Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Brain Games

There's a new theory of brain development bouncing around out there in the world - one that is supposed to be the biggest new thing since Freud and his cigar. Two scientists (who don't actually study behavior genetics, natch) have joined together to explain how Mom and Dad's genes might play a role in mental disorders:

Their idea is, in broad outline, straightforward. Dr. Crespi and Dr. Badcock propose that an evolutionary tug of war between genes from the father’s sperm and the mother’s egg can, in effect, tip brain development in one of two ways. A strong bias toward the father pushes a developing brain along the autistic spectrum, toward a fascination with objects, patterns, mechanical systems, at the expense of social development. A bias toward the mother moves the growing brain along what the researchers call the psychotic spectrum, toward hypersensitivity to mood, their own and others’. This, according to the theory, increases a child’s risk of developing schizophrenia later on, as well as mood problems like bipolar disorder and depression. 

 


Venus and Mars, writ large?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Kitteh hilarity.






Even better? Being the most amazing cat performer in the universe, Maru also has his own blog

He is, of course, a big hit in Japan.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I'm never eating out again.

Seriously. McBrooklyn delights readers with a guessing game of local health violations. Yay Grimaldi's! Yay Cobble Hill Cinemas!

Bklyn on the cheap

Free ferries: Always fun when you can drink on them. 
Brooklyn Botanic Garden's free hours: Saturdays 10:00am - Noon.
Greenwood Cemetery: Drive or walk in (be prepared for a strenuous hilly walk). Get a map and look for notable New Yorkers final resting places. Sit by one of the 'lakes' surrounded by gorgeous mausoleums eating pre-packed Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches. Admission: free. Sandwiches: Cost of Jiffy, Smuckers and Wonder Bread.
Cobble Hill Cinemas: $6.50 nights at Cobble Hill Cinema, Tues & Thurs.
Transit Museum: $5 admission all the time.
Lefferts House: Free. Lots of activities for kids.
Brooklyn Museum: Suggested admission $8 (suggested means, pay what you want. If a buck is all you have, you will not be denied).
Fairway: Walk in and have a tea or coffee and sit by the water.

Thanks, Brownstoner.

It's good to be a chick. Ha.

Thank you, NefariousNewt. A voice of reason amongst the retards:

Having at one time sold insurance, I knew McCain's plan was junk. You can hand out all the incentives you like, but as you get older, the price goes up automatically, and faster for women than men. Heaven forbid you have a preexisting condition -- if you can get insurance at all, your premiums will eat up McCain's $5000 as an appetizer.

Insurance is not democratic.

McCain supporters should all be smited with chronic conditions or cancer until they understand the problem with his stupid insurance plan. (Um. And not be allowed to marry beer heiresses who can afford treatment for said smiting.)


Ah, Vegas. We love you so.

“We are the only state in the nation where you’ll hear, ‘Wet mop at Voting Booth 4,’ ” said Bob Walsh, a spokesman for the Nevada secretary of state:

Snuff cosmetics

So many levels of disturbing, I don't know where to begin: Wode, an "art fragrance" by Boudicca. 

From the creepy slasher victim photos, I imagine you're supposed to get your jollies from splashing this disappearing "paint" perfume all over yourself. That, or you're intended to embrace your inner Boadicea. More corpse pics and fun "it's not gross, it's art!" language here.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I'm an addict AND a rockstar

I don't want to be all obsessive with the disease thing, but with the Walk coming up this Sunday (and with the endocrinologist search gearing up)...well, it's kind of unavoidable.

So! With that in mind, how kick ass is this freakin' t-shirt? DiabeticRockstar is a site designed to fight diabetes stereotypes -perhaps that "How come you're not fat?" thing that drives me SO crazy. Even better? The founder also launched Fight-It, an advocacy group that, among other things, tries to fill in some gaps in the diabetes world, and help out the little guy who can't afford meds. Fabulous.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

At least Claus von Bulow got it right


Come on, people. Insulin may very well be "one of the most effective murder weapons a hospital could offer," but only if the victim is unconscious during the injection! A syringe-stabbing during a vicious fight to the death is NOT going to be effective:
But now he had another problem to deal with--the man swung his right arm around behind him, jabbing the injector pen at Carver like a deadly snake, with insulin as its venom.
Don't they know that a lethal dose of insulin would take a number of seconds to inject into the skin, that those pens are slow as hell? Or that it would take something like twenty minutes for the insulin to have any real effect?? The dude could just pop an IV of glucose solution after he offed the baddy - it's not virulent, James Bondian-poison for chrissakes!!

