Updates from May, 2004 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Ted Mann 1:36 am on May 30, 2004 Permalink | Reply  

    My Handy-Dandy Netflix Queue 

    Thanks to the help of my friend Andy Diller, I now have my Netflix queue and recent rental history up on the blog for all to enjoy. Not that I actually think anyone will be impressed, or even interested, in what I’m watching. Also, I just want to state for the record that all of the girly movies on the list, like Blue Crush and Win a Date with Tad Hamilton are Ana’s picks, not mine.

    To see these movies and other, more high-minded fare, scroll down the page, past the big clock and my new weather pixie, Renee Chenault-Fattah. The movie listings are on the right hand side, and the links take you right to the Nexflix website.

    Many thanks to Andy for engineering this feat of web wizardry. Somehow the list will continuously update itself courtesy of a little script running on Andy’s server. Magic you might say? Well, you’d be right.

     
  • Ted Mann 8:01 pm on May 27, 2004 Permalink | Reply  

    Hey Ya!/Hey Ma! 

    As a one-song fan of OutKast and an occassional cat enthusiast, when I saw this little clip, “Hey Ma!” on GMA, I couldn’t resist the temptation to post it. Just be warned: One lyric, “Hey I’ve got the kitty … Oh, I’ve got the kitty … And I put it in the toilet for a ba-a-ath,” will have you humming for days, often to the looks of confusion and disgust from co-workers.

     
  • Ted Mann 3:14 pm on May 26, 2004 Permalink | Reply  

    Sex Bracelets v. Pull Tabs 

    bracelets.bmpOn today’s Good Morning America, there was a piece about sex bracelets, bendable pieces of plastic (aka jelly bracelets) that are apparently used to communicate a sexual code amongst grade schoolers. It works something like this: 13-year-old girl wears red bracelet to class; boy snaps bracelet; girl has to give boy lap dance. I’m thinking, Come on, that would never happen. But then they have on a nine-year-old, and she starts talking about how her girlfriends do indeed French kiss if their red bracelets are snapped. (Note to girl: Officially, red means lap dance.)

    Here’s a breakdown of the bracelet code:

    Black: sexual intercourse
    Blue: blow job (alternate meaning: lap dance)
    Green: cunnilingus (alternate meaning: outdoor sex, hug)
    Clear: whatever you want (alternate meaning: hug)
    Orange: kiss
    Yellow: hug (alternate meaning: analingus)
    Red: lap dance (alternate meaning: French kiss, oral sex)
    Purple: anal sex (alternate meaning: holding hands, doggy style)
    Silver: fisting
    White: flash your tits (alternate meaning: gay kiss, French kiss)
    Pink: flashing
    Gold glitter: make out
    Brown: toss my salad, i.e., analingus
    Glow in the dark: using sex toys, e.g. vibrators, dildos, etc.

    According to Snopes, the story is only part true, falling into the “undetermined” category — but not, unequivocally, into the “false” camp.
    (More …)

     
    • jasmine graulau 6:15 pm on June 28, 2004 Permalink | Reply

      i like wearing sex bracelet because i like the colors. and i don’t do any of the nasty stuff like: blow job, or anal sex, flash my chest.

    • Drakandriana 11:46 am on October 11, 2004 Permalink | Reply

      I think that the sex bracelets are a great idea. Just the other day my boyfriend broke my green one and we had a hell of a time, just before daylight!!! I gives you an opportunity to try different things also.

    • ruben 10:15 pm on December 7, 2004 Permalink | Reply

      im a boy and i like wearing sex bracelets i think they give character

    • Unknow 2:48 pm on January 16, 2005 Permalink | Reply

      I like da sex braclets becuz of da colors and i agree the do allow u to try different things. Plus my boyfriend broke my black and red braclets and boi b=did we have a good time

    • Unknown 2:49 pm on January 16, 2005 Permalink | Reply

      I like da sex braclets becuz of da colors and i agree the do allow u to try different things. Plus my boyfriend broke my black and red braclets and boi did we have a good time

  • Ted Mann 8:54 pm on May 25, 2004 Permalink | Reply  

    How the Other Side of Perry Street Lives 

    I thought I had it tough when I was living in a shoebox-size apartment on Perry Street, in New York. But after reading an article about the uberwealthy tenants of 173/176 Perry, the two condo towers designed by bad ass-architect Richard Meier, it’s clear that, by comparison, I had it good. The story, titled “Faulty Towers,” was in the June issue of Vanity Fair, and it’s about the travails of the numerous celebrities–Calvin Klein, Martha Stewart, Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman–who plunked down ridiculous fortunes to live in the buildings, only to have their lofty expectations squashed. The never-ending series of problems includes leaks, heating malfunctions, water damage, a street-bound gunman shooting out windows, and actor/director Vincent Gallow being an all-around nag. I couldn’t get a link for the story (damn you and your print-only mags, Conde Nast!), but there’s a brief recap here. One disaster, detailed in the story, happened when a rainstorm caused Martha Stewart’s duplex to flood, and the ensuing water damage ruined rosewood floors on numerous apartments below. It’s almost enough to make you feel sorry for her–as if you didn’t already.


