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  • Ted Mann 2:28 pm on January 13, 2008 Permalink | Reply  

    Monkeys, at last 

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    I’ve always been a skeptic when it comes to the “all inclusive” racket — the Sandals, Beaches, and Club Med resorts that promise you everything from lodging to food to activities for one package deal. But all that changed this week. I’ve seen the light.

    All of the credit goes to Ana, who planned our trip to the Yucatan Peninsula all on her own. She scored a deal at a Club Med just south of Cancun for five nights, including airfare, at $1,000 per person. And that’s literally all we paid. (Well, excluding the taxi to and from the airport and the above $10 photo, which was snapped by some guy on the beach. While I can never condone the leashing of spider monkeys, that pic was just too good for me to pass up.)

    To say we had a good time would be a gross understatement. Next to our honeymoon, it was probably the second best vacation we’ve ever taken. Factor in that neither of us got horribly sunburned and, well, maybe it even tops our post-nuptial trip to Belize.

    The water was gorgeous, the food excellent and plentiful, the rooms recently renovated, and — most surprising to me — there was so much to do I didn’t get antsy for a minute. Don’t get me wrong, I was still in what Ana likes to call “activity boy mode,” but with windsurfing, sailing, water skiing, and umpteen exercise classes to keep me busy, I wasn’t lobbying to leave the Club Med compound to explore Mayan ruins (like I thought I’d be).

    Sure, it would be fun to sightsee on a repeat visit, but for the five nights we were there, we were totally happy to stick to the resort routine: fill up a half dozen plates at every meal with every available dish, sip our shots of capuccino and mango daquari on the beach, listen to my ipod, catch up on old magazines and books, and watch the American Network (best TV show promos ever!) and Season 1 of “The Wire” at nights.

    OK, enough gushing. Here are some pics from the trip:

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    • Ellie 1:00 pm on February 7, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      The monkey look suits you! I am jealous of your tropical vacation. Jerry S. says yallow…

  • Ted Mann 5:40 pm on May 28, 2007 Permalink | Reply  

    Long time no see 

    Poor TurkeyMonkey. I’ve been a very bad caretaker of this beloved crossbreed mascot name. But fear not: I’m not about to let the domain registration slip. And I plan to get back to my regularly scheduled blogging any day now.

    Why, you might ask, have I been MIA for so long? Have I gone rogue?

    The short answer is, yes. I have gone rogue. But I’ve also been working diligently on two other websites lately, Suburbarazzi and Fix Hartsdale Parking. And as any blogger or webmaster knows, one only has enough attention span to run two websites at any given time. Alas, TurkeyMonkey and Plugs have suffered. I don’t know if it’s too late to salvage the latter, but I’m not about to leave TM all abandoned. After all, those are my initials and all, so that would be like abandoning myself, or my cyberself, which is an existential crisis I’m not yet prepared for.

    Getting back to what I’ve been doing. … It’s been a busy few months. I’ll do my best to recap the top 10 busy-making things I’ve been up to below:

    img_6815.JPG1. Meeting Bill Murray. Actually, this just happened last night, at the opening of a new Yonkers restaurant called X20. I’m still completely giddy over the whole thing. It all eminated from a story I wrote about how the restaurant’s chef, Peter Kelly, faced off against Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America. Not only did Kelly win, but he beat Flay in a battle of the grill (Flay’s specialty). Anyway, last night was the show’s debut and Murray sat down right next to me and we got to hang for most of the night. I’ll post more details later, with pictures. But I just couldn’t resist sharing that right off the bat.

    suburbarazzi.jpeg2. Suburbarazzi: Speaking of celebrities, last fall I started up a blog devoted to the famous residents of the Lower Hudson Valley with my colleagues at InTown and The Journal News. Since then, Suburbarazzi has snowballed into something bigger than I ever imagined. The blog gets, on average, about 40,000 hits a month, and has been linked to from Gawker, Slate, and dozens of other sites. There’s also a celebrity stalker map on the site (an idea we blatantly ripped off from Gawker), photo galleries of recent celebrity sighting, and even a MySpace page. We’ve broken exclusives about DMX’s multiple arrests, the Rosie O’Donnell feuds, and the “sextortionist” who attempted to extort $125,000 from a Pepsi exec.

