Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Hillary for President?

With the primaries for the 08 election only a year away suddenly America is all into early preparation – we could use some of that over in homeland security. People all around me seem obsessed with one question – it’s the same question that they’ve been obsessed with since 2000: What do you think about Hillary running for president? Seven years of thinking and I still don’t have a satisfactory answer.

The reason why I can’t decide on my feelings about Hillary are all tied up with the somewhat questionable way that I choose to spend my votes. As a member of the cynical generation I have never been inspired by a politician in a way that made me sure that they could lead me to the America of my dreams. Most election years I grudgingly get inline behind whomever I’ve deemed is most promising despite my (often many) reservations. How I determine “most promising” is complicated. Much of it has to do with party affiliation and how much the candidate playing to the whims of the populace has annoyed me. I don’t believe that I am capable of truly knowing where a candidate stands. Campaigns are serious branding initiatives these days and I never feel like I know a candidate, I can only guess at their true feelings and hope that public claims are at least somewhat true. Because I do not feel like I have reliable information to guide my decision I often tend to get caught up in the symbolism of an election outcome. Hillary’s presidential bid is fraught with the following two pieces of conflicting symbolism:

  1. I want to live in a country where gender equality is so advanced that the majority of people will vote for a qualified female presidential candidate.
  2. I want to live in a country without a political nobility class, a place where the “American” dream is possible for everyone, a place where anyone (given enough smarts, drive and insanity) can be president.

If Hillary gets elected I get to at least hope that we’ve finally accomplished (1) but I’ll have to give up a little bit more on (2) if our presidential line goes Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton. If Hillary loses perhaps I can go back to believing that anyone can be president but it’s four more years where America feels behind on the gender front (behind England, Germany, the Philippines, Iceland, Malta, Nicaragua, Liberia, etc).

I don’t think a woman is certain to do a better job at being president than a man. I think it is unfair to categorize women as competent or not based on gender stereotypes ("Women are more compassionate.", "Women would not be able to declare war.", "Women are too led by their emotions.", "Women care too much about china patterns."). We’ve had 42 men lead our country, certainly there are women who could have done as good a job – certainly there are women in America today who could have kicked George W’s ass at the presidenting! I really want to root for Hillary because as a woman in America, she’s my only option when it comes to hoping that I have the same value in this country as my male counter part.

Just as there must be women out there who are not being allowed to lead out country because of their gender there are certainly people not named Bush or Clinton who would make great presidents. I’m frustrated that as a country we don’t seem capable of thinking outside of first families when it comes to presidential candidates. Just from a probability standpoint it seems unlikely that the best future president just so happens to be related to the guy who ran the country 8 years ago.

Everyone I talk to seem concerned that Hillary isn’t electable. Time Magazine has her ahead of the pack (and I’m sure that the poll taken 22 months before the election is totally reliable.) but that’s not good enough. Democrats (all of whom *REALLY* want to win in 08, myself included) are concerned that most of America hates Hillary. I’ll grant you that a lot of people really seem to hate her, though I don’t understand why (I googled “Why do you hate Hillary Clinton?” and all I got in a fear of her “peeing standing up” and assertions that once elected she would unleashed an undefined liberal hell.) and I’m not at all convinced that she has more enemies than George W Bush had in 04. Anyway, guessing at electability, especially over a year in advance of the election, seems futile.

How do I feel about Hillary running for president? I’m happy that we can finally have a viable female contender. I’m sad that she needs to have a famous name.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Thank you USPS!

Gillian has already posted about her love for the US Postal Service and I have to belatedly back her up. I'm constantly amazed that the mail works at all and impressed at just how well it works. I stumbled upon this site a few years ago and have been amused and in awe ever since (the temptation for enacting my own experiments in postal tomfoolery is also increasingly hard to repress as I give this page a new read). My favorite highlights:
Rose. Postage and address were attached to a card that was tied to the stem. Delivery at doorstep, 3 days, beat up but the rose bud was still attached.

