Manhattan, the Universe, and Everything

A single Manhattanite's diary of her life in The City, plus various odd commentary.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Blasts from the past

My high school was probably like your high school. Large, public, set in an upper-middle class suburban enclave overrun with white people in Abercrombie with an affinity for plastering Grateful Dead stickers all over their mother's Range Rovers, oblivious to the irony. Some were smart, others, well, not so much. We had just as many students matriculate to Harvard and Duke (and even one to Cambridge!) as to Central Connecticut State and Salve Regina. We had the token homosexual (who was my prom date) and a few minorities sprinkled in. Teenage alcoholism was rampant, and Dave Matthews was our patron saint.

Rarely will you have anything in common with your classmates other than the fact that they've seen you eat paste and have urinary "accidents", and friendships were birthed out of shared geography, not common ground. Thus, high school friendships dissolve, and probably rightfully so, after college, careers, and geographies separate people. Or so I thought.

Dicking around MySpace one day, I developed a bizarre curiousity regarding the present circumstances of my old high school classmates, none of whom I keep in touch with.

So, here's what I found out, other than that a significant amount of them have "Top Friended" each other (to use MySpace vernacular):

1) The Popular Guy (or one of them) lost his lacrosse scholarship at some no-name college for reasons related to the drink, matriculated into another no-name college, joined and quit the Air Force and now is finishing up his diploma. Page indicates pride in his delinquency.

2) Very few people live in large cities other than Boston. A few people live in towns with unfamiliar names along the Eastern seaboard. One person is currently living in Tokyo, and I had a fleeting urge to email him.

3) There are a surprising amount of people who have gotten married to other people just as mediocre as they are. Girls overwhelmingly tend to look fat in their wedding dresses, and wedding pictures often hit the level of PROM on the tacky scale. The art of camp-free nuptials seems lost on them.

4) The pretty girls are still just as pretty, and twice as vacuous. The average girls that somehow struck it lucky and became popular definitely suffered from some stock-droppage. However, they have all seemed to do better for themselves (in terms of looks and career) than their male counterparts.

5) There were surprisingly few coming-outs, but that's to be expected from a town that pathetically associates the phrase with deb balls as opposed to anything GLBT-related. Yet, they still vote blue. You have to love Northeastern liberal hypocrisy.

6) The couple that had been dating since the 8th grade is now married and living in my hometown, in a house not too far from that in which they grew up.

7) They actually patronize the dirty neighborhood bars when they are home for Thanksgiving. And, apparently, "everyone and their mother" is present.

8) I have absolutely nothing in common with 90% of these people, yet, they seem to have copious amounts in common with each other, even after near a decade has passed since high school graduation.

A Vegas Virgin's top 10 impressions of Sin City

1) There's no there there. No cute "local" scene to counteract the tourist traps. The strip is, in a sense, one large tourist trap, in multiple senses of the word.

2) You will never go hungry in Vegas.

3) It's like Disneyworld with alcohol and gambling. If Disneyland were Ryan Atwood, Vegas would be his alcoholic mother.

4) Unless you enjoy gambling (which I don't), there's no real reason for people from New York, L.A., SF, London, Paris, HK, Tokyo, Chicago or any other large city to go to Vegas. If I want to eat at Tao, watch Spamalot, and cap off the night at a guido-infested superclub, I can do that within a 5-mile radius of my apartment.

5) The city really, really, really misses Seigfried and Roy, and for good reason.

6) I can't decide whether the scene is more L.A. or Midwestern-suburbanites-pretending-to-be-L.A.

7) Paying $19 for a martini should only be justified in countries with a VAT, even if it is made with Hendrick's gin.

8) Bring a sweater to wear in the casinos.

9) The topless girls at Tao Beach fall into 2 categories : (1) those covertly sexing their male companions in the pool, and (2) those with the ugliest breasts.

10) If I ever feel the need to spend time in a desert town that's been extravagantly developed to turn itself into an adult playground for people who fancy themselves as "ballers", I'll be in Dubai.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Bachelor Update

Apologies to all for missing last week's epi. I had work to do.

As for this week, let's jump right in!

The curtain lifts on a scene showing six girls gawking at a yacht. Stephanie "Kansas" believes that aliens will emerge from the unfamiliar vessel, but what else do you expect from someone who lives in a landlocked state in the middle of the country. Andy arrives to shepherd his flock onto the boat.

