Monday, June 02, 2014

Your Neighborhood Librarian Does New York


The number of posts I've started with "Oy." It's many. I usually go back and delete it, but not this time I don't think.

We've just returned home from New York City. I love New York. I love New York like a really great tree or a crazy friend I don't see that often, or, or - like a city I used to live in. I know it but I don't know it. I like going back to places I know to see what they've cooked up lately, or if they haven't changed. I am sad that the Spanish place behind the bus station got closed by the health department. I am sad about that for two reasons, come to think of it. I am happy that you can now get pork donburi less than ten blocks from the Javits Center.

I love that the harp is still lit at the Tap Room.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Your Neighborhood Librarian Makes a List

A long time ago, a woman who had just moved back to Spain from Argentina told me a funny story about getting things done. (Was it Venezuela? One or the other.) We were talking about regional differences in spoken Spanish and she said she once found herself describing her day to a neighbor: "First we'll get the car, then we'll get the laundry and the groceries, and then swing by the school and get the children."

Only - the casual verb form of "get" that she was using to mean "pick up" was actually a profanity in Argentina. So what the aghast neighbor heard was, "First we'll fuck the car, then we'll fuck the laundry and the groceries, and then swing by the school and fuck the children."

And oh, doesn't everybody feel like that sometimes?

Friday, March 07, 2014

I'll look to like - One thing that I like about book covers this weekend

A lot of people who work with books take book covers kind of personally. It goes like this:

One part "I love you I want you to look beautiful and cool"
One part "Don't make me look at your lame design"
5 parts "How do you expect me to sell this book when it looks like that?!"

Shake over ice, strain into a pitcher. Guzzle.

Leading to a profound sense of personal betrayal when one of your favorite authors ends up between the covers of something that looks like this:

Eeeuuurrgh. That poor man. He's Canadian, maybe that's why his publisher thinks that a murky 90's constructivist/disco album cover is the way to go. That thing looks like (the Human League) + (Stalin - mustache) x (abandoned on a roof).

The book cover trend I've had my eye on recently is graphic illustration - I mean graphic like simple shapes, not graphic like a knife through an eyeball. Like this:

Friday, January 10, 2014

6 Things That Piss Me Off About Book Covers This Evening

If you are not a person who arranges books for display more than about an hour every week, you may not have noticed these irritating recent trends. Aren't you fortunate that I am here to point them out and complain about them? Avast!

1). NO MAS. The handwritten title. NO! MAS!

THESE. With their klutzy lower-case cursive r's and their anemic a's and l's. And they all look alike. Don't you think it is weak design to just scrawl the title across the front of the book? It is weaker still to use that tilty skinny faux-handwritten title typeface - maybe you know the one? I call it Oliver Jeffers Handwriting Corrupted by Barry Sonnenfeld Credits Display Face.

This is the typeface I mean. Oh look, the title forms a star.
There wasn't ANY other way to have done that?


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Advil Calendar 2013: INTERMISSION

At this point in your holiday, there's probably only one thing left to do.

SING. Sing, you motherfuckers - sing like you mean it, and dance.

BURN, BRIDGES, BURN - A Holiday Musical Spectacular (With Cocktails)

"Everyone's a Little Bit Spectrum"

We meet our 4 primary cast members (two married couples who are part of the same extended family), as they prepare dinner together prior to a large holiday gathering. Lots of oohs and ahhs as the group executes daring dance moves with knives while laughingly cataloging the quirks of each of their parents and siblings.
This upbeat comic number starts our show off on a cheerfully sarcastic note, and must be accompanied by a swinging retro-modern cocktail, such as this updated take on the Moscow Mule:

The Baltimore Donkey (from Maggie's Farm)
2 oz Tito's vodka
1 oz lime juice
1/2 oz ginger syrup
dash of bitters
Shake with ice, strain into highball glass over ice. Garnish with lime twist.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Advil Calendar 2013 - GROWNUP GIFT GUIDE

Oh sure. I've bought presents. I don't believe in GOD and I have serious issues with CHRISTIANITY, but we do Christmas around here. There is currently a dead tree in my living room. I swear it's like taxidermy. Why people (my husband and children) think it's festive to watch a woody plant slowly desiccate inside is TOTALLY BEYOND ME.

But it's 10 minutes til 12 on Xmas Eve and the presents are wrapped and the pork roast is brining and I baked an apple pie that I suspect is basically raw on the inside and my husband made me a Negroni and Annie Lennox is on the iPod so... ok. Christmas.

Hey speaking of atheists who bake, did you read the Dan Savage review of the Sarah Palin book? You should. I can wait.

The really great point that Dan Savage makes here is that assholes like Sarah Palin are the ones who are ruining Christmas. Godless Dan Savage, baking cookies and taking them to his Jewish neighbors, keeps Christmas better than relentlessly god-bothering Sarah Palin, who buys her loved ones GUNS for Christmas.

So just in case you are a present-giver at this time of year, I have a few suggestions and observations.

Sunday, December 22, 2013


What's Jack Donaghy doing here? He's having a Nancy Drew (white
rum, diet ginger ale, lime). "For men, it's called a Hardy Boy," says Jack.

Last week I got to wondering, in a post I titled "Nancy Drew Turns 21," what some of my favorite children's book characters would drink once they were old enough to drink. I made fancy cognac cocktails for Maddie and Verity from Code Name Verity, took Claudia Kincaid drinking at a swanky joint in Manhattan's financial district, and shared a chamomile toddy with Mrs. Frisby.

But there are more. MORE.

I put the question to a few friends: "What children's book character would you most like to have a drink with once he or she has grown up?" And EVERYBODY - er, just about everybody - answered "Matilda" right away. Let's go get squiffy with Matilda!

Thursday, December 19, 2013


Ok then. Finally recovered from that frightening debacle on TV last week and don't you think it's just about time to talk about some of our FAVORITE things from this year? Yeeeeess. Unfortunately for you, sometimes my FAVORITE things are kind of horrendous and/or weird. Maybe inappropriate.

So let's dive in with a really nice one, kind of the best one:

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Advil Calendar 2013 Day It's All a Blur: COOKIE SWAP KEY PARTY EDITION

We do crack ourselves up, don't we Raylan?

I have turned a corner on this whole December bullshit. Yes. It is safe to say there was a corner back there yonder - and I stepped smartly around it. I know when it was, too - it happened this afternoon, the minute I put two trays of cookies in the oven and slammed the door.


Friday, December 13, 2013

The Advil Calendar 2013: F YOU FRIDAY - F.U. 2: F Harder

The last great drinking sitcom - Cheers - famously asserted that sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name.

Yeah, maybe.

But sometimes you want to go where not only will everybody not know your name, but you might actually have to assume a false identity, leave your ID in the car, and pay in cash.


First, let me give you a quick rundown of this fucking week: