Least Favorite New Trends

  • “Gifted” being used as a verb instead of the perfectly adequate word “gave.”
  • Tuna sandwiches now guaranteed to give me heartburn.
  • The serial comma as a rule rather than only used when required for clarity.
  • Bicyclists driving the wrong way on one-way streets – I literally see this multiple times every day and would happily testify in open court against every single one of them.
  • The contemporary and widely-held view that “deadline” means “whenever I get around to it.”
  • Muni ghost buses.
  • Not being on an island in the south of France.
  • Deep cleavage in the workplace.
  • People attempting to hail a bus in the middle of the block like a taxicab. WTF?
  • My repeated failures to choose winning lottery numbers.

Well, at least I’m hilarious

What a day! The weather was hideous – rainy and muggy and apparently the wettest June 28th in SF history. I had a giant burrito for lunch from my building’s cafeteria which, though delicious, both distended my belly and gave me heartburn. I realized, just as I was walking into the Y (for cardio to counteract the effects of the aforementioned burrito), that I had not received a bunch of data from a colleague that was due to me today – thus necessitating a return to the office to prod, since I actually have to process said-data before tomorrow.

Luckily, though, I can complete the work from home – and it was a good excuse to skip the Y (though of course due to the missed workout I have now crossed from “obese” to “morbidly obese”). So I headed home, with a quick pit stop at the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant to pick up dinner something to accompany dinner. I have to say, I’ve never been a fan of this particular establishment – I think they are pricey and I find the staff’s attitude ranges from indifferent to surly (with the notable exception of the dude who two weeks ago sagely and enthusiastically recommended a Le Roc rosé priced at a reasonable $12).

Tonight, I grabbed a bottle and waited forlornly at the cash register while the HBIC stood out in front of the shop yakking on her phone. Ordinarily, I’d have said something along the lines of, “Hey Miss Thing! How ’bout you get off the horn and pretend you care about separating me from my hard-earned cash?” – but I wasn’t sure if she was actually a member of the staff (though I was pretty sure I recognized her “what the fuck do you want?” demeanor). Anyway, I did manage to get some dude at their bar to ring me up. And on the way out, I verified that Talk-a-rella was wearing the company fleece and had, in fact, been ignoring my custom. And I missed my bus, thanks to the wait…

Once I did get on the bus, after a 12-minute wait, I was only mildly crabby. I’d skipped the gym, I had some wine and my cat was waiting for me at home. Then I saw this:

Seriously, WTF?

OK! First, she sat down in the seats reserved for seniors/handicapped. I don’t actually know whether she qualified. But then! She stood up – which is fine! But proceeded to stand in such a way that she was both blocking anyone else from sitting AND was leaning on the pole, thus ensuring no one else could hold on! The only way this could’ve been worse is if she’d been a serial killer! Or had been wearing a backpack! OR BOTH! It was really all I could do not to jump up and yell, “What the fuck is wrong with you?!” But of course I just seethed silently because I’m a wimp…

I did eventually wind up at home unscathed – and was immediately put into a delightful frame of mind when I recalled how I unintentionally brought the house down amongst my co-workers this afternoon.

As anyone who knows me is well-aware, I am something of a loud-talker. I admit it freely, though I often forget that anytime I open my mouth, everyone within a 50-foot radius can hear every word.

So, I’m at my desk and my cell phone rings. And I answer. And it’s some rep from Sprint, calling to “thank” me for being a customer and to ensure that I’m happy with my service and to sell me more crap. I’ve gotten these calls several times over the last few months – and each time I’ve requested that Sprint refrain from calling me. Just as I did this time…

“Actually, I’ve received several of these calls from Sprint and I’ve asked you not to call. I prefer that you communicate with me via email or postal service, not by telephone.”

The rep’s response was to start in part II of the spiel, “Did you know you’re eligible to add a line to your account, blah, blah, blah…”

To which I simply responded, “Did you not hear what I just said?” in what I considered to be a firm yet courteous (though somewhat booming) tone – and all of my colleagues within shouting distance howled with laughter. I wasn’t attempting to be hilarious – I JUST AM! At that point, it was difficult for me to keep a straight-face (especially considering the peals of laughter were clearly audible over the phone) before I politely said my good-bye and rang off. It’s always good to keep my co-workers entertained!

Why so sad, sexy?

