Monday, January 31, 2011

Pass The Dip And The Defibrillator

 

 

Planning on watching The Super Bowl this weekend?  Make sure you’ve got 911 on speed dial. 

According to The San Francisco Chronicle, physicians state that while watching the game can be stressful on your heart – especially if you’ve got a history of heart problems – it can be greatly exacerbated by excessive drinking and an over consuming fatty foods.  Here’s an excerpt from the article – for the whole thing, please click on the link below:

Stress, snacks of Super Bowl can be hard on heart

A study being released today showed an increase in circulatory deaths after one particularly brutal game three decades ago.

Fifteen percent more people in Los Angeles died in the two-week period after the game than in the same period in years when the local team wasn't playing in the Super Bowl. There was a 22 percent increase in deaths among people 65 and older. Researchers also looked at the 1984 Super Bowl but did not find an increase in deaths - perhaps, they said, because the game wasn't as thrilling and the Los Angeles Raiders won.

"A Super Bowl game, where you have so much hyped-up excitement and this severe emotional stress, you might get an elevated heart rate and blood pressure," said Dr. Eleanor Levin, a cardiologist with Kaiser Santa Clara Medical Center. "It's like running a marathon. It's this severe stress causing an increased workload on the heart, and surpassing what it's able to do."

Remember:  it’s only a game.  Unless, of course, you just bet your entire retirement fund on the wrong team.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Safe Texting

 

OK, time to review …

We all know that it’s rude to whip out your cell phone and start sending text messages when you’re out to dinner with someone.  Sending texts during sex is just plain wrong – and if you need me to explain why, then it’s clearly time for you to go back for re-training.  Text messaging while driving is downright unsafe (sadly, there have been plenty of news stories over the past couple of years to prove that point).  But should you text while you’re out shopping at the mall?  Apparently, that’s not such a good idea either, based on what happened to this one woman recently.  If you haven’t already seen this video, check it out here …

 

 

But wait!  There’s more!  Seems that the unidentified woman in the video, Cathy Cruz Marrero, decided to effectively “out” herself in a lame attempt to get public sympathy and to announce her lawsuit against the mall!  Brother, if there was ever a case for tort reform, this sure is a perfect example!  Hold on, Cathy – not so fast with the litigation, there babe!  Seems like now that she’s allowing herself to be in the public eye, she’s not holding up too well under scrutiny.  To be specific, she’s a woman with a past – here’s an excerpt from an article in The New York Daily News; if you want to read the entire piece, please click on the link below …

 

Cathy Cruz Marrero, woman seen in YouTube video falling into mall water fountain, facing charges

… Marrero still must answer for her alleged criminal charges. According to WFMZ 69 News, she worked at Zales Jewelers at the Fairgrounds Square Mall in Muhlenberg Township in in early 2007.

Police said Marrero allegedly used the credit account of a women she knows to buy more than $4,000 worth of purchases, then another $1,000 of the same person's credit at Target.

Although she vowed to pay the money back between August 2007 and September 2009, court documents say she did not. The felony charges were filed in October 2009.

This woman is an early nominee for a 2011 Darwin Award!

What do you think about Marrero?  Is she in the right?  Does her case have merit?  Or does she need to keep her mouth shut and do time for her theft?  Make a comment below and let us know what you think …

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Katoey Flight Attendants

 

Let’s say you’re on a flight and you suddenly discover that all of the flight attendants you’ve been leering at since boarding are in fact actually young Asian transsexuals.  Would that be enough to put you off of your in-flight meal or are you evolved enough to get past all of that kinda stuff? 

Well, as much as it might sound like the premise of a sequel to “La Cage Aux Folles”, the fact of the matter is that there may soon be an airline that specializes in such an all-“Ladyboy” crew. 

The London Telegraph recently reported that a new Thai airline is recruiting and hiring some “katoey” for their staff of flight attendants.  A “katoey” is Thai for a so – called “Ladyboy”:  a transsexual, whom the Thai people legitimately recognize as “The Third Sex” because of their abundance in that culture.  Here’s an excerpt from the article; please click on the link below to read the entire report:

 

Newly-formed Thai airline recruits 'Ladyboys' as air hostesses

PC Air, which has yet to take to the skies, selected three "Ladyboys" in its first round of hiring this week to promote equal opportunities for what is dubbed the "third sex" in Thailand.

Peter Chan, the new airline's boss, is enthusiastic about his groundbreaking move because of the opportunities it would afford transsexuals.

The transsexual flight attendants will wear special gold-coloured "third sex" name badges to help passengers and immigration staff to easily identify the gender they are faced with.

 

Could this kind of innovative thinking save the airline industry?  TWA could make a comeback and give the name Trans World Airlines a new meaning.  And would AirTran rebrand itself as AirTranny?  Think of the possibilities! 

Got any thoughts on this issue?  If so, post a comment and let us know whether or not you think this is a good idea …

Friday, January 28, 2011

All Aboard The Rat Train!

 

If there’s one thing that’s always true about us real New Yorkers, we sure do like us our subway rats – lord almighty help us, we do! 

I suppose that’s why we have yet another rat-on-a-train video, this one coming courtesy of NYC The Blog, which provides the following background information:

…the videographer, 43-year-old Brooklyn resident Nelson V. Gomez, said he was riding an R train in Manhattan on his way to the dentist on Tuesday around 3:00pm when the rat entered the car at the Wall Street station and scurried from one end to the other, and back again, The crisis was averted when it became clear that the little critter was just looking for a ride, and got off at the next station.

And with that, the latest video …

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Case Of The Deadly Dildo

 

Ladies, would you ever think of using your favorite sex toy as a weapon?  More to the point, would you ever consider using it to attack a police officer? 

 

OK, I didn’t really think so, but I just hadda ask anyway.  Apparently, however, someone did get the bright idea to go on the attack with her joy toy.  Here’s a snippet from a recent news article, but please click the link below to read the entire story from The New York Daily News:

 

Woman accused of attacking cop with sex toy claims it was self defense

 

An Illinois woman who was busted for threatening a cop with a sex toy is claiming self defense, saying the officer spooked her by walking into her bedroom.

Carolee Bildsten, 56, was arrested when police said she attacked an officer with a "clear, rigid feminine pleasure device" in her apartment last November after he escorted her home while she was drunk.

The officer had found Bildsten lying in the grass near a crab shack in Gurnee, Ill., and confronted her after responding to a report that she had run out on her tab, according to police.

The officer drove Bildsten home because she said she had left her wallet there, police said.

When they arrived at her pad, the woozy Bildsten said she was getting cash out of her dresser, but then she came at the cop with the sex toy. He managed to knock the toy away before cuffing her, according to the report.

After reading this entire story, I honestly don’t know whether to feel sorry for the woman or the police officer. 

 

So, the question up for discussion is:  Have you ever used your toy in a way that its manufacturer did not intend?

 

If so, please post a comment below and don’t skimp on all of the dirty details …

 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

2011 Academy Award Nominations

 

This morning, the 2011 Academy Award Nominations were announced.  The full list may be found on the Oscars official Web site here, but the best picture nominees are below:

 

Best Picture
  • “Black Swan” Mike Medavoy, Brian Oliver and Scott Franklin, Producers
  • “The Fighter” David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and Mark Wahlberg, Producers
  • “Inception” Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan, Producers
  • “The Kids Are All Right” Gary Gilbert, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte and Celine Rattray, Producers
  • “The King's Speech” Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin, Producers
  • “127 Hours” Christian Colson, Danny Boyle and John Smithson, Producers
  • “The Social Network” Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca and Ce├ín Chaffin, Producers
  • “Toy Story 3” Darla K. Anderson, Producer
  • “True Grit” Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Producers
  • “Winter's Bone" Anne Rosellini and Alix Madigan-Yorkin, Producers

 

What are your surprises?  Did a movie make the list of nominees that you felt was undeserving?  Did the Academy fail to nominate a movie you felt was more deserving?  Which one of the nominees do you think will win?  Post a comment and let us know!

As for me, I have a difficult time picking between “The Social Network” and “The King’s Speech”, which I saw in my movie class last fall (please click here for the review).  I don’t think “Toy Story 3” will win because it’s also nominated in the Best Animated Feature Film category, which is where I believe it will get its Oscar.  Also, I’m still not crazy about expanding the list to 10 because it feels somewhat diluted; I wish they would go back to 5 – if they did, I doubt a film like “Inception” would make it on the list (although I did like it quite a good deal). 

Just in case you missed it, here’s a video clip of the announcement:

 

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Narcissism Quiz

 

If you are reading this, then you are a narcissist.  Probably.  It’s just become that common, apparently – that’s why the experts have revised their view on Narcissism, classifying it as simply a personality trait rather than an actual disorder.  Why?  Well, for one thing, so many people have been characterized as narcissists, yet are seemingly functional within society and are otherwise normal – in some cases, being real achievers.  But according to an article in The Boston Globe, the real reason may be due to something more pragmatic – the fact that insurance companies no longer want to pay for the treatment of narcissism.  Here’s an excerpt from The Globe article; for the entire piece, please click the link below:

 

Who, me, a narcissist?

The labeling issue may seem arcane, but it matters to patients who want a name for their problem, to family members for whom a label can help them better understand their loved one, and to doctors who have to call it something in order to get reimbursed for treatment. It also matters to insurance companies, which generally require that a diagnosis fit a condition as officially defined by the American Psychiatric Association.

In a sense, narcissism has been done in by its own success.

