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Just because you aren't a fan of prix fixe dinners or pink champagne doesn't mean you have to spend Valentine's Day in your apartment. We've scouted out some of the best Valentine's Day alternatives, whether you are loving being single, are happily taken, or are involved in something a little more... complicated.
The Tippler Love + Hate Valentine's Day
Love or hate Valentine's Day? It doesn't matter to The Tippler! There will be drinks and there will indeed be dancing. The DJ will be playing some of your favorite '80s hits — both of love and heartbreak — so as not to leave anyone in the crowd out. Should you be one of the brokenhearted, go ahead and bring on down a picture of your ex. If you shred it at the bar, you may win a free drink. If that's not your style, don't worry. You also have a chance at a win when the Twister mat comes out to play. And if you are feeling really lucky, send a stranger a rose for a $1 and see what happens...
Pork Slope After Dark
It's Pork Slope's version of a Valentine's "Meet Market"... see what they did there? If you haven't made your way to Brooklyn to check this place out yet, this is the perfect opportunity. From 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. there will be DJs and dancing, and the first drink is on the house for all the ladies. If that isn't enough to lure you in, take a look at the little valentine-themed piglet gracing their Facebook page cover photo. Sold.
Valentine's Day Bar Crawl
This one is definitely fun for all, especially if you can round up a group. What girl wants to go out to dinner when her boyfriend can take her on a bar crawl, I say? Registration is at McFadden's. $10 buys you a cup and a wristband, and there will be drink specials at each bar. The route covers 10 bars, including Public House, Calico Jack's, Stone Creek, and Highland Park. The crawl runs from 5 p.m. to 4 a.m., but registration ends at 10 p.m., so don't be late!
Sunburnt Cow Annual Anti Valentine's Day Singles Party
This party makes it pretty clear — be fun, be single, and be a big fan of all things anti-Valentine's Day. The DJ will be rocking the beats and you can dance the night away with other singles just like you. Don't forget to order up a ton of food to enjoy. You will need it to soak up the free shots you will be taking on their ice luge.
From El Salvador. Who knew there could be a bird species called the “Thick-knee”?
“Man busted for trying to smuggle 36 birds into the US under his clothes for birdsong contests” [Boing Boing (Re Silc)]. “Authorities at New York City’s JFK Airport nabbed Kevin Andre Mckenzie, 36, for attempting to smuggle nearly three-dozen finches jammed into hair rollers from Guyana to New York City for birdsong competitions.” • Don’t be like this person.
At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart from 91-DIVOC. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site.
I feel I’m engaging in a macabre form of tape-watching.
I know that these are daily vaccinations. But the pandemic is a multiplicative process. To me, the best curves of all would be rising continuously until there’s a sudden drop, because there’s nobody left to vaccinate. It’s too soon to see these numbers dropping. This should worry people. (The Northeast jump was an enormous reporting error, now rectified, though I still have not been able to find it mentioned anywhere. Readers?)
“Millions Are Skipping Their Second Doses of Covid Vaccines” [New York Times]. “More than five million people, or nearly 8 percent of those who got a first shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, have missed their second doses, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is more than double the rate among people who got inoculated in the first several weeks of the nationwide vaccine campaign. Even as the country wrestles with the problem of millions of people who are wary about getting vaccinated at all, local health authorities are confronting an emerging challenge of ensuring that those who do get inoculated are doing so fully. The reasons vary for why people are missing their second shots. In interviews, some said they feared the side effects, which can include flulike symptoms. Others said they felt that they were sufficiently protected with a single shot. Those attitudes were expected, but another hurdle has been surprisingly prevalent. A number of vaccine providers have canceled second-dose appointments because they ran out of supply or didn’t have the right brand in stock….. While millions of people have missed their second shots, the overall rates of follow-through, with some 92 percent getting fully vaccinated, are strong by historical standards. Roughly three-quarters of adults come back for their second dose of the vaccine that protects against shingles.”
Liberal Democrat triumphalism:
[email protected] doubled and met his original goal of 100mm shots in 100 days—with 8 days to spare. My @Morning_Joe chart: pic.twitter.com/k9HLxw0ND7
&mdash Steven Rattner (@SteveRattner) April 27, 2021
Note, as Rattner does not, the dip starting around April 9. To be fair, note the clear inflection point as the more competent Biden administration took hold. Oh, wait…
Continued good news. I’m not used to this at all. The spin:
“Biden: Coronavirus Vaccinations Are Path to More Normal Fourth of July” [UN News]. “President Joe Biden on Tuesday reiterated his goal of seeing a more normal July 4th amid the coronavirus pandemic, saying that vaccinations will be the path for getting there. Biden said that everyone who has gotten a coronavirus vaccine was doing their ‘patriotic duty, helping us get on the path to Independence Day.’ Over 29% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” • Remember how Fauci kept moving the goalposts upward on when herd immunity would be reached? Wherever those goalposts were, they weren’t at 29%. I like Biden’s framing, though.
