As many of you know, there is a certain furry, blue monster for whom I have a special place in my heart. As such, I would very much like to share with you this stellar example of his cuteness. Om nom nom nom.
I am coming to you, my five or six loyal readers, with a pressing matter. Please send any and all tips you might have! For the past few weeks, I’ve been noticing mysterious, small-but-obvious round holes in a large percentage of my cotton t-shirts and tank tops. Weirdly, the holes are in almost exactly the same place on every top: just south of the belly button region. I see no sign of bug infestation in my dresser or anywhere in my apartment, and can’t get a definitive answer from Google about what types of critters even eat cotton. I’ve found people who claim to be battling similar problems, and they believe the holes may be due to jean-related friction. I’m skeptical, and anyway, why would previously harmless jeans suddenly start causing issues? The holes are driving me crazy and will soon leave me with nothing to wear but rags. Please advise!!!
- Shout Out 1: To my friend Lauren, who became engaged whilst vacationing in Savannah. Yay!!!
- Shout Out 2: To my friend Jess, who is tying the knot in a few hours here in New York. Yay!!! I am honored to be serving as black-clad bridesmaid.
- Shout Out 3: To Jan and Lew, who celebrated their 37th anniversary on June 20th. Yay!!!
- Note 1: You may or may not have noticed that of late, I’ve been even less prolific than I usually am. That is due to a combination of laziness, malaise and nightmarish conditions at work. We are preparing for a massive trade show in Texas, and sadly, it may be a little while longer before I can return to bi-weekly bloggery.
- Note 2: I have asked my sister Jamie to serve as guest blogger. She has at least two highly entertaining tales to share, and I think I have trained her well. Please stay tuned, and enjoy.
As a hypochondriac specializing in disorders of the gastrointestinal system, I’ve spent the better part of my life more than a little concerned about death by salmonella — or as I like to call the bacteria, Sal “Not Your Pal” Monella.
My earliest memory of Sal “Not Your Pal” dates back to 1987. I was at my friend’s house attending a barbecue, when we heard her parental units engaged in a rather vicious spat. We couldn’t make out most of what they were shouting, but it seemed to have something to do with potato salad that had sat out too long on account of her father’s laziness. What I did hear loud and clear was her mother’s voice screaming, “FINE RON. GO AHEAD. GET SALMONELLA. SEE IF I CARE!”
I remember finding this riotously funny, yet strangely disturbing. Salmonella. It sounded so exotic, and so BAD. I was fascinated. Then, as luck would have it, about two years later, my boyfriend B. came down with a virulent case after eating half a Blimpie tuna sub he’d purchased on an overnight Model U.N. trip and forgotten to stash in the hotel’s mini-fridge.
I imagined tiny, pink critters attacking his stomach and created a cartoon in B.’s honor, illustrating the poisoning. Brilliantly, I used scented Mr. Sketch magic markers to depict the aforementioned critters as gangsters, all working for Sal “Not Your Pal” Monella. His famiglia included the great Sid Di Arrhea and Len Shitzomucho. (Eighteen years later, I am still in awe of my creative genius.)
This particular case of Sal “Not Your Pal” was not lethal, and B. made a full recovery, eventually cheating on me, flunking out of several colleges and going on to a lucrative career as a marijuana farmer. I do not attribute any of these things to Sal. But B. was pretty sick for a while, and you can rest assured that my own food ingestion practices have never been the same: Sal has never been far from my mind.
But those were the good old days. Back then, if you were vigilant about your mayonaise intake and the color of the chicken on your plate (pure white = safe, pink hue = days on the crappair with firewater coming out of your ass), you could be reasonably sure you were safe from Sal Monella and his crew. At sketchy eateries, at picnics, or when dining at the apartment of an incompetent chef, you knew that if you stuck to salad, let’s say, all would be well.
But here in the new millennium, nothing is safe. E.coli-riddled spinach can kill you. SPINACH! The PARAGON of healthy, wholesome eating! And now, tomatoes. Even vegetables are deadly: surely, Armageddon is near.
In the weeks since Tomatogate broke, I’ve found myself struggling to redefine my relationship with the red orbs. I had never thought much about them, but I now realize what a big role they play in some of life’s simple pleasures. A BLT — the most perfect of diner sandwiches, when made with crisp iceberg lettuce and bacon cooked to exactly the right texture — can no longer be enjoyed without angst. Pizza may or may not contain deadly sauce — is it worth the risk? And if not, what the hell else are you supposed to eat late at night? Then of course, there are things like ketchup, tapenade and salsa: all potentially toxic condiments. Frick on a dry, tasteless stick.
And where’s a girl to draw the line? What about sour tomatoes, canned tomatoes and store-bought tomato sauce? Are tomato juice and V8 safe? If you pronounced it “tom-ah-to,” were you a-okay? What about my lycopene-based eye cream from Kiehl’s? Or the tomato red nail polish on my toes?!
And who can keep track of the KIND of tomatoes Sal “Not Your Pal” has permeated. Cherry and grape tomatoes are, allegedly, okay. But how do “they” know? Red, round tomatoes are NOT safe. Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t tomatoes almost ALWAYS red and round? Jeez Louise.
