It's been about 2.5 years since the recession struck. People are still behaving badly, and skinny jeans are still in style. And I'm still optimistic, as this week's ratio of Bests to Worsts will make clear.
I have a thing for mastery. After I got a black belt in Kung Fu a few years ago, I decided I was going to run my first (and last) NYC marathon last October. (I also have a thing for telling people I ran a marathon.) Now, I've decided that I am going to become a certain New York City Table Tennis champion. Table Tennis, or Pong, as I like to call it, ROCKS. I've got my outfit all picked out for the NYTTF competition on February 7. The thing I like about Table Tennis is there are no separate divisions by gender or age--whoever can kick your ass is the champ, and the female Chinese players basically sweep everyone off the floor. Don't believe me? Go to SPiN in the Flatiron and see for yourself while a celebrity (S. Sarandon) cleans up your stray pong balls. Play a few games, watch a tournament and get pong tips from Thomas, the 1955 Romanian champ.
Photo Courtesy Perfecto Insecto
In other news, I just learned yesterday that my favorite movie of all time, a French flick called Le Diner de Cons, is being remade--Dinner for Schmucks--and that one of the funniest people I know, Andy Borowitz, will be writing the screenplay. In preparation for this remake, I'd suggest you go rent the original to watch after your Sunday services, or your secular hangover brunch. The film follows a group of elite professionals who hunt for people with stupid hobbies to invite to a weekly dinner party so they can make fools of these idiots. One of the elites finds an idiot tax accountant who builds ships out of matchsticks, but he ends up making idiots of everyone. I promise if you don't like the film I will pay the price of the Netflix rental.
On a more serious note, I hate Rush Limbaugh. Barbaric. When I am running on the treadmill at six mph and I happen think of him, I speed it up to nine. I wish I could force him out of his studio with one pointy finger and escort him straight to hell, but his website very prudently doesn't publish the address. His comments about Haiti and taxes are so ridiculous that they're not worth repeating, and I wouldn't even mention them if I didn't feel we need some reminder of the evil in this world. Limbaugh needs a little "Love they neighbor" therapy. For starters, maybe he can read the poem by Pastor Martin Niemöller that my uncle Mike used to read us entitled "First they came..."
Photo Courtesy Lord Jim
On a more contemporary and progressive note, I went to see David Mamet's play, RACE. Mamet's plays often deal with issues that will be with us forever, like gender and race relations, and they delve deeply into their subjects in a visual and verbal way that news segments and novels cannot. RACE is about a wealthy white man (Richard Thomas) who has been accused of raping a black woman in a hotel room. The white man seeks representation from a law firm whose partners (David Alan Grier and James Spader) are both black and white, and whose paralegal is a sexy young black woman, Kerry Washington. The racial issues in the plot are very clear and important to punctuate, but the real theater was not happening onstage. It was happening in the audience. Whites and blacks sat next to each other and watched a searing interpretation of what race means today. I loved cracking up and seeing the face of my black seatmate when the black lawyer called us whites stupid. I had a sense that I was experiencing progress in real time.
With Valentine's Day approaching, I sign off this week by giving props to Ahmed Ibrahim, the cupid cabbie. If you don't know him, he is the famous New York City cabbie responsible for matchmaking approximately one thousand loveless passengers. You actually have to be one of his passengers for him to become your matchmaker because he doesn't take referrals. "M" and I got into cupid cabbie on the upper east side Wednesday night after seeing a panel discussion at the 92 St Y. We did not realize it until M rested his head on my shoulder and Mr. Ibrahim looked at us from his rearview mirror to ask us how long we had been together. M then recognized the man he had read about in the Wall Street Journal and countless other publications. We told Mr. Ibrahim to guess, and he said, "Seven years. You like peanut butter and jelly." He was right about the number, if not the time (that's seven weeks, cupid cabbie--not seven years). And he was definitely right about the peanut butter and jelly (ewwwww for romance in a culture blog, sorry).