Sunday, August 15, 2010
I love the clean, sharp, consistent cover design, clear font and that they are all around the same price. And no hardcovers. I hate hardcover books.
For every ten NYRB books I've read, there have only been a few I haven't totally gone nuts for. I can truly say that of all of the books that have moved me in the last 5 years, 80 percent of them have been NYRB press books. I'm not shilling for them, I swear.
Therefore I am going to attempt to read and review all the of books that the press has put out. This is quite a challenge because there are quite a few. But I will review the books I've already read and offer some background if I can.
I found this book in 2002, when Coliseum Books on 57th St. was closing. They didn't have much merchandise left but I spotted this and decided to judge the book by its cover. I've always been attracted to book covers with swimming pools on them.
Lovesick and sex-crazed, the mother sets out on an intercontinental quest for the right—or wrong—man, while her mild-mannered but manipulative former husband clings to his memories in California. And their teenage son? How he struggles both to keep faith with his family and to get by himself, and what in the end he must do to break free, makes for a classic coming-of-age story."
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
I'd heard of "Sita Sings the Blues" but never actually watched it. I was in an an epic bad mood this weekend and my husband put this on in an effort to take the edge of my crankiness.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Well, there may be more than just a trilogy, but as far as this gringa knows, the three iconic books that attempt to portray the soul crushing carnage that Dominicans suffered under the dictator Trujillo.
The Feast of the Goat by Mario Vargas Llosa
The intrigue, the ins and outs and who hid the bodies during the final days of Trujillo in the early 1960s. A study of the man himself: An incontinent blowhard with true God complex. I never thought about the the role the U.S. played in the Dominican Republic in the Kennedy, anti-Castro times. Fascinating stuff.
In the Time of Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
The tragic tale of the sainted Mirabal sisters who fought back, were jailed and then executed by Trujillo's men. A beautifully told story, from the memories of the one Mirabal sister who lived and the overwhelming legacy she must live with.
The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
It supposedly took Diaz 10 years to write this book. And goddamn him because he makes it read so easy. This book takes us to Paterson, NJ to Washington Height, to Santa Domingo. It's a mother-daughter tale. It's a gotta-get-laid tale. It's a political terror story. It's a prison horror story. It's a fat kid's story. It's a story for those who like comic books and sci fi. It's one of the best books I've ever read. I read it in one sitting and read the last 5 pages again and again, not wanting it to end.
Any more Trujillo tales worth reading? I'll take any old horrific dictator that has inspired masterful writing...
Oh, and in case you were wondering if that new guy Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo (the guy that replaced Jason Newsted, I think) is not related to the Dominican dictator. I was curious, I Googled it... I think he's off the hook.
Friday, May 28, 2010
That guy looks like Ron Kuby.
I wouldn't let my worst enemy take a shit in that bathroom.
Let's not hug it out.
My inner ear hurts.
I wish this had peyote in it.
I wish I could talk but I need to go buy more cat food.
You have selected: Spanking the Monkey! Rated R!
Monday, May 24, 2010
Unless you have amazing fashion sense or are carrying a toddler, leggings do not look good on anyone. At best, you look like a lazy slob. At worst, you look like you have two stumps for legs. I am so bored of seeing people walking the streets wearing leggings and a short top. You are not in a dance class. You do not require clothes that free you for extra movement.
If I see one more doofus women, walking the streets, mooing into her cellphone, head lolling, shuffling along in her stupid flip flops as if choosing where to go for brunch is so difficult one must wear workout clothes.
I'm also tired of looking at the jegging, cropped legging, the creatively torn legging, the tie dyed legging, the latex legging, leopard legging, the zippered legging and so on. I know that some people can make anything look look fabulous. But this is shit that Amy Fisher would have worn.
Gladiator sandals. Ugh. Pair them with leggings if you really want to look stumpy. I don't care if you want to put your feet in prison. Just keep them away from me.
Speaking of which: What the hell is this?
This is not a piece of footwear given to women recovering from foot surgery. This is a $600 Prada boot.
This is not a shoe. This is a seizure.
