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Archive for the ‘Joy’ Category

If you’ve been following either CNBC or “The Daily Show” — or basically if you’ve turned on your TV at all this week — then you know that Jim Cramer is in a sort of televised brawl with Jon Stewart. It all began with this “Daily Show” clip.

Cramer, in contrast to his sometimes tough and angry “Mad Money” persona, is actually quite a sensitive man, and he didn’t appreciate the criticism. A weeklong back-and-forth has ensued. It’s all pretty ridiculous (and entertaining), and I honestly don’t know how seriously Cramer is taking it. I have to imagine that he understands that by putting himself out there the way he does, he leaves himself open to criticism. And I have to assume that Jon Stewart gives him the benefit of the doubt, because no one, not even the financial experts, knew quite what the market was capable of before the market punched us all in the face with it.

It all comes to a head tonight with Cramer’s appearance on “The Daily Show,” and along with the rest of America, I will be watching.

What I take issue with is this. Gawker has chosen to bring Erin Burnett into this mess and lump her together with all of the other CNBC pundits when she quite clearly is in a class of her own. For example, today on “Morning Joe,” Erin was caught off-guard having a breakfast of Cheetos. It is the latest in a long list of adorable and charming things Erin has been filmed doing and saying.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images North America

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images North America

She handled herself capably on the Bill Maher show. She does her job in defending Cramer, and she does it as adorably as she does everything else. There is nothing loathsome about it. And Gawker failed to mention that on Monday’s “Stop Trading!” segment (the wrapup of which I write every day for work), Erin put up a good fight against Mr. Cramer, proving she is far from the network pawn Gawker would make her out to be.

Gawker also recently deigned to mock Ms. Burnett for this gem, a perfect example of why she deserves recognition as business news television’s Cutest Little Button. I have yet to verify her claim that the chocolate chip cookie was invented during the Great Depression, but just watch the way she throws back her head when Matt Lauer pokes some harmless fun at her!

And honestly, where would the world be without the chocolate chip cookie? You tell me! I know where I wouldn’t have been last week at this time: in my kitchen making chocolate chip cookies! And I know what wouldn’t be in my freezer right now: two batches of frozen leftover chocolate-chip-cookie dough!

Also, for the record, I have spent a full day in front of CNBC every weekday for the better part of two and a half years, and I’m here to tell you that it’s not that bad. And it’s not just because Erin Burnett’s so impossibly adorable.

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First, here is an incredible doggy video that you should watch.  That is my dear friend Callie. I have seen her successfully perform the nose trick, so don’t judge her for being distracted by the bright lights of impending TV stardom.

Also, I have a very sincere movie recommendation for you.  It is “Marley & Me,” which I knew I would see as soon as I saw that billboard advertisement of the puppy tied up with a big red bow, but I’ll admit that I did not expect to actually enjoy it beyond the gratuitous cute-puppy antics it promised to offer.

How pleasantly surprised was I when I discovered on the bus ride to Boston that this movie is, in fact, a wondrous cinematic achievement of humorous and tragic proportions!  I do not like it when people laugh out loud at movies or otherwise make unnecessary noises (my incessant questioning of “What just happened?” and “What is going to happen?” aside), but I will admit to having laughed out loud at many a chase-Marley-he’s-getting-away! or look-at-what-Marley’s-eating-now! scene.  Laughed Out Loud!

But the true glory of this movie is in its succeeding in taking over the No. 1 spot from longtime champion “Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey” (which took over the spot from “The Fox & the Hound”) as Most Tearjerking Movie About a Dog.

My shoulders heaved. My throat closed up. My chest ached.  I blew my nose through three tissues.  That was One Good Cry, folks, not seen since “Wall*E”!  (And I love a good cry at the movies, particularly in public spaces, such as a crowded bus or, memorably, a Chilean movie theater displaying a subtitled “Armageddon.”)

I can’t find it online, so I will paraphrase my favorite moment here, which I think will eventually go down in the annals of cinematic history as one of the greatest movie speeches ever.

So Marley’s old and sick, and the vet tells Owen Wilson (the “me” from the movie’s title) that 90% of dogs don’t make it. OW says, “Where did you get that number?” and the vet is confused. So OW explains thusly:

“I ask because I bet that number is from a study of normal dogs, and Marley is not a normal dog.  She is special.”

Actually, there was more, but I can’t remember it, so I’ll have to try to hunt down that speech on the Internets.  But you get the gist.  It was a good one, based on what I heard through my racking sobs.

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I wrote the other day about my appreciation of Shaquille O’Neal and his Twitter activity. Then Chris told me that when Shaq can’t sleep, he goes to Wal-Mart, and when he checks out, he pays for the next 20 people behind him in line or something crazy-generous like that. Then I read this, and any doubts I had about THE_REAL_SHAQ actually being the real Shaq vanished!

It’s really him!

And he tips really well.  Apparently, the man’s got a heart of gold, officially making him my newest favorite celebrity.

I don’t care what my dad says about his spelling. The man’s enormous and typing his tweets on a tiny little cell phone, so let’s cut him some slack. And the whole point of my liking him on Twitter is that he’s funny, not that he’s insightful or literary.  And his tweets are funny mostly because they’re written by a very large, very rich, very famous person.

