Archive for February, 2016

What IS Internet Logic?

February 25, 2016

So the other evening I was Google Imaging Kiryas Joel––I honestly forget why––and I came upon the below result and thought, Nu-uhhhh.

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Breathtaking

February 23, 2016

I recently wrote to a well-known Catholic woman, a convert, to see if she would allow herself to be interviewed by me.  She said no, which is sad, but her explanation is so beautiful that I’m almost glad I was on the receiving end of this rejection…

thank you for your invitation. I did consider it carefully but alas must say ‘no’. to the suggestion. I do not feel physically or mentally strong enough to look at my life and conversion again. The end stage of life is one where we do ‘look back’ and reflect on lots of things, but the time has come for me to stop self gaze of any kind and to gaze on the goodness of death and its transition that is a kind of ‘new birth’ akin to conversion, but maybe of a different kind. I have to let go of the past now and take that swim away from the shore to the unknown and am happy to do that.

A year ago I might have said yes, but not now. bits of me are already dying and I am happy with this gradual letting go. Of bots that no longer work. Best wishes for your own work and life.

 

Submitted to the Committee

February 21, 2016

DC and ID attended the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden for the second year in a row this year, and propose to add the following new rules to the drinking game:

When the handler’s outfit resembles upholstery

A truly dangerous decree.  Think long and hard before voting this in.

A collective “awww” from the audience

This one might be only applicable for those watching the show in person.  This year, a number of breeds got this sign of approval, including the Wirehaired Dachsund and newbie the Lagotto Romagnolo.

When the handler keeps treats in his/her mouth

This was discussed as a possible rule back when first formulating the game, but somehow didn’t make it on the list.

When the handler runs with a brush

Many long-haired breeds need the occasional touch-up.

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If you are a member of the Society for the Advancement of Drinking Games, please fill out your ballot with your choice of proposed new rules and submit to Siobhan at itinerantdaughterandson@gmail.com.  Next year, DC and ID, instead of attending both nights at MSG, will host a public viewing party on the first night of competition for members of the SADG and their guests.  Location TBD.
How many more acronyms can I fit into this post?

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Drinking Game

February 15, 2016

Starting tonight, New York’s Madison Square Garden will host everyone’s favorite annual competitive event: the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Launched in 1877 by a group of “sporting gentleman,” the show is a two-night long competition in which canine entrants are judged on everything from the luster of their coats to the floppiness of their ears. Even if you happen to be more of a cat lady (like me), watching perfectly-coiffed pooches strut down the turf in hopes of being dubbed best in show is the best antidote to mid-winter blues. In honor of the WKC’s 140th birthday, we’ve written a drinking game to help you celebrate. Unless otherwise noted, take one drink for each. Those of you watching from home can enjoy a single malt and the witty banter of the USA Network-appointed panelists; those of us attending the event will get lukewarm Bud Light in jumbo cups, and the heady satisfaction that comes with a Maslow-ian peak experience.

The sequin rule: If you’ve watched the show a few times, you’ll have noticed that dog handlers, for whatever reason, are really into their sequins. Sometimes they sport a splash across their shoulders, whereas other times they’ll model an entire outfit after Michael Jackson’s famous shiny glove. Take a drink if there are any sequins at all, two for an entirely sequined outfit, and three if the handler wearing an entirely sequined outfit is male.

<> on February 15, 2011 in New York City.

Shine bright like a diamond.

Owner/dog doppelgangers: The “canine mini-me” effect is real, although not universally applicable. Take two drinks if the handler, owner, and dog all look alike.

When the dog is from New York City: Everyone loves a hometown dog.

If you would have sex with the handler: Self-explanatory. If you actually have had sex with a particular handler, finish your drink.

The breed is new to Westminster: In 2015, two new breeds were admitted to Westminster: the wirehaired vizsla, a hunting dog from Hungary, and the coton du tulear, the national dog of Madagascar. This year, somewhere between five and ten new breeds will be introduced. We won’t tell you the exact number, so as to keep you on your toes. Fun fact: one of the new breeds is primarily known for hunting truffles.

When the dog has a human name: Most of the dogs at Westminster have elaborate, nonsensical names like “Roundtown Mercedes of Maryscot,” best in show 2009, or “Whisperwind on a Carousel,” the winning poodle from 1991. And then there’s Garth, a six-year-old bloodhound from New Hampshire, competing at Westminster for the fifth and final time this year. If the dog is entered under a banal human name like Jim or Stephanie, take a drink.

Handler tattoos: This is like spotting the chupacabra. Take two drinks for a full sleeve.

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They do exist!

 

Direct fingering of the anus: As aforementioned, the dogs are judged based on different aspects of their physicality: width of shoulders, shape of head, pertness of tail, and certain rectal features, or so it would seem from watching some judges.

When the announcer says something vaguely sexual or racist: For the twenty-sixth year in a row, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show will be narrated by David Frei, a former public relations guy with a voice like toasted and buttered heaven. We’d never suggest the lovely Frei would say anything actually offensive; this is more of a “that’s what she said” interpretive situation.

Breeder/Owner/Handler: More often than not, a show dog is shepherded through life by three important people: its breeder, owner and handler. But some uber-passionate people take it upon themselves to do it all. Breeder-owner-handlers are rare, and have only been part of a winning human-dog duo eight times in the show’s history. If a breeder-owner-handler takes the cup this year, finish your drink.

