"It's a... moose!"


It wasn't all that bad.

She knows how to play her men.Posted by Picasa

The dress seen above was sold this week at auction in London for nearly one million dollars ($922,299). At first glance, it seems excessive, obscene, and perhaps even a little pathetic. But then there's the backstory:

"The dress... was given by designer Hubert de Givenchy to French author Dominique Lapierre to benefit a charity that helps poor people in India. The dress was bought by an anonymous telephone bidder." Which gets even better when you hear the quote of Dominique Lapierre, post-auction:

"`I am absolutely dumbfounded to believe that a piece of cloth which belonged to such a magical actress will now enable me to buy bricks and cement to put the most destitute children in the world into schools.'"

Funny how life works sometimes.

Happy Thursday.


Consume Me

Or, Consumption, According to Jenn

I'm not sure I have the motivation to write a whole fresh blog entry here, but I have been thinking about a few things lately (mostly, Christmas shopping, and how I hope that my friends will be okay with joining me in the celebration of Kwanzaa again this year since I won't have my holiday shopping done until then).

In hopes of filling your December stockings and the stockings of your friends with some nice bored-while-at-work goodies, I've made a little list. I'm also providing links within so you can just click right through. Aww, thank you, Auntie Jenn! You're the greatest!!!

First, there's this fun little investigative tool called Responsible Shopper, put out by the folks at Co-op America. Want to know if those rumors about the inefficiency of big-box superstores are true? Search: Walmart. Want to know if Starbucks Coffee is really McFree-Trade? Search: Starbucks. Excellent resource, and as I've found, you can stay on it all day long.

Traveling soon? Use Kayak.com to search out the best rates and possibilities for your flights or rental cars. Unbelievably cool little tool. And, you actually cannot use them as a third-party booking agency for the rates the engine finds for you; it redirects you to the sights (often, the direct sights of the airlines themselves), so there's no B.S. middle man to get in the way.

Two great docu-films are out now:
The World According to Sesame Street, and
An Inconvenient Truth

For those who like the light-hearted, try The Constant Gardener. Ha! Just kidding. How about Murderball? Trust me on that one.

Now, for those of us without television, I heartily recommend YouTube. In fact, I heartily recommend old Sesame Street episodes, or Wayne Brady on The Dave Chapelle Show (viewer discretion is advised). Again, just trust me, folks.

On my book-reading list this year is Andrew Carnegie. Finally, there is a well-reviewed and very thick biography on this man. Ahhhh, sigh of relief. I will begin this in just a few weeks and I truly cannot wait (though, I will forgive you if you do not share my passion for the steel tycoon).

And if all else fails and you really, really, really need to do all of your Christmas shopping online, do it at the MOMA Store online. Your friends will be amazed at how stylish they never knew you really are!

Happy December 1st, kids.



I find the topic of art thievery absolutely fascinating. It is my fly-fishing or stamp collecting. One day, probably in about twenty years, I will begin reading obsessively about it.

So, if anyone hasn't been looking, a relatively unpopular Goya painting was lifted en route to the Guggenheim (NYC) by Toledo, OH recently. No one could really piece together why someone would steal that piece, and why just the one. Well.

This is funny. From the NY Times this morning:

Contrary to earlier law enforcement theories that the theft was carried out by insiders, they did say it appeared that the thieves probably had no idea what kind of art-historical loot they had stumbled upon when they broke into the truck overnight in a parking lot at a Howard Johnson Inn near Bartonsville, Pa.

“This time of year, close to Christmas, they probably thought they’d found a truck filled with PlayStations and broke in and started looking for the biggest-looking box,” said Steve Siegel, an F.B.I. agent who serves as the spokesman for the bureau’s Newark office. “Basically, it’s a target-of-opportunity typical New Jersey cargo theft. There are literally predators — for lack of a better word — who when they see a tractor-trailer or a cargo vehicle parked for any length of time start snooping around.”

My guess: they opened the box and either knew 1: we're in big trouble, dude and/or 2: we are never going to be able to sell this. Damn it.

Happy Tuesday.


"We have a lot of guards, and not enough teachers."

That's a quote from a teen-aged high schooler, on the state of the staffing at her New Orleans school.

I found this in the New York Times this evening. After the Storm, Students Left Alone and Angry.

I'm going to be spending some time in NOLA volunteering this January, and I bring this article to light merely for the fact that, though Hurricane Katrina made landfall over a year ago, life for the residents of this area is now radically different -- in radically different ways than most of us really know about. I encourage you to take a look at this article.

More to come.


And mind your cuppy cakes, too!

Mind your soft fluffy pillows.

It's Andrew Lee Day!

"Wait, I think I've got something, guys." Posted by Picasa

In the course of the last five years, I've somehow gone from college dropout to Truman Scholar (cue: blazing trumpets). This basically makes me feel about as awkward as Howard the Duck walking around at a wedding reception, so I lessen the burden by cracking jokes about it. And, myself.

But this is funny.

One of the other Trumans from my class, Andrew, was spotted in the NY Times in the most-emailed NY Times article of the day by a few of the other Trumans. (The listserv went wild!!) That's him up there with the fuzzy glow around his head (my effect).

Now for the punchline...

Andrew helped me pass microeconomics.

Andrew knows how to rock and roll.

And the reason for the news article? He invented Fantasy Congress.

I have a feeling this link will be the link of utter happiness for some of my most loyal readers.

For the love of Trumanity,
Happy Tuesday.


Preamble (of tha Constitizzle)

Let's here it old-school style:

"We tha People of tha United States, in Hustla ta fizzorm a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquillizzle provide fo' tha common defence, promote tha general Welfare, n secure tha Straight Trippin' of Liberty ta ourselves n our Posterizzles do ordain n establish this Constitizzles fo' tha United States of America. "

With Gizoogle, anything is possible.

Happy Monday.


"Cool cell, man."

From NPR.org....

"NPR's Laura Sullivan has what sounds like a fascinating piece on cell phones in prisons. Apparently, guards are bringing them in and selling them to inmates -- $500 is the going rate. Jamming the signals won't work because that would jam the guards' communications as well. One prisoner's mother helped authorities find out about the trend when she called her son's warden and complained that the cell phone service was spotty. She then asked if they could move him to a different cell."