Molar tooth. Mailed in clear plastic box. Made a nice rattling sound. Repackaged in padded mailer by unknown individual; the postage and address had been transferred to the outside of the new packaging. A handwritten note in a woman's writing inside read, "Please be advised that human remains may not be transported through the mail, but we assumed this to be of sentimental value, and made an exception in your case." Days to delivery, 14.

Coconut. Fresh green coconut containing juice, mailed in Hawaii. Delivery at doorstep, 10 days.

It was a good day for mail at Random Access Babble HQ.

Firstly, a miracle occurred. Last night at 10:01pm EST I ordered these shoes from Zappos.com as a replacement for my Draven slip-ons which, despite an over abundance of cute did not hold up to the NYC lifestyle in the sole department. Anyway, Zappos offered me free 2 days shipping because they are awesome so I figured I'd have my shoes in time for the lazing around that I have penciled into my Sunday schedule. Today when I arrived home at 7:00pm a Zappos box was resting against my front door. I was sure that someone must have sent me a belated birthday gift of shoes (which would obviously be well received and result in a big sloppy thank you kiss) because it would be impossible for my order to be processed and my shoes shipped out and delivered in less than 24 hours. But I look down at my feet now and I see cute little hearts and so must start believing in miracles (or at least some sort of shoe Santa).

Update: Received an email from Zappos at 2:31am confirming that they had shipped my order... curiouser and curiouser....

My second pieces of mail was also something I was anticipating. Last night on the phone my dad said that he had sent me "an envelope" when I inquired about the contents he would only say that it was "something he found in an old house [he's] working on" (Dad owns a small construction company). I was excited enough about this surprise that the envelope was actually opened before the Zappos box (meaning Dad won out over shoes -- this must be one of his proudest moments). Inside was a small wooden ladybug magnet (no note, how very dad-like).

Long ago I went through that adolescent girl phase of defining ones self through collecting thematic junk. My theme of choice was ladybugs (it sounds ridiculously cliche until you consider that the other options were dolphins and unicorns). This relatively short lived phase was followed by at least 2 years of Christmas eye rolling and me begging my mother to quit with the ladybugs already. The message finally sunk in and today I rarely receive ladybug themed gifts but occasionally mom and dad revert and a ladybug token or card arrives on my doorstep and I can't say I mind anymore. The closer I get to full fledged adulthood (perhaps, some would argue that 29 is clearly 100% adult but I'm clinging to denial) the happier I am to be reminded that I am still someone's little girl. I cannot thank the USPS enough for bringing me this little souvenir to remind me that a few days ago 3000 miles away my Dad mentally sent a little unconditional love my way.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Stepping it Up

James Randi is taking his million dollar paranormal challenge to the next level.

From Wired:

Randi says he'll start actively investigating professional mind-readers and mediums for proof of criminal fraud, or opportunities for civil lawsuits. Like Elliot Ness stalking Al Capone, he's not above busting a psychic for tangential infractions like tax code violations or an SEC matter.

At the same time, the foundation will choose six to eight high-profile targets each year, meticulously outline their claims, and then call them out one-by-one.

"We're going to pick people every year and hammer on them," says Wagg. "We're going to send certified mail, we're going to do advertising. We're going to pick a few people and say, we are actively challenging you. We may advertise in The New York Times. This will make the challenge a better tool, to be what it is supposed to be."

The foundation will launch this public-shaming initiative with a list of four targets, including self-proclaimed medium John Edward, and daytime talk show darling Sylvia Browne, who claims she can tell the future and see angels.


Edward didn't respond to an e-mail query for this story; Browne didn't return a phone call, and neither responded to several minutes of intense concentration.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

I am not a Zombie Beast

Or maybe I am. My new eye doctor can’t say for sure whether or not I sleep with my eyes open but even if I do this is not the cause of the horrible eye stinging which has gotten progressively worse and has made friends with extreme light sensitivity, blurry vision and an appearance that screams “I was up all night doing shots of Everclear with the guys from Poison.” (would that I were that cool.) My new eye doctor seems like a nice guy, he gave me lots of information and was sad to hear that old crappy eye doctor misdiagnosed me so badly – he really did not deserve to have his office infected with my toxic eye virus.

