Archive for June, 2014

JULY 4th — ARE YOU HAPPY?

Friday, June 27th, 2014

Fourth of July

First, please understand that the title of this piece is “July 4th Rules,” as in rules you might want to follow on the upcoming holiday weekend, not
“July 4th Rulz!” as in “ wow – it’s such an awesome holiday!” That would be an opinion and an illiterate one at that. Maybe replacing an “es” with a “z” doesn’t feel “off” to you anymore because you’ve been desensitized — Hippie-Creative Spelling-Curriculum in grade school, texting, Hip Hop but — here’s a spelling rule of thumb — most English nouns and verbs don’t end with the letter “z.” Square businezz….

So, this is not about celebrating July 4th. Oh sure, it’s great we got away from England, particularly because they’re the reason for Scotch eggs, warm beer and Amy Winehouse. And who doesn’t rejoice in the fact that on July 4th, and the summer in general, the Hamptons serves as an Electrolux-Vacuum-for-the-Rich and Acquiring, the Juvodermed and the Laxatived, the Overly-Tanned and Vajazzled-at-all, depositing them like so much debris and dust, onto the shores of Eastern Long Island?

Sunburn

July 4th is a day to reflect, to count one’s blessings for the freedoms this country has afforded you. So stop the hatin’ and ask yourself, is there anything I can do to say, “I love you, America and thanks!”? I think so…

Call it what it really is – a longer weekend where you can wear white to make your tan look tanner. You’re not patriotic. You’re not celebrating the birth of this nation. You’re celebrating the fact that there’s a sale at Blue and Cream,  or the fact that the Kardashians will be “Kardashing it out of your town soon, or that Shia LeBeouf has no plans of summering in the Hamptons.  And that his last name is something you can grill…

 

Despite the abysmal economy, refrain, at all costs, from buying the Old Navy five-dollar July 4th t-shirt. You may as well wear a shirt that says “I Heart Cheap Polyester. That Pills. Before I Even Wash It.”

Cheap Shirt

If you are in the city, please understand that just because a patch of grass has pushed its way through some concrete, this is not an invitation to set up a hibachi, pig-roasting spit or aluminum table big enough to seat all of the original colonists.

 

You don’t have to eat red white and blue foods in order to demonstrate your patriotism. Those gross greasy dessert shells filled with berries and Cool Whip don’t say, “Happy July 4th.” Ditto a sheet cake with red and white frosting stripes and blueberry stars. They just say “I’m white.” I’m so, so, so white…

Blueberry and Raspberry Cake

 

You can’t sing “Star Spangled Banner.” You don’t know the lyrics. Even if you do, you don’t have the vocal range. And even if you do, you don’t know which war this was written during, and unless someone yells, “Play ball!” immediately after, no one, but no one wants to hear you sing this. Or anything else, probably.

 

I’d rather someone wish me a canker sore than “Happy Independence Day!” Did I just win Mega Millions? Is every irritating person I have to deal with going to magically be surgically removed from my life? Why are you wishing anyone “A Happy 4th?” At best it’s a 4-day weekend, at worst, it’s a traffic jam on the Jersey side of the GW Bridge. Ft. Lee’s nice – when you’re driving it through it at 50 mph.

Cars

The Uncle Sam pants and hat. Don’t. Not on a dare, not because of a threat, not if promised a handsome financial reward. Just say no.

Uncle Sam Costume

 

Do you like your hands? Both of them? All ten fingers? Is your last name “Grucci Brothers”? Please ask yourself these questions over again before EMT wends its way to your house, and your friend has to tell the emergency worker, “It was just some cherry bombs and I think his thumb is somewhere over by the hydrangea bushes. Ka-ka-ka-BOOM!