Also on my fashion shit list: most shorts, fashion sweats, tiered skirts on girls over the age of 9, UGGS in the summer (How can these vile things STILL be in style? And I cannot fathom how those things must reek...), men styling their hair like Hitler and Dawn Weiner glasses.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
And I'm not sure if this was a pre-code film but there's plenty of spice to balance out the family fun. Love those chubby-legged chorus girls! Those were the days... Except don't get "Pettin' in the Park" stuck in your head. You'll end up in the crazy house.
Oh hell, watch it anyway. It's adorably insane.
Anyhoo, I'm headed to Otto's Shrunken Head to meet some pals for a drink.
Monday, May 17, 2010
I wouldn't waste the shedding skin cells on my stubby little fingers typing up every reason why I despise that particular section of Brooklyn. In fact, I'd happily managed to avoid going to that vile patch of organic mustache wax, $6 vegan muffins and body odor that exists in its own la-la land off the L train for the past three years.
Like a fool, I went back this weekend. I spent about 2 hours total there and was completely reminded of why living there was such a baffling and frustrating experience. I'd forgotten how gross the people are, how you are charged a fortune for total garbage and how narrow and hot the streets are with hateful jerks selling crap on the completely overcrowded sidewalks.
But let me begin at the beginning.
In 2006, I found a 1-bedroom apartment on Craigslist: $1400, 6th Street bwt Bedford and Berry. The girl who was leaving the apartment had a skill for decorating. She had used some kind of cloaking device to mask the fact that the place was extremely tilted, had no bathroom sink, had sharp n' pointy stucco walls, one large heat pipe in the middle that would only occasionally wheeze out warmth. But she and I totally bonded over the fact that we had the same necklace and the same LeSportsSac bag. OMG! Was it stupid for me to think that because we had these superficial things in common, that she would tell me all the things wrong with the apartment? Of course it was!
The place was a disaster, but a cheapish one. Sure there were problems. We lived next to a seafood "shack" and every few days, our apartment would smell like The Frying Dutchman. One of our neighbors had a screaming parrot. When I called Animal Care and Control over cat that was lying half-dead on 6th Street, my neighbors called me a "cat killer."
So we knew we weren't living in the Sherry Netherland. But we had each other. Then the bed bugs came.
I cannot describe the psychological havoc that bedbugs play on your brain. It does not matter if you have two or two hundred. You will become suspicious of inanimate objects. You will find yourself screaming at your loved one to spackle the window shut. The itchy red dots are a mark of failure. Every time your landlord sends some cousin of his to spray your apartment with baby powder and chlorox you will have HOPE. Then, two weeks later, after you've dry cleaned everything, tossed your furniture onto the street (which people will take, despite your sign that says "I'M INFESTED WITH BED BUGS!"), and finally, dared to get a good nights sleep, you will awake with bites again.
Monday, April 5, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
She was also a big list maker and in my first Anastasia book, she constantly updates her list of likes and dislikes according to how her life was progressing.
Anyway, today is a day where I feel like making a list of the things that elicit pure joy, not just things I like.
The 3rd Man - link to trailer
The Palm Beach Story - link to bizarre trailer
Lush bubble bars
Hiding in fancy lobby hotel bathrooms and making phone calls
Chocolate chip cookies
Love and Rockets comics
Reading Archie and Peanuts comics when I'm sick (I'm thinking back to middle school but I bet it still holds)
My Man Godfrey - link to trailer
Grilled cheese and tomato soup
Ernst Lubisch - link to Ninotchka scene with Greta Garbo
A freshly laundered wrap dress
The Addams Family (TV show, and the second film "Addams Family Values"
The guy on the subway that plays the theme from the movie "Brazil" on his trumpet
Reading and finding old Grantas - link to "In Lana Turner's Bedroom"
T, of course
Duane Park Cafe (I got married there)
Eclipse DVD collections by Criterion
Maurice Chevalier - from One Hour with You
Buying books for small children
Hearing the song "Native New Yorker" by Odyssey while I'm doing the dishes.
