Updates from October, 2006 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Ted Mann 4:25 pm on October 27, 2006 Permalink | Reply  

    We Be Bangin’! 

    Behold, my nephews Owen and Austin slamming their sippy cups into a counter for 1 minute, 30 seconds.

    It’s like beating your head against a wall, only funner!

  • Ted Mann 11:58 am on October 22, 2006 Permalink | Reply  

    Say Hey, Suburb-arazzi 

    At last, I can now blog at work. I mean, I can blog and not feel dread and guilt and a whole host of other anxious sensations as I post.

    As part of my diabolical plan to give the the magazines I work on a half-decent website, I’v also been helping to coordiante four new blogs (all of which will feed into them). The first of these, and also the only one that I expect to contribute to, is Suburb-arazzi (link: suburbarazzi.lohudblogs.com). It’s actually my colleague Robert Zeliger’s baby (I’m just a subordinate blogger), but the conceit is, dare I say, brilliant. Thing Gawker for the Suburbs.

    If that doesn’t knock your socks off — well, then you’re clearly not wearing any. Or else you’re one of those faggy octogenarians who wear garters.

    Anyway, the blog will be all about the celebrities that populate the Lower Hudson Valley (i.e. Westchester, Rockland, Putnam counties). Some of the naysayers at The Journal News have raised an eyebrow or two over the idea — “Are there really any celebrities to write about?” To which I can only say, come on, puh-lease? We got Bedford’s DMX getting arrested every other week, Stephen Baldwin going absolutely looney with his new skateboarding+Jesus “Breakthrough Ministry,” not to mention Martha Stewart, Donald Trump, and literally dozens of film and TV stars. We’ve got the deck totally stacked.

    I’m gonna make a bold promise (and one I would never pledge here): Three posts a day before noon.

    For at least two or three days.

  • Ted Mann 1:20 am on October 12, 2006 Permalink | Reply  

    Jonsing for Jack-O-Lanterns 

    Last Sunday, we headed up to the Westchester town of Croton with the Doug Mann clan for the second annual Great Jack-O-Lantern Blaze. There were more than 4,000 hand carved pumpkins, with themes ranging from underwater creatures to a giant spider web to one group that appeared to depict Queen-Anne style chairbacks. Pretty wild stuff. And the detail in the jack-o-lanterns — intricate portraits, 20-pumpkin full-body skelatons (one for the skull, two for the hands, and so on) — was staggering. So staggering that I was able to forgive the fact that thousands of them, especially the ones that were roped off and impossible to get a close look at in the pitch-black evening, weren’t actually real pumpkins (I think they were styrofoam).

    At any rate, the kids all had a great time. Especially baby Philip (in this pic with us), who appears to have a ball fetish these day. And what’s better than bouncey balls and soccer balls? Try 4,000 round objects with fire inside.

    See a slideshow from our visit by clicking here.

  • Ted Mann 2:05 pm on October 8, 2006 Permalink | Reply  

    Hobo Brownies! 


    Uploaded by heyjupiter.

    The John Hodgeman-spawned “H in Sunrays” project keeps getting better and better. This picture on Flickr just makes me want to throw open the window and scream out, a la Howard Dean, “I’m mad as hell. And I’m not gonna take it. And I want to hobos to rise up and eat pot brownies! Now! Yeaaarhhh!”

  • Ted Mann 1:16 pm on October 8, 2006 Permalink | Reply  

    Damn You, Dar! 

    It’s here. “Secrets of the Alchemist Dar,” the sequel to “A Treasure’s Trove,” came out late last month, and it took only a few days for my brother and I to get our hands on shiny, new first editions. And then it took even less time for us to realize that, hey, this is fucking impossible!

    Whereas the first treasure hunt book, leading readers to $1 mil in bejeweled broaches, was accessible and seemed at least vaguely solve-able, this one is just baffling. The last third of the book is an upside down spell book written in ambigrams (word spelled the same upside and down), creepy symbols, and rorschach inkblots. Although I’m not giving up just yet (we’re still talking about $2 mil in rings this time, after all), the book will almost certainly not take over my free time the way the last one did. No obsessive 2am decoding sessions, no late-night phone calls to friends in Iowa and Andy’s relatives to go searching for tokens in state parks, and no frenzied high-speed races down the Taconic.

