Friday, October 28

this post is mostly for Lind

linkcity, and I'm the mayor:

"Often there's this big focus on the sad elements in our songs," he tells the Pitch. "Often people exaggerate that side of what we're doing, of being these sort of miserablists, which bums me out a little bit because most of the songs are sort of even in their moments of euphoria and silliness and humor and sadness."

This emphasis is not surprising, however; after all, the National does misery so well.[whatta claim to fame!]


“Besides lately having someone go to the bathroom for me, I don’t feel very ‘rock star’ at all,” Ounsworth types, presumably half-joking.' [I'm not sure why the writer wrote "presumably half-joking"; does he think that maybe Ounsworth *does* actually have someone to go potty for him]


In the piles of the discarded and forgotten, he [Chip Kidd] finds many of his most haunting images, which often echo the emotional concerns found in the novels he's reading. ...In the piles of the discarded and forgotten, he finds many of his most haunting images, which often echo the emotional concerns found in the novels he's reading.


the Times ran a front-page story marking the 2,000th fatality -- plus four pages of photos of the dead inside. --a nice moment for the paper that's been having the Worst Month Ever.


Madeleine is not happy about this--but it did mean that I did not bike n drink last night.


And finally -- I really really really like the new Franz Ferdinand song. I will request it everywhere I go and then I will smile when the people dance.

Monday, October 24

words we wish we had

An article about words and expressions in other languages that are great. And then a follow-up article with even more examples of awesomeness from other languages. Oh, I really wish I spoke German. And could go to Germany. And then I could just use talk about my Kummerspeck after every breakup-kummerspeck, of course, being the " German word which literally means grief bacon: it is the word that describes the excess weight gained from emotion-related overeating."

Also, if we were in Germany and speaking German we could talk about the day after tomorrow with so much more ease.

Finally, in a wrap up of the word-talk, my mother used to tell me all the time not to hock me a chinik. Um, apparently, I was spelling her insult wrong in my head for all these years. According to Born to Kvetch, that should be spelled:
Hak mir nisht ken tshaynik. Spelled either way, it's a great insult, as all insults in Yiddish are: if you get to spit while you're speaking, you're using the premiere language for insults.

Sunday, October 23

who'd want photographic evidence of 13?

The Sunday Style section writes about Bar Mitzvah Disco , a book of bar mitzvah photos from the 70s and 80s that will be coming out in early November. The Times notes:

Of course at a basic level the construction of a grandiose stage for a four-foot boy in orthodontic headgear is the stuff of comedy.

Note that Madeleine was spared a Bat Mitzvah due to being raised a godless heathen. And because of not living in the suburbs: the article really highlights the connections between celebrating man/woman-hood of kids and conspicuous consumption.

I have a shiny nickel for anyone willing to email me ( a bar/bat mitzvah photo for me to display to my small corner of the internet.

link it:

Friday, October 21

Thursday, October 20

Books; Librarians; Sex

Someone asked me recently about, one of the great sites (along with that I used to go to all the time before so much of their content got placed behind a subscriber wall.

And this past tense feeling of both nerve and salon in my life--when they used to be goto sites--is why I still think that Times Select is a bad idea. Smart thoughts and writing that aren't easily accessable and aren't easily linkable are increasingly irrelevant in the world now.

Anyway -- I guess only time will tell with Times Select. Here's a little snippet of an article from nerve that is not behind any kind of subscription wall: it's about Sanford Berman, a librarian who urged the Library of Congress to remove certain subject offensive subject headings and cross references (like fellatio being cross-referenced under sexual deviancy).

Words and categories are important ways for us (readers of mad.'s blog ? americans? people?) to assert our values. See also my feelings re: usage of the word gay.

What are you reading?

New York Mag. surveys five NYers on what they read--from the Dr. Zizmor ads on the train to Plato's Republic. What have I read today? Lots 'o email; Antony & Cleopatra waiting for the doctor; trashy doctor's office mags waiting for test results at the doc's; skimmed the NYT waiting for my computer to be fixed.