Cue In the Navy, replace the 6 girls from Nowhere, USA with 6 men from Chelsea, Dupont Circle, Montrose Ave., and West L.A. and, with this Bachelor, you might actually yield a relationship that lasts beyond The Final Rose, or at least a show with less vapid dialog.

While lolling about on the yacht, Amber divulges her prole roots in asking if it's a Chris Craft. The conversation is so wooden and trite that I figure this is the perfect time to unload that deuce that's been knocking on my back door for the past half an hour. Then, the bomb drops. TINA PICKS ANDY'S TEETH.

Oh, no, you didn't, you fishfaced bitch. You did not just coo, "You have something in your teeth" and extract it YOURSELF with your grimy, salty, unpolished fingernail AND WIPE IT ON YOUR CLOTHES. This wholly reminded me of a scene from a Married with Children episode where Al Bundy is eating pizza with an old flame, played by Heather Locklear. Bundy manages to get a gop of cheese on his upper lip, which Locklear picks off and devours, rather sexually.

The Bachelor Intern captured some obligatory shot of a nondescript sea animal leaping out of the water.

And then I went to take a shit.

Bevin pulls some crafty maneouver where she yips "Those kayaks have been calling my name!" Andy, like a Pavlovian dog to the bell, salivated at the prospect of Something Sporty (like all good Midwestern 30somethings with the requisite 5th grade vocabulary). The other girls roll their eyes and, at the urging of the Bachelor Intern, feign jealousy. In actuality, they were debating the U.S.'s desired course of action vis-a-vis the genocide in Darfur, but that doesn't make for as good television, now, does it?

The first one-on-one date goes to Steph Kansas. Why on God's green earth do they still call her Stephanie Kansas? Stephanie S.C. went the way of Barbaro last week, hence there is only ONE Stephanie (2-1 = 1) remaining on the program.

MAKING YOUR OWN WINE AND DRINKING IT, and then PAINTING your own LABEL must be the most superfabulexcellent date idea ever. Beakers and test tubes abound in the wine room, and you half expect those lab room characters from the Muppets to pop up at any time. Wouldn't that be a gas! But they didn't.

The label they painted looked like the below:

Andy then asks Stephanie what her "hopes and dreams" are. If this were scripted and not reality TV, the screenwriter would have been disemboweled with a katana, or at least been forced to watch A Cinderella Story (starring none other than Hillary Duff) over, and over, and over again.

Stephanie intuits that things such as "Hopes" and "Dreams" are good to have, like a Buy-10-Get-One-Free Starbucks card, or yearly flu shots. But it's clear that she has no idea what hers are. Vacuous whore.

Back at the house, Bevin (28) cattily remarks to Amber, "I have no idea what Andy would want with me, as well with as a 23-year-old." Amber, being 23, retorts, "I raised my 14 brothers and sisters back on our Texas farm and had to drive them to school. Uphill. Both ways. In a Mazda! Do you know how hard it was to drive those kids around in a Japanese car in Texas? I'm the mostest maturest of all the 23-year-olds you'll ever meet."

Amber, honey, if it's any consolation, you at least look a hell of a lot older than 23.

The next group date consists of painting a playground. While painting flowers (open-faced roses, no less, for the subtlety), Danielle comments to Andy how important about how it is to "live each day to the fullest". Somehow, miraculously, she does NOT mention her dead boyfriend.

A horde of screaming, germ-infested children comes barrelling out of the gates and onto the newly-painted playground, which I hope has had time to dry. I remark to my friends (who are watching with me) how easy it is to enjoy children when you receive them in 45-minute doses, once every few months.

Tessa gets the Cinderella date, which includes $2M worth of borrowed rocks and a trip to Nicole Miller. Tessa acts like she's never been in a Nicole Miller in her life. I really shouldn't talk, because the last time I was in Nicole Miller it was for their ending-their-lease-and-moving-from-Soho-to-Madison-Avenue super duper sale, where I scored a fresh and fierce black bondage-type shirt for $60 (original price, $400). Due to the general repugnancy of Madison Avenue (and shopping above 14th St. in general), I have not since returned.

