Sunday, January 28, 2007

Whether Heaven or Hell, You're Going Through ATL

Dear SuperShuttle:

If you had not insisted on picking me up at 3:30 a.m. for my 7 a.m. flight today, I would have not learned the following things:

1. It only takes 23 minutes to get from my house to DCA when only 38 other cars are on the road.

2. No one else actually agrees to let SuperShuttle pick them up at 3:30 a.m. for a 7 a.m. flight on Sunday morning at an airport that's only 23 minutes away. This kind of non-shared ride when you're thinking there's going to be someone to commiserate and eye-roll with is a bit of a let-down.

3. The Delta counter at National doesn't actually open until 5 a.m.

4. Airport staff frowns on using wheelchairs as ottomans.

5. Confirming earlier suspicions, it is impossible to actually sleep anywhere at any time in an airport. (Too-bright lights are the only thing that kept me from trying the bathroom counter.)

6. The airport wireless connection will finally pick up just about the time your boarding number is called.

7. Airport CNN is what's playing all the time in hell.


Thursday, January 25, 2007

I Renounce You, Baby Einstein

Slate has got it right.

Damn, but I dislike Julie What’s-Her-Tits. Not just because of those 12 pounds of Texas cornfed hair she was sporting, but because the whole Baby Einstein thing is just one giant racket wherein parents are once again parted with their dollars questing after E-Z ways to raise smart babies.

I am loathe to wade into the parenting morass because, as y’all know, I don’t know a damn thing about raising children. The fact that I am doing it doesn’t mean I know anything about it. I did not have to present my I.Q. score or bachelor’s degree before taking my babies home from the hospital. Basically, they scanned our collective bar-tag bracelets, patted me on the back, and said, “Good luck with all that!”

But here I go, and I hope you will be kind in the comments, Gentle (and maybe Angry) Readers:

Baby Einstein doesn’t actually make your kids smarter.

The jury is still debating on whether or not it actually harms them.

But it certainly does not make them smarter.

Neither does listening to Mozart in or out of utero. Neither does eating organic chard and sundried dates while pregnant. Neither do “stimulating” mobiles strung up over cribs.

Neither does taking meth, bringe drinking, or base jumping (parents or child).

Only brides-to-be are subjected to more shameless marketing than new parents. We are damn-near flogged with “must-have” gadgets and gizmos. Woe to you hapless mother who doubts the wisdom of the wet wipes warmer!

And now Julie Aint-This-A-Kick-In-The-Crotch is being held up as the very model of a modern Mother General and American entrepreneur. Well, kiss my grits, Julie – you haven’t done jackshit except prey on the fears and ignorance of parents trying to do the right thing.

And it takes courage to stand up and say, I Will Be a Sucker No Longer! I Renounce You, Baby Einstein! I renounce you and all that you stand for – the ass-backwards idea that I can manipulate genetics simply by pressing play! The folly of the crawling helmet! You may have got me with Stoneyfield Farms YoBaby Organic Yogurt, but you have played me for the last time, bitch!

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Lucky Stars, Consider Yourself Thanked.

John Kerry reportedly has decided NOT to run for president again, joining the 2.2 percent of senators who are currently not in the White House hunt.

Our opines are that you get one chance to be the nominee/win, and if you lose, you should kindly go away.

For evidence of why we feel this way, see: Nixon, Richard; Wallace, George; All-Stars, Survivor/Big Brother/The Amazing Race

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Is this a joke?

So my friend walks into a local D.C. sports bar. She asked the bartender whether the venue would be showing the State of the Union on one of the screens. The bartender, in reply, asked, "Which game?"

For reals, yo. I wish it was a joke.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Brie and Pretense

News that France tried to join the United Kingdom in the 1950s has Anglo- and Francophiles clutching their respective chests. I, however, think this is freaking hilarious.

I mean, it never would have worked, but in my mind, it’s an excellent illustration of just how screwed up the so-called Era of Good Feelings was. Some of the greatest hypocrisy in our modern history went on during that decade. Come on . . . a French Socialist went creeping over to England to see what it would take to hitch his country up to an ancient, conservative monarchy hell-bent on colonizing anyone who used spices when cooking. That's not irony. That's, "You're not allowed to tell me about the Good Old Days ever again."

Then again, what do I know? Except that this is my favorite new line from a New Yorker story so far:
    “To the French mind, Disney represents the arrowhead of American cultural assault, and if America were to return the favor it would need to mount a major retrospective of soft, unpasteurized French cheese at the Metropolitan Museum. (Anthony Lane. Wonderful World: What Walt Disney Made. New Yorker. Dec. 11, 2006)

A cultural assault by soft, unpasteurized cheese. Now that’s a new world order I could get excited about.

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Facts Debunked

1. We on the barge have always been convinced that no man can sport the pleated pants with any measure of attractiveness. The What Not to Wearer's out there have proved it time and again, and we completely bought this theory hook and line. So what do I see this morning? A man, with pleats, looking amazing. And, even more shocking, these pleat-bearing pants were Docker-style, not your ordinary old business pants. It's surprising because the former NEVER looks good, and the latter can sometimes be passable, though it doesn't usually venture into the Fashion Do category. What does it all mean y'all? Has the reintroduction of the skinny jean poisoned our thinking?

