Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Monday, May 20, 2013
Sure, they let the residents see out. But they let other people see in.
Cissy Margolis loved her new apartment. On the third floor of a new super-luxury development in Tribeca,
she could see all the way to New Jersey from her Roche Bobois chaise. She could watch planes take off at JFK from her sunken Ligne Roset tub. But then one day she spotted something she'd never have expected in her wildest dream.
Somebody was standing outside her apartment, looking in -- at her.
"I was flabbergasted," she said. "I knew I'd get to look at everybody walking by and maybe criticize their clothes. Instead, they're standing outside and laughing at me! Sure, I bought a glass apartment, but I had no idea I'd be living in a fishbowl."
Mandy Lebrun echoes her neighbor's comments, but she accepts some of the guilt. "I don't know what I was thinking," she says, trying to ignore a dozen homeless people watching her speak to a reporter while practicing her Downward Dog. "I guess I assumed New York glass was smart enough not to let everybody use it. I actually get furious at what I have to put up with. I feel like I've spent all this money on my dream home and somehow poor people are allowed to enjoy it too."
Luckily the hyper-rich have a powerful ally: Mayor Bloomberg. The tiny billionaire doesn't hesitate to leap to their defense. "When I changed the zoning laws to allow replacement of any existing building in New York with a 500-story tower hand-blown from Baccarat crystal, I assumed poor New Yorkers were smart enough to know that actually looking at one of these towers was an invasion of privacy. These homeowners have spent a small fortune to be able to see Central Park from their oversized pony-shaped toilets. They don't need the envious unemployed bringing them down."
Mr. Bloomberg resisted a reporter's idea that these homeowners are idiots. "You don't get rich by being stupid," he snapped. "Clearly there's a misunderstanding about glass. You don't need a dozen Peruvian cleaning ladies to make it crystal clear: LOOKING AT RICH PEOPLE IS NOT OKAY."
In his search for a solution, the Mayor has allocated $200 million of the city's budget to devise a solution to glass's transparency. "At this very moment my staff is looking into a whole slew of possibilities," he says, "from automated blinkers for poor people to RFID sunglasses that enable or disable transparency based on your 401K. The rich have always had more vision, so it makes sense that New York City would spearhead a system that would literally allow them to see more."
The mayor says he won't hesitate to use the law if technology doesn't work. He's instructed the Attorney General to write up a bill that will make it illegal to look into glass, while protecting the right to look out. Unfortunately, a problematic first draft would have saddled someone with twenty years at Rikers simply for walking past a Ferrari dealership. Until the details of such a law are ironed out, the Mayor is appealing to poor people's sense of morality. "I would like to reiterate: glass is not a two-way street."
Emboldened by the city's inaction, the trend has sparked a hobby of questionable legality. Rather than standing outside the transparent apartments of celebrities, many New Yorkers have actually mounted tiny videocameras to record everything that happens inside.
"It's hysterical," says Dino Blickner, a Williamsburg resident who's admitted to owning a dozen or so cameras that gaze at everyone from Giselle Bündchen to Calvin Klein. "When you watch the film at thirty or forty times normal Gwyneth Paltrow looks nearly human."
In fact, the fad has proven so popular that some underground clubs now show these subversive videos. On Tuesday nights at the Village Armory, for instance, eight large-screen TVs show twenty-four hours of Martha Stewart's life sped up into ten minutes. The overflow crowd laughs and maybe feels a smidgen of guilt, but mostly wonders why she has an assistant whose sole task is to make origami elk and six drawers in her bedroom armoire that contain nothing but spatulas.
Ms. Margolis, for her part, is organizing other tenants into a class-action suit against the building's developer. "I am convinced they knew that people can look through glass," says the ex-model who's currently designing a line of jewelry made out of precious gems and gold-plated rabbit skulls. "There's no other word to describe it than just plain old stupidity."
"It's unbelievable," sniffed J. Walter Dibner, a hedge fund analyst who recently moved into a split-level loft in NoHoBo. "They just stand there and stare at me. It's like they're watching Downton Abbey."
The fourteen people outside weren't sympathic. "Nowhere near," corrected Miguel Apolito. "Downton Abbey never had any douche bags doing blow with $800 hookers."
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Since discretion is of utmost importance, we've given you a selection of wigs so you won't attract attention.
Yuri Fyodorov is in his sixties, and he might trust you more if he thinks you are close in age. We've furnished you with a professionally-styled "Anderson Cooper" hairpiece.
Sergei Yuditsky is long-time bureaucrat who appears unwilling or unable to get promoted. He might be more willing to trust you if also look like a failed bureaucrat, so we recommend a style like the "Michael Scott."
Ivan Yanukovich sympathizes with the class struggles of immigrants and ethnic minorities, so for him we propose the "Movin' On Up."
