Monday, March 31, 2008

[Feature] History 101: Palisades Park Wasn't Always a Square Mile

In lieu of Palisades Park’s 109th birthday (March 22nd), what better way to celebrate it than an article on “the greatest square mile” around?

As one of the founders of Life in Boxes, I have to admit that we originally thought of this blog idea out of our common interest and love: the square of a mile we call home – Palisades Park. But living in such a small area, there never really seems to be any real ground-breaking news going on.

After talking to a proud Texan and hearing about the history lessons more focused on Texas, I realized that despite my fierce loyalty to my hometown, I had no understanding of its rich, historic past. Sure, we all know about Fort Lee and its role as the original motion picture capital. And yeah, the George Washington Bridge is pretty awesome, getting us across to the city within minutes. But what about Palisades Park? Surely it must have some sort of interesting historic value…right?

Let’s be honest here. Sure, it’s a tiny town, or more correctly, a borough (1.3 square miles, to be exact). And yeah, there isn’t really much to do here besides going to a Korean bakery/café for some [overpriced] coffee and pastries, sing for an hour or so at an [overpriced] karaoke room, … I mean, who are we kidding? Broad Avenue is pretty much the most exciting area of the town (and even that runs through the neighboring towns of Leonia and Ridgefield). In fact, if you think about it, the elementary school (Lindbergh School) is right at one edge of our town (bordering Leonia) and the high school (Palisades Park Junior-Senior High School is on the opposite end (bordering Ridgefield). Pretty bizarre, if you ask me.

I’m no town-constructing expert, but I’ve played enough SimCity 2000 to know where some buildings should be strategically placed within a town. And to have our schools located at both edges of the town border seemed pretty weird to me. But thanks to some research online, the truth has been discovered.

It turns out that Leonia, Palisades Park, and Ridgefield once was a whole town on its own called Palisades Hills Township. Palisades Hills stretched across a whopping 6.9 square miles, in comparison to its neighboring township, Fort Lee. But then goat farmers from Fort Lee (known as Coytesville at the time – Coytesville was a village of its own, but gave up its independence to those Fort Lee bullies) took portions from the all-encompassing Palisades Hills (explaining why past 13th Street belong to Fort Lee). Brinkerhoff Avenue used to be known as "Nanny Goat Hill" because of all of the goats grazing on the hilly nolls; the loss of anywhere past 13th Street had a negative effect on Palisades Hills, which later sparked the differences that eventually led to the split of three boroughs.

Palisades Hills was torn apart for most of the later 1800s. After losing a part of “Nanny Goat Hill,” the demand for goat milk, cheese, and meat was high in demand. After threatening words from the farmers on both ends of Palisades Hills, the middle section of the township claimed its independence on March 22, 1899. Unable to keep the besmirched name of Palisades Hills, it was named the borough of Palisades Park. As a result of losing the whole middle section of Palisades Hills to its own independence, the formation of the borough of Leonia and borough of Ridgefield soon followed after.

Once old grudges died out and when plans to modernize the little goat-farming community came about, Broad Avenue was created to made amends with Leonia and Ridgefield. Initially, the street was to be named “Palisades Hills Avenue,” in memory of the old township. However, town officials in Palisades Park, Leonia, and Ridgefield agreed to start anew and after much deliberation, the name “Broad Avenue” was chosen.

I guess HAving a Palisades Park street (Yes, is it wrong to cAll it a PalpaRkIan street?) Like Broad Avenue running FrOm LeOnia-PaLiSades Park-Ridgefield makes some sense, afterall.


Sunday, March 30, 2008

What are you doing this weekend?

Fri: 32° / 50°F, Rainy
Sat: 27° / 44°F, Sunny
Sun: 37° / 47°F, Partly Cloudy

21 (Starring Kevin Spacey, Jim Sturgees, Kate Bosworth, Laurence Fishburne)
Run, Fat Boy, Run (Starring Simon Pegg, Hank Azaria)
Superhero Movie (Starring Drake Bell, Pamela Anderson, Tracy Morgan)


Wizard Rock - Friday at 8pm at the Sidewalk Cafe (94 Avenue A in New York), come see bands that were inspired by Harry Potter. Bands set to perform include The Moaning Myrtle's, The Whomping Willows, and the Malfoys.

Cheap Gaming @ Dave and Busters - Cheap and Dave and Busters is not something you normally hear in the same sentence, but from today til Monday, the Dave and Busters in Time Square will be having a super cheap deal: Buy $10 worth of gaming and get $10 dollars free. To get on this deal, download the coupon here.

Closing Weekend for the Flower Show and the Auto Show
- The Macy's Flower Show and the New York International Auto Show are both closing this Sunday. This weekend is going to be your last chance to catch them, otherwise you're going to have to wait a whole year.


Friday, March 28, 2008


Paranoia. Fear. Anxiety. Anger.

These are probably the thoughts running through a popular celebrity's head when they leave the comforts of their own home to venture out into the streets, and try to live their life as "normal" as possible. From seeing Britney Spear's late runs to get her fix of McDonald's, to seeing Brad Pitt in (gasp!) sweatpants, we all know that normal folks like us are wondering what it feels like to be stalked by the paparazzi.

Well, now you can turn those thoughts into a reality!

MethodIzaz provides you with an opportunity to be paranoid while you're out. For a price, of course. In order to get a quote, you must first email the company with your schedule with specifics (time, precise location, etc.), what emotions you'd like the photographer to capture, what size prints and how many of each, as well as an uploaded photo of yourself (so the photographer can know who they have to stalk).

Unfortunately, this service is only available in New York City.

Just make sure you're on your best behavior - put a pause to your daily habits, such as pushing old ladies down the stairs and doing eat-and-runs at restaurants.

Yeah, we know it's you!


Sports Recap: Crystal Baseball

It's opening day weekend in baseball. Let me help you relate how I feel. Shoppers, like if Coach had a "Buy 1 Bag, Get 5 Free" sale. Fatties, imagine McDonalds had an "All You Can Eat" buffet. Television viewers, this as though writers went on strike for a couple of months and finally came back to provide you with your TV show addiction. (Wa wa wa....)

In honor of my favorite weekend of the year I've decided to look into the future to predict the results of the upcoming season. My proudest predictions so far have been Golden State beating Dallas in the first round last year, A-Rod resigning with the Yanks, and the Visa IPO flop. That being said my NCAA bracket is a mess. (DAMN YOU G'TOWN!)