Because so many narcissists are thriving — at the expense of the rest of us — it’s hard to classify “narcissism’’ as a disability. Growing up with a narcissistic parent or marrying one can be disabling, but, almost by definition, many narcissists go through life without realizing the harm they are doing to others.

 

In order to find out if you are a narcissist yourself, take the test below – then post your score and let the us know how you did.  But on second thought, I guess a real narcissist wouldn’t post their score …

 

Are You A Narcissist?

Friday, January 21, 2011

NYC Is Almost The Rudest U.S. City

 

As a New Yorker, I absolutely hate not finishing first at everything – even especially this! 

According to a recent survey by Travel & Leisure magazine, New York is NOT the rudest city in the U.S.A.  How can this be?  Goodness knows it ain’t for lack of trying.  It pains me to say this, but it turns out that we were beaten out by those allegedly laid-back Los Angelinos.  I’m guessing road rage on their freeways may have given them the edge.  Wait’ll next year’s survey!  We’ll show ‘em! 

For the full article from Travel & Leisure – which contains the entire list – please click on the link below:

America's Rudest Cities

Coffee For Hangovers

 

 

 

Want to avoid that unpleasant headache you get the morning after a night of drinking?  Some scientists say coffee is the way to go.  To read more about the study, click the link below for the article from The Philadelphia Inquirer:

 

Study confirms that caffeine may help ease a hangover

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Top Mafia Nicknames

 

What do Tony Bagels, Vinny Carwash and Junior Lollipops have in common?

 

a.  They are all names of new pop-up shops opened in chic sections of town

b.  They are all names of characters from The Sopranos

c.  They are all names of the hottest new rap music stars

 

The correct answer, as you may have already guessed, is None Of The Above (but ‘b’ would be incredibly close).  According to The Village Voice, these are among the nicknames of actual mobsters who were recently arrested in what was called the FBI’s largest organized crime bust in New York history.  For the full list of names, please click the link below:

 

The 20 Best Nicknames in the Big Mafia Bust

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

British Nature Footage

 

Special thanks to Pat’s Papers for the link!

Barware Post On DME

 

My post about Barware items is now online at Zane Lamprey’s “Drinking Made Easy” Web site.  You can feel free to leave comments or ask questions there and I’ll try to respond in as timely a manner as I possibly can.  Please click below for the link:

 

Barware:  Beyond The Basics On Drinking Made Easy

Monday, January 17, 2011

Barware: Beyond The Basics

 

Shaker?  Check! 

Hawthorne Strainer?  Check! 

Muddler?  Check! 

But wait, there’s more!  If you think these are all the tools you'll ever need for your home bar, guess again!   This post will talk about a few other accessories you may want to add to take your bartending to the next level …

What kind of things might you want to add? Well, one of the best tips I ever got from a bartender (and about time, after all the tips I’d given him over the years … ) was to include an aerosol sprayer to my home bar’s arsenal. Confused? Allow me to explain …

clip_image001

A Martini Atomizer like the one pictured above is perfect if you like your cocktail a tad on the dry side. Often when preparing a martini, you might want to pour a bit of vermouth into your chilled glass, swirl it around to cover a maximum area of the glass, then dump out the rest. Seems like a bit of a waste, no? That’s where the atomizer comes into play. Instead of pouring your vermouth in the glass then dumping it out, you can just spray the right amount of vermouth into your glass with the atomizer. This way, you not only assure perfectly coating the inside of your glass, but also, you don’t have to worry about pouring too much in – there’s no dumping, so there’s no waste.   How cool is that?

Like many things in life, I tend to go a little overboard with these atomizer thingies – I own three: one for dry vermouth, one for sweet vermouth and one for absinthe (yeah, I know – don’t ask … it’s a long story … )

clip_image002

Want to impress your guests with the way you garnish your cocktails? Then a zester like the one pictured above is definitely in order! You can use one of these with any citrus fruit like a lemon, lime or orange to scrape off some of the fruit rind to float on top of your cocktail. Also, it comes with a blade to peel off some of the rind to twist and hang on the edge of the glass.

Is your home bar a little cramped for space? Then howzabout combining some of your more essential tools into one? Kinda like a Swiss Army Knife for mixologists. By now, you probably already have a barspoon, a muddler and fork to spear out olives or cherries from the jar. Why not make it an all-in-one with one of these barspoons with an interchangeable fork and muddler just like the one pictured below?

clip_image004

YEAH, BABY! One of these in your toolkit and folks will immediately know you’re serious about how you make your drinks (good for them, good for you – a win/win situation if I ever heard one before).

Well, I guess that’s about it for now.   In the meantime, please remember the immortal words of French philosopher Rene Descartes, “I drink, therefore, I am!”