    A daily (or weekly) newspaper column may be coming soon. And we also now film a weekly TV segment for a local newscast on RNN based on the blog. Here’s the latest one, from last week:

    RNN clip

    3. St. Maarten: In mid-March, my whole family went down to St. Maarten for a week-long vacation and celebration of my dad’s bday. We spent most of the trip mixing guavaberry daiquiris, visiting a beach on the French side of the island (we stayed on the Dutch side), and chasing after either baby Phillip or baby Austin or Owen or Francesca or Winifred. It was great fun, though. Here are some of my favorite pics:

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    4. LoHud Blogs: Besides Suburbarazzi, I’ve also asserted myself as a leader in our company’s effort to build up its blogging presence. At The Journal News, I helped form a group of “Power Users” to (a) make the blogs better and (b) make them profitable. As for (a), we’re still working on it, but he have managed to get video and audio up, improve the look of the blogs, and make them viewable on mobile phones. As for (b), I got us plugged into Google AdSense program, which hasn’t exactly yielded big bucks yet, but it’s more than the zero dollars we were getting before.

    bilde-2.jpg5. Flight School: For the May issue of Rockland Magazine, I went to flight school. It was a bit unnerving since I had no idea that I would actually be manning the yoke during takeoff, but thankfully we all survived. I’d love to enroll in the school for more than just a few classes, maybe even take the time to earn my license, but I’ll need a lot more spare time and money than I’ve got right now. Anyway, here’s the story: “Winging It.”

    bilde.jpg6. Iron Chef America: As I mentioned before, I wrote an article about Peter Kelly taking down Bobby Flay on Iron Chef. What I really liked about this story, “Diary of an Iron Chef,” was that it was completely written from the POV of the profile subject. I wanted the byline to say, “By Peter Kelly, as told to Ted Mann” to reinforce the idea that it was an actual memoirish retelling of Kelly’s preparations for the battle. In reality, the story came about through a series of lengthy interviews I did with Kelly, but I really hope and think it comes across as his voice.

    img_5786.JPG7. Vegas Baby: For Mike Garrett’s bachelor party, I headed to Vegas with Craig, Gabe, and Mike’s best man, Jeff. We stayed at the Luxor, made a killing at the craps table, lost a killing at the craps table, and learned the do’s and don’ts of night-club line-hopping. Above all, I learned that Gabe (or perhaps an actor named Ryan that looks an awful lot like Gabe — Ryan Phillipe? Ryan Gossling? Ryan O’Neil?) is a babe magnet in the great state of Nevada. Outstanding.

    8. Neha got married … and I may or may not have lost a certain bet: We ventured down to NJ for Neha and Justin’s Indian wedding ceremony, which was a blast. The sight of Justin riding in on a drugged, pimped out mule through a Dunkin’ Donuts parking lot instantly became one of my top 5 favorite wedding moments. As for the question of whether or not Neha actually got formally married before her 30th birthday — let’s just say, I’m not pressing for any sort of confirmation one way or the other.

    9. Newpaper nonsense: In addition to blogging and TV, my job also took me into another (almost) entirely new medium: newpaper writing. I wasn’t exactly handling a beat or anything, but I did begin writing some stories for the paper this year, including one about FBI mole Robert Hanssen (timed to come out with the movie “Breach”) and another about Rosie O’Donnell leaving “The View.”

    10. Fix Hartsdale Parking: Last but not least: my crusade to reform Hartsdale’s antiquated parking system. It all started last December, when the hamlet’s ban on overnight winter parking kicked in. During the period from Dec. 1 to Mar. 15, we have absolutely nowhere to park our cars. The Hobson’s choice we’re forced to make is parking in the municipal lot behind an IHOP, where we have to feed meters 24 hours a day. It’s insane. This is the friggin suburbs!

    Apologies to anyone who has already heard this rant from me before, but I just couldn’t understand why a town as densly populated as this one wouldn’t have adequate parking for its residents. A simple solution, I figured, would be to simply abolish the ban on overnight parking (which is supposed to allow for plowing, even though the plows never operate during the midnight-6am ban), and instead institute some sort of snow emergency evacuation policy (like most cities have).

