Monday, June 16, 2008

Shall We?

If a pollster called you right this second and asked you to name the one thing America needs more of, what would you say?

More dance shows. Exactly.

Because while candidates and the media keep talking about healthcare, Iraq, the economy, and the environment, what this nation really needs right now is a another televised tutorial about how to dance. It's not enough that we all know how to pop it. We also need to learn and understand what it means to lock, and drop it. It's called current events, people. Pay attention. And to date, there just haven't been enough shows on TV to dispense all the necessary information to the public.

So I was recently overjoyed to see an ad for a new dance show called Master of Dance. Without Master of Dance, those looking to learn about the issues could only turn to this tiny list of dance shows:

Dancing With The Stars
America's Best Dance Crew
America's Best Dance Crew Season 2 (But shouldn't it actually be called America's Second Best Dance Crew?)
Step It Up And Dance
So You Think You Can Dance?
Your Mama Don't Dance
Dance War: Bruno vs. CarryAnn
The Deadliest Dance on the Discovery Channel
Ice Road Dancers
Law & Order: Flap Ball Change Unit
Iron Dance America
How I Met Your Dancer
My House is Worth Dance?
And Dance Dance Dance Dance Dance which is currently in pre-production

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Today's Secret Word Is...Tomato.

Listen carefully to the conversations of those next to you on trains, in restaurants, or at the market and you are sure to hear one word: Tomato. If salmonella and food recalls teach us anything, it's that people love to talk about salmonella and food recalls. People love to talk about foods they can't eat in general (See: Vegans, vegetarians, those with gluten allergies, and every elderly person alive) but the food recall puts everyone in the same boat. Suddenly, we all can't eat the same foods and if we don't tell someone about it, our heads might explode.

The E. coli in spinach had everyone talking a few years ago. I was working in the food industry during that time and nearly every person I spoke with asked about spinach.
"Is it safe to eat spinach yet?"
"Well, I can't eat spinach, I know that. But do you have something like spinach?"
"Are you serving spinach?" "Yes." "YOU ARE?!" "No, I was just kidding." "You shouldn't joke! The E. coli!"

Mad Cow had people talking for years, but I think most Americans thought of it as the Pop Rocks/Pepsi urban legend because the subject was usually only brought up over a burger. "Oh, this looks good. Hope I don't get mad cow!" (note: a rancher with many heads of cattle is said to have "mad cow" and this only added to the confusion during the whole beef scare)

But this tomato thing really has people talking. I've had three people in the last two days tell me how upset they were that they couldn't get tomatoes on their sandwiches. Really? The tomato absence ruined your day?
"Was it a BLT?"

This morning a stranger at the produce shop in our neighborhood (ironically called Top Tomato) started to list for me the tomatoes I could and couldn't eat. I was buying bananas.

And while out to eat last night, a debate at our table began concerning an appetizer that contained tomatoes. In a tone very similar to a child's declaration of bravery, a friend said with a shaking head, "I'm not scared. I'm not scared of tomatoes."

If you want to try a fun social experiment, casually slip into conversation that you're on an all-tomato diet and see what happens. If at least one complete stranger doesn't scream at you, I'll give you a tomato.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Why Sure I Am a Coward.

So it's been unbearably hot in New York. I was going to put up a little post about the heat called "Baking Like a Toasted Cheeser," but it was mostly about how much I sweat and the fact that no matter how I look when I leave the apartment, I always arrive at my destination looking like a crack addict. I will say though, the heat has not deterred tourists from taking rides in those human rickshaws. How can people ride in those things? Having a person pull you around like a horse while you sit and enjoy the view? The people who employ these pullers in this heat are without a doubt sadists and I find myself giving them dirty looks as they pass. Most of them are probably wondering, "Why is that sweaty homeless girl staring at us?"
But I digress.

A break from the heat finally came last night in the form of a breeze during Shakespeare In The Park's production of Hamlet. During one of Hamlet's monologues, the breeze started to pick up slightly and leaves from the park started to swirl around the actor. Everyone in the audience thought this was pretty sweet and even the actor looked weirded out by his apparent control of the weather. He raised his voice and the intensity of his words grew. With that, the wind grew. More leaves and wind whipped around the stage while lightning started to flash from behind the theatre. The entire audience turned to see if it was a lighting effect. The wind picked up faster. Hamlet's character, screaming now in a storm on stage, raised his sword (idiot, there's lightning) and everyone in the audience cheered while turning to look at everyone else to figure out what the hell was going on.

I'm not going to lie, it was creepy. I heard people in front of me and behind me say that they were getting scared and maybe they were thinking about King Hamlet's ghost but I was more concerned with the fact that the entire set was made of metal and the lightning was still flashing. I looked to Bob and my sisters, who were at the show with me, and we were all like, "Let's get the hell out of here."

So we jumped up out of our seats and followed the other people who were running out of the theatre to avoid the thunderstorm. By this point, the wind was crazy. I can't stress this enough. Ushers were yelling at people to leave the park while Sabrina calmly approached one of them and asked, "Now who do I speak to about possible tickets for a make-up performance?" The usher looked at her and screamed, "Get out of here! It's dangerous!"

That's all I needed to hear. I'm terrible in emergency situations and as soon as even part of my worst case scenario thoughts are confirmed, I run. People exiting the theatre ran, but no one was running to leave the park so I started shouting "Anon! Run! Posthaste!" because those seemed like the things to shout in an emergency situation at a Shakespeare performance. People still didn't run. It wasn't until I started jumping over huge branches that had snapped off trees that everyone around me started picking up their pace. Maybe it also had to do with the fact that I yelled, "The trees are falling! The trees!"

Lightning flashed again and again and I thought of the metal buckle on my bag as a lightning rod so I held it out away from me as Bob and I ran faster through the park. Wearing his sunglasses to fight the flying debris he shouted, "This is fun! Let's go get a drink!"

I began to run in zig-zags because I thought I remembered reading that you should do that if heavy branches were falling off trees in parks. Or was that if you were being chased by a car? Or being shot at? I couldn't remember. I just kept running because the visual of me being crushed by a branch kept popping into my head. We ended up running into an open lawn with fewer trees and jumped a gate to get out of the park. Waiting at the corner to run across the street to the subway, I noticed that Brina and Ness weren't with us. When they finally emerged from the park they immediately started yelling. Apparently Ness had been following me but got caught in a bush trying to jump the gate and I didn't hear her shouts for help because I was already gone. Sabrina had tried to keep pace but I broke out into unnatural speeds after seeing the falling branches and she didn't see where I went. Who knew I could run like that?? Maybe I should pull a rickshaw.

Anyway, I think people's true colors shine through in situations like this.
I was convinced I was going to die by branch, Sabrina was looking for comp tickets or the name of the person in charge of the theatre so she could list her grievances about how the staff was trained, Ness was just going along with what everyone else was doing, and Bob was looking for a cocktail.

At least it cooled down outside.