Comic Barbara Gray doesn’t cotton to being referred to as “sexy” by bookers or club-owners. Apparently, not because she is offended, but simply because it isn’t true. To wit:

from The Barbtian Chronicles

Imitation of Imitation of Life

“Oh, momma. Stop acting!” — Susie (Sandra Dee) to Lora Meredith (Lana Turner) in Imitation of Life.

Believe it or not, this amazing photograph of Lana Turner is not a still from one of her movies. It was taken during an inquest into the stabbing death of Johnny Stompanato, her mobster boyfriend – in her bedroom! By her daughter, Cheryl! Quelle scandale!  Read Anne Helen Petersen’s fascinating account of Lana Turner’s career and escandalo at The Hairpin.

Image © Bettmann/CORBIS

Happy Pride!

Let’s not forget the debt we owe to the fags, dykes and trannies who fought at Stonewall almost exactly 42 years ago.

And this is an amazing photo, and captures just a bit of what I’m feeling tonight.

I just wish I knew how they came up with the name…

So, here I am gently mocking this jewelry made for crazy old cat ladies (i.e. me) – yet I’m sure the creator of the The Gold Cat is meowing all the way to the bank.


This ad was served to me on Facebook – I have no idea why. But whoever wrote these “tales” is a shonda to her people – and to mountain lions…

And yes, the cougar is “wearing” a Star of David necklace. And no, “aka a Jewish Sex and the City” is not sealing the deal.

Headline of the Day

Really, NYTimes? Though I guess it’s better just to write the headline and let the chips fall where they may – the jokes just write themselves.

Everyday I’m shufflin’…

This appears poised to be a Summer 2011 Anthem. And I love every dancer in this video. Can someone please teach me to shuffle?

The Tonys

I suppose in some sense, my love of Broadway and the Tony awards is stereotypical for confirmed bachelors of a certain age… But it also stems (again, somewhat stereotypically) from the love of performing arts that I developed as a teenager – the performing arts department in my high school was a refuge, a place where I could be myself and be lauded for it, rather than called sissy or faggot. And singing in the choir, acting in the school plays, taking drama class every single semester – it forced me to be brave, to do things that were intimidating, even scary, but that always left me feeling like I’d accomplished something, that I’d conquered some part of myself.

And it’s my own recollection of being on stage that makes live theater such an exhilarating experience – especially when it’s on Broadway, where some of the finest actors in the world perform eight shows a week. Whether it’s a comedy, a tragedy, a lighter-than-air musical or special-effects driven spectacle, my feeling when the lights go down is always the same – a pounding heart, always a bit (sometimes more than a bit…) teary-eyed as I think, “How lucky am I to be here at this moment?”

At any rate, last night’s Tonys were amazing – obviously more so than usual for me, since I’d seen three of the nominated plays. Neil Patrick Harris is a national treasure and frankly should host every awards show – except for those hosted by Hugh Jackman, who was just as great. Ellen Barkin’s acceptance speech after she won for The Normal Heart had me in tears. Nikki M. James, who won for featured actress in a musical, gave a delightfully kooky speech. Sutton Foster singing “Anything Goes” as she and the ensemble tap-danced into my heart had me cheering from my sofa. And Chris Rock had the best line of the night as he presented the award for best musical. It was pretty much a forgone conclusion that The Book of Mormon would (correctly) win best musical. Before reading the nominees, he said, “This is such a waste of time, like taking a hooker to dinner.”

And then there’s this – Frances McDormand’s post-win mugshot from backstage. How can you not love this madness?

And enjoy these clips of NPH showing how this awards-hosting business is done – along with a little help from Hugh Jackman. So swooning…

Kate Brings It

Not only is this hat fabulous, her phone reception is superb.

And I think she’s stage-whispering, “Hands off my boob, Wills – we’re in public.”

from Dlisted

The rich get richer…

So, I love a bargain, just as much as the next person. I just recently decided I’m going to buy a new bike soon. It’s not the most expensive bike, but it’s not cheap either. Whatever the case though, I’ve made a decision to spend this money on this product…

And, because I’m lucky enough to have a good credit score and like doing lots of online research, I got a new credit card that will, once I purchase this bike, give me enough bonus miles for a free airline ticket anywhere in the U.S. – simply for spending money I was planning to spend anyhow.