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    To help advance this agenda, I created a website — initially called Fix East Hartsdale Avenue Parking, and later shortened to just Fix Hartsdale Parking — using an open-source publishing software called Joomla. It was really easy to set up, yet nowhere near as easy as WordPress to customize. The good news is that hundreds of local residents found their way to the site and signed my petition. We even got articles in the local paper, editorials endorsing the plan, and we formed a committee to help lobby for parking reform in the town. The bad news is that this committe has thus far accomplished jack squat.

    The police chief came out against me, even going so far as to attack me at town hall meetings. Even though we had legislation written and backed by hundreds of people, I learned a sad fact of suburban life: The police chiefs control the local government here, not the elected officials. Not one of the town council people have yet challenged the police chief to date. I’ve still got my fingers crossed that we’ll accomplish something, but

    I’m not holding my breath anymore. The real solution, it seems, is to simply move out of Hartsdale. A lack of parking may seem like a trivial thing if you’ve never experienced it firsthand, but trust me, I’d take the crime in Philadelphia or the high rents in New York any day over the God awful parking situation here. Anyway, I’m cutting back on the parking crusade and getting back to important things: like blogging here.

    The parking reform movement’s loss is TurkeyMonkey’s gain.

     
    • James 11:14 pm on January 6, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Man. I just came upon your blog searching “Parking Hartsdale, NY”. Parking is crazy there. I’m seeing a woman there, or I should say, I’m not seeing a woman there because of their overnight parking ban. Greenburgh is off-the-chain crazy! I REFUSE to pay for those 24 hour meters behind IHOP out of principle.
      signed,
      a frustrated Yonkers man

    • Ted 1:08 am on January 7, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Couldn’t agree more, James. Parking ultimately was the reason we moved out of Hartsdale. It was infuriating. I feel your pain.

  • Ted Mann 1:27 am on January 13, 2007 Permalink | Reply  

    The Reverse Murphy’s Law of Blogging 

    Alright, you know how a few days ago I posted that despite all my best efforts, my blog is best known for a post about the laxative effects of maltitol? Well, the greater irony is that today, just before watching “Notes on a Scandel,” Ana and I picked up a couple bags of sugar-free candies sweetened with — you guessed it — maltitol. (We’re making a go of Atkins again, and despite some excellent early weight-loss, the movie-theater candy craving hasn’t quite gone away yet.)

    Suffice it to say, I’m retarded for even agreeing to peruse the CVS candy aisle, much less absent-mindedly consuming a full bag of sugar-free Twizzlers. I’m now doubled over in pain, running back and forth to the bathroom, and unable to sleep. Ugh.

    Blogging may be great for sharing my picks and thoughfully reflecting on my latest unheathly obsession, but when it comes to teaching me the error of my ways — eh, not so good.

     
  • 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 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.

     
  • Ted Mann 11:32 pm on August 18, 2006 Permalink | Reply  

    Who Said the Suburbs are Safe? 

    When Ana and I moved from West Philadelphia to Westchester, NY, we took for granted that there were certain set, understood, inailiable lifestyle changes involved. The cost of living would go up, but so would our square-footage and yard acreage. The cultural amenities would be few and far between, but the parking spaces would be plentiful. And perhaps most obvious and certain of all, we would be more insulated and would only see minorities once every other week, but we would be much, much safer.

    Where in the hell did we get those crazy ideas?

    Now, a year and a half into living here, I can confirm that not a single one of those assumptions about life in the suburbs (or at least, the second parts of the equations) are true. Yes, the cost of living went up, but our we have no yard to speak of and a slightly smaller apartment that costs twice as much as our Philly one did. Parking is nonexistant — so much so that we sometimes walk for an eternity to our cars. And worst of all, the crime here would make even the most hardened Christopher Miller car thiefs nervous.

    In our building we recently got a letter that there have been break-ins. I regularly read about violent stabbings and other crimes at nearby malls. And most alarming of all, one of my colleagues at work in White Plains has had his car tires (all four) slashed on repeated occassions. In my entire time here, I’ve only seen a handful of police, and the only times I’ve ever laid eyes on them is when their staking out a speed trap, sobriety checkpoint, or pulling over someone for making an illegal left-hand turn. In other words, crime may be out of control, but all we’ve got here is a bunch of traffic cops.

