Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I'll need a stressball on 11/4 and a stiff drink

OK, scary thought, but just take a moment: what if Obama loses in November?

I'm a cynic by nature, so of course this is a question I would ask, but take a look at the pole numbers out today--I know it's way too early for anything, but if Obama is such a clinch, what the hell is the problem? Here are some the factors I think are at play. And for the record, though it's none of your business, I am voting for Obama and a registered Independent.

Ok, the media has to stop acting like a bunch of horny teenagers at the cool kid's house party. Thanks to them, Obama has surpassed "politician huge" and entered like "Bradgelina twins huge" or "Britney Spears comeback record huge." It's just getting to be way too much, and I fear it's alienating a lot of independent voters out there. They're the ones who need to feel reassured that yeah, Obama's a cool guy, but he's not afraid to tell it like it is, get down and dirty, then have that master plan to get us all out of the mess.

Remember when Barack was the underdog, and Hilary was the over-confident president in waiting? Barack needs to get back to that humbleness--and stop with this crap. I know you have to convince your donors you are the best bet, but why not dwell on why your policies are better than John McCain's? Just totally skip the "odds talk." Nothing gets under my skin more--and that was Hilary's game.

It was great to see Obama go over to the Middle East--but his European visit was a little over the top. So what if the Germans, the French, and the English love Obama? They can't vote for him. And the European opinion obviously has little to no influence on the average American voter (see polling data above.) Lest us not forgot the infamous John Kerry "looks French" slam.

And there is the persistent matter of race. I hope it's not that big an issue, but it can't be overlooked. I just don't trust the older generation, and the blue collars over looking it.

So seriously, will there be riots if Obama loses? Will there be allegations of voter fraud? Weeks of recounts? Will Obama retire from politics all together? I mean, can he just go back to being a Senator? And what about the democratic party--will they be completely fractured? My head is spinning. Here's to November 4th--may we all survive it.

Unnecessary but necessary expense

Are these ugly, so ugly they're hot, or so ugly their stupid and will make me look like a hipster clown? I can't decide but I really want them. Damn this economy--I wish I could drop $150 for a pair of sunglasses I don't need without feeling like an ignorant fool.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Slob(s) of the Week

"Oh, hey, sorry to interrupt you guys--nice tan by the way--but I just have to snap a few pictures for our newspaper, La Repubblica. I think you may be in my shot--I hope you don't mind. I didn't think anyone would be on the beach because of the terrible turn of events. What's going on? You guys didn't see all the commotion over the past hour? The life guards, the children screaming? You were sitting here the whole time, right? Well anyway, four little Roma girls went swimming in the ocean, and unfortunately 2 of the girls drowned. Here they are right in front of you--and in fact here come the guys with their wooden coffins. It's terrible---wait, are you laughing? Oh, coughing. I thought you were one of those Italians that dislike the Roma, or you know, gypsies. Well, anyway, try to have a good rest of the day."  So for your complete lack of compassion that was unfortunately captured on film, you nameless Italian sunbathers have been named the Slobs of the Week.  

Sunday, July 20, 2008

America's Next Top Dog's Got Talent Idol

Forgive me for the title of this post--but seriously, summer + TV - cable = way too many reality show competitions to keep track of. I hate the singing, the dancing, the sword swallowing, and the weird Big Brother hook-ups that have come to define summer TV programming. But just when I was about to reach for my half read Vanity Fair I stumbled upon the second episode of Greatest American Dog, and immediately I was hooked. This is my kind of reality show, and frankly, as a proud owner of a brilliant black pug named Grover (featured above), I should BE ON this show.