I mean, I guess this is the essence of capitalism. But it’s always struck me as wrong that the more money one has/spends, the more free shit one gets. On a personal level, “yay for me!” But on a societal level, “ew gross.” Those of us lucky enough (and yes, it’s totally luck) to be doing OK get more free shit. And those of us (not me!) who are as rich as Croesus get so much free shit it’s unbelievable. What a world!

And yes, I guess I’m a hypocrite for even writing about any of this, since I’m so looking forward to my next free trip to NYC. Sigh… Capitalism is a bitch.

Perche, Olive Garden?

I’m not a particular fan of chain restaurants – but I realize that they serve a purpose. I have even eaten in more than one – though typically in places like Honolulu, Dallas or the Cancun airport, where dining options are not on par with places like SF or NYC.  So, while they may not be to my taste, I don’t bear them any particular ill-will.

Save, that is, for the Olive Garden. I just hate them so much. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten in one – though I am quite confident that the food is lousy. But that’s not why I hate them.

I can’t stand that they portray themselves as serving food that is in some way authentically Italian. They crow about their “Tuscan cooking school,” which I was shocked (shocked!) to learn is fictitious. But one need look no further than what they actually serve to know that this food is the opposite of Italian cuisine, which often relies on fresh and simple ingredients – not factory-prepared, fat-laden, reheated gut-bombs.

Their latest “specialty” is something they call “pastachettis” – cheese-encrusted, cheese-stuffed pasta, served with sausage covered in a “sun-dried tomato Alfredo sauce” (whatever the fuck that is) and then topped with mozzarella. This single entree contains over 75% of the calories that an adult should eat in an entire day – and twice the fat. And don’t even get me started on the concepts of primi piatti and secondi piatti.

So, yeah, that’s all gross and annoying – but what chaps my hide the most is the pronunciation of “pastachetti.” Obviously, it’s just a made-up name (like an “enchirito” from Taco Bell) – but if they really want to stick to their ruse of “authenticity,” Olive Garden needs to at least learn the language!

As spelled, “pastachetti” should be pronounced with a hard “c”. In Italian, “ch” followed by an “e” or an “i” is pronounced like the “k” sound in English. But Olive Garden is pronouncing “ch” phonetically, following the rules of English. In Italian, a “c” followed by an “e” or an “i” is pronounced “ch” – for example, La Cenerentola, fettucini, ciao. (And as long I’m ranting, to all who order bruschetta in public, it takes a hard “c” due to the presence of the “h” after the “c” – “brooshetta” is not a thing.)

Also, to pluralize an Italian word, one adds “i” or “e” (depending on the gender of the word) – not “s”. So calling this grossness “pastachettis” is nonsensical – it is already pluralized.

Finally, the slogan, “When you’re here, you’re family” makes me hurl. Especially in extra-creepy scenarios like this one in which the mom seems to be hitting on her son…

Une semaine merveilleuse à NYC

Four trips to NYC in the last six months – I was going to say I’ve fallen back in love with the city, but I don’t think I ever stopped. I simply wasn’t spending time there…  Now I just need to win the lottery so I can afford an apartment. Sigh…

Arrived Wednesday without incident and was welcomed with antipasti and a bottle of wine chez Ralph. A good night’s sleep and then a morning walk before work to Murray’s for a bagel with cream cheese and bacon (dairy and pork on a bagel – so many rules broken!). Swung by Rocco’s for a cannoli, only to discover it was being “remodeled” – at the demand of the Health Department. Quel dommage! If there were any rat feces in my cannoli last time I visited, I didn’t notice.

Dinner Thursday evening at Le Gigot. We sat at the bar and had a good meal – steak for me, boeuf bourguignon for Ralph. We had excellent wine and a very friendly bartender, who I regaled with jokes (“Would I? Would I?” “Hunchback! Hunchback!”). I’m sure he breathed a sigh of relief once I’d finally left. Oh, and Ralph shushed me at one point, if that gives any indication of my demeanor…

Friday spent working hard – and discovered how to tether my netbook to my EVO. The 4G connection on my phone was WAY faster than a wired connection to Verizon DSL. Oh these modern times!

Took a lunch break and got a turkey sandwich at Torrisi Italian Specialties. I’d read that the pepper sauce on the sandwich combines with the mayo to create heroin. I would not argue with this hypothesis… Also had a quick stop at the New Museum to see Cronocaos. A fascinating take on the preservation of architecture in the modern world…

Friday night, Ralph and I headed to Lincoln Center to see War Horse. The story was perhaps not the most subtle or nuanced piece of theater – but the horses on stage were completely magical. There’s really no other word for the puppetry that brought these animals to life – they were the most engrossing, engaging and poignant characters on the stage. I’m honestly welling up with tears as I write this, just remembering how incredibly alive they were, whether they were galloping around the stage, rearing up on their haunches or standing nearly still, nickering while their ears twitched. It was a theater experience I will never forget.