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Three Sheets On Spike TV

 

My mostest favoritest drinking-focused TV show is finally back on the air!  Spike TV has announced it has picked up Seasons 1 through 4 of Zane Lamprey’s “Three Sheets”!  Now all we need is for them to renew it so we can get a Season 5!

 

SPIKE SAVES THREE SHEETS

 

New York, NY, January 13, 2011 – Spike TV has acquired all 52 episodes of the globe-trotting television series “Three Sheets” which follows comedian Zane Lamprey as he embarks on a humorous trip around the world, indulging in the local drinking culture and customs.  The series premieres on Spike TV Tuesday, February 8 at 10:30pm ET/PT and will air weekly in that timeslot.

In each episode, the gregarious Lamprey travels to a different locale to drink with the locals and learn about the culture, people and libations of the region, and then test the local hangover cure.  Throughout his journey, Lamprey is joined by a cadre of recurring guests including “The Professor,” Steve McKenna, Logan “The Beer Hunter,” Jim The Cop, and of course, Pleepleus The Monkey.

Rats On A Subway

 

Remember the movie “Snakes On A Plane”?  Maybe the sequel should be “Rats On A Subway”. 

If you’re considering a trip to New York City in the not-too-distant future, you may want to think about taking a cab around town rather than riding the subway after seeing this video …

 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

No Bingeing, All Purging

 

Want a surefire way to lose weight in 2011?  Want to be able to do it without going on some kind of special diet regimen or excessive exercise?  Easy!  Just stop binge drinking!

 

Not so easy after all, now is it?

 

A recent article posted by the Web site CalorieLab reports that studies were done to determine that if you completely cut out binge drinking, you could lose 10 pounds a year. 

 

Of course, what they define as binge drinking may not exactly be what you consider binge drinking. 

 

In any event, they supplied a link to an alcohol fact sheet that shows how much alcohol and how many calories and carbohydrates are in a single serving of different types of beers, wines and spirits.  A small version is in the graphic below, but a larger, more legible version may be found here

For the entire article with details about the findings in the various studies, please click on the link below:

 

Wanna Lose 10 Pounds This Year Without Dieting? Stop Binge Drinking.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

“Every Day” – Movie Review

 



Well, it seems that the bonus screenings for the Spring Semester of my movie class have started a bit early this year because I saw my first one this morning – the comedy/drama “Every Day” starring Liev Schreiber, Helen Hunt and Brian Dennehy. 

Synopsis
After a woman’s ailing father moves in with her and the rest of the family, she becomes stressed with being his caretaker – but when his presence also puts a strain on her marriage, can she and her husband remain together? 
 
Story
 
As a staff-writer on a TV show, Ned (Schreiber) is feeling a significant amount of stress at work because his boss (Eddie Izzard) is dissatisfied with the scripts he’s been submitting lately; that stress is compounded at home by virtue of the fact that his oldest son, a teenager, has come out about his homosexuality, which makes Ned feel deeply ashamed and embarrassed.  To make matters worse, his wife Jeannie (Hunt) is now bringing home her ailing father Ernie (Dennehy) to live with the family so that they can take care of him. 
 
Once joined with the family, Ernie’s mere presence immediately disrupts everyone’s life in part due to his illness but also due to his surly personality and irascible behavior.  Adding to this is the fact that Jeannie is now forced to both relive and confront her difficult relationship with her father as it has spilled over from her childhood into her adulthood.  However, no matter her protestations, Ernie is far too old to change his ways at this point.  Causing her additional difficulty is the fact that with Ned getting increasing pressure at work to produce script rewrites on short deadlines, he is unavailable to pull his weight in assisting Jeannie to care for Ernie.  Intensifying matters for Ned is the fact that his gay teenage son is pursuing romantic interests that make Ned ever more worried and uncomfortable. 
 
With Ernie’s health rapidly deteriorating, things begin to seem as though the family is headed towards a breaking point.  When Ned is forced to collaborate with a fellow staff writer, the sexy young Robin (Carla Gugino), he finds himself succumbing to her flirtatious nature, thus potentially jeopardizing his marriage to Jeannie, who is becoming increasingly suspicious of his infidelity.  Will Ned be able to both keep his job and his marriage intact or will he be forced to make an especially painful choice?
 
Review
 
This was the first feature film by Writer/Director Richard Levine and our instructor pointed out that even if his production notes from the studio did not explicitly mention this, there was one telltale sign that it was a filmmaker’s first effort:  the fact that it was based on his own real-life personal experiences.  The majority of Levine’s work has been in writing for television (as was the case with Ned, the protagonist of this story), including such shows as JAG.  Unfortunately, the feel of the script has very much that of a TV show, which hurts the movie – the comedic moments seem like a sit-com and the drama feels like a Movie Of The Week.
 
