Monday, September 30, 2013

I refuse to be a slave to my mobile phone

[Alternate title: And one ring tone to rule them all!]

The spouse and I have had a running battle for weeks now, maybe months, regarding my mobile phone.

I am, I believe, one of the few remaining people on the planet who refuses to be bound 24/7 to my precious mobile device -- keeping my phone off most of the time and using it primarily to communicate (i.e., text) with my teenage daughter when she is not home (i.e., when she needs a ride) and, okay, check my email when I am working on a project and will be out of my home office for more than an hour or so.

The spouse, on the other hand, wants me to keep my smart phone on and on or near my person 24/7 -- or to have all calls and texts forwarded to my computer (using Google Voice). An idea that make me want to move to a tropical island with limited cell phone reception (albeit one with Internet access).

But I refuse to be a slave to my mobile phone!

While I see the utility of  mobile phones and agree they are a boon to those whose job or lifestyle has them rarely in one place or the same place for long (e.g., traveling salespeople, mothers of children who do after-school activities), they have become an addiction -- and an unhealthy one at that.

I don't know what it is Apple and Samsung are putting in their devices, but clearly silicon is the new crack. Just try to find someone with a mobile phone who doesn't touch, talk to, or just stare at it every 15 minutes -- less! -- or get twitchy when they haven't touched their precious device in a while. (Yesss, thanks to RIM, Apple, and Samsung, we are all Gollum now.)

The irony, while mobile phones allow us to roam without being tethered to an office or single location (just watch out for those nasty roaming fees!), they have instead tethered us to them. But I refuse to bow down to my silicon overlord (she wrote while typing furiously on her laptop computer)! So the next time you call or text me on my mobile, and I don't answer, you know why.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Why did the chicken cross the road?

Finally, an answer to the age-old question, Why did the chicken cross the road? (Well, sort of.)

Because it was test driving a Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive Magic Body Control System!

Note: No chickens were harmed in the making of this ad. Just deeply embarrassed.

More about the Mercedes-Benz chicken commercial and the Mercedes-Benz Magic Body Control  suspension system here and here.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Enough with skinny jeans + 3/4 sleeves

Men have it easy, at least fashion-wise. You don't have to worry about hemlines -- or waistlines. If you know how to use a tape measure, you can accurately deduce what size shirt and trouser you need. And when buying shoes your biggest decision is typically "brown or black?"

Sure, there have been some embarrassing fashion trends for males -- the polyester suit (and its cousin the leisure suit), the skinny tie, the wide tie, white vinyl shoes. But those are a mere drop in the fashion bucket compared to what we women have had to put up with.

I personally have never dressed for fashion or been one to follow trends. And buying clothing for comfort and fit -- not style or hipness -- was not a major problem. Until the advent of skinny jeans.

Skinny jeans, also known as cigarette or pencil pants, have actually been around for a while. But except for Audrey Hepburn, beatnik poets, girls in 1960s beach party movies, a few punk rockers, and anorexic models, they look good on practically no one. And yet somehow these uber-form-fitting, low-waisted, tapered pants continue to make a comeback -- and unlike in previous decades, refuse to go away.

Indeed, skinny jeans have become so ubiquitous that they have squeezed out nearly every other fit or form of jean (other than "mom jeans," aka "relaxed fit").

Just try finding a pair of attractive straight leg or boot cut or gently flared jeans (as opposed to bell bottoms, which thankfully slunk back to the '70s again) -- that don't hang four inches below your pupik.

I think I'm speaking for most women when I write, women's jean manufacturers, I'm begging you, enough already with the skinny jeans. Give us women over 25, who don't have toothpicks for legs, and have had a kid or two, a break (without forcing us to choose between "skinny" and something with an elastic band and a bubble butt).

And while on the topic of "fashion," 3/4-length sleeves? Really? Whose genius idea was this, designers? Did you receive thousands of letters from women complaining it was too hard to roll-up their sleeves?

WTF is the point of 3/4-length sleeves?

Oh sure, some of those shirts with 3/4-length sleeves look nice. But do you know how annoying it is to wear shirts with sleeves somewhere between the elbow and wrist? You can't wear anything over them, because they bunch up -- and the form-fitting ones cut off your circulation and are often too hot to wear in warm weather. And yet for YEARS now, I keep seeing shirts with 3/4-length sleeves. WHY?

Seriously, how hard is it to roll up your effing sleeves, people? Tell women's clothing designers, enough with 3/4-length sleeves.

Thank you.

This has been a public service announcement.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Go ahead, sh*t all over this idea

Just when you thought you'd seen it all in terms of personal hygiene products, along comes POO-POURRI, "a blend of essential oils that virtually eliminates bathroom odors!" (Seriously, you cannot make this sh*t up. But now you can cover it up... with POO-POURRI!)

Scents include Deja Poo, Sh*ttin' Pretty, and No. 2.

But POO-POURRI isn't just for women. Manly scents include Royal Flush, Heavy Doody, and Nature's Call.

I know what you are thinking: Is this sh*t for real? It is. And before you poo-poo the idea of an eau de toilette that masks the odor of the toilet, check out the Amazon reviews. Indeed, one spritz of POO-POURRI before-you-go toilet spray and you'll be saying "Crap! Where has POO-POURRI been all my life?"

You're welcome.

This has been a public service announcement.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Fall in love with a good book

Time for another Book Nook post!

As per usual, the books are divided into Fiction and Nonfiction and then listed alphabetically by author. I have also included a link to each book's listing on, where you can learn more about it. 


Hothouse Flower and the Nine Plants of Desire by Margot Berwin.If you are a fan of magical realism, or the movie Romancing the Stone, you will enjoy Hothouse Flower and the Nine Plants of Desire. (Bad title, good book.) The book takes place in the jungles of New York City and the Yucatan. And the hothouse flower of the title is recently divorced advertising copywriter Lila Nova (at least that's who I think it is), who, shortly after reluctantly buying a Bird of Paradise from an exotic plant dealer stumbles across an exotic-plant-filled laundromat and its equally exotic, mysterious owner one evening -- and winds up in a rainforest in Mexico on a quest to find the "nine plants of desire." Botanically informative (and accurate) as well as an enjoyable way to spend a weekend afternoon.

The White Princess by Philippa Gregory. It's been ages since I'd read a Philippa Gregory book, and I had forgotten what a good writer she was (is). The White Princess is her latest, part of her Cousins' War series, and it tells the story of Elizabeth of York, the eldest daughter of Edward IV of England who marries Henry Tudor, Henry VII. While I remember reading about the War of the Roses (the Cousins' War), Henry VIII, and Elizabeth I in school (many, many years ago), I recall nothing about Henry VII -- and I found the book very interesting and enlightening. (While I know Gregory's works are categorized as historical fiction, The White Princess, like many (all?) of her other novels, is heavily based on fact, which you can see from a quick glance at the bibliography.)

Cloche and Dagger: A Hat Shop Mystery by Jenn McKinlay. The latest (newest) series from mystery writer Jenn McKinlay (whom I had never heard of before but learned is very popular). Set in modern-day London, Cloche and Dagger tells the story of American Scarlett Parker, who flies off to London to help her eccentric cousin Vivian, a talented, in-demand milliner, run the shop they inherited from their grandmother. This is after an embarrassing video of Scarlett seemingly crashing an anniversary party and tossing cake at her supposedly divorced boyfriend has gone viral, forcing her to hideout in her Tampa apartment for days. However,when she arrives in Notting Hill, she is greeted not by her cousin Viv, who is nowhere to be found, but by Viv's handsome yet stodgy (and somewhat cantankerous) business manager, Harrison Wentworth, in her stead. Soon after, one of the shop's clients is found dead, in nothing but the hat Scarlett had just sold her -- and Scarlett and Harrison must prove that Viv didn't do it. A fun read with great characters.

Edward Trencom’s Nose: A Novel of History, Dark Intrigue, and Cheese by Giles Milton. If you enjoy subtle English humor (is that redundant?) and wit -- and stinky cheese -- you will enjoy this whimsical novel about a family of cheese connoisseurs with an exceptional nose and destiny. Like many of the books on this fiction list, Edward Trencom's Nose takes place mainly in England, specifically in London, in 1969. A jolly good read -- well written and amusing, with an imaginative, suspenseful plot that will keep you guessing until near the end.

Sidney Chambers and the Perils of the Night by James Runcie. I enjoyed this collection of mystery short stories, set in late 1950s Cambridge, England. (I know, England again.) The tone and style are reminiscent of classic British detective or mystery novels, which I grew up reading and adoring. (Dorothy L. Sayers and Agatha Christie both spring to mind.) But I wish I had read the previous Sidney Chambers book, Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death, first.


The Riddle of the Compass: The Invention That Changed the World by Amir D. Aczel. As a bit of a directional dyslexic (i.e., someone with a very poor sense of direction, who often cannot tell North from South or East from West), I was immediately drawn to this book when I spied it on my stepfather's bookshelf. A fascinating look at the history of the magnetic compass, how it came to be used aboard ships, and how it changed navigation, ushering in the age of exploration. Really makes you appreciate early explorers and their ability to navigate by the stars, as well as more modern day navigators. A good, informative read.

Russ & Daughters: Reflections and Recipes from the House that Herring Built by Mark Russ Federman. This wonderful, heartfelt, humorous memoir, told by the former owner/proprietor of Russ & Daughters, a famous appetizing store on the Lower East Side of New York, is a must read for Jews of a certain age, true New Yorkers, and those whose idea of perfect Sunday morning includes a bagel with lox and/or smoked fish. While I intensely dislike smoked fish and most of the delicacies, or "foods one eats with a bagel," that Russ & Daughters is known for (somewhere in Heaven my father is weeping), I loved this book -- and made the spouse read it right after me. He, in turn, bought a copy for his brother. (Warning: This book can be hazardous to your waistline if, like us, you suddenly feel yourself craving bagels with all the fixings and act upon these cravings.)