Anatoly Kasyanenko is an ex-Gestapo agent and a real hard-liner. For its hint of instability and menace we recommend the "Pulp Fiction" model.
The "Monkees" wig might give you an edge with Anatoly Kasyanenko. His kids are named Davy, Micky, Michael and Peter but it could just be a coincidence.
Additionally, these sunglasses might come in handy, but we recommend not pairing them with the "Pulp Fiction" wig if one truly wishes to avoid drawing attention.
We've also provided you with a stack of 500-euro notes to encourage these men to aid us. If for some reason you can't find them, we've printed up a bunch of letters you can slide under their doors asking if they'd like to be spies.
Your mission, Ryan, should you decide to accept it, is to win these men's trust and convince them to sell you top-secret information. As always, should you or any of your IM Force be caught or killed, the secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions. This tape won't self-destruct, because we've just given you a ton of evidence so what difference is one more thing going to make? Good luck, Ryan.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Ordinarily, America is built on a system of supply and demand. If corporations really need workers, they'd pay whatever the market demands to get those workers.
However, corporations maintain that they're suffering because of the deficit of workers, and they can't find workers at the price they're willing to pay. It's hampering their ability to function in America today.
So, in the face of impending catastrophe, they've complained to Congress. Congress has agreed to intervene, because if corporations can't afford the workers they need, everybody suffers. And why should they? Undocumented workers will do the job just as well as lawful ones, and at far less of a price.
Many politicians have decided that we should open our borders to undocumented workers, since they're an inexpensive alternative that's readily available. China, for example, has many millions of undocumented workers that they'd love to send to America. Additionally, Senators Charles Schumer and John McCain are drafting legislation that will feature a path to legitimacy for some 11 million undocumented workers, hopefully freeing them from the stigma that comes with being branded as second-class.
Some argue that, in the face of increased competition, documented workers will find themselves drastically devalued, if not tossed onto be the trash heap. But the government maintains that these new undocumented workers will simply fill a void that would never have been filled by the documented ones. As a result, everybody wins.
It's an interesting argument, isn't it? Do you agree? Discuss.
Now, replace "corporations" with "people," and "workers" with "Louis Vuitton handbags."
There is a severe shortage of inexpensive Louis Vuitton handbags in America today. Many people badly need Louis Vuitton handbags, but they can't find them at a good price.
Ordinarily, America is built on a system of supply and demand. If people really need Louis Vuitton handbags, they'd pay whatever the market demands to get those Louis Vuitton handbags.
However, people maintain that they're suffering because of the deficit of Louis Vuitton handbags, and they can't find Louis Vuitton handbags at the price they're willing to pay. It's hampering their ability to function in America today.
So, in the face of impending catastrophe, they've complained to Congress. Congress has agreed to intervene, because if people can't afford the Louis Vuitton handbags they need, everybody suffers. And why should they? Undocumented Louis Vuitton handbags will do the job just as well as lawful ones, and at far less of a price.
Many politicians have decided that we should open our borders to undocumented Louis Vuitton handbags, since they're an inexpensive alternative that's readily available. China, for example, has many millions of undocumented Louis Vuitton handbags that they'd love to send to America. Additionally, Senators Charles Schumer and John McCain are drafting legislation that will feature a path to legitimacy for some 11 million undocumented Louis Vuitton handbags, hopefully freeing them from the stigma that comes with being branded as second-class.
Some argue that, in the face of increased competition, documented Louis Vuitton handbags will find themselves drastically devalued, if not tossed onto be the trash heap. But the government maintains that these new undocumented Louis Vuitton handbags will simply fill a void that would never have been filled by the documented ones. As a result, everybody wins.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Some of the differences between the two genders are apparent in the songs they sing. For instance, there's a huge gap between the desires they express in songs that start with "If I." When Pete Seeger sang "If I Had a Hammer," for instance, he spoke for the average male. This gruff dude wanted something simple (a hand tool) for an altruistic reason (to hammer out injustice).
Sure, it's not very exciting for a boyfriend, but if you've got a nail it helps.
Following close behind the hammer is Mr. Seeger's desire for a bell. He's not going to do anything weird with it: he just wants to ring it in the morning and ring it in the evening. I don't know about you, but if my husband harbored a secret innermost desire, I'd be pretty relieved if it was just a brass thing with a clanger. There are far worse things than hubby taking you aside and saying, "Sweetie, I don't know how to break this to you, but I'd really, really like a bell."
Sure, maybe these yearnings don't make a lot of sense. Any woman fighting off injustice would have the sense to wish for a lawyer, or pepper spray. When the Klan is storming down your street with torches lit and you're throwing all your valuables into a pillowcase, it's not going to help things when your man yells out, "Honey, have you seen my bell?" Still, it's a male thing that's endearing nonetheless.
