Monday, December 31, 2007

Everything I Consume: The Bugle

Pour a glass of egg nog, take a sip of that egg nog, spit that egg nog on the floor and then pour that egg nog out the window.
If you've been missing The Daily Show and The Colbert Report during the writer's strike (and who hasn't?) you can get your dose of Daily Show correspondent John Oliver and partner Andy Saltzman on the weekly podcast The Bugle: Audio Newspaper for a Visual World.
Christmas to me, John is like a self-assessment tax return. It comes around once a year with the dread inevitability of a car crashing into a bus stop, you always leave it to the last minute, it's ruinously expensive and its always slightly more fun than you anticipate.
It's hilarious and the latest episode is a best of 2007 so you can get right up to speed.
Looking at the environmental state of the world it does seem increasingly clear that it has been designed with built in obsolescence making it very much like a Japanese TV, milk and women.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas with the Sonnenscheins

First off, the Secret Santa thing worked out fine. My Santa-ee liked his present. He's a weird guy, I met him in the subway that morning and for some reason he peeled off across Park Avenue South and away from our office before realizing his mistake despite working in our office for over two months. Anyway, he said he liked his gift. I got the same present I got last year, a $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card. Nothing wrong with that.

The family is having a great Christmas. The Saturday before Christmas we went to Dyker Heights to see some very elaborate Christmas decorations. Check them out here.

We spent Christmas Eve in Manhattan checking out the big Rockefeller Center tree. Then we went to Top of the Rock. The views were spectacular and the set up is very nice, much better than the cramped Empire State Building. You can watch inside or outside but I got a little freaked out holding Owen outdoors on the 70th floor. I kept having visions of a wind gust blowing him away.

After that we went to Grand Central Station to check out the excellent train show at the Transit Museum store and see the ceiling light show.

Christmas itself was a lot of fun. I think we all cleaned up. Gwen loved her many princess products and her new Magic School Bus and Marvel Adventures: Fantastic Four books. I think The Wife loved her new necklace, 30 Rock TGS t-shirt and boots (later exchanged). I got a pair of slick shoes (later exchanged), a Sidney Crosby t-shirt and some great books. I think Owen liked his gifts, at least I know Gwen likes playing with them.

This was the first year in memory that nobody got any DVDs instead we got a Roomba. The entire family watches it's hour-long cleaning excursions through the apartment. Will it suck up the tree skirt? Can it get over the rug? Will it find Owen's mess under the dining room table? Why won't it go into Gwen's room. Truly, fun for the entire family and Gwen loves having a robot in the family.

Another highlight was this set of small statues of U.S. presidents from our friend, Dave. As you can see, we love it.

Check out the detail.

Anyway, besides the orgy of gifts the family has been spending lots of time together and generally taking a break after an exhausting year. Hope you had a great holiday, too.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I Kinda Totally Screwed Up My Secret Santa

This year I was doing great with my secret Santa gift. Last night I quickly took up The Wife's offer to regift her secret Santa present from her office. It was some hot chocolate and a little thing of coffee in a Godiva bag with some tissue paper on top. It was perfect. But then the combination of Jewish and Catholic guilt that has wrecked my life took over and I decided I needed something else, like a tumbler. So, I went to Starbuck's today and found a create-your-own tumbler thingie. After a short wait behind an older women who was having some problems with her gift card (I used every ounce of mental strength I possess to block out the details) I brought my mug to the regsiter. The barista asked me if I wanted coffee. Foolishly, I said no and explained I was buying the tumbler. The barista laughed and said he didn't even know they sold those. Then I realized I'd blown it. I could have gotten the tumbler for the price of a venti coffee only I would have gotten the coffee too. Then I could just wash the mug and include it with my secret Santa present. It would have topped Elain Benes' Boggle Bar Mitzvah gift on the chaep scale. It would have been awesome but I blew it.

I have a cold; I shouldn't be drinking coffee anyway.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Happy Birthday Little Man!

My little guy, Owen turned one last week. He's a lot of fun whether chomping on his bananas, crawling all over the place and putting whatever he can find in his mouth. Sometime Owen gets overwhelmed by his identity as the second kid or Gwen's brother but he's got a lot going on in his own right. He loves to laugh and check everything out whether by sitting in his high chair sticking his head to see what Gwen is watching or crawling someplace and grabbing something he shouldn't.

Anyway, here's a slideshow of what Owen's been up to.

Friday, December 14, 2007

This May Amuse Only Me

So my company sent out an e-mail this morning saying they had updated everyone's e-mail signature. Unfortunately, most people don't seem to know they have to personalize it. Every internal e-mail I've gotten today has had this at the bottom:

That First M. Lastname, he does it all around here.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Everything I Consume: Murder in the Mist

This was a decent enough book. Nice dialogue, a little slow-moving but there was some nice local color. You know what? It doesn't matter because it was a Dell Mapback.

What's a Dell Mapback? Go here. Really, go and take your time. I'll be here when you get back.

Was that amazing or what? Every book should have a map on the back whether it's H.G. Wells, or Louisa May Alcott, or John Steinbeck, or The Bible or a guide to HTML programming. It works for Westerns, Adventure, Non-Fiction, Sports, and of course, Mysteries be they locked-room or hardboiled.

The front covers are pretty good, too. Some are like air-brush porn. Some are just plain weird. OK, many are just plain weird.

Honestly folks, would you rather look at a book of Picassos or a book of these?

The titles are great as well. Here's a quick sample: Fire Will Freeze, The Rat Began to Gnaw the Rope, Kiss the Blood Off My Hands, Owls Don't Blink, The Body Missed the Boat and Death of a Bullionaire.

What could these books possibly be about?

Here are some Dashiell Hammett Mapbacks, I know Steve's a busy man.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Everything I Consume: Live Free or Die Hard

From a July post of Faith and Fear in Flushing:

…I laughed a great deal during the latter portions of Lo Duca's epic at-bat when Keith Hernandez compared Paul to Bruce Willis. What, you mean like Die Hard? asked Gary Cohen — who admitted during some desperate blowout chatter that he doesn't go to the movies during the season. Between pitches, the announcers tried to remember the name of the latest Willis action thriller, one whose exploding title (Live Free or Die Hard) chewed up much screen space during ads on Mets telecasts not two weeks ago. Gary's guess was Die Hard and Like It.

I can't say why for sure, but that cracked me up. Die Hard and Like It. Captures Hollywood's sequel ethic perfectly. Describes what this road trip has become, too. Anything one finds funny as a 17-7 decision and a four-game losing streak go final must be worth staying tuned for.
The Wife and I caught LForDH last night and it was pretty good. I'm a sucker for Bruce Willis and the Mac guy from the Mac vs. PC commercials was good, too. No one else has Bruce Willis' gleeful worldweariness. He's one of the few people who will always get me interested in seeing a movie. I have distinct memories of all the Die Hard movies except for the first one which I've only seen in bits and pieces. I think Die Hard was the frst movie I can remenber as being marketed as a movie you had to see on the big screen.

If you were in New York in the summer of 1994 you couldn't avoid the shooting of Die Hard 3. They were closing down whole sections of Manhattan for it. But filming ran late and the city ran out of patience. Less and less of the city was being shut down. One night, I was walking home down LaGuardia Place and I walked right through the shoot as a beleaguered women yelled at people to get out of the shot but nobody seemed to care. I looked in the street and saw Bruce Willis standing patiently in the middle of the road waiting for the camera to roll. When I finally saw the movie the next summer I was living in Santa Monica and missing New York terribly. I don't remember much about the movie because I was pretty drunk when I saw it but I learned it's a bad idea to see a movie about water when you really have to pee.

I saw Die Hard 2 a year later after I moved back to New York. It was shown on CBS and because of that much of the dialogue had to be dubbed. You know, the swear words. Often, actors dub non-swaer versions of their dialogue during shooting for the broadcast version. This was not the case with Die Hard 2. I believe a gentleman form the south dubbed Bruce Willis' lines and they were re-dubbed in mid-sentence. It was awesome. This led to lines like "You're not such a RASCAL after all." "I'm just your kind of RASCAL," and the immortal, "Yippy-kay-yay, MISTER FALCON."

Let's all live free or die hard in the coming year, readers. You're my kind of rascals.