    At least, not until someone manages to crack the first clue and posts their solve to the message boards (either Tweleve or the official Dar board). Then all bets are off.

  • Ted Mann 11:18 pm on October 5, 2006 Permalink | Reply  

    Girls Gone Flickr 

    Did I just see semi-nude photos of one of my good college friends on Flickr? Yes, I believe I did.

    Just one of the many fascinating developments going on over at Blog-o-Rama, aka Gwynne’s blog.

    And might I take a moment to say, hey, nice pedicure!

  • Ted Mann 7:27 pm on October 5, 2006 Permalink | Reply  

    My Cubical 

    Thanks to my coworker, Francesca Moisin, for pointing me to this. And on the off chance that anyone from my employer or Gannett is reading this, it in no way, shape, or form reflects my feelings about my own cubicle, which is fantabulous. The embedded videos posted to TurkeyMonkey do not reflect the views or opinions of the author of TurkeyMonkey.

  • Ted Mann 11:13 pm on October 3, 2006 Permalink | Reply  

    The Dumbest Thing I’ve Ever Heard 

    Is it just me, or does the prospect of posting all of your worldly possessions to a social networking site, inventorying them like a cheat-sheet for cat burglers, sound like something that noone in their right mind would ever do?

    Well, no one except for the millions of 16- to 25-year-olds (yes, millions) that have signed onto Zebo.com. Why would anyone ever want to do this? What on earth would anyone find interesting about the fact that Ted Mann has a new MacBook, 2 Panic Mouse cat toys, and a Philly Phanatic nesting doll? (Please don’t read too much into that, fair readers of TurkeyMonkey.com)

    As the New York Times put it, “The list of strangers possessions is about as interesting as a FreshDirect order.” That said, I guess it was only a matter of time before MySpace and MTV “Cribs” had their own bastard love child and gave it some nonsensical URL. And if you can’t beat ’em … may as well go create your own profile. For the record, my name is Mister Fantastico (or Mister F), I’m 14, and among my many prized possessions are really, really big puzzles, Edy’s Dibs, cheesecake on a stick, the twistoflex by spidel, and a decently sized taint.

  • Ted Mann 12:16 am on October 1, 2006 Permalink | Reply  

    Portugal: A Cost-Benefit Anaylsis 

    Ana and I returned about a week ago from our feria to the land of fado, and it’s about time that I posted an entry on our adventures. In 20 words or less: great weather … parrot that speaks in portuguese swears … “estou cheio” (I’m full) … flat tire on the A2 … “What, there was a topless woman on the beach? I hadn’t noticed.” … going to a bullfight solo.

    Alright, that wasn’t quite 20 words, and besides, I’m not one for the short pithy blog entries anyway. You know that.

    Perhaps a better way to summarize the trip would be to look back what I liked/didn’t like about the country on this, my second trip there. Think of it like a cost-benefit analysis, with ratings on a 1–10 scale.

    1. Graffiti: 5
    Hyperliterate and almost always legible, on the one hand (see the example here, which says “It’s already Christmas. Go buy your happiness.”) On the other, it appears that the country has developed a massive graffiti problem in the last five years, since I last visited. It was all over the highway to the Algarve, and quite bad in Lisbon, too. Worst of all was Coimbra, where I saw a number of swasticas near the university. Whatever coolness the anti-commercial, Fight Club-esque messages gave to the country’s spray-paint art, the Nazi logos negated all of it.

    2. Foul-Mouthed Birds: 10
    It never ceases to amaze me how many people in Portugal keep birds for pets. I know we do that here, too, but in Ana’s parents’ village, it seemed like the average family kept at least three in the yard. Best of all was Ana’s cousins and aunt, who had a parrot that liked to say “shit.” He could also immitate a cell phone ring, and mock Ana’s youngest cousin, Patricia.

    3. Water That Cures Rheumatism: 3
    Alright, so technically it didn’t cure my rheumatism, but the spring in Luso at least gets bonus points for making such an outlandish claim. Plus, the gorgeous castle in nearby Bucaco Forrest, with its sprawing outdoor garden and azulejo murals, made it well worth the day trip.

    4. Kick-Ass Relics: 9
    Call me shallow or sacriligous or just an arm man, but if given the choice between a relic in a gilded box and a relic in a golden braco (arm) fashioned after a saint, I’ll take the latter every day of the week. I especially like how the arm bone in the relic is still visible. Kind of reminds me of Skeletor. Now that’s my kind of saint!