“New York City, Former COVID-19 Epicenter, To ‘Fully Reopen’ On July 1” [NPR]. “New York City, which one year ago was the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, will ‘fully reopen’ for business on July 1, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday. The announcement marks a stirring rebound for a city that lost more than 10,000 people in just the first month of the pandemic.” • Not including international flights at JFK and Newark, I assume, because that would be really, really stupid. I also don’t know what these July 1 projections are based on (readers?), and I do try to keep track–
Lambert here: I added a black anti-triumphalism line to show that what is now normal was once horrific. I also added a green line that simply extrapolates the current rate of decline into the future it crosses the x axis, for time, around 42 days out, on June 10, so July 1, so somebody who thinks additively, instead of multiplicatively, might seem to make sense. Personally, I’m not confident in such an extrapolation. I would need to see vaccinations increasing, not decreasing. I would want to know what is being to prevent international travelers (including truckers from Canada and Mexico) from bringing new variants into the country. I would also like to see policy based on what science really does tell us is the main mode of transmission — airborne — because otherwise the ventilation issues that enable the virus to spread won’t be fixed. I think this thread describes elite thinking and behavior throughout the pandemic under both administrations:
The United States pandemic *mess* is that well-protected impatient elites are obsessed with pushing activity to the exact edge of what they believe is safe and they prioritize minimizing their own inconvenience over stopping transmission. Nonstop bickering over the wrong things. https://t.co/IgR4U2hbMh
&mdash wsbgnl (@wsbgnl) April 29, 2021
A hard lockdown for 60 days with people paid to stay home would have brought the virus to zero, as even Andy Slavitt knows, and said. I guess the biggest reason I don’t think that green line will go to zero is that our elite’s response has been half-assed, is half-assed now, and will continue to be half-assed.
Continued good news. The Michigan curve is nice, but still at level only exceeded to last Fall’s peak, 154 days ago. Michigan and Minnesota heading down, along with their neighbors (Could be that people actually do listen when Governors ask them do so stuff, but enough, and enough of them?)
Florida, by a nose, now dropping nicely. California also dropping. Texas flat.
Down, except for the West, now flat.
Still heading down, except for a slight rise in the Northeast.
Good to see those deaths dropping. The fatality rate in the West has fallen again, for reasons as mysterious as those that caused its rise.
“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51
“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune
“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord
“Biden’s still, small voice of calm” [Financial Times]. “Biden’s speech displayed US politics at a surreal juncture in its history. As a veteran centrist, Biden is surprising the country and the world with the multitrillion dollar scale of his ambitions. But he lays his plans out in the folksy tones of a grandparental homily. On the other side of the aisle sits a Republican party that is scanning everything Biden does for signs of senility and cultural radicalism. He betrays no traces of the former and is offering very little on the latter. Contrary to recent viral rumours, Americans will still be able to eat hamburgers on July 4. Biden will doubtless be munching his in full view.” • ‘Tis a consummation greatly to be wished. UPDATE Oh, the “still, small voice” allusion. Here it is, 1 Kings 19:11-13:
11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake but the Lord was not in the earthquake:
12 And after the earthquake a fire but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?
(Majestic prose.) As you can see, the “still small voice” is the voice of God (or at least Elijah’s God). Now, I know the Biden hagiography is just a little thick right now, but surely conflating Biden with God is over the top.
UPDATE Anyhow, I don’t feel calm. I feel anesthetized. As for example by charts like this:
That chart looks a soccer ball sewn by a stitcher on acid. Why are the seams where they are? Why are the panels in the order they are? Wouldn’t a list — hear me out: the items could be ranked by amount, largest first — be easier to read and more informative? Who did this?
[email protected] reacts to Pres. Biden's first address to Congress: "I think the style was classic Biden … but in terms of ambition, absolutely Rooseveltian and also Johnsonian."https://t.co/K5Ev2jJ03e
&mdash MSNBC (@MSNBC) April 29, 2021
And Shakespearean! Neopolitan! This is a “Presidential Historian” speaking…. Anyhow, the “belongs to” was a highly unfortunate locution:
UPDATE “The Trump Policy That Biden Is Extending” [David Frum, The Atlantic]. The deck: “In his speech on Wednesday night, the president continued his predecessor’s attacks on the idea of free trade.” • That’s a damn shame. And I am sure that as we go on, the continuities between Trump and Biden will become more evident, as they did with Obama and Bush.
UPDATE “Democrats seek to push Medicare expansion as part of Biden’s $1.8 trillion families plan, defying White House” [WaPo].
Clarke & Dawe skewer “The West Wing” — in 2011 (. ):
Those on the Outside cannot control those on the Inside absent countervailing political power (“Make me do it”). So there’s no point whinging about what those on the Inside do. Build power, instead. Sadly, DSA looks like the best institution for doing that… A 30’s-style CP would really concentrate the minds of the liberal Democrats, but that’s not where we’re at….
“Advantage, GOP” [FiveThirtyEight]. “It may seem dramatic to suggest that Republicans are overriding democracy to win power when Democrats currently control all three elected legs of the federal government: the presidency, Senate and House. But in order to secure them, Democrats had to go above and beyond winning a simple majority of votes, like a tennis player having to ace all of her serves on a particularly windy day.” • Idea: Democrats should write more of us bigger checks*, instead of trying to win “a simple majority of the votes,” as they have been doing for years, with — to put it kindly — mixed results. NOTE * Joe Biden owes me six hundred bucks.
Realignment and Legitimacy
“Own the Libs Get Vaxxed” [National Review]. “Fellas, Trump himself got vaccinated, and it was glorious. In doing so, he rubbed the liberals’ faces in the fact that, under his watch, in one of the most astonishing American miracles since the moon shot, we got three different vaccines manufactured by the tens of millions and ready to go. They were all approved within twelve months of the first COVID death in the U.S., and at every step of the way, every liberal from Bangor to Berkeley mocked Trump for saying he would make it all happen. Trump fans should take this vaccine in the spirit of dunking on all the libs who doubted the mighty thrusting force of Trump’s Operation Warp Speed. Last March 5, nine and a half months before FDA approval of the first shot, Trump asked his experts whether we might see a vaccine ‘within a few months,’ and Anthony Fauci instantly corrected him: ‘A year to a year and a half.’ When Trump said in August that he was hopeful we𠆝 see a vaccine by November — it would be November 20 that Pfizer submitted its data to the FDA to request emergency approval — CNN got so far over its skis that it actually ran a bizarre Fact Check of the Future upbraiding the president, pointing out that the obviously irrefutable and always-correct super-duper expert Fauci was still insisting the vaccine ‘would likely not be available widely until ‘several months’ into 2021.’ Say it with me in Trump voice, friends: WRONG. Fauci turned out to be mistaken about so many things that he was like the Hillary Clinton of medicine.” • I don’t care about Fauci’s mistakes. Mistakes are inevitable in science. Null results are important, too. What really irks me to this day is Fauci’s Noble Lie on masks, for which he has never been held accountable, possessing as he does impunity as a liberal Democrat icon. Well, that and ramping Gilead’s stock.