Turns out I have Epidemic Keratoconjunctivitis (EKC for short) in both eyes. Since at least one of the readers of this blog suffered through 6 months of cancer treatments I can't complain too much about my pathetic little eye disease (Dear Amy, thanks for ruining sympathy for EVERYONE.). That said it seriously sucks. The highlights:

  • No real treatment options
  • Could take a few weeks or AS LONG AS A YEAR to clear up

It’s also extremely contagious, though mostly in the first few weeks and I’ve had the virus for about 2 months. Thus far all of my friends seem eye death free -- clearly I have good taste in terms of immune system strength (one of the most important traits in any friend). As far as I know I’ve never had any illness that would be characterized as an epidemic and I must say that the diagnosis makes me a little excited. Because of me all of the nurses had to don rubber gloves and begin scrubbing down the entire doctor’s office with bleach. Because of me no one can linger in the waiting room perusing the January 1 2007 issue of Newsweek (I was asked to put it into the hazardous waste bin). I felt bad for the extra work and the lost opportunities to read about the death Gerald Ford but I also felt a bit like a super villain. I am obviously easily corrupted by even tiny amounts of power.

Looking on the brightside in addition to a my new identity ("RedEye" -- super outfit-wise I’m thinking of some cute red and white striped tights, a red leather bustier and a shiny white cape) though I can’t wear my contacts I did just purchase some very cute new glasses.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Providing Another way for Pervs to be Disappointed when They End up on my Blog

I just watched the Real World episode that I teased in my last entry on society's quick tumble into the trash dump of hell. I will not ever delete this program from my DVR because i know that someday when i'm feeling a little down because work imposes strict internet surfing restrictions or the only Trader Joes in New York City closes reviewing the following events will bring me great comfort:

Outward Bound Leader 1: Poo-ing in the woods in fun!
Outward Bound leader 2: If you're the kind of person who has to poop every morning at 6 am you might want to dig a hole before you go to bed.
Outward Bound Leader 1: When digging you should consider the size of what's going to be deposited... you'll want to spread your cheeks.... this stone is great for wiping! it's round and smooth!

Brooke: Can you use these (handiwipes) to clean your BEEP?
Colie: No, that would be like putting antibacterial Dial soap on your vagina.
Brooke: Well what do you use to clean your vagina?
Davis: Oh my god why are you people always talking about cleaning your vaginas?!??!

Outward Bound Leader 2 (on why Brook might have thought it was ok to wipe herself in the middle of camp): It could be a little confusing i mean we're out in the woods and we just had a lesson on how to poop in the woods, that isn't exactly normal.

Next episode: gay guy tried to sleep with crazy girl -- I guess seeing her wipe turned him straight.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

For Sale - original high quality matching pair of 34-d series breasts

I wrote this a few years ago as a joke and it was picked up as a "best of craig's list" post -- I thought I'd repost it here so that it doesn't get lost (and cause it's funny) (and cause I love boobs).

I have for sale one beautiful matching set of size 34 D breasts. When I say matching folks I am not fooling around not only did these babies come prepackaged together from the manufacturer but they are indeed twins in color, form AND size. This set is authentic in every way and made from pure human flesh completely saline and silicon free.

This set would make an amazing gift for a girlfriend who needs a little extra, a drag queen ready to really wow her fans or a lonely bachelor in need of a little lovin'. Personally, I don't know anyone who wouldn't be blown away to receive a gift of this magnitude why say it with flowers when you can say it with bodacious tatas?

You might ask why anyone would be willing to part with such a rare find. And though it pains me to see them go I have to acknowledge that I cannot provide the twins with the attention they deserve. Due to an unfortunate series of events* the girls are being forced to waste away their prime caged up and unattended to. I hope that their new owner can find a way to share them with the world and give them a more fulfilling
life than I have been able to provide.