I'm noticing a "waiting" and "reading" connection both in my habits and in a significant amount of the people in the NY magazine article. Reading is definitely a great use of the waiting time--but I'm nostalgic for when I scheduled in blocks of time to read.

Wednesday, October 19

Madeleine Hearts the New Yorker II (and Jews! and comedians!)

Here's Dana Goodyear (she used to be the Poetry Ed at the New Yorker, but I think now she's a staff writer?) quoting Sarah Silverman:

I don't know much about comedians --they kind of frighten me in their willingness to endure humiliation. The whole thing seems pretty awkward to me. Silverman, though, seems pretty damn funny in a caustic way.

more: TMFTML of Sarah Silverman/NYer article. Unlike me, he's gonna actually talk about the substantive issue in the article: can racist jokes be funny?

Just a reminder:

I really am a fun girl! Even the 1st Baptist Church knows it.

I expect full reportage re: my funness at prayer services & eulogies.

Monday, October 17

Top 2 Reasons Madeleine is Cranky

1. Someone stole my blinky reflector light from the back of my bicycle.

So, I understand stealing. I want stuff all the time, but I don't really enjoy paying. And I get why people would want to steal a bike--after all, I love bikes, and again, paying for my bike wasn't really fun.

But the reflector light? First of all, it was 12 bucks. Second, that's my safety! That's like breaking into a car and stealing the seat belt! It's just kind viscous and I don't like it at all.

2. Amongst other pieces of mail (read: bills) that I opened last night was a bill for a doctor visit in July 2004. Wait, did you read that fast? Maybe you didn't see how it was a bill from JULY--and not July of this year, but JULY OF LAST YEAR.

In July of 2004, I was only just barely 23. Now I am 24-and-a-half! And I do not remember seeing this Dr. Luis, and I do not want to give him or an insurance company money. I don't even remember being sick--who gets sick in July? If I hide really well, do you think the bill collectors won't see me?

Thank you for listening to my crankiness.

Saturday, October 15

this song is by Oneida

Last Labor Day weekend, when I somehow forgot that three day weekends are a time to flee nyc, I rode my bike out to Williamsburg to see Oneida with xxx.

xxx had told me about the show on Friday, but hadn't given me many details. I was confused when I got to the street where the show was--it was under the Williamsburg Bridge and pretty much in the middle of nowhere. I was pretty convinced for a solid five minutes that I'd been bamboozled -- there was no show, there was no venue, there was no xxx.

There were no stores on the block, and really only warehouse buildings. I don't know how the show was organized, and I'm kinda convinced it must have been illegal. Cause, can you do that? Just decide to have a show in a parking lot under the bridge and sell $3 red stripe? Apparently, if you stay for Labor Day weekend in ny, anything goes.

Anyway, seeing Oneida was great. By far, the best part was that they introduced every one of their songs by saying, "Here's another tune by Oneida," as if Oneida was some entirely unrelated and separate band.
The Voice writes about them having technical difficulties at the parking lot show, but I don't remember any.

link via Largehearted boy, and thanks!

I agree with this argument, but I hope when I say it I sound like less of a power-hungry douche.

Just because you disagree with someone does not mean that person is “gay” or “retarded.” These words, and others like them, are thrown around jokingly, but the misuse and abuse of such terms is really no laughing matter. It just shows how apathetic society has become, and it should not be tolerated.

Yee Haw: Day 2

I guess, actually, today is day 3 of the Austin Adventure. Last night was a big drunken ball of fun and mess. Photos TK, but basically, everyone was drunk. Your mom was drunk, your brother showed up hammered; we were all there, and we were all drinking.

There's nothing like a night of drinking being followed by a day of conferencing. Especially a day of conferencing that begins at 8:30. I showed up at 8:15 (cause I'm a dork; cause I 'm the organizer; cause I'm a youngest child and want everyone to love me the most) but three other coworkers beat me.

I like to claim that I do not get hangovers. What can I say? Sometimes I lie. I woke up this AM feeling decidedly uncomfortable...but don't feel too bad for me. The hangover was cured by a soak in the hot tub. Fun fact though -- before sunrise, even Austin is kind of chilly.