Note the trust in Amazon:
Incoming. Two stats for you from Harvard Youth Poll (18-29):
1) no one trusts Facebook. Advertisers beware.
ps I see media nearby but media is a single term for a free and plural news environment so the brands you trust are by definition significantly higher. pic.twitter.com/3WHtH6MuZC
&mdash Jason Kint (@jason_kint) April 28, 2021
Employment Situation: April 2021 Initial Unemployment Claims Rolling Average Improves” [Econintersect]. “Market expectations for weekly initial unemployment claims (from Econoday) were 525 K to 617 K (consensus 558 K), and the Department of Labor reported 553,000 new claims. The more important (because of the volatility in the weekly reported claims and seasonality errors in adjusting the data) 4 week moving average moved from 655,750 (reported last week as 651,000) to 611,750.” A cautionary note: “Job’s loss since the start of the pandemic is now 81,167,000. Many in this number are now employed or have dropped out of the workforce as all programs continuing claims number is 16,559,276, down from last week’s 17,405,150.”
GDP: “Advance Estimate 1Q2021 GDP Is 6.4%” [Econintersect]. “The advance estimate for the first-quarter 2020 Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is a positive 6.4 %. This growth is an improvement from the previous quarter’s growth of 4.3 % if one looks at quarter-over-quarter headline growth. The year-over-year rate of growth also significantly improved and is now in expansion…. I am not a fan of the quarter-over-quarter exaggerated method of measuring GDP – but year-over-year growth is now in positive territory as it is being compared to the beginning of the recession.”
Tech: “CEO of $2B company pushed out for taking LSD before meeting” [The Hill]. “On Monday, a company ousted its chief executive officer and co-founder because he used LSD in 2019. Justin Zhu was experimenting with drugs to boost his focus, but the illegal drug goes against marketing startup Iterable Inc.’s company policy, which resulted in him being kicked out…. Based in San Francisco and created in 2013, Iterable Inc. is a mobile-optimized email marketing solution that enables marketers to test and send personalized emails optimized for mobile without coding, Bloomberg reported.” • I love the idea that our mobile infrastructure was designed by CEOs tripping on acid. It explains a lot.
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 60 Greed (previous close: 61 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 56 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 29 at 12:21pm.
,000 Barrels Possibly Laced With DDT Are Found Off California Coast” [New York Times]. “This week, a group of scientists shared the results of an extensive mission focused on mapping the area [12 miles off the coast of Los Angeles]. They counted more than 25,000 barrels that they believe may contain DDT-laced industrial waste. In an interview, Dr. Terrill compared the search to space exploration. In areas where they had expected to find, say, a single moon, the sonar images hinted at something more in the vein of the Milky Way…. 𠇊s these drums potentially lose their containment function, the materials will make their way into the environment and food web,” Dr. Terrill said. This should not affect people swimming or surfing in the area, Dr. Valentine said, because DDT does not dissolve in water. But it may have already entered the food chain, working its way into fish and other marine life, he said…. Senator Feinstein said she planned to ask the Justice Department to find out which companies dumped the barrels and to hold them accountable. Her office declined to elaborate on which companies would be investigated.”
“Choosing Safer Activities” [CDC]. These are the CDC’s new charts on when and when not to mask:
Not exactly wallet-sized, are they? The amazing and horrible thing is that once you understand Covid is transmitted by aerosols, you can follow one simple rule: “Don’t share air.” You can work out the logic for any individual situation from there.
Everybody’s a Critic
What’s with the spotlights?
Naked Capitalism Cooking Community™
The British culinary imagination:
In another video, “Danny” masks up (“Remember, we’re in this together guys”) so I don’t want to mock him. I just find the whole video a little mind-boggling.
Department of Feline Felicity
Fern, Sid’s older and putatively more responsible sister:
Maybe I should have filed this under Games. Do people really fall asleep playing games?
I love this style of advertising because it’s literally commodity fetishism:
This, from August Sander, “Peasants going to a dance, Westerwald, 1914”:
At @SEIUHCMN informational picket outside Mercy Hospital, HCMN announces they’re filing a 10-day notice of intent to strike.
Victory to the @AllinaHealth workers preparing to strike! MN Workers United stands ready to support. pic.twitter.com/ttddmxBpas
&mdash MN Workers United! (@MNWorkersUnited) April 28, 2021
The great John Berger (see NC here) commented on Sanders’ photo in his famous essay, “The Suit and the Photograph”:
Now make an experiment. Block out the faces … with a piece of paper, and consider only their clothed bodies.
By no stretch of the imagination can you believe that these bodies belong to the middle or ruling class. They might belong to workers, rather than peasants but otherwise there is no doubt. Nor is the clue their hands — as it would be if you could touch them. Then why is their class so apparent?
Is it a question of fashion and the quality of the cloth in their suits? In real life such details would be telling. In a small black and white photograph they are not very evident. Yet the static photograph shows, perhaps more vividly than in life, the fundamental reason why the suits, far from disguising the social class of those who wore them, underlined and emphasized it.
