Monday, July 31, 2006

Nothing For Me, Thanks.

In his article in Sunday's New York Times, Damien Cave discussed the evolution of the hunger strike. I'm guessing the article was prompted by Saddam Hussein's personal 19-day hunger strike, which ended last week with a meal of beef, rice, bread, fruit, and a coke-- Ahhh. Carl's Jr. will be teaming up with a Kebab Hut (not affiliated with Pizza Hut) In Iraq to offer this strike-ending meal as the $6 Evil Dictator Burger.
All that food seems like a pretty elaborate meal. You know every one of those 19 days he was thinking about what he would eat when he finished the strike.
"Man, I'm looking pretty good. Maybe I should wane off this whole fasting thing with a salad or something with flaxseed. Hey guard, can I get a Chili's Quesadilla Explosion Salad up in this piece?"
"Damn. OK, hook a brother up with that Beef Combo."
Gandhi's first meal after each of his 17 hunger strikes was Orange Juice. God dammit Gandhi, live a little!
But the point of the article was to highlight that the hunger strike today is not the powerful political protest tool it once was. I'll eat to that.
Hussein would never be allowed to die on his own terms, particularly by a hunger strike. How embarrassing for the world justice system if the press release of his death was accompanied by a picture of him standing next to his fat pants. Anna Nicole Smith, Jared the Subway guy, and Saddam. It's not gonna happen. So during his hunger strike he was hospitalized, hooked up to an IV, and fed through tubes in his nose. In keeping with the Geneva Convention, however, chips and salsa were not on the menu. I found a rarely discussed clause that reads:
"You will eat so that you will live. You will live so that we can kill you. But we will kill you humanely with no crunchy snack foods forced through your nose. We, the nations of the world, have standards--and also, a great selection of soups."
I learned about this hidden gem ironically enough through Donovan McNabb's mother.
But it was an interesting article. It talked a bit about the beginnings of hunger strikes and how they actually did draw attention and in some cases, force-feeding to "prevent the spectacle of death." And that, "the force-feeding was as shocking as the starving." Well, I should think so. It's awkward to watch adults feed each other. Public displays of affection through giving each other food is bad enough. But watching one adult try to shove oatmeal down another adult's throat while they are pressing their lips tightly shut and shaking their head side to side is just embarrassing to witness.
Cave didn't hit upon it in his article, but it was during those early public force-feeding demonstrations that the "Airplane" and "Choo-Choo" techniques were first employed. So anytime you see a parent using one of those to get their kid to eat mashed peas, know that it is tied to brutal protest silencing tactics. Here comes the airplane, indeed.
But I think the true reason the hunger strike as lost it's shock power is that it has become mainstream. Blame Hollywood for "striking" daily to bring attention to a woman's right to wear size 18 months jeans. A hunger strike isn't a political statement in LA. It's Tuesday.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Language Barrier? Not with these phat beats.

So I put my music on shuffle and a fun little Brazilian song by Tribalistas came on. Ja Sei Namorar. I haven't listened to them in forever and I forgot how much i love them and how much Portuguese I speak. Listening to world music is the best way to learn a language because your mind remembers things better when set to song. Did you know that? Well, it's true. And I like knowing that a few cd's from abroad can serve as an ice breaker if I happen to meet someone who speaks little or no English.
Once in a cab in NYC I spent the entire ride talking to the driver in snippets of my favorite Punjabi songs. I thought this was better than not talking. I was trying very hard not to sing, but just let the words flow, like I spoke the language, and he would tell me what I was saying. Turns out it was something about jingling ankle bells and asking him to touch a scarf while i gave him my heart. Actually, this probably wasn't a great idea. If DJ Tanner got married walking around a kitchen table, this cabby is probably wondering where the hell his tone-deaf wife went.
But people appreciate it when you attempt to say things in their native language. I worked with this Serbian girl in Alaska who would quote one single song lyric almost exclusively when asked questions in English and I sort of loved it.
Hey, Valentina, how are you?
I'm so excited, I just can't hide it.
Valentina, a bunch of us are going on a hike after work, want to come?
I'm so excited I just can't hide it.
Valentina, are you so excited that you'd like to hide it, but unfortunately, you cannot?
I'm sorry, I don't know.
Damn you Pointer SIsters for not addressing irony in that terrible terrible song!
I'm trying to learn Italian now--or just watching a lot of Italian movies-- and i give people so much credit for speaking different languages. It's hard not to understand but equally as difficult not to be understood.
This Vietnamese guy, Ha, (that's his name.) used to scream at me when he thought he was being misunderstood.
-Jessica, watch out for Andy, he kills ladies.
-pause. you mean he's a lady killer?
(screaming) THAT'S WHAT I SAID!
I think he could have benefited from listening to the Hall & Oates classic a few times. You see, Ha, she's not actually going to chew you up, so you don't necessarily have to watch out, boy. It's metaphor.
Give you the fare/give you my heart. Murderer/player. Pomodoro/pomodoro.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

A Bit With A Dog.