AL East
1. New York (AL) 95-67
2. Boston 93-69
3. Toronto 86-76
4. Tampa Bay 75-87
5. Baltimore 63-99

AL Central

1. Detroit 93-69
2. Cleveland 92-70

3. Chicago (AL) 84-78
4. Minnesota 77-85
5. Kansas City 74-88

AL West

1. Seattle 89-73

2. Los Angeles (AL) 89-73
3. Texas 81-81

4. Oakland 69-93

NL East
1. New York (NL) 94-68
2. Philadelphia 88-74
3. Atlanta 85-77
4. Florida 72-90
5. Washington 72-90

NL Central
1. Chicago (NL) 89-73
2. Milwaukee 86-76
3. Cincinnati 84-78
4. St. Louis 73-89
5. Houston 73-89
6. Pittsburgh 66-96

NL West

1. Arizona 90-72
2. San Diego 88-74
3. Los Angeles (NL) 84-78

4. Colorado 81-81

5. San Francisco 62-100

AL Wild Card - Boston
NL Wild Card - San Diego

New York (AL) Over Seattle in 4
Detroit Over Boston in 5


New York (NL) Over San Diego in 5

Arizona Over Chicago in 3

New York (AL) over Detroit in 7 New York (NL) Over Arizona in 7

World Series
New York (AL) over New York (NL) in 6

The Diamondbacks vs the Mets would be fun to watch and could go either way! Ulitmately, homer pick? Yes. Let's go Yanks!

Now for the Individual Honors. Dark Horse in ().

AL MVP- Alex Rodriguez (Grady Sizemore)
NL MVP- David Wright (Chase Utley)

AL Cy Young- Felix Hernandez (Rich Harden and Francisco Liriano)
NL Cy Young- Johan Santana (Carlos Zambrano)

AL ROY- Clay Bucholz (Evan Longoria)
NL ROY- Geovany Soto (Kosuke Fukudome)

Top 5 Fantasy Players: Alex Rodriguez, Hanley Ramirez, David Wright, Manny Ramirez, Grady Sizemore


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Luxury movie-going experience: worth the price??

How much would you be willing to pay for a movie?

According to this article in Variety, a group of investors is spending $200 million over the next 5 years to build 50 luxury theaters nationwide. The price of a ticket at one of these theaters? $35. What is included in that price? Reclining seats with footrests, digital projection, the capability to screen both 2-D and 3-D movies, lounges/bars serving cocktails and appetizers, concierge service, valet parking, made-to-order meals like sushi from on-site chefs, and waiter service at each seat. Of course, the purchase of food is an extra cost.

Gold Class Cinemas wouldn't be the first of its kind, as there are other theater chains offering similar services already, but at much cheaper prices: $12-18/ticket. I don't know how I feel about this. I guess I still live in the 'I'm-a-broke-college-student' mentality, because I love seeking out matinees and generally low-priced theaters. Also, because you never know if the movie you're about to watch is going to be bad, and you never want to say that you paid $35 to see the


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Spotlight: The Hush Sound

I'm not a big fan of Fall Out Boy, but I will say one thing: Peter Wentz has some good taste in music. Since making it big, he has been signing a bunch of artists to his label, Fueled by Ramen. Along with Gym Class Heroes, The Hush Sound is my favorite band on the label.

The Hush Sound is probably one of the best bands you haven't heard of. Consisting of 2 lead singers (Bob Morris and Greta Salpeter), a drummer (Darren Wilson), and a Bassist (Chris Faller), this indie group from Chicago only started 4 years ago, yet has made 3 really great albums.

They have created a unique musical style that is not what you would expect from a group that is labeled as alternative/indie rock. Yes, they do have a tinge of rock in them, but their music is distinctively light and almost contemporary-country'ish. While this seems like an odd combination, The Hush Sound makes it work.

Like with most good groups, it's hard to describe their music. It's much easier to give you a taste of it....

The Hush Sound recently released their latest album, Goodbye Blues. It isn't their best album -- they seem to go too much towards a slow-tempo’d, country / bluesy sound. However, it still is a solid album and has some gems in it.

My favorite song of the album is "Hospital Bed Crawl."

To get the best of The Hush Sound, you have to look back to their last album, Like Vines. The entire album is great. My two favorites in the album are "Wine Red" (their single) and "We Intertwined". The songs represent what makes The Hush Sound so good: Great vocals and catchy beats.

Wine Red

We Intertwined

The Hush Sound is the kind of group that you can brag to your friends about discovering first. They unique sound appeals to many people. And if their first 3 albums are any indication, they will continue to make awesome music.

Their Official Site
Their MySpace
Their Wiki Page


Review: Dae Ga

Restaurant Name: Dae Ga
Cuisine: Korean
Location: 2053 Lemoine Ave. Fort Lee, NJ
Price Range: $15 Buffet $12-$40 Dinner
Telephone: (201) 944-8699

Dae Ga is squeezed between a Citibank and a diner but, yet it has valet parking. The front door to Dae Ga leads you to believe that you're about to enter a PC Bang but once you go inside a overly done staircase leads you to the restaurant. These paradoxes humored me but didn't detract from my enjoyment of the place.

I have been to Dae Ga twice in the past month, once for dinner and once for lunch. At the dinner I had the bibimbab (a mixed rice meal with vegetables, beef, and a fried egg) and the table shared various orders of galbi. The bibimbab was good but not spectacular. The same can be said about the galbi. My biggest complain about the food would have to be the oi kimchi (cucumbers with kimchi). Oi kimchi is one of my favorite appetizers of all time and at Dae Ga they make it bland. The simple solution to this is to add some kimchi.

I went the following week with a couple of my friends to try out their lunch buffet. The buffet includes rice, fried dumplings, nengmyun (cold noodles), tofu, pork, beef, etc... They also brought a plate of galbi for the table. Although the food was good, I was most impressed with the service. One of our friends was late and in our infinite hunger we ate his serving of galbi. When he finally arrived, our waitress, like a good mother, brought him another serving, and playfully scolded us for eating his serving.

There is nothing about the food at Dae Ga that I find overly impressive. That being said, I did make three trips to the buffet and could barely walk when I was leaving the restaurant. The atmosphere is OK and the service is grand. If you're tired of diners and want to try something new, I would recommend Dae Ga.

Atmosphere: B
Food: B
Service: A
Overall Rating: B


Coming Soon, To a Theater Near You ..

Koreans seem to be taking over Hollywood .. one movie at a time.

We first saw singer/actor 비 (Bi, the Korean word for "Rain," aka 정지훈, Jeong Ji-hoon) in People magazine's 2007 list of the "Most Beautiful," as well as Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People Who Shape Our World." And who can forget Stephen Colbert's hilarious rendition of Bi's music video? Well if you haven't seen the trailer for the live-action Speed Racer movie ... oh my! Yes, that's in the trailer as rival Taejo Togokhan.

Oh, and speaking of Speed Racer, old fans of the K-Pop group g.o.d (groove over dose) will recognize a quick glimpse of 박준형 (Park Joon-hyung). He's also going to be in the upcoming Dragonball movie as Yamcha.