Their suits deform them. Wearing them, they look though they were physically mis-shapen. … None of their abnormalities is extreme. They do not provoke pity. They are just sufficient to undermine physical dignity. We look at bodies which appear coarse, clumsym brute-like. And incorrigibly so.
Berger wrote of German peasants in 1914. He could have written the same words of British workers in 1948. Or American workers in 2021. Personally, I think all workers should have nice things. That includes nice clothes.
News of the Wired
“A theory of how developers seek information” [Austin Z. Henley]. “A person, known as the predator, seeks information, known as the prey, in an information environment made up of patches, which could be code files, program output, log data, a stack trace, debugger information, etc. The predator navigates within and between patches using links (e.g., a shortcut to jump to a function’s definition or a button in a menu) that have some cost (e.g., effort and time) until the predator’s information goals are satisfied. In a patch there are information features (e.g., words and graphics), which may include the prey. Each information has a value to the predator (possibly a zero value!) and a cost (e.g., the time to process the information). Some information features act as cues that provide a clue as to what a link may lead to…. The predator always has three choices: forage within a patch, navigate between patches, or enrich the environment. Foraging within the patch involves processing the information features at their current location. Navigating between patches involves traversing a link to go to a different patch that can hopefully satisfy the predator’s goals. The third option involves the predator changing the environment, such as bookmarking a code location or performing a text search, which produces a new patch with search results.” • This would imply the trees and plants don’t seek information. I don’t think that’s true.
“The physical limit of trick shots in billiards” [Gizmodo]. “How many collisions can a billiard ball make before we have no way of knowing its eventual trajectory? The joker in the deck is gravity, a force that no one can entirely “screen out,” no matter where they are in the universe. It makes a difference in the path of molecules and the path of billiard balls. For the first collision of a billiard ball, we can control the variable so well that we don’t really have to think of gravity as anything other than the force holding the ball on the table. We control all the variables that matter: the placement and force of the hit. After a couple of collisions, we’re less able to determine where the balls go. Even on an idealized surface, there are many options depending on the exact force with which the balls meet, and the forces acting upon them. After six or seven collisions, you don’t just have to worry about the gravity of the Earth, but of the gravity of the people walking around the table. Exactly where these people are, and the gravitational pull their mass exerts on the balls, will determine whether the balls go one way or another. This means that, unless a pool player can carefully weight the people around the table, determine where they stand, there’s no possible way for anyone to be certain of the trajectory of a ball after six or more collisions.”
“The New Science of tigue Resistance” [Outdoors]. “Endurance athletes, specifically bicyclists. “[W]hen I asked [Peter Leo, a doctoral student at the University of Innsbruck] how to develop fatigue resistance, he did have a few practical suggestions. One is that running low on carbohydrates seems to make fatigue resistance worse𠅊n observation that dovetails with other data from the Breaking2 project, which found that taking in 60 grams of carbohydrate per hour improved fatigue resistance. In training, Leo and his colleagues hypothesize that the volume of training you do is more important than the intensity for developing fatigue resistance. And you might try including intervals or sprints toward the end of a longer ride, he suggested: four x 8:00 hard with 4:00 recovery after three to four hours of lower-intensity riding, for example.”
This is what a magnificent public space can look like, since I am sure most everybody in charge of writing infrastructure requirements has forgotten:
Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (EH):
EH writes: “From Brooklyn Botanic Garden May 2019…”
Somehow that curved sidewalk fence at top right makes me think of New York slash Brooklyn.
Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the recently concluded and — thank you! — successful annual NC fundraiser. So if you see a link you especially like, or an item you wouldn’t see anywhere else, please do not hesitate to express your appreciation in tangible form. Remember, a tip jar is for tipping! Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of donations helps me with expenses, and I factor in that trickle when setting fundraising goals:
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The NFL Playoffs begins today. The home town Jets kick things off at 4:30
NY Jets vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys
Jets fans have plenty of options to watch the game. I can't list them all, but here are a few.
Jets Game Watch Party at Dewey's Flatiron
Dewey's Flatiron: Showing the game on 17 HD TVs.
210 Fifth Ave. (between 25th & 26th St.) Flatiron District New York, NY (212) 696-BEER
Jets vs. Bengals at McFadden's
$3 drafts, $10 pitchers
1/2 price apps
Watch the game on 14 flat screens
800 Second Ave. (42nd St.)
New York, NY
Overlook is hosting a pre-game tailgate starting at 2pm with a $10 unlimited Bud Light special going until kickoff, and $3 Bud Light Pints during the game.
225 E. 44th St. (between Second & Third Ave.)
midtown east , New York, NY (212) 682-7266
Third & Long will host Kick the Keg Wild Card Saturday with $2 mugs all beers on tap between 2 and 7pm. Be sure to say hello to Curtis.
523 Third Ave. (35th St.) Murray Hill. New York, NY (212) 447-5711
Rogue will have a The Coors Light girls doing a promo at 6pm during the game.
757 Sixth Ave. (between 25th & 26th St.), Chelsea , New York, NY (212) 242-6434
The East End will have $25 unlimited Bud Light drafts + 1/2 price wings.
1664 First Ave. (between 86th & 87th St.) Upper East Side , New York, NY (212) 348-3783
Smith's Bar on 8th Ave. will have drink specials for New York fans during the game.
701 Eighth Ave. (44th St.) Hell's Kitchen New York, NY (212) 246-3268
Amity Hall, the new beer bar on W. 3rd, is hosting a game watch party. $4 bottle & draft specials during all major games. RSVP via Facebook
80 W. 3rd St., Greenwich Village, New York, NY 212 677-2290
Bar 43 is hosting an early tailgate (indoors), with buy 1 get 1 free wing. A pitcher of Bud Light & wings will cost you $15. Mickey recommends you arrive early for a good seat. RSVP via Facebook
43-06 43rd St. (between Queens Blvd. & 43rd Ave.) Sunnyside, Queens, NY (718) 361-3000
The NYC Jets Fan Meetup Group Game Watch Party is at Blondies. RSVP at Meetup.com and ask for Howard.