    On the eve of a visit from our West Philly friends, Andy and Katie, it’s got me wondering why the suburbs have such a utopian rep, and why the inner city get’s such a bad rap.

    Update: OK, turns out I posted literally a few hours too soon. Our West Philly friends Andy and Katie visited us on Saturday, and when they woke up to drive to Westchester, suprise!, their Jeep was missing. The car and the GPS navigation system inside it were stolen. So, for all my griping and comparing the crime here to the crime there, it appears that the only real, concrete conclusion is that there’s crime just about everywhere. And LoJack is looking like a smarter and smarter investment every day.

     
  • Ted Mann 11:32 pm on July 18, 2006 Permalink | Reply  

    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.

     
  • Ted Mann 8:29 pm on April 5, 2006 Permalink | Reply  

    7 Lessons Learned in the Eleuthera 

    1. Bahamas Air will lose your flight reservation, without fail. And then you’ll find yourself on Southern Air’s tiny, 18-seat Beech 1900C charter plane on the way to Eleuthera, and then on an even tinier 6-seat Piper Aztec with your wife crying into your shoulder that “we’re gonna die” on the way back.
    2. Mini-Hurricanes Aren’t all Bad. Small tropical storms at the start of a vacation only help to make the partly clowdy days following seem comparatively balmy and beautiful.
    3. Lenny Kravitz is a sharp dressed man. Shortly after arriving on Eleuthera, our cab driver told us that Kravitz had a house on the island, and that, indeed, he might be there at the same time as us. KravitzThen our vacation buddies, Matt and Sarah (that couple that we always seem to bond with on our trips), ran into Lenny on a deserted beach a couple miles north of our hotel, The Cove. Our envy couldn’t be contained. From that moment forward, we were determined to meet the man, but despite renting a car, visiting all the same spots as Matt and Sarah, and shouting out “Kravitz” at the ocean periodically, nada. At the end of the day, when we’d given up all hope and were boarding a water taxi from Harbour Island back to Eleuthera, Ana started mumbling something. I was totally oblivious for the first and second mumble, but she finally said, through her teeth, “eers lenny kraviiiiz.” At which point I did a double take. He looked just like he does on MTV, respledent in earings, noserings, fro, wrap arounds, and hottie arm candy. In some weird way, it helped validate the whole trip.
    4. The famed pink sand beach on Harbour Island isn’t really pink. More of a blush, I’d say. If you look closely at the sand kernels, you’ll see crushed up bits of coral, which gives the sand it’s hue. Is “coral” a color?
    5. Andy has weird literary tastes.   Though he didn’t post an official plug in favor of the Chuck Palahniuk book “Survivor,” he loaned me his copy for the vacation and highly urged me to read it. On the plus side, it was a quick, engrossing read; on the other hand, reading about a messianic etiquette expert, who can go on for pages about how to remove fabric stains, was a rather weird beach reading.
    6. For some inexplicable reason, iPod nanos appear to be allergic to the Carribean and Mexico. Around the same time Andy was loaning me “Survivor,” he mentioned how his nano had suddenly stopped working on his recent vacation to Mexico. The screen was just dead, and in frustration, he cracked open the case to jimmy with it. Didn’t work. Then, a few days later (back in Philly, I think) it was up and operation again — though not quite as pretty as it was, pre-dismantling. So, when my nano stopped working one day, I got frustrated, fiddled endlessly, but stopped just short of craking the casing. And, wouldn’t ya know, when I got back to NY, it was working again as if nothing had ever been wrong. Still don’t know what caused the problem. Salt water air, maybe? Jobs, are you listening? Any thoughts?
    7. The Glass Window is one of the coolest damn things I’ve seen in a while. It’s the thinnest part of Eleuthera — a tiny bridge about two car-widths wide that separates the Carribean and Atlantic waters. On one side is the roiling dark blue ocean, on the other is a stretch of calm acqua. As I understand it, the name comes from sailers, whose ships would be getting tossed around on the violent ocean waters; they would look through the window created by the elevated bridge and the rocky shoals beneath it to see the glassy water on the other side. And, I imagine, say something like “rat bastard.”

