Monday, January 29, 2007

Eutectic Point: The Play

[Patrick and his two-year old Sam have been playing in the snow in Prospect Park and are now on their way to get hot chocolate at Parco, a nice cafe on 7th ave.]

Sam: (points to a truck) What's that?

Patrick: That's, um, that's a salt truck. Those trucks drive all around the city when it snows or ices, and they spread salt on the road and when the salt mixes with the ice, it lowers, I think this is right, it lowers the freezing point of the ice to something that's, you know, below the current temperature so even if it's freezing outside, the ice that's mixed with the salt needs a lower temperature than that to stay frozen, and so the salt makes the ice melt so cars can drive on it.

[pause]

Sam: What does pepper do?

[EXEUNT.]

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Abba, Zabba, Go!

Unnecessary Foreward: I posted this to the Sound of Young America Forum following a candy bar discussion on Jordan, Jesse, Go! and thought I would just post it again here, where even fewer people would see it. Next I plan to post it on a piece of paper, which I will then swallow.
_.. _.. _.. _.. _.. _.. _.. _.. _.. _.. _.. _.. _..

I grew up in Texas and moved to Chicago and then New York, so I had never heard of Abba Zabba until I heard the Tom Waits song, "Chocolate Jesus", which has these verses in it:


I don't want no Abba Zabba
Don't want no Almond Joy
There ain't nothing better
Suitable for this boy

It's the only thing
that can pick me up

Better than a Cup of Gold
Only a Chocolate Jesus
Can satisfy my soul
...so when I was in California a few years ago and I saw an Abba Zabba at a gas station, it felt like my heart was going to pee itself.

I bought one and ate it in the car and I must say: as good as the Abba Zabba was, it did not reach its Platonic Ideal, as represented by the song.

Thus, I posit:
No matter how good a candy bar is, it can never be as good as hearing Tom Waits say the name of that candy bar.
Once you know this, it will help you save this much money: one million dollars.
_.. _.. _.. _.. _.. _.. _.. _.. _.. _.. _.. _.. _..

Unnecessary Afterward: Using the "internet", I find that Abba Zabba is made by the Annabelle Candy Company, who also makes Rocky Road and U-No, the two candy bars my Dad used to go into a reverie about when I was growing up. They were unavailable to us in Texas, and therefore remembered more fondly than they probably should have been. I had just assumed they stopped making them when Ritchie Valens died or something, but it turns out, of course, that they've been with us all along but are only available on the West Coast. I don't know why this would still be the case in 2007, but I'm for it: inaccessibility of regional candy bars is pretty much the only thing my childhood will have in common with my offspring.

Keep it up, regional candy bars!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Short Story

Samantha Moss said, “Kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me kiss me.”

And this one guy she saw on the subway this morning had to kiss her that many times or everyone in the world would get measles.

THE END…?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Incarnations of Burned Children

I just ran across this DFW story again online. I’ve read it between twenty and thirty times since I first saw it*, and it completely destroys me every single time. I don’t know if it’s because it stands out so much in the context of all of the other detached-narrator, impossible-to-convey-the-complexity-of-even-one-single-instance-of-what-it-means-to-be-alive-with-mere-words stories in Oblivion (it almost seems like a refutation of every other story in that book) or if it’s something as simple as I Have a Kid And So This Terrifies Me, but every time I read it I feel like someone has slammed me in the chest with an Underwood.


It’s manipulative as hell and screams “unreliable narrator”** but I can’t help being destroyed.
If you feel like being destroyed, here it is.


* in a Zadie Smith-edited collection, which she
named after this story, now that I think about it.
** as does the fact that it is by this particular author, although unlike this author’s work, it contains no math that I can recall, though it’s too hard (in the sense of “remorseless”, not “difficult”) a story to read twice in one day so I can’t be sure

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Yvonne De Carlo Dead at 84

Not as sad as when Carolyn Jones died in 1983, but pretty sad, I guess.
I'll update the phone book.


[AP obit here]

Also: the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital: Sad Place to Die or Awesome Place to Die? I totally can't decide.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Psychic Shaver



This is over two years old at this point, but my haircut never changes, and anyway maybe it's new to you and maybe you will be amused.


