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politics & government

I’m not sure you know this, but we’re a pretty big deal.

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In my line of work I deal with several overseas factories.  I received an email earlier from a contact in a China facility.  He inquired about some items we are sourcing and he signed off with, “We look forward to results of your election.  The whole world is waiting.”

The whole world is waiting.


Welcome to newest contributors

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Please join us in welcoming our newest contributors: Amy Boshnack, Van McCourt, and Jaclyn Roth. See their bios to find links to their posts on When Falls the Coliseum.

family & parenting

Halloween: My Daughter is Spider-Man

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It’s Halloween and I am an ass. I did something really dumb, though I’m pretty sure I’ve fixed it with little consequence. About two months ago my daughter told me that she wanted to be Spider-Man for Halloween (I blame my brother and his son). I didn’t have a problem with her wanting to be Spider-Man; I am far from a princess myself and was, in fact, a tomboy in school (again, blame my brother). My problem was with the costume itself, because it covers you completely — so that no one would be able to tell that she is a girl. Why the hell does that matter? I am not even sure myself.

This is where the “ass” part comes in… I convinced her to be Catwoman — but when I went to purchase the Catwoman costume I realized it looks better fit for someone attending an S&M party. Seriously, take a look at the costume. What is wrong with people? So then I had to lie to her and tell her that Catwoman really just looks like a black cat and I bought cat ears, a tail, and some make-up. She fell for it!

She happily wore her black cat costume to Sesame Place during an October Halloween weekend. All was good in life. But then last weekend she absolutely refused to put it back on for Boo at the Zoo (an annual Halloween thing at the Bronx Zoo). She said the make-up for her cat face was itchy. And then she stood up and declared that she would not be Catwoman for Halloween.

Feeling guilty that I’d convinced her of this costume in the first place, I told her she could be anything she wants. One guess what she chose… and one guess who is wearing the black cat costume. I am such an ass!


Cheaper than divorce (and half the paperwork)

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Dear Ruby,
After a pretty decent first 11 years of marriage, we are now paycheck-to-paycheck due to the rising cost of everything and a couple of unforeseen emergencies, one with a car and one with a relative. We took a big hit in our 401ks, we’re overmortgaged, and our kids are in private schools.

We cut up our credit cards, we’re going to go down to one car, and we may even take in a roommate, so we’re not panicking yet. But I am completely stressed! I am completely mad that we can’t go to any of our favorite restaurants and have to say no when the kids want to go to a movie! I feel like I’m in a cage going slowly crazy, and here’s what my husband says when I’m at the end of my rope, “Sex is free.” Should I kill him?


Dear Jacqueline,

Are you well-insured and can you make it look like an accident?

No, you should not kill him. And brace yourself, he’s right.
As you may have noticed, men are different when it comes to sex. I’m pretty sure that most men could have fairly okay sex while they are actively having their collarbone broken. They just can. In the moment, they don’t care if they’re sick or rich or awake or on fire, they just can. It is their way.

And, although it’s technically free, sex does have costs for women. It will take major mental and emotional effort for you, stuck as you are in the school-age doldrums when the kids might not only be awake when you do it, but might actually know what you’re doing and mentally scoring you and/or taking notes for their future therapists.

You’re also stuck in a major state of stress, which works like a tranquilizer dart on women’s sex drives (Different from men’s. See above.) And you’re also feeling crabby and constrained and maybe even — let’s face it — resentful toward Prince Charming for not doing a better job of taxing peasants or whatever he should have done to keep you living happily ever after.

But, it will be worth it because sex is more than free. It releases endorphins, it cements your relationship bonds, which are probably feeling a little swampy lately. It relieves stress and it’s a good way to channel your aggression (I was only kidding about the collarbone, unless you’re into that.). And, hey, it burns calories.

You’ll get through this. Some free sex might just help. A bottle of good, cheap wine (optional). A secure lock on the bedroom door (mandatory). Loud enough music. It don’t cost a thang.

Trying to make do (or make whoopee) with less? Tell Ruby about it.

art & entertainment

Please don’t go!