212 W. 79th St. (between Broadway & Amsterdam Ave.) Upper West Side, NY, NY
And for those that chant "Who Dey" (Bengals fans), you can try Phebe's in the East Village.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys
In the other game, (the Giants fans worst nightmare game), The Philadelphia Eagles face the Dallas Cowboys at 8pm.
The Town Tavern on W. 3rd St. is Eagles fan headquarters in NYC. I know this because I can never set foot in the place during an Eagles game (sorry guys).
Eagles Game Watch Party
The Town Tavern
134 W. 3rd St. (Sixth Ave.)
New York, NY
Stone Creek in Murray Hill has been hosting Cowboys fans all season. Our friend (and former MurphGuide softball player) Jon Asnis will be bartending, so be sure to tell him Murph says hello.
140 E 27th St.
(between Lexington & 3rd Ave.)
New York, NY
Check back tomorrow for tips on where to watch Sunday's NFL action.
Baltimore Ravens vs. New England Patriots
I have been practically jumping out of my skin since last May to see The Avengers. You see, I have a deep love for Marvel comics and all things superhero. I wanted to share my appreciation for the comic book arts with my children, so I decided that we would go see it on opening day. I am that kind of mom. You’re not buying this are you?
Ok then, fine. I took my children as a front, so I could stare at a certain half-naked demi-god again. Thor, god of hotness. Hubba Hubba.
So, I take the kids right after school and we pull the whole junk food as supper routine and settle in for the movie. My youngest had buttered popcorn, Skittles and blue Kool-aid. Leave your judgement at the door mamas. I know, I know. Good lord, do I know.
About twenty minutes into the movie, my youngest daughter crawls over onto my lap and says her tummy doesn’t feel well. We sit for a few minutes and I ask her if she wants to go to the washroom. She says she’s okay and less than 30 seconds later stands straight up and vomits. As every mom knows, when your kid throws up and no receptacle is to be found, your hands become said receptacle.
So, that’s how we ended up, me walking down the hall with two hands full of popcorn, skittles and blue kool-aid, and my ill daughter in tow. She then went for Round #2 and emptied her stomach all over the hallway leading out. Fan-freakin-tastic. Obviously, at this point, my hands are quite literally full, so I can neither comfort nor catch until I find a garbage can. We make it to the garbage can just outside the door for Round #3.
I leave her at the garbage can for fear she won’t make it to the washroom and run across to wash my hands and grab some paper towels to clean her face. When I return, my oldest daughter is standing there looking miffed. “Ah, does this mean we have to leave?”, she says.
Ok, let’s just pause her for a moment moms and relate. Mom to Mom. You know that “look” you have? The one that says, without saying a word, “Child, if you have the audacity to say another word to me right now, so help me God, I will disown you and adopt you out to Gypsies” That look? Yeah, I pulled that look out.
On the way out, I hunt down the manager to share the happy news with him, “My daughter just threw up in the your theatre. I’m really sorry about that. Any way we could get a refund?” Hats off to the guy, he took it in stride, and handed us three passes for another show.
My apologies to the people left behind in the theatre. My apologies to the people in the line-up outside who were witness to the little package in my hands while walking across to the washroom. My apologies to the poor kid that had to clean that up. You should all know though, that as soon as I got in the car, I laughed my ass off the whole way home at the ridiculousness of the whole situation. Because, if you don’t laugh my friends, you cry.
There was a small saving grace to this whole thing. For me anyway. There was a trailer before the movie with one of my five in it. Jason Statham. I’ll take what I can get.
Pleasantville Note: My daughter is fine, and in a bit of even better news, she might be scared off of junk food for a little while. Go figure.
And so it happened. On a recent trip south with my girls, they noticed. They are eight and ten now after all, so naturally they are beginning to note that men and women wear wildly different attire to swim in. Some wear bikinis, some wear one pieces, some wear swim trunks and some, well some wear Speedos.
And it was the Speedos that were causing them to stare, mouths agape, horrified looks in their eyes.
So, I leaned over to them at the pool and said, “You know what those are called, right?”
Eyes wide, leaning forward they were rapt. I could see them anticipating some very adult, clinical explanation that I felt they were finally mature enough to handle.
They reeled with laughter. You see, even their mother doesn’t have the maturity to deal with Speedos.
I told them flat out what I thought. That I think they’re hideous….but that we must be accepting of them, as not everyone, as they could clearly see, hated them. That it was a very European thing to wear among men and indeed, we were surrounded by European men. European men that were a little long in the tooth to be sporting next to nothing, and had a little too much hair peeking out from the top of their barely there swimsuit. Men with bellies so large that they couldn’t tell you with certainty if they were dressed or not below their belly button. Men, who in all honesty, thought they were Golden Adonis’. And to be fair, there were a few delusional North Americans thrown in there for good measure as well.
I thought to myself — “Self, what women allows her husband to go out like this? What woman can control the laughter when her husband walks out in one of these? What woman is turned on by the sight of this? Self, why is their not a license to buy one of these? Excuse me Sir, I’ll need to see your Olympic medal before you can purchase this dingaling sling.”
Surely, I couldn’t be the only one thinking these incredibly immature thoughts. Surely, there must be others. So I hit my Facebook page and asked the question:
And I felt vindicated. Yes! If I could just find a way to organize us, I really thing we could get these grape smugglers banned. Who’s with me?