N.B. Plans for Psychic Shaver II: Brazilian Nights were scratched when too many people said, "Ew."

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Roundup

Worst Book of the Year: Special Topics in Calamity Physics

Best Book of the Year (Young Adult): Special Topics in Calamity Physics *

Best Film of the Year: I have a two year old and do not see movies any more. Sooo, I guess, Tai Shan doing somersaults? Was that this year?

Photo That Sums Up What I Do Instead of See Movies: This one.

Best Album that You Literally Can’t Stop Listening To But Then at About the Thirtieth Straight Time Through the Album You Start to Get Annoyed at What Originally Seemed Like Funny Quirks in Her Songwriting But Now Seem Like Obvious Weaknesses and You’ve Been Skipping Over That “Let’s Play Dress Up” Cover of Handle Me With Care the Past Fifteen Times Anyway But Then You Don’t Listen to it for a While and Then You Do Again and Amazingly It’s Completely Fresh Again and The Overall Experience is Like when the Palomino Got Sucked Into the Black Hole in the Film The Black Hole, Went Through What Looked Like Heaven and Hell (Appropriate For This Album, I Guess) and Came Out The Other Side and You Looked At Your Dad and Said, “What Happened?” and he Shrugged and Said, “They Just Went Through the Black Hole” of 2006: Rabbit Fur Coat, Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins

Best Gawker Post of 2006: Team Party Crash’s Spy Book Launch: I look forward to rereading it in 2008’s “Gawker: The Funny Months”.**

Eeriest Dead People Coincidence of 2006: Former US Leader Gerald Rudolph Ford and Former Iraqi Leader Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti died more or less around the same time! (What the--?!!?? How did that happen?!?!?!??) ***

Best Four Things That Are No Longer Planets of 2006: (1) Pluto; (2) Star Jones; (3) Al Roker; (4) Katie Couric****

Best Sandwich Until You Pay $9.50 For It And Then Its Just OK of 2006: Meatloaf sandwich at ’wichcraft.

Worst Way to End 2006/Start 2007: Seeing Dick Clark kissing on his wife. (Imagine there’s no such thing as Dick Clark. Now imagine running into some guy that looks like Dick Clark. Now imagine that guy kissing on someone who is about as grotesque but is female.
I totally saw that.)*****


THAT IS ALL. NOTHING ELSE HAPPENED IN 2006.


* N.B. on the promotional website, if you Ctrl+A the page, on the bottom right it says “aasdfsadf” which is computerese for “I typed some random characters with my left hand and didn’t bother to edit it out”; in an eerie coincidence, this is how the book was written (her right hand was busy patting herself on the back).

** I read Gawker religiously in three-day bursts that occur about every ten weeks, but among that subset, this joked on my face the hardest and reaffirmed my suspicion: even if I were participating in the things that make the city great and fun, I still probably wouldn’t know what I was doing. (Plus it introduced me to the practice of looking at Nikola Tamindzic’s photos at work in a very small Firefox window in the corner of my desktop with my mouse hovering over the “close” button, a totally fun practice.)

*** Also: Ford had a secretary named Saddam who warned him not to pardon Nixon and Hussein had no link to al-Qaeda but was a dick. (James Brown died too, but this was not eerie or a coincidence. Although they did have his body on display at the Apollo, which is kind of eerie, except that the eeriness is trumped by the awesomeness, except it probably means I’ll be on display in Gary Gygax’s attic or something.)

**** Number four applies only to CBS Promotional Photos. Otherwise, still a planet.

***** Sorry about the stroke or whatever, but pass the torch already; I know Seacrest has this in the bag, but for your consideration, my favorite Eternal Teenager is Dr. Z. Look at that punim. And every year his wife could wear a new giant hat and salute us for our bravery. I REALLY NEED TO BE SALUTED FOR MY BRAVERY MORE THIS YEAR, PLEASE.

Um, update, 1/03/07: Please do not salute my bravery. I am the least brave person of all time.