Tag Archives: swine flu

Sorry, But That Cannot Be Your Favorite Holiday

At some point in your life, you will be asked to name your favorite holiday.  Don’t take this question lightly, because you’ll inevitably be judged on your answer.  My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving, so you can wisely assume that I enjoy stuffing my face with starched vegetables and fowl.  If you answer ‘Christmas,’ this means you’re either a) very spoiled, b) very Christian, or c) not interesting enough to come up with a less obvious holiday.  In addition, ‘St. Patrick’s Day’ means you’re an alcoholic, ‘Valentine’s Day’ means you’re engaged or newly married, and ‘Columbus Day’ means you hate Native Americans.  See?  It’s a loaded question.

This past week, I was at a Christmas party when a family friend mentioned that her favorite holiday was, without a doubt, New Years.  Hmm… New Years.  It’s an interesting choice, especially since New Years is like Rudolph amongst all the other holiday reindeer: that is, it’s different.  On New Years, we don’t celebrate anything constant, like other holidays with their tributes to baby Jesus, St. Patrick, or Chris Columbus.  Even our worst holiday (Presidents’ Day) is in honor of George Washington’s birthday, which doesn’t change.  Meanwhile, what do we celebrate on New Years?  The future?  The past?  Or is it our annual ability to drop a giant lighted ball in New York City without electrical malfunction?

Even though the target of our celebration is always changing, we have developed wonderful traditions for celebrating January 1st.  In the days before, we endure a painstaking year-in-review, where we curl up with our diaries and reflect on the past year.  (Gag.)  We then get to watch numerous TV retrospectives on people who died during the past year.  (Uplifting!)  And we prepare our New Year’s resolutions, which always include “Get in shape” and “Drink less.”   (Although we naturally expect to get fat and drunk on New Year’s Eve itself.)

Ah yes, New Year’s Eve is our opportunity to party like it’s [insert-new-year-here].  We dance, we pop champagne, and we leave kids wondering why the grown-ups are all so thirsty (along with, “Wow!  This is what midnight is like!”).  For grown-ups, NYE is also the kickoff to mating season.  You need to find someone to kiss once the clock strikes twelve.  Who will it be?  Mr. Shady in the corner?  Ms. Already lost her purse and it’s 8 PM?  Or Mr(s). Ambiguously gendered person and you’re just curious to find out?

As such, New Years is full of wholesome, Jesus-like traditions.  And it’s also an anniversary of sorts, for all the great New Years we’ve had in the past (Personally, my favorite New Years was 2000, when Y2K didn’t blow up the world).

But again, unlike other holidays that simply come and go, New Years leaves us with a bitter aftertaste: An expensive and rarely utilized gym membership… An inability to accurately date checks until it’s well into March… And if you went for Mr. Shady in the corner, a risk of catching oral herpes.

So, I’m not judging*, but I really can’t see how New Years could be anyone’s favorite holiday… except for Mr. Shady, I guess.  It’s definitely his favorite.


* Yeah right. I’m totally judging.

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At The Geriatric Age of 24.5

Next Thursday, November 26, is my half-birthday.  In case you were unaware, the “half-birthday” is the six-month anniversary until your next birthday (or, if you are a pessimist, it’s the six months after your last terrible birthday).

Really, the half-birthday is just an excuse to buy yourself half a cake and mess up the rhythm of 50 Cent’s “In Da Club” (“Hey shorty / It’s your half-birthday / We’re gonna party like it’s your half-birthday”).

But for me, this half-birthday is going to be different.  Because on November 26, 2009 (also Thanksgiving), I will be turning 24.5.  And 24.5 rounds up to 25.  And 25 rounds up to 30.  And 30 rounds up to death.  Seriously, that’s how it works.

They say your twenties are supposed to be the best years of your life.  It’s true.  When you’re in your twenties, you can still make bad life decisions (BLDs) and just blame it on “being young.” And for the first few years, I definitely took advantage of my twenties.  Then, all of a sudden, I turned 23 and became an elderly woman.  I’m not quite sure what happened.  It started when I began watching more HGTV… and then, boom, just like a gateway drug, I found myself losing control.  I started DVRing episodes of House Hunters and Property Virgins. I started drinking milk, because I’d seen commercials about osteoporosis.   I started finding great excuses not to go out on weekends (laundry, cleaning my apartment, swine flu).  One night, a friend stayed over and pulled a box of cookies out of my bed.  I keep them there for late night snacking.

My A&E Intervention moment came when I saw myself sprawled out on the couch, a blanket wrapped around my shoulders, sipping warm milk and avidly watching Dancing With the Stars.

