Friday, January 29, 2010

CI #61 -- 2010 Census

Are we really still walking around, counting people?

It's been a thousand years since the Middle Ages, and the only advancement in our methods is dropping the "hear ye."

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

CI #60 -- My street's Cable/Power/Phone/Whatever-the-hell-it-is Infrastructure


One of the first things I noticed after moving onto my street 5 years ago was that the lady from across the street comes over to my side to feed the pigeons, resulting in massive amounts of pigeon poop near my door. Meanwhile, hers remains relatively unsoiled. Thanks, lady.

The second thing I noticed was all the friggin' wires. Take, for instance, all these friggin' wires.

Or all these friggin' wires.

I'm no engineer, but this can't possibly be safe. At the very least, it's an urban blight masquerading as a public safety hazard. At best, it's a lame blog post. Wires are meant to go somewhere, not hang into space. That's what wires do, go places, right?

I have no idea what these cables/wires do. If I were a smarter or more motivated person, I could probably do some extensive research, after which I'd conclude something like "This is what happens with privatization." So I guess I'll never know.

However, I do know what these cables are. They're my building's Cable cables.

CI #59 -- Things that look like Florida

Curious Question: What looks like Florida?

This does. But it also kind of looks like a gun, which reminds me of my ready-to-go tourism slogan, should the state ever need one:

Florida: It looks like a gun!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

CI #58 -- Food Recalls

Last week, the USDA announced a recall of 864,000 pounds of beef that was tainted with e. coli dating back to February 2008.

Man, we got right on that one, didn't we? Any time you get into the 40 tons range, you know it's serious.

So, um, don't eat any of that tainted beef that you, -- already ate. How are we not better at tracking this stuff?

Oh, that July 4th party you were planning on having? You shouldn't have had it. No, not this year. Well, this year too, but also last year.

It's unfair that a phrase meaning something so bad -- tainted beef -- has such a funny name. It sounds like a race horse: "TAINTED BEEF! COMING AROUND THE OUTSIDE, TAINTED BEEF! PULLING TO THE FRONT OF THE PACK, TAINTED BEEF!..." In fact, the tainted beef might be a race horse. Sometimes the truth hurts.

Whenever there's a food recall, there's always a news piece where they tell you how you can get a refund, as if getting your $5.95 back will make up for days and days of violent diarrhea.

Wow, when I got my money back, it made me completely forget about the chills, vomiting, dizziness, and general misery.

And don't worry; if you happened to die from the e.coli-tainted beef, the rebate will go straight to your estate. With 2-years' interest, that comes to $6.11, so there really aren't any losers here.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Ci #57 -- This American Life Episode #233

I recently relistened to one of my favorite episodes of This American Life -- #233 “Starting from Scratch.”

I like it for mainly one reason: The Puppy Channel. Act 1 chronicles the trials and tribulations of a former ad man (Molly Fitzsimmons’ father) who in retirement tried to launch a TV network of all puppies, all the time.

No people. No talking. Just puppies. Simply contemplating the idea makes me happy.

It probably would have done the same for millions of other people, if it had only, well, check out the episode.

Upon this relistening, the prologue, however, failed to pass the CCI bullshit test.


Jorge Just had recently moved to New York City to start over. [Spoiler alert: I will spoil this for you. This post doesn’t make sense otherwise.] He had a steady job and E. Village studio apartment other NY-ers described as “a find.” He was doing well, until…

He happened to be watching an episode of The Bachelorette, where the Bachelorette herself comes to visit one of her potential temporary soul mates in his NYC apartment. As it turns out, it’s in the same building as Jorge’s. In fact, it’s one floor below and is basically the same apartment.

Eventually, in a moment every bit as real as my very first slow clap, the Bachelorette and her producers decide to dump this guy because of his tiny apartment.

Jorge takes this personally. Really personally. Like a bitch, honestly. Pardon my language. He actually starts to believe he has failed at life because he has the same apartment for which someone on The Bachelorette got dumped.

Why was Jorge taking it like a bitch?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

CI #56 -- Looting

With the tragedy in Haiti and the NBC late night debacle, I've been pretty busy actively mourning and hating (respectively) over the past week.

As I've read the coverage of what's going on Haiti, one bit of information has continued to stick as a lump in my throat: looting.

(Photo via NY Times)

Whether it's 1977 Bushwick, Brooklyn, 2005 New Orleans, or 2010 Haiti, looting just doesn't make sense. Maybe I'm just too naive. Maybe, like we're told in The Dark Knight, some people just want to watch the world burn -- from their free, new 32'' plasma TV!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

CI #55 -- Things

They just don't make 'em like they used to. Remember when things were built to last, out of wood that wasn't from the Brazilian rainforest? When household things were both aesthetically pleasing and long lasting?

Nope, me either. That was before my time.

Don't get me wrong though. I love the density, weight and general flakiness of particle board as much as the next guy.

But you've got to admire "the way things used to be" when you see a beautiful mahogany mini dresser like this.

But that's not all, folks! Wait for it ...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

CI #54 -- Mr. Sad Snowman

Mr. Sad Snowman, Where did your chin go?

CI #53 -- White Trash

This week has got to be one of the best for Joe Biden and one of the worst for Harry Reid.

I dream of a truly post-racial day when we are so unconditioned to race that we don't even have to indicate it on government forms, a day when we can look at both black chocolate and white chocolate and say "yes, please." (That day's been here for me for decades.)

Whether you call them "racial epithets," "ethnic slurs" or "handy ways to refer to people you hate," these negative classifications are just not okay, including the seemingly still-popular term "white trash."

CQ: Why is it not okay to use the term "white trash"?

Because by saying "white trash," you're suggesting someone's race has to do with the fact that his house has wheels, when it's really out of his control. However, it IS okay to call someone a "dick head" because it's a metaphor.

You're not implying that he's a bad person because he has a penis on his head -- unless he really does have a penis on his head, in which case he's probably really bitter and, therefore, a bad person. And then it's okay.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Ci #52 -- Lassie

Ever wonder why did little Timmy keep falling in the well?

Because of Lassie. Trouble follows that bitch around on a leash. Coincidence, my ass.

I'm not saying she was evil, but after a while, you've got to start asking questions.

If you see that collie coming toward you, run like hell because there's bound to be a storm a 'comin'.

Friday, January 8, 2010

CI #51 -- H&M

This week's news that H&M destroys and throws away all their unsold merchandise hasn't been pretty. That's such a Zara move. And really irresponsible.

I was honestly surprised. I've been a longtime fan of H&M. Their clothes are really cheap, tend to fit me pretty well, and generally look okay.

(H&M model showcasing their new Mr. Miyagi-inspired line)

They always do a much better of a job keeping up with (read: quickly copying) trends than any American retailer. It takes Gap at least a season and a half before they crank out the latest fad (Coming Fall '10, Skinny Jeans!). And if you know me, you know one thing: finger. on the. pulse.

The problem comes when H&M tries to start their own trends. It seems like every other season, they're all of a sudden deciding: "Hey everybody, we're wearing berets now!" No one buys the berets, and they try something else next season.

Years ago I bought my first clothing item from H&M -- basically normal jeans that fit me perfectly. Ever since then I've been hooked, hoping to duplicate that purchase. But do you have any idea how hard it is to find a normal pair of jeans there?

I keep trying and failing. 76% of their merchandise has either paint splatter and/or at least one superfluous adornment (zipper, pocket, button). I find these items unacceptable and sometimes vertigo-inducing.

One time I even thought I'd found the perfect pair of Greg Jeans. Eureka! Only to get home, and put them on. The top of the back pocket? Inexplicably and completely frayed (What theoretical vintage occupation leads to the wholesale fraying of one and only one pocket?) . Well, those had to go in the closet and then eventually to Goodwill.

So this week's unfortunate news aside, what are the pros and cons of shopping at H&M?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

CI #50 -- Kodak's New Marketing Scheme

I was watching CNBC this afternoon. No, I have no plans of changing my name to Preston and moving to Connecticut.

It's simply/sadly the thing that interests me the most during the mid-afternoon TV wastelands. At the very least you're going to get people yelling at each other. That's nothing to shake a stick at.

And amidst their coverage of the annual Consumer Electronics Show, whom did I find? I'll give you a hint. She's superfab and pictured below.

(Lady Gaga in what is my favorite frame of TV ever)

Curious question: WTF?!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

CI #49 -- The Taco Bell Diet

That's right. From the people who brought you Fourth Meal, it's the Taco Bell Drive-Thru Diet. This isn't a joke.

Well, it is. But it's more tragicomedy than straight comedy. (I see Paul Giamatti in the movie version.)

In case you haven't been lucky enough to see these commercials, allow me: Internet Friends, Christine. Female Jared, I mean Christine, Internet Friends.

She lost 54 pounds by eating 1,250 calories per day, choosing from 7 incredible Tacotastic choices with only 9 grams of fat or less!

Now those are results you can sink your teeth into!

What can we say about this? There aren't enough hours in the day, so let's simply play find the clues to a bad diet.

Monday, January 4, 2010

CI #48 -- Bad Grocery Stores

I was lucky enough to grow up in the utterly vanilla suburbs. Yeah, I was boring, but I didn't know it. I didn't know there was anything wrong with strip malls designed to eliminate walking between Wendy's and Krispy Kreme until I saw that there were other options.

On the flip side, it wasn't until I moved to New York that I realized just how bad, truly bad grocery stores can be.

Sure, NC's perennial budget grocer Food Lion bleached their cauliflower to make it seem fresh, but I didn't know that until the news told me. And besides, cauliflower is gross and bleach kills germs.

There is a bad grocery store near me in Brooklyn, though it's not as bad as the one near my first NY apartment, where I was introduced to chicken feet. One sure sign of a bad grocery store is a high ratio of chicken feet to edible produce.

I've got nothing against chicken feet. I'm sure some delicious soups can be made from them. And prepared correctly (is this possible?), I might even try one, or them, er... however they come.

But if there's an overabundance of chicken feet at a grocery store, you're sure not to find good spinach, and you can forget about mesclun (you might as well take your froufrou, tri-color salad self back to France!). And spinach is basically the only healthy thing I eat.

You can't really know what a terrible grocery store is like until you've been in one. So for those who may be asking What are some signs of a bad grocery store? Heregoes...

- 1. Well for one, they sell this...

CI #47 -- 2009

I've been racking my brain trying to come up with a way to examine 2009, a crazy ass year to put it scientifically. Then I realized, the year could easily be summed up by CI #22.


As the economy is starting to recover (or isn't, depending on who you're talking to), we're hearing things like "green shoots," "consumer discretionary spending," "housing starts," and a lot of other jargon. So I was wondering, Is there some kind of "economic indicator" we all can easily understand?

Turns out, yes.

(Taken at the NYC public gym at Metropolitan Ave and Grand St.)


Let's make it a Happy New Year.