Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

It’s Christmas Time In The City

Friday, November 30th, 2007

Tonight, Lexcie and I went on our self-guided New York City Christmas windows tour, as well as a few other prime holiday spots in Manhattan.

Our first stop was Bloomingdale’s, which had the strangest holiday-themed windows I’ve ever seen. They apparently took ideas from kids at the Children’s Museum of the Arts and ran with them – which included candy-covered robots and a four-eyed, two-mouthed princess. Oh, and lots and lots of glitter. It was just… strange. And didn’t feel very Christmas-y at all.

Barney’s, on the other hand, was a breath of fresh creative air. (more…)

Brought To You By The Letter – WHY?

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

I read an interesting blog by Ada Calhoun today on whether “Sesame Street” ruined Generation X in response to a New York Times article by Virginia Heffernan. Apparently, there is a warning on the back of the Sesame Street: Old School DVD that says “These early ‘Sesame Street’ episodes are intended for grown-ups, and may not suit the needs of today’s preschool child.”

I purchase the DVD for my mother last Christmas. The show holds a special place in her heart, especially since it debuted the same week my oldest sister was born in 1969. We’ve watched the first two episodes so far, and one particular segment stuck out: kids running through a construction site, learning words such as up, down, over, under and through. I wish I could find the clip on You Tube, because it involved kids running around broken bits of glass, rusty metal pieces and on top of sawhorses, if I recall correctly. As I watched it, I thought to myself that if the same scene played today, it would involve lawsuits, tetanus and Child Protective Services.

How about some characters that are no longer on the show?

  1. Lefty The Salesman – A creepy salesman in trenchcoat trying to sell inncocent Ernie various goods from an invisible ice-cream cone to a bottle of air? Oh no! And don’t forget the gangster mentions of Louie the Lip and The Golden An.
  2. Roosevelt Franklin – The jive talkin’ kid was removed from the series “following letters complaining of a negative African-American stereotype, and because his rowdy elementary school did not set a good example for children,” according to Muppet Wiki.
  3. Don Music – The agonized musician “was abandoned because of complaints about his alarming tendencies toward self-inflicted punishment. Apparently, kids were imitating his head-banging at home,” according to Sesame Street Unpaved.

In my opinion, even Cookie Monster jumped the shark when he sang “Healthy Food.”

I think Calhoun summed it up nicely:

“Kids today are often presented by kids’ programming with a misleading ‘everyone wins!’ version of reality. They could stand a little more misanthropic Oscar, a little less ‘Prozacky Elmo.'”

I couldn’t agree more. My generation doesn’t know how good we had it.

Robots In Disguise

Sunday, July 15th, 2007

My friend Dean brought his children, ages 8 and 7, to see Transformers this weekend. Apparently, there’s a scene where the protagonist, played by Shia LaBeouf, is searching for something in his room. His parents are knocking on the door, asking what he is doing, and he tells them to hold on. This went on for a few minutes, and the parents were becoming inpatient. Finally, he lets them into the room, and they ask him something to the effect of, “Were you masturbating?”

Of course, that’s something most 7 and 8 year olds have (and should have) no clue about. Dean said his children began to persistantly ask what masturbating was, while in the theater, and he told them they’d talk about it later. But his son kept pressing on (more…)

Women In Art

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

This video is absolutely amazing:

Come On (Thumbs) Down

Monday, May 28th, 2007

My Dell Inspiron 9300 laptop has been overheating the past week – to the point it burns my skin – so I did an online chat with Dell tech support. Boy, was I in for a suprise – and no, it wasn’t the fact that the motherboard and fan need replacing – but the tech actually had an Indian name! Yes, no more Kevin from Kolkatta or Donna from Delhi. Dell is no longer denying the fact that it outsources. I was quite amused. So, now a technician has to come replace those parts and put on new rubber laptop feet. I’m just glad I don’t have to ship the laptop to Texas again. Although repair turnaround is quick, I hate not having the laptop in my presence. I must say, though – Dell has excellent warranties.

And speaking of fixing and putting together, I had to assemble the new patio set today – our first new set in 26 years! However, the placement of the bolts in the chairs were such that they were extremely hard to tighten – and I had to use both an allen wrench and this cheap stubby wrench at a very bad angle in order to do so. Since my left hand is not as strong as my right, it was difficult to manuever both wrenches at the same time, and I flared up the tendinitis in my right thumb. My cousin was having difficulty, too, and by the time it came to put together the table, I enlisted the help of my sister’s boyfriend. If it were Ikea furniture, I doubt it would have been as difficult. Ugh.