Watch for my next post: Ladies – Dental Floss Up Your Butt. 9 out of 10 dentists agree that’s not where it’s supposed to go.
I recently read the book Play: How It Shapes The Brain, Opens The Imagination, And Invigorates The Soul by Stuart Brown. It motivated me to try a little exercise which I have now decided to share in this post. We often contemplate what our ideal life would look like (probably even more so now after everything that’s happened with COVID). I mean, if you had the power to design your life, wouldn’t you?
In early 2014, when we made the conscious decision to channel all our energy into planning ‘How Far From Home’, deciding to give up our corporate jobs in advertising, and selling (almost) everything we owned, we made a choice. We chose to make sacrifices and say “no” to a number of things that were not serving us and our happiness at the time – for example, the rat race and our over-consumption of material possessions (also very much influenced by another amazing book – Stuffocation by James Wallman). In doing so, we chose to say “yes” to full-time travel, a one-way ticket taking us far from home, and the desire to create something together whilst getting creatively inspired.
It was probably the best decision we’ve ever made in our lives (other than getting married).
We knew that by having courage to say “no” to certain things, we were opening up our world to a whole new adventure, and a chance to do something not many people are able to: design your life how you want to live it.
I don’t need to tell you that our full-time travel life was out of this world – the things we saw and did during our journey completely blew our minds, and we managed to achieve so much more than we could’ve ever dreamed of.
I also don’t need to tell you that the pandemic, and a world post-COVID looks very different to the world we had back in 2014 when we made the choice to design our life the first time.
But what I feel I need to tell you, is that you can design your life and redesign your life as many times as you feel you need to. It’s not a one-time-only event that only the lucky few get tickets for. Every single day gives you a new opportunity to build up the courage to take the plunge (whatever that plunge looks like), and you can continue to take the plunge (maybe a different plunge every few years) to suit whatever life stage or soul desire you have at that point in your life.
And so today’s post is a kind reminder that you are in control of your life. Yes, there are certain things out of your control, but it’s not worth your time focusing on those. Spend your time and energy on the things you can control, on the things you can change, and slowly, over time, you will inch closer and closer to designing your life to look and feel just the way you want it to. Loosely quoting another favourite author of mine, Mark Manson: “regardless of what happens to you, you can always choose how you spend your time, what (you) pay attention to, where you direct your energy, and who you choose to associate with.”
Now, if you have no idea where to start with designing your life, then I’m glad you’re reading this post.
“A great exercise that I often used for both kids and adults was to ask them to visualize their lives five or ten years in the future, focusing not on whether they want to be a lawyer or be rich, but instead on what they might be doing that would make them really happy and excited. This itself is a kind of imaginative play. It allows people to step out of their everyday life and see the bigger picture. It also allows them to see clearly how they really want their lives to be, to focus on those elements that arise out of the true, core self rather than on what the world wants them to be. Once people have this sort of vision, they are empowered to move toward making it a reality.”
When we (in our own little way) did this exercise back in 2014, we created what we called our Wanderlist (the OG blog readers might remember it). It was a list of all the things we wanted to do and see during our what-we-thought-was-going-to-be-a sabbatical. It has a few touristy things like “Take a photo of Yosemite at sunrise” and “Go dancing in Berlin” (which we managed to do, yay) but also a few other bigger goals, like publishing a book and starting a business (both of which we’ve also managed to achieve – yay again!) We’ve managed to tick off 90 of the 140 items so far, and while we wait for travel to open up again, and we save up to take some exciting, long-overdue trips to South America and parts of Asia, looking at the list more recently we realised that the remaining items on our Wanderlist (the 50 we still need to complete) are all travel-related. They’re sites we want to visit and places we want to photograph.
But there is more to life than just travel.
Ticking items off your traveling bucket list is just one part of living a fulfilling life, and so my recent obsession with Stuart Brown’s book has motivated me to create a game (which I encourage you to play – especially since you’ve come this far in the post) because as we’re going to try prove in a few other blog posts this month: life is SO much better when you play.
This “game*” can be “played*” alone, with your other half, with your family, or with your friends. The idea is to get you to understand what is most important to you (no one else – you alone), and then to visualise and design your life to prioritise those values. Doing it with loved ones just means you have someone to talk to about your findings, but the actual exercise you will do alone, because it’s your life.
*I’m using inverted commas when I say “play” and “game” because it’s going to be a much more enjoyable and light-hearted experience if you treat it like a game and not a serious “goal-reaching exercise” (which so many other people will talk you into doing when you ask how to design your life). As Stuart Brown puts it, “I think that nobody should keep an iron-fisted grip on any particular vision. As with any play activity, people need to be open to improvisation and serendipity. Remember that the point of this exercise is not to create a five- or ten-year plan for personal development. The point is to clarify who you are and what sort of future speaks to you emotionally. The most rewarding activities and interests come to light when we open ourselves up to them. Goals are good, but overly rigid pursuit of those goals can inhibit growth and understanding. After discovering what appeals to us emotionally, the strongest emotions, or those that resonate most, lead to the creation of a realistic path forward.”
I’ve created a little print-out that you can download here and turn your life-designing into a game. You’ll need to cut the cards so they’re all separate, and then once you’re ready, have a seat in a quiet place (preferably surrounded by nature) with your spouse, family, friends or just regular ol’ “you, yourself and I”.
The idea is to choose relevant ‘things you value’ and rate them from most important to you, to least important. If any of them are irrelevant, you can leave them out of your stack, and if you feel there’s something that’s missing, and you want to add a couple additional values, then I’ve included some blanks that you can just write in yourself.
