Author Archives: Madeline

’tis the season to be hungover.

Office parties, neighborhood parties, family parties.  Eggnog, champagne, whiskey (for the family parties), wine.  In the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s the opportunities to be hungover grow exponentially.  If I remember my pre-calculus correctly (and there’s a good chance that I don’t) the graphical representation of what we’re now experiencing ends up looking something like this:


It’s a rough six weeks.  Luckily, National Geographic would like to help.  They have kindly gathered information about “Hangover Helpers” from around the globe.  So if the Gatorade and Smartfood just aren’t cutting it you can try Romania’s recommendation and eat some tripe soup, because nothing says “anti-nausea” like a healthy serving of cow stomach.  In Poland they recommend drinking soured milk or very sour pickle juice.  I can’t imagine that that does anything other than make you vomit and if that’s the case, I’d rather take care of that Blair Waldorf style.  In Japan, they eat pickled plums to cure “futsuka yoi” or, “two days drunk” and in Mexico the drug of choice is a nice shrimp cocktail or seafood salad (the real kind, not the first-grader version).  The salad is appropriately named “Vuelva a la vida” or “return to life.”

My favorite “cure” is probably that found in the Netherlands: a big, tall glass of cold beer.  Although it’s usually hard to imagine drinking anything alcoholic when you wake up in the morning feeling like your head is on backwards, in my family we favor a little Irish Coffee to settle the stomach or, on really bad days, straight shots of Jameson, and it seems to do the trick (I wasn’t kidding when I mentioned that we’re a walking stereotype).

No matter your potion of choice, party on!  There are tons of antidotes to experiment with and you have plenty of opportunities to do so!  Plus, it’s Christmas and nothing says “praise be to the Lord, Jesus Christ” like too many glasses of eggnog.

[posted by Madeline]

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santa claus is coming to town!


I’ve never had any trouble believing in Santa but for the Scrooges out there Larry Silverberg, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at North Carolina State University, has conducted some research to further explain Santa’s magic.  His Christmas-spirit-lacking conclusion?  Advanced nanotechnology and an exploitation of the time space continuum help to explain some of Santa’s powers.

Silverberg says that Santa is exploiting the time space continuum when he makes his Christmas Eve voyage around the world.  A Christmas Eve voyage that actually lasts SIX Santa months.  Pardonnez moi?

“He understands that space stretches, he understands that you can stretch time, compress space and therefore he can, in a sense, actually have six Santa months to deliver the presents,” Silverberg told Reuters.

“In our reference frame it appears as though he does it in the wink of an eye and in fact there have been sightings of Santa, quick sightings, and that’s in our reference frame, but in Santa’s reference frame he really has six months”.

I suppose that makes it a little easier to believe (that is, if you didn’t already) that Santa can visit 200 million homes in just one night.  Silverberg said his research also indicates that Santa doesn’t carry all of the toys in his sleigh.  Instead, he grows the presents under the tree using nanotechnology or, more specifically, he turns irreversible therm0-dynamic properties into reversible ones to turn soot, candy and other natural materials into the presents.  Maybe that’s why we’re supposed to leave cookies for Santa.  Not because he’s so hungry (although now that we know it actually takes him six months the cookies make a little more sense) but because he uses them to grow our presents!

Some of Silverberg’s other research on Santa indicates that to determine whose naughty or nice, Santa uses giant antennas; the sleigh also has a GPS system of sorts and the reindeer are “genetically bred to fly, balance on rooftops and see in the dark.”

I still think Santa’s sleigh is fueled by Christmas Spirit and my biggest question remains, how does Santa eat all of those cookies and still fit through the chimneys?  Also, where does he vacation after Christmas?  I’d like to go there and buy him a drink.

If you’re still not convinced (you lousy non-believer, you) check out this picture from  (a truly reliable source if ever there was one) of an unidentified flying object that looks eerily similar to Santa’s sleigh.

Honestly, do you need more proof than that?

[Posted by Madeline]


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naked people will change the world.


You know when you’re faced with a really tough problem and you finally realize that the only real solution is to get naked? Preferably somewhere public?  No?  Whatever, if you were French you would know what I was talking about.

Yesterday, more than 20 artists’ models, male and female, stripped naked and braved Paris’ freezing temperatures to protest against a ban on tips and demand better pay and recognition.  The artists decided to protest after Parisian authorities recently made the decision to enforce a ban on artists’ tips or “cornet.”  One artist told Reuters,

“We’re very badly paid and it’s always been that way,” said model Carole Kras, who joined others in the courtyard of a 16th century palace that houses the Paris cultural affairs offices.

“We’ve always had the ‘cornet’ to make up for some of that but now they want to get rid of it,” she said, as shivering colleagues got dressed after briefly disrobing.

The models work for the city of Paris and pose for students and professional artists making an average wage of 10 euros an hour (about $13).  The models are also protesting for greater professional recognition.  Carole Karus described the job saying, “It is a profession, it’s tiring. Because it’s physical, you need a lot of endurance and it’s also expressive,” she said. “We’re performers who play non-speaking roles, that’s the way I always think of it.”

Neither public protests or public nudity are anything new in Paris, I saw quite a lot of both when I lived there so the protest didn’t gain much attention from the public.  However, the cultural affairs office in Paris took notice and a representative said they believe a solution can be found. 

In a city that is itself a work of art, nude models and artists are as important as sidewalk cafes and baguettes.  I have a feeling that an agreement will be reached soon, hopefully before the artists freeze their tatas off (because that would make for some very strange art). 

[Posted by Madeline]

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ny’s governor paterson, snl’s latest buffoon?

This past weekend, SNL’s Weekend Update featured an interview with New York Governor David Paterson during which, Fred Armisen portrayed the legally blind head of state in a less than flattering manner.  I know, that’s hard to imagine for SNL.  Usually, they’re so kind to the politicians whose every character flaw they mercilessly thrust into the spotlight.  Two days later, Paterson’s office is none too happy about the skit which referred to the governor’s blindness in a mocking tone throughout the skit (again, SNL?  mocking?  really!?).

According to the New York Times, “Gov. David A. Paterson’s office criticized a skit on this weekend’s “Saturday Night Live” in which Mr. Paterson, who is legally blind, was portrayed as disoriented and buffoonlike.”  Hold on . . . “disoriented and buffoonlike” . . . I think they’ve done that before . . .

Before we proceed any further, internets, there’s something you should know.  Like Governor Paterson, I am legally blind.  Unlike Governor Paterson, I am only legally blind in one eye and can see almost perfectly out of the other with the help of some very expensive corrective lenses.  Yes, okay, his disability is far more severe and maybe it was a lot harder for him to go to school and maybe unfair accomodations for the visually impaired made him fail the bar exam BUT if I close my right eye I can only see large objects and colors–just like David Paterson.  AND I’ve been wearing glasses since I was four and one half years old and you know what?  Pre-schoolers are MEAN.  So are kindergarteners.  And first graders.  And you know what the only thing is that mean 4-7 year olds love more than a peer in glasses?  A peer with an EYE PATCH.  That’s right, folks.  I was forced to wear an eye patch.  Everyday.  To school.  And maybe three years of humiliation is better than a lifetime with a lazy eye but it STILL SUCKED.  Not only did it make me look silly but it made me walk into things and fall a lot and develop a life-long fear of “the ball.”  Softball, football, kooshball–I don’t care what it is PLEASE DON’T THROW IT IN MY DIRECTION.

Anyway, back to Governor Paterson.  He’s pretty blind and SNL made some jokes about this.  Now, the dude’s office is fahhhh–reaking out.  Which is strange on a few levels.  The first being that the governor is a pretty funny guy and is known for making jokes about his vision problems (I believe that’s called a coping mechanism).  The second being that if you watch the skit (and I’ve kindly allowed you to do so below) you may notice that the jokes are more about Governor Paterson’s cocaine use and hatred of New Jersey than his blindness.  Including my favorite moment when Seth Meyers asks the Governor what he has against NJ and he replies “unfortunately, a southern border.”  That’s funny.  And so are most of the other jokes where SNL pokes fun at Paterson’s inexperience and scandal-ridden career.  Yes, Fred Armisen does squint his right eye and let his left eye wander and yes, he does hold up the graph of unemployment rates upside down.  Will Ferrell does the same thing when he portrays President Bush.   For goodness sake–it’s satire, it’s overdone, live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!!