So this Thanksgiving, as I’m turning 24.5 = 25 = closer to fifty than to birth, I’ll be embarking on the last best years of my life.  But I can’t even begin to think about what I should do over the next 5.5 years.  I’m already past my prime when it comes to partying like it’s my birthday.  I have a friend who started creating a bucket list for what she wants to do before she turns 30.  Me?  I just want to eat cookies in bed and watch couples fight over townhouses in Canada.

But every once in a while, I do get the urge to go out, to be young again, and to make BLDs at Joshua Tree.  And hey, I still have six months left in my early twenties.  That’s definitely something to be thankful for.

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Channeling Jay Leno…

On Friday, Derek Jeter passed Lou Gehrig as the Yankees’ all-time hits leader.  However, Jeter is still chasing the record for most hits in one night, held by Chris Brown.

Thousands gathered in DC on Saturday to protest what they consider out-of-control government spending.  Because after eight years of rising budget deficits, now is the time to rise up!…  Many in the crowd prepared for the chance of rain by covering themselves with white sheets and pointy hats.

The USDA has been urging media outlets to stop calling the H1N1 virus “swine flu,” claiming that it is hurting pork farmers.  Pork farmers declined to comment, as they have all been bed-ridden with the flu.

Several college campuses are already reporting swine flu outbreaks, especially amongst those rushing fraternities and sororities.  However, students don’t seem to be deterred from rush, since catching swine flu at a frat party is still not as likely as catching herpes.

At the US Open, Serena Williams lost her semifinal match on a code violation after she profanely berated a linesman.  Serena was heard shouting, “You lie!”…  Serena allegedly told the linesman that she would “shove a bleeping tennis ball down her bleeping throat.”  Serena was hoping that she would finally get women’s tennis onto SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays.

Joe Wilson has raised more than $1 million since his now-famous outburst during Obama’s healthcare speech.  That’s $500K per syllable.  During Obama’s next healthcare address, Wilson is expected to yell out, “You supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!”

Wilson said that he would not apologize twice for heckling the President.  Instead, he will ask Governor Mark Sanford to write a series of remorseful love letters to the President on his behalf.

On Friday, Michael Jordan was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame.  Several members of Jordan’s supporting cast were in attendance, including Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, and Bugs Bunny.

Accusations of assault against Chargers linebacker Shawn Merriman have been dismissed by the district attorney’s office.  As reason for dropping charges, the San Diego DA cited “insufficient evidence and Merriman’s superb third down defense.”

On Saturday, Tina Fey won an Emmy for her impersonation of Sarah Palin on SNL.  Ironically Sarah Palin also won an Emmy, for her impersonation of Tina Fey without a soul.

This weekend, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez revealed that he purchased rockets from Russia during a nine-country tour.  Chavez claimed the missiles were “defense instruments”, only to be used if he felt threatened.  Then he aimed a rocket at the Venezuelan media, and blew them up.

Brett Favre made his Minnesota Vikings debut with a win on Sunday against the Browns.  Still, it wasn’t a “classic” Brett Favre performance, since he didn’t throw an interception.

Philadelphia Eagles QB Donovan McNabb cracked a rib in Sunday’s win against the Carolina Panthers.  After the injury, team trainers consulted with Michael Vick, and decided to put McNabb down.

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The Commute to Work: A Reflection on Mortality

It’s 7:03 AM, and I’m out the door of my Midtown apartment.  I wave at the doorman, bound down the steps, and start my journey to the wonderful land of work, work, work.  Unlike many New Yorkers, I don’t wear headphones on my morning walk.  My walk is an excuse to travel with my thoughts, sans the distraction of Lady Gaga imploring me to dance.  I think about my job, my personal life, and the latest news… but mostly, I think about what I want to get for breakfast.  Thus, my career anxiety is often interrupted by the everlasting muffin vs. bagel debate.  By the 9th avenue intersection, muffin usually wins. 

pigeonAlong my usual route, I sidestep many of the treasures of New York City.  Outside of 53rd street, there is always at least one food product that has made its way into the road.  One day it looked like a tub of mac and cheese.  Another day, it appeared to be some kind of chili.  My curiosity never gets me too close to the mystery slop though, mostly because a pack of pigeons is constantly steeped in the mess, devouring its breakfast.  The sight of winged rats picking at day-old mashed potatoes is both horrifying and humanizing: horrifying because it’s gross, but humanizing because it makes me glad I’m not a pigeon.  (I did some research, and my pigeon aversion is justified: urban pigeons only live for 3-5 years on average.  I’d guess that obesity contributes to their short life span as much as reckless taxi drivers.)

Unfortunately, my encounters with pigeon folk don’t end on the mashed potatoes corner.  Across the street from the Midtown North Precinct of the NYPD, there is a flock of pigeons that sit along a row of fire escapes above the sidewalk.  Because cop cars are parked outside the precinct, the walkable sidewalk space is very narrow.  There are always a few unknowing pedestrians who walk directly underneath the pigeon latrines.  I narrowly missed becoming a target when a dazzling white drop splattered a few feet in front of my shoes.  So now, I just walk through the middle of the street, instead of risking it on the brightest sidewalk in New York.

gwbridgeBy 7:09 AM, I reach my shuttle stop on a corner outside of a McDonald’s.  The shuttle picks up every day at this corner, to drive all us Manhattan-based employees into New Jersey for work.  So at 7:10 AM, I climb into an unmarked white van and sit uncomfortably close to co-workers.  The shuttle driver weaves through West Side highway traffic, honking, cursing, and checking text messages.  One shuttle driver managed to swill a gulp of Listerine and spit it out while still navigating the road.  The passengers hide our fear by making small talk about the weather and swine flu, although more than a few can be seen with their eyes closed tightly, just hoping that it’ll all be over soon.  

 Around 7:30 AM, we turn onto the George Washington bridge, the gateway between Manhattan and the dirty Jerz.  At this time, our shuttle driver reaches for his Bible, which he keeps in a cupholder.  He holds onto the Bible for the entire length of the bridge, then puts it away once we reach the other side… about two minutes later.  Apparently divine intervention is not needed for Jersey.  But the rickety shuttle keeps us all praying.  With every lane change, I reflect on my mortality as if I were a potato-fattened pigeon: Well, I’ve lived a happy life (shuttle swerves).  My parents would be proud (car honks).  I hope they use my latest Facebook photo at my funeral (obscenities hurled).

Our shuttle finally turns into the office parking lot at 7:40 AM, discharging a group of relieved passengers and a shuttle driver with minty fresh breath.  One might question why I, along with so many others, put up with a commute filled with pigeon poo and pious shuttle drivers.  Well, having such a harrowing commute is like flying on a turbulent flight, or hanging out with Ahmadinejad.  There’s the stress once you’re there, but then the extreme exhilaration once you’ve gotten the F out.  So, once I get into the office, work is easy by comparison.  And plus, I have a muffin to look forward to.

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All Gaga for Obama

In celebration of Obama’s first 100 days, and also given the popularity of Lady Gaga, I decided to try a bit of songwriting for the President.  The following should be sung along to Lady Gaga’s Poker Face (play the song in a new window – with lyrics | instrumental):

Barack (0:24):

I gotta clean up what they did back in ’08
Corrupted and got busted with a messed up SEC (Oh Dubya)
So now the country’s sufferin’ and the times are hard
With Ponzi schemes and broken dreams and guys without a job

Oh, oh, oh, oh, ohhhh, ohh-oh-e-ohh-oh-oh
I’ll get it right, or we’ll pay the price
Oh, oh, oh, oh, ohhhh, ohh-oh-e-ohh-oh-oh,
I’ll go at it hard, show them who’s in charge

obamaeconomy

With Larry
And Timmy
These are the
Obama days
(Gotta stop the Dow from dropping)
Plus Citi
Bernanke
The Fed completes the
Obama days
(Government is going shopping)

Chorus (1:12):

Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-Obama days, Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-Obama days
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-Obama days, Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-Obama days

Barack (1:21):

I’m gonna roll with Joe a hard pair we will be
Republicans can teabag all they want with Dick Cheney
Afghanistan will see me coming on the front,
And baby when it’s war if it’s not rough it isn’t fun,

Oh, oh, oh, oh, ohhhh, ohh-oh-e-ohh-oh-oh
I’ll get Iraq, show them what I’ve got
Oh, oh, oh, oh, ohhhh, ohh-oh-e-ohh-oh-oh,
I’ll get a bomb, show them that it’s hot

karzaizardari1With Karzai
So close by
These are the
Obama days
(Karzai is grumpy, likes nobody)
Talking peace
Zardari
These are the
Obama days
(Waterboarding’s not his hobby)

Chorus (2:09):

Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-Obama days, Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-Obama days
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-Obama days, Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-Obama days

Barack (2:24):

gm-ceoI’ve got my hand in GM’s pocket
Squeezing hard to keep ’em knockin’
‘Cause I’m trying
To go on and end this downspin we’ve been rockin’
With my bailouts and my guarantees
I’m fixing these securities
I promise this, I promise this
I’ll bring back life to AIG

aigsoccerWith swine flu
Coming through
These are the
Obama days
(Bacon’s not for everybody)
Arlen who
S’my new boo
These are the
Obama days
(Specter’s got a new buddy)

Chorus (2:59):

gagaobamaCan’t beat my
Can’t beat my
No one can beat my
Obama craze
(He’s got me like nobody)
Can’t beat my
Can’t beat my
No one can beat my
Obama craze
(Eight more years of peace and harmony)

— Repeat x2 —

Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-Obama days, Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-Obama days
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-Obama days, Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-Obama days

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