Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Little Known Memoir Titles of Your Favorite Philosophers

It's Christmas time, which means it's time for a new crop of celebrity memoirs, from Rosie O'Donnell's Celebrity Detox to Bill Bryson's The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid to Steve Martin's Born Standing Up. Here are a few lesser known memoirs by your favorite Continental philosophers that you'll definitely want to go buy on Amazon right now.

It Ain't Easy Being The Anti-Christ
, by Friedrich Nietzsche

Learning to Share
, by Karl Marx

I, Thou, and the Kids, by Martin Buber

That's the Spirit! by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

It Just Slipped Out, by Sigmund Freud

The Categorical Imperative of Being Myself, by Immanuel Kant

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Today I was eating peanuts on a crowded train and I accidentally knocked one onto the coat of the woman beside me. I apologized and kind of half reached for it, hoping to get it before it was even noticed, not really thinking. But then I missed it (I'm bad at gripping tiny things...I think this is due not to playing with the right kinds of toys as a child).

So I said, oh, so sorry, I missed it. And I made like I was going to go for it again, but then I start thinking, wait it's weird to feel around a stranger's coat for a peanut. So I start to say, "Ha ha, I don't want to fee..." and she says--and this is the kicker:

"That's alright, you can get it."

So then I had to get the peanut, despite it making me slightly uncomfortable--I mean, it wasn't in her lap or anything, it was just like on the side of her coat--because I couldn't very well say, "No, you get it," since I was the one who had dropped it on her in the first place.

It was all very embarrassing, and I was glad when I got a phone call going over the bridge so at least I had the opportunity to establish myself as an upstanding citizen with friends and not some kind of weird nut-dropper-on-strangers type, but really she is the one who was awkward about it, don't you think?

Monday, December 17, 2007


I spend a lot of money I don't have these days. It's kind of my thing.

For example, tonight some friends of mine from high school were meeting for dinner. SF, who was visiting from the UK, had brought us all presents. She'd been telling me about the present she was going to give me for weeks, to the point that I felt I ought not to show up empty-handed. But I couldn't very well only get a present for SF, so I bought presents for everyone. I justified this expensive move by telling myself that if they hadn't bought me presents, I would simply return their presents to Barnes and Noble, and it would be no loss on my part.

On the subway ride downtown, I convinced myself that of course it was the right thing to do to have presents because these were Southern Christian kids, the type to have really nice Christmas presents for everyone. Nonetheless, I hid the books as well as I could in my bag so that I could bail out if need be.

So right off the bat I can tell that LW probably doesn't have presents in her tiny purse. CH doesn't seem to have any gifts either, unless he has stashed some giftcards in his coat pocket. Dinner starts and SF presents us all with our gifts. We are all delighted and everyone seems quite surprised. I am thinking to myself: keep those books in your bag. No one is expecting a present from you, so just keep em in there. You are poor and can't afford presents. If anything keep those books for yourself. Keep em. Yeah. But whatever you do, don't get them out.

But of course that makes me feel grinch-like and what with a little sangria, before I know it I am passing out packages. Well, of course everyone liked their presents, though I think they were quite embarassed at not having anything to give in return and well they fucking should be.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


I dreamt that Mark Twain was looking for an assistant and I was in the running.

"Well, this certainly makes sense as a career move," I thought. "But do I really want to spend all my time with an old man?"

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Peep Show

I think the race relations in this town are starting to get to me. I know, it's not an auspicious start for a humor blog, but it's something that's on my mind a lot, especially, living as I do, in a neighborhood where the minorities recycle bottles for change while the white people enjoy their double tall mocha lattes at the cafe next door.

What it really comes down to is Peeps. A friend of mine who lives in the area and I were in Pathmark tonight, a budget grocery store down by Atlantic Center. We were the only white people--me noticing that is obviously an interesting little sociological artifact in itself, but I can't interrupt myself to point out every time that happens, so let's just agree that I'm self-aware--and we got our frozen pizza and our healthy salad-in-a-bag and proceeded to check out.

On the way, he pushed between a clerk and a woman having a conversation. I followed but made sure to say demurely "sorry, so sorry, excuse me" as I brushed between them.

Meanwhile, my umbrella knocked over a row of peeps (come to think of it, why do they have peeps out on display in December?) and I turned to pick them up, not wanting anyone to think I was some sort of self-aggrandizing, entitled white woman who thinks she's too good to pick up her own peeps, and I see the clerk is already bending over the peeps and re-shelving them.

Missing my chance to display my courtesy and self-awareness naturally leads me to even grander displays of apology and delight with the young man who has so graciously delivered the little yellow marshmallows to their little yellow marshmallow shelf. Then, when I get him to smile at me--probably because he thinks I am crazy for apologizing so profusely and hopes smiling benevolently will prevent me from any sudden moves--I feel relieved to have properly represented my race, and in any case to have assured this man that I am merely a disorganized, poor(!) white woman with no claims to thrashing sweets aisles and leaving them for those lower on the totem pole to reorganize.

The real question of the evening, of course, is what kind of a discount foodstore sells a frozen pizza that costs $8?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Only in The Big Apple, am I right?

The wonderful thing about New York is that you can pretend not to notice if someone introduces First Lady Hilary Clinton on the B train.

You can even pretend not to notice that the guy sitting next to you is reading the newspaper out loud, slowly, in your ear and cursing.

And I recommend you pretend not to notice that the man sitting across from you is picking his nose. And now he's whistling. Like he doesn't know. That you can't do that.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Working girl

Every once in a while, my boss bursts out laughing at something I've said.