And to round off the list, Korean A-list actor 이병헌 (Lee Byung-hun) will be making his U.S. debut in 2009, to a theater near you, as Storm Shadow in the upcoming live-action GI Joe movie.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Real-Life Breakfast Club

The New Breakfast Club

If the poster on the left looks oddly familiar, it's because it's a rift on the movie poster for the iconic 1985 movie, The Breakfast Club. The John Hughes movie is one of my favorites, about 5 very different stereotypical high school students who are reluctantly brought together for detention and end up finding out they have more in common than they thought they did. The film for this poster is American Teen, and it's actually a documentary that won its director, Nanette Burstein, the Directing Award at this past year's Sundance Film Festival. American Teen examines a group of high school seniors in an Indiana town and their various cliques, and will be released in theaters on July 25.

There seems to be a lot of interest in high school life at the moment, with this new documentary being released to the WE network's High School Confidential to studies being done like this one. It probably has a lot to do with how fast kids are growing up these days, and how amplified the pressures teens face on a daily basis have become. Everything is harder, faster, and more intense than I ever remember it being.

I think high school is a fascinating time. For me personally, I did most of my growing up in college, a place where I was stretched and challenged and forced to grow up. I think for most people though, high school is that place. It's when you first start discovering yourself in relation to others who are also discovering themselves, figuring out your likes and dislikes, giving into/resisting peer pressure, and of course going through all those fun emotional, hormonal, and physical changes. I pretty much coasted through high school because I had a stable group of good friends and I found school to not be that difficult. But it always interests me to watch teenagers with experiences vastly different than mine. Whether or not you can completely relate to the teens being portrayed on your screen, everyone's gone through some sort of awkward stage in life, and I think that's what makes high school life so interesting to examine.


Monday, March 24, 2008

[Feature] Sodom, Gomorrah, and Bergen County


As you all know by now, former Governor Spitzer got caught in a prostitution ring. Besides crushing his career, this scandal has shown that there are many different faces of prostitution.

It isn't all picking up dirty street hookers named Divine Brown in downtown Hollywood -- prostitution is everywhere. It's on the internet, it's in major cities, and yes, it is in your own back yard.

Bergen County (and I'm sure counties are all over the country) is rife full of prostitutes, dirty massage parlors, and brothels.

Seriously, our quaint little county is way dirtier then you once thought....

Heaven is a Happy Ending
Probably the most prevalent form of prostitution in our area is that of shady massage parlors. These joints are usually owned by Asians and offer everything from the simple happy endings to... pretty much everything else.

Now, I've never been to one, but I've seen enough movies to figure out how it all works. I'm sure they offer massages, but that's a secondary issue.

Bergen County has been hit with numerous massage parlor busts. Between 2002 to 2003, the very hard to miss "Heaven is a Spa" massage parlor on Route 46 in Little Ferry was busted at least 3 times for prostitution.

More recently, #752 Spa in Lyndhurst was also busted for prostitution. The kicker for me is that the owner of that establishment is a Korean woman named Soon C. Park. Way to make us Koreans look good, Soon.

Korean Brothels are not Soups
Yet another big source of dirtiness that has begun emerge is the culture of room salons.

Room salons are bars where customers pay to hang out and drink with young girls (or even young men, for those ahjumma's) in their own private rooms. While there usually isn't anything beyond flirting going on within the room salons, people usually make arrangements for sex while there.

In Korea, this is a $20 billion dollar industry. Seeing as places like Palisades Park are over 40% Korean, it's not surprising to see these room salons sprout up and grow in popularity in the US.
While doing research for this article, I stumbled upon a very bizarre site. It's kind of like, except instead of rating professors, people log in and rate their prostitutes.

I kid you not.

The site,, is broken down by state and users write about everything from strip clubs, to massage parlors, and to just picking up prostitutes off the street. They discuss how much they paid, how pretty the girls look, and what kind of services they received.

This twisted site alone gives you a good breakdown of how much prostitution there really is in our area.

In Seriousness
I realize that I am writing about this topic in a somewhat light tone. I do want to address one serious issue: the false notion that prostitution is a victimless crime.

The idea that prostitution shouldn't be illegal because nobody is getting hurt from it is something many people say to justify their actions. However, that isn't true at all. Many of the Asian prostitutes are victims of human-trafficking. They are brought to the US thinking that they will receive legitimate jobs, but then are forced into sex-work.

Further, many clients do not see these women as people. In turn, they treat them like crap, beating and abusing them.

Many of these women do not want to be prostitutes, but have nothing else they can do. They are the pure definition of victims.

The fact is that prostitution is illegal, and rightly so.

In Conclusion...
If you're like me, prostitution was something you only saw on television. But as you can see, it is freaking everywhere.

Every spa I see is now a dirty brothel. Every bar, a place people will meet up for sex. And every person standing on the street, potential ho.

All this prostitution really changes the way you look at our upper-middle class, mall-shopping, Bergen County.


Friday, March 21, 2008

What are you doing this weekend?

Fri: 47°F, Windy
Sat: 47°F, AM Snow Showers
Sun: 47°F, Sunny

Opening This Weekend:

Planet B-Boy (starring dancing skills) The movie is playing at Landmark's Sunshine Cinema in downtown New York, but in order t avoid watching Drillbit Taylor, it is worth the trip!

Drillbit Taylor (starring Owen Wilson and anyone else willing to stain their careers.)


PILLOW FIGHT!: Saturday at 3 PM at Union Square. Read Julia's post for more details.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus: Performing at Madison Square Garden. Prices between 32.50 and 154.50.

New York International Auto Show: From March 21- March 30 at the Javits Center. $14 Dollar Admission.


Fake Conversation

A friend of Jen's recently saw Anderson Cooper at the Time Warner Center in New York. Instead of actually approaching him then, she proceeded to have a fake conversation with Mr.Cooper, in her mind, long after he had disappeared. I've never been all that into following/stalking celebrities. I'm really not sure how I would react to meeting one. However, I've always wondered what it would be like to have a fake conversation with one.

Setting: 166 Bus

Me: Kate Winslet?

Kate: Oh God. Yes. Keep it down.

Me: I'm such a fan. I wrote a post about you on my blog?

Kate: How fascinating (rolls eyes).

Me: I chose you as the best actress of our times.

Kate: That must have been an easy choice.

Me: You did disappear for a while there after Titanic though.

Kate: Yeah...Cocaine's a hell of a drug.

Me: What brings you to Jersey? And in a bus?

Kate: Oh so just because I'm an actress I can't take a bus? I'm a normal person just like everyone else you know. Besides, I love Korean food. The best part is that I can go in and out without being harassed. Korean people don't recognize me and I don't recognize them.

Me: I heard your daughter's name is Mia. I want to name my daughter Mia.

Kate: Yea it's a beautiful name. Unfortunately, I lost a bet so the next time I have a daughter her name will be Georgetown Hoya. I'm never betting against Georgetown again. Well, this is my stop.