Kid Holding a Firework

Fireworks Hand Burn

IT’S GETTING HOT OUT HERE

Friday, June 20th, 2014

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Every Friday morning, I have to walk west on East 40th Street.  On the northeast corner, there is  a “Hamptons Jitney” bus stop.  Having now walked past there eight Friday mornings in a row, I have drawn many conclusions, including the fact that, other than Puff Daddy, who does not take the Hamptons Jitney, there are no black people weekending in the Hamptons.   As I stumble over the J. Crew satchels and the tan-wannabes whose shoulders they hang from, THE giant Jackie O sunglasses and whatever length linen shorts Banana Republic is pushing this season, it is a picture, and not a pretty one, a sign that  summer is upon us.   Yes, I know the unofficial start of summer is Memorial Day Weekend,  but let’s keep things real – summer officially arrives on June 21.  It’s an important day for me, because from that day forward, the days, though by mere minutes, get shorter and shorter.  I love it.  Why?  Because I HATE the summer.

But Mollie, you wonder, how is that possible? Summer is the  season of the year.  The barbecues!  The iced teas!  Tennis!  Swimming!  Hiking!  (Am I the only person on the planet who hated Hike Day at sleep-away camp more than I hated Write-a-Letter-Home-to-Get-Into Dining Hall-Day? ) Okay, then, Mollie – what about the people who don’t feel well when the days are shorter?  What about them?  Those pathetic unfortunates who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder?  Wait. I have to stop laughing.   It is not a “disorder.”  It is a “whine.”“OCD” is a disorder – call me when you’re washing your hands 113 times with liquid anti-bacterial soap before tapping the faucet elevendy  times, and then tapping the bathroom door-knob 3x the number of second cousins you have.   ADHD  is a disorder.  Let me know when you can’t sit still for more than 9 seconds without wanting to color in the Bronx with a box of Crayolas.  Those are disorders. Seasonal Affective Disorder?  Note that it doesn’t specify which season.   I like cloudy, cool, rainy days so if August is all sunshine and bright skies, do I get a mental health day too?   What could I possibly hate about the summer in New York?  Well, for starters…

 

Even if it’s toned and tanned, polished and pedicured, sexy and slamming,  I would like a choice, when I walk out onto the streets, as to whether or not I want to look at your body.   In the winter, at least things are covered up – in the summer, my eyes are assaulted by your asinine tattoos, belly button rings, ugly toes,  – pedicures are like neon signs that call attention to one of the ugliest parts of the human anatomy. Is the toe next to your big toe longer than your big toe?  Isn’t it bad enough that you know it?  Do you think the fact that it’s polished Petal Pink makes it any less gross?

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What’s up with the giant liters of water? Are you a survivalist?  Then go back to your crazy cabin in the woods with the bear traps and your freeze-dried packs of inedible shit, and your guns — let’s not leave out your guns.  Are you in the middle of the Serengeti? Just finished running some stupid marathon for no reason other than “I can!”  No, you are probably eight feet from a Duane Reade or a CVS.  Yet there you are, carting around a gallon or Fiji Water like you’re some sort of urban mule, corner man at a prize fight, or member of the Bucket Brigade.  AND STOP USING THE WORD “HYDRATING” NOW!  You’re drinking.  You don’t sound anymore fit or smart or hip by saying, “I’m hydrating.”  Really.  Using big words that weren’t necessary 40 or 50 years ago – am doubting there were no “hydrating fountains” at the local elementary school — add to your pretentious scorecard and, after the SmartWater purchase and the purple yoga mat slung over you like a quiver of arrows, you don’t need the points.

Summer footwear.   Chuck Taylor High Top sneakers and Capri pants don’t look great on a 47-year-old woman, even if she’s a hard body.  Crocs don’t look good on anybody.  Gladiator sandals. Oh you have them.  You know you do. Are you throwing Christians or lions into the Colosseum or participating in a chariot race or meeting Ben Hur for a mojito?   Why are these atrocities on your feet?  If Elle and Harper’s Bazaar and Glamour were telling you to wear chandeliers on your feet or watermelon rinds,  would you?  We both know the answer. Those of us who refuse to become Anna Wintour pod-people use this as a good rule of thumb:  if I’m walking down the street and someone yells, “Yo, Agrippina!” and I don’t turn around, I would probably feel silly in gladiator sandals.   Get a pair of Keds so I don’t have to laugh at you.

http://www.roman-colosseum.info/images/gladiator-colosseum.jpg http://www.military-art.com/mall/images/dhm1015.jpg


Outdoor cafes.  In Paris, maybe.  In New York, get them off my sidewalks.  I don’t want to walk down Madison Avenue and have to watch you chow down on a Caesar Chicken Salad.  Nice piece of Romaine stuck between your teeth and by the way it’s me and not the person you’re dining with that’s pointing that out.  At the very least, let them pick up the check.   Do you think eating a turkey burger outdoors on 9th Street  between Avenue A and Avenue B makes you look European?  Your dead ancestors, the ones who shoved newspapers in their shoes to make them fit, who made a boiled potato last for a week – they are laughing at you.