A decade later Johnny Cash is similarly gruff and simple with "If I Were A Carpenter." Women never express desires like this: no, according to TV they just want their families to use less toilet paper, and some Activia. But if Johnny can imagine any crazy scenario in the entire world, he ends up with a chisel in his hand.
If the PC police are around, the second line is a bit problematic:
If I were a carpenterBut this is the way dudes are, right? They don't know what they're saying until it's out of their mouths. "I'm imagining a totally unreal, sci-fi scenario," he's telling his squeeze. "Instead of being a singer, I work with my hands. And you, you're a classy female."
and you were a lady....
Still, I think the theme is there. Men aren't complicated: they just want to make things. They want to help out.
Now, let's bring the ladies into the picture. A couple of decades later, Gladys Knight drew a picture of the world's most perfect relationship in "If I Were Your Woman." The song is cool for roughly six seconds before she drops the rabbit into the boiling water:
If I were your womanGot that? That's a typical woman talking. Doesn't that make you yearn for the simplicity of that bell? What Gladys wants is for you to change. "Now that I'm your woman," she snaps, "why do you act the way you do? That's not gonna fly around here, nosirree." Fifteen words out of her mouth and we're in an argument. We're yelling, "Well, Gladys, if you were my woman, you'd have to lay off the french fries. Got that? You think little palm trees on your fingernails will make me forget you got cankles? Not a chance."
and you were my man
you'd have no other woman....
Beyoncé offers a similarly bizarre vision and a ditto:
If I were a boy even just for a day,If this isn't going to scare you gay I don't know what will. Girls, evidently, can't roll out of bed. Or throw on what they wanted. This surprised me, because I never really pictured Beyoncé screaming, "NO! I WON'T WEAR IT! YOU CAN'T MAKE ME!" five minutes before TMZ shows her in a skin-tight, sequined tube-top. But Ms. Carter totally gets the male demimonde. She'd fit right in at the old watering hole: "I would like a beer, because I'm a boy!" The only place that's gonna work is on Jerry Sandusky's lap.
I'd roll out of bed in the morning
and throw on what I wanted
and go drink beer with the guys.
If I were a boy,What's that? Yup, eight lines into the song, thirty years after Gladys, women are still whining. "If I could be a man," she sings, "I'd be better than any goddamn men!" See, you can't do that. You can't say, "If I were an owl, I'd be a flamingo." It doesn't make sense. Maybe she wouldn't have sold as many records, but Ms. Carter would have been closer to grammatical correctness singing, "If I were a chick with a dick."
I think I could understand
how it feels to love a girl --
I swear I'd be a better man.
Anyway, I think the lines are drawn. You don't need to be a college graduate to see the obvious, to see who belongs with who. I'm picturing our ladies at some posh wine bar:
GLADYS: "If I were your woman, you wouldn't cheat on me."
BEYONCÉ: "Girlfriend, if I were your man I would never disrespect you like that."
BEYONCÉ: "Girlfriend, if I were your man I would never disrespect you like that."
What do Pete and Johnny think about it? Who gives a fuck? Isn't this a great bell?
January Jones’ makeup artist, Rachel Goodwin, says that she embellished Jones’ shockingly dark Chanel eye makeup “by adding jet crystals on top. I wanted January’s makeup to have an element of danger to it, which was what the punk movement was all about.”
It's a total triumph, Rachel. AIEEE! Look out for the thin woman in sequins getting out of that limo.
Thursday, May 2, 2013
Sigh. Christians are sooo angry these days. As you can see from the cartoon above, it seems their little religious role model Tim Tebow was treated really badly by the media, who are currently turning somersaults over Jason Collins.
Now, I'm not sure the first part of that sentence is correct. After Tebow announced that he was Christian, there were a few obscure but respectful references to it in the press.
Madonna would kill to be treated that badly.
Why do the whiners say the sports stars were treated differently? U. S. News and World Report has a theory:
Tebow, you see, is a Christian – and is fairly open about.
Fairly open. FAIRLY open. Tim Tebow? Uh, perhaps they missed the part where he dropped to his knees to praise Jesus every time he found a Krispy Kreme with the "HOT DONUTS" light on. Maybe they didn't notice that he swings incense around his head every time he finds a parking space at the mall.
This "fairly open" Christian also wrote Bible quotes on his face before games. I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure I can't show up for work with Jacquelline Suzanne quotes scrawled on my face. You can't really say the two dudes are similar until Jason Collins runs out onto a basketball court with "IT'S RAININ' MEN!" written under his eyes.
