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Pedant Party! You Correct These Companies’ Grammar!

September 30, 2009

I’ve been collecting these for months! Can you spot the multitudinous errors? Feel free to correct away in the comments — I’ll post answers tomorrow.

1. I figured I’d start with the most obvious one (8th Ave between 39th and 40th). What’s wrong with this sign?

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2. Spot the web advertising error!

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3. Hint: this Stevia ad contains the same error as the Pussycat Dolls’ magnum opus, Don’t Cha:

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4. Maybe this error has something to do with why there is no more Washington Mutual bank at all anymore:

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5. In order to read Salon, you’ll have to watch a bad grammar parade:

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6. Diction check, Us Weekly!

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7. My favorite. This sign (from a residential building in the East 30s) could stand to be, um, modified:

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I Am Briefly and Unexpectedly in the Coney Island Film Festival

September 29, 2009

Some things take a loooong time to come to fruition. In 2005, I was selected to play “Brunette Ziegfeld Girl” in a short film “about the history of the Caesar salad.” Full disclosure: I got the gig because I was dating the Director of Photography. After the shoot, someone sent me these nice behind-the-scenes photos of myself:

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And then I didn’t hear anything about the short film, at all. The Director of Photography and I broke up, he went to Asia for at least the better part of a year, then moved back to the States and met someone and now has been married ever since whenever it was that I saw the wedding photos on Facebook. So I’m just saying: that’s a long time.

And now I hear that the short film is showing next Sunday at the Coney Island Film Festival!

CESAR SALAD, a short film about the first Caesar Salad
and other culinary crimes.

At THE CONEY ISLAND FILM FESTIVAL
Program 14 (a selection of short films)
Location: SIDESHOWS BY THE SEASHORE
1208 Surf Ave. Ground Floor
4pm
$6 – Tickets Here

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Here are some screenshots of my appearance in the film:

And finally, the trailer! I am also sure that, should you decide to attend, Coney Island will provide you with numerous other pleasures, many of them related to foodstuffs on sticks.

Bloodthirstily Cheerful

September 28, 2009

06-feb2-044.jpgLast Tuesday, I got a perfect score on the GRE. It was fun, and then I got to feel super-nerdy all day. On this fateful GRE, I saw the word “sanguinity.”

This rather bothered me, because, while of course I’m very clear on sanguine vs. sanguinary, to which of these two words do related forms such as “sanguinity” refer?

I did know the word “consanguinity,” so I assumed that “sanguinity” referred to cheerfulness rather than savagery. This turned out to be a correct assumption, but in the course of verifying the assumption after the fact, I discovered “sanguineous” and “sanguinness.”

How could normal humans ever tell to which word each refers? If this part of the English language were a GRE question, I would petition to have it stricken from the test. Sanguineous is bloodthirsty, incidentally, and sanguinness is alacrity, although it looks a bit as though someone is sadly lacking a beer. Quel dommage! Nous sommes sans-Guinness!

Sanguineous photo by Aeric Meredith-Goujon.

Review: Seriously, I Got Free Glasses and I Look Like a Lady Clark Kent

September 25, 2009

glasses1.jpgSome weeks ago, I was contacted by a purveyor of eyeglasses, asking me if I would like a free pair of said glasses in exchange for reviewing them. I agreed to just this exchange of visionwear for public polemic!

I have, numerous times, been contacted by people who are idiots who seem to think that I am some sort of news organization, with deadlines to meet and a need for content, any content: these people send me press releases (just press releases — no introduction or entreaty whatsoever) for movies, books, etc.

It is actually the case that the marketers of Hollywood theatrical releases have paid PR firms — such as one I’ll call Vapid Perspective — to spam bloggers with press releases, because that’s obviously how blogging works. If you want me to write about a movie, you will at very least have to invite me to a screening, treat me nicely, and offer me copious free alcohol. For instance, the Ford company flew 16 bloggers to Los Angeles, gave us the keys to Ford Escape hybrids for several hours, and offered us copious alcohol. That was some two years ago, and I’m still mentioning it. So, 1) free stuff, 2) talk like a human, and 3) don’t spam me.

It’s also no secret that I like glasses (Exhibit A, Exhibit B).