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I have to wait even longer at Starbucks.  A White Mocha Valencia Double Espresso Non-Fat DeCaf Machiatto is now also served as a an Iced Mocha Valencia Double Espresso Non-Far DeCaf Machiatto.  People don’t fare well having to choose among chocolate, vanilla and strawberry.   Double their choices, I’m buying a can of Diet Coke from the falafel guy.  Thanks, summer.

Just because there is physical room to set up a habachi or grill someplace doesn’t mean you should.  Do you think I should look at a bunch of people  roasting a pig in East River Park while I’m driving on the FDR?  You’d kill for a hotdog right off the grill?  Go camping, go to a family reunion – a gas grill on your 2foot by 2foot terrace is only one  lit cigarette away from KABOOM! .  Dying for a ‘Smores?  Go back to Boy Scouts Camp – maybe you can earn another badge…

If you have to blast music from your car  with the windows rolled down so that the glass windows of every store on the street and every person’s spleen shake like they would during a 3.4 earthquake, then you are not only selfish, but moronic.  Do you think anyone, on their way to or from work, stressed people, put-upon people, people in a hurry, are really impressed that you have  a Monoblock Jackhammer Amplifier, 6” x 9” three-way speakers, dual 4 ohm sub-woofers?  Do you think random people will just either tune it out or really want to hear 50 Cent, at 85 decibels, impart the following?

You can find me in the club, bottle full of Bud
Mama, I got that X, if you into takin’ drugs
I’m into having sex, I ain’t into making love
So come give me a hug if you into getting rubbed 

Yo – read a book.  Word.

 

Now I have to read your ironic or otherwise stupid t-shirts.  In the winter at least they are layered under your Army surplus  jacket and flannel shirt.  Now it’s coming straight at me in 72-point type — MEAN PEOPLE SUCK.  So does your shirt.

 

You love your girlfriend?  Swell. You’re hot for your new boyfriend?  Cool.  But when you walk in front of me in the summer, and you have your hand down her jeans back pocket, or you’re cupping her butt or you stop to shove your tongues down each other’s throats, or think grinding on the street as though you’re at some middle school dance,  makes me remember young love, you’re as wrong as you were when you thought Los Angeles was the capital of California.  You have crossed the line.  It’s getting’ hot out herrr-rreee – but keep on all your clothes.  And get a f**king room.

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Sweat.  It’s not pretty in a gym.  It’s not even pretty during sex and it’s certainly not pretty when you are a strap-hanger on the “D” train, standing above me.  Body odor + cologne = Aramis-scented body odor.  Shower. This is not only hygienic – it is a public service.

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July 4th.  In concept and in history it’s a significant, meaningful date.   In New York, it’s ADHD kids throwing cherry bombs and blowing a finger or two off in the process.  Fireworks.  Oooooh.  There.  I said it. Ooooooh.   Ahhhhhhhh. I said them both.   Now you don’t have to.  And for all of you who think you got a real bargain with the Old Navy $5 Fourth of July t-shirt when what you really got was a shirt that says, “I Didn’t Go Anywhere and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt.

I…I…I FEEL…I’M HAVING HEART PALPATATIONS!

Saturday, June 14th, 2014

 

      In a city that boasts more panic attacks than cockroaches, I’m certain those of you who live here don’t need me to advise you on anxiety attack catalysts.  But for the truly calm among you – Namaste, nice yoga mat, LoulouLemon rules –switching it up now and then isn’t a bad idea.   And so, as a service, I’ve taken the liberty of listing the absolutely finest places in New York City to get your panic attack on…

SOHO

      I am one of the few native New Yorkers who remembers SoHo when real read – poor artists lived there among the  factories and the warehouses.  The dopey, trendy stores were few and far between, Spring Street Natural Restaurant was still on Spring Street and there were a few actual bodegas.  But you can’t stop progress, and by the late 80s, the lofts were being bought up by investment bankers who referred to their lofts as “their space,” and rich parents from rich towns in Connecticut and Westchester and Long Island, who purchased them for their trust fund kids, in an effort to fool everyone into thinking that an editorial assistant making $18,000 a year could easily afford a million dollar loft.

