Archive for the ‘Misc…’ Category

Sexy Blonde Convinces Your Man to Spend Big & Spend Right This Christmas

December 2, 2007


An article in the Wall Street Journal alerted me to a new service retailers offer women shoppers. (Yes, according to the article it’s all women and it exclusively targets those who buy them gifts – their men and their grandmothers.)

Apparently a woman creates a wish list at the participating boutique of her choice and sales reps from said boutique call the unsuspecting husband, boyfriend, father, or grandmother and inform them what to buy her for the holidays.

Ugh. Okay, whatever. But the site Net-A-Porter takes it one step further. “Santa’s Little Helper” is a customizable video clip to be emailed to your man (sorry grandmas) detailing what you’d like to see under the tree.

You get to pick from cute little sobriquets like “Honey Bunny”, “Captain”, “Stud”, and “Big Boy”, and choose your personality/body type – “Stylish/Curvaceous”, “Devious/Leggy”, “Minxy/Petite”. Next you pick three qualities from a terribly macho list of adjectives (one of which is, actually, “macho”) to describe your man. Is he “rich”? “Accomplished?” “Attentive?” “Housebroken?”

Now you get to choose his ultimate nightmare (good one, no?) — “aesthetic downfall”, “financial ruin”, “global disaster”, and what he would most like to win – “X-factor”, “the Superbowl”, “Scrabble”.

Finally, from a drop-down list of six items, you choose “what you really want.” Your choices? ”

  • A cocktail ring
  • A fabulous tote
  • A pair of Louboutins
  • A slinky party dress
  • Some gilded Jimmy Choos
  • Dangly earrings.

What more would a woman want?

Another click and your blonde 007-ish temptress will use her velvety voice and ego-stroking skills to lure your man to perfect holiday purchases with phrases like “She’s lucky to have a man like you,” and “if she’s happy, you’re happy.”

The email comes attached with your specific requests – complete with links to where he can whip out his American Express Gold Card and go to town.

I suppose I’m not exactly offended by this, after all it’s hitting its demographic square in the wallet, which is its aim. I guess it must be the demographic itself that I find so appalling.

The WSJ article quotes a 24 year old woman explaining the beneficial effect retail sales calls have on her father

“If it’s someone else telling him about it, he won’t respond like, ‘Oh, that’s too expensive…This time, he may be more likely to go in and look at my items without passing judgment.”

Some men loved the idea, admitting themselves clueless to the intricacies of their wives material desires (one NFL player cringes recalling how he once purchased a Luis Vuitton bag for his wife that she – gasp – already owned!) and so corporately busy that this makes life easy.

I guess so. But I can’t help feeling disturbed. Could it be because I don’t know the meaning of phrases like “cocktail ring” and “pair of Louboutins”?


My Favorite Parrot – R.I.P.

October 9, 2007

I was saddened to learn recently that Alex the African Grey Parrot passed away in September. At 31 he was almost as old as I am, and I had been under the illusion that Parrots lived to the wisened old age of say, the desert tortoise or that old turtle from that short story (what is it???) where the turtle stays with that rich family through three generations. They say the oldest known tortoise lived for 188 years. (Given to a royal family soon after its birth by Captain Cook in 1777. It died in 1965. Hm…does this sound like that story I can’t quite remember??) A koi was once documented as living to the ripe old age of 226.

Not Alex. Although African Greys can live to about 50, he was found dead on Sept 6th of “natural causes”. I’m going to repost an article I wrote a few years ago on Monet’s Lilies.

From: December 05, 2003

“If he really likes you, he’ll throw up into your ear…”

In the interesting Interview With A Parrot, we meet Alex, the African Grey parrot that speaks. Sounds basic enough. But this bird displays more than simple mimicry, and more than a learned response to specific stimuli (uttering the correct syllables for each presented object – i.e. “ball”). Alex apparently speaks with intent.


He is also, reportedly, able to count, distinguish objects by color, size, material, and texture, and even make comparative judgments such as “larger” or “smaller”. So far so good. Alex is interesting, right?

There’s more. He utters such phrases as “Wanna go back,” when he wishes to return to his perch or end a particular session. And more than continuing to learn, Alex has begun to teach. Or rather, he is being used to teach. When his fellow parrots observe Alex display a correct response, they learn markedly faster than when the response is
demonstrated by a human teacher.

Alex has stumped animal behaviorists and linguists alike. In fact, he’s challenged the current tenets of the neurological of language, which veers into the sticky what-really-separates-humans-from-animals debate.

Language development was long believed to be an evolutionary achievement of the advanced primate brain. (Chimps can, apes can, monkey’s can’t.) If Alex really can communicate with language, then it’s a product of much less gray matter than we ever imagined. Alex has a brain the size of a walnut.

Researchers lecturing on the current data supporting the uniquely primate origins of language, are reported to reluctantly add, “”Except…for that damn bird.”


Art and Everything Else…

October 4, 2007

I Suppose I’m still forming the structure for this blog. The title of the blog is from one of my favorite Wallace Stevens’ poems “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”. Genius. It was originally published in 1917 in his book Harmonium.


Today I own it in his Collected Poems. Tiny EXCERPT…

I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.

I love thinking about art and its reflections on reality. Which is more potent to us, the event itself or what it leaves in us, what lingers? The telling of an event, an emotion, a hope, a fear? The expression of it, the sharing… what is it that most moves us?

The true answer to this questions is unimportant. The interweave of the experience of life and our expression of it is…

I suppose I want this blog to reflect my little piece of existence. The life experience and reactions to reality of my little piece of the world at this little space of time. Art of course – music, literature, theatre, dance, film… But also what inspires art, what allows it to exist – Human relationships, politics, freedoms and repressions, cruelty and kindnesses. The conundrum of human behavior. All of it.

This is why I had such trouble with thesis papers in college. I wanted to talk about everything! I welcome insight, critique, and debate. Bring it on.