Also: I don't know who beat me up last night, but it's not funny at all how much my leg hurts right now.

Friday, October 14

Yee Haw!

I'm in Austin, Texas, so the blogging is a bit difficult. My internet access is coming from Schlotsky's Deli, perhaps the ONLY Jewish place in all of Texas? As my parents would say, "We hear that Austin is different from the rest of Texas." And by different, I think they mean civilized. Or liberal. Or closer to New York City.

Traveling yesterday was interesting. I was insanely early for my flight because I'm neurotic like that. My flight took place in two parts -- the first was on the Smallest Plane I've Ever Been On, and was to Detroit. I'd thought sitting in row eight was a good thing, since it would have to be in the front of the plane. In fact, that was the second to last row of the plane, and as we approached Detroit, the flight attendant warned us that if we hadn't flown on a tiny plane the landing gear was going to make a large cracking noise, and not be concerned. Umm, the large cracking noise was scary, but less scary than the fact that it felt like the landing gear was descending from below my seat!

We landed safely (duh! I'm writing now!) and the Detroit airport was uneventful.

The next flight to Austin was a normal huge plane. Also on the flight was a menagerie of puppies, babies, small brats, large brats, overwhelmed parents, and the baffled elderly.

A middle-aged gentleman sitting across the aisle from me got out his cell phone mid-flight and kept opening it up and almost turning it on. There was yearning on his face, the kind you don't usually see in the middle-aged. I tend to believe that he was engaged in an affair, and was finding it hard to wait until the landing to know if there was going to be a voicemail from his lover. Yeah, it was a LONG flight.

The other best part was the stewardess who with a complete lack of humor kept screaming out "Nuts for a dollar" and "Would anyone like my nuts? they're only a dollar." I am easily amused like a 10 year old boy.

And finally, for all my readers (ha! all! the 3 of you!) in rainy NYC: last night I spend a lot of time lazing in the hot tub on the roof. Yes. Be jealous. Tonight will be the drinking paid for by my job. (Free drinking = the best kind).

Monday, October 10

Coors: not punk rock at all

The Dead Kennedys canceled a show because it would've been sponsered by Coors.

You may remember that Coors employed Mary Cheney to make their brand gay-friendly after they got known as a homosexual-hating company. Check out this article for background on their unfriendly ways to the gay community.

I'm a sucker for earnestness -- and for the punk/political connection. Coors really is not punk rock at all--and conservative companies like Coors, and Dominos and Blockbuster piss me off. Companies donating money to causes that offend me is like being charged to use a credit card, only worse.

Also, Coors is a damn shitty beer. And when I call beer shitty--in between gulps of Bud--it's really bad.

Cookies; Books; Madeleine

Francine Prose on reading Veronica by Mary Gaitskill:[it's] rather like biting into a nightmare-inducing, virally loaded madeleine. I think I would have written about this article either way (I'm a big fan of Francine Prose) but the above sentence made it certain.

I'm so proud to be the most famous cookie in literature.

Reading Mary Gaitskill is a distressing experience. [Read this excerpt from the short story Tiny, Smiling Daddy, for a glimpse at her tone.] You can't trust her to love her characters. That said: her writing is tight, good, smart.

more later on this perhaps. But you know, it's all about me, so I just wanted to get the quote about madeleines out there.

Neurotic + Nicotine = Madeleine

If you last 19 years without smoking, you should feel happy, not wonder what will happen if you take just the one drag. I started smoking knowing I'd want to quit someday. That's the thing about starting smoking when you're 19--lung cancer is more than just a rumor.

Even after I was smoking, I never considered myself a smoker.

People who really smoke carry around their pack of cigarettes, but also a spare pack, for when the last cigarette of the first pack is sucked down. People who smoke schedule their life around smoking; I schedule my life around the library hours. Today, for instance, the Carroll Gardens Library is open until 8PM, so I'll be able to replenish my books after work.