Anyway, the show is great, the dogs are adorable and surprisingly smart, and the owners are complete characters as anyone that obsessed with their dog is expected to be. Already in the second episode, alliances are forming, everyone seems annoyed at the guy in a toupee and his yippy jack russell, and a dog even got seriously injured. That had me in tears and hugging poor Grover who was desperately trying to break free of my smothering and teary grasp. The injured dog was Star (below), and just watching as her owner carried her like a baby, crying his eyes out, blood from her injured ear soaking his sweatshirt was almost too much to bear. But Star turned out to be fine--and even went on to wow the judges. They are my pick to win the whole thing (though the young guy and his boxer may take it--whatever.) The only drawback to this show is the corny judges who basically struggle to find things wrong with the dogs--but who cares. This is fun for the whole family, pets included, so I definitely give this show a high five.

Friday, July 18, 2008

I See You

I realize that there could be a tad more old fashioned judging over here at Silently Judging, so I'm taking it back to beginning with a little bit of doing what we do best here with the first installment of "I See You." Enjoy.

Wednesday night, I'm enjoying a beverage with a bunch of friends in the backyard of a bar near Irving Place. Backyards at bars means smoking, and the table next to us was full of folks indulging in the habit. I usually can't take it, but the wind was blowing the other way, so I was cool. I noticed, in particular, one of the smokers, a brunette hipster girl, and her weirdly long cigarette. It just looked so out of place with her "look" and her rugged, hipster male friends sucking on "normal" cigarettes. Then I spotted it, and my suspicions were confirmed. On the table in front of her was the box of Capri cigarettes, looking like a box of Tampax or Summer's Eve just hanging out. Who the hell smokes Capri Cigarettes besides old ladies in the bathrooms of hair salons? Where do you even buy Capris? Were they all out of Mistys? Man, Capris make cloves look badass. I felt like laughing at her, and I guess, in my way, I am.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Excuse me, may I drill here?

Man, how freaking pointless is Prez Bush's decision to lift the off-shore drilling ban? He's such a lame duck, and knows it. Not only would off-shore drilling be an eco-nightmare, there isn't enough oil out there to make a shred of difference anytime soon, and hopefully the Dems will never approve this ludacricy. So we'd invest all this time and money for two hundred barrels of oil that wouldn't change anything until 2030 when like everything will be solar powered or electric, or bio-fueled powered anyway (fingers-crossed.)

And speaking of our hopefully solar-, wind-, bio-fuel-, electric-powered future--Bush is missing a huge opportunity here to make a statement to the world. Like,"Yep, we are running out of oil, and look, it's breaking the backs of Americans. So starting today, I want to begin talks with all the big energy, engineering, and car companies, oh, and Boone Pickens, and see if we can begin putting in motion a plan to solve our energy crisis with oil taken out of the equation. It may even create some much needed jobs. And in the mean time, we need to start conserving and cutting back. 'Cause, y'all, I ain't gonna lie, there ain't no more oil out there." And then, just maybe, because the USofA decided to take the first step to break the oil addiction, other nations would follow, like China and India.

You knew the Goreical would weigh in at some point, so I am linking to his thoughts on breaking our oil addiction (foreign and otherwise).

And if you are interested in knowing the history behind the image I provide above, click here--it's called "learning from past mistakes."

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sensitivity Level: High

I heard about the Barry Blitt New Yorker cover yesterday on NPR's Morning Edition. I kind of shrugged and thought if the New Yorker put it on the cover, it couldn't be that in poor taste. It's called satire people, come on. Then I looked it up on the web--it didn't take much searching as EVERY news agency was running the cover. First reaction: oh my god and when is Barack Obama going to reprimand, condemn, disavow, etc the New Yorker? That afternoon in fact, via a spokesperson, along with John McCain (good call.) Then, around 8:30 pm, I picked my own New Yorker from the mailbox. Second reaction: oh my god look at Michele Obama's evil eyes, the flag burning in the fireplace, and Osama above the mantle. Third reaction: Who won the caption contest?

Overall, the cover was a little too Fox News for my taste. Of course I get the "satire", but come on, there are people out there (my parents) who actually think Barack is a flag burning, Osama loving, muslim, and are scared of Michele because she is a strong African American woman. I wish it were Wednesday so I could see what Maureen Dowd thinks of the matter.