    By which, of course, they’d be referring to Lenny Kravitz and his arm candy.

     
  • Ted Mann 10:22 pm on March 6, 2006 Permalink | Reply  

    Word of the Day: Caterwauling 

    I’ve been trying to figure out what to call Fuzzy’s incessant, excruciatingly annoying yowling. Meowing just sounds too tame? But it’s not exactly craying if he’s not really sad, right?

    This article pointed me to the proper term: caterwauling. Of course, the helpful advice — i.e. not to give into whatever your cat is whining for — is all fine and good, but when you’ve got that incessant whining going on every morning when you wake up, every evening when you sit on the couch, when you hit the hay at night, and just about every period inbetween … well, easier said than done.

    I prefer to go with the old, caterwaul right back at ’em strategy.

     
    • Gwynne 5:27 pm on March 9, 2006 Permalink | Reply

      My favorite is caterwauling accompanied by a sandpaper tongue to the eyelid or a freezing wet nose to the lips.

  • Ted Mann 12:45 am on December 30, 2005 Permalink | Reply  

    2005 Wrap-Up 

    So, looks like I’ve got two days to catch up on about six months of blogging. Sadly, this isn’t December 2004, back when I had the stamina to crank out a dozen posts in a 24-hour period. And with the recent news that my mother is selling the Vermont house, there won’t even be time to do that. Yes, friends, I’ll be spending my New Year’s Eve packing up all my worldly childhood possessions — the moth-eaten sweaters, the social studies textbooks, the cherished 1987 Playboys stashed beneath the floorboards. Good times.

    Anyway, back to TurkeyMonkey–and the challenge of summarizing months of blogging in one post. My solution? Cut and paste the holiday card, or what I titled, “The Year in Ted and Ana.” I realize that, under the rules of blog parlimentary procedure, it isn’t fair to plagarize myself. But it’s better than the alternative: plagarizing Dorris Kearns Goodwin. Plus, this version will be illustrated!

    • May 20 – Ana graduates from Temple University School of Medicine, takes the Hippocratic oath, eats pizza, visits Zoo.

    • May 27-30 – Ted leaves job at Penn Press to pursue true dream of treasure hunting for valuable tokens hidden within knotholes of trees in obscure state parks. Arrives literally five minutes too late to find one such token—at a park his brother Doug was already searching inside.

    • June 1 – Shifting careers again, Ted begins job at The Journal News working on a new series of suburban lifestyle magazines. The upstart business—initially Westchester-focused InTown, and later expanded to Rockland Magazine, Putnam Magazine, and Scarsdale Magazine—doubles in year one, with Ted writing and editing far more than he ever thought possible.

    • July 9 – Ana’s pediatrics residency at the Westchester Medical Center begins. Sleep, or at least the restful kind she used to enjoy, forever ends.

    • July 9-10 – Live 8, Ted, and Ana descend upon Philadelphia. The musical acts leave with the satisfaction of having fought world hunger; we depart with a Budget Truck full of furniture.

    • July 11 – We close on the purchase of a two-bedroom co-op in a charming, older building.

    • July 16 – “Pre-war” takes on a whole new meaning: leaky pipes, faulty electrical wiring, squeaky floors, and lots of cash-money for repairs.

    • July 28 – Philip Cameron Mann is born to Ted’s sister-in-law, Tara, and brother, Doug. Thankfully, he does not inherit the Mann family’s mega-noggin gene.

    • November 14 – Ted gets bumped up two grades on the masthead, becoming a Senior Editor—or, as he likes to put it, “the double-promoted daddy-o.”

    • November 22 – Ted’s sister, Stacey, and brother-in-law, Dan, christen Austin Peter Raiche at 11 lbs. 2 oz. Suspiciously, this matches Ted’s recent weight gain to the ounce.

    • November 26 to December 3 – We visit San Francisco, explore wine country, and find that Ana is marvelous at operating a moving vehicle under the influence.

    In parting, I leave you with the one, Capra-esque nugget of wisdom I picked up this year:
    Every time a pipe bursts, a sibling’s baby gets its ultrasound.

     
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