Once you have your relevant cards, you’ll need to place them in order of importance to you. Take note: this is going to be VERY difficult. Of course, some of them will overlap and some might be of equal importance – that’s ok. No one will judge you – you’re either doing this alone or with people who love you. The point is to listen to your gut, and just start stacking. Place the important things at the top and the least important at the bottom. A reminder: this is meant to be an exercise that focuses on the present and near-future (think maximum five years from now). If there’s values that are important but you only want to unpack them in a decade’s time (like owning a house or starting a family), place them near the end of the pack. The goal of this game is to become something you do often – something you continue to go back to, to see if things have changed.
I’ll give you an example when Stevo and I played the game. We each took time to do our own stack, and then we came together to see where the overlaps were, and how we can make our lives work ensuring both my and his dreams and values are being prioritised (marriage 101 right here!) What stood out and came up high in both our stacks was our need to have a happy marriage, a healthy work / life balance, our desires to create, live an adventurous life, and to work for ourselves. It was certainly a very different stack to one we would’ve had when we were planning to leave home originally in 2014, but change is half the fun of growing up, right? Oh, and can you handle another Stuart Brown quote?
“When we play, dilemmas and challenges will naturally filter through the unconscious mind and work themselves out.”
Once you’ve created your stack and can clearly see what values are most important to you when thinking about the present and near future, it’s time to start doing some spring cleaning with the items that didn’t make it to the top of the list. There’s only so many hours in each day, and you only have so much energy to expend. In order to live your best life and prioritise the values that are most important to you, you need to have the courage to make some sacrifices and let go that which isn’t serving you, and that which doesn’t make it into your big picture.
It’s going to be difficult, but the rewards will be well worth it.
I would recommend choosing your top five to ten items and parking the rest for the next time you play this game. Maybe you’ll turn this into a monthly form of contemplation for yourself, to see if you’re still on track and if your priorities are changing. How often you play, and how many items you prioritise, is up to you – you’re designing your life after all. Then really put an effort into succeeding at these chosen five to ten items. Do your homework if you need to, watch less Netflix if it means you’ll gain an hour or two a day, get up an hour or two earlier if you have a hectic schedule. There are always ways to design your life – you just have to have courage and make an effort.
Let us know in the comments if you enjoyed this post and what your top priorities are? We’d love to know!
Got some travels planned? We’re rounding up some of the best ideas for how you can become a more conscious traveler on y.
To assist you – either practically, in an inspiring way, or maybe in a lighthearted just-to-put-a-smile-on-your-face kin.
Last week we reached a ridiculous, we-still-cannot-fathom-it milestone. Whilst flying over Vienna during our South-Afric.
It’s not just that women and men can be clueless when it comes to Valentine’s Day gifts, the problem with shopping for this occasion is that any well-funded advertisement can sway a reasonable man or woman into buying a terrible mistake of a gift.
Scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, I came across a friend’s rant over this commercial that is hawking a giant teddy bear as the ideal gift. I quickly realized that when trying to avoid the obvious flower-and-chocolate combo, some shoppers might need specific guidance on what to buy whom.
With Americans spending billions of dollars on Valentine’s Day gifts every year, maybe these ideas will help you spend a little more wisely whether you’re browsing online or driving around town.
From Paleo and macrobiotic diet devotees to those who avidly follow Twinkies' latest updates, anyone who enjoys any sort of grubbing will appreciate something for their kitchen. But instead of reaching for another Le Creuset pot, make an impression with Anthro’s Imperial cheese knives or this oil and vinegar atomizer, a little tool that makes art out of your dish. On the cheaper end of the spectrum is a book that will tell your guy or girl where their idols eat.
If you must buy chocolate, go with the Leonidas assortment from Chocolat du Monde in the Rice Village.
Freebie alternative: Plan a quirky menu around whatever is currently in your pantry and cook up some weird dishes together.
Hipsters gifting anything on a Hallmark holiday is so like, ironic. But whatever, if you’re not on a budget and want to impress the guy or girl who is so over everything, splurge on this stunning Townsend bicycle. Or if your over-it valentine would prefer to be at a show at The Mink rather than hitting the pavement, Meze headphones are a no-fail gift for the best listening experience.
Lastly, these hoodies and sweatshirts feature out-of-print book covers, but check out Brazos Bookstore on Bissonnet for their selection before ordering anything.
Freebie alternative: Hit up a Cactus live in-store performance for some great under-the-radar music acts.
If you’re dating the guy who knows the difference between an Eames lounger and an Ikea office chair (first of all, where did you meet this catch?), you have to check out this little Etsy shop. For the local brick and mortar must-visit spot, head to Kuhl-Linscomb in Upper Kirby for modernly classic finds to impress the guy or girl with discerning taste. They have everything from housewares and apparel accessories to furniture in the houses surrounding the main building.
Freebie alternative: Browse the lower Montrose mid-century modern shops to admire vintage cars and retro furnishings.
J. Crew is way too easy, but there’s still time to order from Kate Spade’s former creative director Julia Leach’s clothing shop for your lady. This site features apparel essentials with a nautical theme. Ladies, Smathers & Branson is a no-brainer for the preppy guy in your life. Check out the belts that showcase your guy's alma mater or weekend hobby. Stop by Tiny Boxwoods for brunch and savor bottomless mimosas on an early Sunday afternoon before hitting the spa together.
Freebie alternative: Have a picnic at the Houston Polo Club and snap portraits with the horses.
The Any-Type You’ve Been With Forever
If you’re at the point where you share bank accounts, pets and a restroom, get ready to splurge a little. Because I have no idea how to shop for the long-termer, I consulted my dad who has been shopping for my mom at Hal Martin’s on Westheimer for decades. It’s a lesser-known spot that sells well-priced fine jewelry and Rolex watches and offers on-staff consultants to aid the clueless shopper.
