Friday, May 30, 2008

Made-Me-Gag Pun of the Week Award

[Disclaimer: The hyphenation in that title is all wrong. But I just couldn't bear to put in as many hyphens -- or the combination of quotation marks and hyphens -- as it really needs. This is not a newspaper. I can maybe live with the lack of hyphens. Maybe.]

"No thoroughbred was ever just a clotheshorse."

Gawker points to this awful, awful pun in The New Yorker's Sex and the City review. And the horse puns continue after that, but I will save you from the awfulness.

(I wish I could say that I found the pun in The New Yorker itself and not through Gawker, but alas. When I get a raise maybe I will also subscribe to the magazine, but for now The New York Times is bankrupting me.)

But back to the important part -- The New Yorker made me cringe with a pun. The New Yorker. Everything I've ever known is wrong.

Also, Sex and the City is not being advertised in Jerusalem due to the possible offensiveness of the word "sex." I'm not sure how I feel about that.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Confessions of a Sharpie-Wielding Book Censor

"A novel is not, after all, a historical document, but a way to travel through the human heart." --Julia Alvarez

I once took a black Sharpie and censored a novel.

I had loved a book and wanted to share it with a friend. I wanted to share not just the story itself, but the beautiful things the author did with prose, the way she told her story, the details she included.

As contemporary literature goes, the novel was more than clean. But the friend I wanted to share it with has higher standards than I have. Astronomically higher standards. And I wanted to share it with her.

So I took a Sharpie to it. And I blacked out every curse word, every reference to sex.

Call it a sin for the free-speech cause or an act for the love of friendship. It was both.

And the truth is, I believe censorship is awful. I believe the sentiment that where books are burned, human beings are eventually burned. I cared so much to have my books with me where I live that I (with the help of wonderful friends) carried a bookcase across Washington Heights.

But I also respect my friend's decision to stay pure in a way I don't think I ever could, and I respect her decision not to read certain things. I don't know if that practice is ideal or not--I, of course, want to say it's not--but that's not the point. It is her way of practicing religion and I would never want to interfere with that.

Still, this feels sort of like a confession. I don't think I would ever do it again. I don't know why it was OK to do once but not again. I don't know if it was OK to do once but not again. But I did it, and I don't think I regret it. I don't know what that says about me.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

When I Grow Up, I Want to Be a Copy Czar

"One of the great things about being a copy editor is freedom from the vulgar desire for public recognition."

Copy editors don't exactly get much recognition or very much of the spotlight (after all, as I have noted, copy editors don't get the bylines, and they don't win the Pulitzers), so I take what I can get. This from a William Safire column:

"and, in our time, broadcast and the World Wide Web morphed into webcast (still capitalized as “Webcast” by the New York Times copy czar)."

Boys vs. Girls, Take 2

I don't know what it means for my thoughts on gender roles, but I definitely identified with this. (Click to enlarge.)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Backwards and in High Heels

"Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels."

I did not go to Barnard and so I did not get voice mail messages telling me I was a "strong, beautiful Barnard woman" nor am I well-versed in gender theory.

And though perhaps I don't scream it out in the things I do or wear or say, I would like to think that at least in some ways I am an "empowered/liberated/modern woman." Whatever that means.

I went to an Ivy League college. I intend to get a higher degree someday. I intend to always have a profession, even when I have a family. I intend to do my share of cooking and cleaning when I have a family--but my share implies half, not all.

And all of those things are really important to me. I will be defined, I hope, as a mother, a wife, and also a professional. (Which is part of the reason it is so important to me to find a job I am passionate about.) I do not think my place is solely in the home.

All these things probably seem either obvious to you or like heresy, depending on what you believe. And I've been having a sort of hard time reconciling.

When I date, I still want to fit into gender roles. I still want to be the girl in the relationship. I expect the boy to pay, expect the boy to call, expect the boy to take the initiative and say whether he wants to go out again. And none of this is really fair.

I've been known to say that the boy should pay since he doesn't have to spend two hours before a date straightening his hair and applying makeup. But that's just falling into gender roles again, isn't it?

I cringe when I read articles about Hillary Clinton's wardrobe, or her cleavage, knowing that the male candidates do not get so much attention to their sartorial decisions. But I also cringe when Clinton points at sexism to explain her losses.

I worry that I will reach a glass ceiling (like when thinking about the fact that a woman has never held the top editorial position at a major daily newspaper--I think. This fact has not been verified, so I might be overlooking someone really obvious), but I have never knowingly encountered sexism in any form.

Essentially, I don't know what gender means to me. It does not mean that I fit into specific societal roles, except when I do. It means that I can be whoever I want to be, maybe. And what does that mean?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

If Only a Candidate Could Really Promise That

It would be a better world if a president could promise us grammatical perfection. Also a world in which I would be obsolete.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The NY Times Cuts Off Its Nose to Spite Its Face

Just print the curse word. Please. Especially because the whole column is about how it's not that bad.
You may have read about her unfortunate slip. Ms. Simmons, a news anchor on WNBC-TV, tried to get the attention of her longtime partner, Chuck Scarborough, by asking him, "What are you doing?"