In an advertising class I took in college, the professor talked about how any commercial will be successful if you add either a cute child or a dog and that most toilet paper commercials use both, because who wants to think about toilet paper? Then in a TV production class I took, the professor talked about an industry secret that you should never work with either a dog or a cute child because they can't respond to direction and you'll waste half the shoot cleaning up after them, hence the toilet paper i guess.
But I'm sorry, throw a cute dog on TV, and I'm there. if you don't stop channel surfing on a dog show, we probably aren't friends. Who doesn't LOVE a puppy?!
So Project Runway is hands down the best reality show ever. The Amazing Race is brilliant, but running around the world capturing flags and clues isn't reality, it's a game show. If you're not watching Project Runway, I'm inclined to ask you what your problem is. The show gathers together these insanely talented people, creative tempers, amazing design, fabulous accents, and this week, dogs! The challenge was to design an outfit for a dog and the "dogs owner" (the model), and it was awesome!
Side note, i really don't like when people dress their dogs up, actually, I'd go as far to say I hate it. Nessa recently got a miniature Pinscher and I told her if she started putting shirts on it and carrying it around in a bag I would never talk to her again. But I saw a bulldog outside Crepes on Cole the other day wearing a track suit and I broke. Dogs in pants is just funny. Dogs in track pants, well, I melt.
OK, so Project Runway is like my football season and I like to pick winners. Last year I called Chloe Dao from the first episode. This year is a toss but I'm liking Alison Kelly, or Uli Herzner, because with a name like Uli, you really can't lose.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Hide Your Love Away.

HEY true story. so remind me to tell you about the time I talked to Eddie Veddar about mac 'n cheese. Or, i guess, don't-- because that's the whole story. But wicked cool guy to be sure.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Dude, That's My Underwear.

Tia will be here tomorrow so i woke up early to do mad errands, including some much needed laundry. I love doing laundry on weekday mornings because no one is ever there, thus no fight for machines. In our neighborhood laundromat there's a dryer that gives you 10 minutes for a quarter instead of six. It's kind of a little secret but everyone knows about it so when there are other people there it's like an awkward stand-off/stare-down, sprint for that dryer. I like to avoid that, so this morning was nice.
After my wash was done washing, I happily took everything out and brought it to the 10 minute dryer, smiling. Yeaa, 4 free minutes! Stick it to the man! I went down to the coffee shop and got some tea, taking in some quality people watching, knowing i was about 30 minutes away from spring freshness. All good things.
So i make my way back to the laundromat and there's a guy standing by my dryer pulling stuff out. I thought to myself, oooh no dice, my friend, i got the 10 minute machine. But when I walked closer, I realized, um, that IS my machine.
-Um, excuse me? I think that's my dryer.
-Nope, it's mine.
This guy thought of everything!
-I don't know bro, we must have the same underwear then.
-Yup, we must.
Ok, footnote. I LOVE my underwear. I spent a small fortune at American Apparel so that I could have a George Costanza amount of their shorts. I love them. So i'm standing there thinking, maybe I could let him take everything but ask if i can keep my underwear.
But have you ever heard of this?!! I'm not sure if he was homeless or just weird but i was like, should i call the cops? Scream for help? so finally I say,
-look, I don't want to start a big thing, can you just put all my clothes back?
And when I said this i put down my things on a folding table, including this little cottage cheese container I keep my laundry quarters in and he heard the rattle and was like, "what's in there?" and i go, "cottage cheese." Then I roll my eyes, and i'm like, "quarters."
So he goes, "can i have them?" and at this point I'm pissed and i'm like, "well are my clothes dry?!!" and he's like, "not really." So i said, "well then I need 2 of them and you can have the rest." Which worked.
So he left and I waited for my stuff to dry, but I'm standing there thinking, was I just robbed? gah. but this guy totally had to go and throw off my morning chill. Luckily, there was some calming spring freshness to balance it out.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Not That There's Anything Wrong With That.