So, I perused the many pairs of prescription eyeglasses available from Glasses USA, which sells prescription glasses for as little as $18, and selected the Taylor Gray Full Frames.
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I was slightly confused because the photograph shows eyeglass frames that cannot reasonably be described as gray. I’d say they are brown, brownish-purple, or rum-raisin colored. However, I was fine with either rum-raisin or gray, so I made my decision. They arrived looking just like the ones in the picture. Rum-raisin it is.

Interestingly, the glasses arrived from East Hanover, New York (not, surprisingly, a Third World nation with a depressed currency). They came in a nice case, and have surprisingly firm hinges (glasses wearers know that one sometimes must constantly visit and re-visit the Pearl Vision at the mall in order to have those suckers tightened). They’re a bit bigger and thicker than I expected (hence the Clark Kent reference), but as I have numerous pairs of prescription eyeglasses, I don’t mind — I’ve been wearing them whenever I want people to think Unmitigated Genius! instead of Hot for Teacher! (If no one’s thinking either of those things, don’t tell me!)

Of course, Glasses USA has a no-questions-asked return policy, and if you actually do return the glasses, they will donate them to a charity that will refit them for needy people who have no glasses, and then they will make you new glasses or give you your money back, which makes it seem as though you could be really, really picky and then feel like a philanthropist.

Here’s me in my new glasses!

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Dear Everyone, I Have Now Approved Your Blog Comments, and Thank You

September 24, 2009

Some months ago, I noticed no one was commenting on my blog, and that made me wonder if I had become boring. I grant that some portion of the general populace might find me less than scintillating, because much of my blog consists of my photographing various forms of advertising and dissecting their grammar (and also, there are cat photos). But I was never really interested in entertaining the unpunctuated masses anyway. So I kind of wondered what was going on (but not so much as to, say, ask my web designer).

Finally, my mom emailed me to say that her comments were not being published. I went into my Wordpress account and discovered that, for some reason, I stopped receiving the emails asking me to approve comments, but the comments were there — at least a hundred of them. I was a bit embarrassed that I hadn’t addressed the problem sooner. I was also terribly amused by the remarks left by people I know and people I don’t, and then I wondered if some of the people whose comments I had neglected to approve had been people I’ve since run into in real life and who might think I don’t like them. I mean, I’m sure everyone has many, many more important things to worry about — but I think I might notice if someone I knew never approved my blog comments.

Here’s a roundup, in reverse-chronological order:

  • Regina and Allan shared their own cats’ bathtub habits. Durphus wondered what kind of adult names his or her cat “Cow.” Response here.
  • Anthony from the Fraunces Tavern invited me to come see the Magna Carta and managed to get in a little dig — if I want more glitz, I should go to Times Square! Snap! Foundation of Constititonal law here.
  • In a move that surprised no one, my mom commented on pandas.
  • Germanicus questioned my citing of the evangelical phrase “dying to self” (not a typo), while Yum wrote in to defend pro-ana (that pro-anorexia, folks!) websites. Whoa.
  • Blair suggested following up a Scottish breakfast with an entire iceburg lettuce, for health reasons.
  • The Scottish toilet post generated some commentary from Mom and Rich.
  • Howard suggested that Google was using our CAPTCHAs as free labor!
  • Someone said something about my “rack.” I wondered how that term came into popular usage. All I could find on Google was this, which is wholly unsubstantiated. It’s true that both breasts and racks (in the conventional sense) can sometimes provide “an impressive horizontal display,” but so can so many other things we never use to refer to breasts. Nice balcony.
  • Three people, one of whom is my mother, concur with my opinion of Heidi Pratt, and disagree with her opinion of nerds.
  • My August 2008 post People Magazine Photoshopped Out Michael Phelps’ Penis is by far the most popular thing I have ever posted — accounting, in fact, for over half of the traffic to this blog. That’s fine — I’ve made no special effort to convince the throngs of “Michael Phelps penis” searchers to stay on Jenisfamous.com and check out some other things they might enjoy. If they just want to look at the outline of Michael Phelps’ penis through his skintight bodysuit and speculate about whether said penis is delectable, circumcised, etc., then I am happy to provide a forum in which to do so. Taniela comments that it is simply human nature that Phelps wants to “hide his private part.” I like the idea that a blushing Phelps, on assignment for People magazine, might have Photoshopped out his own penis late at night, on his Mac.
  • My mom left some more encouraging remarks. I obviously just write a blog because I am trying to recapture the feeling of being three and being served a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with the crusts cut off.
  • Rich also hates Delta (the airline). Delta, Google yourself and weep! Go ask Lufthansa how you can improve.
  • Stephanie shared her experiences with a hands-free pump bra. This was some months ago. She actually emailed me to say that her comment didn’t post, and I shrugged and figured it was just a quirk, and then I posted her comment in an addendum to the post itself. Somehow I didn’t connect that with the fact that no other comments were being posted and that I should probably check my technology. I am having inductive logic problems, it seems.
  • Delightfully, also in reference to the hands-free pump bra, Sashka shared: “Using a laptop while no-hands pumping isn’t so bad. Heck, I use my laptop while nursing all the time, at least a pump doesn’t wiggle around and try to grab my face.”
  • Cindy has informed me that the giant rat-like creatures roaming freely in the Buenos Aires Zoo are not, in fact, capybaras.
  • In 2006, I posted the audio file to “Skanks on a Plane,” a piece of voiceover work I did for the Bob and Tom Show. (I didn’t write the spot — I merely contributed my voice for a few minutes while I was already in the studio). Anonymous stopped by the post on April 30, 2009, to leave the single word “hooters.” Thanks, Anonymous!
  • In response to my spotting a $99 can of truffles on sale at a Williamsburg grocery store, Chris, strangely, told me that LA is better than NYC (are the truffles just $94.99 there?)
  • I say stupid advertising, you say underground stomachs.
  • Thanks for the compliment on my Hot Septuagenarian Erotica, Damon!
  • My mom justifies frumpy dressing, and Jamie comments on my diction.
  • Dawid and Viveca weigh on my beef with Starbucks for using “artisan” as an adjective when “artisanal” exists for just that purpose. Certainly many, many nouns may be used as adjectives (“nail salon,” “golf club,” etc.) — but not when a perfectly good adjective form of that noun actually exists. This is also my response to JJ’s counterexamples outsider art, rice ball, and schoolmarm blogger. Oh, snap! Schoolmarm! I get it! It’s about me! I will now smack you on the hands with a pointer stick.
  • On the same topic, my brother Brian comments: “If you ask a sushi chef for a ’spicy tuna hand roll’ he will not assume you want a sushi roll made of spicy tuna hands.”
  • Viveca also had something to add regarding the use of appropriate prepositions.
  • My brother, reminded of my prom look, called me lame.
  • JD and Jaeson commented on a “NOT FOR EDUCATIONAL USE” warning.
  • Courts, Blair, Matt, Eve, and Lauren supported the wearing of glasses over the inducements of Big Lasik.
  • My uncle suggested some uses for wire hangers (other than beating your adopted daughter).
  • People were flabbergasted, as was I, by the Tierra Santa Biblical Theme Park in Buenos Aires.

Thanks, everyone!

The photo above is an old one by Gary Winter, taken on the Lower East Side. I felt this post needed a photo, so I dug up one that never got its due. Here’s another from the same shoot.

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Why Spelling Is Important (MTA Edition)

September 23, 2009

I took this photo at the 96th St 1/2/3 stop.

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“Concreate” was, of course, intended as “concrete,” but it looks rather like a new, intentionally coined word. Specifically, the prefixes “co” and “con” (and “com”) are really the same prefix, meaning “together” — as in, conjugate, congenial, coworker, colleague, consummate, commingle, community, etc. “Concreate” (pronounced as con-create) could be a perfectly suitable synonym for “co-create.”

Of course, that makes the “No concreate untill pipe install” sound a bit dirty (if it didn’t already).

Scottish Memorial Can of Haggis

September 22, 2009

I brought back a souvenir can of haggis from Edinburgh.  I invited more than one person to eat it with me before I got a taker.

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The ingredients on the can included “pork lung.” The can also warned that SYNTHETIC SKIN IS NOT EDIBLE. (Traditional haggis is stored in a sheep stomach).

I opened the can and discovered that the “synthetic skin” was simple plastic wrap, with metal fasteners at the ends.

