Archives for November 2011

Bootsy Collins Deserves Better

The other night I saw something that initially thrilled, and then horrified me: I saw Bootsy Collins (Thrilled: Bootsy Collins is on TV!) in an Old Navy commercial (Horrified: Bootsy Collins is in an Old Navy commercial?!?)
The first reaction was genuine and from the heart, because I love Bootsy Collins. I love him so much I named my dog after him. I love him so much I named the second dog after Bootsy’s brother Catfish in case people didn’t get it the first time. (Also, she looks like a cat and smells like a fish.) Bootsy (the man, not the dog) is a crucial player in my favorite band ever: the original JB’s, James Brown’s backing band circa 1969-71. Bootsy played bass, Catfish played guitar. Bootsy’s bass lines were amazing, lethally danceable. “Sex Machine” is Bootsy. So are “Super Bad,” “Soul Power,” “Give It Up Or Turn It Loose,” “Hot Pants,” and “Talking Loud and Saying Nothing.” Irresistable stuff. In my many years of bartending I have never seen it fail to make people dance.

My second reaction was reflexive: it’s always sad to see people you respect as artists being shoehorned into lame product — commercials, however you feel about commerce, are nearly always unfunny second-rate product, particularly celebrity endorsements — because they need the money. (It’s a lot worse when they don’t need the money. Is Jimmy Fallon really doing commercials for a credit card at the exact moment everyone is figuring out that he has the best late-night show around? Really? The moment it becomes clear that you can hold your very lucrative job for as long as you want it, you take the sketchiest kind of endorsement ever? The credit card company in question once sent me a card I didn’t ask for, which I promptly cut up and tossed in the trash; soon after, I got a bill for the activation fee on the card, which I didn’t ask for, never used, and hadn’t activated. But we’re getting off topic.)

As product, the Old Navy commercial is not great. The premise is that Old Navy’s new “Incrediboots” are in fact made by Bootsy! Great job, ad execs! Take the afternoon off! Read More

Foreskin Is The New Black

One of the big decisions my wife and I faced when our son was born, coming up on five years ago (the days are like years, the years are like days!), was whether to have him circumcised. Circumcision seems to be falling out of favor these days, and though I never gave it a lot of thought before my wife was pregnant, I certainly made up for lost time in the second and third trimesters.

Fortunately, this decision was free of any outside pressure. Neither my wife nor I grew up with a religion that prescribes it (or, indeed, any religion at all — thanks, Mom, Dad, Keith and Linda!), so no pressure there. Nor did either of our parents seem to have any strong feelings about it (or at least if they did, they kept it to themselves).

So it was our choice to make, and as with any big decision, I tried to look at both sides and weigh the pros and cons, which I will do my best discuss as un-graphically as I can.

Firstly, the idea of taking a small, defenseless baby and cutting off part of his body that does not, in any medical sense, need to be cut off was a hard idea for me to process. On a gut level, it doesn’t feel a lot different to me from foot-binding or female circumcision (which needs a better name). The last thing I wanted to do to my newborn son was take a knife to any part of him. It feels like an unnecessary relic from religious rites that I never took part in. And, the Wikipedia page on the topic drives home in semi-graphic detail exactly what each technique entails, and it is more than a little disturbing. Read More

When Zombies Attack (By Urinating)!

Not long ago I heard through the grapevine that someone of my acquaintance had had an unfortunate accident: After a long night of drinking ales and spirits, he apparently rose suddenly from bed in the wee, wee hours, waking his lady friend, who just managed to stop him from urinating on the windowsill.

The gentleman in question was suitably embarrassed, but not exactly mortified, as accidents of this sort are something that just kind of comes with the territory when one enjoys adult beverages in less than perfect moderation (and by that I mean “poisonous excess”).

Considering my own history of drinking myself incontinent, I am certainly no one to judge. I woke up half drunk and all wet more times than I care to remember (and probably a couple that I don’t) by the time I was 30, starting with two incidents in high school, both on couches at other people’s houses. In one case, I slunk out and hoped nobody would notice (it was a house party and the house was trashed so I thought it would be a while before anyone sat on the couch); in the other case, my host, a classmate we’ll call “Klaus,” said not to worry about it because he had done it a few times himself.

Klaus and I and most of our high-school graduating class spent the summer at the beach after graduation before heading off to college, and one night he managed to bring a young lady back to his room. As recent high-school graduates without adult supervision are wont to do, they had more than a few libations and he woke up in his bed soaked in his own pee, with the young lady still sleeping in blissful ignorance next to him. Clearly, a delicate situation. His solution, in my opinion, was the greatest tactical maneuver since Patton took Bastogne. Read More

What’s With The Hooker Shoes?

I was lucky enough to be invited to a really, really fancy party a couple of weeks ago. It was purely a case of nepotism: an old friend and coworker has found herself running an incredibly swank penthouse for a very old magazine that uses it for a lot of fabulous parties and photo shoots, and she invited my wife and me and a few of our other less fancy friends to see how the 1% lives.

My wife, sadly, was buried under her postgraduate curriculum, so I went stag. After I signed in, I was escorted to an elevator that took me up eight stories and opened directly into the penthouse, and then — on a tip from the elevator operator — climbed the stairs that wound around the all-glass elevator at the center of the penthouse up four stories, joining the three other glamour tourists in our party at the top floor balcony, with a 180-degree view of lower Manhattan. It was a fancy party indeed, the kind that gets mentioned in the society pages and photographed for the back of the glossy magazines, though I suspect that it was one of the less fancy parties to be held in this venue.

The view was amazing and the penthouse was breathtaking, and there were a lot of very attractive, well put-together, professional-looking people wearing obviously expensive clothes. Not to put too fine a point on it: It felt like a whole lot of Midtown people, which is a culture nearly alien to the East Village circles I tend to run in.  I felt like an anthropologist, observing the customs of a curious tribe of people who shop for clothes more often than presidential elections and use shampoo and hair product and moisturizer and makeup like Sephora stockholders. Metrosexuals, and the women who love them — I observed them one and all with fascination. As I am but a man, I admit without shame that I tended to observe more of the ladies than the gentlemen.

One person in particular I found especially striking. She was on the short end of tall, had long, dark hair, and was wearing the hell out of an elegant little black dress. She had a little more makeup on than I would prefer, but that was par for the course in this crowd.

I had just about decided that she was the one. The one I’d love for the whole rest of this party. You know: the kind of love where you furtively enjoy someone’s sex appeal from across the room when (and only when) they happen to be directly in your field of vision, without any effort or notion to approach, speak to, or otherwise engage them. These are the cheap thrills of the married and faithful.

As a formality before making it official, I took her all in one more time from the top down: Beautiful, long, dark hair. Very pretty face, probably the beneficiary of some racial mixing (never hurts, always helps). Cute little dress on a lean, well-toned but still-curvy figure. Then I got to the hooker shoes. Read More