So I'm not really a smoker. But starting Sophomore year, I smoked. At first, it was so casual. A drag off someone's cigarette at a party. A way to meet people at bars. A fun way to flirt. It got worse when I realized that the smokers, huddled outside in the entryway to the parties and gatherings, are the most interesting people not allowed in the room.

Cigarette prices went up in Boston, went up even more in New York City. I began to feel guilty about bumming cigarettes; battered packs and half-broken lighters made an appearance in my purse. I bought a larger evening purse, since my tiny old purse meant choosing between cell phone and cigarettes, which felt too much like Sophie's Choice for me.

I still called myself a social smoker, but wouldn't tell people that I went out nearly every night.

Not to worry; I created the "great quitting cigarettes" plan on the day of my second cigarette. I'm not really the kind of person that does long-term self-destructive things. Also, my dad is on the record as saying, "people who smoke are suicidal." So long-term smoking--that was never going to happen.

So starting to smoke led to the development of Smoking Rules and Regulations:
  • No smoking because of stress EVER.
  • No smoking during the day except if there was a really good excuse.
  • No smoking as a break from classes or work.
But most importantly, since I'd seen too many people refuse to quit because of the weight issue, no decrease in eating was allowed as a result of smoking. In fact, I took this rule so seriously that within a month of my first cigarette, I became the first person to gain five pounds from starting smoking. I'd wake up mornings, dehydrated from a night's drinking and smoking, and wanting nothing more than to go back to sleep. Instead, after reviewing the night, I would carboload with pancakes. I would order the trucker's special at diners, and insist on eating lunch afterwards.

After all these rules and regulations--after 3 increasingly difficult smoke-free Febuary's--it was truly a relief to quit. Life is simplier now that I'm not force-feeding myself, and asking people for judgement calls on the time of day at dusk.

And so you see, I do not miss smoking at all. I am so not the kind of person who would force people to blow smoke in my face. I do not purposefully walk 3 paces below smokers on the sidewalk. I have never forced an entire group of work folk to take a cigarette break and take me with them. I do not hang outside of bars on cold winter evenings pretending I'm one with the smokers. Right. Cause, you know, that would be kind of crazy.

Friday, October 7

the bad thing...

about biking to work is that sometimes it rains.

Like today. What's going on out there: a whole lot of water. The water's coming down in every rain metaphor you've ever heard: sheets, cats, dogs, waves.

And the bad thing about taking the train is that apparently the terrorists are out to get 'em. And also, everyone who's riding them.

So the big plan is to work until the rain stops? That might not's Friday. It's after 5PM. The beer is calling my name. And, you know, Madeleines don't melt.

Go Team Madeleine-Go!

In case you didn't know, there is in fact a Team Madeleine. You can join; membership is pretty open.

Team Madeleine convenes mostly in times of trouble. It may be that I've accused my parents of not being on my team in the middle of arguments. I'm like George Bush sometimes: you're either for me or against me. Umm, I just compared myself to George Bush. That's kind of alarming. Let's just move along.

Last night I went to see a show at Mercury Lounge. The show was good, even though smack in the middle, Julian told us "I'm not really feeling this show. Can we just admit this show is not really going well?"

I paid 12 bucks, so after that kind of self-reflection from the singer, I felt entitled to heckle my way through the show. Heckling's fun, so I had a great time, and to be honest, it was easy to heckle when Julian put a roofie joke on the table.

The best part of the show did not really involve Julian or the music at all. The highlight of the evening was definitely the incompetent cocktail waitress. She traveled sans tray, carrying two cups at a time back to the thirsty hordes. It was like her own bizarre Sisyphean task, because on each trip, she got about five additional drink orders.

On one trip, she and a man bumped into each other. It was crowded; the beverages were full; some beer was spilled. No one was really happy about this, but the stare the waitress gave to the bumping man was frightening. It was so scary that I had to tell the guy, "My god! It's a wonder you're still alive. That was the scariest look of death and hatred in her eyes EVER."

And then the man said, "Yeah, I know! Terrifying! Hey, thanks for being on my side-you can be on my team anytime.*"

In all seriousness, as a glasses-wearing, uncoordinated, physically-challenged person, opportunities to join teams have been rare in my life. So an open invite to be on a team...this is a GREAT and HISTORIC moment of my life.