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If one more celebrity says they are going to leave the country if “so and so” wins the election, I’m going to physically remove them myself. How ego maniacal do you have to be to think that anyone would care if you stayed or left?  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Project Runway fan, but if Heidi Klum were to up and leave, I’m pretty confident that I would survive just fine, as would the rest of the country.  I understand the sentiment behind their statement and while I agree with Heidi and Seal’s politics, it’s somewhat obnoxious to proclaim how easy it would be for them to simply relocate to another country, considering the economic state of our country.  I’m sure it’s incredibly difficult to summon your private plane and be whisked away to one of your many homes overseas.

Oh and Stephen Baldwin, can you leave no matter who wins? Please? Unless there’s a Threesome sequel in the hopper, I really don’t see any reason for you to stick around.

health & medicalreligion & philosophy

Organ Donation is a State of Mind

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I’ve been thinking a lot about organ donation lately and a story on MSNBC about a mom hoping to have a hand transplant hit home. I am not an organ donor, nor am I prepared to say I want to be one. But I am not sure why. Why do I hesitate at the chance to give someone else the opportunity to, in some cases, live? What the hell is wrong with me?

When I do think about what organs I would be willing to donate, should I change my mind, I immediately think about things that are inside my body — things that no one would be able to tell went missing. That seems to bother me less. Well, except my heart; I am not so sure I would be willing to let that go. But then I think, really, if a doctor took my heart (after I am already, of course, utterly and completely dead) and gave it to someone who needed it, why should that bother me? I am not going to need it anymore… or will I?

Jerry Orbach donated his eyes. His eyes! How will he see? Okay, obviously he is dead, he won’t need them anymore… so why am I having so much trouble with this?

How do I get past this silly feeling I have of violation? If I am dead, I’m dead, right?

on the lawpolitics & government

The Death of Principles

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I never really much liked politics. The current election started years ago, and I’ve been resolved to apathy all the while. However, having spent the last two months surrounded by the local chapter of Cheerleaders for Obama, I feel compelled to voice my views.

I am truly unsure of what my political views are. The foundation of my views is best summarized by Mr. Justice Douglas: “The right to be let alone is indeed the beginning of all freedom.” Pub. Utils. Comm’n of D.C. v. Pollak, 343 U.S. 451, 467 (1952) (Douglas, J., dissenting). However, as to what end this leads me, I am unsure. On the one hand, it could lead to the individualistic views of libertarianism. On the other hand, it could lead to some view of communal living or some other utopian society. All I know for sure is that it does not lead to the sort of mediocrity that today’s politics is made of.

As we near Election Day, you really have to struggle to see the policy differences between Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama. Sure, they have very different ideologies, will select different judges and justices, and will push for different legislation. However, the legislation will all be fundamentally flawed — a product of compromise and moderation. Fundamentally, I have no idea where the candidates stand, beyond the fact that one is a bit to the right and the other a bit to the left.

We are far from the wisdom of Mr. Justice Black, who reminds us of a day when things were much simpler: “[The First] Amendment provides, in simple words, that ‘Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.’ I read ‘no law . . . abridging’ to mean no law abridging.” Smith v. California, 361 U.S. 147, 157 (1959) (Black, J., concurring). Politics and law today are an exercise in pragmatism, rather than principles. I feel this exercise is doomed to fail, as society becomes an ever-increasing hodgepodge of regulation without any real basis in fundamental principles.

art & entertainment

Vaginal Cleansing

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Why, you might ask, is my blog headlined “Vaginal Cleansing?” Well, the short answer is I saw just about the funniest video on this topic.

The only time I’ve seen the show Chelsea Lately (hosted by Chelsea Handler) is when it’s been made fun of by Joel McHale on Talk Soup. That is until I came across this Amy Sedaris interview on You Tube. Before you click on the link and press the play button, make sure the young kids are out of the room — and if you want to get right to the part that had me in stitches, start watching at about a minute fifty in. In short, designer Todd Oldham created a vagina for Sedaris to demonstrate how a woman might cleanse herself. And Sedaris made him proud.

Fred's dreams


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August 16, 2006
I dream I am in a Jewish Community Center with a group of people preparing for a dance performance. We are in a well-appointed room with couches and tables as well as shower nozzles. It seems that the thing to do is shower before rehearsal. I have no compunctions about getting naked and showering in this room when I realize that’s what you’re supposed to do. As soon as I take off my pants, however, Michael Jeffery Cohen notices that I have a mole on my buttock. He grabs my mole with his thumb and forefinger and holds onto it. I find this awkward.

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ends & odd

Holiday Crafts with Tampons—Seriously!