You can also browse on e-Bay or Etsy for vintage jewelry and watches to suit your loved one’s taste.
Freebie alternative: Frame a meaningful note, poem or photograph to remind why you've stayed together through rough patches.
Last week when I was sick, I was reading a lot of stuff on the web. The problem with reading stuff on the web is the links. One site leads you to another and that one leads you somewhere else. Three days later when you are thinking about something you read, it is hard to remember where exactly you read it.
I read about someone making a recipe from the Woodward & Lothrop Cook Book. I went and pulled out my Woodies cookbook and started reading up on it. Then I decided to write about it, but I wanted to give a shout out to the person who sent me looking more deeply at the cookbook. So, I searched and luckily, the post I read was recent, and it didn't take long before it popped up. It was in the pie blog Nothing in the House. One of the founders is Emily Hilliard a folklorist and writer who lives just down the road(about 2 hours) from me in Charleston, WV. So here is your SHOUT OUT.
Woodward & Lothrop was THE place to shop in D.C. It was like a shopping mall in the middle of a city. There were clothes, shoes, and bridal wear. There was china, glassware, cooking equipment , and dining sets. There were toys, food, cameras, art, and candy. If you needed it, Woodies had it.
Woodward & Lothrop Cook Book was written by Mabel Claire. The subtitle of the cookbook reads: For the Busy Woman including a Complete Guide to Kitchen Management. The cookbook was published in 1932. What is wonderful about this book is its marketing. As I said before, if you needed it -- it was at Woodies. That is, if you needed it in Washington, D.C.
But what if you lived in Chicago? Well, do not fear. If Carson's was the place that had everything you needed there was the Carson, Pirie Scott & Co's Cook Book For the Busy Woman including a Complete Guide to Kitchen Management. In New York City there was the Macy's Cook Book For the Busy Woman including a Complete Guide to Kitchen Management as well as the Gimbels Cook Book For the Busy Woman including a Complete Guide to Kitchen Management. There was a copy for the May Company, The Emporium, Meier & Frank, Bamberger's and more. I am not sure how many different copies of Mabel Claire's cookbook is out there under a different store title. If you think of it, though, it was a great idea. There are still tons of people out there who were born BEFORE Amazon. Writing a single cookbook and selling it to a dozen department stores across the country was brilliant.
One recipe that many Woodies customers remember is a cookie called the Woodies cookie or the English Drop cookie. People remember it having raisins, butter, and brown sugar. Knowing the history of this cookbook, I am not sure this is actually the recipe, but here is the closest thing in the Woodward & Lothrop Cook Book.
1/2 Cup Softened Butter
1 1/4 Cups Flour
1/2 Brown Sugar
2 Egg Yolks
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Cloves
1/2 Cup Stoned Dates Cut in Pieces
Mix the softened butter with the brown sugar. Beat in the egg yolks. Add the dry ingredients sifted together. Beat them in, a little at a time. Add the dates and a few nut meats. Drop in tablespoonfuls on a buttered cookie sheet. Bake in a moderate oven for 10 minutes (375 F.). Makes eighteen cookies.
Many ladies I know in Ontario have made a move to a mythical land I like to call Denial. Denial is a pretty place, where the weather is always warm and food has no calories. It’s filled with procrastinators who refuse to put socks on in mid-October, have still not packed away their summer clothes and naively think that’s there’s always more time. It’s also a place where they like to leave some not-so-fun chores to the men in their lives. The land of Denial can be super fun, until reality comes knocking that reality my Canuck friend, is winter, and it’s coming.
You may be asking yourself how I’m such an expert on this topic and it’s because I’m practically the Mayor of this magical place. I refuse to give up my flip-flops for mukluks until the snow is over my feet, and I like to think my husband will remember to get the patio furniture put away before the snow flies. There’s one area though where I no longer pass the buck, and that’s getting my winter tires on.
For the last two years I’ve been working with Kaltire to spread a really important message—ALL SEASON TIRES ARE A MYTH. Your safety truly relies on understanding this and the time to put your winter tires on is now! Your all season tires begin to lose traction long before the snow hits the ground.
One of the best analogies I’ve heard about putting your winter tires on when the temperature consistently hits 7C was from Geoff Wiebe, a Kaltire tire expert. Geoff pointed out that you don’t wait until an accident is about to happen to put your seatbelt on, so why would you wait until winter is here to put your tires on? Touché Geoff, touché.
I get it, I do. I drive a big car, and I couldn’t figure out why my ginormous AWD SUV drove like a ten-speed bike with bald tires in the snow. It was the tires! You can have all the bells and whistles on your vehicles, but if your tires aren’t right, it won’t make a bit of difference. This year, I had the pleasure of meeting Amber Balcean, the first Canadian woman to win a NASCAR sanctioned race in the US at the annual Kaltire event. Aside from the fact that she’s a kickass woman blazing a trail for herself in a male-dominated field, Amber is also whip-smart.
I asked her where she felt safer driving—on the track at breakneck speeds or on the road? She’d take the track any day, and that’s because our roads are too unpredictable. Amber and her fellow NASCAR drivers know all too well the importance of having the right tires for every condition, but it’s a knowledge that’s not translating to the streets.
Knowledge is power ladies, so get yourself to a local Kaltire to ask the questions yourself. I promise, these guys are not going to talk down to you like you’re the “little lady”. The men (and some ladies – hooray for diversity) are straight shooters and will happily tell you everything you need to know about which winter tires are right for your vehicle. Once you do the #7CSwitch, be sure to pass it on. The more winter tires we have on the road this winter, the safer we’ll all be.
Want to know more about winter tires and become a Kaltire Keener like me? Check out my post here about five things to know about your winter tires, and here, so you can avoid being “that guy”.