Judging My Book By Its Cover?

TFAGPRFSo there I was on the beach at Fire Island this weekend, catching up on Runner’s World magazine (Motto: Running is much more fun to read about than to, you know, actually do), when I noticed a name on the contributor page: Tim O’Brien.

Hey, I says to myself, that’s the name of the guy who did the cover of my book. What a coincidence! What’s he doing writing for Runner’s World?

But upon closer look, the Tim O’Brien guy didn’t write for Runners World, he did a portrait of American miler phenom Andrew Wheating.

Now that’s a really crazy coincidence, I thought. This guy who’s doing portraits for Runner’s World has the same name … Ohhhhh. Yes. I’m a bit slow.

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Snark and Real Estate

It’s funny when The New York Times writes a piece about something you do. In this case, the real estate section has a story about people who leave snarky comments on real estate web sites, criticizing apartments that are for sale.

For their part, sellers and their brokers are seething over what they perceive as a lack of accountability, hidden or misanthropic motives, and the fact that defending one’s property — even correcting a factual error — can prolong or aggravate its turn under the collective microscope. Sellers also object to being typecast as Marie Antoinette in the French Revolution-style discourse.

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Park Slope Parents Will Pay for Anything

Park Slope Parents are set to pay $25 a year to listen to each other bitch, moan and operatic (in the Bugs Bunny sense) discussions about gender normalization for kids. I guess those who run the board figured you could mug someone in Park Slope and they wouldn’t identify you to the cops.

If you don’t have the pleasure of living in the Brooklyn area and don’t know what it is I’m talking about, read those last two links to revel in the stereotypes of hyper-privileged, over-analytical whingers that have come to be synonymous with the neighborhood. These are the sort of people who would get blown up by a suicide bomber in the middle of prattling on about how terrorism is just a construct created by Western colonialism. (The stereotypes also gave rise to one of my favorite Brooklyn blogs.)

Of course, I’ve lived in Park Slope in the past and, considering the market, the chances of me moving to Park Slope in the near future are hovering around 95%. And while I would never sign up for Park Slope Parents Listserve, I’ve seen some of the OTHER posts and know that it ISN’T all about enforcing the postmodern claptrap they learned in grad school or from the commies down at the Food Co-op. So I know you can get useful information on the Listserve–just like you can get some decent deals on root vegetables at the Co-op. If you’re into that sort of thing.

My prediction? Not all content wants to be free. People love to have a handy list of tips–especially if it’s served up with a huge side of reinforcing your own belief system (just look at Fox News). And twenty-five bucks a year is nothing. Park Slope Parents Listserve will not only survive, I’d bet the core group of members will fork over $25 per year. Hell, it may even turn a profit at some point (if it so chooses).

In the Bowels of Brooklyn

The lair of the CHUD
The lair of the CHUD
Braving giant rats, albino alligators and hungry CHUDs, I headed into underground Brooklyn today with a group of friends. Three years now, every other Sunday, I’ve watched people climbing a rickety ladder down into a manhole in the middle of the Court Street/Atlantic Avenue intersection for tours of the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel.
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The Secret to a Good Meatball

I’m not going to pretend to be a master of spaghetti and meatballs, but a quick note to the folks who run the Classic Diner on Smith Street in Cobble Hills: meatballs taste better when they contain a secret ingredient I like to call … MEAT.

Wife and I went there last night after having a few drinks at the office of my literary agency. It was cold, rainy and upon exiting the Bergen Street stop, we thought a diner would be a nice, cheap choice. After having our wallets raped by (The New) St. Clair on the corner of Smith and Atlantic, we decided on Classic. Susan had been craving spaghetti and meatballs. Well, the meatballs consisted of two things: 95% bread crumbs and 5% apathy. The sauce made an expired jar of Prego seem like Grandma Scungilli’s ancient gourmet secret.

To quote Forrest Gump: “That’s all i got ta say about that.”

House Hunting in New York

Quick observation: Looking at apartments in Brooklyn is fun … up until the point where you actually think about pulling the trigger and the money becomes real. I’m from Louisiana — the part of Louisiana where you can buy a three-bedroom house for what’s considered a downpayment in these parts. I’m glad there are sites like Brownstoner and StreetEasy to make modern house-hunting a little less intimidating.

I’m also glad I married up.

Park Slope Co-op’ers not so bright after all

Let me be clear. I’ve lived near Park Slope (Windsor Terrace, Prospect Heights). We’ve also put two bids on two separate places in the Slope in the last two months. I’ve got nothing against the Slope in general. But just as I’ve sworn up and down I will never set foot in the office of a couple’s counselor, I will also never set foot inside the Park Slope Co-op. Organic food’s fine and all, but I’m too damn old to be working part-time is a wee fascist grocery store for the pleasure of eating organic food and being subjected to the sort of political thinking (and talking) that would cause me to slay someone with a giant root vegetable.

So I was more than delighted to see this piece on a NYTimes blog in which the Cream of the Food Police Crop consistently guessed the calorie count wrong just because the words “Trans-fat free” were added to a photo: “The other half of the Park Slopers were shown the same salad and drink plus two Fortt’s crackers prominently labeled ‘Trans Fat Free.’ The crackers added 100 calories to the meal, bringing it to 1,034 calories, but their presence skewed people’s estimates in the opposite direction.” (And, yes, I find this funny precisely because it validates my world-view.)