    –The finished product. Well, sort of.

    I remember going by the towers on my morning runs to the WTC, when I was living on Perry, but back then they were just dusty construction sites, hardly deserving mongo condo price tags, much less human inhabitants. Well, I gather that not much has changed. The lobbies are still in disarray, covered in white soot, and being trampled by contractors. I only have one question: Why pay $6 million for a floor in a sterile glass fortress when you can get a whole row home–say, for example, the brownstone that poses as Carrie’s home on “Sex and the City,” just a couple blocks down Perry–for less cash money? Explain that to me.




    –How I remember 173/176 Perry Street, right before it was completed–er, opened to residents–in 2002.

     
  • Ted Mann 3:49 pm on May 25, 2004 Permalink | Reply  

    The Woolly Mom-and-Pop Store 

    It’s times like this that I’m proud to be a Vermonter. Or at least to make the false claim that I was born in Vermont, and not some smarmy Jersey suburb. (Note: I don’t use this line much anymore, as I’m not dating now and therefore have only an occasional need to impress girls and look brawny.) In today’s New York Times, there was an article about how, with the imminent arrival of seven new Wal-Mart superstores, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has named Vermont on its annual list of endangered sites. Not just a few covered bridges and steepled churches, mind you. The whole damn state!

    But seriously, Vermont, do you really think you can stop Wal-Mart? I mean, this company makes McDonald’s look like a champion of small-town America and civic responsibility. You can protest or sue, like cities in Illinois and Florida are doing. Or you can take it to the voters, like Inglewood, California, did. But the bottom line is that the big-box retailers will invade, one way or the other. However, maybe, just maybe, it’s possible to get them to scale back and play fair with the local community, as they have in Rutland, Vt.


    –It’s a little hard to see, but the Rutland Wal-Mart (the anchor store of this shopping center, located right above the parking lot) is actually well integrated into the downtown. The town’s main shopping street goes right by the store and the car-park, and they effectively feed off each other. See the National Resource’s Defense Council case study.
    (More …)

     
  • Ted Mann 5:16 pm on May 24, 2004 Permalink | Reply  

    John Kerry’s obnoxiously full head of hair 

    I have complicated feelings about John Kerry. Specifically, his hair. Anybody that can afford to fly his barber on a Gulfstream V and pay $1,000 for a trim is–well, a better, and less hormonally challenged, man than me. As this newsflash from the Drudge Report points out, the hair care is a little excessive–but, for whatever it’s worth, I strongly disagree with pundits who vilify the hair, such as this one, with the headline, “Kerry Names Sharpton’s Hair as Running Mate”:

    “Kerry vowed to shave his bizarre mane, which appears to either be a dead wombat that crawled onto his scalp and died, or the worlds poofiest brillo pad. He plans to debut Sharptons hair as his running mate at the Democratic National Convention later this year.”

    I guess, above all, I feel a kind of awed envy towards the man’s hair. It’s much the same as the embittered crush I had on his daughter, Vanessa, in high school. If I were to conduct an interview with the hair, in person, I suppose it would be something like this back-and-forth with the Corsair:

    Interviewer: Well, there is no denying that you are a striking coif.
    John Kerry’s Hair: Even by the considerable standards of Massachusetts, which were instituted by the Kennedy family. I am the measure of all things hair.
    Interviewer: What about John Edwards? He has impressive hair, no?
    JKH: (averted gaze) Well, if you go in for that sort of thing.


    –I think it was another New Yorker writer, Philip Gourevitch, who compared the rest of the face, sans hair, to an “an impenetrable African mask.”

    My envy has been so all consuming that lately I’ve been thinking about my write-in options–people like Dean and Giuliani, still sportin’ the comb-over loud and proud. But then I came across Jeffrey Tobin’s May 10 New Yorker article about Kerry’s time as a trial lawyer. It’s easily the best thing I’ve read about the man so far–far more enlightening and even-handed than the Atlantic Monthly piece a few months back. Clearly, Kerry’s law career was brief, but his stints as a prosecutor and defense attorney are at least as compelling as his experiences in Vietnam. Take, for example, the story of him successfully reopening the case of a wrongly convicted inmate, George Reissfelder, and then getting his life-imprisonment overturned, a la Rubin “Hurricane” Carter. (Ignoring, of course, the part about the inmate OD’ing on cocaine after being released.) While the prosecutorial tenure shows he’s hardly a softy on crime, the Reissfelder case shows that he’s not blind to the flaws in the justice system.