            It has devolved further over the decades, becoming a neighborhood occupied by people who could buy Zucotti Park, Mergers and Acquisitions Ivy Leaguers who love to say, “I live in SoHo,” thinking that you’re thinking, “I wonder what kind of painter he is,” or “Gee – he’s like Alan Bates in An Unmarried Woman!”  Attention, investment bankers and hedge fund managers – we know you don’t know the difference between a Manet and a Monet, a Calder mobile and a mobile phone, an impressionist painter and an impressionist.

        SoHo 2014 = outdoors Short Hills mall.  You want an art  gallery?  Go to Chelsea.  You want Warby Parker sunglasses, a new case for your new iPad Air, want to calculate how many years you’ll have to work before you could afford a button at the Chloe Boutique on Greene Street?  This is your place.  It’s like a reverse Calcutta – thousands and thousands of people on the street, moving forward for no apparent reason, wandering aimlessly from block to block, wanting, desperately, to buy anything.  It’s the bald man in his sixties, arm-in-arm with the Swedish model who’s carrying enough high-end shopping bags to stock Rodeo Drive, the group of suburban teenage girls flash-mobbing Victoria’s Secret,  grandparents buying infant onesies from vendors who look like they haven’t bathed since they were in onesies. 

       There are no museums in SoHo.  There are no monuments, cathedrals, landmarks.   Don’t they sell Vuitton in Paris?  Then why are French tourists asking me, “Où est le Louis Vuitton shop?”  Why is there an entire store that sells nothing but Nespresso coffee makers? 

How many people come to SoHo to buy a $500 Espresso maker, made, by the way, not by some Italian coffee dynasty but by Nestle, the same company that makes the Crunch bar and Hot Pockets. I secretly think the coffee stuff is just a front and that they sell pot in the back, because with rent that’s almost $1,000 a square foot, really, how many trays of Hazelino coffee pods can they move in a day? Maui-Wowwie and Acapulco Gold pods – a whole other story…

 

OLD NAVY

      On the other end of the spectrum is Old Navy.  Now kudos for selling cheap crap and pricing it accordingly.  Do I want to spend five bucks on a pair of flip-flops, which is probably 4 bucks more than they cost to make, or must I have Havianas on my feet, which probably cost 2.4 Brazilian reals ($1 USD), and can pretty much look like flip-flops they sell at CVS.   Yes, I know the Havianas are supposed to be better for my feet but I’m not on “Survivor: The Galapagos” – I’m walking from my apartment to the laundry room, a boardwalk to the beach, the laundry room back to my apartment.  

It’s hard to believe that there are so many people who want, for the most part, really icky clothes made from cheap material that seem to come in sizes from “American Girl” to “American Buffalo.” Elastic.  Yay.   I know that it’s cheaper to buy a cartful of turquoise faux-wrap jersey dresses and hideous cap-sleeve chiffon blouses than a sandwich at Dean & DeLuca.  But from the moment you enter and are greeted by the hopped-up employees offering you a parachute-sized sack to stuff your logo-zip hoodies and cropped-drapey Capris into,  to the time you look at the other shoppers and think, “Ewwww – but I know when I wear that stone-washed mini, it will look like it’s from Bergdorf’s,” it’s a sartorial and five-sense invasive nightmare.  Even the name of the store makes me nervous because I don’t know what it means.  “Old Navy”?  Is  there a “new” Navy or a “young” Navy?  Is it the branch of the military or is it the color?  Or maybe it’s the bean.  There’s no “Old” Macy’s.  There’s “Old Spice,” but that’s a cheap after-shave.  Cheap after-shave, cheap crop-tops – see the connection?  Me neither.  Just stay away from the Old Navy 4th of July t-shirts.  They’re pilling.  Already. (more…)