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Sometimes, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for people who have not blogged in more than two years to take to their keyboards. And I have decided that I can no longer sit silently by as more and more of my friends, Romans, and countrymen fall prey to shudder-inducing, unoriginal expressions as they compose their vapid social media posts. It is my ethical responsibility to return to the Letter T and comment on this scourge.

Let me first say that you’d have a lot of trouble finding a bigger, more addicted social media junkie than me. I spend a truly alarming amount of time going down dark Facebook holes. You may not know me, but I sure know you. And your best friend from high school. And your ex-girlfriend. And her new boyfriend. Who, weirdly, is friends with my dentist’s daughter’s fiance. So no, I’m not pointing fingers at anyone merely for their use of these sites. It’s a sad reality. But for the love of GOD people, if you’re going to be a chronic poster there, post good shit. I want to be cool and hip and popular as much as the next guy, but for the good of the nation and society as a whole I implore you: stop propagating moronic hashtags and asshole expressions like these!!!

#squad: What kind of #squad are we talking about here? Death? Firing? Cheerleading? Rescue? If you must use this one, have the decency to qualify it. Otherwise I’ll have to assume you mean “Idiot Squad.”

Artsy photo of airplane wing to inform the world of your travels: Are you the unwitting protagonist in a reenactment of the famous William Shatner Twilight Zone episode “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet?” Is there a gremlin on that wing you just hashtag-no-filtered? If not, a simple “I just sat down on a big old jet airliner” will suffice.

An open letter to…: This implies there is such a thing as a closed letter. Please compose one of those instead.

#fordays: Lip gloss for days. Bikinis for days. Rosé for days. Or, in English, “I seem to have acquired a great number of lip glosses;” “Note that I am packing several bikinis for my beach vacation;” “I very much enjoy a nice glass of Rosé.”

My boo/My bae: I would comment, but my body is too contorted from cringing. I guess I can’t even, which brings me to my next point.

Can’t even:  Can’t even WHAT?! Can’t even COMPLETE A DAMN SENTENCE?!

On fleek: What exactly does this mean? What’s a fleek? Do I want to be fleek? It is so weird to me, in fact, that I will allow you to use it in my company if you do so ironically.

#nomnom: Only if you are furry, blue, googly-eyed, unable to properly use pronouns and surviving on a diet of cookies is it at all acceptable to use this hashtag.

This guy/This girl: Again, this guy/this girl WHAT? Do you not know the name of the person you’re so excited to pose with?

Birthday love letters to toddlers: Your kid is two and will never see this post. He or she can’t read, write, log on to Facebook, crap in a toilet, or POSSIBLY exhibit any of the traits you’re claiming he or she has.

What happens next will shock you: I doubt it. The only thing that would shock me is if what happens next actually shocks me. Thank you, Ron, for pointing out the absurdity here.

#blessed: When I see this in my feed, I feel  #cursed. And also #nauseous.

Posts about your dog: Just kidding. These are 1000% acceptable and encouraged. Unless of course your dog is part of a #squad; #blessed; has #Snausagesfordays; or is sensitive, thoughtful, smart, and intuitive at the age of eight weeks.



Since the written word continues to fail me (and because the wise and talented Mama Kat told me to), I have selected a series of (unremarkable) Instagram photos that represent highlights of the past week. What is remarkable is the fact that it took me five pathetic years to figure out how to add multiple images in a given post.

Special thanks to the lovely C. Migs; the high-larious real live author Choi Division; my super-sharp Duane Reade umbrella; Keith; Jan and Lew; the kindly waitstaff at the Waverly Inn; the bartender at Arthur’s; my SIL Christine; Delman shoes; and Citizens of Humanity.

Please see below and don’t hesitate to get in touch should you have any questions about Sr. Cojones. I know I sure as hell do.


But Can You Do THIS?

What the WHAT? Two blog posts in a mere nine days?! That’s right peeps. At Mama Kat’s prompting, I have created and shall now share a list of 10 random and totally useful things I know how to do. Don’t be intimidated.

One: At the risk of sounding politically incorrect, I can sit Indian-style, then stand and walk on my pretzel-ed knees. How not at all creepy! Editor’s Update: My sister, Jamie, has informed me that the proper, 21st-century term for the position I’m describing above is “criss-cross applesauce.” 

Well hullo there, Millard
Well hullo there, Millard

Two: Since buck-toothed third grade, when I accidentally memorized a poster Mrs. Snow hung on our classroom wall, I have been able to name all U.S. presidents in order of appearance. Millard Fillmore is my favorite name on the list.

Three: I can read the Russian and Hebrew alphabets (sort of). Nyet, I do not understand what I’m reading.