*italics mine, cause I don't really believe that people ever talk in italics.

Thursday, October 6

Wear Sunscreen

Kurt Vonnegut is definitely a boy author. I've read lots of his stuff and enjoyed it, and don't mean that previous sentence to be any kind of an insult. Unlike Jon Stewart (aka my hubby), I would not say: 'As an adolescent, [Vonnegut]made my life bearable.'

Working in bookstores, Vonnegut was a go-to when mothers came in asking what their teenage son would like to read. [I also liked to recommend the Perks of Being a Wallflower, but that is a friend's pick that I stole.]

I'm not often a USA Today reader, mostly cause I like to read actual articles and not McNews Nuggets, but this interview of Vonnegut is really well-done. Not that he wasn't always there, but Vonnegut's gotten to the age where you really get the freedom to be as blunt as you want to be. So he gets to say things like "Our President is a twit" and yet still be an inspiring optimist.

Vonnegut is probably one of the only people that can utter the advice to "please notice when you are happy" without making me cringe. From Vonnegut, I'll take the advice and note it down.

Pretty Shiny Things Make Life Better

Yesterday I had the most boring yet satisfying adventure yet. How boring? Well, I was at the Gap. How satisfying? Well, I am wearing a blazer that looks quite similar to this one right now. (Hmm, the internet kinda let me down and I can't seem to find the exact jacket I actually bought.)

I also almost bought a
winter coat from KidsGap--it fit, but it kinda made me look like a snowball.

What's the point of this story? There might not be one. Or maybe the point is: some people believe in therapy, some people believe in prozac, but I believe in spending my imaginary money.

I'm going to add that I think the boringness of my life might correspond to the reintroduction of television into my life. I'll tell you all about that later: it involves a coaxial cable, a boy, and a dazzled roommate.

The end result of the reintroduction might have been Madeleine on the couch having quality time with the WB. And as I fell asleep--TV blaring--I wondered for a second if having TV back in my life was really a good thing. But then Seinfeld came on...and it was the Pony episode, which is so quality, and really, there's nothing so bad about TV. Right?

Monday, October 3

And they wonder why I hate children...

People wonder why I don't like kids -- but the children bring it upon themselves, really.

Just think about this Worst Moment of the Shift at the Law & Order retail job. As always, it's hard to choose, but I'll go with the worst moment being when a 4 year-old bratty girl took a break from her temper tantrum to point at me and say, "Look, Mommy. A monster!"

Ouch. A monster? And here I thought I was a nice Jewish girl.

Couches and Boyfriends: the secret connection

Some people deal well with being dumped: they lose weight, rediscover lost friends, write novels.

Not me: I tend to rediscover my loves of carbohydrates and wallowing.

During the Great Breakup of Valentine's Day, 2002, I was able to put down the carbs and quit the wallowing, mostly because of a single phone call with my dad. It's probably worth noting that my dad is a psychologist.

"Madeleine," my dad said on the fateful call, "dating is like buying a couch." At this point in the chat, I was just trying to pretend that I was not the kind of daughter that would cry into a huge bowl of pasta. So my response was, "Huh?"

"You go into a store, and you take a look at the couches. And pretty much always, you'll see a good one.
So, you know, you'll go over to the couch, and look at it a bit closer. You might sit down, see if it's comfortable. You'll take some time checking underneath the cushions --does it look clean? Is everything in decent shape?"

At this point, I was fully distracted from the pasta.

He continued, "Now, if you're comfortable sitting on the couch, you might lie down, see how that feels."

This part of the analogy was awkward. I'm pretty sure "lying down on the couch" = "sleeping with someone you're dating" and while my dad's a shrink, and clearly had his shrink hat on, he is still my DAD. One part of our relationship is that we all like to pretend that Madeleine only ever holds hands with boys. It makes the whole family more comfortable.

But awkwardness aside, I saw his point. And with that, my friends, I released the pasta. Dating is so much easier when you picture yourself at a Jennifer Convertible Store.