While much of the class liked this movie, I was in the minority as a dissenting voice.  For me, the problem was, as I alluded to above, with the script itself, but for more of what I believe to have been a fundamental flaw in the telling of the story:  it had a strong sense of imbalance for me that threw the whole thing off kilter.  What do I mean by this?  Well, simply, the filmmaker tells this as Ned’s story when it is really Jeannie’s tale to be told.  The reason I say this is that the guts of the story are about how Jeannie must overcome feelings of hurt and resentment in order to do the right thing and take care of her sick father.  Instead, we are left experiencing Ned as the protagonist simply because he has the majority of the screen time. 
 
“Every Day” is supposed to be opening next weekend, but I suspect it will be a small, limited release.  Given my above observations about the film, I can’t really recommend it as something worthy of your time and money in the movie theater, but perhaps something to consider for rental or on cable TV once it becomes available.  This is a movie that will probably not stay in the theaters very long because it seems geared for an older audience rather than for the teen crowd, so its appeal will likely be rather limited as a result.  Therefore, if you do choose to see it in the theater, I wouldn’t suggest waiting too long because it might not be in distribution for more than just a couple of weeks. 


“The Sun Also Rises” by Ernest Hemingway



During my recent vacation, I read another Hemingway book, as I did last year – this time, it was “The Sun Also Rises” .  Since the book has been around so long and is so well known, I’ll skip the plot summary – that’s easy enough to find just about anywhere, so if you don’t know the story, you’ll have no trouble finding an explanation (just click the link above, for example). 
 
Published in 1926, this was one of Papa’s first novels – some would say it was his very first, but in the modest research I’ve done on this, it appears that there is some disagreement over exactly which was his very first (others insist it was “Torrents Of Spring”).  Whichever, it is almost irrelevant because the argument would end when you put forth that this was his first truly great, meaningful novel as it has lasted the test of time; it was also made into a movie, but that was not until many years later.  I’ve never seen the movie, so this review will concentrate on the book only. 
 
Certainly, it is tough to know where to begin to talk about a book that is so rich in both style and content to the point that it is considered a classic and possibly the best (or one of the best) of Hemingway’s novels.  So much has been written about it and analyzed from seemingly every possible angle, including the bullfighting, the sexuality, the anti-Semitism and countless other aspects.  Although intended to document “The Lost Generation” of rudderless, disillusioned young men and women in a post-World War I world, it is truly timeless because of the topics on which the author touches, not to mention the spare, reportorial writing style of Hemingway. 
 
With respect to that whole “Lost Generation” concept, it is interesting to view it retrospectively, nearly a century after World War I; in the intervening years, it would seem that the more current Gen-X and Gen-Y demographics are just as lost, if not more so.  A “Loster Generation”?  The “Lostest” Generation?  The Lost Generation 2.0 (or would that be 3.0?)?  Call them what you will, The Lost Generation of Hemingway’s novel holds up relatively better against what we have today.  By comparison, the original Lost Generation seem to be more authentic, more genuine and altogether more human than the much more spoiled, pampered and lazy generations that followed. 
 
Having never read the book before, it was stunning to me the degree of open bigotry that was expressed by the characters; particularly poignant when you consider that we as a society have not really advanced as much in that regard as we would like to think.  When speaking about the bigotry in the book, people tend to focus on the anti-Semitism directed toward the character of Cohn, but I was also taken somewhat aback by the casual bandying about of The N Word when referencing musicians or athletes.  Recently, there has been a considerable controversy over the issue of removing that word from Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn”; clearly, to do so to either “Finn” or “Sun” would be a disservice to each work, but more to the point, fail to accurately document who we were as a nation long ago and help us to better appreciate the precious few baby steps that we have taken since then. 
 
After reading the book, I began to research it a bit once I returned home from vacation, looking up various literary analyses of the plot, characters and themes touched on throughout the story.  In reading these works, it helped me to appreciate the book even more and made me realize how little of it I had actually grasped on an initial reading and how much I missed due to the subtlety of Hemingway’s writing style – volumes are said in these analyses about what is not written but rather implied.  It now makes me want to go back and re-read the book as soon as possible, keeping all of those observations in mind.  And isn’t that the mark of a true classic in the first place?  If you have never read the book before, I strongly encourage you to do so, but would recommend one thing – just read the novel with little preparation as I did and let it wash over you with a minimal amount of pre-conceived notions planted into your mind by literary critiques.  Instead, save the reading of those analyses for after you’ve finished the book, as I did. 
 
Lastly, a personal observation.  When you see a movie, your perception of it can be colored by things like where you are in life at the time you saw it or events that may have recently occurred in your world.  I believe the same is likely true with books, especially novels, like this one.  As I said at the outset, I read this book during a recent vacation – specifically, it was a trip to Hedonism II in Negril, Jamaica.  While sunning poolside and considering the actions from whatever chapter I had just finished reading, the irony of the behavior by the hedonists in the story in Pamplona, Spain for the Fiesta and running of the bulls contrasted against the behavior of the hedonists that surrounded me as fellow vacationers present to celebrate New Year’s Eve was sure in no way ever lost for one moment. 
  


