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Archive for June, 2007

Zach Galifianakis, along with Band of Horses, will be holding an auction of “bad art” in Manhattan on July 10th, 2007. Tickets are thirty bucks ($33.75 with tax), and are on sale now. Having seen Mr. Galifianakis perform a few times, I can say that it will undoubtedly be an interesting evening, and well worth the ticket price. All the money made goes to New York Cares. If you are unfamiliar with Zach Galifianakis, here is a short video of one of his jokes (and there’s plenty more on youtube).

So basically, it’s good comedy, good music, a good cause and shitty art. What’s not to love?

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The owners of Red, White and Bubbly, Park Slope’s wine destination, are trying to meet all of my needs – not just by fueling my alcoholism, but by fueling my love of all things Brooklyn.

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That’s right! We, as a borough, now have our very own wine company…in a manner of speaking, I suppose. If you want to be technical about it, the grapes are grown, fermented, mixed and bottled in California. But the guy who designed the label totally lives in Brooklyn! And the only place it is currently sold is in Brooklyn. So that’s close enough, right?

I tried the “Feliz Red” last night. I wasn’t crazy about it, but it might have been that it just doesn’t pair well with a black bean burger and garlic scrapes. Or it could be that I just wasn’t doing it right. The instructions say to “celebrate a day well lived” with it, but I was actually just watching The OC and painting my toe nails. The owners of Brooklyn Wine Co. & Red, White and Bubbly feel different, of course. They said to the Brooklyn Paper, “it’s not so much that we create a good wine, but that we create a fantastic wine. And if we’re going to put our names on a bottle of wine, we want it to knock your socks off.”

It’s true that my socks were off, but that was because of the pedicure…or was it?

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Yes, I know I’m flagrantly biting Pizappas’ schtick, but I’d like to take a moment to discuss a new, fulfilling relationship I have in my life. I’ve fallen deeply in love with the Park Slope CSA. It nurtures my body with crazy, fresh, organic produce I would never be able to afford otherwise and it nurtures my soul with fruity politics and community spirit.

For those of you who are not familiar, CSA is “Community Supported Agriculture.” Basically, one neighborhood teams up with a farm and buys one season’s worth of produce up front. For the next 5 months or so, the farm carts the produce down to a single location once a week. On the designated pick-up day, all of the neighbors who signed up for a share come get their heap of vegetables or fruit or flowers or eggs or meat or whatever they signed up for.

This is a nice thing because:

1. You eat and learn how to prepare vegetables you’ve never heard of before (i.e. garlic scapes or butter lettuce).

2. It’s cheaper than buying organic or even regular produce at a grocery store and most farmer’s markets. I’m just saying, it’s like $5 for a bunch of asparagus in my grocery store.

3. The farms are committed to organic, sustainable agriculture. So you know the food you’re getting is safe to eat (no e. coli for me!) and is not overly aggressive to the land it’s raised on.

4. It’s an energy efficient method of getting food. All of the food is grown reasonably locally (like 100 miles, as opposed to 4000 miles away). No need for airplanes, boats, etc. Additionally, because it’s delivered to one central neighborhood location, there is no wasted gas for deliveries and most people can walk their food home.

5. It’s good for independent farming because farmers get money when they need it (at the beginning of the season) and have a guaranteed market for their produce.

Okay, that is all I have to say about that. But if you’re interested in finding a CSA, the following Brooklyn neighborhoods have one:

Bed-Stuy
Brooklyn Heights
Carroll Gardens
Clinton Hill/Ft. Greene
Cobble Hill
East New York
East Williamsburg (845-943-8699)
Greenwood Heights
Kensington/Windsor Terrace
Park Slope
Prospect Heights
Prospect/Lefferts Garden
Red Hook
Williamsburg

And if you’re a sucker and you live somewhere else, you can find a CSA by state or ZIP code here.

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Nothing says “New York” to me like consumerism and touching multiculturalism.

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Look Out Behind You

Speaking of flightless monsters, I now have something else to have nightmares about. Five foot tall penguins.

