Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Life as a Blogophyte

Once again, I have had to appeal to my 66-year-old (ok, 67, but I told her I'd shave off a year for helping me) mother, who not only has her own blog, which she updates incessantly, but also her own website. She sent me the following email yesterday since she knows I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing here:

Get yourself on some blog rings, dearie. A few suggestions to get you started.
You might also want to add sitemeter to your sidebar so you can see what your traffic is. Many people visit that don't leave comments.
Finally, put a subscribe to this blog form on your sidebar. go to Layout, click on "add a widget" and you'll see a subscription widget come up.

Should I be humiliated that I couldn't figure out how to do these things myself or that my mom is 30 years my senior and has 20 followers on her blog when I have only one (who is, ahem, my mother)? I read a ton of blogs every day but I never realized what it takes to get people to know that you exist. There must be millions of blogs out there but if no one's visiting, is it like they don't exist (you know, tree falls in forest and all that)?

The truth is that I think my mom is pretty darn cool for having started her own website and blog in her 50s when most adults her age were just learning to use email (we tried to teach my grandmother several years ago and that was a big failure). She's always been a doer and, while I'm a doer too, I guess I just do things a bit more slowly than she does sometimes.

Mom's even on Facebook (yes, I finally accepted her as my friend after debating whether that was too weird). However, I don't think she's used Twitter yet--in fact, I'm not even sure she knows what it is--so maybe I can beat her to that. If I do, I sincerely hope I attract more than one follower!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Saturday Night Dead

Why, oh, why won't NBC let SNL die a distinguished death? Why must they continue to air the show when it hasn't been funny since Will Ferrell left (and it was even hit-or-miss back then)? SNL's sad excuse for comedy is so unbearable, it actually makes me uncomfortable to watch. My husband DVRs the show and we usually try to watch it on Sundays. What should take 90 minutes (well, more like 70 minus the commercials) instead takes about 20 since we end up fast-forwarding most of the skits after their first minute or two of unfunniness ensues. I want to laugh. I really do. But instead I just find myself shaking my head in either disappointment or confusion.

Okay, so Tina Fey's Sarah Palin impression was dead on and pretty comical...but she's not even a cast member or writer for SNL anymore, having moved on to a fictional version of her alma mater which is way funnier than the original.

I mean, has it gotten so bad over at 30 Rock that they can't book anyone better than Bradley Cooper? The virtually unknown actor hosted this weekend's show and had to introduce himself to the audience during his monologue and then rattle off the films in which he's been, in case they didn't recognize his name. Even the featured musical act was a group I'd never heard of and, after suffering through a few minutes of their cacophonous performances, am glad I hadn't.

I know SNL is somewhat of an American institution, one that we all grew up watching when our parents or generous babysitters would let us stay up late. That amazingly talented cast of Gilda Radner, Bill Murray, Dan Ackroyd, Chevy Chase and John Belushi has given me hours of pleasure over the years. The season with Billy Crystal, Eddie Murphy, Martin Short, and Christopher Guest was a great one too. Or how about Dana Carvey, Mike Myers, Chris Rock, Jon Lovitz, Phil Hartman, Adam Sandler and Chris Farley -- what a group! There hasn't been a skit as funny as The Church Lady, Wayne's World or Coffee Talk in years. Even the more recent cast of Will Ferrell, Cheri Oteri, Tracy Morgan, Chris Kattan and Molly Shannon offered up its share of guffaws. But the current cast and writing leaves so much to be desired. Okay, so Lazy Sunday was cute but I think it went to Andy Samberg's head, letting him think that every SNL Digital short he made since would be as good...or good at all. The show has gotten juvenile, derivative and simply unfunny.

There have been other American institutions that have gone by the wayside, including Woolworth's, Life magazine and Seinfeld. The latter ended when it was still on top. It didn't wait until the show deteriorated into a sad, unwatchable mess. NBC should look at its own history and pull the plug on SNL before it's really too late and all of America finds a more entertaining way to spend its Saturday nights.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Brooklyn Rocks (Despite the Beer Jerk)

I love living in Brooklyn, especially when it's nice outside and I can walk around my neighborhood. After having lived in the city for years, where no one says hello and you somehow get used to the noise and garbage filling the streets until you leave and realize how loud and dirty it was, Brooklyn is a breath of fresh air (literally). People are friendly here. Mom-and-pop stores outnumber chains (for now at least). And nearly every restaurant has outdoor seating when it gets warm outside. Two of my favorites places in Park Slope are Gorilla Coffee (, which sells fair trade, organic coffee (no sacreligious decaf served), and Bierkraft, which has every beer known to man and lots of yummy gourmet cheeses and foods. Gorilla always has a line out the door but it's worth waiting for the strong, freshly brewed coffee. The people who work there, despite their various piercings and tattoos, are really nice and always give you a free cup when you buy a pound of beans.

Bierkraft (, on the other hand, has some friendly employees but their most important worker, who runs the on-tap beer counter, where you can get your glass jug filled up with any of the several interesting brews on rotation, is a royal a-hole. He's a pretentious know-it-all (every though he does know a great deal about beer) who looks down on you (literally -- the counter where he stands is on a riser) if you dare to ask what the difference between an E.S.B. and an I.P.A. are. My husband and I call him the "Beer Jerk" -- he's kind of like the Soup Nazi except he deals with a different kind of barley. But despite his obnoxious attitude towards customers, we keep going back because the beer is good and we feel special carrying around our own glass beer jug.