No legitimate seller would expect you to take just her word alone on the quality of her merchandise so I am happy to provide you with the following testimonials:

"Me and my friend just kept asking her to slow dance over and over again at this wedding we were at." Freshman, Saint Johns High School, 14

"I nearly beat the shit out of my friend when he wouldn't stop telling me how nice my sister's tits were." brother, 22

Hey hot mama why doncha let me come over there and suck on those babies? Construction Worker Tino Giacomi, 32

As you would expect a product of this level of quality could cost you a pretty penny even imitation versions often retail for five or even ten thousand dollars. Today I am prepared to offer you a rare deal indeed, you get both breasts, the complete set** for a mere $20,000***. Supplies are obviously very limited so you would be wise to respond ASAP.

*Events to include but not limited to: a few pathetically boring first dates, a number of weird spontaneously disappearing boys, daily ogling without proper appreciation, occasional pawing and a general lack of positive male attention.

** Price excludes tax and transportation fees, buyer assumes all responsibility for installation and product up-keep.

*** Seller may be willing to trade for a new GTI or a credentialed gigolo.

Techie Food

As a foodie science geek I am endlessly fascinated by “molecular gastronomy” (a term apparently shunned by the cool kids but no one seems to be offering an alternative). Before tasting things like “Pickled Beef Tongue with Fried Mayonnaise” and “Coconut Milk Infused with Cardamom and Pureed Carrot with Maple Syrup Served "Sunny Side Up"” (both at left) I worried that the food might be all neato and no yummy but I was suitably impressed with the taste of most offerings when I dined at WD50 last year. I urge everyone to repress any initial eww reflex and give the food a chance should you ever have the opportunity.

This article on chow.com provides a good run down of the methods to food madness while retaining humor and avoiding snobbery. I was sad (though not surprised) that my dream of someday getting a table at El Bulli is destined to be dashed. A trip to Chicago is cheaper anyway – anyone for a tasting tour at Alinea and Moto this summer?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

This Just In: Brianna Still Loves Trashy TV

Last night I watched the second episode of Beauty and the Geek season three. I missed episode one because DVR rebelled against me and refused to record such tripe – we had a little talk about social analysis, the importance of staying in touch with mass media and how at the end of a long hard day in the office there’s nothing as rewarding as feeling superior to your fellow (wo)man and thankfully he’s back on bored.

The premise of the show is that beautiful girls can help geeky boys to overcome their social phobias and learn how to score with hot women and geeky boys can teach beautiful girls about how book learning can be rewarding and fun and there’s more to life than fashion and partying. Lofty goals for a show produced by Ashton Kutcher.

Last night’s episode had the boys drawing a nude model who babbled endlessly about boring crap. Of course the challenge was secretly to listen to her monologue not to focus on her huge tatas. One of the boys drew a picture of one of her gigantic fake boobs with 4 stick figure men orbiting and the title “Perfection?” He was of course rebuffed for not respecting women despite the fact that this was the most awesome thing ever. (and here I am loving boobs again… it’s a sickness I tell you). The intended lesson that men should listen to women (specifically women that they want to date) was overshadowed by the (one assumes) unintended lesson that women never have anything interesting to say. Viewers can’t really blame the Geeks for tuning out naked Sofia’s commentary on girly movies and fashion while trying to complete their assigned task -- they don't care about girly movies and fashion and nor should they have to. I guess if they want to sleep with Sofia feigning interest in her babble is a means to an end but a better lesson might be that beauty and interesting conversation are not mutually exclusive (you could probably even find a girl with enormous fake tits and something interesting to say if that’s your thing – it takes all kinds.).