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You’d have to be an idiot to eat that. Although we are talking about people (myself included) who bought souvenir cans of haggis. I can’t even think of the NYC equivalent of that. A “make your own street vendor style hot dogs at home!” kit? (Oh, remind me later to tell you about the time I discovered that the rotating cast of 4-5 Indian gay men in the apartment next door to mine was making the food for the halal food cart in their apartment, in a third floor walkup, in the filthiest four-foot-wide wok I have ever seen balanced atop a household-sized stove. Anyway).

I cooked the haggis…

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And served it with mashed potatoes and squash (I couldn’t find any rutabagas, and the squash was the right color, at least). The squash was sadly organic, which meant it needed hella salt, and for someone to smoke on it. My dining companion, roped into this sorry affair, commented “I don’t like to eat meat where you can taste the individual polyps of the meat.” I explained that those were oatmeal, which hardly makes it better.

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The real haggis in actual Scotland was fine. As is true with many other foods: don’t trust the canned version. Also, I think the real thing is made of sheep. Pork haggis? Weirdos.

You might enjoy the 1787 Robert Burns poem, “Address to a Haggis.”

“Is there one, that over his French ragout / Or olio that would give pause to a sow / Or fricassee that would make her spew / With perfect loathing / Looks down with sneering, scornful view / On such a dinner? …But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed / The trembling earth resounds his tread….”

Cattub

September 21, 2009

Cow really likes it in the bathtub.

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It’s pretty amazing when she climbs into a (waterless) bathtub and starts licking herself.  Because, you know … bath.

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Now I’m in the bathtub.  Ridiculous.

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Wall St. Week: The Magna Carta ON TOUR!

September 18, 2009

The Magna Carta, signed in 1215 by King John of England, was the foundation of Constitutional law and — in a stunning reversal of milennia of feudal ownership by the king of all your virgin daughters — declared that the king’s powers were under, rather than above, the law.

The Magna Carta led to the development of the writ of habeas corpus. It animated the English Civil War (which led to an unfortunate Puritan interregnum in which theater and eyeshadow were punishable by death, Taliban-style, but which ultimately led to further constraints on power of the monarchy) and the Glorious Revolution. It is written on fancy paper in a time before indenting your paragraphs was common.

The Magna Carta is coming on tour to a restaurant on Wall St (warning: this link has sound).

This is no ordinary restaurant; a small plaque on its side explains that Washington and his men plotted the Revolution within its walls. But still. The Magna Carta’s arrival is being heralded with this rather sad sign, purchased from the sort of sign store where one buys a sign that says “Kentucky’s Best Prom Dresses Inside!” or “Girl Scout Cookies: Troop 1517″ or “USED CARS 4 LESS.”

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Fraunces Tavern’s website contains this photo from the Lincoln Cathedral, the Magna Carta’s usual home, showing King John being reprimanded, which “captures the spirit of Magna Carta.”

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Of course, he’s being reprimanded by the Church, which is hardly an improvement. In the 1200s, it was probably preferable to risk occasionally being conscripted into a war of personal vanity or beheaded so your wife could be had as a mistress than to end up tied to a stake every time Olde Brittania changed its mind about the Sacraments or what translation of the Bible to use.

Wall St. Week: We’ve Got Pandas

September 17, 2009

As has been previously established on this blog, my mom loves pandas.

In June, I moved to Wall St. and took a walk to check out the neighborhood. I ended up at Battery Park. And then I saw this:

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I took this surreptitious cell phone photo, but then I realized I didn’t have to be surreptitious — this wasn’t someone with horrible fashion sense or a parasitic twin. This was a person wearing a panda suit for the express purpose of attracting attention and cash donations. I crossed the street and approached the panda.

“Hi,” I said. “I’d like to take a picture with you for my mom’s birthday, but I have to go home and get a sign first, one that says Happy Birthday Mom. Of course I’ll pay you. Can we do that?” The panda nodded. I wondered if the panda suit contained a man or a woman.

“Are you on your way to the park?” The panda nodded. “So I can find you there? Near the Statues of Liberty, maybe?” The panda nodded.

In Battery Park, these people pose at Statues of Liberty, and tourists wave flags and take photos with them. That’s fine, but they’re not pandas.

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I went home, made the sign, brushed my hair, and headed back out to find the panda. I wandered around Battery Park for an HOUR, asking people “Have you seen a person in a panda suit? Have you seen a giant panda?” Occasionally someone would tell me they’d seen a Wile E. Coyote, or someone selling stuffed dragons or whatever. But no pandas.

I got a sunburn and went home utterly lacking in panda birthday photos. Mom’s birthday was in July. I worked something else out.

Addendum: My mother — who does not live in New York — informed me that she had been “following this story on Gothamist.” So, here.

Wall St. Week: Jehovah’s Witnesses are Creepy (as are all religions, the word “Homeland,” pro-anorexia websites, and any tower that purports to be watching you)

September 16, 2009

Welcome to Day Three of Wall St. Week, during which I post about my new neighborhood! (Up next: pandas in the park, and the Magna Carta!)

Nearly every day, I walk to one of four Starbucks within six blocks of my building, and then I walk east to the water. I grew up in a Navy family, so we always lived near water; in Virginia Beach, every time you park your car at the mall parking lot, seagulls have their way with it while you’re inside.

From Wall St. (or the South Street Seaport), when you look across the water, you see DUMBO, the waterfront of which has of late developed many high-rise buildings which I imagine are quite convenient for people who work on Wall St. and enjoy taking a boat to work. The view of Brooklyn, however, becomes somewhat Orwellian when you get to this (Google earth photo):

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WATCHTOWER!

Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m against all religions. Religions made sense long ago, when we looked up at the sky and wondered why rain didn’t happen when we needed it, but sometimes flooded our river deltas and drowned our crops and grandparents, so we developed some theories about large, rain-controlling men in the sky and what they might want from us. An excellent question — what would they want from us? Maybe some crops, maybe some virgins, maybe for us to cut off our foreskins. Maybe they’d want from us what we want from our own children. Maybe they want us to hand out pamphlets in the subway.

So, get over it. If you’ve got an eighth grade education and the ability to walk across the street without holding your mother’s hand, you should be able to see through this stuff.

All religions tend to make me cringe and/or giggle a bit. When I see a Catholic church named Our Lady the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Consecrated Sacrament of the Blessed Angels Who Are Also Virgins of the Lady of the Lake of the Blessed Blessings, I might giggle. I find it funny when Catholic high schools play each other in football games: Blessed Heart is going to BEAT YOUR ASS, Immaculate Conception!

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Religious people of all stripes use terminology that would cause any self-respecting secular person to cringe. Start with “worship.” Should moderately self-actualized adults really be “worshipping”? A favorite evangelical Christian term is “dying to self” (this is viewed as a good thing — for instance, losing all your non-procreative ambition in the raising of a Quiverfull of kids promotes a useful “dying to self,” which helps you become more Christlike, which is to say that popping a dozen-plus future Christians out of your birth canal while obeying your husband for the rest of your life likely feels a lot like being nailed to a number of wooden boards while occasionally being allowed to drink from a vinegar-soaked sponge).

This is about the level of human dignity one finds on a pro-ana website, where young girls who are being sexually abused at home attempt to regain some semblance of control over their lives by posting pictures of Kate Moss as “thinspiration” and talking about ways to hide their mortification of the flesh from their parents. Just a little more suffering (and another laxative), and maybe they’ll finally be good enough.

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And just to be an equal opportunity atheist: What, really, are the chances that there would be a god who specifically would demand that you dress as though you are in eighteenth-century Poland, and then go home to Borough Park to produce more Chosen People with your bald wife, who may or may not remove her terrible wig for the occasion? Do you think god might have been joking? This sounds more like the invitation to a hilarious costume party than a religion.

Oh, and here’s a hilarious/pornographic/oppressive (it really depends) quote from the Quran:

“Your women are your fields, so go into your fields whichever way you like.”
(MAS Abdel Haleem, The Qur’an, Oxford UP, 2004)

Just so everyone’s clear that I’m not picking on Jehovah’s Witnesses specifically. (Also, for the record, I really feel for poor Paris Jackson, in her new high-necked shirts and dresses, now deprived of birthday celebrations. Oh, that poor scientifically-engineered, suddenly orphaned, religiously oppressed girl).

So: “Watchtower” is just a creepy fucking name. Creepy. Remember how most of us on the seaboards of this fine nation cringed when, all of the sudden, we had a Department of Homeland Security? Who says “homeland”? Who says that? The same guy who said lebensraum, that’s who.

