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Monday, September 29, 2008

Baby Girl Hurley

Here's a very early snapshot of our baby girl. She seems to have my energy level - kicking around and doing flips day and night. I'm trying to figure out a way to get her a little keyboard (wireless of course) so she can start blogging.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Oh Man, This Is Such A PickleFest... Let's Get Out Of Here

The Picklefest is sort of old news by now, but I don't particularly pride myself on punctual, yet perfunctory, prose, people. After all, this is a Picklefest we're talking about. Peter Piper, were you there picking a peck? If so, I missed a great story.

Last weekend, in the Lower East Side, throngs of people - that's right: THRONGS of people - streamed along Orchard St. I can't remember the last time I saw a throng of people, but this throng was particularly interesting in all things marinated in vinegar and spices. Despite the mascot being an anthropomorphic, green, pickled kirby cucumber, there were pickled carrots, string beans, ginger, mushrooms, grapes, kimchi and even pickle truffles.

This stretch of road was picked as the pickle place because of Guss' Pickles, which originated on Hester St. Guss' now operates out of Cedarhurst, and the Guss' here on Orchard is a separate business... but still, it makes a good story. And I'm not sure if an entire throng of people would make it out to Cedarhurst for a picklefest. Plus, it was some Long Island guys who were responsible for the Pickle on a Stick. (Sure, it was easy, but did you have to give in?)

There were loads of tasty treats, including masterpieces by the Pickle Master Rick. There was a large piece of wood asking me about pickling in Australia, and I was as honest as I could be. There were distractions, but I found some pickles to purchase. I went with SeƱor Pants recommendation and brought a tub of pickled back to my pregnant wife from The Pickle Guys. Very good stuff.

Monday, September 15, 2008

What's a Stoop?

After my last post, I was asked by a friend to explain what a stoop is. Well, he actually commented on my Facebook status, but this is 2008, so same thing. He's a crazy ninja Scotsman living in Australia, and I didn't think much of it... then I did a little research and found out that the term "stoop" is actually an American English word.

"Stoop" comes from the Dutch for a flight of steps, and in the US it means the steps leading up to a house. Anyone who has seen The Cosby Show, Sex and the City or Sesame Street would know what I am talking about. I happen to have a photo of me and Dana sitting on adjacent stoops here, just to the right.

This reminded me of a very interesting article I read in The New Yorker a few years ago. There's an excerpt here, but thanks to my handy New Yorker hard drive, I was able to reread the entire piece. Absurdly brief summary: Noah Webster was the man behind America's first dictionary, which added numerous commonly used words to relatively "u"-less copy of a British dictionary. This was not well received by the folks on the other side of the pond, but words like "skunk," bureau" and "pecan" were now considered acceptable English in the US.

So it turns out that we Americans are more than capable at inventing new words, not just butchering old ones. OK, maybe we've "borrowed" these words from other languages, such as Native American languages, French & Dutch, but we've given them our own unique spin, and that's what America's all about, right?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Stoop Sellin' It

Our friends down the street are abandoning us and the neighborhood for Bed-Stuy next week, so we decided to team up and try to sell our combined crap to strangers. Our collective, steaming pile of crap was so great that we had a line of anxious would-be crap-buyers outside the building door at 9AM. (That's "Sweaty" Ben Butkus and an unknown cyclist pictured to the left.)

After a few remarks loaded with feigned embarrassment ("So sorry all the stuff isn't out yet, there was a line at the coffee place at 8:30AM on a Saturday"), we had successfully shifted several rooms' worth of clutter to the front of B&B's apartment in Boerum Hill. Things were moving early on, but then thing quieted down. By 11AM, we were offering an additional 3% off on selected items to selected Boerum Hill residents. This didn't help much, and soon most of the items were in the Salvation Army around the corner.

More interesting than the sale was the string of characters that came by to chat with us. We discovered the joy of sitting in the front of the apartment... but too late. Our friends will be moving shortly, and our building does not provide the same sort of space, but I'll definitely keep this mind when looking at possible future residences.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Most Partiotic Hotel in the US of A

Written earlier this week:

Some of my vegan, anti-microwave and/or flax-seed-avoiding-cause-it-causes-autism friends damn me for my work travel, but here I am again... in a hotel off an interstate, prepping for the week's meetings. Call me Willy Loman. Actually, please don't.

As I think about how all-American my business trips have been, be they in CN, NM or MN, I realize that this is the most patriotic hotel I've ever been in - at least in Pennsylvania.

Besides the "Liberty," "Independence" and "Freedom" parking lots, we have the front-desk greeting/command "Celebrate America at The Holiday Inn." Factoring in the "We The People of The Holiday Inn" faux-constitution in the lobby, the Sam-Adams-only bar and the National Anthem and "Proud To Be An American" playing while having breakfast in America the Restaurant, this IS the most patriotic hotel in the US.

All photos here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Asian Tiger Mosquito

Fierce little buggers! I first noticed stripes on an attacking mozzie down on the Jersey Shore last month. While at a BBQ here in Brooklyn a few weeks ago, I nabbed another in the middle of the day. (Deceased specimen to the left.)

After a little bit o googlin', I found out that these guys are relatively new to the area (90s) and known for feeding in broad daylight. I've given in to the fact that I will spend every summer speckled with bites, so if I get them before dusk, what's the difference.

I do wonder if we'll soon see mosquitoes with spots on them. Or maybe mosquitoes with a peacock-like set of feathers. If we're going to be devoured, the aggressors might as well be interesting to look at.