After the date, we are privy to The Best Editing In The History Of The Show. Bevin and Amber have snuck into the Deliberation Chamber and are making snide comments about the girls' photographs. Voiceover of Bevin: "I really, really don't know how to tell Andy about my sex reassignment surgery. I have no idea how he'll react when he finds out that I've been a man before." Or something like that.

Tessa, Amber, Bevin and Danielle get a rose.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Bachelor - Episode 3

Morning has broken. The 12 troops remaining receive a rather loud and leathernecked awakening in the form of a drill sargeant (or someone paid to pretend to be one, more likely) barking at them to get their makeupless, slovenly posteriors down the steps and onto the grounds for a morning of P.T.

That's physical training, but I'm sure you already knew that.

Nicole's predictably late. Never bet on Tequila Cake being early for any kind of morning workout that doesn't involve exercising her arms with a few 1-pint weights.

DO YOU WANT THIS ROSE OR NOT, barks the Starving Actor Pretending To Be A Drill Sargeant. DO YOU, DO YOU PUNK?! He leads the troops in a military cadence, at which I was hoping with the hope of a simple fool that one of the lovely ladies would have the wit (read: balls) to start a chorus of "I don't know what I've been told! Alaskan pussy is mighty cold", or some line alluding to Full Metal Jacket.

While Shut-Up Kate has the mouth to spout obscenity on national TV, she probably lacks the wit to make references to any piece of cinema not starring Matthew McConaghauey or Hillary Duff. Plus, given that Bachelorette Application Questionnaire question #121 reads: "Have You Ever Watched Any Movie By Stanley Kubrick" (and that all respondees checking the "yes" box will have their applications immediately tossed in the shredder), I wasn't expecting miracles.

Starving Actor Pretending To Be Drill Sargeant huffs at Bevin: WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?

Bevin replies, in character, TO GET A ROSE, SIR! Damn, she's taking this a bit too far, high-stepping higher than everyone else.



Oh, noesers. Do any of you remember that astronaut who donned a pair of Depends and drove cross country to confront her caddish boyfriend's lover? This is who Bevin reminds me of here. Take note that 3 seconds later, she's on the ground, emitting a banshee-like howl. Ambulance has been called, and Our Resident Psycho has beasted herself so hard on the obstacle course that she has done something nondescriptly painful to her ankle.

NOTE TO BEVIN. This is not the Olympics. This is not war. This is not even real boot camp. You're not competing for Squad Leader here. You're competing for a solitary goddamn rose, and there are 8 more where that one came from.

Secretly I hope that she did it for the painkillers.

Moments later, Dr. McBlandy arrives on the scene, and predictably mentions for the 193420895th time that He Is A Doctor (to the ambulance personnel, no less). Somehow I get the impression that he can repeat those four words over and over again and Bevin will still be enraptured by the sound of them.

Bachelor Drinking Game Rule #1: Every time Andy mentions his status as a doctor, take a drink, preferably out of one of those test-tube types of things sold at bars with sticky floors, strobe lights, Def Leppard on the jukebox, and a lax carding policy.

Fast-forward to the first group date. It's at a spa, predictably enough, and the girls are happy as pigs in shit because they get to roll around in a vat of shit (OK, mud) with a half-naked robot doctor.

Non-Slutty Stephanie gets the coveted one-on-one time. Slutty Stephanie rolls her eyes. Non-Slutty Stephanie starts administering a massage to Dr. McBlandy. The Bachelor Intern edits the happy ending to suit ABC's family-friendly tastes.

Bachelor Drinking Game Rule #2. Every time Slutty Stephanie mentions how *she* should get the one-on-one time over some other girl, take a drink. Make sure it's one with a suggestively sounding name, like Red-Headed Slut, Blow Job, or (even better) Pussy Juice.

Fast forward to the next group date, at a racetrack, involving (duh) driving fast cars. The producers instructed Andy to conjure his inner Lt. Pete Mitchell (if you need to ask who that is, kill self; thank you in advance), so he arrives wearing his Ray-Bans and bomber jacket. Basically, all you need to know is that Playmate Erin coos to Andy about her "love of driving", and then casually mentions, once they get in the car, that she can't drive a stick.

What did you expect, go-karts?

Danielle then gives Andy a lesson on her Favorite Topic In The Whole World, which is her dead boyfriend. She conveniently forgets to mention that she keeps his putrid corpse in a rocking chair in her attic (that's a Psycho reference, for the cinematically challenged).

Here's a thought. Maybe the producers are giving you the Dead Boyfriend card, like they gave Sadie the Virgin Card last time 'round the merry-go-round. Methinks you'll make the Final 2 and lose.

Bachelor Drinking Game Rule #3: Every time Danielle mentions her Dead Boyfriend, take a SHOT.

Then, comes the Moment We Have All Been Waiting For. The dreaded group date. It's Tessa versus Peyton. The half-Asian social worker from San Francisco versus the blonde sorority recruiter (people have that job out of college?!) from somewhere nondescript in the South. At this part, I get bored and make myself dinner.

Andy picks Tessa, but we get the feeling that he was sad to let Peyton go so early on in the competition. He paws at her like a fraternity pledge while they're being helicoptered off into the starlight, while she timidly and unsuccessfully attempts to stave off his advances, a la France in, well, pretty much every war they ever fought.

It's Rose Ceremony time! Slutty Stephanie is wearing - get this - a polka-dotted dress and PEARLS. Dressing like an astronaut's wife will not make people think that you've rode a little less pole than you actually have, so this stunt doesn't fool.

Andy and Amanda make some meager small-talk. Amanda gushes as to how she has "lots of stories" to tell about her life, yet all that emanates from her flapping maw is white noise. If I close my eyes, she sounds like Elle Woods, except without the whole "smart" bit. Too bad. She was half Thai and arguably the prettiest one there. I was pulling for her.

Rose time. I forget who actually got one, but the girls sent packin' (other than Peyton) are Erin and Amanda. Shut-up Kate actually gets one, to the surprise of most everyone.

Question For The Audience:

Let's see if we can get some audience participation on this one. There's all this chatter about how there should be a bachelor of color, but what about other "minorities"? What about a British bachelor, set in London? Now that Wills, the future heir to Hair Club For Men, has chucked 25-going-on-40 Kate Middleton, that's a nice thought. It can only be outdone by The Jewish Bachelor, set in none other than New York. Imagine a herd of Long Island JAPs (or, more comedically, Staten Island JAPs) fighting and hissing and cawing over some poor mensch. D&G earrings will be used as weaponry, and everyone will be afraid to swim in the ocean.

So, Audience, if we could have any flavor of Bachelor for the next installment, what should it be?


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Observations About Episode 2

1) Andy is eerily asexual. Maybe it's his Amish-country Pennsylvanian drawl with a near Ent-like slowness, or his glaring inability to speak with a vocabulary beyond that of a 5th grade, but I can't take this guy seriously. I don't even question his straightness anymore; he lacks the verbal wit to pass as homosexual.

2) What's with "Operation Soul Mate"? Andy, if you're going to use military lingo, at least be clever, and if you can't be clever, at least quote Top Gun. And if you're a naval officer who hasn't seen Top Gun, well, kill self; thank you in advance.

3) And calling yourself a "healer"? What is this, Dungeons and Dragons?

4) Andy is a crappy doctor. OK, maybe that was a low blow, but it doesn't take 6 Ironman Triathlons (an autobiographical factoid that Andy will never let us forget) to understand that Mimosas + Big Breakfast + Workouts = Having To Take A Sizeable, Hairy Dump.

5) The Saddle Ranch, Andy? I know you want to giggle while you see their breastitties jiggle on the mechanical bull, but you are a Navy Officer and an M.D. These girls will be more than happy to jiggle the titties for you without help from a piece of machinery. Plus, no one goes to the Saddle Ranch anymore except for midwestern tourists and underage sorority pledges.

6) Andy's Trapped in Cliche World. “I really dig a woman who can really be a tomboy and get down and dirty, but then, can put on a dress and…..” Yes, invoking Character Type 17B, The Tomboy Who Cleans Up Nice. You're almost as bad as the girls who describe themselves on their profiles as "being able to kick back in jeans with a few beers, but feel just as comfortable in an evening gown".

7) Onto The Girls.

-Stephanie T. is obviously The Girl We're All Supposed To Hate, but not even she inspires much vitriolic fury. She commited Crime Against Originality #3294 with her Titanic re-enactment, and First Date Gaffe #832098 when she asked Andy what kind of wedding he envisions himself having, but she seems to be a rather tame villain.

-What's with the sun damage? Most of these girls look older than they claim to be.

-Kudos to Susan and Erin. Andy wanted you to do something you felt uncomfortable with, and you denied him. If you denied him the opportunity to see you with your hair wet, he probably figured you'd deny him the opportunity to let him get his dick wet. Susan did remind me of a cross between a Stepford Wife-Robot (with that twitch) and the manicurist from Legally Blonde, though, and the two of them could have earned a place in Permanent Bachelor Lore for some girl-on-girl.

-I like Tessa. Some of you may think she's a freak with a fat face, but disclosing her feelings for Andy as well as a reluctance to "play the game" of the show exposed some refreshing vulnerability. Methinks she's getting the winners' edit - anyone who breaks down in tears but isn't portrayed as a freak by the producers is being edited too favorably to get no-rosed before the final 3.

-In Defense of Tiffany. If I had to sit through uncomfortable questions like "Have you ever dated a doctor", I'd lean my head away too if I suspected he was going in for the kiss.

-None of the Rejected seemed too torn up over the diss. Alexis seems glad to be going home and back in the services of a more apt pilot (i.e., God), and we all knew Tiffany's I-thought-we-had-a-connection speech was read off of cue cards held by The Bachelor Intern.

-Tina needs a self-esteem enema.

Conclusion: Each episode of this show is like a turkey sandwich. Flavorless, at times pleasing, but at the end, you struggle to finish it and wish you got some maki rolls and udon instead. None of the girls are hateworthy, but there are no favorites, either. There are no annoyingly bland Jen Sheffts, or tragically dumb twits like Jen from Lorenzo's season. We lack vivacious Tina Fabs or Desirees, or quirky and deep Moanas. Absent are icy sorority queens like Kirsten, obvious producer flame like LeeAnn or Erica Rose, or cocktease virgins like Sadie. Without anyone to legitimately tear apart, can this season survive?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

In The Navy!

Cue The Village People, call the fire department. Sorry, this guy's too much of a prettyboy to exude heterosexuality, in my opinion. Couple that with all his saccharine and insipid talk about "finding love" and you've got the Bravo channel licking their chops to get first dibs on the reruns.

But enough about the Seaman in White. Onto his 25 troops (26, if you count Chris Harrison).

The standouts:

Alexis: A Monica Lewinsky look-alike attorney with no discernible personality. Status: Rose.

Nicole: "We have no eggs. How 'bout some tequila?" Status: Rose.

Amanda: I like her. She's half Asian (or at least looks like it), is a financial analyst (bonus points), has climbed the Great Wall and manages to be from Dallas without speaking like she just shot J.R. Status: Rose.

Linda: Another attorney, resembling Jennifer Wilbanks (of "runaway bride" infamy). Note to Linda - Men who are of the type to go on this show WILL NOT think it's a turn-on if a girl matches them push-up for push-up. He dumped Lokelani McMichael (an elite triathlete and model whom ESPN labels as one of the hottest female athletes) for a vapid Bachelor whore. Do you think he's looking for an equal? Negative. Status: No rose.

Helpful Hint to Future Contestants: If you're going to display a talent, make sure it's something girly and sexually suggestive, like doing the WORM in a napkin-sized evening gown, or doing backflips that strategically juggle your newly-purchased silicone accessories. Abandon all feminist impulses, all ye who enter here.

Lindsay: Angry black chick. Status: No rose.

Helpful Hint to Future Contestants: You're on The Bachelor, not Flavor of Love.

Stephanie T: Illustration of the curse of the first impression rose. All women upon whom this honor is bestowed shall be transmogrified into insufferable, clingy, emotionally unstable harpies. No trends will be bucked here. Status: First Impression Rose.

Blakeney: Who on God's green earth names their daughter Blakeney? "Suthun" folk who don't dress for their body type and can't hold their liquor. Status: No rose.

Helpful hint for future contestants: Hold your liquor.

Tessa: I'd like to think that she had to tell a clean, stupid joke because ABC wouldn't let her tell the joke she had in mind (involving the Royal Family, an octopus, and incorrect use of the N-word) but I highly doubt that. Status: Rose.

Tina: "I'm not the prettiest girl here...". Your attempt to fish for compliments would look much less disingenuous if it was not proceeded by The Star-Spangled Banner. Status: Rose.

Note To Future Contestants: Singing to your Bachelor will result in your immediate expulsion from the show. This schtick has been played out twice and is no longer tolerated. Thank you in advance.

Erin: If this gig doesn't work out, let's just say that she'll always have a spot on Hef's show. Status: Rose.

Kate: Emerges from The Limo wearing a dress too short for even the likes of Chelsy Davy (Prince Harry's "girlfriend", whose mores and fashions make Paris Hilton look like Grace Kelly). Does THE WORM in said dress. Status: Rose.

Tiffany W: Arguably the most normal of the bunch. I don't know if I like her, but I think she'll go quite far. Status: Rose.

Amber: From Sugar Land, TX, and (without fail), makes a joke (that we've all heard ten million times before) referring to her resultant "sweetness". However, in The Bachelor World, vapid unoriginality is routinely rewarded, so she loses no points with our Naval Seaman. Status: Rose.


-The Ambulance is just for show. Someone likely hurt themselves during boot camp and will get a sympathy rose as a result, most likely Bevin, given her penchant for pain.

-The cryer will be Tequila Cake Nicole, who will get Das Boot in round 2.

-Stephanie will be among the Final 4. Mentioning that she wants to get "rose after rose until she gets the ring" ensures that she'll be around for rose after rose until The Producers get their fill of her antics and tell Andy to give her the DING.

-No women in law, medicine or finance will make the final 2. This is An Officer and a Gentleman, not Adam's Rib, or even Top Gun. Andy wants a traditional Southern wife.

-This is not the last we've seen of Lindsay.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Please, don't let those Miss USA contestants SPEAK!

While home sick on the couch, I was alternating between NCAA basketball (one can only take so much of underdogs blowing 50-point leads or getting raped by refs) and that lovable institution which turns the womens' movement back 70 years, the Miss USA pageant.

Here are some observations.

1) Tara Conner, with those bangs, looks like a blonde Elvira.

2) If your social ethos makes Lindsay Lohan look like Kate Middleton, you probably shouldn't be Miss USA anymore, but that is neither here nor there.

3) Miss New Hampshire is a larger girl. I find myself rooting for her.

4) Miss Michigan looks like a man.

5) Miss Kansas is very, very pretty. I hope she's also very, very stupid.

6) Top 15 are announced. Virginia, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Hawaii, Texas (no surprise), Kansas (damn, slut!), Missouri, California, Nevada, Michigan (WTF?), Louisiana, North Carolina, Tennessee, Wisconsin. Click here for pics.

7) I automatically find myself rooting for the minorities and the Northeasterners. Northeasterners seem to be so ill-represented in the top 15 at pageants that they might as well be considered minorities.

8) Miss Texas looks un-Texan, which makes me like her. California's breasts are beginning to annoy me.

9) Top 10 announced. Here's where the pageant gets boring. Top 5 announced. Nevada, Tennessee, Kansas (shit!), Rhode Island (yay, northeast!) and California (watch those mammalries). For pics click here.

10) Now for the fun part - the "conversations". From this episode, we learn that Miss Tennessee is the only semi-intelligent one in the bunch and is likely the only one who not only owns, but has used a passport. She speaks rather articulately (she's only half black, I can say this) about volunteering at Oprah's Leadership Academy in South Africa. Compared to Miss Nevada, who said "50 below windshield" instead of "wind chill", and Miss Rhode Island who admitted to journal-keeping (someone tell her that only serial killers, sociopaths and suicidal poets keep journals) she's the class of the bunch.

11) Miss Kansas: "I do a lot of charity work with my Catholic youth organization...we do a lot of work with abortion centers." Unless you explain more thoroughly, we'll assume that the "charity work" you do with your "Catholic Youth Organization" re: abortion centers involves C4 or nitroglycerine.

12) We learn that Vince (7-on-the-Wonderlich) Young and Jerry Springer are judges, along with the likes of Kimora Lee Simmons and Vanessa Minnillo. So, if anyone is still under the misguided impression that you're watching the Nobel Organization decide the recipient of its next prize, this is your clue to change the channel.

13) Time for the questions. Tennessee quips that if she were to be a famous man, she'd be Will Smith. Deep down I'm hoping she meant Adam Smith.

14) Kansas mentions, in response to her question, that people should not automatically be given second chances, especially for acts such as "murder". Methinks she has never watched The Shawshank Redemption.