Only she did not realize that they were live on the air. And she didn't quite say "What are you doing?" She inserted two words between "what" and "are." One of those words was "the." Sorry to be coy about the other one, but it is not allowed to be printed here. Rules are rules. If you can't figure out what it is, you have not been in New York very long — like less than four minutes.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Overheard in NY: The Cake Edition

Man: So, then we had cake.
Woman: Was it that red cake?
Man: No, but I've had that.
Woman: What's it called again?
Man: Red, um, red flannel cake, I think.
Picture of the red velvet cake I made for a friend above.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Anatomy of a Family, or a Cell Phone Bill

E-mail from my father:

With a little less than half the month past we have already used 771 of 1400 daytime minutes, please use daytime minutes sparingly!!!!

-------------------Mobile------Night &
Abba --- 62-----------444---------107-----------83
Eema ---260*---------424---------218----------219*
Eli7 ---94-----------157*--------868*---------100
Sis1 ---85-----------198---------320----------1,242*
Sis2 ---270---------149*---------810-----------216

*My mother does not know how to send text messages. This means my 14-year-old brother came in second for the most text messages sent. He uses my mother's phone to text his girlfriend.

*Notice how my mobile-to-mobile minutes are almost the same as Sis2's. This is because we use our mobile-to-mobile minutes almost exclusively to talk to one another.

*My mother, I would note, who comes in second for most daytime minutes used almost always has a landline accessible.

*I have no clue how it is possible to send 1,242 text messages in two weeks.

*I'm really proud of the fact that I won for most night & weekend minutes used. (Some might ask how it's possible to use 868 minutes in two weeks, but...)

If popularity were measured by how much combined minutes and text messages one used, Sis1 would come away with a sweep, mostly due to her astronomical number of text messages. If popularity were measured just by how much time one spent talking on the phone, Sis2 would win. I am clearly not that popular, though I do beat out my mom and dad by any cell phone bill measure.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Shape of an 'L' on Her Forehead

  • I burnt my forehead with a curling iron. I can't decide if it is more ugly or embarrassing.
  • Year-late graduation presents are fantastic. As are belated birthday presents, years in the making. Now I just need to find wall space for said presents. The pink-and-orange curtain might have to come down -- and I risked my life to hang it up.
  • I have an amazing, amazing sister. I am also incredibly adept at bribery (which may have something to do with the feats of manipulation I pulled off to get things like an iPod, a designer coat, an American Girl doll...)
  • If my sister and I were a sitcom, it would go something like this: Get coffee and doughnuts, watch a chick flick, trade some witty banter. Repeat. We'd break it up with perhaps some shopping, some cooking. Before getting coffee and watching a movie. Coffee is a way of life in my family. (If this vaguely reminds you of another sitcom, I'd just like to say that we came first.)

Cheap Cheap for Bnei Torah

When I was in Israel for the year, my friend and I found a sign on a random store window in Geula that said "Cheap Cheap for Bnei Torah."

We thought it was cool that a store advertised discounts for bnei Torah, so we took a picture with the sign. Another friend thought that we were indicating that we were cheap cheap for bnei Torah.

This morning, I was in the dentist's office. My dentist has pictures of Israel on his office walls. I was in an examination room I had never been in before and he had a picture of the same sign on his wall.

No girls in his picture, though.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Ugliest. Flip-Flops. Ever.

Black "Mardi Gras" sandalI like flip-flops. A lot. In fact, one of the best parts of summer is always being able to wear flip-flops, and I have a nice collection (including a pair of Columbia flip-flops).
But these flip-flops are absolutely hideous. A whole Web site of the ugliest flip-flops known to man.
(I am well aware that Gawker claimed earlier this week to have located the most expensive flip-flops in the world, which at $400 were not nearly the most expensive flip-flops in the world, but I think I can safely say that these are the ugliest.)

The NYT Gives Up on Verbs

The front page of my New York Times this morning led with with this headline (in all-caps): "Obama, Easily, in N. Carolina; Clinton, Barely, in Indiana."
Now, I've labored over many a headline and had many a headline nixed (that's a no-no word for headlines, just btw) by my editor to know how hard it is to write a good one. But a verb. All I ask from the NYT is a verb. Is that so much?
(It should be noted that the earlier versions of the paper--for the people who don't live in this glorious city--does have a verb in the headline: "Obama Wins North Carolina And Widens Gap in Delegates," presumably because Indiana was too close to call when those newspapers went to print.)

If Crack Were an Editor

In a Washington City Paper blog post about a totally different matter (newsroom buyouts, essentially), this Washington Post article about the "longevity of crack cocaine" was cited.
The lede of the article:

"If Crack had a face, what would it look like?

If Crack had a child, what would it name him?

If Crack drove a car, what kind of car would it be?"

"And if crack were an editor, what moronic lede would it kill without mercy?" was Washington City Paper's response.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


"My mind's distracted and diffused
My thoughts are many miles away"

My teachers in Israel are amazing. Five years after seminary, they are still there for me and still give me great advice that makes sense for me.

I am confused by life. I know I am not happy with where I am (in many different ways, none physical. I <3 NY). Not sure where I would like to go, not sure how to get there.

Essentially everything is stressing me out right now, even sleep, which is, well, making my life even more stressful.