I think that the bigger problem here is that as the nation’s first legally blind governor, Paterson represents a group of individuals who are affected daily by prejudice and discrimination.  At an event in New York City Sunday night Paterson spoke on the issue without directly addressing the SNL skit saying,

“I run the place that I work in so I don’t have to worry about being discriminated against, I think,” he said. “But the point is that a lot of people who don’t get promotions and don’t get opportunities and don’t even get work are disabled in our society.” 

 That’s very true and I don’t mean to be insensitive but those people aren’t limited to the visually or physically impaired.  There are gays, blacks, latinos, women, etc. who are in the same position . . . and SNL makes fun of all of them.  But, oddly enough, it’s done lovingly and it often progresses the national dialogue.  That being said, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t cringe once or twice when watching this skit and I don’t think SNL should be protected by a “but they make fun of everyone” clause.   I understand Governor Paterson’s frustrations (believe me), but at the end of the day he’s just another politician to be ridiculed on SNL.  Ultimately, he wasn’t picked on because he was blind but because he wasn’t supposed to become the governor, because he used to do cocaine and cheat on his wife, because he hates New Jersey, because he’s there.  Maybe years of being called “four eyes” and “Captain Hook” (which didn’t even make sense, I know) have made me impervious to vision-related taunts and I’m not being sensitive enough.  So please, watch and decide for yourself.  Is this more offensive than I’m giving it credit for?

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where carrie bradshaw learned her stuff.

All the way back in 1986, Newsweek magazine, in an article titled “Too Late for Prince Charming?” reported on a study that said single women over the age of 40 were more likely to be killed by a terrorist than get married.  This video is the response to that statistic:

There are so many pieces of wonderfully terrible advice in this video that I really just have to let the video speak for itself (although, a small stuffed animal? Really?!).  Even if you think you have gained enough information to make your head explode halfway through, please make sure to watch the video through to the end; the last piece of advice is undoubtedly the best.

[Posted by Madeline]


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prop 8, the celebrity filled musical.

While the California State Supreme Court waits to hear three separate lawsuits challenging Prop 8 several celebrities have come together with “Funny or Die” to create “Prop 8, The Musical.” Starring John C. Reilly, Maya Rudolph/Kathleen, Allison Janney, Jack Black as Jesus and many more (does anybody else see Darryl from ‘The Office’ in the ensemble?) PLUS a special appearance by Neil Patrick Harris, the musical, while entertaining, argues that gay marriage is good for the economy. And, you know, civil rights (potato, potahto).

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[Posted by Madeline]

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cut. it. out. full house lives?

Have mercy!  John Stamos, also known as “Uncle Jesse,” has approached a few of his Full House co-stars about doing a “semi-remake” of everyone’s favorite sickeningly sweet family show, “Full House.”  Candace Cameron Bure told OK! Magazine that the show “would involve me and Jodie Sweetin. We would revive our characters, but today as young women.”

Interesting.  Will Uncle Jesse still be living in the attic with Aunt Becky and the twins?  Will DJ and Stephanie still be there with their own families?  Who will keep that place clean with Danny Tanner gone?  Whatever happened to Kimmy Gibbler, the biggest geekburger of them all?  There are so many questions . . . and I don’t think I need the answers.  “Full House” was a memorable part of my childhood and I’m okay with leaving it that way. 

There’s no word yet on whether any network is interested in this “semi-remake” or if any cast members other than DJ and Stephanie are interested in reviving their roles.  Something tells me the Olsen twins are screening their calls this week.  How rude!

[Posted by Madeline]


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it’s christmastime! repeat the sounding joy!

Santa has made a visit to Herald Square, the tree in Rockefeller Center has been lit, my father and I have spent a full day yelling at each other while hanging the outside lights . . . it’s officially Christmastime!  The best part of Christmas is definitely the music and I have listened to nothing else since Thanksgiving.  Bing Crosby, Harry Connick Jr., U2, Elvis, The Irish Tenors, it’s  all so good! 