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It gets worse. Please enjoy this Wikipedia entry for the term “faithful and discreet slave.” Apparently, various Jehovah’s Witness leaders have argued over who has the honor and privilege of being the faithful and discreet slave (it’s not entirely clear if it’s “THE” faithful and discreet slave or if — oh, goody! — we can ALL be one!)

When I imagine a faithful and discreet slave, perhaps one who is dying to self, images like this one pop to mind:

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Whatever else there is to say about Jehovah’s Witnesses (refusing blood transfusions, not letting members leave, etc.) is googleable, and plenty of people have firsthand experiences to report, rather than my mere architectural commentary.

So I’ll leave with this: anything called a Watchtower is fucking creepy, even if it’s full of magnanimous unicorns preciously caring for orphaned kittens. And I don’t think this one is.

Wall St. Week: Badvertising

September 15, 2009

Here are two very boring photos that nevertheless represent two utter catastrophes of advertising.

I am reminded of one time in ninth grade that some girl (I still remember her last name, but I’ll keep it to myself) running for class office postered the school with signs that said “See Mina run. See Mina loose. See Mina cry.” Oh, Mina…. Just one “o,” dear.

The owners of this hair salon, located at 82 Wall St., seem to have had an accident with a thesaurus:

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If you wanted to simply name your business with a relevant SAT word, rather than enticing people to come inside with some trick of marketing, that’s fine with me. I might suggest “Trichology,” the word for the scientific study of the hair and scalp. If you want an adjective, “Trichological.” You could get very specific with “Follicular.”

From Wikipedia:

Hirsutism (from Latin hirsutus = shaggy, hairy) is excessive and increased hair growth on female humans in locations where the occurrence of terminal hair normally is minimal or absent. For example, a beard, or chest hair.

HIRSUTE does not make me want to get a haircut. It just reminds me of this:

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Or this:

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And next up in the parade of poorly executed advertising:

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A million stars above! Five stars below!

On a second or third read, I figured out that this slogan meant to say not that you will be living “below,” or that five stars will be below you, or that you will be located under many celebrities, but rather that you will be living in a five star building, under a star-studded sky.

Instead it just sounds as though as you’re in the .0005th percentile.

Wall St. Week: The Bull (and Kancho)

September 14, 2009

Welcome to Wall St. Week, a week of blog posts dedicated to my new home! I moved to the Financial District in June. My best friend Molly Crabapple moved here in July. Wall St. is the new Williamsburg, no?

You’ve probably seen this bull before:

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People call him “the Wall St. bull,” an appellation that involves more metonymy than geography, as the bull is really several blocks south of Wall St.

I had seen photos of the bull in the numerous real estate ads I browsed while looking for an apartment down here. After moving, I vaguely wondered where the bull actually was, since he isn’t on Wall St. Then one day, after buying my morning iced trippio, I took a walk (I like to caffeinate slowly) and just happened to run into the bull. He was surrounded by tourists.

Some of the tourists were riding the bull:

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But many were posing with his balls.

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An old security guard wandered over to some of the giggling tourist women to make the joke he undoubtedly has been making several times a day for the last thirty-five years: “She’s got the whole w-o-o-o-o-r-l-d in her hands, she’s got the whole w-o-o-o-o-r-l-d in her hands….”

After photographing the tourists photographing each other (fortunately, my iPhone takes blurry enough pictures that I don’t have to go fuzz out people’s identifying features after the fact), I saw something else worthy of mention.

Firstly, I’d like to direct you to this article, part of a series of editorials entitled “I Am A Japanese Schoolteacher.” I read all of these editorials in one hilarious, late-night sitting sometime during the early 2000s. (Note that the author calls them “editorials” because blogging was not yet widespread). This one in particular talks about the Japanese art of “kancho,” which involves pointing your fingers into a gun and trying to poke those fingers up someone else’s butt, through his or her clothing, while yelling “Kan-CHO!” Observe:

When the “I Am A Japanese Schoolteacher” author first wrote about kancho, he was accused of making it up. Now, some years later, there are numerous websites dedicated to kancho and even selling kancho-related merchandise.

So I knew exactly what was happening when this little girl delightedly approached the Wall St. bull:

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(Insert metaphor for financial crisis here).

Come back tomorrow for the next installment of Wall St. Week!