For the past two nights, I have been laughing so hard that I’ve almost bust a gut. Over what? “The Price Is Right” bloopers. Some of the good ones:

Amanda vs. the World

Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

So, here’s the latest scorecards:

  1. Amanda vs. Long Island Rail Road’s Lost and Found (0-2) – Two months ago, I lost a special (and somewhat expensive) Tupperware on the train. I had this nifty thingamajig on top that would allow me to dispense salad dressing at the turn of a knob so I wouldn’t have a soggy salad by lunchtime. Four visits to Long Island Rail Road’s Lost and Found office in Penn Station were fruitless, so I vowed never to leave a bag on the LIRR again. But the Tupperware gods said “HA!” So, Monday, I left my other special Tupperware on the train – the one with the nifty sandwich cooler – along with two electric toothbrushes I bought for 50% off at Duane Reade. So, I went to Lost and Found this morning, but the young William H. Macy-lookalike at the counter said nothing was brought back from that train. Oh well, I guess I have to go back to toting cheap Chinese takeout Tupperware now.
  2. Amanda vs. Metro (1-0) – Last month, I wrote a bitchy letter to Metro, AM New York and MTA New York City Transit about the pushy free newspaper peddlers outside of the southeast entrance of Herald Square/34th Street’s subway station. They were constantly blocking the flow of traffic, as well as leaving newspapers on the steps and bannisters – a pretty big safety hazard, if you asked me. Metro was first to respond, and told me it would remedy the situation. Now, its peddler stands five feet back from the stairs and out of the way. The MTA responded with some dinky form letter about getting the transit bureau on it, but that still leaves…
  3. Amanda vs. AM New York (0-1) – Its peddler still goes back and forth in front of the stairway like the paddle in “Pong,” the commuters her unfortunate ball. She is very pushy, and will block your way in order to fill her quota. I’ve gotten quite testy with her a few times when she tried to force the paper on me. AM New York never responded to my letter, and she’s still at it.
  4. Amanda vs. the Office Snack Vending Machine (0-2 and 50 cents) – The first bag of Apple Chips got stuck, so I fed the machine another dollar, hoping the second bag would knock it down. Both got stuck, and the machine never returned my change.

Jingle All the Way

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007

Bad allergies have knocked me down and out, so I’ve been home the past two days. Although I’ve been filing news and writing articles remotely, the Benadryl is making me super-drowsy and dizzy. I also have a headache, but I wonder it’s from the (appropriate) Astalin advertisement that plays on TV during every commercial break.

As annoying as that commercial’s jingle is, it’s not as irritating as some others out there – particularly Behr’s Furniture. There’s no video, but you can listen to its jingle over and over again on its homepage. In fact, Long Island seems to breed a lot of bad jingles – so many, that my mom wondered if a special jingle school exists. Any Long Islander could probably sing the following:

  1. Rockaway Bedding – “Rock, Rock, Rock, Rockaway Bedding, Rock, Rock, Rock, Rockaway Bedding, Rock, Rock, Rock, Rockaway Bedding, Rockaway Bedding, yeah!”
  2. Nicolock – “Let Nicolock Pavers (let Nicolock Paaa-vers), pave your way… pave your way!”
  3. Sleepy’s (in a bad R&B beat) – “Trust Sleepy’s for the rest of your life, we’re the mattress professionals d-doing it ri-ight… trust Sleepy’s for the rest of your life!”
  4. Suburban Exterminating – “Call 8-6-4-6-9-oh-oh for Suburban Exterminating, Suburban Exterminating!”
  5. Eddie’s Trailer Sales – “T-R-A-I-L-E-R-S, trailers (Eddie’s), T-R-A-I-L-E-R-S, trailers (Eddie’s). For camping in the USA, call Eddie’s Trailer Sales today, it’s Eddie’s Trailer Sales!”
  6. 1-800-MATTRESS – “1-800-M-A-T-T-R-E-S (oh yeah, Dial-A-Mattress), 1-800-M-A-T-T-R-E-S… and leave off the last S for savings!”

There are quite a few more, but I’m conveniently forgetting them (and hoping it will stay that way).

Chalk-Flavored Apple Juice

Saturday, July 9th, 2005

It looks like the Prednisone the physician’s assistant at the Southside Hospital ER gave me to control the cough is working wonders. I have coughed maybe once – and only to clear my throat – since they’ve given me the shot. I take the supplementary pills once a day. Why didn’t any of the other doctors I saw for this cough even think of this? They all seemed so intent on making me take codeine – and I even stopped taking that since I got the Prednisone. The codeine just made me too whacky. Never again. I should just stick to my guns when I say I don’t want a medication.