Don't authors do research?! Oy vey.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

She sells seashells...

NYmag - a common source of inspiration - had a great piece on Coney Island's Sideshow by the Seashore. The author took a couple days and attended their Sideshow school. Yes, SCHOOL. A school where you learn to swallow swords, breathe fire, and close mousetraps on your tongue. I'm intrigued, of course, but I don't know if I could actually stomach such a thing once I got there. But I also feel like I should check it out before it's razed for condos....

Friday, July 25, 2008

Mmm....stationery.

I was at a drinks thing last month, doing the usual chatting with strangers thing. At the end of the night, newfound-friend went to give me his card and I was met with the weird realization that I had nothing to give him in turn. I felt like an editorial assistant all over again.

As such, I'm now obsessed with the idea of a social card. (If you've seen In Bruges, Chloe - the hot love interest - uses one to great effect.) Like business cards, but way more cute:


It's too bad they're $250 bucks. Maybe when I'm rich and famous? And, of course, mysterious and fascinating - such people would naturally use a social card.

Because standing in line for beer is dumb...

but beer gardens are really, truly awesome. Maybe this one will be a little less ridiculous than the one in Astoria? (I'm guessing not, since it's in W'burg, but a girl can dream.)

NYmag is down, and I think I could be, too:

"Williamsburg’s Austro-Hungarian beer hall serves a deep selection of imported brews and HofbrÀuhaus-style brats one block and half a hemisphere off the Bedford Avenue drag. Slovakian-born partners Ivan Kohut and Andy Ivanov gutted adjacent warehouses to create two distinct drinking spaces. The garden side boasts a retractable roof under which a grill man serves up sizzling meats and savory fries gobbled up at the long rows of wooden benches. Inside the "hall," patrons line the hand-hewn tables made from 150-year-old barn logs. Twelve drafts on tap or 37 beers by the bottle can be ordered at the polygonal red-oak bar or from one of the waitresses, who are occasionally cinched into full beer-wench regalia. Here, rib-clinging grub, whipped up by Ivan’s wife and executive chef Joanna, includes quail in Dunkel-beer sauce, veal schnitzel, stuffed blintzes, and a scrape-the-plate-delicious apple strudel."

Tour the Fed


"The Gold Vault Resting 50 feet below sea level, on the solid bedrock of Manhattan island, the Fed’s vault contains billions of dollars worth of gold. Learn about the history of gold and find out about the unique role of the New York Fed in storing and safeguarding the precious metal."

Totally. Freaking. Awesome. I need to get my butt in there before Project Freelance ends...

Tours are offered Monday through Friday (online reservation required, natch). Federal Reserve Bank of New York, 33 Liberty Street.

Yay August Errand!


Oh noes!

Alas and alack! The Strand's Annex on Fulton Street is closing after 24 years in that downtown location. Happily, for the vultures among us, that means all their inventory will be on super sale from June 30th to its closing date of August 31st.

Mark your calendar, and bring a tote.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Abraham Lincoln is kind of racist

There's a recurring theme in Lincoln's speeches and debates (at least through 1858) - we shouldn't hav more slave states, slavery sucks, but *gasp* black people can't possibly be his equal! They should just be emancipated and then, oh, geez, shipped back to Africa? Maybe?

Now, I was under no illusion that he was a great crusader for minority rights. I know he was in it purely for the Union. But I would never have guessed that he'd make that distinction so baldly, terribly clear:

"I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and the black races. There is a physical difference between the two, which is my judgment will probably forever forbid their living together upon the footing of perfect equality, and inasmuch as it becomes a necessity that there must be a difference, I...am in favor of the race to which I belong, having the superior position."

"But Judge Douglas is especially horrified at the thought of the mixing blood by the white and black races: agreed for once--a thousand times agreed. There are white men enough to marry all the white women, and black men enough to marry all the black women; and so let them be married."

And if his letters to Mary Todd are any sort of indication, I don't think he dug the ladies too much, either.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

I'm a dude!

...or so my newest reader (#2!) thought:
Krip: I clicked it without knowing it was your blog
I honestly just said to george "dude, this guy writes just like karen"
Part of me is delighted by the hilarity, and the other part says "How do I exude 'dude'???"

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Woot! Woot!

My relationship with bugs of any kind is pretty craptastic. They plague me, I hate them, it usually ends messily. But I usually draw the line at a nice dose of DEET coupled with a rolled-up magazine. Or my palm. (Yeah. I squash 'em with my hand. So?) But I might change my ways to become a proud owner of the Rush Hampton Mosquito Catcher....if only for its weird-ass product description. Here's a taste:

The Most Irritating Game
MASTER TIMOTHY HEARTWARM: Gosh, Rush! Look at all the nature!
MRS. JOHANNA HEARTWARM: Yes, Rush, thanks ever so. Young Timmy has been so sad since his father died. And he’s been so sick, I think the fresh air will do him good.
RUSH HAMPTON, MOSQUITO CATCHER: It’s nothing, Johanna! I’m up here every weekend. This cabin is practically my second home.
MASTER TIMOTHY HEARTWARM: Gosh, Rush! I can’t see any smog at all! Central Park is nothing like this! Hey, what’s that? It looks like a really thin spider, but it’s on my arm! Hey, I think it likes me!
MRS. JOHANNA HEARTWARM: Timmy, run!
RUSH HAMPTON, MOSQUITO CATCHER: TIMMY!! TIMMYYYYYYYYYYYY!! NOOOOOOOOOO!!
MASTER TIMOTHY HEARTWARM: Rush… what just happened? Why do I feel… ohhhh… dizzy?
RUSH HAMPTON, MOSQUITO CATCHER: That’s blood loss, Timmy. You’ve been bitten by… a mosquito.....

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The H Word


To call someone a hipster these days is, in some circles, tantamount to calling someone "ugly" or "stupid." I know labels are generally used as slurs, but I honestly want people to reclaim some of these. Check out myopenwallet's definition of "hipster":
First of all, it's a little unclear exactly what a Hipster IS these days. The various elements involved might include being involved in art or music or literature, wearing thrift store clothes, riding a certain type of bike, and generally adopting an attitude of being counter-cultural, or anti-Yuppie. The Hipster embraces a kind of anti-cool cool, and celebrates a certain degree of nerdiness.
While no one in their right mind would want to be associated with a Style Hipster (above) - the morons who are in it for the look or some sort of social cred - I honestly don't think the above description is insulting. I'd be jazzed if someone lumped me into that group. But people don't want to be called a hipster because everyone associates the word with wannabe freaks in Williamsburg. Same goes for "yuppie" and, to a degree, "punk." (I've yet to hear someone who could be called a punk being pissed about it, but still.) Yuppies are dipshits in popped-collar outfits from j.crew; punks are loser kids striking poses on St. Marks in gear from Hot Topic. But check out the definitions:
yup·pie: a young college-educated adult who is employed in a well-paying profession and who lives and works in or near a large city
punk (as in rock; basis of punk style): music marked by extreme and often deliberately offensive expressions of alienation and social discontent
Uh. I AM a yuppie. (Well, I would be 'cept for the whole "well-paid" job thing.) And punk has nothing to do with kids who wear eyeliner and love the mall. And Chuck Taylors is a former punk and a current yupster, and I think he's pretty fabulous.

So own your labels people! Don't let the posers win. Smack them in the face instead.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Ode to a Hooker

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
You sleep with people for money.

-a certain fink I know

Manhattanhenge '08


July 12th will bring us this year's Manhattanhenge, a lovely/freakish annual event when a summer sunset will be perfectly framed by each east-west street on the island. I've seen it once, albeit accidentally, and I will be seeing it again this year on purpose. I think Mr. Chuck will be working the a.m. shift, so I'm going to drag him, too.

R.I.P. Riiiiiiip

Note to self (and to Chuck T): My rip-outs, brainthorns, and "pot talk" will now be residing on the interwebs for an undetermined amount of time. Which is exciting. I imagine it will lead to a startling reduction in the little shreds of paper that litter the kitchen table and other assorted surfaces throughout the apartment.