Archive for the ‘Society’ Category

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.

End Of An Era

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

Yesterday, I attended a town meeting that addressed the fate of the Islip Triplex movie theater, which closed down in September 2006 after almost 60 years. It was subsequently purchased by local developer J.J. Nazarro Associates, who plans to raze the historic brick building and put a mixed-use retail center in its place.

However, Islip resident Marcalan Glassberg wants to turn it into a multi-use arts center, incorporating a dinner theater, performing arts center and an art cinema. You can read the background story at the New York Times and Islip Bulletin.

The town meeting was touted as a “Save the Theater,” but judging from the reaction of a good portion of the attendees, the gathering was anything but. (more…)

Darwin Candidates on Loose

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

I don’t know what it is, but Darwin Award candidates have run amok the past few days, waiting for natural selection to pick them for the team.

I was waiting for the 7:10 LIRR out of Islip yesterday morning when the train began to pull into the station. A 20-something girl on the eastbound side of the station was ambling towards the pedestrian crossing, where you cross the tracks right just west of the platform. There’s no gate at the pedestrian crossing, but there was a flashing warning bell and a sign that says to look both ways for trains.

I suppose she wasn’t expecting the engine to overshoot the platform (it does so the first car boards at the end of the platform), and crossed in front of the train while it was still moving. (more…)

Garage Sale, Day One

Saturday, September 15th, 2007

So, today I held a garage sale. In six hours, I sold two blouses, a roll of raffle tickets, two VHSs, a plaque, three pairs of earrings, a bracelet, Brita water filters and a pin for a grand total of $18.10 and two stuffed animals. I rock.

And today I learned: (more…)

The Power of Hello

Friday, August 31st, 2007

Ever since I was young, my mother would say “Hello” or “Good morning” to random people we passed on the street while out for a stroll. It’s a habit I’ve picked up on, but have limited to suburban areas.

Today, I was walking outside of my Manhattan office building, I passed a co-worker on the street and said, “Hello.” Well, the man next to her thought it was for him, and came up to me with this flirty look on his face. “Hey baby, how are you doing today?” he asked.

Well, this took me by surprise. I replied, “Uh, I was saying hello to my co-worker, but hello to you, too.” Well, if words could deflate! He said, “Oh…” and walked away. I felt sort of bad, but when I turned around a block later, he was still standing there and waved at me. I waved back.

Lexcie met me a few minutes later for lunch and I told him. Naturally, he laughed, because he knows he has nothing to worry about. (And not like I have anything to worry about either, because he tends to get hit on by the same gender – which is amusing, because he doesn’t set off any gaydars here. And I have a pretty good gaydar, too.)

Well, I hope I didn’t ruin that poor guy’s weekend. Just goes to show you what kind of power one little word has.

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…)

Spreading Spiffiness

Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

As many of you know, my favorite word is spiffy. In fact, I use the word so often that one of the oncologists at Stony Brook Medical Center calls me “Her Royal Spiffiness.” Urban Dictionary defines spiffy the way I use it – to express general satisfaction.

However, it seems that a generational gap exists in its definition. Yesterday, a public relations guy asked me how I was doing, to which I replied, “Spiffy!” He said, “I didn’t ask you what you looked like, I asked you how you were doing. But I’m sure you look very nice today.” Lexcie ran into the same problem at work – he’s picked up on my usage, and a co-worker told him that he had perhaps confused the word’s meaning.

The p.r. guy and I then got into a discussion regarding slang, and I told him that, besides dapper, spiffy can also be used to general satisfaction. I told him if he ever needed to pick up on what the cool cats are saying, he has to use Urban Dictionary. He laughed and then told me about the “new” meaning of the word sketchy. When he was growing up, it meant “vague.” Only recently has his teenage son taught him that it could also mean “creepy.” (e.g. Tom Cruise, Steve Buscemi, Jeff Goldblum, many railfans and Ronald McDonald.)

So, spread the spiffy. It needs the well-deserved recognition of words like cool, phat and da bomb.

Yuppificiation Yapping

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

Most people use yuppification as a synonym for gentrification, but I think the term should be more widely applied to any product that’s changed to appeal to a snooty, yuppie culture. I often complain about it in person, but have never blogged about it. To put it simply: I hate yuppification. (more…)

Elementary School Bans Tag

Wednesday, October 18th, 2006

Tag, You’re Out! 

And so our lawsuit-happy society continues the bastardization of childhood. Tell me, how many kids do you know who were sent to the hospital from an innocent game of tag?

Recess is “a time when accidents can happen,” said Willett Elementary School Principal Gaylene Heppe, who approved the ban.

Even with my extreme clumsiness, the worst I’ve gotten were skinned knees – nothing a Band-Aid or antibacterial ointment couldn’t fix.

Well, then, while we’re at it, why don’t we ban baseball? Or only play with a styrofoam bat and a Koosh ball… on a padded surface, of course. Why not ban Barbies? Someone may get an eye poked out with her pointy legs or choke on her hair comb. Why not bad hand games, like “Miss Mary Mack”? If someone gets slapped too hard, it’s possible grounds for harrassment. And, above all, why not ban books? Someone may get a papercut that gets infected, subsequently getting gangrene and requiring complete amputation of the finger.

While I continue to lament today’s children, read what someone sent me a few weeks ago:

Resignation from Adulthood

“I am hereby officially tendering my resignation as an adult. I have decided I would like to accept the responsibilities of an 8 year-old again.

I want to go to McDonald’s and think that it’s a four star restaurant.

I want to sail sticks across a fresh mud puddle and make a sidewalk with rocks.

I want to think M&Ms are better than money because you can eat them.

I want to lie under a big oak tree and run a lemonade stand with my friends on a hot summer’s day.

I want to return to a time when life was simple, when all you knew were colors, multiplication tables, and nursery rhymes, but that didn’t bother you, because you didn’t know what you didn’t know and you didn’t care. All you knew was to be happy because you were blissfully unaware of all the things that should make you worried or upset.

I want to think the world is fair. That everyone is honest and good.

I want to believe that anything is possible.

I want to be oblivious to the complexities of life and be overly excited by the little things again.

I want to live simple again.

I don’t want my day to consist of computer crashes, mountains of paperwork, depressing news, how to survive more days in the month than there is money in the bank, doctor bills, gossip, illness, and loss of loved ones.

I want to believe in the power of smiles, hugs, a kind word, truth, justice, peace, dreams, the imagination, mankind, and making angels in the snow.

So… here’s my checkbook and my car keys, my credit card bills and my 401K statements. I am officially resigning from adulthood.

And if you want to discuss this further, you’ll have to catch me first, ’cause…

… Tag! You’re it.”

The Car Less Crowded

Tuesday, March 21st, 2006

The N train was running local this morning (heard something was up with the W train, because a few of my co-workers were late). Anyways, it pulls up to 34th Street and most of the cars are crowded, except one towards the end of the train, which had about 10 people on it. So, naturally, I enter the least crowded car.It smelled like death.

There was a homeless man on one side of the train, who obviously hasn’t showered in ages. He had also just went to the bathroom in his pants, and was further disseminating the smell by reaching down into his pants and moving it around.

I didn’t have enough time to switch cars before the doors closed, and the train poked along to 28th Street. Thank goodness it was a cold day, as I had my scarf with me and was able to filter my breathing. Most of my car, except for about five masochistic commuters, quickly sandwiched in the car ahead of ours as soon as we made it to the next stop.

If the guy wasn’t reaching into his pants, I would have thought he was dead – that’s how bad it smelled.