Tim Tebow also fell to his knees to praise God every time he made a touchdown. Collins? I'm pretty sure after he makes a basket he doesn't run off-court and mime that he's buttfucking somebody. I'll bet I can find five hundred tweets from Tebow mentioning God while Collins has remained mum about Kathy Griffin. Clearly the cartoon is missing the third panel, where Tim Tebow grinds the reporter's face in the dirt while screaming, "I'M CHRISTIAN!!! HEAR THAT, GODLESS HEATHEN? CHRISTIAN!!!"
Besides, Tebow was hardly the first Christian in football:
It's not like his disclosure was a big shock to the fans. Jason Collins, on the other hand, took a bit more of a risk coming out. I mean, I spent twenty minutes on Google and I couldn't find one afro-wigged fan holding a sign that said, "Make a touchdown, girlfriend, and then let's go buy us some shoes!"
As for that "Tell me more, you big hero!!!" side of the cartoon, well, I think it got drowned out by ESPN The Magazine senior writer Chris Broussard's friendly aside to Collins on national TV saying gay people can't be Christians and that their "lifestyle" is "an open rebellion to God."
In the end, though, I think the media will be fair. Everybody loved Tebow -- but he just wouldn't shut up. I'm pretty sure they'll feel the same way about Jason Collins the eight-hundredth time he mentions Anderson Cooper, our Lord.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
This state ... may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.On its face, this seems unconstitutional. Shouldn't gays be allowed to create some kind of protected status that levels the playing field? An appellate court disagreed, saying we don't deserve to be protected because we can't have kids.
They didn't seem to notice that five states will let you marry your cousin once Mrs. Billy Bob's ovaries have flown the coop.
Despite this amendment, the Austin school district recently granted their employees domestic partnerships, drawing Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott out of the woodwork. Mr. Abbott is advising politicians to strike down domestic partnership programs. He helped write the amendment, so perhaps we're overestimating his ability to recognize idiot law.
See, domestic partnerships weren't criminalized because there's something wrong with them: no, Texas just decided that if something is good, you shouldn't allow options. You got Two Broke Girls? Then fuck Seinfeld. You got a taco? Then don't even think about falafel. A hetero sheriff is all we need, even if he doesn't protect homos. You want a gay sheriff? This town ain't big enough for both of us, even if you own fewer shoes.
We run into serious problems, though, because this amendment hinges on the definition of "marriage." See, marriage is really quite simple. It's "a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife." Domestic partnerships are basically one of these without that "one man and one woman" part.
But, uh, isn't every union of people similar if you drop the "one man and one woman" part?
A "union" is "a number of persons, states, etc., joined or associated together for some common purpose," which makes us suspect that homosexuals aren't all that Texas criminalized. Credit unions are now illegal, since they're people united to get higher interest rates on their savings accounts. Student unions are illegal, since God joined them together so they can get Motörhead to play nearby. And labor unions are illegal, since they bind people together for all eternity to save the good jobs for their friends.
But marriage is more than just people tied together, you argue: it's a complex legal state. While that's true, that state differs depending on where you live, meaning this marriage is impossible to define. If you're in South Carolina, marriage can be between teenaged relatives. In California, everything your spouse buys is half yours. This bizarre legal decree means men can end up owning handbags and dresses, while women can get half of the Dodgers.
Complicating matters is the fact that the U. S. recognizes marriages that have taken place in, say, Iran,
where taking a wife is roughly equivalent to adopting a dog. The biggest difference, in fact, is that no one expects a dog to cook or clean the house. The U. S. will still agree it's a marriage even if you solemnly swear to take your wife as your property, and reserve the right to dump her by saying "I divorce my wife" three times in front of witnesses. Although federal law says "marriage is a sacred compact in which a man assumes a moral obligation to support his wife and child," they're cool with that Iranian one that says when a dude gets tired of his main squeeze, she needs to hit the road.
Under this giant umbrella, Mr. Abbott isn't wrong in declaring domestic partnerships similar to marriage, even though the ones he's fighting here convey exactly one right. The Austin school district allows their employees to sign up their domestic partners -- hetero or homo -- for the sole purpose of getting cheap health insurance.
This is strictly forbidden, argues Mr. Abbott. Texans cannot join together to get cheap health insurance.
And this is where we reach the inescapable conclusion that Mr. Abbott is a world-class bigot. See, you're not a bigot if you think marriage will be abused by moms who marry their sons to dodge inheritance taxes. If you think gay marriage will prompt a flood of dads and sons to the altar, you sure as fuckin' hell are.
You're not a bigot if you say all the basketball players who have sex out of wedlock are an open rebellion to God. When you say a gay player is, you sure as fuckin' hell are.
So, it's possible Texas has outlawed domestic partnerships. It's also possible they've outlawed Geico. Before we discuss the former, though, Mr. Abbott needs to put a certain lizard in the world's tiniest jail.