2. Depending on the quantity consumed, sometimes rum does, in fact, result in severe hangoverness. Imbibe with caution in this Year o' Rum.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Year of Rum Begins Tonight

Cafe Citron, y'all.

5 p.m.

We'll be the really loud people drinking rum.

The first official YOR outing would not be possible without the sipping suggestions left by our kind commentors. We'll do our best to make you proud and hopefully, report on the hangover-free results.

However, many suggestions were for "sipping" rum, not cocktails. My goal -- nay, mission -- is to find a rum-based mixed drink that:
1) isn't some color not found in nature
2) doesn't smell like Febreze
3) isn't carbonated
4) isn't overly garnished.

I'd also prefer that it have a name I'm not embarassed to say in front of my 2.5 year old daughter. "Gimme a toe-sucking zombie," is just not something I want to hear coming out of her mouth.

I went to the Little Red Book for help, but it seemed like every rum concoction in there required egg whites. Is that even sanitary?

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Season's Greetings

All the leftover holiday chocolate in the office lunchroom has disappeared.

Meanwhile a stack of coupons for week-long memberships at the local Sport & Health are still sitting on the table, untouched.

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Friday, January 05, 2007

Someone's up for the Best Boss Award!

Boss today gave us a surprise: Our own office-based Whac-A-Mole game. We're so very excited! We forsee this being extremely beneficial to our stress levels and overall wellbeing.

Unfortunately for us, no one has angered us today, so we haven't gotten to personalize the moles--have them be stand in's for the object of our disdain. Here's to being P.O.'ed next week!

Life Lessons, Parts 2 and 3 (The Vacation Edition)

2. Always check yours and your travel companion's luggage tags after hefting them from the belt at the airport, otherwise you'll open your luggage upon arrival at your hotel--after taking a 45 minute cab ride--and find an old lady style bathing cap complete with rubbery flowers, perfectly packed among caftans, all of which are definitely NOT YOURS. And then you have to spend $85, and hitch a ride from another driver who doesn't mind working on a holiday to cart you all the way back to near the airport, just so you can get Mrs. Mortimer Hudson her muu muus back. And realize, Mrs. Hudson really likes taking cruises, so you're really lucky that she wasn't already doing the bunny hop on the Lido Deck, somewhere en route to Bermuda.

3. If you are traveling to a foreign country on a holiday, say Christmas Eve, make sure that you'll have available dining options. Even if you've been to a certain resort before, it could be possible that something completely crazy happened. For example, say there was a huge dispute with union workers, causing a major hotel brand to up and abandon ship, followed by said union workers storming the property, smashing slot machines and tearing out electrical wiring.

Then you unknowingly arrive, some 6 months later to spend a much needed relaxing and rejuvenating week at an adjoining time share hotel, which has--due to the time share setup-- kitchenettes in each room, not restaurants on the property. And remember that in this fictional "what if" scenario, it's Christmas Eve, meaning in this 85% Catholic nation everything (including stores and restaurants) will be closed today, and tomorrow, and possibly thereafter. You may soon start to feel like you've been shipwrecked.

But then, luckily, you may find out that not everything was abandoned in the hotel next door. There is one restaurant! And one bar serving tropical rum-based cocktails*! The vacay would be saved!

So later that night, you would set out, to try the only option available to you. Perhaps it would be a Chinese/Japanese spot called the Zen Garden, which not only serves sushi and General Tso's chicken, but also has a hibachi. But to get to the Z.G., you'll have to wander through the dark, humid hallways of the hotel, with flickering lights and all, feeling like you've been implanted into The Shining. And you won't be grateful when you happen upon the lonely bartender in the aforementioned lounge. You'll just be freaked the freak out.

*another reason to support the AOAPB Year of Rum

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

2007: The Year We Bring Rum Back

Hangover recovery always leads to wistful reminiscing of nights where mass quantities were consumed, but no ill effects were felt the following day. And we discovered something interesting – none of the gators can recall ever having a rum-induced hangover.

Rum is likely what constituted My First Cocktail, at least if you are a girl. Then you probably discovered cheap vodka. And it got you where you wanted to be even faster. But despite all the bullroar about clear liquor and odorless/colorless, nothing treated you quite so bad the next morning (or at end of the night) as vodka. Vodka is tasteless going down, but it is memorable coming back up, as Garrison Keillor says.

Along the way, you dabbled in whiskey, gin, and tequila. You learned how to drink beer without gagging and you acquired at least four matching wine glasses. There were exotic green liqueurs in shot glasses and amber cordials in balloon glasses.

[Brief aside: Seamus, yo, says the two things alcoholics drink are vodka and Canadian whiskey. So far, we haven’t found any evidence that his assertion is wrong.]

But you forgot all about poor old rum. Rum was hijacked by springbreaking 18-year-olds in Panama City and Cap’n Morgan. Rum cocktails all seemed to require a blender. And everybody at the bar always turned their heads when they heard the blender crank up because it meant someone underage was about to start getting her drink on.

Rum cocktails do seem to require a little more attention that liquor + mixer. There's a need to garnish rum drinks with flowers and paper umbrellas and fruit speared on plastic swords. But we think rum deserves more respect. Rum deserves a second chance. That’s why we’ve decided that 2007 is the year we bring rum back. Somebody’s got to it, and it might as well be us.

Are you over 23? Is there a rum cocktail you aren’t embarrassed to order in public?

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