Post-theater dinner at Rosa Mexicano, a really cool looking place just down the street from the theater. Guacamole made tableside, margaritas, giant slabs of beef – all was right with the world…

Saturday: le shopping! Made the usual stops at Uniqlo, Topman and Ben Sherman. I bought the most adorable pair of cropped khakis from Uniqlo – and they fit perfectly! Sadly, though, to quote Michael Kors, the crotch was insane, so I had to return them (by which I mean I told Ralph to return them once I’d flown back to SF since I’d forced him to pay for them – because I didn’t want to try them on at the store and figured he’d have an easier time returning them if they were on his credit card. So really, I was just being polite!). Also, a trip to K-Mart (in Manhattan – I know!) so I could pick up a beach chair. Priorities, people!

That evening we saw The Normal Heart. It was preachy, statistics-laden, heart-wrenching, polemical – and marvelous. Joe Mantello turned in an amazing performance. And Ellen Barkin (!) delivered a monologue in Act II that elicited sustained cheers and thunderous applause.

Dinner was going to be at Maria Pia, a nice little Italian place I’ve been to after the theater a couple of times. But the kitchen closes at 11PM! In New York! On a Saturday night! WTF?! Boo, Maria Pia!

So we wound up at Uncle Nick’s for some Greek mezes – roasted peppers, tzatziki, scordalia, etc. All really tasty. But the tastiest thing of all? Our adorable Greek waiter. Seriously. Handsome as the day is long, with a charming smile and a twinkle in his eye. He must rake in the tips from all the swooning ladies and dudes-who-like-dudes. Quel bateau de rêve!

Of course, since we were in the neighborhood, a visit to Posh for some drinking and dancing was in order. It was as fun as always…

So, Sunday. We didn’t arise quite as early as we’d hoped. But we still managed to make it onto the 1:30 ferry to Sandy Hook. A wonderful ride past the Statue of Liberty and then a lovely afternoon laying on the beach and walking along a huge and nearly empty expanse of sand adjacent to the main beach. The water was too cold for swimming, but what a wonderful afternoon. The boat ride home took us under the Brooklyn, Williamsburg and Manhattan Bridges – twice. It was a perfect day…

A late dinner in the East Village at Arcane. It was late and still delightfully warm out. Cucumber-coconut soup and pork curry for dinner, reggae music and a leisurely walk home. It was a perfect evening…

Monday was for walking. A subway ride up to the Armory to see the amazing Ryoji Ikeda installation, which was rapturous. A stroll down Park Avenue, where we debated which building was sufficiently lovely to actually warrant buying a co-op in the boring Upper East Side after acquiring winning lottery tix. A snack and a couple of glasses of rosé at The Drunken Horse, followed by a marvelous walk along the Hudson.

Dinner that night at Morandi, where I had a very delicious and dainty plate of hand-rolled pasta with lemon and parmigiano. Ralph had a veal cutlet that was larger than his head – and had no problem eating every bite. For dessert, I had a plate of excellent cannolini and some moscato d’asti. Another wonderful evening.

Home to pack, a brief but good night’s sleep (530AM pick-up!), on-time from JFK – and I was back in my office in SF before noon. And already plotting when I can make my next visit…

So spooky!

Yes, I realize I haven’t posted in ages. I was in NYC and just too busy and having too much fun to stay parked in front of my computer. And since I’ve returned, the combination of jet lag, a work-sponsored karaoke outing and previously scheduled massage, I just haven’t had the time. But I plan to post a recap of my NYC adventures soon.

In the meantime, my Swiftkey predictive keyboard (a.k.a. Skynet) continues to learn at a breakneck pace – and it has also developed either prescience or consciousness (maybe both?). As is my wont, I was listening to Rihanna at my desk this morning and doing the robot – and my friend Ralph likes to be kept apprised of my dance moves, so I started to text him. AND SWIFTKEY KNEW THAT I WAS LISTENING TO RIHANNA! This is even more amazing when you consider I was listening with headphones. Even the people sitting on either side of me couldn’t have known what I was listening to! What a world…