Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Buenos Aires: The shopping mall of death

During my November trip, my travel companions and I ducked into the posh Galerias Pacifico shopping plaza - one of the only places we could find to exchange currency on a Sunday.

"You're going to need pesos if you're shopping here," a local laughed as he pointed out the directions to the money-changer on the mall's lowest level. Go right past Ralph Lauren, take the stairs just after Prada...

This week I began reading The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein and ran across this:

In 1987, a film crew was shooting in the basement of the Galerias Pacifico, one of Buenos Aires' plushest downtown malls, and to their horror they stumbled on an abandoned torture center.

It turned out that during the dictatorship, the First Army Corps hid some of the disappeared in the bowels of the mall; the dungeon walls still bore the deparate markings made by its long-dead prisoners: names, dates, pleas for help.

Much more to read. In the words of the friend who recommended it, "This book will scare the #$%^&* out of you." Although, after yesterday's roller-coaster ride with my retirement savings, I'm not sure if I have much scare left in me.

In any case, I'm looking back on my frenzied run through the luxurious Galarias Pacifico in a new light...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

American Visionary Arts Museum: Just as freaky * from the outside

Adam Smith's other, visible hand has better things to do than mess with the subprime mortgage crisis

Back off, man! That's way too close!

The dark giraffe of death

The walls have eyes (and ears, and noses, and oddly prominent cheekbones)

Yeah, I AM talkin' to you

You know those robin hatchlings outside the second-story window? One's in a band (you should check out his Myspace page)

* "Freaky" in this case is a compliment in the best sense

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Seen in Panera: Hot Action Cops

Those wanting to glimpse the buff arm of the law need not wait for McNulty to strut across the streets of Baltimore each week.

A bit farther southwest in Maryland, every morning by the pastry display counter, one can see Montgomery County tax dollars attractively at work, taking a quick break before protecting...well, there's really not a lot of crime going down in this particular 'hood, but they're doubtlessly off protecting something.

After ranting on and on in recent posts against the objectification of women, "don't judge people by appearances!", people are so shallow, blah blah blah, is this now wrong of me to write?

As they say in law enforcement...

Guilty as charged.

Very guilty.

So guilty I think I need to walk by the pastry counter to get another cup of coffee.

Hey, women are "visual creatures," too.


Monday, January 14, 2008

Power buys beauty. Beauty buys power. Both buy love.

French president Nicolas Sarkozy is dating Italian model Carla Bruni. This seriously threatens Putin’s status as Most Sexy World Leader.

This also has brought outrage to the pen of Washington Post fashion writer Robin Givhan.

“…the sight of a bookish man with a bombshell woman. The juxtaposition doesn’t do either of them any favors.”

“If a law degree was featured prominently on Bruni’s resume as supermodel, all would be right with the world.”

Another DC woman (who requests to remain anonymous) weighs in:

• The sight of the bookish man and bombshell woman is the oldest sight in the world. Particularly in the city known as “Hollywood for Ugly People.”

• For all to be right in this world, the law (or other) degree(s) needs to be there, too. (Too much to ask of one person? It’s called time management, slacker - you can read The Economist on the treadmill.)

• This juxtaposition does favor both. The smarty-pants man on the woman’s arm says, “I earned this.” So does the hot woman at the man’s side. If you walk around with a regular shmuck, people might start thinking you’re average by association. And, of course, no one in Washington is average.

• Why would a guy who pulls in $150,000+ a year need to live with a roommate? {ed note: that's the online dating post - reign it in here}

Even those at the level of Melinda Gates - Fortune magazine's "$100 billion woman" (and pretty much a managerial and intellectual ass-kicker, based on the article) - have to accommodate for the fact that men are "visual creatures."

What did you notice about her first? the reporter asked hubby Bill. "Her looks." Of course.

What's that low hissing noise? The sound of Robin Givhan and her anonymous DC compatriot seething.

In the end, the latter observed, everyone wants to be Tom Brady. No one wants to be Bob from accounting. World leaders and captains of industry included.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

No need for a head (but in desperate need of a drink)

From backroom gins and tonics to wine fundraisers to happy hour specials, DC is a drinkin' town. One reader of this blog can no longer drink - not due to any glamorous Lindsay Lohan stint in rehab but because the medication she takes for a mundane medical condition does not mix with alcohol.

Despite the money saved and hangovers averted, this, frankly, has been a bit awkward at times. Not to mention frustrating. Specifically, she cites three dilemmas:

I. How can she kick back and relax after a long day without a little tipple?

II. How does she hoist a Shirley Temple at professional networking functions without having to explain her entire medical history?

III. How does she meet guys without the social (ahem) lubrication of alcohol?

Some answers...(more suggestions welcome)

I. Liquor isn't the only way to relax. What about pot? Mindless consumer consumption? Kicking small animals? {ed note: that's mean}

II. Well, of course with a Shirley Temple you will get mocked. Why not divert your colleagues' attention instead with a story that will leave their jaws dropping? Like your love affair with lady heroin, your sexual addiction, or how you embraced the plushie lifestyle. {ed note: look it up} That will surely spice up the next Toastmasters or Board of Trade gathering.

III. Speed-dating sober might be deadly. Has she tried online dating? Oh yes...

"I noticed that the frequency of looks and emails was dwindling. So I figured: time to put up some new photos. First batch were some better head shots. Skin not so grayish green in these, boosted response a bit. Then I looked at what other women were doing and thought: Let's try shots that show my figure.

After much contortion, I achieved a few of these - the crowning achievement (thanks to a wonderful H&M t-shirt that will never, ever end up as a cleaning rag now), a photo that makes me look like I have the cleavage of Salma Hayek. That's the one I used as my main photo.

Well, the site posted the photo but cropped it so that the top half of my head is missing. Yes, I have no head. No matter - within 24 hours, I got more profile views, winks and emails than I had over the past 3 weeks. Guys I had contacted previously with no response have suddenly realized I existed and woke up.

Note: Not one aspect of my written profile - e.g. the part about my actual intellect and personality - had been altered."

Ed. note: Don't reach for that flask, gentle reader...remember that substance interactions can be dangerous...

Monday, January 07, 2008

Myrtle Beach: There's something not-so-family-friendly about a boardwalk in winter...

"Make mine the *Class Bitch* tattoo, please!"

Behind this innocent hot dog stand, someone's probably shooting up

Time to play some Morrissey, fill the pockets full of rocks and take a stroll into the surf

Balls are bouncing

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Someone at Sunday Parade magazine didn't get the memo...

Cover story:
"Benazir Bhutto: Is she the United States' best hope against Al Qaeda?"

I would have to go out on a limb and guess "no" on that one.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Charleston: The South rises, welcomes, for the holidays

"Baby Jesus" loves you, too

#$%^&* banks and their uptight rules!

Is this the good garden...or the evil garden? (ed note: wrong city - that would be Savannah)

Not the Muslim quarter

The Indigo Hotel (for obvious reasons)