Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Song of the Day: Survivor by Destiny's Child

I'm a survivor (what),
I'm not gonna give up (what),
I'm not gon' stop (what),
I'm gonna work harder (what),

I'm a survivor (what),
I'm gonna make it (what),
I will survive (what),
Keep on survivin' (what),

I'm a survivor (what),
I'm not gonna give up (what),
I'm not gon' stop (what),
I'm gonna work harder (what),
I'm a survivor (what),
I'm gonna make it (what),
I will survive (what),
Keep on survivin' (what).

Monday, October 10, 2011


From childhood's hour I have not been
As others were---I have not seen
As others saw---I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I lov'd, I loved alone.
Then---in my childhood---in the dawn
Of a most stormy life---was drawn
From ev'ry depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that 'round me roll'd
In its autumn tint of gold---
From the lightning in the sky
As it pass'd me flying by---
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view.

~Edgar Allan Poe

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Anniversary Cards

This post is now gone. Hurray.

In Which Chana's Nose Becomes An Icicle

Here I sit in my freezing cold apartment, wearing warm Mickey Mouse socks (thanks Dana!) and pajamas, clutching a cup of hot cocoa to myself while hearing the following song play in my head:

O' woe is me, o' woe is me
This would kill the canary
It's so freezing in my bed
That it's a wonder I'm not dead

I ask aloud for those of you who can explain the immutable, baffling ways of landlords: why does the heat not go on until October 15th?

My thoughts on this matter:

1. It saves on embalming costs, because this way when people die of cold, at least their bodies stay at the same temperature one would find in a morgue

2. It (all together now) builds character! (Ahahahaha. Josh, my dear, that was for you.)

3. It ensures that you huddle under the warming light in your bathroom the entire day, and the only thing to do in a bathroom is to become clean, so the landlords get to operate under the assumption that you will be reasonably clean when they encounter you. This makes them happy.

4. They've made a secret pact with Milk St Cafe or Coffee Bean because they know that packaged hot chocolate doesn't taste like real hot chocolate and if you're cold enough, you'll go outside to buy real hot chocolate

5. It's an effort to enforce modesty, because this way the only place you can change clothes is in the bathroom under the aforementioned warming light, and thus this will keep you honest. (And chaste. And good. And modest.)

Anyone else have any good reasons?

Monday, October 03, 2011

True Aristocracy

So Manuela deserves our praise. Although she's been sacrificed at the altar of a world where the most thankless tasks have been allotted to some women while others merely hold their noses without raising a finger, she nevertheless strives relentlessly to maintain a degree of refinement that goes far beyond any gold leaf gilding, a fortiori of the sanitary variety.

"When you eat a walnut, you must use a tablecloth," says Manuela, removing from her old shopping bag a little hamper made of light wood in which some almond tuiles are nestled among curls of carmine tissue paper. I make coffee that we shall not drink, but its wafting odor delights us both, and in silence we sip a cup of green tea as we nibble on our tuiles.

Just as I am a permanent traitor to my archetype, so is Manuela: to the Portugese cleaning woman she is a felon oblivious of her condition. This girl from Faro, born under a fig tree after seven siblings and before six more, forced in childhood to work the fields and scarcely out of it to marry a mason and take the road of exile, mother of four children who are French by birthright but whom society looks upon as thoroughly Portugese- this girl from Faro, as I was saying, who wears the requisite black support stockings and a kerchief on her head, is an aristocrat. An authentic one, of the kind whose entitlement you cannot contest: it is etched onto her very heart, it mocks titles and people with handles to their names. What is an aristocrat? A woman who is never sullied by vulgarity although she may be surrounded by it.

On Sundays, the vulgarity of her in-laws, who with their loud laughter muffle the pain of being born weak and without prospects; the vulgarity of an environment as bleakly desolate as the neon lights of the factory where the men go each morning, like sinners returning to hell; then, the vulgarity of her employers who for all their money, cannot hide their own baseness and who speak to her the way they would a mangy dog covered with oozing bold patches. But you should have witnessed Manuela offering to me, as if I were a queen, the fruit of her prowess in haute patisserie to fully appreciate the grace that inhabits this woman. Yes, as if I were a queen. When Manuela arrives, my loge is transformed into a palace, and a picnic between two pariahs becomes the feast of two monarchs. Like a storyteller transforming life into a shimmering river where trouble and boredom vanish far below the water, Manuela metamorphoses our existence into a warm and joyful epic.

-The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, pages 31-31

(Thanks to Marc Fein for making me read this.)

Sunday, October 02, 2011

in its measure

Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil, for You are with me.
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

Now what does that mean, that Your rod and Your staff comfort me?

I think it means Your attributes of Justice. Justice shall be served. It shall be measured out with the rod, parceled out by the staff.