Me: (In my finest English accent)Lovely meeting you.

Kate: (Gives me a dirty look and kicks me with her size 11 shoes as she's leaving).


Thursday, March 20, 2008

For Great Justice ..

Join 10,000+ people at Union Square this Saturday, March 22nd for the ultimate event.

For great justice .. PILLOW FIGHT!

That's right. The third annual "Pillow Fight NYC 2008" will be this Saturday. Grab your pillows and make it out to Union Square by 3PM (the event is set to last for about an hour).

Costumes are encouraged!

And if you're in different parts of the globe, have no fear of being left out: this year's event will coincide with other cities world-wide, making March 22nd THE International Pillow Fight Day.

If whacking strangers with a soft pillow isn't up your alley, bring your friends and show them what you really think of them. I made sure to invite all of my friends ;x


Down for everyone or just me?

I spent a good part of yesterday morning freaking out because gmail wasn't working for me. I kept getting an error message, and I literally restarted my computer AND cleaned out my cookies/files a bunch of times, all to satiate my appetite for checking my email. (Btw, when I finally did get through, important/interesting emails: 1.5, spam: 12. So...yeah.)

Instead of being ashamed that I'm apparently super addicted to email, I sought out ways of finding out if I was the only one not being able to get through. Here is where this handy site comes in.

Maybe a site is taking too long to load, or you keep getting an error message. You'll be able to find out if it's just you, or if the website in question is down in general. Pretty nifty. Though, it's really not going to help your frustration when you see this:

But you can take comfort in the fact that sometimes, it's not you, it's them.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wednesday Debbie Downer: It's The Quarter-life Crisis!

Debbie Downer: Did you know that according to a recent poll conducted for the AP and MTVU, undergraduates in colleges across the nation are stressed out? (camera zooms into Debbie's face - soundfx tuba: wah waaah)

"Um, tell me something I don't know," says Captain Obvious.

Majorities cite classic stress symptoms including trouble concentrating, sleeping and finding motivation. Most say they have also been agitated, worried, too tired to work...Many cite eating problems and say they have felt lonely, depressed, like they are failures. Substantial numbers are even concerned about spring break, chiefly not having enough money or being in good physical shape. (
A mid-life crisis occurs when a middle-aged adult goes through a sudden transition in their life that makes them realize that they are no longer as youthful as they'd like to be. So it would make sense to coin the term "quarter-life crisis" to define the college years in life; the transition from being a high school kid to becoming a young adult is a big leap...all in the matter of the few months between graduating high school and moving into freshmen dorms.

And what about after you graduate college? A quarter-life crisis, indeed (I mean, they even have a show about it).

Besides balancing her approaching graduation with the 20-hour-per-week job that helps finance school, Jeanette Devereaux-Weber said she has a new pressure: beginning her post-college life. The anthropology major at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, said she has not decided what to do..."It doesn't feel like looking for a summer job anymore, it's looking for a career, it's things that will shape everything to come," she said. "Sometimes it feels like you have to make the right choice right away or you will be behind everyone else." (

Wah waaaaaah.


Spotlight: Jason Mraz - I'm Yours

Jason Mraz is one of my favorite artists, and probably one of the most awesome artists to see live. His originality and talent has made him one of the most refreshing artists of today, and I have been waiting patiently for the release of his third studio album, We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things (due out 5/20/08). The first single off that album is called I'm Yours, but as die-hard Mraz fans know, it's a single that has been floating around the Internet for years. Originally recorded as a demo for his second studio album Mr. A-Z, the song was leaked, and became a hit without getting a single radio play. No wonder, I'm Yours is mellow (Jack Johnson-esque), catchy, radio-friendly, and beautiful.

The older, leaked single is slightly different from the single that is available right now on iTunes,, and Zune Marketplace, because he recorded different takes of it. I happen to LOVE the new version. Here is the recently released music video for I'm Yours, doesn't it just make you want to take a nice relaxing vaycay somewhere??


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Let Crest Clean Your Teeth For You... Hopefully

Just last Friday, I posted about how Crest Pro-Health Care Mouthwash were making some people's teeth brown.

Well according to somebody who emailed the Consumerist (a great blog, btw), Crest paid for their teeth whitening!

There isn't much more detail, but if you happen to have potty-mouth due to their crappy mouthwash, try to email them, or call them (1-800-285-9139) to get a free teeth shining.


Interest Rate Cuts and Stuff

The Fed is about to cut interest rates. Again. This move will hopefully motivate businesses to borrow more and expand, creating more jobs and stimulating investment in the nation. Unfortunately, higher interest rates also means the dollar loses value. (Paris and Gas will get a little more expensive.) While the plummeting dollar is something to be concerned about, in reality it is helping out the manufacturing industry and helping to prevent further economic woes.

To Recap:
interest rates down= jobs up, dollar down

dollar down= exports up, oil up

oil up= YARGHHHH!!!!

Now that I've bored you with actual news, here's a list of the most expensive divorces!!


Monday, March 17, 2008

[Feature] Long Weekend in Paris

A couple of weeks ago, I had the most awesome opportunity to travel to Paris for a couple of days with my friend Stella. Being that it was my very first trip to Europe (and to Paris, no less!), I was very excited. Rich with culture and diversity (so cool to see all sorts of people speaking 1 language, other than English), I fell in love with Paris, and I wish everyone the opportunity to visit it at least once in their lifetime.

I’m a nervous traveler, as I don’t particularly enjoy going to places I’m not familiar with. But despite the fact that I’ve never been to Europe, speak French, nor am I an expert on travel, Paris, or being abroad, my trip was FANTASTIC. And so I’ve put together some must-see places to hit and some tips, just in case a trip to Paris is in the near future for you.

Don’t Miss:
Eiffel Tower (at night)

The Eiffel Tower is not one of the 7 wonders of the world, but it should be, in my opinion. One of the most recognizable structures in the world, the great iron tower is a
magnificent sight to behold in person, especially when it’s lit up at night. Stella and I practically used the Tower as our North Star, to guide us to places when we would get slightly lost.

I would recommend taking the lift up to the second level and not the very top, as you get a pretty great view of all of Paris from the second level. At night, the lights also blink for 10 minutes on the hour, every hour, making you feel like you’re in the middle of a Christmas tree if you happen to be in the tower at the time. I love glittery, shiny things, which is why I loved the blinking light display. But beyond all of that, and beyond all the pictures you have seen, there really is nothing like seeing the Tower in person.

Musee DOrsay

When you think of museums in Paris, you think of the Louvre. Rightly so- the Lovre is a huge, encompassing, magnificent museum, the most famous and most visited art museum in the world, and the home to the great Mona Lisa (the painting is so much smaller in real life, by the way). The Musee DOrsay often plays second fiddle to the great Louvre for all of the said reasons, but it was my favorite museum in Paris, especially as a modern art lover. The museum is best known for its extensive collection of impressionist and post-impressionist works, located on the upper level.