15) Rhode Island, if she could ban anything in this world, would ban the act of talking on cell phones while driving. If I could ban anything in this world, I'd probably ban vacuous sorority-types from opening their mouths to speak.

16) The gruesome thought runs through my mind, "where's a terrorist when you need one..."

17) California gushes, "women should be able to use their beauty to get ahead, but it's the inner beauty that counts!" Profundity to rival that of Keats, I'm sure.

18) Miss Tennessee wins. I'm pleased. She's half-black and has left the country before. That's about as much as you can ask for from any "scholarship contest" run by that great supporter of womens' issues, Donald Trump.

More March Sadness

If you are an American male who has entered a bracket pool, chances are that your slack-jawed, vapid, bottled-blonde girlfriend whose life centers around Vera Bradley bags, apple mojitos, leggings, spinning class and VH1 is soundly beating you. Yep, that doe-eyed sports naif who picked all #1 seeds to make the Final Four using logic like "Carolina Blue looks like Tiffany Blue" and (perhaps, more stupidly) "who am I to challenge the logic of the selection committee" will probably win. And you, who watched every BracketBuster game and debated to no end on the message boards the merits of Texas over North Carolina will end up with a bracket full of red.

7 of the Elite 8 teams are 1 or 2 seeds. Oregon, as the lone 3-seed, is the underdog. What this means is that there will be a shitton of amazing games that no casual basketball fan will give a shit about. Maybe we (i.e. everyone outside of Storrs, CT) got spoiled with Miracle Mason's run last year, along with surprising Sweet 16 appearances by the likes of Bradley. This year, the lowest seed in the tourney was UNLV (a 7), and UNLV is about as close to evil as a college basketball team can get. Arguably, the sentimental favorite was USC with their we-have-no-stars, do-it-for-our-fallen-homie ethic, but the zebras ceremoniously stomped on their glass slipper with 10 minutes left in the game and awarded the Elite 8 nod to a team led by an individual whose appearance and class is reminiscent of caucasian Jerry Springer guests.

So, given the lack of a true underdog story, I must do what all Americans typically do: root for the teams from schools with the most intelligent and reasonable student bodies. Thus, here's to UCLA and Georgetown. Rooting for Memphis is excusable because they're a mid-major, but any affiliation with Kansas (especially if you still live in Kansas or anywhere in the Midwest outside Chicago) probably means you order steak at every meal, are anti smoking-ban, drink canned beer, don't know what edamame is and don't own a passport. Need I say more.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Nothing Says "Happy Valentines' Day" like Sex Toys

'Twas the Sunday night before Valentines' Day, and Babeland, Manhattan's resident upscale trendy sex shop, was having its bi-annual cocktail party (the other one coincides with Pride Week). I heard about this party through my friend Alyson (a devout Christian, no less), who, in turn, heard about it through a friend of hers.

Alyson: "Free Drinks".

PJJ: "That's all I need to hear."

No never-mind that we'll be munching Lays and swilling hard cider next to a forest of silicone penises (penii?) with festive monikers like "Lil' Spur" and "Lonestar", and books entitled "Anal Sex For Buttophobes".

As far as sex shops go, Babeland is a far cry from the proverbial truck stop on the far side of town, a common setting in snuff porn films and bad horror novels. Babeland's got 2 locations: Soho and Lower East Side, so, if your boss owns a dildo, chances are (s)he bought it here. This is sex for yuppies, hipsters, young lesbian couples working in advertising, bankers and pharma salesmen, attorneys, P.R. associates, Columbia grad students, bored housewives from Darien, Swedish ex-pats and, well, everyone who considers themselves not dirty enough for 8th Avenue. In a nutshell (or, shall I say "nutsack"), Babeland does for masturbating what Sushi Samba did for edamame.

The DJ was spinning catchy, if not overly obvious tunes (e.g. "Let's Talk About Sex") and the crowd, aside from the solitary elderly man in a suit, was relatively normal, if not skewed towards GLBT. Our Babeland hosts (Caroline, especially) were friendly and eager to answer any of our questions, even (read: especially) our stupidest, and by the end of the night I almost felt that purchasing a vibrator would be simply a matter of course, similar to how Midwestern tourists feel about those "I Love New York" shirts. But not quite.

I will be back. Maybe, one day, I will gain the courage to make a purchase.