Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Sometimes, I come across or hear something so true that all I can possibly say is, "Yes." Nothing more needs to be said. In fact, nothing more can be said.

When I came across this NYT's op ed piece on the dying art of witty insults (courtesy of a link from another fabulous blog), all I could say was "Yes." http://cavett.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/09/a-better-sort-of-insult/?ref=opinion

In today's uber-PC, everyone-who-participates-gets-a-trophy world, insults are considered rude. While I agree that stupid, blatantly obvious, or completely irrelevant insults are rude (mainly because they're a waste of time for all involved), some insults are downright essential.

Take, for example, Simon Cowell (admittedly, not the most witty example, but it's late and nothing better is coming to me). Yes, sometimes he does beat a dead horse but think about it people, if he doesn't tell someone who is an awful singer that he would rather listen to a cat being strangled while its claws are dragged down a chalkboard then it is highly likely that that person will go on to (1) believe that they have a future in the music biz, (2) sacrifice years and countless dollars to pursuing that dream, and (3) continue to inflict pain via singing on friends and family. Yes, it sucks to have your dreams crushed. Get over it. It happens to all of us and, personally, if my dreams are going to be crushed, I'd prefer they be crushed with a bit of wit.

So, now that the entire universe has changed due to the inauguration (at least according to CNN, which I continue to watch too much of despite the fact that we are no longer getting CNNHD), please make an effort to dole out witty insults. It is an art form that must not die.

p.s. calling someone an "[expletive] moron" is ok. It's not witty but it's ok. I bring this up only because I'm watching Larry King interview Gov Blagojevich and, really, what else can you call someone like that who compares himself to Mandela and MLK Jr?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hope. Service. Responsibility

A few notes before we begin:

  • Matt and I maintain a bipartisan household and, as such, we seek to make this a bipartisan blog. So while this post deals with a political event, I will try to stay away from a discussion on politics.

  • I have been watching CNN pretty much non-stop for the past 2 days (thank goodness I have a job that lets me "work from home")

  • I've probably watched West Wing and American President far more than is reasonable
Regardless of your political affiliation, you have to admit that something amazing happened today. A peaceful transfer of power occurred, not just from one person to another but from one party to another. An African-American became President. The Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court screwed up the oath of office (seriously? Dude, it's 38 words long and it's not like you didn't have time to prep or even write down a few notes).

During the non-stop coverage of history in the making, I started to reflect on the 3 themes that seem to have carried us to today...

HOPE - During the campaign, there was a lot of talk about Hope - that it's a good campaign slogan but no way to govern a country, that it's hard to deliver in the face of Washington politics, that it's no reason to vote for someone. And while there's truth in all of those statements, I just have to ask, "What's wrong with hope?" Every day we see stories of increasing unemployment, home foreclosures, and bankruptcies. It's easy to get overwhelmed, scared and depressed. So maybe it's a good thing that someone remind us to have Hope. Seems like we need some right now.

SERVICE - Yesterday was a national day of service in honor of MLK Jr. I hope it's only the first of many. It's so easy to get caught up in our own problems and our own worries. To focus on what's not going right for us or what might not go right. Instead, we need to focus on what we have and on what is going right. It's much easier to do that when you are engaged in helping other, when you realize how relative everything is and how much you truly have to give. So let's give - money, food, time, kindness, a smile. Let's serve - volunteer your time and talent, do a favor, hold the door for a stranger.

RESPONSIBILITY - From President Obama's Inaugural Address:

"Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends -- hard work and honesty,
courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism -- these
things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of
progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these
truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility -- a
recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves,
our nation and the world; duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather
seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the
spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task."

for the full transcript, click here: ttp://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/01/20/obama.politics/index.html

You cannot imagine how happy this call for responsibility makes me. Last week, MSNBC posted an article stating that Gen Y is being disproportionately affected by the economy. I found this quote from a 24 year old in CA particularly striking: “Growing up, my parents were telling me, ‘The world is at your fingertips. All you have to do is educate yourself, go to college, and you’d get a prime position right out of school.’ They were wrong.” (you can read the full article here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28663645/)

As someone who manages a lot of Gen Y-ers, I can tell you that many of them demonstrate an alarming lack of responsibility and an abundant sense of entitlement. I hope that those kids who worked so hard to get Obama elected hear this message and start acting with a sense of responsibility, return to values like hard-work and dedication which make the American Dream possible, and stop expecting everyone to do everything for them.

Hope. Service. Responsibility. These are all good things. They are things we need right now. The days and months ahead will be difficult. The problems we have are incredibly hard which means that finding the right answers will be harder and implementing them will probably be hardest of all. But I think that if we have hope, if we serve others and not just ourselves, and take our responsibilities seriously, amazing things can continue to happen.

p.s. I would also like to compliment Michelle Obama on her choice of shoes in a complimentary color to her dress and her ability to find gloves that match the shoes. Way to accessorize!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

How to make cooking interesting

As many of you know, I am no chef. I like to blame my aversion to the kitchen to a particularly vengeful set of pre-school teachers who never let me play in the kitchen station. Sensitive to the injustice, I would play there anyways, my protests often resulting in a note home.

The couple of times I ventured back in are infamous: adding 4 teaspoons of water instead of 4 tablespoons to rice, forgetting to mix the bowl of dry ingredients back in with the bowl of wet ingredients when making cookies (I still maintain that the Nestle Tollhouse respire left out that step), the chocolate mousse that could have put a hole in the wall, etc.

Eventually (but far too late for my pre-school teachers) I learned my lesson and stayed out of the kitchen.

But Matt enjoys cooking and has tried to get me back in the kitchen. He was making very little progress until his family started an annual Christmas cook-off. With bragging rights and a wood cutting board in the shape of a pig on the line, the kitchen was finally interesting enough for another try. For this Christmas' cook-off, we bought a food processor (we tried making aioli without it last Christmas and it was almost the death of us).

It changed everything. Apparently, as long as there is a fairly decent chance that someone could go to the ER before eating my food, I am more than happy to cook.

How happy? Tonight I volunteered to make mac & cheese from scratch for dinner because Real Simple had a recipe for a "healthier" version that required the food processor to make the bread crumbs and it could be used to shred the cheese.

Think about it. I volunteered to cook. From scratch. Even when it is available from a box.


Friday, January 9, 2009

The Force is with us

Pardon me while I geek out for a moment...

Like many people in my generation (I hope), I have a particular fondness for Star Wars. While I do not consider myself a fanatic (costumes and camping out are lines I refuse to cross) I do still have some of my childhood action figures, the original trilogy on DVD, and the super awesome Lego Star Wars game on PS3.

Luckily, Matt shares this fondness for both Legos and Star Wars. So in November, after enjoying the Chik-fil-a we had driven 45 minutes to get (he has cravings like a pregnant woman, that Matt) we took a stroll through the Lego store in the Burlington Mall and saw it - the most awesome Lego Death Star ever! We had to have it.

Apparently so did everyone else because when we went back a few weeks later, we were told that the only store in all of the US that still had stock was in CA and they were charging $100 for shipping. Right. Even after scouring e-Bay and other websites, we couldn't find one for sale. We were very sad.

The day after Christmas though, Matt went back to Lego.com and found that they were back in stock (pretty suspicious given that 48 hours earlier it said stock wouldn't be available until Jan 29) and ready to ship. He ordered it and, on Dec 29, we got a very very large box dropped on our doorstep.

What ensued was 5 days of Lego joy. Matt did most of the infrastructure work, I did the interiors and fine details and we both got way way more excited than you should about building droids, trash compactors, and Death Rays.

It was fun and awesome and the best way to spend a week of vacation in snowy and cold Boston. And yes, we do play with it. We're Star Wars geeks. And that's OK, we going to own it.

Here's photos of the whole saga: http://www.kodakgallery.com/ShareLanding.action?c=197bo4i1.bh0yprgp&x=0&y=-yt0ieg&localeid=en_US

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

And we're back

With a new year comes new resolve and so, I'm back to the bloggosphere. After authoring a highly acclaimed (by the 3 people who read it) blog on my adventures in Denmark, I decided to bow out while at the top of my game. But, like so many who have gone before me - Michael Jordan, Brett Favre - I just couldn't stay away.

So I'm back.
Try to contain your excitement.

We're mixing things up a bit this time. First, this blog will not chronicle my adventures in some exotic locale, instead it will be about life in Boston (which I guess could be exotic depending on where you're from). Second, I will not be the sole author of this blog, instead my fiancee Matt will make occasional appearances as a guest author (he was thrilled when I told him). Finally, I will do my best to keep the blog posts short since I realized my previous blog entries were closer in length to novellas than blog posts.

There you have it. We're back and (hopefully) better than ever.
Stay tuned!