28
Nov
14

Mass transit is an unwise place to nap

Not until the bus took off did I notice the ball rolling toward me. It was about two and a half inches in diameter, pale brown. It looked like a dusty lump of clay, a fuzzy ping pong ball. It went directly for my feet. Then there were two. Then three. I shifted my legs to avoid crushing, kicking or otherwise interacting with them.

When the bus stopped and the trio skipped along forward, I realized they were stale powdered cinnamon Munchkins from Dunkin’ Donuts. They rolled too well to be soft and fresh.

(Image stolen from Maryann's Baking Company in Sacramento, California.)

(Image stolen from Maryann’s Baking Company in Sacramento, California.)

Following their trail toward the front of the bus, I saw a puddle spreading forward and backward along the ravines in the floor. It was the same color as the Munchkins. Coffee with cream. Ah, someone had been to Dunkin’ Donuts and spilled something.

I traced the coffee to its source. A woman seated near the front of the bus was reaching down to the floor, concentrating very hard on gathering up the donut holes in the clear plastic cup they came in. What is she going to do with them? I thought. Does she actually want to eat them, or is she just cleaning up after herself?

The coffee cup, on its side on the floor under her seat, rolled helplessly back and forth in a lazy half-circle. Continue reading ‘Mass transit is an unwise place to nap’

28
Nov
14

With Thanksgiving safely behind us, I am still puzzled by #grapegate

About a week ago, the New York Times published a cute feature called “The United States of Thanksgiving,” which profiled a signature dish for the Thanksgiving table from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

And then Minnesota lost its damn mind. Continue reading ‘With Thanksgiving safely behind us, I am still puzzled by #grapegate’

07
Aug
14

‘Today I introduced Terry Gross to (the real) Klaus Nomi’

The album cover of Klaus Nomi’s 1981 self-titled debut album.

Last week, a colleague posted the following to Facebook:

Today I introduced Terry Gross to (the real) Klaus Nomi by sharing this video.

She says “(the real) Klaus Nomi” because her cat is named Klaus Nomi. (Not, I quickly regretted asking, “Claws Nomi”?)

But that Facebook post is amazing for two reasons. First, Terry Gross has interviewed so many people, it seems impossible that, in all that studio time, not even a passing reference to Klaus Nomi came up. Not only that, but she’s from New York City, and she was like 30 years old when Klaus Nomi was at his peak.

Second — Klaus Nomi. I mean look at him. This is the video my colleague Christine shared:

Continue reading ‘‘Today I introduced Terry Gross to (the real) Klaus Nomi’’

04
Aug
14

vicious old queens

Frances de la Tour, Ian McKellen, Derek Jacobi and Iwan Rheon. (Image: Patrick Redmond)

There was a time when a show like “Vicious” might have seemed daring, but today it feels quaint, comfortable, silly. And I don’t think it intends to be much more than that, and that’s OK.

Continue reading ‘vicious old queens’

29
Jul
14

The internet doesn’t need to be so overwhelming

The thing about the internet is everyone is an expert, and everyone has great advice, and almost all of it is mostly “helpful.” But it can be hard to know just how (or who) you have to be to succeed.

Everyone knows we’re not naturally endowed to survive. We’re not good enough on our own. Are you kidding me? We need Lifehacker and that list of 10 places we must poop before we die, and … well, you won’t believe what this rapist said to his victim, and her response was so perfect, if this 10-second video doesn’t make you cry you have no pulse.

Before the internet, we were practically painting our cave walls with our own shit.

But the only way to keep one’s head from exploding from the choices is to make a few decisions every day. Take what works and forget about the rest. (Do you see how I’m giving you advice about advice? Stop me before I hurt myself.) Continue reading ‘The internet doesn’t need to be so overwhelming’

23
Jul
14

In matters of airline safety, syntax matters

You know people are going to jump all over the Associated Press for this news alert:

The Dutch military plane did not crash.

This is why syntax and word choice are important.

The phrase “crash landing” is redundant. “Crash” is sufficient in the event of an actual crash. The AP knows this, so their original tweet is not incorrect. It’s just easy to misunderstand. So I am glad for their clarification:

Oops.

18
Jan
14

Just-go stories

BoltBus

After a depressing encounter on a Greyhound from New York to Philadelphia, I resolved to find a more reliable, less-nauseating mode of mass transit between the two cities.

On my first attempt, I found myself sharing the only seat left with an old woman who was digging to China through a large polystyrene clamshell of buffalo wings. Each of about three dozen wings was an adventure in lip-smacking, bone-snapping exuberance. Every morsel of flesh squeaked repugnantly in her mouth. I could avoid most of the sounds with my headphones, but the vile, eye-watering stench streaming from her lap was inescapable.

Then, having no napkins, she spent a good five minutes licking her hands clean. I didn’t have the nerve to see what she wiped them dry with.

I was living in Philadelphia and working in New York, and I knew that I would have to start making some smarter choices about my twice-a-week commute. I settled on Bolt Bus. Continue reading ‘Just-go stories’




the untallied hours

the tweets


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