Seeing Van Goghs self-portraits (whose works always move me to near-tears), Monets famed Cathedral of Roeun series, Edouard Manets controversial Olympia, Edgar Degass Dance Class as well as my favorite L'Absinthe, Renoir's Bal al moulin de la Galette (on the right) and many many other works familiar to a student of modern art history, this was one of my favorite experiences in Paris. Even if youre not a fan of modern art, the museum itself is housed in an old train station, and the building (with the huge grand clock inside) is definitely worth visiting.

Sacre Coeur & Montmarte

Stellas and my absolute favorite part of Paris was the little town of Montmarte, and the Basilique du Sacre Coeur (Basilica of the Sacred Heart). The town has a bohemian village feel to it, with its cobblestone streets and cute shops, bakeries, and restaurants. Montmarte is also an artists haven, and there is a flea-market type set up in the middle of the town, with artists selling their artwork and painting away as visitors peruse and buy.

Montmarte is also where the great Sacre Coeur is, one of Pariss most recognizable landmarks and located on the highest point in the city. The basilica itself is spectacular, kind of shaped like a wedding-cake of sorts. However, the panoramic view of the city sprawled out from the spiraling steps outside is what really attracts tourists, with a view that rivals that of the one from the Eiffel Tower. It's what really makes the Sacre Coeur and the town of Montmarte a must-do.

Some more places to see
Notre Dame (A masterpiece of French gothic architecture, the inside is as beautiful as the outside.)
Arc de Trimomphe (Located at Place Charles de Gaulle, from which 12 boulevards radiate. Don't play real-life Frogger and try to outrun the crazy coming traffic to get to the Arc, there's an underground tunnel that will lead you right to it)
Champs Elysees (The most prestigious and broadest avenue in Paris, leads straight to the Arc de Triomphe, and is known for its specialty luxury shops. Visit the 2-floor Louis Vuitton store.)
Saint Chapelle (The awe-inspiring stained glass windows depict scenes from the Bible, and bathe the chapel in light, and for those reasons the inside is so much more fascinating than the outside.)
Galeries Lafayette (10-stories department store, with over 75,000 brand name items, a serious-shopper's dream.)

WALK. Stella and I got around to most of the attractions by walking. Most of Paris is definitely manageable by foot, and really, walking along the Seine River and taking in the beautiful buildings all over, you can't not do it. Plus you'll be saving tons of money on transportation. Have a map handy, and don't be afraid to use, "Excusez moi, parlez vous anglais?"

Bike around. Paris has a number of spots where you can rent bikes (like the way ZipCars work here), so if walking isn't your thing, at least there's that option. From what I could tell, lots of people (natives and foreigners alike) do it, and there are tons of bike paths/roads to make it easier.

Exchange money there. Make sure you have enough euros to get you from the airport to your hotel/hostel (usually 60 euros, max), but other than that, exchange money when you get there, and preferably from a bank/ATM machine, not at the airport or hotel. The exchange rate will be lower, and you need every cent you can get, with the atrocious dollar-euro ratio.

Spend money, do it wisely. I think most stores (like the big retailers, not small shops) offer a Global Tax Refund, which means that if you spend more than 175 euros, you get 10% back at the airport before you leave France. It's an incentive to get people to shop and contribute to the economy. You can get that 10% back in dollars or euros, make sure you go with the latter option as it will benefit you more.

Do as the Parisians do. Paris/France is known for: pastries, wine, coffee, baguettes, crepes. Try it all. These indulgences really don't cost much, and I think one of the highlights of my Paris trip was getting a baguette and walking around with while munching on it. I saw so many people do it all over the city that I had to as well. Let me tell you, it was gooooood. I didn't need fancy restaurants/meals, you can totally get by and be happy on cheap sandwiches/crepes (with nutella!), and pastries galore!

In conclusion, I LOVE Paris. I hope my mini-guide somewhat helps you plan your next vacation there. While you're at it, take me with you, thanks.


Friday, March 14, 2008

What are you doing this weekend?

Fri.: 56°F, PM showers
Sat.: 53°F, AM showers
Sun.: 42°F, AM snow showers

Opening this weekend:

Horton Hears a Who! (starring Jim Carrey, Steve Carell)

Never Back Down (starring: Djimon Hounsou, Sean Faris)

Color Chart: A new exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art, celebrating 44 artists from 1950s to today, who are successfully mixing art with life.

Starbucks Free Coffee: Saturday, March 15th, 10am-noon. Stop by a Starbucks for a free 12 oz. cup of premium drip coffee. Text 'BREAK' to MYSBUX (697289) for a text reminder.

10th Annual St. Patty's 'Luck of the Irish' Pub Crawl: 5 miles, 2 days, 30 bars. Think you can handle it? Single day tickets: $25. Both days: $40.

Macy's Flower Show: Macy's, Herald Square, starting Sunday, March 16. Macy's 34th annual flower show, approximately 30,000 varieties will be on display located inside Macy's Broadway entrance.

New York's St. Patrick's Day Parade: Monday, March 17, 11AM, 5th Ave.


PSA: Crest Pro-Health Mouthwash Ironically Dirties Your Teeth

A friend recently told me a horror story she just had with the Crest Pro-Health Mouthwash. After using Crest Pro-Health for a bit, she went to her dentist and found out that her teeth were getting stained.

Initially, she didn’t put the two together, but after some googling around, she found tons of articles warning against using Crest Pro-Health Mouthwash.

As it turns out, tons of people have had their teeth stained by the mouthwash. Others have also reported that they couldn’t taste after using it. But here’s the kicker: for some, the staining got so bad that even a trip to the dentist hasn’t fully removed the stains.

Granted, it could be that this only affects a small percentage of users and that your teeth might be perfectly fine using Crest Pro-Health, but really, why take the risk? Just do yourself a favor and don’t use that mouthwash.

…I think this might tarnish Crest’s reputation.
…Crest Pro-Health Mouthwash? More like Poowash.
…Hopefully this post will help spread the word of this shady product.
… You get what I’m saying.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Avoiding Static Electricity

The office I work at is a static electricity haven. I can't touch anything metal without getting shocked. Instead of being electrocuted to death slowly, I've decided to fight back. Here are a couple of things that you can do to avoid it.

1. Moisturize your hands. Nothing attracts static like dry surfaces. Dry skin is no exception. In fact, if you want to create static electricity, dry skin and rabbit fur are some of the best surfaces to work with.

2. Touch metal with metal. Before touching something metal that you know will give you a shock, ground yourself by touching it with something metal first. People suggest using your keys. If you're married, a tap of the wedding ring should do the trick.

3. Anti-Static Spray. Make it yourself by putting fabric softener in a spray bottle filled with water. Then spray it on the rug or any other surfaces that produce static.


America's Best Dance Crew

I love dance based reality shows. Except for Dancing with the Stars, which I oddly cannot get into, despite it being the biggest dance show of them all. I wait for May every year for FOX's So You Think You Can Dance (mark your calendars, Season 4 premieres on May 22). To tide me over, MTV is currently airing their own (not as good) version, called Randy Jackson Presents: America's Best Dance Crew. It's different from the FOX version, in the sense that it features and highlights dance crews from all over the country, and not individual dancers.

The premise is pretty much the same though, you have your host- Mario Lopez (yes, he is the first person I would've thought to host a dance show too), 3 judges: Shane Sparks (a choreographer who also judges on SYTYCD), Lil Mama (I don't really understand how singing about your lip gloss qualifies you to be a 'hip-hop queen' but whatever), and JC Chasez (former N'SYNCer, the Simon Cowell of the group), a weekly elimination, and cool performances.

We're down to 4 groups as of this week: Kabba Modern from the West Coast (my FAVORITE), JabbaWockeeZ from the West Coast, Status Quo from the East Coast, and BreakSk8 from the MidWest. Like I said, the show's really not as good as SYTYCD, but it'll do for now, and there's something really appealing and beautiful about teamwork dancing. MTV, Thursdays, 10PM. Some performances, after the jump.

Kabba Modern - Thriller remix

JabbaWockeeZ - Ice Box

BreakSk8 - Beat It remix


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Boredom Killer: The 2008 Bloggies

For those of you who don’t know, bloggers have their own awards called the Bloggies. Well anyway, the 2008 bloggie winners were just recently announced.

What I find really useful about the bloggies is that they expose me to great blogs that I might have never heard of otherwise.

So if you find yourself refreshing your same old bookmarks for the 5th time today, a quick glance at the winners and nominees will help diversify your day.

And if you can’t be bothered with scrolling through the entire list, here is a list of my favorite 2008 bloggie winners and nominees...

  • – One of the highlights of my week. People anonymously send their secrets via postcard. They range from extremely funny to extremely creepy
  • – A guide to life for geeks and hipsters alike. Learn how to get rid of spyware and food stains on the same page.
  • Can I Has A Cheezburger – Lolcats galore. Need I say more?
  • Gizmodo – Keep up with latest technology.
  • Engadget – Keep up with the latest technology… again. A lot of the news repeats on both this site and Gizmodo, but that one news post that isn’t on the other makes it totally worth it.
  • Kotaku – A great gaming blog. The Gizmodo of video game blogs.
  • Overheard in NY – A hilarious blog where people submit things they’ve overhear in New York. I am desperately trying to either submit something I overheard or be overheard myself.
  • Cute Overload – Pictures of cute animals. Simple, yet amazingly addictive.
  • Digg – A boredom killer in it of itself. It aggregates the best sites of the day voted by people just like you and me.


Happy Hump Day! (pun intended): Part II

A dolphin swam up to two distressed whales that appeared headed for death in a beach stranding in New Zealand and guided them to safety, witnesses said Wednesday....The actions of the bottlenose dolphin -- named Moko by residents who said it spends much of its time swimming playfully with humans at the beach -- amazed would-be rescuers and an expert who said they were evidence of the species' friendly nature. (from

Whenever I read news bits about dolphins, it's usually about how friendly and intelligent they are. Not once, have I ever read about them being a threat in the oceans or terrorizing beach-goers; rather, you tend to hear stories about people wanting to save them.

But a mutual friend of Life in Boxes claims that dolphins aren't as cute and friendly as one might think. In fact, according to this friend, there have been several cases in which dolphins rape humans.

According to our friend, apparently, man's best friend of the waters have been known to rape humans. "I'm being serious," our friend exclaimed. "There's videos on Youtube!"

First off, I wonder what kind of people search "dolphins raping people" on Youtube. The idea of doing that really scarred me, but upon reading today's CNN news bit on a friendly dolphin that spends its time playing with humans at the nearby beach, I decided it was time to seek the truth.

It turns out to be nothing too graphic (it's actually quite funny). If anything, the people were asking for it, and they seemed keen on recording it (again, it's just funny to watch). I guess if anything, you should see it for yourself.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

While you were sleeping...

Mini news roundup!

Spitzer linked to prostitution scandal.
Kinda old news by now, since it was ALL over the wire yesterday. The new development is that he's probably going to resign. How embarrassing. Guys, keep it in your pants. Love your wives. If Spitzer does resign, Lt. Gov. David Peterson would become NY's first black governor and the 4th in US history. Oh, and he's also legally blind. Just throwing that out there.

Obama rejects Hillary's offer of VP
Touche. "With all due respect. I won twice as many states as Sen. Clinton. I've won more of the popular vote than Sen. Clinton. I have more delegates than Sen. Clinton. So, I don't know how somebody who's in second place is offering vice presidency to the person who's in first place," he said." LOVE the modesty, Barack!

The Vatican lists more 'thou-shalt-not' sins.
Move over lust, greed, and gluttony, there are some new, bad-ass sins in town. The list includes pollution, drugs, and excessive wealth, among others.

Study: 1 in 4 teens has an STD.
That translates into more than 3 million teens having a STD. Girls, keep it in your pants!! This is like a High School Confidential episode gone horribly awry.

Madonna inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Along with John Mellencamp, Philly soul producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, literate songwriter Leonard Cohen, British rockers the Dave Clark Five, and surf instrumentalists the Ventures. Yeah, I don't know the rest of them either.

Britney Spears to guest star on How I Met Your Mother.
I not-so-secretly heart Britney (shut up). I LURVE How I Met Your Mother (CBS, 8PM, Mondays). I am super duper excited.


Why I Hate People: Reason #379

I love a good debate like anyone else. If I am passionate about something, I might even throw in my two cents.

The latest thing that has caught my attention is one of those online commenting wars, particularly one from the NBC website, based off of a recent SNL skit that mocks both Democratic presidential candidates. The skit itself is alright .. but it's the comments that really made me analyze the skit.

Many of the comments express that they feel that SNL is either being super-racist (one going as far as to mention "Blackface comedy") or a means of shoving down their so-called pro-Hilary skit down their viewers throats.

Um .. what?

At first, it was funny to see how tunnel-visioned people could be, only seeing what they want to see. But after reading so many comments in the same manner, it really disheartened me.

People need to lighten up and freaking save the drama for your momma.


Monday, March 10, 2008

[Feature] Fantasy Baseball Draft

I wish I could make some of you understand how fun fantasy drafts are. Drafting is like dressing up for the Oscars. You have to make sure you have the right dress/suit, the shoes must match, accessories are a must, etc... I missed my draft last year and because of an error in the pre-draft ranking I picked Bret Myers in Round 1. That's like having your assistant giving you sweats and a tank top and telling you to walk down the red carpet. Sadly enough I finished last but this year I vowed not to let that happen again.

*Pick number in parentheses

Round 1: Here We Go!
Fantasy draft starts and I have the second pick. The first pick is a no brainer. A-Rod(1) gets taken faster than a $100 bill lying on the sidewalk. This season there are a couple of choices for number 2. Albert Pujols(7) worries me a bit. Although he's still put up monster numbers, he's had nagging injuries the past couple of years. Jose Reyes(6) is also a popular choice but his struggles in the second half of last season were enough to deter me. The real choice was between David Wright(3) or Hanley Ramirez(2). I picked Hanley reasoning that it is harder to find quality at shortstop than at thirdbase. I'm looking forward to seeing .315Avg 30HRs 100+ Run and RBIs and 45SBs. Hanley Ramirez. My black dress.

Round 2-5: A Queezy Feeling
This is usually where I feel somewhat uncomfortable in the draft and this year was no different. My second round pick was Brandon Phillips(23). Ehh... Hopefully he's good for another 30HR/30SB season. He plays in the bandbox that is the Great American Ballpark that I'm not too worried. My third round pick was a panic move. Aramis Ramirez(26). Within 5 seconds of hitting the draft button I heard my brain saying "WTF, mate!" I could have taken Carlos Lee (27), Manny Ramirez(28), Victor Martinez (29), Jonathan Papelbon(36). I got Aramis in the 5th round last year. I was blinded by the dwindling pool of thirbasemen. Miguel Cabrera(5) and Ryan Braun (17) had also been taken. I should have waited for Garret Atkins(59). My fourth rounder was Carlos Zambrano(47). I'm hoping he can rebound from last year. He finished the second half strong and I'm hoping he can carry that into the rest of this season. Besides as you will see I love taking risks with my starting pitching as you will see soon enough and Carlos Zambrano gives me some security Fifth round, Joe Mauer (50). I'm really happy taking Mauer here. I'm seeing .320avg 90 Runs 20HRs and 90RBIs this season.

Round 6-10: Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulette!
These are my favorite rounds. In the 6th round I got Felix Hernandez(71). Roy Halladay(62), Chris Young(63), and John Smoltz(64) were taken earlier in the round and this year I think Hernandez will have the better season. Not only will he continue to develop but Erik Bedard's( 24) arrival lowers the pressure on Hernandez. Round 7 and I still don't have a first basemen or and outfielder. In the 7th I take Carlos Pena(74). Pena had a monster season last year, hitting 46 HRs. This was a tough choice because I really like San Diego's Adrian Gonzalez(96). If I knew Gonzalez was still going to be available later on I would have waited. I really doubt Pena will repeat his breakout season but I hope he's a late bloomer ala David Ortiz(19) and proves me wrong. Eight round pick was Franisco Liriano (95). Liriano is coming off Tommy John surgery and didn't pitch at all last year but the kid's got electric stuff. He's good enough to be the AL Cy Young if he stays healthy. My 9th and 10th round picks addressed my OF need with Garry Sheffield(98) and Andruw Jones(119). Garry Sheffield will be hitting between Miguel Cabrera(5) and Maglio Ordonez(35) so he can expect to see a lot of fastball down the middle of the plate. Andruw Jones is coming off the worst year of his career but don't expect that to repeat itself. Jones will bring 35HRs and 100+ RBIs to an improved Dodgers lineup.

Round 11-15: Fill In the Blank
These rounds fill some holes in my team. I didn't have a relief pitcher so I drafted Eric Gagne(143) in the 12th round. Gagne was really good in Texas as the closer but was atrocious in Boston as the setup man. I think going to Milwaukee is a good move for Gagne. The Brewers have a good team and he'll have plenty of save opportunities. I'm concerned about Aramis Ramirez's health and Carlos Pena's consistency so I drafted Alex Gordon(167) in the 14th round and James Loney(170) in the 15th round. Alex Gordon is hyped to be the second coming of George Brett. If he is, I've pulled off the coup of the draft. Both Gordon and Loney are young players with only one season of Major League experience. Considering they're both being used primarily as backups I'm willing to take the chance on their talent. My other picks were Matt Cain(122) in the 11th round and Phil Hughes(146) in the 13th round. I had to pick Hughes. 12 rounds had passed and I hadn't picked a Yankee.

Round 16-21: Finally
There's not much to say about these rounds. Everyone begins to roll the dice after conformity dominates the first 15 rounds. My favorite pick is Rich Harden(194) who I seem to pick every year. Folks, Rich Harden is just as good as Johan Santana(4)...if he stays healthy(I say this a lot). I also picked Henry Owens(215) because I believe he will be the closer for the Marlins sooner than later. Michael Cuddyer(191) will start as my third outfielder but hopefully won't continue to be. The rest of the choices are meaningless and will be cut by April 10.

I'm content with my draft but I definitely could have done better. Mistakes were made, lessons were learned, hearts were broken. Mothers. Don't let your sons draft Bret Myers.


Friday, March 7, 2008

What are you doing this weekend?

Fri.: 52°F, cloudy/rain in late afternoon
Sat.: 52°F, windy with heavy rain/thunderstorm and flood watch
Sun.: 40°F, windy/partly cloudy

Opening This Weekend

The Bank Job (starring Jason Stathum)

10,000 B.C. (starring Steven Strait, Omar Sharif)

College Road Trip (starring Raven-Symone, Martin Lawrence)

Blindsight (limited release)


The 2008 Whitney Biennial: From March 6th through June 1st, the Whitney Museum of American Art will be featuring 81 artists from around the globe. There will be special, interactive events for art-enthusiasts; buy your tickets ahead while you can.

All-You-Can-Eat Dimsum Brunch: Mandarin Court (located at 61 Mott Street, NYC) will be having a $30 all-you-can-eat dimsum feast (which includes tax, tip, Chinese tea, and a beverage) on Sunday, March 9th from 1PM.

This weekend doesn't seem to be a thrilling one, in the case of weekend events - hopefully our readers have some exciting plans of their own! Oh, and if you're in the mood for some frozen yogurt, check out Yogurt Lovers in Closter, NJ.


I Want to Have Mark Zuckerberg's Babies.

Why is this guy smiling? Because he has enough money to kill you and get away with it.

Forbes has recently done the math and has estimated that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is worth about 1.5 Billion dollars.

That site you obsessively check twice a day has made this 23-year-old college dropout the 785th richest person in the world.

Meanwhile, I'm also 23, but instead of being a billionaire, I am driving 1992 Toyota Celica.

How very sad.


Thursday, March 6, 2008

News Alert: Use Your Gift Cards!

Wow .. for all those people who either love getting gift cards as gifts or like to give them as gifts:

As more retailers file for bankruptcy or go out of business, more than $75 million in gift cards are at risk of becoming worthless pieces of plastic this year...The Sharper Image announced late last month that it was suspending the acceptance of gift cards, at least temporarily. It urged shoppers to check the company Web site later this month for an update. That is typical of businesses that reorganize under Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which treats gift cards as a loan to the company, not as cash. (

I guess I'm calling out sick tomorrow to use up all these freaking gift cards before they become worthless!


Shecky's Girls Night Out

Considered to be THE event that every female must go to, Shecky's Girls Night Out was a bit of a disappointment for me. The event itself was a bit lame; imagine a sea of 30+ year olds fighting over vintage dresses, sparkly jewelry, and a chance to flirt with the [only male] sales rep from a botox booth. Sprinkled throughout were bars with free drinks ... but it would literally cost you an arm and a leg to fight through the line of women who were already sloshing away on their third or fourth drink. As I trucked along through the 3 floors of clothes, jewelry, beauty products, and occassional eye-catching free chocolate samples and Nintendo DS lounge (how random is that?), I wondered if all of Shecky's events were like this or if I was just at the wrong event on the wrong night. And would the coveted Shecky's goodie bag be all its worth?

Since it was my very first Shecky's event, I guess I shouldn't be too quick to judge. The event boasts of shopping from local vendors, with sales from anywhere 20% - 70% off .. but it doesn't mean things are exactly affordable. Friends who have gone to past Shecky's events have raved about how much of a good time they had, or what cool samples and gifts they got in their goodie bags. A co-worker recommended that I go on the very last day of the event, but obviously, those tickets sold out like hotcakes. Left with no choice but to go on a Tuesday night, I now realize why those Friday tickets were gone in a second. Lesson learned.

The idea of getting a goodie bag was awesome (though the contents inside this particular night's bag wasn't too great). Here's a look inside my bag:
-Redken traveling tote / electric wax 11 (medium control)
-Rusk Being Sexy Hairspray
-Salon Selectives apple-shaped hair pins / hair freshner
-Colgate MaxFresh Spearmint burst toothpaste
-Glytone Body lipo-lift serum
-Einstein Lip Therapy hydrating lip cream / cooling lip relief
-Shavemate Diva
-Hawaiian Tropic Island Glow daily moisturizer
-Couvrance compact foundation cream
-o.b. pro comfort tampons
-Ahava mineral foot cream
-Eboost orange-flavored daily health booster
-Epil-Step neutralizing afterwash
-Platinum music pass

Unfortunately, this Shecky's goodie bag didn't even have any sort of media (they usually give out some sort of book/literature) or even underwear :(

All in all, I guess I would go to another Shecky's event before passing my final judgment against it. The site is already selling tickets for the summer Shecky's Girls Night Out with a "new" tote for the goodie bag. Perhaps that might be a winner..?


Coffee and Milk

Instead of trying to pronounce all these French and Italian words why not get something simple in English like a Latte.

Latte- Italian for milk. American usage is derived from caffe e latte or caffelatte which means coffee and milk.


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

We're all doomed.

The $2 Trillion Nightmare

Trillion is a word you use to describe something so great that the word billion just doesn't cut it:
"This fabulous bag cost me a trillion dollars and a half."
"Yo, there were trillions of people at that party, it was off the hook!"
"How much do you think the ozone layer is worth, a trillion dollars?"

It is not, however, a word that should ever be used to describe the national debt, or how much the war is costing American taxpayers. EVER. But that's what it's come down to. The cost of this war is bordering on $3 trillion (!!!). Trillion! Can you even wrap your mind around that?? And with these kinds of figures and facts swimming around, I just can't take seriously anyone who genuinely believes that pulling our troops from Iraq is not the thing to do. There is no simple solution to any of this. But the fact of the matter is, the quality of American life is being sacrificed because of a war we shouldn't have been involved in in the first place. It's a price we're going to be paying for a very, very long time. Like a trillion years-long.


Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

As you probably already know, Hillary won a majority in Texas and Ohio, effectively making the Democratic primary race last for another couple of weeks.

What’s more, you can expect the race to get dirtier from both sides. There’s going to be a lot of political spin and half-truths being said. All of this can be very confusing to your average voter.
That’s where comes in.

Factcheck is a “nonpartisan, nonprofit, ‘consumer advocate’ for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics.” Basically, they gather everything the candidates are saying and put it through a machine that takes the BS out.

So next time you find yourself thinking, “Obama says Hillary is the devil, so I guess it’s true.” or “Hillary says that Obama wants to murder my mother.” stop by and get the story straight.


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Music: Tori Amos - Scarlet's Walk

Album: Scarlet's Walk

Artist: Tori Amos

Release Date: October 29, 2002

Genre: Alternative Rock. Piano pop/rock.

There are some really great up and coming female artists out right now, which I will write about in a future post, but I wanted to call attention to an oldie but a goody, and my favorite album of all time, Tori Amos's Scarlet's Walk. Tori Amos is a very interesting, ecclectic artist, who first rose to fame in the 90s as a female singer song writer known for being a social commentator and for her emotionally intense songs. What's interesting about her is that she tends to take on different characters through her albums, meaning she writes and performs her songs as her alter egos. For Scarlet's Walk, she explores the loosely-based on herself character of Scarlet, and the album details her travel through America. It was released a year after the 9/11 attacks, and was written during Amos's cross-country road trip shortly after those attacks. It is essentially a travelogue and an ode to America, its history, its people, and its values across the landscape.

Scarlet's Walk is Amos's most commercial and commercially-successful album, and in which her piano takes a back seat to other sounds, such as drums and bass. For that reason, it sounds different from any of her previous efforts. A lot of the time, her songs are very experimental and thus harder to get into, but Scarlet's Walk is not like that. It deftly blends her piano skills with percussion, jazzy sounds, and guitar work to create a melodically pleasing overall sound. And of course, there's her voice/vocal range, which perfectly complements the atmospheric moods of all of her songs.

Amos is also known for her candid, sometimes puzzling, but always poetic, lyrics. This album is no exception. Her first and most successful single off the album is A Sorta Fairytale, a catchy, melancholy song that is also politically controversial in its lyrics about Native Americans. The rest of the album is filled with stark observations about American life- the epic I Can't See New York (for obvious reasons, a tribute to the city), Amber Waves (a tale about a porn star and men's exploitation of women), Taxi Ride (about her late friend Kevin Aucoin, the famous make up artist, which touches on anti-homosexuality).

For all these reasons, I think Scarlet's Walk is an important piece of American art, in addition to it being Amos's greatest and most relevant album. I listen to it all the time, and everytime I pick up on new things.

Recommended Tracks: Amber Waves, A Sorta Fairytale, Strange, Taxi Ride, I Can't See New York, Gold Dust
Grade: A