My personal experience with cell phones in prisons is that they don't work well anyway. In the yard, sure, but the walls of the buildings are generally so thick with concrete that a cellular signal could hardly hope to penetrate them.

This is nothing new -- guards selling contraband to inmates in order supplement their typically low salaried wages -- however... $500? I've not yet heard of something that extreme. I thought $20 per cigarette was bad (yes, I did just say per cigarette).

I'm not sure if most people are aware of the phenomenon of these kinds of behind-the-walls behaviors. I remember when I first heard about it, it seemed like practical (though unethical) business sense. If your salary is somewhere between $20 and $30k, it stands to reason you'd want to supplement your income, especially if you have a family comprised of multiple dependants. But what's disturbing about this activity is that it allows black market politics into the place where we so earnestly say those who attempt to be outside the law (and fail) are supposed to go to be punished. Yet, who does that apply to when these sort of issues develop? The officers, or the inmates? Because, wait a minute -- supplementing or creating your income based on black market practices and politics would be punished with a 3 to 7, 10 to 15, 25 to Life sentence... except, when an officer who isn't making enough money to feed his family does it, it's not necessarily a crime, just a workplace phenomenon.

Does everyone go to prison and end up outside the law? I don't mean that literally, but it's an interesting seat to take for this problem for a moment. If the key to crime and punishment for criminals in America is "send them away until they're sorry and they know better," then what is intended by the prison administrations who hover above their officers and are unable (or uninterested?) in solving their structural, managerial problems? Can't beat 'em, don't want to join 'em; maybe it will go away if we just keep it out of the press?

Happy Wednesday.


Earth Book

So, I watch Sesame Street every morning.

After showering, starting the coffee, and making the breakfast du jour, my fiancee and I sit down in front of the television and watch a good chunk of Sesame on PBS. If it's a particularly rushed morning, we at least make the effort to catch the Letter of the Day segment performed by none other than my favorite, Cookie Monster.

Some people look at me strangely when they find out I watch Sesame Street. Allow me to propose a formula in my defense, though: "working in prisons + living in NYC + community organizing + preparing for PhD studies = a desperate need for levity." Not to mention, it's still the only show on television that I think is good enough for children to watch.

Anyway, I was perusing the good ol' YouTube a few weeks ago and came up with an old Sesame Street skit that I'd like to share. If you don't ever tune in for S.S., you should at least enjoy this. If only one Earth Book could make sense of this strange, strange world.... click on the little arrow in the middle of the box below to view.

Yip, yip, yip -- Happy Tuesday.


Cookie's in tha hizzouse

Jenn, coming home from The Rock last night. Posted by Picasa

I'll make this short and sweet.

I didn't make it out to Rikers for my class last week for personal reasons, so I felt bad as I came into the jail last night. A lot happens in a week and, if you're not around, it's hard to keep up.

So, I get down to the academy and see a bunch of inmate ID cards sitting on the desk by the metal detector. This is a common sight at the academy; inmate movement is tracked by ID cards and, when you go to a new area, you leave the card there until you leave.

I asked the officer if I was late as I started shuffling through the cards and recognizing all the regular names and faces. It was my class.

CO says "naaaaawww, they're just finishing up in the kitchen over there. It's just the culinary guys." My students (and the officers) know that my own personal repeat offense is popping my head into the kitchen to see if I get get some scraps thrown my way.


Last night, I walk into the kitchen and I find about 10 happy students standing over a tray of fresh-baked cookies. They see me, everyone gets all excited, and I'm nothing but smiles, of course. I come in, ask, "what's for dinner??" and they proceed to tell me: "Ms. O -- Ms. O -- we made you cookies!"

I was so shocked that I was convinced they were lying.

Me: "Are you for real?"

Them: "We know you like cookies so we wanted to make you some!"

Still not quite getting it, I look to their instructor for help. He tells me that the guys were making cookies and decided to make an extra batch for Ms. O to have to take away from the Island.

Gentlemen, your teacher is ten pounds fatter for it. And I couldn't be happier (or more proud).

Happy Thursday, folks.


I have so much respect for Keith Olbermann.

(Click on the title of this entry and watch it. Please.)


For the Love of Trumanity

I got's a shout out... this one's fo' my homies... the smarty-hearties of America... yo, recognize... these peep's ain't out ther' playin'. We's out ther' workin' -- straight dorkin' -- calculatin' --- whaaaaaat?

Present Scholars, Future Leaders
(as seen in the Washington Post)

"I can easily see tomorrow's Cabinet members, elected representatives, nonprofit directors -- even presidents," the former secretary of state said.

Madeleine K. Albright is talking about the 2006 Truman scholars -- a group of 75 young men and women she believes are destined for success.

The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, named after the nation's 33rd president, picks people with potential to become leaders and gives them support.

Each has been nominated by his or her university, and each passed a tough selection process to be chosen by the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, a government agency of which Albright is the president. But this is an agency like no other. Its sole aim is to pick out people with potential to become leaders -- then provide support to help them realize their aspirations.

Next year the agency will mark 30 years of choosing talent, and its earliest alumni are reaching positions of power. Among them are governors, judges, U.S. attorneys and renowned academics.
Albright said the foundation "serves as a gateway for America's public service leaders" and "does a remarkable job of identifying future change agents."

Be nice to me, or else I'll sic Her Majesty Albright on you, yo.

Happy Tuesday.


Okay, hold the phone!

I was just done with my Post du Jour, and then Jared pointed me in the direction of Accoutrements, where I found fabulous things, such as:

A Cold War Unicorns playset ("Commie" vs. "Freedom")

A Moses Action figure

A Bendy Pirate Toy

and, these:

For all your two-thousand body parts. Posted by Picasa

Thank you, Jared!

Ohhhhh, bunny!

The bunnies are back with some exciting new treats, one of which I couldn't help but to share with my friendly Vandertramp readers:

Voiceover Outtakes from Bunnies Doing Office Space*

*not yet released!!!

I especially like the Ode to Drew bunny, seeing as I am long overdue on my odeing. [Apologies to He-Man, Tedly, Cooks Illustrated, and the Federal Reserve. Odes to come, dear ones. Odes to come.]

Happy Tuesday.


I bought myself a new toy today.

Sigmund Freud Posted by Picasa

I've officially graduated to from Barbie to Psychoanalyst. Or have I?!!?!?

