Magic Jewball

all signs point to no


At home I’m a tourist

Filed under : New York City
On October 30, 2007
At 12:35 pm
Comments : 6

Well, Dahnuh has gone home to the Left Coast but we had a splendid time while she was here and I got to do all the touristy things that I never do. Except when houseguests are here, which I admit is fairly often. But it’s fun to be a visitor in your own town! Did you know we have museums here? Also, shopping, parks, and restaurants. I may come here more often.

One thing we did that I have done before but I still always like, no matter how touristy it is, is to do the Circle Line boat ride around Manhattan. You can do the whole island but we only did the lower half, which is fine, since you may have noticed I live on the upper half. And because I wasn’t an aloof local that day, I took lots of pictures! I pretended I was visiting from Omaha. Wow, Manhattan is sure different from… stuff they have in Omaha. Actually, we seemed to be the only Americans on the boat. I think there’s a holiday going on in the Old Country.

They sure have a lot of tall buildings in Manhattan.

Look at all those people standing in line! Suckers.

Here’s the East Side. I didn’t even know Manhattan had an East Side! It got really windy so I took this from inside. Enjoy the glassiness.

Manhattan is an island and has a lot of bridges. I learned this from our fascinating and informative tour guide. Also, what TV shows his girlfriend likes.

So that was it. Then we walked back to Times Square where we shopped for quality souvenirs amongst the populi. We also saw two cops chatting with the entrepreneur peddling copies of “How to Roll A Blunt For Dummies” from a sidewalk table. They mysteriously moved on when I sought to take a picture.

But we had a fine few days, eating BBQ, bagels with lox and cream cheese, Persian food, and Jacques Torres chocolate; I even cooked for Dah one day. Really. I mean, I baked for her too but JBall readers will know that that’s just a given. Now she’s gone but she left me with a two pound box of See’s candies so I have that going for me. Also, two bottles of wine and a beer. But I think the See’s will go faster.

Dah, who is of Japanese descent, thought that Godzilla would have liked NY better than Tokyo. The ultimate compliment! I am really going to miss this place.

Title comes from:

Gang Of Four – At Home He’s A Tourist


Widget watch

Filed under : The Internets
On October 25, 2007
At 12:20 am
Comments : 4

Don’t be too disappointed in me because I haven’t reported on the newest, most inane widgets out there lately. Sometimes a girl gets busy with non-widgety things. But now that I’m down to contemplating how many tissues I might really have used this week and what exactly defines a “low-grade” fever, I finally have the time to get back on this horse. Let higher-minded people deal with politics and world events, I stake my claim on the widgets.

This is a good idea in theory. But I was kind of hoping for events of a more global and social significance. Or at least more interesting information about Cheerios.

Again, good idea, bad execution. How about:

Dear Becca,

Don’t forget the eggs. That way you won’t be forced to make the butter biscuits because they happen not to call for eggs.


Ladies and gentlemen, a widget is not a substitute for anger management classes.

I think this is just the apotheosis of widgets. Come on, it’s a hotel! And it’s random! A random hotel! Every day!

I’m not sure it can get any better than this.

The Eagles – Hotel California


Scenes from the class struggle and my sofa

Filed under : Movies
On October 23, 2007
At 12:55 am
Comments : 9

As every blogger knows, it isn’t easy coming up with something to write about when there’s nothing much going on. For me, the reasons for this have been twofold. First, I’ve been under the weather the past week or so, necessitating my rigorous schedule of home/work/collapse/work. Second, in the midst of this, I’m preparing for yet another houseguest! You may not know my friend Dahnuh from Sacotomatoes but that’s because she hasn’t blessed me with a comment in about a year. But that’s OK, I know from non-blogging activities that she’s still alive and since I dumped myself on her doorstep a couple of years ago in suburban NorCal (she calls it Cowpooville and I couldn’t really disagree), I figured it was only fair. Plus I get to have her bring me chicken soup and entertain me. How timely!

Anyway, pretty much all I’ve done lately is read blogs and watch movies, often at the same time, often while drinking tea and eating butter biscuits. Those aren’t strictly medicinal but they have their own kind of magic. So, rather than pretend to talk about fun things that aren’t happening to me just now, I figured I’d show you some scenes from the movies. I can’t do movie reviews as well as my friends Maureen and TJ, so I won’t really go in that direction. Except to say, this movie was fab and kept me on the edge of my seat and was sociological and dark but also funny and cool. Sadly, I couldn’t read blogs while I was watching it as I had to keep my eyes on the subtitles. It’s called La Haine (Hate) and is about those riots they had in France a couple of years ago. You know, the ones that made us feel all smug because maybe we didn’t have the worst racial problems ever.