Singing to my cat
Heat lamps (not sun lamps)
Night Watch perfume
Kirk Douglas - from The Bad and the Beautiful
Barbara Stanwyk - from Ball of Fire
Paying with Sacajaweas
When Homer goes to the "Land of Chocolate"
Girl With Gold Boots on MST3k - clips
The Kids in the Hall - link to Terriers
John Waters' Shock Value
Making my mother laugh
Splitting hot pastrami at Katz's
Chinese soup dumplings
The Triple Lindy
Rita Hayworth in The Lady from Shanghai - link to trailer
Gene Wilder - link to The Producers
Christopher Walken dancing in "Pennies From Heaven" - link to awesomeness
I'm sure there's a lot more. It doesn't really take a lot to cheer me up. This should be handy list for those who know me. But those that know me knew all this stuff already.
Anyway, glad you're on the mend old buddy. Rest up. You had us worried, my sweet little old man of a cat.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
* Today, none of the MTA vending machines in Union Square would take credit cards, debit cards or bills. The lowest amount it would let me purchase a Metrocard was for $4.50. Which I had to pay for in coins. I don't know what was more pathetic the fact that none of the machines were working or that I actually had $4.50 in coins rattling around at the bottom of my pocketbook.
* I watched The Lives of Others last night. Creepy, claustrophobic, horrifying at parts. Just a little too long with an ending that seemed a bit tacked on. But recommended.
* At some point in every girl's life, she has to ask herself: Which member of the Monty Python troupe would she sleep with. This week, I choose John Cleese.
* If books are like food, then a novel by Martin Amis is like lobster. Hard to get into, often messy and filled with fluids and you really hope you'll think all the work was worth it. Sometimes it is sublime. Sometimes, it is like bashing at a vile roach-like sea creature with a crushing instrument while wearing a bib.
I starting reading Time's Arrow and I immediately longed for something more soothing and simple like a biography of Stalin or a raspberry smoothie with glass in it.
* I saw a man standing on line purchasing a bottle of Dove body wash for Men. Part of me was disgusted because he was buying into the hype of the Super Bowl commercial. But then I thought, I shouldn't I be happy for him for having soft skin?
* I feel bad about Alexander McQueen. Poor, poor guy. About 12 years ago, I wandered into his store in the meatpacking district just to see what all the fuss was about. I came upon a corsetted denim jacket that still haunts me. It sounds hideously tacky but had I the $1500, I probably still wouldn't have bought it. Had I $1,500,000, I would have considered it.
* I wish I could get another cat. But for a 1-bedroom apartment, that's a lot of cat hair. And a lot of cat hairballs.
* I really hope Bill Clinton doesn't die. Besides having affection for the old coot, I just don't think I could stand the media coverage. In fact, I now dread all world events, happy or sad. Thank you, 24-hour news cycle.
Friday, February 5, 2010
Melanin-enhanced Ohio Rep. Jim Boehner looks a lot like...
American actor and Warren Beatty B-clone George Hamilton!
Author Jonathan Ames looks a lot like...
Adorable Monty Python-er Graham Chapman !
Director James Cameron's third wife, actress Linda Hamilton looks an awful lot like...
... Cameron's fourth wife, Suzy Amis!
"Loverboy" era, pre-rhinoplasty Patrick Dempsey reminds me a lot of...
NYC Congressman and Bloomberg-basher Anthony Weiner!
I just can't look at U.S. Senator from South Carolina Lindsey Graham without thinking of...
... Brit-comic Ricky Gervais!
When we moved into our apartment in Astoria, we got to know our elderly neighbors, two sisters named Lucy and Angela. They were nice ladies, very independent, both around ninety-years-old. My husband would always bring them their NY Daily News when the weather was crummy or when the elevator was out. They looooooved him. They were both tiny, under five feet tall and they used to go out together to the supermarket and errands. They didn't want you to hold the door for them, they could do it themselves, thank you. Two sisters, sleeping in twin beds. Always chatting about something. Big Obama fans.
We used to stop by their apartment once in a while. They had a great apartment, beautifully furnished, lots of books. Lucy told us this great story about how she worked for years for Parks Department and just loved visiting the big cats at the Central Park Zoo. They ended up naming one of the lions for her. Pretty cool.
So anyway, Lucy died before the holiday, which was shocking because she seemed like the healthier sister. My husband felt really bad. I felt bad too but then my grandmother died just before the new year. That wasn't so much of a surprise but it hurt a lot. My mother said something really great at her funeral. "My parents are doing the merengue in heaven." Romantic, right?
Anyway, I hadn't thought too much about Angela, I'm sad to say. This week, my husband asked me to stop by and see if she was okay. I have to say, I was dreading it. But she let me in and we had a nice talk. She was very brave and funny but she was also very sad and cried a little.
She said that her own life, she'd always wanted her own apartment and how that she had it, she didn't know what to do with it. Her mother and sister always cooked for her so she never learned. She just kept expecting Lucy to walk in the door.
What was strange to me was how happy I was to be sitting in her warm living room. It was nice to talk to her, even if she was sad. I think it has to do with not having been able to say good-bye my grandmother. It was always my biggest fear that she would die when I was out of town. I would give anything to have been there at the end and held her hand. So I held Angela's hand today. It wasn't the same but how could it be?
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Friday, January 29, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Can a person be "in the world but not of it"?
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Is there anything more boring and pretentious than humorless bloviating gasbags farting on and on about film? Not to me. If you are going to write about the movies, I need on-set stories, interviews with the actual filmmaker (not just "Chris Farley Show" hero worship) and some sense of historical background. I'm just a movie lover, not a film critic. Give me something juicy or go home.
So here are some books about the movies that I've read and re-read. I'm sure there are others.
City of Nets by Otto Friedrich
The Studio by John Gregory Dunne
The Devil's Candy by Julie Salamon
Final Cut by Stephen Bach
That is all for today.
If you want to fritter some time away, I recommend Nathan Rabin's hilarious and comprehensive "My Year of Flops" on the AV Club. It's one of the few things I can honestly say, I wish I had written.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Just some ideas for making your days just a little less rife with despair.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Saw "Madame Bovary" (1949) last night. It was pretty decent actually, despite being bookended by absurd "courtroom testimony" by Flaubert at his obscenity trial. It must have been some censor or decency issue. I wish James Mason would come back to life and read me bedtime stories.
Anyhoo, Jennifer Jones as Emma was too beautiful and Van Heflin as Dr. Bovary not nearly nebbish-y enough. Ballroom dancing scene was fantastic. A stretch to compare it to Saturday Night Fever dance scene but then again, it's possible the director had seen "Madame Bovary". It was directed by Vincent Minnelli after all.
I read the book last year and found it much more modern than I expected. Subtle and snide and sympathetic, the book is fresher than the film.
Amazing trailer! English, with French subtitles.
Not much to say today. Feeling okay. Working from home, sending ideas out into the ether and waiting for response... not easy. Tomorrow may be better. More socializing, more to keep my brain percolating.
Making chickpea and mango curry for dinner tonight from this cookbook. Hope it turns out okay. I don't have much faith in my cooking ability.
I can't believe I've never seen a Satyajit Ray movie. I really need to remedy this.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
While I was doing the dishes a few minutes ago, I heard the Jim Croce song "Operator." And as I listened to it, I thought about what a sad song it was in that hokey-ish but kind of heart-tweaking way that 1970s singer songwriters get just right. I'm a sucker for certain kinds of 1970s music, what can I say? I must have heard a lotta easy listening in the womb back in 1977.
I'd never even heard of the song until I read "Bad Haircut" the excellent collection of Tom Perrotta stories. I'd only bought the book because I liked the cover and the Harvard Book Store had an autographed copy near the register.
But what struck me the most about hearing that song was that the last time I'd heard it, I thought it was the saddest song of all time. I was going through a pretty deep and cavernous depression at the time (2001, I think) when I thought that nothing would ever get better. So maybe poor old Jim is the measuring stick for depression. If I can listen to it and do the dishes, I'm okay. If it makes me curl up in the fetal position sobbing, I may be facing a more serious problem.
Today was a good day. Had a delicious lunch with an old friend, (hey LK, if you're reading this!), got a writing assignment approved, came home and fed the cat. Nice!
