exceutive who reminds her that advertising only has as much power as people give it with their attention. So they hire Paul Anka to sing a ditty to the people of Springfield called “Just Don’t Look":

[Paul Anka]
To stop those monsters 1-2-3
Here's a fresh new way that's trouble free
It's got Paul Anka's guarantee...
Guarantee void in Tennessee!

[Anka and Lisa]
Just don't look!
Just don't look!
Just don't look!
Just don't look!

I think it's apropos during a week when thousands of people are flooding the company that makes Snickers, expending energy on emails, letters, and phone calls, to complain about their Super Bowl ad.

Monday, February 05, 2007

As Night Falls on the Most Uptight City in the World, The Mystery of the Leg Lamp Unfolds

Making my way home as darkness descended Friday, heading down 15th toward K, I turned my collar up and grimmaced against the cold. Then, for no particular reason, I glanced up and saw it: The Leg Lamp. A warm glow emanated from the gam perched in an office window on the second floor of 1101 15th Street--a building that in all other ways is indistinguishable from those that comprise the downtown streetscape. It was the kind of light fixture that would make a grown man weep and make a blogger like me giggle and snap a camera phone pic. I went on my way, but for the rest of the weekend that oddly out-of-place-inside-the-Beltway lamp would crop up in my mind. Whose office is that? How did someone bold enough to make such a decorating decision/homage to A Christmas Story slip into our hardened city below the radar?

So today when I went out to grab my lunch, I went into 1101 15th Street, crossed the marble lobby and approached the guard desk.

Me: Hi. I'm wondering if there's just one company on the second floor of this building, or are there multiple offices?
Guard: Why?
Me: Well, I'm just curious because as I walking by the other night I noticed that in the window there's this—
Guard: The leg lamp.
Me: Yeah, the leg lamp.
Guard: I couldn't say whose office that is exactly.

It appeared from the directory that it likely resided in a law firm occupying much of the second floor. So while munching on my PB&J, I called them.

Me: Hi. I was curious if you all are the ones with the leg lamp in the window.
Secretary: Yes we are.
Me: Um...(I was taken aback, because I hadn't expected this candor) so what's the deal with it?
Secretary (chuckling): Let me let you talk to [Name Redacted].
A lawyer at the firm comes on the line and confirms that yes, it is indeed his lamp.

Leg Lamp Guy: It was a gift from my children. It arrived Monday.
Me: In a box marked fragile? (I of course pronounced it "frah-gee-lay")
Leg Lamp Guy: Well, actually it had two cards with it. One said that I was getting a very important prize. The other said that my prize was inside. When I opened it I just knew it had to go in the window.
Me: That. Is. Awesome.

So ends the mystery of The Leg Lamp. Some cool kids bought it for a cool dude, who is clearly working at a pretty damn cool law firm. Just one of a million stories in this city that hates to get naked with the lights on...

I Love the Smell of Secret in the Morning...Smells Like Intangible Qualities

While wandering the aisles of the drugstore recently looking for the toiletries that help my moisturize my situation and preserve my sexy, something caught my eye on the deodorant shelves. Apparently, Proctor & Gamble have finally realized that to limit me to "Powder Fresh" or "Morning Breeze," is to limit my potential for growth as a human being, artist, and career woman. Now they let me smell like "Optimism" and "Ambition." Those are the actual names for new Secret deodorant scents. I can now harness the same spirit that compelled early explorers to set out across the West and the same fire-in-the-belly drive that drove Sandra Day O'Connor to become the first female Supreme Court justice. Specifically, I can harness them and smooth them under my arms for all-day long, all-day strong freshness. I'd imagine that the guy who sold this at the pitch meeting really brought it home at the end of his presentation thusly: "In conclusion folks, it's 2007. Women don't want to smell like a mountain spring. They want to smell like they're about to make partner. Let's make it happen."

Friday, February 02, 2007

The Hallmark of Fatuousness Award

The Black History Month Detractor

Are you honestly a grown man trying to engage me in a debate about Black History Month by saying "Well, why don't we have a White History Month?" Having to watch a 30-second PSA about Rosa Parks or Miles Davis bothers you that much? Look. I appreciate that you've stayed loyal to the Lil' Stinker's Handbook of White Paranoid Delusions (with new forward by Lou Dobbs!) that you've been toting around since you became politically conscious at age 15. But I've got to tell you, this argument is about as fresh as zinging me with "You are the weakest link. Goodbye." The answer is that we don't have a White History Month because we have mandatory elementary, middle, and high school curricula that focus on the history of whites, including some whites' nasty habit of a few hundred years and counting now of erradicating, enslaving, oppressing, or disenfranchising minorities. So no, there's not really a White History Month in this country. It's been more like White History 15th Century to the Present.

Although history will record sir that your argument incited the first Hallmark of Fatuousness award. Better stay on your toes though, or a black person might steal the next one.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Pants of the Traveling Sisterhood, Or, The January Treasurer's Report

A few weeks ago I was whining about my inability to purchase a pair of midnight blue Elie Tahari cords because of my draconian self-imposed spending ban in the '07. Yet there I am, at left, wearing said pants. "Did you crack and start shopping already?" you might be gasping at this very minute. No, Doubting Delilah, I did not. On Sunday I met my parents for brunch and in their car sat one of my favorite sights: the buttercup yellow and pink bag from the boutique that sold the pants. After reading that aforementioned whimpering blog post, my sister had called the shop and purchased the pants for me as a treat for making it through my first month of frugality. It's a good lesson, folks. Not only that I have the greatest sister in the world, but also about teamwork: I sniffle, the team spoils me.

And now for the January treasurer's report. As part of this year-long effort I will be unflinchingly presenting each month's results. If you'll remember, I'm not limiting dining out, but I am tracking it out of curiousity. Already, I've spent way less than last year. I should also mention in this report that fellow blogger Barzelay was an invaluable member of the team this month, sending me a copy of The Decemberists album after I whined that I couldn't buy it under the new plan. I will happily print an honor roll in the monthly treasurer's report of those of you who somehow help your fellow man and woman (not just me) save money this year. Creativity, but not illegality, will be noted.

Well, Since a Full Sevenish of You Whined...

In the past week or so I've hung out with astronauts and in a totally separate event, fired 10 rounds from an M16 at a military base. To say I picked a bad couple of weeks to stop blogging would be a tremendous understatement. Don't tidy me off your blogroll just yet, please.*

*And I realize that this is a case of "do as I say, not as I do," because I am the speediest blog tidier ever. The minute someone says they're shutting down, they're off. I just don't like loose ends.