Four: Call it trivial, but I can identify the innards of any chocolate from a Russell Stover assortment. Trust me, you’ll appreciate it when I save you from picking the weird strawberry nougat.

Five: Along those lines, I am a dessert sommelier. Tell me your entree and I will tell you the complementary confection.

Six: In just a few minutes, I can compose an “alphabetical poem.” What in THE hell is an alphabetical poem, you may be asking? I will tell you. Or should I say, “Ah. Be calm.” It is a poem whose first word starts with an A, second with a B, third with a C, and so on through Z. You can see one example of my freakdom at the end of this post about Conan O’Brien.

Seven: I cannot address the physics involved, but it’s somehow possible to bake chicken in a brown bag without burning down your apartment. I learned how to do this in Philadelphia, when the very feisty Lil – whom I refer to as “the Unsinkable Molly Brown” – came to visit Dave and Rob from Oklahoma. Note: the brown bag can’t have any ink on it, unless you like colored chicken and scrubbing your oven.

Eight: I am excellent at recognizing B-list actors (aka “the guy from …/the chick from …”) or former child stars in supporting TV roles. Usually, they’re playing suspects on Law & Order and judges on The Good Wife.

Nine: If you are having a conversation remotely within my hearing range, I’m listening. Even if I appear to be deeply engrossed in my own.  I call it a throw-back to my days as an enterprising young journalist. Keith calls it proof that I’m nosy.

From left: Horsie, Rodney, Milty and Piggy
From left: Horsie, Rodney, Milty and Piggy

Ten: Upon adopting a new stuffed animal, I’m able to immediately sense and start channeling his/her personality and voice. Come to my abode and I will introduce you to Milty the nervous, nearsighted moose who communicates by nodding, shaking or scratching his bulbous head.  There’s also Rodney, the alcoholic reindeer; Horsie, the Texan womanizer who fears being washed in a pillowcase, as his tag suggests; and of course Piggy, the innocent little swine who never quite gets her words right. She thinks investment bankers get a “Jonas” every year (Nick, Joe …) and that The Letter T is a “clog.”

Once again, may thanks to Mama Kat for her continued inspiration and motivation. 

But Can You Do THIS?

You Say Tomato …

My husband, the produce expert (left) with recent acquisition
My husband, the produce expert (left) with recent acquisition

My own father – a physician and man of science who spends his days treating critically ill patients at a world-renowned medical center – could not pick a pasta strainer out of a kitchenware line-up and would rather buy a whole new set of unmentionables than figure out how to do laundry. Once and only once did Lew do the grocery shopping when we were little (at the Kings in Garwood). Needless to say, we left with $100 worth of Pringles, Chips Ahoy, Tastykakes, Cookie Crisp cereal and bubble gum-flavored Kissing Potion, a very delicious rollerball lip gloss. Most. Awesome. Supermarket. Trip. Ever.

In short, Lew is a great man who is not such a great help to my mother. As such, I witnessed — on many a childhood weekend — a meltdown during Jan’s Saturday morning cleaning process. I would start to hear angry but unintelligible muttering whilst eating my bowl of Honeycombs. The volume would increase and Jan would start naming random New Jersey countrymen who didn’t get their hands in hot water because they were pritzas.  (Pronounced “preet-zuhs.” I don’t know what this Yiddish word really means, but Jan and Grandma Ethel used it as a derogatory term for  women who were thin, pretty and/or rich). Soon she’d be full-fledged yelling about the lack of help she had around the house, referring to herself as “Tillie the Toiler.”  Meanwhile, “Tillie the Toiler” was actually a smokin’ hot cartoon office worker and part-time model who, according to Wikipedia, had no trouble finding men to escort her around town. Some would argue that Tillie was even a pritza.

The whole thing was most unfortunate.

But I was used to it, and assumed that all households functioned like this. So when Keith and I moved in together, I was shocked to learn I was wrong: not all men drove their wives to faux Tillie the Toilerhood.  If I start emptying the dishwasher, Keith feels guilty and immediately comes to help. Sometimes he even does it before I get out of bed. He also does his own laundry, irons from time to time and assists with fitted sheet folding. And by far the most helpful contribution Keith makes is food shopping. He says he finds it satisfying. I give him a list, he adds to it as needed, then heads to the store and calls me if he has any questions. Rather cutely, he then presents me with the groceries and eagerly waits for me to approve his purchases, which I always do.