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There is an entire site devoted to tampon crafts. Really! It is absolutely ridiculous — but yet so fantastic. How do people have time to do this sort of thing? I wonder, did someone in this house recently go through menopause, leaving boxes of different kinds of tampons to get rid of?

My favorite design is this simple ghost for Halloween. I bet most men out there wouldn’t even realize it was a tampon (Guys, feel free to correct me if I am wrong). And for those of you wanting for go green this holiday season, check out the Christmas lights that have no need for electricity.

Seriously, would you ever?

Hat Tip to White Trash Mom for finding this site!


I got your hat right here, pal!

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OK, OK, it was bad enough when William Penn was acting alone. But now he’s got Mother Nature chiming in on his evil scheme to deny the Phillies a World Championship. Evidently not impressed with the tiny pewter statue of himself placed by iron workers on the uppermost beam of the Comcast Center so that MISTER BIG SHOT could be once again the “tallest” person in Philadelphia, William Penn did a shout out to Mother Nature to have her rain on the Phillies’ parade.

Mere mortals — or at least non-Philadelphians — may not understand that William Penn has placed a curse — and he calls himself a QUAKER! — on Philadelphia major league sports teams because, you know, we built a building taller than William Penn’s hat on his statue atop City Hall. No Philadelphia major league professional sports team (sorry, Soul, Kixx, Wings) has won a championship since One Liberty Place surpassed the height of William Penn’s hat (548 feet) in 1987. The last Philly team to win the big one was the Doctor J Sixers in 1983.

So Philadelphia union construction workers try to appease the “ego” of William Penn by installing a talisman on top of the highest girder almost 1,000 feet above the ground and what does “His friendliness” do? He calls in his chits with Mamma Natural and has this monsoon wipe out the Phillies’ winning moment.

I got news for you Mister Big Hat. The Phillies will rise above your curse. The Fightin’s will find a way to wake the quake, whack the hat, send the Friend. . . And afterwards we will dance in front of your statue. Because that’s what we do.

books & writingfamily & parenting

Amy Boshnack Finally Starts a Blog

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I’m starting a blog. This thing. Here. My husband is terrified. I’ve told him I will be writing about him — but really — I’ll be writing about lots of things. Let me introduce myself…

I lived in the same house in Queens, New York from birth until college. I went to the University of Miami, largely because my brother went there, partly because I got a very small scholarship, gladly because I ended up in the communications school. I met my husband in November of my freshman year. We met through a mutual friend who wanted us to hang out but didn’t want us to “hang out.” That was 16 years ago. We have two kids under five who crack me up day-in and day-out. I may mention them from time-to-time.

My parents recently moved in with us. My husband suggested it. I agreed. My dad is a loud talker and my mom thinks she knows everything, literally. Annoyingly, eighty percent of the time she is right. And really, I am not sure how we’d do it without them. My days are hectic, like everyone else. I work full-time, try to spend as much time with my family as possible, and when I have a moment to myself I am usually so exhausted I go to bed. Well, not anymore. Now I will blog — because I have lots to say. Will you read me? Well, let’s hope it gets more interesting than this!

damned lieseducation

To value education

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As the Industrial Age recedes farther into America’s past and the Information Age becomes our universal experience, municipalities are understandably concerned with lowering the high school dropout rate.  There are fewer jobs for dropouts than in the past, and communities are worried about what it takes to prepare their youth for the future.  They are also worried about their own progressive images, but let’s not be so cynical as to focus on that side of things… let’s focus on the genuine concern that the system is failing; that large numbers of students are dropping out and forming a population of criminals or, at best, helpless government wards living on the dole. [Read more →]

language & grammarpolitics & government

Goin’ all rogue, and stuff

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Ok, I couldn’t leave this one alone.

As reported on cnn.com, a McCain aide says Sarah Palin is “going rogue.”

Is that really a surprise? I mean, come on, people, she’s a maverick.

Wikipedia says: A maverick is a person who thinks independently; a lone dissenter; a non-conformist or rebel; it can also mean an unbranded range animal, especially a motherless calf.