The girls were told to study a book on the history of aeronautics and then were challenged to lead a tour at the California Science Center. There was no catch for the ladies’ task, if they studied they did well and if they didn’t they bombed and the whole thing was ridiculously boring. I suppose we’re all supposed to be amused by the girl’s mistakes and how stupid they are but they don’t seem stupid (or at least no more so than we’ve already been trained to expect), they seem lazy. Most didn’t study and so they have very little of interest to say. Lazy isn’t really amusing or attractive.

The show seems to have forgone any premise of getting the pretty girls to change. While they continue the pattern of giving the girls supposedly geeky (read: boring) materials and quizzing them on the content the show has ceased any attempt to suggest that the girls are in any need of growth. Being pretty is enough. Not that many of the girls seem interested in much beyond air time.

I think reality TV must be losing its appeal among Hollywood wannabes because there seems to be a general dearth of Beauty among the Beauties. I’ve always thought that the babes of reality TV were pathetically generic looking but some of these girls verge on actually being unattractive. The qualifications for the Beauty title seem to be thin, boobs reminiscent of Jello cups and a willingness to dress as if we are living under some extreme fabric rationing system. The Geeks don’t even seem that impressed (unlike in Seasons one and two when there was much drooling) – perhaps because they’re not really that geeky. Nate and Scotter, though both in need of a shave are actually pretty good looking and I suspect only in this for their own amusement (and the potential to win cash). According to the WB site Nate is the singer in a Star Wars themed band so I think it’s safe to assume that there are plenty of hipster ladies willing to teach him all about (real?) beauty (and if not he can call me). I think the problem here may be that Geeky is now cool (and I’m not just saying that to preserve my ego) and the plastic Hollywood beauty that pervades these game shows is no longer the ideal. These Geeks don’t really need to overcome their own personalities so that they can score with former playboy bunnies and car show models. The Beauties however could use a few life lessons.

In other news, here’s a shocker:

And in other bad TV news bonus points go out to the preview for this week’s Real World (which DVR is keeping warm for a chilly night with no suitable trash to snuggle up with) which featured the following 2 conversations both involving Brooke who I previously thought was the least crazy of the housemates:

Clip 1
(while preparing to leave on a hike)

Guide: Brooke are those shorts?
Brooke: No! Underwear! But the totally look like shorts, right?

(no, they do not, they look like black boy cut underwear – kind of cute I might add and you do have a smoking hot ass but these are not exactly hiking friendly or, you know appropriate to wear as your only below the waist attire while on national television)

Clip 2
(near camp fire)
Guide: Brooke you can’t just wipe in the middle of camp!

(Mama must be so proud. She is still the least trashy girl on the show since I’ve yet to see any of her pixilated and she seems to have refrained from sleeping with frat boy Alex (unlike the other 2 girls who checked this off of their list within 48 hours of moving in)).

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Recycling German Style

This book proposing new uses for everyday objects is fascinating (the cd case green house and the whisk as cotton ball dispenser are both brilliant).

But I have to question this:

How did we get here?

1. My cute tummy is out in the open with no adornment at all! I think she feels sad and ugly.

2. My cute underwear are hidden under my lederhosen (clearly Germany has avoided the extreme low rise fad) where no one can enjoy them.

Since I don’t see how elastic-less underwear stays up one assumes she has sacrificed covering her girl parts for the sake of “fashion”. This is the Britney Spears of Germany.


I’m assuming they are advocating the tea as a replacement for toilet cleaner not the toilet as a replacement for a kettle…

Sunday, January 07, 2007

No Kids; Plenty of Opinions

I recently found out that most of my friends are freaked out by women breast feeding in public. I expect this from the boys (All of whom I'm sure have already backed out of this post), after spending most of your life sexualizing the breast bringing a baby into frame has to be shocking. The women I’m surprised at. They’ve all had breasts for at least a decade and I have to assume that in addition to objects of sexual desire their breasts have also been an annoyance, a point of pride, an embarrassment and most days a nonentity. Breasts play multiple roles in women’s lives and the role of bottle seems like a natural part of the repertoire. So why do they all seem so uncomfortable?