So in the August edition of her magazine, O, Oprah talks about her relationship with lifelong friend Gayle King(pronounced Gail, not Gay-le) and lets the public know that they are not lesbian lovers. Um, Ok. Thanks Oprah.
The media kind of put this out on the wire with breaking news importance. This just in, Oprah's not gay! Um, OK. Thanks news. When you wrap up that current events coverage could you highlight that little problem in the middle east? No? There's a few more powerful women who came out as straight? Ok, let's get to that then.
But why would Oprah even need to comment on this?! She's Oprah!! Anything she touches turns to gold, what was she afraid of? That if people thought she was a big gaymo there would be a rush on female upper arm tattoos in middle America and she'd have to start driving a Subaru? Oprah, it's cool, let them think what they will. If the lesbian community had Ellen, Martha (come on now, you know it's true), AND YOU, it might actually make the writers at the LWord create more meaningful storylines. (dana dies, let's all make out)
Oprah has become such an elevated icon she's more of a religious figure than anything else. Oprah isn't gay or straight. She's omnisexual. But if she felt she needed to set the record straight, so to speak, good for her. You're not gay Oprah, I'm glad you know. Just because you and Gayle call each other 10 times a day, you gave her a talk show, and the two of you have very hot sex, does NOT make you a lesbian. I GET IT PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

random, please help.

Does anyone remember that cereal commercial in the 80's or early 90's where the adult would eat it in their business suit and then shrink down to little kid size, stil in their grown up clothes?? I know it's random but i'm writing and need to use this. was it Life, maybe? or kix? gah, if you know, please tell me! cheers!

Saturday, July 08, 2006


I love watching Wimbledon because it let's me know it's summer. Growing up, 'Breakfast at Wimbledon' was something we took quite literally. We would wake up to watch a full morning of tennis with endless bowls of cereal knowing we didn't have to go to school, and it was great.
So I was watching a women's match the other day and the commentators were remarking on how much Maria Sharapova screams. Tennis is really the only sport I can think of where you can watch one player's emotions unfold throughout the match. Golf and bowling offer the possibility i guess, but people don't really scream during these games. Although, if bowlers screamed like tennis players when rolling the ball down the alley, I might be inclined to watch.
The announcers went on and on about how maybe she showed too much emotion and perhaps the officials might ask her to stop. It occurred to me that I never could have been a professional tennis player. Exercise has always brought out my potty mouth-- I can't help it. Remember the parachute in elementary school? I was like a sailor--'Make the effing mushroom you guys!" And I don't even realize it's happening until situations like a race freshman year when Lauren Volo yells over her coxbox, "Jess, you can't tell a coxswain to shut the fuck up." So this random rowing memory came to me and it was a little funny, i kept watching tennis, end of story.
Then, yesterday at work i was arguing with the guys over greatest all-time summer snack. They said soft-serve dipped in that cherry shell (good choice, but not the best), strawberries and whipped cream (yo, I'm a farm girl, you don't have to tell me), and Tri, the dishwasher said Korean BBQ. They must not have summer snacks in Vietnam. But the correct answer is Bomb Pops. And I went on to give an impassioned speech about popsicles and the rights of summer. Ok, end of story.
So last night, I get home and there's a big yellow envelope in the mail. I look at the return address and it's from Kristin Hammill. I immediately burst out laughing because I already know what it is. YEARS ago, Kristin stole my name popsicle stick from that board in the boathouse and whenever I saw her online she'd be like, 'yo i have to send that to you, yada yada.' And she did!
But isn't that a little weird? I had just been thinking about rowing, AND popsicles! It's like Jumanji! Or not. But now I just have to think of a more exciting combination of things and wait by the mailbox.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Explosions In The Sky.

hey, 4th of July! Let's shoot things in the air!
Apparently everyone got this memo. Even North Korean leader Kim Jong Il who decided to test some missiles yesterday. I can see how that conversation played out.
Kim: do we have any of those sparklers? those are always fun.
Staff: I'm sorry leader. We don't. Would you like us to set off some of those nuclear weapons we have out back.
Kim: mmm, ok. but do the one with that makes the whistle noise.