Last week, one of the items on the list was iceberg lettuce. When I took it out of the bag, it felt really heavy and was so big I had to clear a shelf in the refrigerator  to accommodate it.  Keith looked very proud. The next eve, I went to prepare our salad. The lettuce was freakishly hard to cut. Its leaves seemed thick and rubbery and as I struggled to get the knife through them, the mysterious scent of Brussels sprouts wafted up to my nose. At first, I attributed the cutting difficulty to a sudden onset palsy that was obviously causing me to lose muscle control. The smell had to be a side effect – didn’t stroke survivors report experiencing strange aro… wait a minute. This wasn’t palsy. This was CABBAGE!

Frick on a leafy green stick.

I jumped away from the counter immediately, afraid that even the slightest contact with it would cause global thermo-gastrointestinal disaster.

Keith apologized profusely, but I told him it was an honest mistake and not to worry. Iceberg and cabbage bear an uncanny resemblance and really, only a seasoned shopper and vegetable-chopper would easily recognize the difference. Frozen green beans to the rescue.

This week, I put zucchini on the list. Keith handed me the bag, which also seemed heavier than it should have. A quick look inside revealed what appeared to be three ginormous … and purple … zucchini. Or, as you might know them, EGGPLANT.

Le sigh.

There would be no roasted zucchini with olive oil and breadcrumbs for dinner that night. I knew Keith would feel terrible if I told him, but I also knew he’d feel bad if I just left the purple “zucchini” I’d requested rotting in the refrigerator. So I did what any good wife would do. I made a lifetime supply of mediocre eggplant parmesan. And baba ganoush. And ratatouille (sans zucchini).

Keith is an amazing husband (especially for letting me make fun of him in this post) and never, ever causes me to refer to myself as Tillie the Toiler or to anyone else as a pritza. But no man is perfect – and clearly, he needs a bit of tutelage in the produce department. Perhaps I am at fault here – perhaps I failed him by not preparing him better for the world of supermarketry.

I am off to enroll him in Edible Vegetation 101.

You Say Tomato …

2012 in Words

The year is over, the font is Grilled Cheese
The year is over, the font is Grilled Cheese

The time has come to admit that I am clearly the laziest blogger in the entire blogosphere. If it’s any consolation, I blog constantly in my head. Did that console you? It did not, in fact, console me.  I quote the great Liz Lemon when I say, “Blurgh.”

But, the time has also come for me to share my annual “year in words” post, featuring keywords that represent the last 12 months. This list is not at all comprehensive, and I apologize in advance for anyone or anything I may have omitted/blocked out.  2012 was not the most stellar of years for me or many of the people I care about, and as such, I don’t have a big problem bidding it adieu. But it was not without its highlights — most notably this:

10/16/12: Highlight of the year, highlight of my life

Here’s to a happier, healthier and easier 2013.