Not when I'm trying to be funny; it's as if she has been trying to contain how completely absurd she finds me and suddenly she can no longer hold it in and it all comes out in a prolonged guffaw.

It makes me feel small.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

My good side is my bad side

As a child, I remember watching some kind of PBS documentary about the history of women's beauty. The images from that program have stuck with me through fat and thin--the points where your legs should meet, the symmetry of your face--especially the symmetry of your face, because I have a very lopsided face.

People tend not to notice it until I point it out to them before they can point it out to me, at which point they say, oh I never noticed it, but yeah you really do.

In a photograph taken of me moments after birth, a photo used in my birth announcement, you can see how lopsided my eyebrows are. One side of my face pulls up, elongating the nostril, arching the eyebrow, sharpening the jaw line and then the other side of my face collapses in on itself, the eyebrow flat, my cheek overflowing into my neck. It's a startling contrast and the longer you spend staring at my face in the mirror, the more you will notice and be horrified by it, like Christine revealing the Phantom's two-facedness.

So to make sure that only one side of my face makes it into the history books, I have taken to jumping up whenever I am placed on the right side of a group photo and running over to the left side so that my left side is pictured. I make a cute comment like "that's my bad side!" and people giggle and assume I am being witty. They are right, but I am also being honest. The awkwardness comes when, over the course of a party, I continue to squeal "that's my bad side!" whenever my photo is taken.

In conversations, I tend to tilt my head slightly to the right to make the sloping seem more deliberate. Or I claim a slight deafness in my right ear and offer my left. Or I simply turn my head away and offer no explanation. Quasimodo didn't need to explain that he was a hunchback. People just knew.

Possible Responses to the Question:

What kind of music do you like?

- Oh, you know, whatever
- Anything
- Anything I can dance to
- Anything I can drink to
- Anything that will induce psychosis when listened to on repeat
- Anything sung by anyone more fucked up than me
- Anything you hate
- Anything that will get you to shut up
- Anything that will get you to respond with "Yeah, he's pretty good" and then shut up
- Pop

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Have you ever thought about what a stupid name for the beginning of the universe the "Big Bang" is? It's like some scientist gave up while trying to explain it to his wife:

"You see the infinite density and pressure of matter at a finite time in the past resulted in the rapid isotrophic expansion of matter, which caused a massive cosmic inflation, at which point the universe was composed predominantly of quark-gluon plasma, within which particle-antiparticle pairs were being continuously created and destroyed in collisions... You know what sweetie, it was just a Big Bang."

(Many thanks to wikipedia and sexism for their help in the creation of this entry.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Plot Point To Remember...

On my way into the city today, I read a bit of a Nicholas Sparks book over the shoulder of the woman beside me. I've done my best to recreate it below:

"Didn't you notice how Robert treats Jessica now?" Her tone became softer, yet somehow more insistent.

"He seems to treat her the same way as he always has," he responded, puzzled.

"Never mind. I guess it's something only a woman could see," she surmised.

"Tell me," he said. "I want to understand what's been on your mind since we left that hospital room an hour ago."

She shifted elegantly, then stood.

"I want you to promise me something, Richard."

He squirmed.

"Of course, darling, anything."

"Promise me that if I'm ever on life support, like Jessica," she began with an air of foreshadowing,' "that you'll let me die. And as long as I'm foreshadowing, let me add that I won't be telling anyone else in my family about this choice, just cause. It will be completely in your hands to carry out my final wish."

"Okay sure, I promise."

"No. Really promise."

"I promise to carry out your wishes."

"Good. I know you will because you love me."

"I will, because I love you."

"Yes, and I love you."

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Irony, brought to you by Theater

This ad was in my inbox today:

4.48 Psychosis
, British playwright Sarah Kane's 1998 masterpiece is an intimate portrait of suicidal depression, presented by Jump! Theatre with special attention to the lived experiences of the mentally ill.

Also, for those interested, the Pumpkin Smash at the garden down the block has been postponed until Sunday due to inclement weather.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Real Headlines

Inspired by today's AP article "State Report: Texas Has Too Many Reports," I'm including below a list of real newspaper headlines I've collected over the years. I'm pretty sure all of these are from the San Antonio Express News. Congratulations to my hometown paper!

"Reader Worries About Canned Foods' Freshness"

"Salt, Pepper Shakers Often Fanciful"

"Bad News Turns Out Not As Bad"

"German Boss Frowns At Attack Idea"
[with photograph showing Gerhard Schroeder frowning]

"Rodeo Is Among Biggest: Almost 1 in 5 San Antonians say they like the show."

"Branson (Very) Slowly Becoming Hip"

"Sticking To It: A Guide To Glues"

"Chrissie Hynde Not Mellowing; Pretenders Leader Just Rocks On"

"Couple + Ideas = Monumental Artworks"

"War Stress Leads Many To Work Out"

"Pucker Up With Caution About Germs; Holiday kisses spread cheer and increase chances of contracting illness."

My favorite article is probably the one about stress over the war causing people to increase the intensity of their workouts. It brings a national news story to the local level!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Rejected Blog Names

As you can imagine, picking the perfect blog title is the most important part of starting a new blog. Here are a few of the runners-up:

Max The Crystal Skull

Beef Island

The Clams Were The Only Ones That Benefited

Words Are Both Serious And Funny

Giant Sandwiches

The Big Cheese

"Aha! Smoking Pancakes" is a headline cut out of a half-century old newspaper that was being used to cradle my great-grandmother's dishes. It was printed on the same page as a "hazel" comic strip showing Hazel serving lemonade in a bathing suit and apron, with the caption "One HOT Day."

Welcome to Smoking Pancakes!

A place for me to post things I write and things I find.