What’s funny about Christmas music is that there are maybe 30 songs in total but 700 versions of each song–and everyone prefers a different one!  In the spirit of Christmas let’s play a little game à la High Fidelity.  I’m requesting, dear readers, that you share your top five favorite Holiday songs with us.  Don’t be shy, this isn’t so much a window to your soul as “favorite books” or “desert island movies” might be, but a representation of your traditions so we can’t really judge you.  I’ll start . . .

1. Ave Maria (Luciano Pavarotti)

2. Santa Claus is Coming to Town (Bruce, duh)

3. O Holy Night (Bing Crosby)

4. Baby Please Come Home (U2)

5.  When My Heart Finds Christmas (Harry Connick, Jr.)

I know that Ave Maria is not really a Christmas song.  I have five versions of Ave Maria on my iPod that I listen to year-round. However, that particular version reminds me of Christmas Eve and therefore gets a spot on the top five.  Okay, your turn!  While you’re thinking please enjoy this fabulous version of “Joy to the World” by Sufjan Stevens.  Unfortunately, I have to link to it; I tried every way possible to embed the song in the post but it just wasn’t working.  It’s worth taking the jump for though, I promise. 

[Posted by Madeline]


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want to see a tissue dance?


Put a little boogie in it!  Ha-that one will never get old.  Unless, of course, you pick your nose so much that you bleed to death.  Which is exactly what happened to Ian Bothwell who passed away in September at the age of 63 as a result of too much nose-picking.  I imagine that booger jokes lose their appeal at that point–for a variety of reasons.

The Manchester, England coroner who examined Bothwell determined that, “”There is no explanation for this death other than he died from a nose-bleed, consistent with picking his nose. I do not think for a moment he knew what he was doing was going to cause his death.”  According to the UK Telegraph, the death was recorded as a “misadventure.” 

I have to lay off the snark a little here because it’s actually quite a sad story.  Poor Ian Bothwell fell into a life of alcoholism after suffering a brain hemorrhagewhen he was 20.  He couldn’t keep a job and had only one living relative, a sister who he had only seen once in 30 years.  And then . . . he died from picking his nose.  So let’s all do Ian Bothwell a favor.  Let’s learn from his mistake and memorialize him by blowing more often than not.  If you absolutely cannot fight the urge then please, pick with caution–it could be a matter of life and death.

[Posted by Madeline]


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obama can’t get through to republicans.

Literally.  They will not take his calls.  Okay, it’s just the one.  Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen hung up on Obama not once . . . but twice yesterday, assuming that it was a prank call. 

Hold the phones (ha).  This woman is the ranking Republican member of the House Foreign Affairs committee, not to mention, um, a congresswoman.  Isn’t it part of her job description to take important phone calls?  But wait . . . there’s more!  Here is an exerpt from the official press release from the office of the congresswoman:

“Cong. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen thought it was a hoax when President-Elect Barak (sic) Obama called her twice today and she proceeded to hang up on him, twice.”

Really?!  I mean, REALLY?!  So, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel called the Congresswoman to tell her that she had hung up on the President Elect.  Ros-Lehtinen then hung up on him and spelled his name wrong in the press release as well (not to be accused of playing favorites):

“A short time later, Cong. and Chief of Staff designate Rahm Emmanuel (sic) called Ileana and stated ‘Ileana, I cannot believe that you hung up on the President-Elect.’ Ros-Lehtinen told Rahm that she didn’t believe the call was legitimate and hung up on Emmanuel (sic).”

Obama and Ros-Lehtinen were finally able to have a chat about Cuba and Israel (thank goodness he wasn’t calling about anything important . . . ) after Chairman Howard Berman of the Foreign Affairs Committee called the Congresswoman, proved his identity over the phone by sharing a story only the two would know (creepy . . .), and broke the news that she had indeed hung up on the President-Elect.  Twice. 

Once, I accidentally sent an e-mail to the president of my university which accidentally said that I loved him.  That was pretty embarassing but I think hanging up on the President-Elect of the United States twice in one day would be worse.  When Barack calls me and offers me a job (any day now . . . ) I will be sure not to make the same mistake. 

[Posted by Madeline]

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