Saturday, January 08, 2011

Key West, FL

 

In 2008, I visited Key West, Florida for the very first time ever to attend that year’s Fantasy Fest.  If you’ve never been to Key West, I highly recommend going – whether or not you attend Fantasy Fest.  It’s a fun place with a great bar scene and some nice restaurants (how can you not have seafood when you’re there?).  If you’re in the east, just a weekend (long or not) might be enough to give you the flavor of the place and consider a longer stay in the future.  Recently, The New York Times ran an article about Key West and it left me to yearn for the return; the article focused on what to do in only a 36-hour period.  A link to the article is below, along with the video from the Times’ Web site which accompanied the piece.

 

36 Hours in Key West, Fla.

 

Friday, January 07, 2011

Survivalist Wine Bottle Opening

 

Q:  How Do You Open A Bottle Of Wine When You Don’t Have A Corkscrew:

 

A:  Like this … ?

 

Method # 1

 

… Or like this … ?

 

Method # 2

 

… Or this … ?

 

Method # 3

 

Correct Answer: 

 

Any of the above that works for you!

 

(Special thanks to The Village Voice for alerting me to these video clips!)

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Drinking & Exercise

 

OK, so here’s a quick quiz …

 

If you exercise, would you be more inclined or less inclined to drink?

 

Your answer might be that you’d be less inclined to want to drink, based on the reasoning that if you do something as healthy as exercising, the rest of your lifestyle choices might be similarly healthful. 

 

However, according to an article in The New York Times, recent scientific studies yield some rather surprising results which indicate that the more you exercise, the  more likely you are to drink. 

An excerpt of the article is below; to read the entire piece, please click the link in the title:

 

Does Exercising Make You Drink More Alcohol?

 

… researchers used adult male rats with an inbred taste for alcohol. Half of the rats were given access to running wheels for three weeks. The others were kept in cages without wheels. After three weeks, the running wheels were removed, and half of the animals from each group were allowed unlimited access to alcohol for 21 days. Earlier studies by other researchers found that animals given equal access to exercise and alcohol — they were allowed to sip booze while on a running wheel — chose to drink less than animals not exercising. Based on those results, “we had anticipated that exercise would reduce” the rats’ drive to drink, said J. Leigh Leasure, an associate professor in the department of psychology at the University of Houston and senior author of the study, which was presented in November at the 2010 annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego. Instead, the exercising animals turned to alcohol with significantly more enthusiasm than the sedentary rats, mainly during the first week of the experiment. “It was a bit of surprise,” Dr. Leasure said.

“All In Good Time” by Jonathan Schwartz



During my recent vacation, I finished All In Good Time , the memoirs of disc jockey, writer and singer Jonathan Schwartz. 

Although probably primarily known as a local area disc jockey in New York City, Schwartz has also attained modest notoriety for being a writer of novels and short stories as well as a cabaret singer who performed tunes from The Great American Songbook that included standards made famous by a wide variety of singers – including and especially his idol, Frank Sinatra – and many songs composed by his father, Arthur Schwartz (who was perhaps most notable for contributions such as the standards “Dancing In The Dark”, “That’s Entertainment” and “You And The Night And The Music”). 

Originally, I came to know Schwartz first as a rock music DJ on the radio station WNEW-FM here in New York City.  Later, he abandoned playing rock for his real musical love, the classic American standards on which he was raised – not unlike those written by his father, with whom he sometimes had a bit of a testy relationship.  His particular interest in this genre of music was his incredible worship of Frank Sinatra – an obsession I have grown to share with him over these many years.  For quite some time, he has had a weekend afternoon show on WNYC-FM, a local NPR radio station in New York City; he dedicates a half hour on both his Saturday and Sunday show to exclusively play Sinatra tunes – a number of which are not just recordings from CD’s that can be purchased anywhere, but also, air checks from radio shows Sinatra hosted in the 1940’s and 1950’s as well as outtakes from recording sessions at the various record labels for which he worked over the many decades of his performing life.

Schwartz details both the highlights and lowlights of his life in this book, being sure to steer clear of the personal life of his wives and two children.  His own life, however, remains up for grabs, as you might reasonably expect.  Here, he talks about his difficult upbringing when his father re-married following a divorce from his mother, with whom, he had a rather distant relationship for most of his life.  His step-mother was something of a shrew, which was eventually confirmed by Schwartz’s half-brother Paul, who was the biological son of this woman – he complained that he suffered under her insanity just as much as Schwartz, despite his blood ties to her. 
 