My opinion is the cover didn't quite hit the right note, and is poking fun at things that frankly aren't that funny because people believe these things to be true (again, my parents.) Sensitivity levels about race are higher than ever in America, and this cover succeeded in magnifying them. We are on the verge of having a black president, and it's stirring up a lot of weirdness over race. Barack not only has to deal with being black (he's half white too people), but also untrue accusations that he is a Muslim which of course would make him a terrorist, which then leads him hate to America--a quadruple whammy. And then Jesse Jackson threatened to cut his nuts off. So at this point, nothing would shock me.

Frankly, I can't wait until my generation (generation y?) is running this country. We grew up with the Cosby Show, rap music, black sports stars (Bo Jackson, Michael Jordan, etc), sexiest man alive: Denzel Washington, and on and on--we are so over race being an issue.

And before I go, I just wanted to make mention of poor Barry Blitt. I googled him last night and found his sad little webpage, which basically consists of his email address and a tease "coming summer 2007." Can you imagine how much hate email he is getting right now? Barry, time for a new email address, and um, did you forget you started a website? Now might be a good time to get that thing going--you know, when you are basically THE news story. Just a suggestion.

Monday, July 14, 2008

John McLaughlin is old, ok

You can learn a lot from watching The McLaughlin Group (viewers in the New York area should note that the show moved to CBS and is on at 11:00 am). You can learn to be belligerent, the perfect way to cut off someone mid-sentence, just the right pitch that "excuse me" sounds like nails on a chalkboard (I'm looking at you Eleanor Clift), and most of all McLaughlin's jibber-jabbering way of highlighting news headlines and his signature "buhy-buhy." I mean, this show goes on because you never know what the hell is going to come out of McLaughlin's, Buchanan's, or Clift's respective mouths, but you know it will be hilarious and yes, semi-informative.

So I can't get all up in arms about McLaughlin's "oreo" comment. He's old, he's probably trying really hard to wrap his head around the Obama candidacy, and now throw in Jesse Jackson's "nuts" comment, and John is just looking for a fresh take on the whole mess. I would never call his comments this past Sunday (which unfortunately I missed, though I had the show on) racist, or call for an on-air apology like the folks at mediamatters.org are. Was his use of "oreo" in poor taste, and a bit archaic? Yes. But do I think he meant it in a negative and demeaning way, no, not at all. He probably should have just skipped the whole "oreo" analogy, and stuck with the main point that Obama must seamlessly maneuver between blacks and whites on his campaign for president.

And look at Michelle Bernard towards the end of the clip--she doesn't attack John for using the term "oreo"--she uses it herself to make her point. If it was soo offensive and soo terrible, don't you think she would have said something? I do. And you know Eleanor Clift would have attacked too, if she thought he meant it in a demeaning way. So I am gonna cut McLaughlin some slack on this one, and just hope he doesn't use anymore tasteless analogies.

Consume This

The perfect scarf--I have been in search of one for as long as I can remember. I have a whole box of scarves I never wear. It's like Goldilocks and the Three Bears--they can't be too trendy, to thin, too thick, they can't look cheap but can't be too expensive, the color has to work with my entire wardrobe, they must keep me warm to some degree, and they have to work in any season. Enter the Kikoy--the most perfect scarf on this planet.

Last year, I was checking in on the fashion blog, Fashionista.com, and stumbled upon this post regarding a model's find: the kikoy scarf. I was immediately in love with what I saw. I jumped over to the website, flipped through the selection, found like 4 scarves I wanted, but paused when I saw that I had to order through the UK. I didn't want it to take forever shipping from England, or get lost in the mail, so I put off ordering. For three months I thought about the kikois, and finally I ordered one, just in time for spring. And to my surprise the ordering process was super easy, the scarf came within three days of my order, and the price was more than reasonable: $34.00. I take my Kikoy everywhere--to the office (what AC?), on the airplane, to the beach (it doubles as a sarong), the movies, etc etc.