So what have all of you been reading? Don't be shy. Tell me -- via a comment. I am always looking for a good book (albeit one that you would not characterize as "depressing" or "heartbreaking" or "dark" or "poignant" or "morbid").

Btw, you can find previous book recommendations by clicking the Book Nook label at the bottom of this post or this Book Nook link.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

It takes (smaller) balls to be a good father

Why are some men better fathers -- that is, better at nurturing their offspring -- than others? According to a threesome at Emory University in Atlanta, it may very well have to do with the size of the father's testicles. And it appears that when it comes to nurturing or caring for children, and the family jewels, less is more. (More proof that good things come in small packages?)

How did the intrepid researchers figure this out? In a nutshell, they scanned "the brains and berries" of 70 male volunteers while showing them pictures of their child. And the researchers found that the part or parts of the brain believed to be responsible for nurturing were more active in the fathers with less cojones. 

[Quick aside: Anyone else amused and amazed by the number of synonyms for testicles?]

While the findings are not conclusive, they are consistent with observations of other primates, specifically chimpanzees (larger testicles, not good caregivers) and gorillas (smaller testicles, attentive fathers).

So ladies, when sizing up potential candidates to be the father of your child, "choose dads with smaller 'nads." (Lower testosterone levels also make for a more nurturing parent.)

Btw, you can read the study, titled "Testicular volume is inversely correlated with nurturing-related brain activity in human fathers," here.

Friday, September 6, 2013

It's a song, about cats

You'd think that people would have had enough of silly cat songs.
But I look around me and I see it isn't so.
Some people wanna fill the world with silly cat songs.
And what's wrong with that?
Id like to know, cause here we go again...

I don't know about all of you, but I think Klusman really captured the essence of cat love with "Kitty Love Song." The video is also a cautionary tale (tail?) re why you should not let cats sleep with you or into your bedroom -- and why guys should not wear sleeveless shirts.

Btw, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the humorous cat videos of Paul Klusman, he is "an engineer living in beautiful, exotic, Wichita, KS... [which] has the excitement and ambiance of a gravel parking lot. To pass the time [he is] involved in a number of hobbies including swing dancing, aerobatic flying (in a Pitts S-1S), and silly cat videos...."

He is also the creator of the classic "An Engineer's Guide to Cats."

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Break out the NFL thongs*! It's football season!

Ah September, when a Mets fan's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of... football. (My apologies to Lord Tennyson.)

Though I am not feeling especially confident this season about my New York Giants' chances of making it to the Super Bowl (at their own stadium) this year, at least Giants management and fans are confident (for now) about their starting quarterback, Eli Manning, who sports not one but two Super Bowl rings. And it looks as though popular wide receiver Victor Cruz will be healthy enough to salsa in the end zone at the Giants opener Sunday against the Cowboys in Dallas. Yay! (No word yet on defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, though he will most likely not play until Week 2.)

As for the Jets, they are pretty much doomed. Call it the Curse of Tim Tebow. (I do.) Or All Woody Johnson's Fault. (Ditto. See below.)

Just when you thought that organization would have learned from last year's circus... management somehow looks like an even bigger bunch of clowns this season.

Personally, I blame Jets owner Woody Johnson. If only instead of hiring Tim Tebow to play quarterback** last season he had surrounded soon-to-be-former Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez with a better offensive line and receivers... and someone other than Tony Sparano as the offensive coordinator.... (Talk about an offensive line.)

Anyway, I will be (pleasantly?) surprised if a) Week 1 Jets starting QB Geno Smith isn't repeatedly tackled and/or intercepted; b) Jets new backup quarterback Brady Quinn does a whole lot better in Week 3 (assuming Sanchez is cut, which I do); c) coach Rex Ryan isn't fired midway through the season (or has his contract renewed for another season); d) the Jets get over .500 this season; or e) all of the above.

Now if only the Giants stay healthy....

So, who are you all rooting for this season? And who do you think will be playing at MetLife Stadium on February 2, 2014? (And who thinks they should have put a retractable roof on the stadium, especially considering that two teams share the facility and New York is a huge market and is not exactly in the tropics or sub-tropics?)

*Actually, I was so giddy about the start of the professional football season, which kicks off tonight, I broke out my New York Giants thong earlier this week. (My New York Jets thong, however, has been relegated to the back of the underwear drawer, where it pretty much sat out last season, in protest to the Jets picking up Tim Tebow... and for other reasons.)

**Seriously, WTF? At least Bill Belichick saw the error of his ways before Week 1 and had the sense to cut Tebow.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Get Lucky: Rosh Hashanah Edition

I've seen some interesting takes on the Daft Punk hit "Get Lucky" (Stephen Colbert's being my favorite), but this may be the oddest one.

I give you "Get Clarity:'s Rosh Hashanah Music Video"!

(So much for "Thou shalt not break dance.")

Wishing all my Jewish readers a sweet new year -- and clarity. L'shana tova.