The more alarming parts of the book include Schwartz’ decades-long battles with alcoholism, including a semi-successful stint in The Betty Ford Clinic years ago.  Additionally, he befriends his idol Sinatra, then becomes a mortal enemy when Schwartz dares to criticize a new Sinatra album on his radio show; the story shows what a horror Sinatra can be to deal with when his extremely thin skin was pricked ever so slightly.  On top of all of this, he is forced to deal with the craziness of his step-mother in order to try to maintain some semblance of a relationship with his biological father. 

While trying to stay open and honest, Schwartz keeps something of an upbeat tone, writing well and often with humor.  What of course is missing are honest revelations that would paint him as a bad guy; arguably, his tales of alcohol abuse might qualify as that, but he sometimes comes across more as victim than as victimizer.  This kind of lack of objectivity, while understandable and expected in a memoir, nevertheless does something of a disservice to the book.  The result is that we only see the person Schwartz wants us to see, and not necessarily the person he really may be. 

Hedonism II – New Year’s 2010

 

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Recently, I returned from my annual week-long vacation to Hedonism II in Negril, Jamaica where I celebrate New Year’s Eve.  This year, traveling down there was a bit dicey due to the fact that a blizzard hit New York City on the day that I was scheduled to leave.  Fortunately for me, I left in the morning and the snow didn’t start until early afternoon, so I was able to escape the city with a couple of hours to spare before The Big Apple got pounded.

First of all, I never consider myself to be lucky, but after this trip, I feel like I should buy a ticket for the Mega Millions lottery simply because of the fact that I was incredibly fortunate to have slipped out of here just a couple of hours before The Big Boxing Day Blizzard of 2010 hit NYC. After my arrival, I heard that there were a few people who were supposed to make the trip, but were either considerably delayed or wound up skipping it altogether and hoping their Trip Insurance would recover their costs. Initial reports on Monday were that some folks in the Northeast were told that they would not be able to get a flight down until Friday (!), but I heard of a couple that was supposed to fly on Monday stayed at the airport and wound up getting a flight 3AM Wednesday morning. I suppose you could say they were The Lucky Ones ...


My first night there, I was incredibly hungry. I had a small breakfast on the morning flight to MBJ, but missed lunch because I didn't check-in until 3PM (too tired to go to the beach grill), so I rested for a while and planned to be first on line for dinner that evening. So, I went to the Menu Board in the main dining room to see what was up for that night. Here is what I saw:

 

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Now, I ask you:


Am I misreading this or does it say that dinner is from 10PM until 10PM? Apparently, cost-cutting at Hedo has gotten so bad that they don't want you to go back for seconds. And don't even THINK about getting dessert ...

Like last year, a number of people from The Fluffernutters group were in attendance -- their banner hung near the lobby.


There was also a group called The Bare Bottom Bunch. I'm not familiar with them but I'm given to understand that they were a group of New Year's regulars who are refugees from Hedo III that had to perform an Exodus to Hedo II to continue their tradition.


As a result, there were many new (and, in some cases, younger) faces at the resort this year. They had two events that I know of that were open to the public, but I have no idea what or how many private members-only events they held.


On Wednesday night, they held a Foam Party in the disco. The Foam Party was open to members of their group only from 10P-10:30, after which, it was open to everyone. The idea behind The Foam Party was that a contraption would shoot soap suds on everyone. The problem, however, was that the machine being used didn't shoot out much foam -- so, instead of everyone being buried up to their shoulders in soap suds, they barely had their ankles covered.


The next morning, they had a cruise that was open to all, but after the misfire from the night before, I decided to pass.

 

On Tuesday afternoon, a couple I’ve known from the Internet arrived; this was the first time I had ever met either one of them in person.


She was able to find me in my spot behind the hot tub without any problem.


And in my introduction to him, I will never forget his first words to me. They were something along the lines of, "GIT YER COTTON-PICKIN' HANDS OFFA MY WIFE, GODAMMIT!".


The next morning at breakfast in the main dining room, he and I had a good laugh over all of this, at which point he then shoved my head into a waffle iron where I incurred severe burns about my face and neck.


Good times with newly-minted friends.


You can't beat 'em with a whisk even if you tried.


My fondest memory of the trip, however, was the daily afternoon poolside game of "Horny Drunken Gynecologist" I played with her after he passed out drunk on schedule. For once, that speculum I pack for my trip every year finally came in handy.

Rick from Arizona was also there.


You do know Rick from Arizona, don't you?

Or perhaps you know him better as Mr. Rippin’ & Tearin’ ?


A number of years ago on one of my New Year's Eve trips to Hedo, I met Rick; he's a guy who is very outgoing and friendly and participates in many activities during his vacation.


Last year, there was a video posted of him during a Memorial Day weekend trip, and I think that there may have even been a link to it on Denny Pasternak's site, dennyp.com. The video went viral and he wound up with getting quite a good deal of notoriety as a result.