It's worth noting that kikois are a product The Kikoy Womens Group of Kenya. The knotting of the kikoy is a tradition in Kenya, and this group was put together to preserve its legacy. Just knowing that the kikoy is a handmade product that supports the well-being of this group of women makes the purchase that much better.

And looking at Caroline, below, it seems I ordered the exact same color as her. And it does look that good even on an un-model. Trust me.

Bottom line: If your craving for good scarf has taken you to Urban Outfitters and their generic "hipster" whatever--put down that synthetic mess and log onto the Kikoy website and buy an original and truly beautiful scarf you will wear forever.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Slob of the Week

Dear Sepah News & the Iranian Revolutionary Guards--thanks for scaring the shit out of us with the photoshopped picture of four test missiles launching. All the top newspapers in the world ran that picture, and I heard more than one cable news reporter mention "World War III." We, the the rest of the world, know you mean business, even with three freaking missiles. And look, we are kind of scared of you guys. But next time you want to photoshop a picture to make yourselves appear more deadly and frightening--maybe don't use the same clouds of dust and missiles from the photo being doctored. That's kind of obvious ok? And because we caught you, you have been voted slob of the week. Xoxox, Silently Judging.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Pickens Plan

Not sure who T. Boone Pickens is? Well, he just may be to alternative energy what Al Gore is to global warming. There's a commercial making the rounds on cable news stations for for the Pickens Plan. It's an epic 60 seconds narrated by Pickens replete with horrifying stats, images of burying oil fields, the Iraq war, and then windmills, slick solar panels, and the green grass and bright blue skies of the future. So just who is T. Boone Pickens, and what's with this Pickens Plan? Please join me on what will surely be a fascinating adventure into the world of old billionaires and their quest for more billions.

Whoa, T-Bone has a ton of money! Nearly $3 Billion in fact, which makes him the 117th richest person in America! Ah, he started out in oil (hence his energy knowledge and concern), but not in exploration--he was in acquisitions. Yawn, I'm already bored. Nowadays, he's a hedge fund manager for BP Capital Management. Oh, he is a Republican and gave millions to the Swift Boat Vets and W. He lives in Texas and is on his third wife (way to go T-Bone!) And for an 80 year old, he's keeping pretty busy which leads us to the Pickens Plan.

In a nutshell, the Pickens Plan would like to to replace the 22% of electricity generated by natural gas with wind power. The natural gas could then be used to power cars. Cars would then need to be outfitted to handle natural gas, which would cost around $2000 a pop. Not so bad if gas is going for $10 a gallon as many predict. Looking more closely at the plan, T-Bone makes a convincing argument for wind power and natural gas. Investing in wind power is like investing in rural America, as it would bring industry to what is basically a ghost town (or will be when all the car plants close down.) And natural gas has low emissions and costs about a $1 a gallon--hell yeah. To get things going, all T-Bone asks is that you spread the word, so when the new president takes office next year there will be enough people involved to make this Pickens Plan a reality. Ok, so what the hell is the catch? Why does T-Bone have to spend his own hard earned cash on a commercial, sleek website, and PR to get people sold on the idea?

For these answers, I turned to Geoff Styles at Enegry Outlook. Switching to wind power can't happen overnight, and it's pretty unreliable to support the entire grid. Plus, there are ton of cars out there--you gonna tell that old redneck that his souped up Jeep Cherokee on tractor wheels needs to go get outfitted for natural gas? He doesn't even touch on what to do with the coal fired power plants. And there is a whole host of other problems: infrastructure and systems, overnight energy capabilities, natural gas refineries, and the cynics who think this is T-Bone's last chance to make some extra billions on wind, which he invests a chunk of his fortune in. That would be me.