When you can’t see the dog’s eyes: Certain breeds, like all varieties of poodles, are made to wear elaborate fur-styles, whilst others, like the shaggy, huggable English sheepdogs, go au naturel, sometimes to the point where you have to wonder how it is they know where they’re going when they’re not being led on a leash by a bedazzled dog choreographer.

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The winning dog is deemed an “underdog” by the announcers: When this is said, it is almost always unironically.

 

 

Nothing

February 8, 2016

A deadline I can’t meet, a best friend who is far away, a pantry full of pretzels and nothing else, a head full of fluff––I can’t even finish this damn post.  I want to be this baby!

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Guys, I Give Up

February 3, 2016

Re-reading Lolita, and having a much different experience of it than I did upon my first time, at seventeen.  What hasn’t changed is how fucking amazing some of the language is.  Look at this fucking sentence:
“I believe the poor fierce-eyed child had figured out that with a mere fifty dollars in her purse she might somehow reach Broadway or Hollywood––or the foul kitchen of a diner (Help Wanted) in a dismal ex-prairie state, with the wind blowing, and the stars blinking, and the cars, and the bars, and the barmen, and everything soiled, torn, dead.”

Seriously, I give up.

Essays That I Wrote That No One Will Publish, Part XXXVI

February 2, 2016

The title is a bit of a misnomer, actually, because I did basically find a home for this, but then decided it wasn’t really a smart placement, for political reasons (how coy!)  But I decided I like some parts of it, so I figured you might too.  ENJOY!

***

In the weeks leading up to our move from Brooklyn to London, I told anyone who asked (which was everyone) that I was not nervous one bit about relocating to a foreign country. What was there to be nervous about, I argued. Globalization had ensured that basically all major cities are the same, and in this one, they spoke English, to boot. If anything, it wasn’t going to be different enough, I worried privately. Perhaps we should have lobbied my husband’s company for Hong Kong, or Paris, or Sao Paolo.

But then, the moving debacle happened: about an hour before we were scheduled to move into our new apartment, the broker called us. Our landlady had had to return to Dubai on an emergency, and hadn’t been able to get all of our personal stuff out. Perhaps we could move it to a storage unit and send her the bill? Upon arrival, I surveyed the scene. Her personal stuff was everywhere: mothy wool sweaters packed into closets that we’d been promised would be cleaned out, children’s drawings stacked in cupboards, half-filled bottles of spices lining the shelves in the kitchen, a bucket of dirty water in the bathroom. The landlady herself was unresponsive, and when we expressed our concern to the agents they seemed eager to wash their hands of us, explaining that it wasn’t their job to do x or y (what it was their job to actually do, I have yet to fully understand.) The bottom line, we were told, is that there was nothing we could really do but pay to have her stuff moved out.

I’d dealt with my fair share of shady people throughout my adult life, realtors not least among them, and though the experience was never enjoyable, I had always been able to speak up for myself and then go on about my day. It’s understandable that a dismal start in a new home would throw anyone, but I was surprised by how totally powerless I felt in the situation. This sense of paralysis trickled down to even the most basic tasks, including those I was accustomed to and which I’d executed easily back home. For example, grocery shopping. Where was the nearest grocery store? Did I need to tip the person who packaged my groceries? For that matter, did one tip anyone here? If I bought a bunch of apples and found a human finger inside, could I take it back, or was there some secret British law that protected the apple farmer over the consumer? For that matter: what was an apple, and what was money? Too embarrassed to ask questions that would surely be seen as elementary, I found myself wandering aisles examining bottles of olive oil, wondering to myself if perhaps “olive oil” didn’t mean something completely different in England than it did at home. Because after all, if “I’ll move out my personal stuff” meant “Please watch over the leather handcuffs in my nightstand drawer” here (you read that correctly), then what fresh hell was this, anyway?

The pall began to shadow every aspect of my new life, and I spent increasingly more time aggravated with myself for being so thrown, for taking on this new persona that was so resigned in private and timid in public. I began to wonder whether or not I would have reacted the same way in New York. Would a spat with a landlord there, for example, have rendered me incapable of buying a book, or receiving a package, or finding the closest dry cleaner and actually bringing my clothes there? And that’s when it hit me that I had completely underestimated the sense of vertigo one develops after moving far away from home. I had expected to adapt seamlessly to this place, but I hadn’t given the place credit, or myself leeway for being human and, ergo, struggling with change. Even when your new city seems on the surface to be practically identical to your old one––a sprawling urban center with subways and Starbucks and beer-drinking yuppies––there are these tiny discrepancies, sometimes virtually unnoticeable, that can make you feel like you’re no longer the master of your domain, and not in the Seinfeld-ian sense (no one gets Seinfeld references in London, to add to the opportunities for miscommunication.) Your foundational knowledge begins to feel sieved, and your confidence can crumble as a result. And without a network of trusted resources, both human and bureaucratic, to help you navigate the new landscape, it’s easy to start to feel like you just can’t do anything, and couldn’t recruit any allies even if you wanted to, your cultural and linguistic fluency so desperately lacking. I remembered an essay I read some years ago by Olivia Laing, a Brit out of place in New York, on the way the socially adrift tend to become “less adept… at navigating social currents.” Upon re-reading, I nodded to no one.

I wish I could say that the epiphany renewed my tenacity in an instant, but I’m thinking that’s something that’s built up over time, with every bottle of olive oil purchased. But for the record, olive oil means the same thing basically everywhere, and leather handcuffs are never your responsibility.