Also, NASA launched a discovery shuttle into space yesterday. Into space! that just blows my mind. I always like to get a window seat on flights, even if it means sacrificing the oh so needed aisle stretch room. I love to watch cars like ants and gridded land and the Lite-Brite earth when everything is lit up at night. Everything's put in perspective. But to be in space? to look back on the actual planet. I really think that would be like the ultimate cleansing of the palate. Bobbing around weightless you'd probably just say, oh, ok. i get it. I wonder if the astronauts have special playlists on their ipods for their missions. "Songs for Space." Think of how awesome it would be to listen to Doves 'There goes the fear' looking back on earth. Or the Pussycat Dolls 'Don't Cha.' I feel like that would really resonate out there.
And of course, traditional fireworks were set off everywhere. Raffi and I were talking about firework commentary and how even the most articulate people are reduced to "oohs and aahhs." But truly, why do people feel the need to comment on every single one? Perhaps it's something intrinsically human. like that involuntary action to reach for your eye if it hurts. But across the board, everyone has something to say after each explosion. Usually a rotation of these things:
-Whoa! Did you see that?! (no, i missed it. should i have been looking up there at the sky? is that what this whole thing is about?)
-Wow. That was awesome. (yes. it was. they're all awesome. and i'm sure you'll remind me of that later)
-Oh, that one was ok. I thought it would make a louder boom. (yea, you're an idiot)
-Whoa! did you see that?! (and so it goes).

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

In Other News.

The Bowery Ballroom in NYC recently held the U.S. Air Guitar Championships.
The rules for the competition:
-The guitar (can be acoustic or electric) must be invisible.
-You can use a real pick.

A guy from the East Bay won and I guess the event was huge. But all this begs the question, when the event is held in India, is it the Air Sitar Championship?

Oh snap. SITAR! oh yea, i went there.
I'm incredibly lame.
Truthfully people, I've been waiting for an excuse to mention air sitars for about 5 years, or whenever it was that i first saw Monsoon Wedding. I can honestly say I'm thrilled with myself.

I Had This Idea For A Show.

I've mentioned before that my tendency to watch 'The View' astounds and confuses me. But chances are, if it's 10AM and I'm still in sleep wear, I'll be tuning in for Hot Topics. After said segment, I am left with no choice but to shut off the TV and contemplate the meaning of life.
Can a purposeful existence be found in a world that pays Star Jones to speak?
How are we to find meaning when Elizabeth Hasselback is struggling to squeak out a point about knee-length shorts?
And does any of this matter when we can't even be sure Barbara Walters is speaking English? What did she say? Why does she keep whispering the last 3 words of every sentence? (note: 'of every sentence' to be read aloud in a whisper. go ahead, i'll wait)
But a few days ago, i was actually pleased I had taken a little time to enjoy. After coming back from a commercial break, Star set a somber tone. Taking the hands of her co-hosts and playing footsie with a bucket of KFC popcorn chicken under the table, she spoke with the seriousness doctors reserve for delivering irreversible news as she discussed the changes that lay ahead at The View. In classic Star Jones fashion (wasting time, not making a point) she finally said that she would not be returning next season concluding with, "I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future." This line actually made my eyeballs roll into the recesses of my brain for about 5 minutes.
When Charlie Gibson came out as the guest he goes, "so who holds the future?" and Star goes, "God." And Gibson flatly says, "Oh." It was classic.
But I digress.
So Joy went on to say that she was shocked, Barbara whispered the sound a blender makes, and Hasselback squinted hard thinking of something interesting to say about skorts. But the studio air was thick with awkwardness. It was really embarrassing to watch. I sort of loved it.
But really?? Star quit?? Kathy Griffin calls Jones the President of the Lucky Club, and it's true. Well, besides marrying a blatantly homosexual man, that's slightly unfortunate.
So cut to the next day and the real Hot Topics begin.
-Rosie agreed to do the View contingent on Star getting the ax.
-Star was never officially fired but her contract was not renewed. Um, same thing.
-Jones and the ladies were set to announce her departure later in the week.
-Jones jumped the gun and surprised everyone.
-Barbara is quoted as "feeling betrayed"
-Star said she was betrayed because Walters "didn't have my back."
Note: If I'm ever in a street fight, I'd like an elderly woman in a Chanel suit whispering animal noises to have my back.
But all of this is really great TV. The gossip off the set, the poop/fan combo broadcast live, the gossip after said broadcast. This is insane for ratings. Money down the geniuses at Newhouse overhaul the PR major to include Gossip Synergy Studies.