Some Photos I Dug Up Of Myself In College, Pursuant to a TV Spot I Will Be Shooting on Monday

September 13, 2009

I’m shooting a television spot on Monday that is related to my giving advice to my former self. As such, I needed to find a good photo of my former self, and by “good,” I mean “wearing large, plastic glasses and posing under the Christmas tree with a framed print of the New Kids on the Block.”

Here are some more photos I found, retelling in brief the sorts of things that happen when I am let out of my childhood home in Virginia Beach, Virginia and permitted to roam around a college campus like a feral schizophrenic.

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This is me on the first day of college (that’s my Dad in front me, and me looking back at my mother, who is taking the picture). I might look unsure about college, but I’m actually just really, really annoyed that my mother insisted that my entire family drive from Virginia to New Hampshire to drop me off, which meant I had to sit in the backseat of the car with my enormous brother instead of sitting in the front seat with my dad, who can easily drive 10+ hours at a stretch in total silence. In retrospect, of course a mother wants to see her child off to the first day of college, and of course it’s not my brother’s fault that he took up the entire backseat of a mid-sized sedan, but dear god, do I hate family road trips. I hate them so much I now refuse to go on dates that require taking the subway with another person. It’s just awkward, and the next time someone grabs my arm and directs me to some particular set of subway stairs as though I don’t know how to use the subway, dude’s gonna get cut.

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As soon as I arrived at college, I discovered Rocky Horror and dressed up as Columbia. I also decided I was a lesbian and cut my hair accordingly, but I didn’t know anything because I was 18 and from Virginia Beach.

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I was crowned King at a drag ball.

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I dressed up as Trinity from The Matrix, because it was the ’90s.

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I became a crazy bodybuilder. I was also, briefly, a vegan. After experiencing such vast success in adopting incompatible goals, I decided to become a pacifist cage fighter / fascist bohemian / deaf air-traffic controller.

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Finally, I emerged from several years of costumes and body modification as the head of a dotcom! (Also, suddenly a redhead). Then that tanked and I went broke and moved to New York and became a comedian.

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.

Lindsay Lohan and the Misplaced Deodorant Modifier

September 9, 2009

In a followup to last week’s post The World’s Only Blog Post About Jessica Alba and the Grammatically Correct Usage of Compound Adjectives and When to Hyphenate Them, I’d like to share a hilariously miswritten item from Popeater.

First: modifiers. Here are some examples of modifier errors:

Filled with one million tons of trash, the mayor suggested that a new landfill be built.

Running on the beach, my pacemaker went info fits and starts.

America celebrated its bicentennial two hundred years after the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1976.

In the first example, “Filled with one million tons of trash” should modify “landfill,” but is instead modifying “mayor.” Ha ha, the mayor is full of trash!

Similarly, “Running on the beach” should modify “I” (which doesn’t even appear in the sentence); instead, it is modifying “my pacemaker.” Ha ha, the pacemaker is running!

Finally, “in 1976″ is a prepositional phrase that should modify “celebrated its bicentennial,” but is instead modifying “adoption of the Declaration of Independence.” The sentence implies that the adoption was in 1976 and the bicentennial, consequently, in 2176. Ha ha, future time!

Now on to Lindsay Lohan’s deodorizing needs, which appear to be profound and multitudinous:

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Apparently, Lindsay’s deodorizing needs are not only severe, but also very specific: she has dropped a box of deodorant “formulated to combat extreme sweating on her way out of a Rite Aid.”

Does she have another variety of deodorant formulated to combat extreme sweating on her way INTO Rite Aid? And another for the DMV? Another for banging on Samantha’s door during their love spats? What happens if she shops at a different drugstore? Does CVS offer competing formulations of deodorant for entering and exiting their stores?

So, let’s fix it:

The modifier is “on her way out of a Rite Aid” (that’s actually two strung prepositional phrases, but let’s not split hairs). The modifier should modify “Lindsay Lohan,” not “extreme sweating.” Here:

“On her way out of a Rite Aid, Lindsay Lohan drops a box of deodorant formulated to combat extreme sweating.”

Another perfectly fine option is: “Lindsay Lohan, on her way out of a Rite Aid, drops a box of deodorant formulated to combat extreme sweating.”

Sweat away, Lindsay!

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