Tuesday morning at breakfast, Rick came over to the table where a number of us were eating and displayed his "outrage" over the fact that some company was exploiting his 15 minutes (or more) of fame by selling t-shirts with his likeness on the front, with the caption, "Rippin' & Tearin' "; he gladly showed us one of the actual t-shirts -- which appeared that he himself owned -- so we would know what to look out for.


Since he claimed he was not getting paid for this, he swore that he was going to sue the company over their indiscretion as they did not license his permission through him to sell these shirts. Later that very night after dinner, there was a men's dancing competition in which Rick was a participant; needless to say, while he was on stage during the competition, he wore that exact same t-shirt.


For those of you who may have never seen the video in question, here it is. Meet Rick from Arizona:

Regarding The Piano Bar ...


When I first arrived, the piano had been moved out of its usual spot, which had been covered by curtains (to fix a leak?).  The piano was placed just to the window side of that big screen projection TV (which I guess they use for Karaoke -- I never go in there those nights). Didn't leave too much room for people to sit around the piano, so the energy level was rather low. Completely threw off the whole experience.


By New Year's Day, the curtain had been taken down and the piano moved back to its original place, thankfully.


That was the first really good night at the piano bar. I'm not a major advocate of feng shui , but I do have to say that the entire mood, energy and chemistry in The Piano Bar drastically improved once the piano went back into the pit.

As far as bar service was concerned, I found it to be consistently excellent at all locations for the entire length of my stay.  

At the nude beach bar, Scumba was particularly well-trained in that he quickly learned what I was drinking and always had one ready for me as soon as I approached the bar.  At one point, he was pouring some guy a drink, then saw me come up and (without asking) automatically started pouring mine, too, because he knew exactly what I was going to ask for.  The other guy got excited and started yelling, "Hey! What are you doing?  I didn't ask for one of those!" -- then Scumba had to explain to him that the other drink was for me, not him.

For quite some time now, there have been reports circulating about some kind of undercover drug sting intended to find hotel employees who were dealing illicit narcotics to guests in order to supplement their income.  However, I personally did not hear any details about this.  As far as what the resort was like with this going on, I found that the usual people who have tried to sell to me in the past either weren't interested in any of that kind of activity during my stay or they were simply nowhere to be found at any point during that week (if you know what I mean).

Having said that, though, there were a couple of guests who are New Year’s Eve regulars I know to have been well - supplied throughout the week. Where they made their purchases (or from whom), however, I have no idea.  One guest’s report was that she heard some employees were fired, but could not supply their names. However, normally the interactions would be happening on the beach - but this time, she went to her usual guy that hooks her up, and he told her that he would send his friend to her, which he did - but she had to meet him somewhere very discreet.

Here’s the dinner menu from New Year’s Eve:

 

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The lobster tails were a little disappointing this year. They ranged from undercooked -- my friend said they seemed boiled then quickly thrown on the grill for only a minute or so -- to very chewy, with the texture of a mealy apple. Also, the melted butter was a little too thick -- seemed to almost look like mustard. I tried a few of them in the hope that I'd finally find a winner among the bunch, but no such luck. I didn't try much else from the menu, so I can't really comment on the other items.


Finally, here's the countdown to midnight at New Year's Eve. Two things to note from the video:


1. Premature Ejaculation: They released the balloons DURING the countdown, instead of releasing them after the countdown as they were *supposed* to do


2. Special Guest Star:  Near the end of the clip, A Very Special Guest offers you a wish for a good 2011.

 

Free Speech Abuses On The Internet

 

Is unregulated free speech on the Internet really a good thing? Here’s a very thought-provoking New York Times article for anyone who participates in any form of social networking in the wild, wild west of digital era.  An excerpt appears below; for the full piece, please click the title for the link.

 

Anonymity and the Dark Side of the Internet

 

… a writing or utterance says what it says independently of who happens to say it; the information conveyed does not vary with the identification of the speaker.

There are at least two problems with this reasoning. First, it is not true that a text’s meaning is the same whether or not its source is known. Suppose I receive an anonymous note asserting that I have been betrayed by a friend. I will not know what to make of it — is it a cruel joke, a slander, a warning, a test? But if I manage to identify the note’s author — it’s a friend or an enemy or a known gossip — I will be able to reason about its meaning because I will know what kind of person composed it and what motives that person might have had.

In the same way, if I am the recipient of a campaign message supporting a candidate or a policy, my assessment of what I am reading or hearing will depend on my knowledge of the sender. Is he, she or it an industry representative, a lobbyist, the A.C.L.U., the Club for Growth? The identity of the speaker is part of the information and is therefore part — a large part — of the meaning. (“Consider the source” is not only commonplace advice; it is a theory of interpretation.)