If you’re not convinced, here are his last two:

  • I had a nokia e90 but it fell n da toilet, now I have a shaqberry lol, I’m a toilet twitterer about 18 hours ago from txt

and

  • I hate leprekons lol about 20 hours ago from txt

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I had a truly lovely Valentine’s Day. As you all know, I love chain restaurants and have long thought that my favorite was the Olive Garden, in spite of having only been once before and of being served a wilted salad. But those pastas! All those pastas! And their cream sauces! And unlimited breadsticks! Isn’t there even a bottomless pasta bowl deal?

There was certainly no bottomless pasta bowl deal at the Olive Garden on 6th Avenue that Chris and I went to for the Early Bird Special on Saturday. We thought arriving at 4:15 would beat the crowds (not that there would be crowds at the Olive Garden in New York City, with so many other restaurants to choose from!), but that place was packed. There was a 40-minute wait, so we walked around and stopped in the Container Store, which is an incredible and way-too-expensive store. It’s one of my favorites, and I love to imagine the organizational system I’d choose for my walk-in closet, were I to have a walk-in closet or be able to afford such a system.

It turns out that not only is the Manhattan Olive Garden a popular spot, but it, like the Container Store, is Way Too Expensive! Entrees started at about $18. What? And, as I mentioned, no bottomless pasta bowl. I guess the unlimited salad is only for the basic salad, not the Caesar, which is what I wanted. There were unlimited breadsticks, but while they were delicious with all the butter and salt and garlic slathered on top, they weren’t really breadsticks, more like big puffy loaves.

We got the calamari and beef ravioli appetizers. Both were pretty bad. I love fried calamari, and this was some of the worst calamari I’ve ever had. I’ve had better for a few bucks at a bar. The Caesar salad was overly dressed with watery, bland dressing that only hinted at Caesar. Chris got some Italian sampler with lasagna (actually not bad), chicken parm (I couldn’t even finish one bite) and fettuccine alfredo (admittedly delicious).

I got the chicken and broccoli with garlic-cream sauce, which I’d been daydreaming about since I saw it on the online menu last week. Alas, the chicken was unnecessarily breaded, the broccoli was merely steamed (I’ve recently developed a killer recipe for broccoli, and this fell way short, though, let’s be honest, broccoli is delicious no matter what you do with it), and the cream sauce, like the salad dressing, was watery and bland. The dish’s saving grace was that it used orecchiette pasta, the little ear-shaped guys, which is probably the trendiest pasta out there right now. The Olive Garden’s hip to pasta trends, at least, and it really was a good choice. The sauce, too watery to really stick to the noodles, was able to nestle itself into the cup of each little ear and thus deliver as much of its muted flavor as possible.

Everything was better as leftovers, of course, and no matter that this was my worst meal in New York. It was also utterly hilarious, and I shared it with one of the best things (people) New York’s got going for it. Thank you, Chris, for a wonderful second Valentine’s Day celebration.

Best part: We made it home by 6:30, just in time to watch several hours of TV!

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A special day.

I granted myself permission to postpone an important day for a week so that I could give it its proper due, since I was out of town last week. Alas, I still have not gotten my act together enough to do anything beyond announcing to the blogosphere that a week ago today, Croquette celebrated her 29th birthday.

Annie, I wish I could’ve been there to celebrate with you!

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Last night, my brother and I went to see my high school friend Michael’s band, Stepanian, play at the Bitter End in Manhattan. Actually, the band’s bassist and I have been friends since we were babies; we used to carpool to preschool, and I have very distinct memories of climbing the stairs to his second-floor playroom. His mother was one of my gifted-and-talented teachers in middle school.

The band was awesome, and it was great to see Michael again. But get this. Another high school friend and her husband are in town from Seattle this weekend for a last-minute vacation. After having a late pizza lunch, Amy and Peter were wandering aimlessly around the Village. Peter stopped outside of a bar to look at the band posters taped to the front window and recognized a band called Stepanian. He looked inside, and there was Michael doing a sound check on stage!

So we ended up sitting with Amy and Peter for the show and then going to Rub for BBQ after. My brother got something called “burnt ends,” which were pretty much the most delicious thing any of us had ever tasted.

Only in New York, guys. Only in New York!

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Brotherly love.

I just need to publicly announce my adoration for my older brother, Nathan. Not only did we have a really wonderful time on Friday night playing Trivial Pursuit, drinking wine, eating cheese (try goat brie RIGHT NOW if you haven’t already) and installing Leopard on my computer, but today, when I discovered my VPN client wasn’t working with Leopard, he took control of my screen remotely and did some furious typing and clicking that I didn’t even begin to understand. An hour later, my VPN is working, and I can do my work!

VPN

At one point, I was in tears, so frustrated, imagining how miserable it was going to be to go into work at 7 a.m. tomorrow to finish my leftover work. Nathan was stumped, but I just told myself, “If anyone can fix this, Nathan can.” And he did!

Thank you, Nate!

I don’t know what people do who don’t have a genius computer programmer for a brother. I always thought this about my father, too (and, more recently, my sister-in-law). What do people do who don’t have a doctor in the family do? When the kids you’re babysitting across the street get a baseball to the wrist, whom do you call to see if it’s broken and needs a trip to the emergency room? When you need to know if your sore throat is just the result of a late night out or strep throat, who do you have look down your gullet so you can avoid the hassle of going to the doctor unnecessarily?

Of course, these are just the smallest of the reasons I’m blessed to have the family I do.

In other news, the Puppy Bowl is as fine a sporting event as any I’ve ever seen, and my cupcakes are still delicious, if a tad messy.

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