Sunday, April 26, 2009

NYC Rant

According to The Brooklyn Eagle -- my fave local paper -- there just aren't any supermarkets around here! Unless you count the giant CostCo ....

"Worrisome indicators about the state of the borough’s health highlight serious systemic shortcomings. Conference literature sites a “Supermarket Need Index” created by the Department of City Planning, which determined that three million New Yorkers live in neighborhoods with a high need for grocery stores. In Brooklyn, those neighborhoods are Bushwick, Bed-Stuy, East New York and Sunset Park."

But I'd like to say, in our defense, that you can get NYC's best banh mi sandwich here. Suck on that, East New York!

Anyway, it's kind of true. Unfortunate, and true.

If I want decent fruit -- not good, but decent, mind you -- I have to walk to Rossman Farms at 25th and 4th. For the best meat, I go to Eagle Provisions on 17th Street (though I suppose if I want really fresh meat I could go to that live poultry place down by the strip clubs under the highway). Sometimes it would be nice not to have to walk 40 blocks for food, you know?

I could go to Hong Kong Supermarket or any one of the little mini-markets in Chinatown, but that's still at least a ten-to-fifteen block walk (and two avenues). And buying certain items in Chinatown -- like fish, for example -- can be daunting, because you can only point to what you want, and certain matters of etiquette are vague (um, are you going to kill the fish before I take it home?). I do like getting my five-pound bag of rice for $5, but carrying it home during the twenty-minute walk sucks balls.

It sounds like I'm bitching, and I probably am, but I'm kind of over Sunset Park right now. When I first moved here in the fall of '07, certain things about it were cute. The charm has totally worn off by now, leaving me a loud, bitter person. The longer I stay in NYC's most overrated borough, the more calcified and ossified the brittle shell becomes. Everything about the city in its present state gets on my nerves. More and more these days I hear a voice in my head saying, "The city's a toilet." The voice belongs to the "when are you going to come and see the ba-bee" woman from Seinfeld reruns. The city is no longer the big Seinfeld episode of my dreams. It's just a big ole toilet.

Whenever I get these "It's time to get out of here" moments, I know I desperately need something to renew my New Yorky-type love. Like random, heart-shaped fireworks, or a CHUD sighting. Failing that, I'd settle for seeing some of my neighbors get into a horrible, face-mangling accident. Like maybe getting hit by a Mister Softee truck.

Although I did have a wonderful moment recently. I yelled at this guy on the N train last weekend: "You can't get the 1 train from here! It's at 7th Avenue and we're at Union Square! You've been a New Yorker for 57 years and you don't know that? come on man!" And it was so satisfying. Transferring to the 1! Ha! ha! I snort in derision.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Bea Arthur

Beatrice Arthur, beloved by spinsters everywhere, passed away today.

I love this quote from her, circa 2008, in which Arthur "[recalls] with bemusement CBS executives asking about the new "girl." ... '[When I did All in the Family] I was already 50 years old. I had done so much off-Broadway, on Broadway, but they said, `Who is that girl? Let's give her her own series,' Arthur said."

Our good old, 5'9", gravel-voiced, razor-witted girl. I think Dorothy Zbornak would raise her eyebrows at that!

I like to think there's a special heaven for people who made really good TV shows, and that she's up there sharing G&Ts in a tiki bar with Estelle Getty right now.

Monday, April 20, 2009


There is a fantastic deluge happening outside right now and I'm loving every minute of it. Also: The Damn Teens who hang out in the hallway? One of them opened the door for me whilst I struggled to maintain control of my umbrella and find my keys simultaneously. Now how am I supposed to hate them?

When those Little Punks start helping out an old lady like me, and it's raining in the most gorgeous lightningy thundery way so that I keep expecting Maria to start singing My Favorite Things, AND I have Girl Scout cookies, well it's hard to stay cranky. Also, Little Dorrit on Masterpiece Theatre? It'll be the reason I get nothing done this week: I have three episodes on my DVR. However, I've got a post brewing that should be fairly lovely, and should be ready for public consumption circa Thursday (hint: it involves "Ghosts" by Cesar Aira, which I'm on page 3 of and like already). That is all. Ta!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Fan Friday: Susan Boyle!