I'm so excited, I can already see where it's going to be placed in the office....

Ah, the joys of new toys.

Happy Thursday.


No Child Left Behind

A girl sat down across from me on the subway yesterday as I was making my trek back up to Harlem. She was probably about 13 years old but was hiding her age under bling, very tight-fitting clothes, and those Harlem eyes that threaten I will claw your face off if you so much as blink at me wrong motherf#^&@er.

So, I started staring at her chest. Not because I was feeling perky and up to a challenge, but because like I said, she was wearing a really tight pink t-shirt with purple, glittery-writing across it. It said:

"Two boyfriends are better then one."

Then. Better then one. Better then.

I squinted very intently at her chest for at least the next minute, spinning through chapters of old grammar textbooks in my head in an effort to verify that yes, this shirt is incredibly wrong.

And it wasn't even homemade! She actually bought this shirt somewhere....

I wanted to be the dork that I am and say, "excuse me, Miss? Did you know that they spelled that wrong on your shirt?" but I didn't have the heart. I rather like my face and would like to protect it from scratch marks. Besides, I'm not even sure how I would go about delivering a lesson in English 101 to a 13 year-old on the subway.

Instead, the gnome inside my head started singing, "What the world, needs now, is copy-editors, sweet copy-editors... that's the only thing, that there's just, too little of."

Ah, adventures in Harlem.

Happy Tuesday.


When I miss my friends, I post pictures of them dressed inappropriately, standing next to politicians.

Dwayne, and Wes Clark Posted by Picasa

Hi Dwayne.

Happy Thursday.


Commissary Economics

At a maximum security male prison in Upstate New York...

Scene one: in a cellblock.

Jenn O: So, how's the food?

Inmate 1: Aww man, that stuff is crazy. It's just bad. Terrible!
(JO notices a Snickers bar sitting close to cell bars)

JO: So you eat Snickers?

I1: Ohhh yeah! DEF-initely.

JO: Yeah, they're not so bad, you know?

I1: I just got a raise on my job, so now I can get me even more of those. That's the only way I can eat in here. That grub is just wrong!

JO: How much you making now?

I1: Hmmm? Oh, 60 cents, ma'am.

JO: 60 cents? Per hour?

I1: Per DAY.

JO: 60 cents per day!

I1: That's right.

JO: And, how much are those Snickers bars?

I1: 40 cents.
(JO, doing the math...)

JO: So, that means two days pay gets you three Snickers bars.

I1: Mmmm hmmmm.

JO: Damn.
(Both bust out laughing)

JO: Those must be some good tasting Snickers bars.

I1: Sure (pronounced like "show") is. I gots to work so hard to get 'em!

Scene Two: later, being escorted to another cellblock, Jenn stops because of inmate traffic. Inmate 2, carrying a see-through storage crate, approaches.

JO: Whoa, whoa! What the hell is that?
(Inmate 2 puts crate down, looks frantically for a mouse)

I2: What?! What!?

JO: No, in your crate!

I2: What? That?

JO: Yeah!

I2: That's Ben & Jerry's.

JO: Where'd you get those?

I2: Commissary, ma'am.

JO: Damn!

I2: You want some?
(Inmate begins unpacking box)

JO: No, no, no, no! I'm just stopping to admire. Now, wait -- where do you keep it?

I2: 'xucse me?

JO: Like, keep it cold?

I2: Oh! You know those foam boxes with the fake ice in 'em? You seen 'em?
(Epiphany happens in JO's head)

JO: Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh... get out of town.

I2: I get these all the time.

JO: Well you better go off and enjoy them then!

I2: Oh I will, ma'am! Thank you, ma'am!
(Traffic proceeds)

Just a little dose of Maximum Security Commissary Economics.

Happy Tuesday.


Tips from the Psych Storage Facility

In the last few days, I've found myself being called upon by quite a few friends and random others to answer the questions of the deep mysteries that are beholden only to human life: "what did she mean by that?" "why did he go crazy?!" "what do you think I should tell her?" And so it goes.

My caffeinated existence has allowed my brain to evolve to a sort of giant Pandora’s Box of useless, semi-useless and borderline useful information. Ah, the joys of Insomnia! But seriously, I've spent a lot of time -- too much time -- studying human behavior and psychology and as a result am quick to psychoanalyze anything resembling a living object. In a few years, you will be obligated to refer to me as Dr. Crazypants O. Look out.

I have a few weapons in my Psych Storage Facility (see also: my brain) that I like to keep top secret, but every once in a while it's kind of fun to share them as well. So, from the vault, I give you:

TIP #2,071: If a woman tells you Breakfast at Tiffany's is her favorite movie, be prepared to run.

It's true.

Breakfast at Tiffany's was a beautiful but strange novel written by our good friend Truman Capote, the movie being ripped from his artistic vision and bastardized by our strange bedfellows in Hollywood. The character of Holly Golightly, portrayed in the film by Audrey Hepburn, is a phony living in New York City, desperately in love with Tiffany's, and unnervingly on edge of toppling at any moment. She also has a friend, Cat, which is of course, a cat.

Holly falls in love with a writer, calls him by her brother’s name (Fred), and wraps him around her finger. Along the way, we find out Holly is a hick from a poor family in reality and is married (real name: Lula May). Also, she later gets involved with a Brazilian and pretends like she’s moving to Brazil to get married.

There’s more to the story, but this is about as far as we need to go. Back to Lessons in Deconstruction with Jenn.

There are many reasons a woman would declare this her favorite movie. Some of them are harmless and almost expected, like a person who likes sweet things will like chocolate. Others are enough to set off the RED ALERT. I’ll list them below, in some kind of scale of Not Crazy to Bedlam.

1: She likes pretty things. There are lots of pretty things in this movie. Pretty buildings, pretty New York City, pretty diamonds, pretty Audrey. Harmless.

2: She wants to look like Audrey Hepburn. Similar to those who have a Marilyn Monroe complex: we just want to look pretty. Women do that. BAT showcases Audrey nicely, and women will undoubtedly watch it many times over trying to figure out how she can wake up looking so beautiful, forgetting entirely about makeup and lights and directors that make everything nice in movies. Still harmless.

3: She really likes the song 'Moon River'. "Moon River/wider than a mile/I’m crossing you in style someday/Old dream-maker/you heartbreaker/wherever you’re going, I’m going, your way/Two drifters off to see the world/there’s such a lot of world to see/We’re after the same rainbow’s end/waiting ‘round the bend/my Huckleberry friend/Moon River, and me." There’s some ambiguity in there, but overall I’ll say we’re still in the Green Zone. Unless she is obsessed with this song and you’re having relationship problems; in that case, cue: “I’m not in love with somebody else, just the idea of somebody else.” Wait for it... wait for it...

4: She wants to be like Holly Golightly. Danger, Will Robinson. Ask yourself this: why would a woman want to be like Holly Golightly, a phony who plays men for money, is a qualified massive depressive who is using alcohol in combination with a handful of behavioral defense mechanisms against dealing with her problems, calls the man she quickly falls in love with by the same name of her brother, and refuses to communicate with others (especially men) lest it force her to unravel and confront her truths. Crazy level: doozey. And I do declare, this *may* be where you want to start taking a gentle jog.

5: She IS Holly Golightly. She loves this movie oh so much because she can relate so completely with Holly (see #4 for character description) that she watches the movie over and over again for insight on how to go about her daily life. Survey says: you better start training for a marathon. High-step it, son. Now. Because guess what? Holly Golightly doesn't really get better in the end. She ends up with "Fred." [Come to think of it, I'd love to see Breakfast at Tiffany's II: How Holly Makes Fred Go Crazy. I wonder why Capote never wrote that one...]

And there you have it. Throw that in the compactor and chew on it. Questions?

Strange, but incredibly useful. Believe me.

Happy Wednesday.


Name. That. TITLE!!!

It’s getting hot outside. I don’t think I can go on for much longer… without a game!

Yes! That’s right!

In the grand Vandertramp tradition, the author has decided it’s time for another picture game:


Photo by Charlie GrossoPosted by Picasa

This is a piece the lovely and talented Charlie Grosso threw together after visiting New York sometime last year (was it last year already? Must have been. This was definitely pre-Rosemary’s Baby haircut). Anyhoo, I’ve always been perplexed by a number of items in this composition, and I’d like for you to use your imagination and brilliance and tell me what you think the title of this piece should be. NAME. THAT. TITLE!!!

Truth be told, Charlie is a fabulous photographer [shameless plug: seriously visit her website], but oh, the places you could go with museums, fish, and laughing Jenn. Which-one-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-other?? Or, what do these three things have in common??? Give me a title. Lay it on me. The most creative title wins the Super Secret Special Prize**.

The rules of the game are:

1. Post as many times as you like;
2. Submit your entries as comments on this blog entry; and,
3. Be patient, Young Jedi. I will announce the winners in a week.

If you’re still confused about what this hoopla is all about, might I suggest you visit:

What’s she saying?
What’s she writing? Or
What’s so funny?

All equally entertaining.

Bon chance, mes amis! Away we go!

**This prize is so super, secret, and special, that as of yet I have been unable to determine it. It may never be determined. More to come.


When I tell you I have the coolest grandmother in the world...

I'm really not kidding.

This is the email she sent to me this evening:

"In Pharmacology, all drugs have two names, a trade name and generic name. For example, the trade name of Tylenol also has a generic name of Acetaminophen. Aleve is also called Naproxen. Amoxil is also call Amoxicillin and Advil is also called Ibuprofen.

The FDA has been looking for a generic name for Viagra. After careful consideration by a team of government experts, it recently announced that it has settled on the generic name of Mycoxafloppin. Also considered were Mycoxafailin, Mydixadrupin, Mydixarizin, Dixafix, and of course, Ibepokin.

Pfizer Corp. announced today that Viagra will soon be available in liquid form, and will be marketed by Pepsi Cola as a power beverage suitable for use as a mixer. It will now be possible for a man to literally pour himself a stiff one. Obviously we can no longer call this a soft drink, and it gives new meaning to the names of "cocktails", "highballs" and just a good old-fashioned "stiff drink". Pepsi will market the new concoction by the name of: MOUNT & DO.

Thought for the day: There is more money being spent on breast implants and Viagra today than on Alzheimer's research. This means that by 2040, there should be a large elderly population with perky boobs and huge erections and absolutely no recollection of what to do with them. "

I love you, Gran.

Happy Saturday.


I ride my horse with her blinders on.

New Yorkers are crazy people. This we know from the catcalling, obscenity-yelling, finger-waving manners of the born-and-raised, and the testimonials from the mass number of imports claiming not to be one of them. If an Iowan living in New York City is asked, "are you a New Yorker???" by a tourist, she will most likely gasp in horror and state "oh no! I just live here now." Yours truly, on the other hand? Bring it on.

Yeah I'll flip you off if you pull something in traffic, yeah I'll bark if you cut infront of me while I'm in line trying to get my coffee, and YEAH, I'll give you such Sloppy Seconds that you'll run to the nearest ER praying you didn't just contract a disease.

[Sloppy Seconds, in my book, is the bittersweetness exchanged when I watch a guy look the attractive woman who is walking in front of me up and down, and then look at me as if I'm next line in the I-Love-Lucy-episode-where-she-stuffs-chocolate-in-her-shirt-as-it-comes-off-the-conveyor-belt. No thank you. No, no, my friends. I am not chocolate, you are not Lucy, and if you even think you're going to get away with that erection without me making you sport a nice limp one, you're wrong. You're mine. It's going down.]

Though the denizens of this city are thought to carry the reputation of not caring about each other (or for each other, for that matter), those who have lived in New York for more than a year know the truth: the streets are the battleground, and the name of the fight might as well be Men versus Women. This is especially true on the subway, where, the Powers That Be have oh-so-graciously provided the horny, inconsiderate men of New York with front-row seats.

It is not uncommon, as a female living in New York, to be looked up and down, catcalled, whistled at, or hit on. This happens often on the subway. As a frequenter of Rikers Island and other much harder prisons upstate, though, I have a hard time being intimidated by this for one precious second.

This morning on my commute, for example, I was milliseconds away from getting myself into an incident. A man was standing near me as I awaiting my morning train on the downtown R/W, and he was staring. OBSCENELY.

"The Thing" [iPod Nano] and I were chilling to "Get Back" by our boy-next-door Ludacris and, insert Venus, it seemed somewhat magical. In my ears I heard nothing but:

Why you all in my ear?
Talkin' a whole bunch a shit that I ain't tryin to hear.
Get Back! Mother$^@$%$
You don't know me like that.
Get Back! Mother$#^@&*
You don't know me like that."

And so I look this fella up and down, nearly mimicking exactly the same moves he showed me, when the downtown Q rolls up and I decide to hop on. I can't help but to cling to my child-like instinct that says "get on the train, idiot! You don't have the time for Sloppy Seconds [because you KNOW I am not the first in the line of women this man has eye-harrassed already today]! I'm ready for the double-espresso!!!"

So I get on the train and put my left hand on the metal bar. I am facing the platform, trying hard to look badass. All of a sudden, though, me in my pink pants and chunky flip flops see someone looking at me as if he was trying to get my attention. But he's on the platform, and I'm on the car! Oh no, the doors are closing!!! Wait a second.... could it be -- is it really???

YES. It's my friend, Sammy P-Diddy Roe-a-thon trying to get my attention from the platform. But then he moves, and I move [with the train], and Ludacris is dropping something crunk in my ear.

So then I had this thought: for as long as I thought it was good -- warding off the male terrier and all -- I ended up missing my friend this morning -- because I ride my horse with her blinders on. Truth be told, I am a New Yorker and we're sensitive beings. I don't want to put up with this crappy-pap harrassment; I want to move through my city in peace. What do I do in order to acheive this? Same thing any young white female in her right mind does for the commute downtown. Make a Dirty South/Crunk playlist on her iPod.

And now I'm losing my identity. And, looking at my friends as if they're next in my Sloppy Seconds line.

Apple, I'm losing hope in your iPod invention altogether.

Adventures with Ludacris, The Thing, and me,
Your Mutha$^#^#& New Yorker

Happy Friday, biotch.


Rainy day recommendation

Jody Shelton and the band. Posted by Picasa

If you run into Jenn in the NYC subway on any given day, there's a 90 - 95% chance I'll be bouncing my head to the "DS/Crunk" playlist on my iPod Nano ["The Thing"]. DS/Crunk, for those of you who have just joined us, stands for Dirty South/Crunk, i.e. dirty dirty dirty hip hop and rap music. Ohhhh goody!

I know I'm a dorky girl, and I know it's expected that I'll listen to things that suit my style. These things might be Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and maybe some Goo Goo Dolls or Tom Petty mixed in. The problem is, I listen to everything, so it's a crap shoot when recommending new bands or songs in my direction.

Over a year ago, I met this awesome man named Jody Shelton in a bar where a friend of mine was bartending. He was fresh and green and excited about telling everyone about his band and his passion for performing. I listened to a couple of his songs on a friend's iPod, and I've been hooked ever since. I've gone to multiple shows, and plan to go to many more.

On a rainy day like today, Ludicris is just not cutting it. I checked out Jody's semi-new webpage last night and found a new song that I am heartily recommending to you. I recommend it so highly, in fact, that if you don't go over and at least stream it, I will never speak to you again.

The song is "No Time" and, if you click here and then select the one in the middle [it says "No Time"], you can stream it. If you love it, you can go to apple and download the song on iTunes. The link for those can be found on this page.

For those of you who are lyric-happy, I've provided them below. I bolded a part that I particularly love. And, Jody, damnit: I'm waiting for the next show. I'm so proud of you, and truly inspired. Rock on.

"No Time" from Rise

You lie there next to me
Your sweet mouth it tastes of sleep
Some say flesh is currency
Won’t you please stay next to me

But you rise and act busy
To get rid of me
But you rise and play coy with me
To get rid of me
But you rise and play games with me
You’re playing games with me

Wise man says there is no time
Mad man says there is no why

Two more hours ‘til assembly line
Won’t you please just stay awhile

But you rise and act busy
To get rid of me
But you rise and play coy with me
To get rid of me
But you rise and play games with me
You’re playing games with me

Happy Wednesday.


An attempt at marrying a church with a prison...

Eastern State PenitentiaryPosted by Picasa
Philadelphia, PA
Courtesty of http://www.easternstate.org

... that's influenced the way we view corrections ever since.

Thoughts on this later.


Sometimes I moan, sometimes I noun.

Today the good folks over at the Oxford English Dictionary published a list of the 25 Most Often Used Nouns in the English Language. In order, from Number One to Twenty-Five, they are:


Stew on that for a bit.

Two I was personally hoping for? Erotology [study of love] and hoglot [a baby hedgehog].

I think I can say for most lady New Yorkers, I'm glad to see that boobies didn't make the list.

Happy Thursday.


When a woman of medium height sits on the subway and a tall man stands in front of her, it's kind of funny where her gaze falls.

This was the situation on the train coming downtown this morning.

The reason it became so clear today is that when Mr. Tall Man got on the train and moasied inward to stand near Sitting Jenn, I did a double take. Mr. Tall Man was in a prime spot for setting Mr. Tall Man's Best Friend free. His fly was down. All the way.

I'm somewhat (okay, actually very much) concerned with aesthetics, so I see lines and shapes in what I'm not convinced is an ordinary way. I think this is just a symptom of my brain being My Brain, as opposed to someone else's, and this has been a primary sport of mine for as long as I can remember. I can look at things and pretty accurately guess their length or height. I cannot, on the otherhand, stop myself from running into doorframes.

But I digress.

The reason this is important to note is that my eye is quick to be distracted by my taste. When something looks congruent, I see it, and I examine it. If I were to run into Cindy Crawford on the street, I would be the equivalent of a 14-year-old boy. I would stare. When something is chaotic, however, my eyes dart in search of ice cream or coffee or something nice. Things that are broken do this to me, but lines that are broken are likely to do it as well.

Tall Man was wearing what I would call a very impressive suit. My eye did its happy Shiny Object dance and focused on the cut of his suit because it seemed quite nice. As I began to look at the tie, shit, belt combination -- TRAIN WRECK!!! RED ALERT, RED ALERT -- major break in the line! His unzippered pants entirely trashed my aesthetic experience.

So, my eyes met the earphone cord of my new Ipod Nano (aka "The Thing") and I started making shapes with that. [I am a kindergartener, when all is said and done. Let us not forget this. Give me some silly putty and I will wander off with it immediately.] As I was pondering how to properly represent a polar bear with my earphone cords, an amazing amount of guilt started creeping into my head. Somebody needs to tell this guy that his fly is down! The train began to fill more and more; surely I wasn't the only one who spied his fly. How come nobody is saying anything?

