The Bold and the Betrothed

Last weekend we headed down to Philly for our friend Meghan Leary’s wedding to Matt Essman. It was a beautiful wedding, which fully capitalized on the box office success of “Pirates of the Carribean” by holding the ceremony and reception at the Independence Seaport Museum. Though there were no actual pirates or mateys on hand, the groom appeared to have lost a good hundred pounds, as if to imply that he’s spent the last few months on an all-seaweed diet. Meghan looked equally svelte and pretty, but more importantly, she pulled off her DIY projects like a pro. Speaking as someone who’s attempted (and probably failed) to create everything from favors to dinner menus, every single handmade element of Essman nee Leary’s evening was impressive.

We had such a good time seeing all our college friends over the weekend. Among the highlights: a Cracker Barrel breakfast with Craig and Christy; exploring Moorestown, NJ, the “best suburb in the United States” (according to Money magazine), with Parisa and Mike; talking wedding planning with Neha and Justin, all the while showing the restraint to not lobby for the outcome of a certain wager I have with Gabe; and revisiting the story of Craig’s kitchen demolition with Korey, Gwynne, and the rest of the gang.

One of the things that a few people complained to me about was how I haven’t updated TurkeyMonkey in eons (well, a month, but who’s counting). I think it was Craig who said, “I keep checking back and all I see is that Mentos soda rocket thing.” To which I responded — and will continue to respond — “Well, did you build one like I said to?” Of course, he hadn’t. Which brings me to a very sad conclusion: If I can’t convince people to build a simple Mentos and Diet Coke soda gyser, what’s the point of blogging anyway? So please, everyone, for the sake of the blogosphere, go build a soda gyser! Won’t cost you more than two or three bucks. And when you see that ten foot tower of cola, you’ll be glad you did. (Disclaimer: Please use diet coke. Under no circumstances do I endorse diet pepsi, which will yield five feet tops.)

Seeing as how I don’t really have much more to report from the past month, I’m going to do what I always do when I’m blog blocked: Plug one of my recent stories. In this case, it’s my article in the current Rockland Magazine about actor Stephen Baldwin (“The Book of Baldwin,” July 2006). In addition to being an all-around wacky guy, Baldwin is also a born-again, evangelical pentecostal yahoo with his own skateboarding ministry. As if that weren’t interesting enough, he launched a grassroots campaign with Rockland’s religious faithful to stop a porn store from opening in Nyack. Although there were no laws or zoning rules barring the shop, per se, Baldwin and company succeeded in shutting it down for good.

I really enjoyed writing the story, even though Baldwin refused to grant me an interview. It was one of those cases where you write around the celebrity, and in a weird way, I almost thing the story is more telling than if Baldwin had given me a half-hour of publicist-approved rhetoric. In addition to being an interesting character, I hope it also gives some insight into how the evangelical movement isn’t just confined to far away places like Texas and Colorado, but it’s also taken firm root in the New York suburbs, too. Even our fair blue states have veins of red coursing through them.

One last plug: my friend Gwynne came out with me to one of the Nyack town hall meetings where Baldwin and the villagers protested the store, and two of her pictures appear in the story. Many thanks, and many congrats to Gwynne. I’m sure these are just the first of many published pictures to come.

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