I understand discomfort and awkwardness. If a hungry screaming child were to rip through my womb and into my arms today I would probably toss a blanket over my boobs before the suckling began. I’m embarrassed by this. I would be covering up out of self consciousness and fear of judgment. In an ideal world I would not be embarrassed by my boobs doing the number 1 job that boobs were born to do (number 2 job: holding up that awesome tube top at my birthday party).

Having a baby is a pain. Babies are demanding and needy and loud. You don’t get to sleep enough or drink booze and I’m guessing it takes at least 2 years to teach them how to make dinner and wash the dishes. Making mom stay home in order to meet all of junior’s dietary needs seems cruel. Sure she can pump and leave a bottle with a babysitter (if you can find one). Sure she could use formula as a back up (if the baby will take it). Sure she could try to keep the baby on a strict schedule and only leave the house when demand for the boob is likely to be low (if she can get your errands done in that 3 hour window). But should she have to? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be breastfed until at least 6 months of age and ideally throughout the first year of life. 12 months is a long time to stay home with a baby. If women feel too uncomfortable breast feeding in public they’re probably going to stop breast feeding.

People generally seem willing to acknowledge mom’s need to get out of the house sometimes with mini me in tow. Most discussions of public breastfeeding eventually come around to the “Can’t she go into the bathroom?” suggestion. Where is mom supposed to sit in the bathroom? In addition to being pretty disgusting the idea of breast feeding while sitting on a toilet doesn’t sound very comfortable. I don’t see why a mother should have to go to so much trouble just to save everyone else from feeling a little squeamish.

I often feel like our country is obsessed with doing things for the kids. As a snobby singleton myself I’ve rolled my eyes at many a baby in a nice restaurant. I don’t think every place in America needs to be baby friendly. I’d like to avoid making too many allowances for children and parents. Choosing to have a baby does mean choosing to change your life style and parents shouldn’t expect the world to bend to their child’s demands. Screaming babies and unrestrained toddlers can adversely affect the atmosphere in an adult environment but I don’t see how a women breast feeding can be called an evening ruining event. I’d certainly take this image over a hungry baby audio assault.

Maybe I just like boobs (What’s not to like?). I don’t mind changing in front of other people. I don’t get bent out of shape about boyfriends looking at girl-y mags or stripers. I think women should breast feed wherever the hell they like. It’s her breast and her baby. I think the rest of us should all be a little embarrassed by our discomfort.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Skating Into the Future

Because I believe that God should be given ample opportunity to strike me down before I officially enter middle age I celebrated my 29th birthday on roller skates. God has once again allowed me to age (though he could still take me at 28 – he has until midnight tonight) as last night's festivities (despite involving alcohol) did not result in even one fall. The celebration was at the Roxy in Chelsea where everyone is still partying like it’s 1978. One assumes this is to permanently honor the year of my birth, it’s good to know that there are people out there with such a clear understanding of priorities.

Many party attendees were in fear for their life while rolling around the rink, most notably Amy, who at one point had her own security guard companion skating around with her trying to protect the Roxy from lawsuits (they were doubly protected since we all had to sign a waiver on the way in). Late in the evening one of the pro skaters decided to grab me and go very fast, at first I thought for sure I would die until I realized the freedom of no longer being responsible for my own life then I learned to enjoy watching the crowds fly by while being spun around at 30mph.

Skating is easy in comparison to trying to pee while on roller skates. Since I was appropriately dressed for the event I had to negotiate pulling my tube-top down (ideally without pulling my bra off) to get off the attached shorts, shimmy out of my nylons and underdutchies and then sit down all while trying not to let my feet escape under the door. Thank god that bathroom stalls have walls – the bathroom experience at the Roxy could be seriously improved by handles and some sort of skate lock-in device at the base of the toilet.

There are very few things more spirit lifting than watching a 45 year old man with light up roller skates busting out his far out disco moves. Who can bemoan getting older after that?