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Why didn’t we know about this terrifying penguin-incarnation earlier? Penguin expert, Julia Clarke explains, “we have so few relatively complete penguins from that period of penguin evolution.” Penguin, penguin, penguin.

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Chilling Realizations

This just in: Newsweek has posted an article about how dumb Americans are.

Yeah, yeah. I think the one thing we all definitively know is that we are, as a nation, borderline retarded.

While taking the poll myself (with the answers right below each question), I realized that I’m just as American (read: dumb) as the next guy. This was my favorite question:

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The reason “no” is highlighted is because it is the correct answer. Does this seem weird to anyone else? Is this a question that could logically have a “yes” or “no” answer? If it was, would “no” really be the correct answer?

It’s true that some people didn’t know the right answer to a lot of questions (for the record, SUVs definitely contribute to global warming). But more importantly – and I think this speaks more to the American way than sheer stupidity – we didn’t even try to answer a lot of questions. For most of the questions in the poll, “Don’t Know/Refused” was the first or second most selected answer. Well, at least we’re not cocky.

Thankfully, America got its comeuppance with the following questions:

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Yeah, fuck you, Newsweek! That’s right! More Americans know who Jane Austen is than Jordin Sparks. Though not me, admittedly. Again, though, these questions illustrate our preference for admitting our ignorance openly (48% and 78% respectively just didn’t know).

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King Hot Dog Takeru Kobayashi may be unable to compete in this year’s extravaganza July 4th Hot Dog Eating Competition!

 Arthritis of the jaw has rendered him “all but paralyzed.”

 In the face of the daily, brutal war that Kobayashi faces against stomach-stretching quantities of food, Kobayashi laments, “My jaw refused to fight anymore … [it] has abandoned the frontline.”

 With the condo-building on Coney Island and this hot dog tragedy, what’s next? How much must we bear?

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Live Free or Die Hard is coming onto screens not on Friday, but on Wednesday, thus calling for an advanced edition of Weekend at the Movies. It seems that this fourth installment in the Die Hard series doesn’t understand the basic principle of opening movies on Fridays, and has instead opted to release its movie two days early. I suppose it’s not too surprising that Live Free or Die Hard doesn’t understand this basic time principle, or else it wouldn’t have a man my parents’ age still parading around as an action star. In any case, these are the new movies opening in New York and Brooklyn this week:

Live Free or Die Hard: John McClane is back. He’s older, bald, hungover and pissed off. This is what I gathered from the trailer: A guy puts a virus or something in a big computer thingie. Things start to blow up. McClane gets pissed off and shoots a lot of people. More things blow up. Justin Long shows up for some reason. More things keep blowing up. Music starts as do a series of American flag shots. More things blow up. The terrorist dude takes McClane’s daughter. He shoots a fire extinguisher and a helicopter blows up. Catch phrases are uttered. More things blow up. We leave and patiently await the fifth in the series, or an installment from another hopeless geriatric desperately trying to revive the success he experienced two decades ago. Sadly not featured:

Carl Winslow: American Hero.

Sicko – This Michael Moore documentary is about healthcare. I guess I don’t really have a whole lot to say about this, except that it’ll probably piss everyone off. They’ll either come out hating Michael Moore or George Bush. Or both. Probably both. This is playing at BAM.

Ratatouille: Pixar and rodentia fans rejoice! Ratatouille, the latest from director Brad Bird (Iron Giant, The Incredibles), tells the tale (pun so intended!) of a rat named Remy living in Paris, who longs to be a famous chef. Expect a lot of beautiful animation, wacky high jinks, and jokes about the French. Ratatouille looks fantastic and is definitely my pick of the week, despite Brooklyn Skeptic’s earlier, and somewhat extreme policies towards our plague-toting tunnel dwellers.

Evening: I’m still kind of unclear about the plot of this one, but from what I can tell it stars Vanessa Redgrave, Meryl Streep, Toni Colette, Claire Danes and Natasha Richardson and is about a group of women who try not to spill their fried green tomatoes on their American quilts while riding in cars with boys under the Tuscan sun. This is playing at the Angelika.