    5. Homemade Wines: 10
    OK, so they might not be as refined as what we usually buy in the store or at professional vineyards, but the wine that Ana’s dad and Ana’s uncles grow ain’t half bad. And the pride they take in their vinos — not to mention the firewater moonshine they make from the wine byproducts — makes drinking it all the more sweet. As an added bonus during our trip, we actually got to see part of the grape harvest (just the white ones) going on across the street from Ana’s folks’ house.

    6. Relatives Out the Wazoo: 7
    They stop by the minute you arrive, sometimes literally flagging you down on the street. Then they come over for coffee, lunch, a snack, the futball game, dinner, more coffee, and to tuck you in at night. On my last trip I was spared a lot of the courtesy visits to family members (after all, at that time the odds of me joining the Mendes clan were, oh, 1,800 to 1). But this time I met literally dozens of cousins, aunts, uncles, and chickens. Alas, Ze Doydo was nowhere to be seen.

    7. Stunning Beaches: 9
    Alright, I know the people in this photo aren’t so pretty to look at. But try to mentally photoshop us out of the shot and you’ll see what I’m talking about. This was a beach in the Algarve, near where we stayed in a little village called Sesmarias. It was located between Feregudo and Carvoiero. All of the beaches we saw in the south were much like this: breathtaking rock formations, amazing cliffs lining the beach, and small little inlets of sand with a healthy number of topless suntanners and fat men in Speedos (hence the reason this isn’t a 10). My favorite quote from the whole trip was from my dad, as we were packing up from the beach, where we had been lying next to two very obvious and very exposed boobie melons. As we walked to the car, Diana commented on them, and my dad said, “What, there was somebody in front of us topless? I had no idea.” Yeah. Right.

    8. The View From Our Room: 10
    This may not be as general as the others, but I couldn’t resist bragging about how totally rockin’ our room in the Algarve was. The view of the ocean every morning was well worth the villa’s fee, an extra thousand Euros more than we anticipated (serves us right for choosing a place without noting that the cost was in euros, not dollars).

    9. Snakes on a Beach Path!: 1
    Our villa wasn’t actually on a beach, but I was determined to hike down through the gulley that separated us from what I was fairly sure was a small hidden patch of sand. Sure enough, after a little poking around I found a small path to just that. But along the way, I also crossed paths (literally) with two fairly large snakes. This picture was taken when I reached my destination, although I cropped it so you wouldn’t be able to see the pee on my pants. After taking it, I ran back as fast as my urine-soaked legs would take me, literally bounding through the scrub brush.

    10. Bullfights Where the Bulls Live: 10
    Listen, I don’t want to get into yet another argument about how, despite that, it’s still torture. And I’m some kind of sadistic, sicko, wanna-be Hemingway for wanting to go. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Ana laid all this on me during out last night in Lisbon, but having talked about my desire to see a torero all trip, and realizing this might be my last chance ever, I leapt at it. And although Ana refused to go with me, no regrets.

    The Praça de Touros was georgeous, like a version of St. Peters church in Russia, or something like that. Inside, the arena looked like a scene from the Kentucky Derby, full of preppy, upper-middle-class Lisboners out for good time. Ironically, it was one of the few times in Portugal when I didn’t feel out of place! From the first fight, which was led by a horesback-riding cavaliero, to the main matador-led events, I was utterly fascinated. As promised, the bulls were not killed, but rather speared in the back, and then, once sufficiently defeated, led out of the ring by a herd of cattle. One of my favorite parts was when some bandielleros stood in a slow-moving line, inched up near the bull, and then were suddenly charged. The plan is for the bandiellero in front to jump onto the bull’s back, and the others to pile on him, one after another. However, on the second attempt, this all went horribly wrong and the bull essentially trampled two of the men. Good times. The picture here is of my favorite bullfighter, bloodied from getting a little too close for comfort.

    All in all, our trip was a huge hit. Although the country may have gotten a little more expensive since 2000, between the wine harvest, seeing our two families booze it up, the eastern Algarve beaches, shopping with Ana in Lisbon, it was a blast. And yes, if following in Papa’s shoes for an evening of self-indulgent, solitary slaughter is wrong, well, then I don’t want to be right.

    If you haven’t seen enough of our Portugal pics yet, you can see the Snapfish album here.

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