Look, since I hit the big 3-5 last year, I’ve really TRIED to be a better eater. I’ve made a pact to eat nutritious cereal (and I don’t mean Cap’n Crunch even though I do heart him) at least four times a week for breakfast. I eat vegetables — and not just green M&Ms — at every lunch and dinner. I count Red Mango as my official afternoon snack instead of (or at least, in addition to) Snickers and Famous Amos. But all these vegetable woes lead me to believe that I was right all along: the safest foods are those that do not go bad. Ever. No matter how hot it gets. Twinkies. Velveeta. Twizzlers.
You may scoff at the thought of a girl like me stocking up on trailer-icious fare like this. But mark my words. When Armageddon does hit …all you Kashi-loving, tofu-eating, green tea-drinking health freaks will be knocking on MY door.
1) Am I the only person on earth who watches Army Wives?
- If you answered “No” because you or someone you know watches it as well, please proceed to questions #2 and #3. If you answered “Yes,” shut your piehole.
2) Were you at all disturbed by the end of the season opener???
3) Is anyone on that base going to acknowledge the fact that the Holdens’ younger daughter is not even remotely the same younger daughter they had earlier the same day?
4) Roland is hardly an army WIFE. Sheesh.
5) For the love of GOD, Roxy. Why can’t you just clean your house?
Thank you. This concludes tonight’s edition of “Random Questions.”
Earlier this week, I decided to Google myself in case I’d become a famous writer and just not realized it. I had not. But I did make a gruesome discovery: some company calling itself “JLove” — a company I have never even heard of, much less patronized, thought of or spoken about — has chosen to use my good name in an endorsement of its alleged matchmaking services. In other words, go to Google, search for me and then scroll down to the third or fourth result. You will see the following:
To meet hot, single Jewish girls like [the brilliant writer behind the renowned WordPress blog “The Letter T”], sign up for JLove! Create your own profile and get in touch with [the brilliant writer behind the renowned WordPress blog “The Letter T”] TODAY — it’s the most dating fun you can have!
As inner rage boiled up in my throat, I went to JLove.com to see if I could determine how in God’s creation they had gotten my name. Bizarrely, what I found was basically a list of every single combination of every single first and every single Jewish last name under the sun. Along with mine, I was able to track down that of almost every Jew I knew. When I clicked on the names, nothing happened. The site didn’t seem to actually DO or SELL anything. I then Googled all of my friends to see if anyone else was cropping up in a JLove-related search result. Nope. That honor was reserved just for me! How lucky am I?!
Absolutely mortified, I called our kindly IT guy and then our kindly search engine optimization guy. We looked up a few different names on a few different computers. Each time, the name in question appeared on JLove, but only mine came up when we conducted the Google search. It was totally weird and no one could figure it out.
Now, you might be asking yourself, “What’s the big deal?” But let’s review the facts of the case. First of all, I wouldn’t want to unknowingly “endorse” ANY web site, product or service I’d never used, be it shampoo, toothpaste or a dating service. Moreover, this means that anyone out there — a future potential employer, my current boss, a catty friend of Jan’s from New Jersey — can simply conduct a quick Google search (albeit, assuming the give a rat’s ass) and mistakenly learn that I am single, Jewish and trying to experience “the most dating fun I can have” by using JLove’s “services.” The part about me being “hot” I think I can live with. But the point is, it’s a total violation of privacy! And a flat-out lie!
Anyhoo, I couldn’t let it go. I tried to get in touch with JLove to find out why they were picking on ME. Why not one of the 25 Jessica Abramowitzsmanbergs or seven Adam Kleinenfeldenshteins? Those people were probably married, carrying Kooba bags and living in giant 2-bedroom apartments on West End Avenue — they could handle this! There was no phone number listed anywhere on the site. I filled out a “Contact Us” form demanding information, but of course got no response. I found the address of their alleged HQ — one in Beverly Hills and one in Toronto — and called information for a number. No listing for JLove existed. I had the 411 chick cross-reference the addresses to see what company really occupied the sham JLove offices. In Beverly Hills, it was a film company whose name was something like “Double Buttercup Productions” and almost certainly produced the kind of cinema usually stashed in nighttable drawers. In Toronto, the operator could only say “Eh?”
My last resort was Google itself. Thanks to my ultra-impressive journalistic skills — honed on the gritty streets of the Lower East Side in the 1990s — I was able to obtain directions for informing Google about objectionable content merely by going to the Google homepage and typing in the phrase “objectionable material.”
Unfortunately, “objectionable material,” in Google’s eyes, really referred to public dissemination of bank accounts numbers, social security numbers and/or the works of Double Buttercup Productions. A curious ex-husband or boss was just not menacing enough, it seemed, to warrant an email from Google.
So, while this blog and my master’s degree in Journalism from Columbia and my press releases and my interview in The Post sit unnoticed at the bottom of the search results page, my ringing, humiliating endorsement of a sham SINGLES web site greets all who are looking for me. FABULOUS!