    But I’m getting off topic. In my opinion, the most powerful, and honestly moving, event of Kerry’s all-too-short legal career was his crusade against hair plugs. All right, actually it was a series of cases where patients had received, as a treatment for baldness, implants of carpet fibers. These were passed off as real hair. To quote the Ker-meister:

    They were absolutely fascinating. I loved those cases. … They represented a really grotesque abuse of people. Youd see the photographs of the infections they got. It was just awful. The patients figured since we were new and young they would see if we could try the case.

    In addition to winning the cases, Kerry and co. convinced the authorities to clamp down on any further such hair implants. Score one for the bald men. And God bless the man with the mane for not forgetting about us.

     
  • Ted Mann 1:38 am on May 22, 2004 Permalink | Reply  

    Noah’s Ark and the Maximalists 

    About a month ago, in late April, I was captivated by the news that a Hawaiian businessman, Daniel McGivern, claimed he’d found the resting place of Noah’s ark. Call me a sucker for eccentric millionaires and biblical conspiracy theories.

    To recap: McGivern spent the last ten years arranging sattelite photography of Mount Ararat, in Turkey, and finally, after last summer’s European record heatwave, the ice on the mountain finally melted enough to produce some decent photographs. What the Air Force used to call “the Ararat Anamoly,” McGivern says are three beams and a cross beam.


    –Sattelite photo of Mount Ararat shows a definite dark patch in the middle of a glacier on the edge of the 800-foot-deep Ahora Gorge.

    Many biblical archeologists have supposed Ararat as the most likely place for the ark to have gone ashore. The book of Genesis even says that Noah hit land in the ancient kingdom Urartu, and Ararat is the highest point in that region. However, geologists say that even with an epic flood (which they concede may well have occurred in Mesopotamia in Sumerian times), there’s no way a boat could have risen to the altitude of Ararat.

    All this got me fascinated with biblical archeology, especially as a hobby. Whatever you think of Christian entusiasts like McGivern (or, for that matter, Mel Gibson), you gotta admire their persistence and faith. After seeing the guy on TV, I personally don’t think McGivern’s motives are suspect; he’s fronting almost $1 million of his own money to fund an expedition this summer, and he doesn’t plan to do any excavating or salvaging. In other words, he falls into the category of bible maximalists, or scholars who seek historical truth in biblical narratives. A Quixotic quest? Sure. But certainly the kind of Indiana Jones adventure that I’d sign up for in a second, if I only knew where to enlist.

    On the flip side: I’ve certainly worked with my fair share of Minimalists, too. By this I mean scholars and Penn Press authors who think of the Bible as an encyclopedia of Hebrew fables and myths. My boss might fall into the category of mini-mini-malists — he nearly blows steam out his ears at the mere suggestion that anything in the bible is remotely based on historical fact. And, to be honest, I’d classify myself as a minimalist, too.

    I’m only inclined to become more so–skeptical, I mean–after reading David Samuels’ article “Written in Stone,” in the April 12 New Yorker, about the fools-gold discovery of an ossuary holding the remains of Jesus’s brother, James. As the article explained, a clever forger figured out a way to dupe much of the archeology world, including the high-circ magazine Biblical Archaeology Review, into believing that an ordinary box of bones actually contained a blood relative of Jesus and, therefore, his DNA.

    The inscription on the box read: “James son of Joseph brother of Jesus.” As it turns out, only the first half–up to the “brother” part–is actually extant. The rest was chisseled in Aramaic with at dentist’s drill and painted with a faux patina. After the James ossuary fraud was exposed, many other antiquities in Isreal came under suspicion. It’s now believed that between one hundred and two hundred antiquities relating to the First and Second Temple may well be forgeries, too. Naturally, there are political ramifications. Every piece of evidence of Solomon’s Temple backs up Isreal’s claim that it existed and stood on the site of a present-day mosque, and every forgery undercuts their historical claims and arguments.

    Getting back to Noah … if there’s one really positive thing about uncovering the ark, it’s this: the story of Genesis is found in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. So, whatever the outcome of the Ararat expedition, at least everyone can all agree that the ark story is a damn good one. Everyone, that is, except the Amish.