So in conclusion, yes, we need a plan(s) to solve our American energy crisis, but will one plan fit all? Definitely not. Are there takeaways from the Picken's plan--sure! Will I join Push.PickensPlan.com, the site's social networking community, like a trained monkey--nope. This post is about as much as I will do. Your welcome.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Are you there youth vote, it's me John McCain

After reading the gushing piece in today's New York Times Business section about the 24-yr old wunderkind who left his post at Facebook (where he was a co-founder) to launch and refine my.barackobama.com--you have to feel kind of bad for John McCain. Obama basically put a lit cigarette to the old political campaign playbook, and now McCain is left having an asthma attack trying to catch up.

Over the course of the article something semi-interesting, if not for its weirdness, popped up: McCain's attempt at social networking with "McCainSpace." First of all, whoever on the McCain web commitee thought up "McCainSpace" should probably be let go for lack of ingenuity and pure cornyness. Completely intrigued nonetheless, I went through the sign in process on McCain's homepage (I gave over an ancient AOL email address, and used my parent's zip code--they are republicans anyway), and clicked on the McCainSpace icon. I had no idea what to expect; perhaps some of McCain's hobbies, favorite movies, snacks, a candid photo of McCain in his backyard grilling hamburgers. All I got was a spinning star marking my progress and the link went no where.

Imagine what McCainSpace could have been: a virtual haven for young McCain supporters eager to meet more of their kind, sharing favorite McCain anecdotes, relishing in Obama campaign gaffes, maybe even interacting with their hero on a virtual chat. A vlog could be incorporated, and the McCain Girls could make a long awaited return. Even if they were a hoax, they made for good entertainment, and that's what web traffic is all about. And if you ask me, McCain Girls = more youth votes than you can count.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Consume This

I'd like to introduce "Consume This," a regular column here at Silently Judging. See, I am a bit of a shopper--clothes, shoes, books, gadgets, anything--and I get asked a lot "where did you get that?" I also buy a lot of stuff I wish I hadn't (see shoes). This column will spotlight the best of the best--stuff that's actually worth spending whatever money you have left after paying rent, bills, student loans, whatever.

Ok, Toms Shoes. Amazing. I've seen them in the pages of Vogue, British Vogue, Lucky, etc for a few years. They are basically slip on canvas shoes, reminiscent of Keds , but way more chic. I went to the website last year and actually picked out a pair I wanted but didn't actually purchase (ps-colors and sizes sell out fast so don't delay like I did.) Anyway, as soon as spring hit here in NYC, I saw boys and girls wearing them--they looked comfortable and nice with skinny jeans, so I decided to give them a go. I am totally addicted. I walk about 10 city blocks everyday (to and from work), and I've learned to wear flat comfortable shoes. I've done sneakers (not cute), ballet flats (hurt my heels), flip flops (killed my arch, heels, and balls of my foot), and cute sandals (gave me blisters.) Walking in Toms is like walking in your favorite pair sneakers, but without looking like a commuter from White Plains or a tourist from Minnesota. The canvas stretches a little bit to form your feet; the interior sole is a soft suede; and the bottom grips slippery pavement when it rains. I've not got one blister or foot cramp. I definitely recommend these bad boys, and as an added bonus, with every pair you buy Toms donates a pair to a child in need. Oh, and I should mention the guiltless price tag of only $42.00. Here's the pair I bought--madras for spring/summer--and I plan to buy a darker pair for fall/winter.
Final word: if those t-strap sandals are killing you, and you never thought Crocs would look so appealing, trust me--Toms shoes are the way to go.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Fake News

Mess with Fox & Friends and prepare to suffer the wrath of bad photoshopping revenge. I must have watched this video on mediamatters.org like 20 times, and it got more hilarious with every viewing. It's bad enough they made both New York Times reporters look like they were on day two of crystal meth withdrawal, but to actually graft one of the guy's face on the body of a poodle and suggest they enter him into Westminster dog show?! Come on, that's just down right immature. I hope there was at least one producer watching from behind the scenes cringing with embarrassment.