I won’t present you with the darker parts, but here are a couple of lighter scenes. I loved this one, particularly because I’ve been so lazy about getting a haircut that my hair’s pretty much down to my ass right now. The set-up is that one guy has given the other a rather fucked up haircut. Look, we’re the style nexus of the universe!

[flv width=”320″ height=”240″][/flv]

Wow, the projects in Paris are just as ugly as the ones here. In other similarities, the subway. I think this is my favorite scene.

[flv width=”320″ height=”240″][/flv]

I learned lots of new translations, like that Astérix was really Snoopy. Gosh, have I been misinformed. Anyhoo, I also got in some tennis watching and I’d like to inform everyone that at least one sportsman in my life has not let me down. David Nalbandian won his first Masters Series Event, beating Roger Federer in the final, and also beating the #2 and #3 in the world to get there. I’m excited to announce he’ll soon be interviewing for the Yankees coaching job.


iPod song of the week – gifts

Filed under : iPod Song of the Week
On October 21, 2007
At 11:10 am
Comments : 11

Were you wondering if anyone came through on my birthday-song-giftathon? Or anyone else, depending? Wonder no more! Several people did and they were all interesting, novel choices, none of which I already owned so big ups to all of you. And everyone had a different rationale: something I would love, something they loved, something that would make me snicker, something that would make me grimace, etc. (you know who you are). And they mostly did get those reactions. And I even got songs in three languages, four if you include “Urban.” But really, the most important criteria for any gift was met and heartily: none of them were songs I’d buy myself. Will any of them make it to my iPod? Only time will tell. Or as Van Halen so eloquently put it, “only time will tell if we stand the test of time.” That doesn’t apply to this situation at all, I just like the inanity.

Anyway, this is all just to give you a big thank you for, as they used to say in the commercials of my childhood, giving the gift of music. And the notes that accompanied them were lovely too. In considering using one of these as the iPod Song of the Week I worried about singling any gift out above the others, because it wasn’t a contest. And I already did that on one of my younger birthdays when everyone got me dolls and one person got me The Cars’ Candy-O. My parents later told me that the whooping and hollering throughout the house might have been a little out of line. But then there was the person who sent me six, uh, unique songs. And this wasn’t because of the song choice but more the note.

Hey Becca, I am sure you haven’t heard this latest brit brit tune! I heard she ROCKED the fucking VMA’S, wasn’t she fucking hot looking! Omg, drugged up and lethargic never looked so good!!!

Smooches and lots of love on your 65th birthday!


So there we are!

Britney Spears – Gimme More

I’m not sure I could live with that being the iPod Song of the Week, though. So let’s go with this one which could be the quintessential late 70’s New Wave song.

The Cars – Candy-O


Athens on five doughnuts a day

Filed under : Travel
On October 17, 2007
At 5:05 pm
Comments : 7

Finishing up the “month of vacation blogging,” we have this look at my short time in Athens and in the post just below, some final thoughts. About my vacation, not this blog. And a surprise!

Remember those packs of stray dogs that made Athens so much fun for me? Here’s a bunch, in Syntagma Square, on the steps leading up to Parliament. If I were a dog, I’m sure I’d hang out around politicians too.

Here’s something to go along with my famous “Barzini’s butter display” photo. It’s world o’feta!

PS, I hate feta.

But that’s not what I came to Athens to see! No, it was this, the Acropolis. On the first day, I took one look at it and decided to climb it… some other day.

The next day, I set out early, got lost (I mean, you can see it from everywhere, but how do you get there?), decided to just get on the subway, and finally found it. I believe that’s how Thucydides always got there too.

Once again, I took a large bottle of water plus my backpack of guidebooks, three kinds of currency, and electronics I didn’t want the hotel housekeeping staff to steal. Midway up, I started to get very hot. And tired. And mindful of the fact that I had forgotten sunscreen. The stone “steps” were also incredibly slippery and clogged with tourists from every country you can imagine plus some others. I stopped to rest at this lovely theater, also because I never did get to that one in Epidavros. I think Blue Oyster Cult played here in ’73.

But then I reached the Parthenon and it was all worth it. This was the highlight of my trip, I have to say. It totally blew me away, not literally, luckily, because we were pretty high up. I thought I’d be all “yeah, yeah, looks just like the coffee cup” but it wasn’t like that at all. It’s overwhelming in its beauty, scale, magnitude, and classicism. I could really have stayed there all day, except for that whole lack of sunscreen thing not to mention the “plane to Israel” thing.

Alas, all good things must come to an end. Except the Parthenon, they’re still working on keeping it upright, as you can see. But my time in Greece did. Check out the post below for an exciting, actual picture of Becca in Greece, though!