     
  • Ted Mann 8:08 pm on May 20, 2004 Permalink | Reply  

    Rehearsal Dinner? Check 

    Oh, happy day! Ana and I finally booked a rehearsal dinner spot. We’re going to be holding it at La Terrasse, one of our favorite restaurants on the Penn campus. After heated negotiations with a half-dozen food joints–most of whom weren’t willing to sacrifice “multiple seating on a Friday night in October,” even for a 40-person party–LT’s finally broke down and gave us their main dining space, the green house. All right, they didn’t really break down, nor were the discussions heated. But it has been muggy the past few days.

    Finding the right rehearsal dinner spot was easily the hardest wedding planning task so far. I can’t believe what a relief it is to have a place booked, not to mention that it was one of our absolute favorite options. One other added bonus of LT’s: It’s only a couple short blocks from the church. Our weary rehearsers won’t have too far to travel for some good eats.

     
  • Ted Mann 5:03 pm on May 20, 2004 Permalink | Reply  

    Flat Stanley meets Owen 

    Ana and I returned from Boston last Sunday evening after a whirlwind weekend. There was plenty of baby ogling, of course. But also lots of praising and comforting the newly christened parents, Dan and Stacey:
    Green poop? “Yup, it’s normal.” Painful swelling of the booby melons? “Yeah, that’s pretty common.” Hairy back? “Come on, its cute! Adorable! Enjoy the monkey fur while you can.”


    –The past, present, and future of the Mann clan

    The cutest thing about Owen was way he wore two blue socks on his hands, like mittens. It reminded me of Steve Martin playing the retarded Oklahoman in “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”–“Why is the cork on the fork?” The reason for the socks, my sister told us, was that on Owen’s first night at home, he put his teeny-weenie hands to his face and began rubbing his eyes. It was cute for about a minute, until Stacey saw that he was digging in deep. She said that it looked like he was jamming his fingers under his eyelids, like an infant Oedipus. Suddenly the adorable little digits, with their unclipped newborn nails, had become hideous eye gougers. Understandably, Stacey freaked and vowed to never permit the use of hands or fingers ever again. When my mom suggested this might not be practical in the not-so-distant future, when the baby starts eating, Stacey said that she’d consider granting finger privileges if, and only if, baby Owen could demonstrate that he’d grown to appreciate the responsibility.


    –Stacey teaches Owen that opposable thumbs are a blessing, not a curse.

    On the way up to Boston, we stopped in Greenwich and Westchester, and had a chance to check out–rather, lust after–the Tudor house that my brother and his wife just purchased. Their soon-to-be home is in White Plains, and though I can’t profess to know much about the town, the neighborhood was adorable–diverse housing stock, nice tree-lined streets, and, unless I’m imaging things, the same one that Monica and Chandler moved to. It’s amazing how in one year my brother can go from being unemployed and living in an apartment with two cats, to being a product manager living at a charming suburban house with twin baby girls. It’s not exactly the $150 million jackpot, but damn close–if not better.

    There was one other, less honorable, motive behind our trip: The need to document, and have, an adventure for Flat Stanley. Who, pray tell, is Flat Stanley? According to the letter we got from Ana’s niece, Olivia, he’s a man with a briefcase, who was squashed “as flat as a pancake” when a bulletin board fell on him.


    –Olivia’s letter, explaining the tragedy of and instructions for Flat Stanley. Take note of the postscript: “CAUTION: DO NOT LET SCOUT OR FUZZY GET STANLEY!!!!”


    –Owen and Stanley share some QT

    Why they’re telling this disturbing story to third graders is beyond me. Maybe it’s to prepare them for the inevitably disturbing real-life stories of bulletin boards falling on prisoners in Iraqi jails. Whatever the reason, Stanley and the accompanying letter were as charming as a koala in a top hat. Apparently he’s become this Harry Potter-like phenomenon in grade schools; a quick Google revealed hundreds of Stanley stories, told by just about every grade schooler from here to Honolulu. There was even one account of Stanley’s trip to the White House, where he encountered a kindred spirit.


    (More …)

     
  • Ted Mann 1:16 am on May 14, 2004 Permalink | Reply  

    Owen has a lot of friends 

    I’m so excited to report that my sister, Stacey, gave birth on Wednesday night to an 8-pound 10-ounce baby boy. By all accounts, baby Owen is the cutest babies in the history of babies, despite the fact that he has a mild case of back hair. Ana claims that it will all fall out shortly. Still, when the time comes, I’d like to call dibs on teaching my young nephew how to shave, back hair or no back hair. As for waxing, I’ll leave that to the boy’s papa, Dan.

    Ana and I are headed up to Boston this weekend to get properly introduced. Can’t wait!

    Owen yawn.bmp
    OwenStacey.bmp

     
    • Gwynne 12:18 pm on May 14, 2004 Permalink | Reply

      Baby Owen is adorable! As for the back hair, it’s a sign of intelligence….at least that’s what Matt tells me.

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