Remember The Weekly World News, infamous for bringing the world Bat Boy and other fake news stories of alien invaders and Jesus spottings? I'm glad to see Fox News is carrying on their fine journalistic tradition.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Wolfman's other Fan Club

So, last week I was flipping through the TV in my hotel room--I was in Montreal and trying to find a US news channel. I stopped on CNBC's Squawk Box because they were talking about McDonald's awesome third quarter performance due to the introduction of the fried chicken biscuit breakfast sandwich (ew), and I was sucked in.

After the commercial break, they went live from the floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange. The anchors were pushing through the crowd of traders in colorful smocks, notepads in hand, barking numbers, and talking phonecalls. Totally weird. So they get to this platform where the oil prices are flashing on this huge board, and they start talking to this trader, Eric "Wolfman" Wilkinson, a regular on the show. My oh my--the Wolfman is extremely attractive in that former coke-head with a boxer's nose, I am manly enough to wear a pink shirt under my trader's smock, and look like Eric Roberts' brother kind of way. I totally missed the huge argument about rising oil stocks or prices or something. (Wolfman enters at the 2:45 mark)

So I googled Wolfman (seriously, my search was "wolfman + cnbc"). Actually, to be totally honest, a friend of mine who I texted about Wolfman googled him first and reported back what he found. But seeing is believing. There is only one link that actually has to do with THE Wolfman, and it's a chatroom thread, something called The Data Lounge. The "DL" bills itself as: 10 Years of Gay Gossip, Politics and Pointless Bitchery. Seems like a bunch a gay gentlemen were so taken by the Wolfman the idea of a Wolfman Fan club was thrown around among other little tidbits I would file under "TMI." The last post was in April--and still no real fan club. As a straight woman in New York, I don't think I can join the DL, but I invite those guys to stop by The Silent Judge where the Wolfman lives on.

I'm reminded of something Samantha said to Smith on "Sex and the City" when they were discussing the path to stardom: "First the gays, then the girls, then the world." Are you listening CNBC--get the Wolfman a show!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Slob of the Week

Hi China--Nice algae bloom. I heard this may cause a problem for the upcoming Olympic games. It's too bad--and I bet it really smells. But what did you really think would happen if you pumped hazardous chemicals into the water, killing off any sign of life, all while using the river as your public toilet? This looks about right.
So here's to you, China, you are the inauguratory slob of the week here at Silently Judging.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Cartoon Life

So, I read a lot of magazines (more on that later). Early last year I sprung for an actual subscription to the New Yorker, because as a New Yorker, I feel this is my duty if not a mandatory expense.

Anyway, every Monday when the issue arrives I do three things: 1) open to the back page and see what's going on with the "Caption This" contest (a brilliant ploy to get more people to their website.) 2) Scan the table of contents (At best, one article and one movie review will strike my fancy.) 3) Check out the books reviewed in the "Briefly Noted" section (as this pertains to my job.) At this point, I'm basically done with my New Yorker until I remember the best part--those damn cartoons!

Probably a few months ago this little gem popped up mid-issue, and I couldn't stop laughing. See, I religiously pick up change off the street, and I'm pretty good at it (yes it's a skill.) And you risk serious embarrassment going after change on the street: once, at the 157th st 1 stop, I ducked for a penny, and a dude called out,"That's my penny!" He didn't laugh, and looked totally serious--and many (many) people saw this. I was shocked someone (besides me) would care about a penny, I just stuffed it in my pocket and kept walking. My reasoning: It's not REALLY his penny, and I made the effort to pick up the brown coin that actually resembles old gum stuck to the ground (and touching it is probably as sanitary as licking a subway pole), so it rightfully belonged to me. Sorry dude. Jack Ziegler, you obviously understand the power of finding a dropped coin.

PS: You can buy this cartoon as a T-shirt?! Nice, except I don't wear t-shirts, and while we are on the subject--check out this stunt by CNN to make some extra $$. Corny dude.