And that is all that is opening in wide release. Playing at the Angelika as well is Vitus, a Swiss film (vive la Suisse!) about a brilliant twelve year old who moves in with his grandfather. Screenings for Live Free of Die Hard begin tonight at midnight at the United Artists on Court Street. If none of these movies tickle your fancy (but trust me, Ratatouille will), be sure to remember the number of outdoor films that are playing throughout the week.

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Dear Jesus,

Please release us from the bonds of the attention whores, the celebutantes, and the wrongfully famous. We miss the newspaper.

Best wishes,
Brooklyn Skeptic

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I know this debate has already been discussed on this site, but I’m really starting to get fed up with these two social networks (for the record, I’m completely refraining from mentioning Friendster, which my grandparents don’t even use anymore). This morning, when I came into my office, I had eight notices from Myspace and seven from Facebook. Did I care about a single one of them? No.

For example, this is a notification that Facebook has just sent exclusively to me:

From (random friend) (Switzerland) while using Moods: Hey, I’m feeling Dizzy. How are you feeling?

You know what random friend who added me on Facebook despite us never really speaking or making eye contact during the brief period we attended the same high school and might have been in the same French class? I’m not feeling so hot either. I’m feeling downright irritated at your news feeds, constant updates, invitations to join your clubs and, more than anything, your “moods” application. This is the fundamental problem with Facebook. There’s far too much going on. It’s inescapable. You’re bored one day and you see someone who you kind of knew in high school on Facebook. So you add them, just to check out their profile once. But then you are stuck with an eternity of their updates, invitations and, my personal favorite, wall scribblings saying “Hey! Haven’t seen you in a long time! How are you?” What am I supposed to respond to that? “My dog died and I hate my job! How are you?” No. I say “Good! How are you?” And the conversation goes on awkwardly until one person decides to stop the ridiculous messaging and the two never talk to one another again.

While Myspace isn’t as insistent on giving constant updates on everyone’s mood/feeling/purpose in life, all I seem to get from this site is messages and friend requests from bands I don’t want to listen to or women with scantily clad pictures of themselves, saying they’re lonely and that they want to be my friend (by the way, Angel and Sexxxkitten – you never wrote back to me). Although the random hot girls’ web pages tend to be amusing, especially when people post poorly-written comments under the pictures like “Ooooh girl you’re but is so fine I want to bite ittt,” they are still a colossal waste of time.

And then there’s the fact that Myspace is spamming everyone. I myself have been violated by a Myspace spam virus, which left Macy’s gift cards as comments on all of my contacts’ pages. Having never been to Macy’s, I was annoyed, and was then even more annoyed when I had to answer everyone’s comments asking me why the hell I loved Macy’s so much. My other friends have been spammed by dating services, hair-loss treatment programs and even Viagra. It’s as if there’s a faction of old, balding, impotent men who are looking for women to hit the sales aisles with and decided spamming Myspace would be the most effective way to recruit people.

Finally, I’d like to recognize both of these websites for what they really are. A chance to post pictures of ourselves. Obviously everyone is aware of the extreme narcissism involved in having a complete page devoted to yourself, but with Facebook now actually offering updates on each new picture you post and who has commented on it, we have reached a new stage of vanity. The pictures are normally of us in a drunken pose, or smoking a blunt or dancing innaproprietly, basically showing that we are laid back and like to party. Again, I too am guilty of this, my own picture being of myself, holding a beer, with a my friend suggestively wiping his cheek on a bib emerging from my crotch. Trust me, I think that Carly Simon song is about me too. I’ve even done one of those useless Myspace survey things, giving out personal information like what my favorite color is and how many times I’ve been on a rollercoaster (answers: green, omg too many to count!).

We hang on to these websites because they are slowly becoming the way that we communicate with people. Phone calls turned to text messages, which turned to IM’s, and now people are so scared of talking to someone who is actively engaging in conversation that they prefer to leave little messages on a message board. To quit either of these online communities might mean that we lose ties with people. However while these websites may be convenient ways to keep in touch with old friends, I think the convenience is beginning to be outweighed by the cacophonic shitshow which they are becoming.

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