I began to ask myself why I wasn't saying anything. It wasn't because it would be too embarrassing -- just the other day I told a guy who was convinced he met his destiny that he's got strange luck because I'm a lesbian and NOT INTERESTED [ladies, even this one doesn't work anymore; he got real smiley at the thought of that]. It wasn't because I'm a mean person... I like to think I'm not. But it was because of this: I didn't know him and, if he was a real jerk, wouldn't it be great for him to walk around Manhattan with his fly down all morning long?

Short of the long (innuendo intended), I decided that he could be a one of a million different kinds of displacements and, that no matter what it would be, it's no fun to walk around with something secretly lingering over your head (or under your belt). So I made the move.

I started tapping him on the side of his knee. He looked down, confused, as if he was expecting a small gnome to appear from under the subway seat.

I started pointing.

He turned, looking at the small child who is now looking back at me, confused.

"No -- no," I said, and I kind of waved my finger up and down around the general height of the top of his pants.

He looked down, bit his lip, raised his eyebrows way high, and did a really funny Inspector Gadget kind of move to take care of the zipping. If he had an inner monologue it would have been "OOOOPS! HOPE NOBODY CAN SEE ME ZIPPING UP MY FLY!" And yes, it would be that loud.

Moral of the story: if you're walking around with your fly down, look no further. Sitting Jenn's got you covered.

Happy Tuesday.



A just-before-midnight dialogue between Yours Truly and some children who do not exist:

J: Say hello to the Global Age, kids.

["Hi Global Age!!!!"]

Children, someone from Starbucks Coffee in Seattle has already been on for a visit to my blog today.

["Oh no, Auntie Jenn! What are we going to do?!?"]

Compliment them on their corporate strategy and be more vigilant about remembering to go to other places for morning coffee.

["But we liked the first-ever 10% post-consumer fiber cup -- the 60% post-consumer fiber sleeves!"]

And some people like to do bad things to ugly midgets. The world is a terrifying place.

My words on the coffee cup

I'm supposed to not be drinking coffee right now. Supposed to is such a poor excuse for a catch-all phrase, though. According to my calculations I'm supposed to be 5'11". And, I'm supposed to be out in the park, eating Sundae Cone ice cream. And, laughing.

So it's no surprise then that I'm having a stare-down with my unauthorized cup of coffee. You're not supposed to be on my desk right now. Go away.

On the little cardboard diapers Starbucks issues there's all this information about First-ever 10% post-consumer fiber cup; 60% post-consumer fiber sleeve [diaper]... I get bored easily with that hub-bub and turn the cup around. On the other side there's one of those "The Way I See It" things. This one begins "What you do to others you really do to yourself."

The rodent in my head jumps onto the wheel and starts making a run for it. My God, he looks like he's headed for the Boston Marathon!

I think I've created my own The Way I See It.

The Way I See It #105,642,701
"Tall, Grande, or Venti, you've totally been had by Mr. McStarbucks. And that makes us giggle. A lot. Addict."

Happy Friday.


Let's ride

Come with me, if you will, on a journey on a little bus with a lot of punch called the Q101-R, Limited, to Rikers Island. The 'to' part is not so much my concern this evening; the 'from' is what is much more interesting.

Every night after I teach, I take the Q101-R from Rikers Island to the last stop, which is Queensboro Plaza. Here you catch the N,W, and 7 trains, both to and from Manhattan and Queens.

The bus is always full, to the point of people standing -- sometimes clinging to a bar over the bus driver -- and the passengers are generally women. Women going to visit their men who are locked up at Rikers Island.

Often, though -- at other times of the day, for example -- this is not the case. This bus is the only public transportation on and off the Rock, so if you are incarcerated and lacking a friendly face to come pick you up, you'll also take this bus outta Rikerstown on the day of your release. This occurrence is very common. The hours I happen to be on the bus coincide with Wednesday night visits, so mostly the bus is filled with women and their children. The occasional formerly incarcerated individual also makes his or her way on, too.

Riding the bus home can be rowdy, or it can be quiet. It can be both. It can be pure, guttural drama, or it can be quiet depression and despair. For the thirty-some minutes it takes to get to the last stop, life-as-you-knew-it just really isn't the same. Everything's not all there.

As we make the approach to the next and last stop, I grow increasingly discouraged as I see the glare of what has set up shop right in our neighborhood. A strip joint. When you get off the bus, you have to walk a short block and a half to the subway entrance; now, though, you have to exit the Q101-R only to walk into the welcoming arms of ladies -- naked ladies -- all night long, all night strong.

When I see this, I loathe -- HATE -- the fact that some entrepreneur has placed his strip joint right here. I have half a mind to write the city and tell them they need to relocate the bus stop -- if only by one block -- to prevent the inevitable decline of many, many men who get off the bus after not seeing a lady for a long time and feel strangely sucked in to the mystery the lies behind the facade of this strip joint's crappy fake-steel walls. Come inside, it begs. Come see our naked ladies...

And then, as if by magic (because, truly, everything happens only by magic on the Q101-R Limited to Rikers Island), some friends appear to clutter the picture. They are two black men sporting beards and a large sandwich-board sign, and they are demonstrating, writhing in fury at the idea that such a thing as a strip club could exist, with naked ladies, no less, dancing around inside of it. "REPENT! For you have sinned if you walk into this establishment!" they cheer and, as they rant in tandem, my eyes lose focus in a kind of daze. They are from the Nation of Islam, and they are damn proud to protest this rotten establishment. And, though we may disagree on many different topics, I feel solidarity with them and whatever forces of the universe put them there, because tonite, if only for one night, they are putting some kind of damper on what could otherwise be a very Las Vegas kind of end to a promising ride for a man coming out of jail.

And though the interaction between protester and formerly incarcerated may end there, it could be the most important interaction of a newly-free man's life.

Happy Wednesday.

Welcome back.


Au revoir

Alright! I'm gone, folks. I'm leaving NYC in a few hours and will probably not be back to Bloggerland until June; I'm out of the city for almost the rest of the month.

However, I would like to leave you with the recommendation to try Google Trends. Fascinating little toy they've got there. It's almost like a virtual version of the census data I crave so much. Google Trends allows you to grab data on what people are googling! And, you can even compare two items (such as French Toast and the Yankees). It gives you a timeline, relevant news articles across the provided span... awesome.

This is my version of the addiction that stems for many from myspace. I found Google Trends the other day and I had a hard time stepping away from the computer.

Anyhoo, you should enjoy it. And, you should watch bunnies. My favorite has always been The Shining, but I think it's because I'm a sucker for a bunny impersonating Shelly Duval.

So, bunnies! Bunnies doing The Shining. Bunnies doing The Shining in 30 seconds.

Happy Saturday, Happy weekend, Happy May. Why not, right?


The Opposition (1950) by William Gropper. Posted by Picasa


Today, I choose ontology.

[see also: I'll be back in a few days.]

In the meantime, treat yourself to some of the diverse offerings found by taking your pointy-arrow-character to the right of my words -- somewhere below the picture of my head.

Happy Sunday.


I am glad he lives in this city.

A guy I went to college with moved here to New York City and has set up camp. Though we will inevitably do the run-around of trying to squeeze in a coffee or a drink at somepoint, and perhaps fail miserably in our attempts, I'm really happy he's here, nonetheless. [Jared, if you're tuning in, I think you rule.]

His myspace blog has a header that says: "Ask not what your country can do for you, because Bush probably has your phone tapped and is listening. " Love it.

His name is Jared and you should stop by his blog sometime: http://thesplitrail.blogspot.com/ Afterall, he will take over the world one day if he wants to. I'm not kidding. You should go to his blog right now!!!

Still, oh yes oh yes, a very happy Saturday.

My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.

I am thoroughly convinced that about 95% of the uber-popular hip-hop/pop/rap songs of today (and yes, I did just group the three of those together) would be just as popular if they replaced the words in their lyrics sheets in any number of interchangeable, incomprehensible blubberings of nonsense. I've provided some examples below.

Boys by Britney Spears
Actual: "You're a sexy guy; I'm a nice girl; let's turn this dance floor into our own little nasty world. Boys -- sometimes a girl just needs one... boys! To love her and to hold..."

JO: "I've a glassy eye; you know how to twirl; himey-shee-mo rocks and pops, let me take down cocoa swirl. Toys -- A chest of childhood playthings... toys! Rainbow Brite and Kermmmm..."

[Britney's really easy to pick on. Sorry, Britney.]

Do you see what I mean? And, that's par-sensical. We can get even crazier here:

The Milkshake Song by Kelis
Actual: "My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard, and they're like, it's better than yours, damn right, it's better than yours, I could teach you, but I'd have to charge."

JO: "That lipshitz hangs under your garage, and I'd fight, a buttered mirage, bling-blight, a buttered mirage, you could squeeze me, in your entourage."

Candy Shop by 50-Cent (Curtis Jackson)
Actual: "I take you to the candy shop; I let you lick the lollypop. OOohh girl don't you stop; keep going till you hit the spot -- whoooah!"

JO: Wait -- those weren't my lyrics? Ummm....

I say all of this because I listen these songs and like them very much, but then when I stop to listen to the lyrics I'm absolutely dumbfounded. How did I get wrapped up in all of this??? They aren't even using proper grammar!

I think the equation goes something like this:
sassy/confident/wispy voice +
steady beat +
sexual undertones, implied either through vocal quality or beat machine sounds =
hit song for the youth of America

Now, you'll note there was a 5% benefit of the doubt in my very first statement up there (that 95% of the popular songs in this spectrum could be lyrically smorshed). I reserve the 5% for those hey, don't-you-even-think-of-touching-that songs that are equally brilliant and popular, such as any of the songs by Kanye West. To balance out the blog here, I'll provide you with an example of what I mean. And, remember, just like that milkshake song up there, his music also brings all the boys (and girls) to the yard.

All Falls Down by Kanye West
I say fuck the police, thats how I treat em
We buy our way out of jail, but we can't buy freedom
We'll buy a lot of clothes when we don't really need em
Things we buy to cover up what's inside
Cause they make us hate ourself and love they wealth
That's why shortys hollering "where the ballas' at?"
Drug dealer buy Jordans, crackhead buy crack
And a white man get paid off of all of that
But I ain't even gon act holier than thou
Cause fuck it, I went to Jacob with 25 thou
Before I had a house and I'd do it again
Cause I wanna be on 106 and Park pushing a Benz
I wanna act ballerific like it's all terrific
I got a couple past due bills, I won't get specific
I got a problem with spending before I get it
We all self conscious I'm just the first to admit it.

So, in my opinion, not only is he selling a lot of records that people can dance to, but if you listen to the words, it's easy to argue that he's doing his community a pretty big service.

I might be mistaken, but isn't this a pretty big problem in the 'emo' community too?

Mayhap -- perchance -- I should make my way back to opera.

Happy Saturday.


Because 'irony' was accepted into the O.E.D. for a reason

I'm sorry, but it's... provocative:

US aviation legend dies in plane crash

Who knows -- maybe he was trying to fly faster than the speed of sound... in his single-engine aircraft.

P.S.: The Author is entirely heartless and well aware of this. Hatemail is unnecessary. Point taken. Tallies marked. Soothsayer sees all. Merci beaucoup.

The writing's on the...stall.

There is a bathroom I've discovered in a building of the Eugene Lang College, and it is home to my favorite bathroom stall in New York.

Yesterday I discovered a picture of John McCain taped to the door that faces you as you sit and sort out your necessary one's and two's, and under McCain's gleaming white smile was this:

"Thank you for the Honorary Degree, May 2006.
I'll take your uterus from you, January 20th, 2009."

[This is in reference to the fact that John McCain is the commencement speaker at The New School's graduation this spring, which many people are obviously not very happy about.]

What lies at the heart of my fondness for this bathroom stall is this: scattered about is a slowly growing dialogue of markered, penned, and penciled-in thoughts on race, class, and education. Observe:

This school needs more diversity. I'm sick of rich white people.
You're such a racist! White people can be poor, too -- I'm one of them!!!
No, I'm talking about interesting people from different cultures.

Black people love you. I'm one of them. :)

This school costs too much. Why doesn't anyone do anything about it?
Because your stupid asses are writing all over these doors and costing people money. Did you ever think about the poor person who has to paint over this?
Poor? I don't even have a job! That person gets paid to do it.

I love this bathroom. Reading this door is more entertaining than any of my classes this semester.
School is so boring.
Boring people are boring. Get a life.

And one day, I want to remember to take my marker in there with me. I have this repeating thought that I've been wanting to contribute --

But when they paint over your words, will you still continue to write?

Happy Thursday.


Oh bunny day.

Once upon a time, Ted introduced me to the bunnies, and my life has never been the same ever since. There is no easy explanation for this, though the one I like to side with is that at the end of the day, my intellectual capacity is more akin to that of a small child, Intelligent Quotient notwithstanding. My reaction time to silly fart jokes is much shorter than it is to oh, Noel Coward, for example. By telling you this, I am most likely admitting my poor, poor social conditioning. Please hold your applause. There will be tea and cookies later.

The bunnies are back with a vengeance, my friends, and this time in two forms: edited, and un-edited.

That's right!!! It's the bunnies. Bunnies doing Reservoir Dogs. Bunnies doing Reservoir Dogs in 30 Seconds. Ohhhh yeah. Ahem -- viewer discretion is advised (but when is it not? Isn't this sort of a condescending statement??).

[Also, Bunnies doing Reservoir Dogs in 30 Seconds, the EDITED version. I must say, I find them equally entertaining.]

So there you have it.

Happy Sunday.



I feel like I need to get a tattoo or something. Maybe I could settle for a funky scar...

Alas, I've been tagged by dearest Seth. Read on...

"The A-Z Meme"

[Note: at the end of this blog, I will tag three people myself! Mwwww-aahhh-hhhhaaaa-ahhhh!!!]

In the meantime, let the games begin.

Accent: I've gotten everything from Russian to Australian to New York to Southern. How 'bout we settle on Connecticut?

Booze: Oh, the secrets -- they pour! I'm more of a situational drinker. Different tastes, different settings. J'aime le vin.... I've been seriously sinkered (as in "hook, line, and sinker"-ed) into the new mixing-Red-Bull-with-anything-alcoholic trend... most often, I will order a Jack and Ginger. But, when in Rome...

Chore I hate: Online banking.

Dogs/Cats: I like dogs much more.

Essential Electronics: Computer, cellphone. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am this person.

Favorite Perfume/Cologne: Deviation from question -- I love L'Occitane's products.

Gold and Silver: Silver.

Hometown: Camden, NJ. Holla, yo...

Insomnia: Is like candy, or a giant butterfly. Or a nasty sorceress or an upset stomach. [I can't really answer this question, folks. When alone, insomnia is my strange bedfellow.]

Job Title: Wizard. Scholar. Social Worker. Jelly Bean. Italiano.

Kids: are strange.

Living Arrangements: Big apartment, big happiness. Nice, shiny, hardwood floors. I've even embraced the dishwasher.

Most Admired Trait: Nerve?

Number of Sexual Partners: Oh come on now. Entirely irrelevant question. Way to break the mood, questionnaire!

Overnight Hospital Stays: Yes. There was morphine involved.

Phobia(s): People. Also, abandonment. Oh, aren't I a walking contradiction! Running into people I don't want to see, Capitalism, and being bewitched into riding the subway for the rest of my life.

Quote: "Who knows -- you might get hit by a bus tomorrow." --Moi.

Religion: My comment on this wouldn't fit on this blog.

Siblings: Yes.

Time I usually wake up: About 5 (in the AM, EST).

Unusual Talent: I do a killer Grover (thanks Jules!). I also do long division.

Vegetable I Refuse to Eat: Fennel, uncooked. W-E-I-R-D. However, did you know that vegetables don't actually exist? They're a construction of our method of understanding [and marketing] things? Every plant-bearing, seed-producing item is actually a "fruit" and not a vegetable at all? Some things may be sweet and some savory, sure -- but "vegetable" apparently was contrived for the sake of organization in agriculture? Hmmm.

Worst Habit: This is another subjective question, but I'll say not wearing my glasses? Sometimes, I don't want to see things. Then, I come across something I do want to see and I can't because I don't have my glasses on me.

X-Rays: Has someone published a book on this history of X-Rays yet? Maybe Simon Winchester???

Yummy Foods: ...are all around. Follow your noses, my dears.

Zodiac Sign: Gemini. No comment.

That is all.

I tag Jon, Ted, and Wade [Wade is on myspace. This might get tricky...news at eleven]. Bonne chance, mes amis!

Happy Thursday.


Strange things happen during Holy Week.

Happy Wednesday.
 Posted by Picasa



 Posted by Picasa


I'm sorry, but I just really like what they did with Condoleeza in this picture.

 Posted by Picasa


I do declare!

Greetings, fair friends. I'm sorry I've been so incommunicado, but hey -- life happens.

I've been named a Truman Scholar, and you can read about me here.

Also, it is now officially Spring. Horoscopes by our psychic friend? Here.

There are also new Ben & Jerry's flavors.

And because I am now a Truman Scholar, I will proudly use my leadership abilities and tell you that I think it best to bestow upon you last the very, very golden egg: Bunnies. Bunnies doing Brokeback Mountain. Bunnies doing Brokeback Mountain in 30 seconds.

Oh, happiness feels like a double-stuffed Oreo!

Happy Tuesday.


Census! Oh, Census!

If I could figure out how to sound trumpets on this thing, I would.

It occurred to me this afternoon that the new abstract was probably available, and it is!

The 2005-2006 Census Statistical Abstract of the United States

This one is the 125th ed., so they have done this kitschy thing of putting in old tables from Censuses (censi??) before. I'm a particular fan of the table that starts off Section 3. Health and Nutrition. It's a table entitled INSANE ENUMERATED IN HOSPITALS (1912).

I'm so happy, I may just go into hiding forever.

Happy Monday.


Abu Ghraib is closing and Trader Joe's is about to open in Union Square.

This is a happy day for Jenn.


"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing."

--Benjamin Franklin


One of my more recent favorites

View of Toledo, El Greco (1541-1614) Posted by Picasa
Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art online

Happy Thursday.


Ruth, I think you're on to something. Posted by Picasa

Happy Monday.


And, the Star Wars one

Because it's just too good:

Bunnies doing Star Wars in 30 Seconds.

After you watch it, wait about twenty seconds to see what happens.