Today I went to the radiologist for another CT scan, this time of my abdominal region. Apparently, it was not taken with the PET scan, and they just want to make sure that the cancer didn’t spread to the lymph nodes in my groin. Well, abdominal CT scans mean one thing – barium drinks. Oh, how I loathe thee. Just take a flavor, mix it with sidewalk chalk, and you’ve got the barium drink. Usually it is orange flavored – last time I had to drink barium, I couldn’t eat Cremesicles for years. This time they had two other flavors, banana and apple. I chose the lesser of two evils, the chalk-flavored apple juice.

I saw another woman drinking it in the office and already felt sick to my stomach. The nurse mixed the drink and handed it to me. OK, one drink, I can deal. I turned around to go back to my seat, and she said, “Wait, one more!” Two liters of “Apple Smoothie” barium with the juicy looking apple design on the front. Smoothie? Is that supposed to make the patient feel like it’s some hip yuppie-yoga drink? I don’t like smoothies very much to begin with!

So I gulped them down as fast as I could. My stomach began to cramp up – a side effect of barium, but I’m sure part of it was my disgust. After I managed to down the whole two liters, I had to wait for another 20 minutes to be called in.

Finally, I went into the scanning room and the nurse prepared the IV with the iodine solution in it. She put it in my hand and it actually hurt this time. I think that if I have to get chemo, I’m going to get a port, because I have really crappy veins. The vein in my right hand has already collapsed from all the blood work and IVs from the past month and a half.

The CT scan machine is a funny thing – it has these two little Pac-Man type faces that tell you when to breath in and hold your breath. The faces are so funny looking that it’s hard not to burst out laughing as you’re being scanned… which defeats the whole purpose of your getting the scan done.

The radiologist came to check in on me, and he asked, “So how did you know to go get tested for lymphoma? Did you have that tell-tale dry hacking cough that usually accompanies the cancer?”

I looked up at him in surprise. I replied, “The thoracic surgeon told me the cough had absolutely nothing to do with the cancer.”

He said, “I’m no thoracic surgeon; I’m just a radiologist. However, I’ve seen plenty of people with lymphoma come in here with that type of cough.”

Strike three for the thoracic surgeon at Stony Brook: first, he never called me, as promised, with the results of the biopsy; we had to call him. Second, he said he’d call me with pulminologist referrals, but never did. He claimed he called, but “I don’t leave messages.” Well, HELLO! I’ve been in and out of doctor’s appointments all week, of course I was going to miss your call! Third, he was constantly pulling information out of his behind. I swear, he was one of the most arrogant doctors that I’ve ever seen. Thank goodness I don’t have to deal with him anymore.

Monday, I have a MUGA scan (a cardiac test) at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip, then Tuesday it’s off to Sloan-Kettering. I then find out my treatment options and whether or not I can take the job with the magazine.

Speaking of magazine, it is now time for my Waiting Room Reading Material Ratings for all the doctors I’ve seen so far:

  • Chiropractor – great, up-to-date magazines, can’t get bored. 5 out of 5 stars.
  • My regular doctor – ditto for the great, up-to-date magazines. 5 out of 5 stars.
  • Stony Brook Hospital Lung Cancer Evaluation Center – great magazines, horribly out of date. 3 out of 5 stars.
  • Southside Hospital Emergency Room – dime store novels and a bunch of books left behind by Jehovah’s Witnesses. Amusument factor gives it 2 out of 5 stars.
  • Medical Arts RadiologyField and Stream, Sports Illustrated, and Digital Imaging (and it’s not about photography, it’s about MRIs). Hardly the feminine foray. 1 out of 5 stars

A New Endangered Species

Wednesday, April 27th, 2005

My first job was babysitting four children, whose ages ranged from two to nine. The mother warned me that the oldest girl was “Nine going on 19,” and I laughed it off. However, when I met the daughter, I saw what she meant. The girl was wearing a low-cut shirt, nail polish and makeup.

“Let’s watch a movie,” I suggested, looking through their extensive Disney collection. I picked out Aladdin.

“Too babyish,” the girl told me. “I want to watch Friday the 13th.”

I informed her that it was rated R and we would not be watching it, because she was only nine, and her brother and sister would be watching it with us.

“But Mommy lets us,” she argued.

Sure enough, her mother stuck her head in the doorway right before she left for the night. “It’s okay for them to watch that movie,” she said.

I then found myself watching Friday the 13th with a four, seven and nine-year old. (more…)

Deadlier Than Pop Rocks & Coke

Wednesday, April 6th, 2005

If you read this column and pass it on to at least 15 of your friends, your phone will ring at 7:00 p.m. and it will be the president of Banana Republic, offering you a free gift certificate to Applebee’s as a reward for your finding little abducted Penny Brown, who is suffering from a rare flesh-eating disease she contracted after cockroaches eggs she ate in an infested Taco Bell burrito hatched in her mouth.

You don’t believe me, huh? (more…)