Hoping to watch "Boogie Man", the documentary about GOP "genius" Lee Atwater tonight. It will probably depress the shit out of me but it sound fascinating nonetheless.
Link - PBS Frontline - The Lee Atwater story
Monday, January 18, 2010
I'm not a big collector. I'm just not the type. When T and I started dating, he noticed that I had more than a few copies of the quarterly Granta lying around. I fell in love with them in college and would buy them for $2 each in the used section of the Harvard Book Store. Anyhoo, T became obsessed with having ALL of them (104 and counting). I try to seek out the few we are missing at the Strand or other used book stores on the street but mostly because completing our collection would make T happy.
He also bought me the ENTIRE "Eightball" series for my birthday five years ago. Pretty sweet!
But I think I've found something I'd like to collect. RAWs and Blab!s.
I got some great ones from the Strand today from the early 1990s some great stuff: Lynda Barry (my first comics love, recommended by Sassy magazine!), Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Dan Clowes, Richard Sala and tons of others.
It all gives me such a nostalgic feeling. Ah, comics, keeping me young... brain-wise at least.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
So I just watched the totally horrifying documentary "Crazy Love" on Sundance. Yet, when it was over, all I could think about was diner food, since the main characters are seen eating at the Shalimar Diner in Rego Park. It got me thinking...
Here are the diners that I have known and loved (and feared) in my 32 years on this planet we call, uh, earth.
The Landmark Diner
How much of my teenage life did I spent at this diner, eating french fries, baklava, smoking cigarettes and laughing my ass off? A lot. It was a pretty good diner, food-wise. They were very tolerant of idiots like my friends sitting for hours and splitting a pizza bagel and three cups of coffee. It had a lovely pink glow and whiteish stone exterior. A late 70's, early 80's aesthetic I find very comforting in diner architecture. Now it's gone. Well, it's relocated and rebuilt next door.
I dunno. It looks kind of retro to me. Like a brand new Rickenbacker guitar or something. It even has a Twitter page. Bah.
The Seacrest Diner
This is the diner of despair. Not only were there terrifying live lobsters in tanks at the front of the restaurant that terrified me as a child, it always seemed to be the place you were taken after something bad happened: A death in the family, someone was sick...
The diner was also the scene of a horrific crime. In 1982, five young men from Brooklyn stole a car, committed a terrifying home invasion in Plainview, Long Island. The night of violence, rape and murder ended at this diner.
Per the New York Times: "...early the next morning, when the men burst into the Seacrest wielding handguns and a shotgun, then robbed and terrorized customers, demanding that they strip and ordering some to have sex with each other. At least one waitress was raped. Two young men were shot. Mr. Bouloukos [the owner] and several others were pistol-whipped, and all 80 or so people inside were held hostage for more than an hour."
It is because of this sickening and traumatizing event that we all called this diner the "rape diner" and avoided it at all costs. My grandparents seemed to like it, I have no idea why.
The Carle Place Diner
This diner was conveniently located near the Roosevelt Field Mall and Tower Records, two other places where I misspent my youth. I think it was pretty good. Wait, it's coming back to me. I think I once had disco fries here with a former camp counselor. She had been fired that summer for fellating a fellow counselor while drunk on the soccer field. Her name began with an A... it will come to me (no pun intended... haha).
The Neptune Diner
This diner is pretty good and located very close to where I live in Astoria. My husband likes that they feature the fact that they make a point that they serve "chops", which he thinks is delightfully old school. They were nice here. Good "sea" motif.
The Scobee Diner
This is great diner! The craziest thing is that when I moved into my apartment and was putting away my dishes, the previous owners had left behind a cup and saucer from the Scobee Diner! Perhaps they had stolen the china as a memento of a yummy meal or something. My husband likes to drink espresso from it. Lots of famous people have been here, so says the signed photos on the walls.
The Seven Seas
I don't remember much about this place. I think I have it confused with the Seacrest Diner (terrifying entry higher up). Maybe this was the place my grandparents liked. Jesus, I'm not as good at this as I thought. I can't even find a photo.
And there are others. Many have burned down. Many are lost in a haze of grilled cheese sandwiches and turkey burger deluxe platters.
Have I missed any?