Keith ▪ Buddy & Judy ▪ Impudent Oyster ▪ P. Corn ▪ Chatham Gables Inn ▪ Dennis Port ▪ NCIS ▪ Mystic Pizza ▪ caucus ▪ teeth ▪ crud ▪ diabetes  ▪ The Marriage Plot ▪ Jeffrey Eugenides ▪ Coup de Coeur ▪ C. Miggs ▪ Chinchilly ▪ 2WW ▪ Hong Kong ▪ Snookie Monster ▪ the right cookie ▪ Blue Ivy ▪ Sleepytime ▪ Trayvon ▪ Clomiphene ▪ Joe Pa ▪ Whitney Houston ▪ Dr.  Laura ▪ Jon Hamm! ▪ Boy Bait ▪ Janna ▪ Murray Hill ▪ Loren ▪ Mad Men ▪ Jamie ▪ LA ▪ Black Angus ▪ DFW twisters ▪ red jeans ▪ Hunger Games ▪ Brooklyn ▪ Ana & Dylan ▪ IMAX ▪ Digital Wish ▪ Ma’am bracelets ▪ Whitney ▪ OPI Red ▪ antagonist protocol ▪ Palazzo ▪ Mike Wallace ▪ bronchitis ▪ yoga ▪ Edgemont ▪ Intel ▪ Dr. McGS ▪ 50 Shades of Grey ▪ Red Lights Ahead … Where? ▪ Acuity ▪ tulips ▪ George Jetson ▪ Labyrinth30 Rock ▪ 40 ▪ peonies ▪ roses ▪ Reese’s ▪ Twix ▪ Tootsie Rolls ▪ Kooba ▪ Cole Haan ▪ Rebecca Minkoff ▪ Sugar Sweet Sunshine ▪ two ▪ Il Cantinori ▪ Frankfurt ▪ Uva ▪ cream blazer ▪ bar mitzvah ▪ L’Occitane ▪ verbena ▪ Damask ▪ BFN ▪ Tan Mom ▪ Jess ▪ Rach ▪ Dinky ▪ Princeton ▪ The Mentalist ▪ Red John ▪ Delancey ▪ Googa Mooga ▪ Facebook IPO ▪ Jr. ▪ Google Docs ▪ CoMindWork ▪ Paris ▪ London ▪ sleepover  ▪ cauliflower ▪ Blue Bloods ▪ cherry vanilla ▪ Beryl ▪ Kutsher’s ▪  Citarella ▪ slurpies ▪ gladiators ▪ DL 1961 ▪ cinch-waist ▪ Haven ▪ Cute as a Button ▪ Something beautiful you can truly own ▪ Chagas ▪ juniper ▪ Diamond Jubilee ▪ circus afro circus afro ▪ Daisy May’s ▪ chemosis ▪ Dallas ▪ ISTE ▪ Android ▪ strawberry ▪ Belgian beer ▪ Allyson ▪ polar bodies ▪ amoeba  ▪ Arlandria ▪ Microsoft ▪ Nora Ephron ▪ Vigamox ▪ Point Lookout ▪ MOTW ▪ Obamacare ▪ Thygeson’s ▪ Jules ▪ Parker ▪ Ernest Borgnine ▪ Certain Girls ▪ what the what? ▪ Nicole ▪ nashi blossom ▪ Ana ▪ Grover’s ▪ Long Branch ▪ Olympics ▪ Fierce 5 ▪ barf ▪ pneumoperitoneum ▪ #notimpressed ▪ Mekenna ▪ K. Puss & R. Patz ▪ Phillipe ▪ Audrey ▪ Fun ▪ dailies ▪ Call Me, Maybe ▪ Fantastic LA ▪ Dena ▪  In N Out ▪ Kate’s ▪ Stanley’s ▪ Lady Vengeance ▪ Kitson ▪ Polo Lounge ▪ Dan ▪ the Houghs ▪ the Carradines ▪ Mastros ▪ butter cake ▪ Paradise Cove ▪ Stoner Hassid ▪ Duke’s ▪ the ‘bu ▪ Piggy ▪ Eastern Europe ▪ closing bell ▪ Dave & Rob ▪ Worth & Jason ▪ US Open ▪ Bourne ▪ Milkbite ▪ Romney ▪ RNC ▪ DNC ▪ Java ▪ Mixer ▪ Punky Brewster ▪ CNN ▪ VP ▪ #blogwell ▪ Simon Baker ▪ Libya ▪ Gangnam  style▪ Josh ▪ SNL ▪ Rachel Bilson ▪ 70 ▪ watch ▪ Cassie ▪ Ger-manicure by OPI ▪ Ferraro’s! ▪ Stella & Dot ▪ Montclair ▪ Ollie ▪ The Pleasure GrooveJohn Taylor!!! Turn It OnDreamingSound of ThunderArgo ▪ Instagram ▪ Miami ▪ Tiffanie & Michael ▪ Sandy  ▪ Zuma ▪ Restore the Shore ▪ Obama ▪ spat ▪ Petraeus ▪ Paula Broadwell ▪ Israel ▪ One Direction ▪ Brussels sprouts ▪ Defending Jacob ▪ Manila ▪ Hong Kong II ▪ 12/2/12 ▪ royal  baby ▪ chopstickery ▪ “Weeeell” ▪ Kalydeco ▪ Frida Koala ▪ supertyphoon! ▪ Breaking Dawn II ▪ El Camino ▪ Aviary ▪ Slauw-tuh ▪ 90th Street ▪ Grace Paley ▪ Schnipper’s ▪ diverticulitis ▪ America ▪ Paul Rudd ▪ ZJTN ▪ Atlanta ▪ Alex ▪ Ella Jane ▪ Newtown ▪ Laura Mercier ▪ Richard Engel ▪ fiscal cliff ▪ ICE ▪ Mayapocalypse ▪ Jo Malone ▪ Dyker Heights ▪ Mama Rao ▪ PSNP ▪ Chrismukkah ▪ Baby Uh-yive ▪ Alexis Bittar ▪ Not Fade Away ▪ Keith ▪ Jan & Lew ▪ Ma’am Jr. ▪ CD ▪ NB ▪ RB ▪ RS ▪ JD ▪ LPAK (Palmie) ▪ Ma’am Sr. ▪ KH ▪ WFBF ▪ RC ▪ LA ▪ JB (Twin!) ▪ DB ▪ CO ▪ AP ▪ EL ▪ TB ▪ KL ▪ LS (Nana)▪ C. Miggs ▪ AG ▪ MPC ▪ APC ▪ SP ▪ MF ▪ PG ▪ El Diño ▪ Stella ▪ Normal will never be amazing ▪ 2013 …

2012 in Words