Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Week in Reviews

Since I have an ugly deadline rapidly approaching, now seems about the perfect time to procrastinate by writing a completely pointless post reviewing a few things I've been meaning to review. So here they are.

1) Dana Vachon's "Mergers & Acquisitions"

Damn, how I did NOT want to buy this book. I didn't want to give into the media frenzy. I didn't want to eat the hype. I wanted to distinguish myself from the rest of the fawning reviewers by turning up my nose at this book. Of course, given the recent hypocrisy around these parts, I ended buying not just ONE but TWO copies of this book (you're welcome, Dana), one for me and one for my boyfriend, who works in finance. And I can't put it down. It's hilarious, and I will never again gaze upon a chicken satay skewer without cracking up. This is a spot-on sendup of Manhattan's I-banking culture and it's just perfect. My friend Aileen describes it as "What happened when Holden Caulfield grew up," and I think that's pretty apt.

One thing I can't stop wondering since I've started reading it: How do the ladies respond to Dana Vachon the hot writer, compared with how they responded to Dana Vachon, the hot investment banker-slash-anonymous blogger of D-Nasty fame? Also, Dana Vachon, are you reading my blog? On page 79, with regard to the two-cheeked kiss, you are CLEARLY taking a page from my 2003 archives. (Sigh. These are the lengths to which I must go to marginally associate myself with greatness.)

2) Ringling Brothers/Barnum & Bailey Circus Bellobration

I've had a fascination with elephants ever since I was a little kid. The wallpaper in the upstairs bathroom of our old house sported a very 70's jungle-animals theme, with lions and tigers and zebras and giraffes and elephants. I'd hang out with my mom in that bathroom in the mornings while she got ready for the day, and I'd point at the animals and shout out their names (although, for some reason, I thought elephants were called WHA-toos, and I believe it was only when the kindergarten teachers threatened to give me a less-than-perfect score unless I came around that I changed my ways). Anyway, the point is, when I got invited to go watch the circus at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, I was pretty excited to go spot me some wha-toos. The trapeze artists, elephant, dancing doggies and tiger shows were great -- eliciting ACTUAL SQUEALS and oohs and ahhs from the adults in attendance -- and it didn't hurt at all that we had nice seats in a corporate box that included free unlimited booze and Cracker Jacks and big trays full of pigs in blankets.

But a few words of advice for the fine brothers at Ringling: It's the circus. You don't need to try to infuse it with cultural relevancy by including bits about celebrating racial diversity. You don't need to rip off Cirque de Soleil -- we like the acrobats just fine. And for the love of Pete please stop with those horrible Bello-bration songs you blast over the loudspeakers. Just have elephants. And make them dance.

3) TheMud Truck at Astor Place

This is one damn fine cup of coffee. There's a Starbucks one block east, and another one block south, but please bypass them and get your coffee here. I'd venture to say it's the best cup of coffee in the entire city -- as far from acrid as can be and always with freshly steamed milk (not just dumped in cold out of a jug). In addition, there's eye candy for both the boys and the girls working the truck, and they're always ready with a smile and if the line is short a little conversation to boot. Not that I'm trying to objectify the baristas or anything! I'm just saying, it doesn't hurt. I don't know if it's the caffeine, the awesome coffee, or talking to the friendly folks inside the truck, but it's a really nice way to start the morning.

4) Cary Tennis

Cary Tennis has been a little insufferable as of late, but he has a totally interesting article today on pornography. I found it to be a very original view on why porn bothers some people, and also why and in what cases it can be harmful to people and couples. The letter that inspired the answer isn't very good, but his answer is -- and reader's comments on the matter make for just as interesting fodder on a very polarizing subject.

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