My F12 popup dictionary widget says a rogue is primarily “a dishonest or unprincipled man,” but its 2nd ranking definition is “a person whose behavior one disapproves of but who is nonetheless likable or attractive (often used as a playful term of reproof): Cenzo, you old rogue![Read more →]

recipes & food

By Fork Through New York

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Of all of the qualities that make New York the world’s greatest city, my favorite is its sheer profusion.  There may be a few cities that are more ethnically diverse (though I’m hard-pressed to think of one) and certainly a few, like Hong Kong or Tokyo, that are even more crowded.

But none possess the overwhelming and intensely satisfying variety that characterizes New York.  And that sense of sensory overload is never more apparent than in its food.  Here, a couple of days after returning from a week on business there, are some thoughts about the state of New York cuisine.  First, the good news: [Read more →]


Cheap Whine

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I hate the word “budget.” I even hate it when I hear the Dutch guy at work say it and it comes out like boödjut. My husband makes it worse by throwing the word “austerity” in front of it. But, not liking it doesn’t make it go away. It is what it is, and that’s where the whine comes in.

When I was driving an older, less stylish car a few years ago, an acquaintance let me know that she thought I “deserved a nice car.”

Well, duh. But a new car was not what I could afford, so I decided to develop an irrational lust for something I could afford. I decided on a mug. The search began for the Cadillac of mugs — sleek, tailored, insulating yet aesthetic, with both the visceral pleasure of pottery and the snooty daintiness of porcelain, and I fancied a kind of fluting out at the top, and of course a gorgeous color and design. I found one in a second hand store and I fawned over it for a long time, loving the way that I was continuously surprised at the volume its broad bottom, the mug butt, could hold, and by how delicate it was at the lip. Oh, how I loved my special mug.

Then we taught my 13-year-old to empty the dishwasher and he promptly broke it.

I am now in the market again for the next special mug. I have to admit that half the fun is looking, and knowing that — no matter what — the sky’s the limit when I find it, whether it shows up at Goodwill or Pottery Barn or Spiegel’s.

What kind of cheap dumb thing do you deserve the best of? Go look for that one great cheap thing. Let it take weeks or months if necessary. Shop for it every time you go out. Take notes. Make your decision based entirely on aesthetic, primal, sublime, and personal pleasure in the object. Let it complete you, make a big hairy deal out of it, fetishize it, build it a freaking shrine. Once you’ve found it, don’t even let other people touch it. Be crazy in this one little area and know that when it finally gets wrecked, you get to do it all over again. Go on, you deserve it.

And tell Ruby all about it when you do.



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We thought so. Well, we are too. We’d like to be more promiscuous, but need your help. Can you do that for us, big boy? We thought so.

getting oldermusic

Why I Still Want To Rock (Making a Band at 37 cont.)

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Free tequila. It’s all about the free tequila. Not really, although it is kind of nice to have random strangers find real joy in giving me alcohol. It makes them happy, though I could not tell you why. Honestly, I just want to do something creative that no one has any control over. If I could paint I would. If I could focus my energies & thoughts to write a novel, then I would. If I could dance, then I would have a lucrative night job. The fact is, I can sing pretty well, so this is what I do.

I get to go to a person’s house (shout out to Sean) and jam out in their living room (sorry Deb & Cecil the cat). I get to write something that really only takes a few minutes to sort out, and I don’t have to turn it in to anyone for approval. It is lovely and blissful. I can’t get enough of it.

This Friday we are auditioning a bass player/back up singer. Then we move on to getting a drummer in on the game. And finally, it’s time for a gig. People really do say gig. And the thing about playing out is that even in the smallest room, with the tiniest crowd, someone is going to love it. I love that.


Coliseum writers in the news

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When Falls the Coliseum contributor Shawn Macomber is in today’s Wall Street Journal. “Where Cool Cats Congregate” breaks some news that promises to be a game-changer for the upcoming election: Barack Obama’s grandmother is Rosa Parks. His grandfather? Isaac Hayes. Strange but true.

Fred's dreams


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June 1, 2008
I dream a series of short vignettes at the site of Chanin’s magic shop in the years since it closed. On the first visit, the shop is empty except for a pizza oven and elaborate mosaics. Chanin is sneaking in there every week or so. Every week I visit Chanin in his long-closed shop, I notice that the room is more and more filled and lived in. I wonder when the owners are going to squeeze Chanin out. Finally, a series of kind men whom I assume are emissaries of the angel of death come to collect Chanin. They appear to be Christian, and I inform them that Chanin is Jewish. They say “That’s ok. Christians take everybody.”

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