Scottish spinster Susan Boyle! Her YouTube videos have been disabled for embedding, but here's a link that will do just as well. It's a testament to her utter adorableness that I, avid loather of all musical theatre, was a little thrilled by her performance. It's a testament to my own cynicism that I'm afraid it's all just a hoax dreamed up by the BBC ... but if she's a real person, then I love her. She's a heroine to smoldering spinsters everywhere!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Manhattan History

This week, the NYT is inviting readers to submit their questions about the history of Manhattan to Michelle and James Nevins. It's beat the geek time. Think of something good.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Dream Dialogue

Upon learning that I've been entered into an auto race:

"You want me to race that?"
"But I could die!"
"You have to. We've already printed the flyers."

Luckily I get out of this sticky situation. In my backpack, instead of the black jeans and leather jacket I am supposed to wear, I find a formal, floor-length floral print gown.

"I can't race in this."
"You're right. Call it off."

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Qu'est-ce que c'est?

Kumar is working for the president? Kutner is dead? The world has really changed since I stopped DVR-ing "House."

Fightin' Crime (Pt. II)

This is interesting: did you know that the NYC Municipal Archives has the most comprehensive collection of court records pertaining to the administration of criminal justice in the English-speaking world? It's true. They have records and dockets going back to 1684 and indictment papers and case files for every felony arrest after 1790. If you don't think that's interesting, well, then you just don't know what's what.

Monday, April 06, 2009

PSA: Warner Archive

We've already got three of these in our household, and it will likely become an addiction.
So far, speedy shipping and decent quality transfers mean I can recommend this service to my fellow cinemaphile spinsters, and this Marion Davies movie intrigues me, since I've long been meaning to watch her comedies (my poor reaction time to various TCM airings has shut me out thus far). So get thee to the Warner Archive, now -- even if only to spend the better part of the morning procrastinating.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Fan Friday: Loretta Lynn

Just put down Loretta Lynn's autobiography, Coal Miner's Daughter, and let me tell you I only put it down because I came to the end of it. As I read, I kept yelling things out to whoever would listen, "Hey, did you know Loretta Lynn got married at 13? Did you know she had four kids by the time she was 18? Did you know she was part Native Indian? Did you know her husband's name is Doolittle? Did you know her sister's Crystal Gale? -- blah, blah, blah."

Needless to say, she's a fascinating lass, and although she often comes off as disingenuous in this book -- hey, it's an autobiography, you can write whatever the hell you want -- she's still totally sweet and hilarious. She gives props to Kitty Wells, talks about her friendship to Patsy Cline, and says she admires Dolly Parton. "Most of the women like me. They could see I was Loretta Lynn, a mother and wife and a daughter who had feelings just like other women. Sure, I wanted men to like me but the women were something special. They'd come around the bus after the show and they'd ask to talk to me. They felt I had the answer to their problems because my life was just like theirs." Of course, as much as she's got the sisterhood thing down, she's also more than ready, willing and able to punch a fellow gal in the face if you piss her off. That's my Loretta.

Another interesting fact: she was named after Loretta Young. Her mom plastered pictures of movie stars over her crib, and she liked Loretta Young and Claudette Colbert: "Lots of times I wonder if I would have made it in country music if I was named Claudette."

She started singing at 24, but she'd already been a housewife for a decade. No wonder she knows a thing or two. Interestingly enough, even though she wrote a bunch of her own songs, several of them were penned by Shel Silverstein, including "One's On The Way," which I didn't know. She wrote Fist City herself, though, and one of my personal favorites, "Don't Come Home A Drinkin' (With Lovin' On Your Mind)."

Anyway, if you get a chance, read Coal Miner's Daughter. I've been a fan for a decade and I still learned a bunch of fun new facts, so it's worth your time even if you already know a lot about her. Oh, and someone please get me her cookbook for my birthday: