#blog

Raving Rants: 2,100 photos, ISIS, and Einstein

Have the 2,100 Abu Ghraib photos been released yet?  I don’t know, but I am so sick of reading how these photos do not endanger American lives.  And yes, I understand that a federal judge much smarter than me disagrees.  Although it will never be the right time for the photos, I am fairly certain now is a bad time.

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We’ve seen what 3 beheading videos have done in the US.  I did not know James Foley, Steven Sotloff, and David Haines.  Most of us did not have the chance.  But we feel the disgust, the heartbreak, the hate when we see the images.  Thoughts of killing the executioner in various fashions undoubtably cross many minds.  Now imagine seeing 2,100 more videos.

What if we only saw:

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And read the full transcript of the beheading video here.

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The facts do not change.  Isn’t the death of James Foley just as egregious?  Just as disgusting?  Just as heartbreaking?

Americans are being picked off solely because they are Americans.  The Brits, because we’re friendly with them.  Men, women, and children in Syria because “they don’t follow Sharia Law.”  Violence is never rational.  You think after seeing 2,100 new photos, ISIS will be like, oh, no problem, it doesn’t change a thing…different time…different people.

It’s important to understand that you can’t argue with crazy people.  The rules of reason cannot apply.  And every normal functioning person has something they are crazy about–try converting a democrat to republican, or a Christian to Islam…resolve science and religion, Palestine and Israel.  Convince the Pope that birth control is A-OK.  Or simply, persuade a vegan to start eating meat.  There are plenty of more intelligent and accomplished people than you and I, on both sides.

The torture at Abu Ghraib–it’s disgusting, revolting, and people must be held accountable.  Maybe the ACLU and the Department of Defense can stipulate to the contents.  Maybe some of the greatest minds and humanitarians out there can figure something out.  Want to protect our troops?  American lives?  Bask in the warmth of the Freedom of Information Act another time.  You don’t have to be president to help win this war (ok, it hasn’t officially been declared but whatever).  Tone down the entitlement.  As if in another country you could find things like the FOIA or a little thing called the Bill of Rights.  Wait, you know of such country?  Well don’t waste time telling me about it.  Move there.

Google will show you the photos already public–the images of abuse, torture, rape, and murder.  Abu Ghraib is not a secret.  Tell me even 1 more photo like this will not endanger American lives.

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Every situation is different, even if imperceptibly.  This isn’t about a media black out or preventing ISIS from having veto power over what we see or don’t.  It’s about doing the right thing.

Rant over,

BTB

PS Oh, and if you want to crap all over my point of view, that’s fine too.  I would be crazy to argue with you about it.  According to Albert Einstein: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results = INSANITY.

Life Hack Quickie: Life of Pie (How to be Happy)

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I’m going to introduce you to a little thing called the self-discrepancy theory.  Very generally, negative emotions (i.e. unhappiness/guilt) result from discrepancies between your motivations and what you do/how you represent yourself.  In theory, the solution is straight forward.  But, the actual practice of making sure what is important to you aligns with what you are doing, is hard.

To keep yourself on track, consider the pie chart approach:

  1. Identify your main motivations in life and/or what is important to you;
  2. Figure out how the motivations/important things relate to each other;
  3. Put it into a pie chart.

The resulting chart illustrates your “internal standard.”  Ideally, the more your actions are in harmony with the pie, the less guilt/worry you feel, and the happier you are.  An example chart:

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Avoid couching things in likes and dislikes, but rather as things that can be done to help your happiness level…I mean, does anyone actually enjoy the job search process???  Commitment-phobes–rest easy.  You’re not married to this pie chart.  It’s flexible, and you don’t have to follow it everyday.  Use it as a general guideline to make sure you are paying attention to what matters to you.  Put the chart somewhere easy to see i.e. stick it to your door, set it as your phone screensaver.

This is just an idea I am throwing out…not professional advice.  If you or someone you know is in a bad place, really consider seeking a professional.  FYI: if you haven’t heard already, we’re close to developing a blood test that may predict the risk of suicide.  The leap here is that self-help/counseling/advice may not suffice.

Stay happy, stay strong.

xoxo,

BTB

Life Hack Food: How to Eat Oysters

It took Richard Gere less than 30 seconds to teach Julia Roberts how to properly use silverware in Pretty Woman (work your way in).  But that lesson lasts us a lifetime, doesn’t it?  Please allow me to be your Richard Gere….when it comes to oysters.

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How to eat an oyster:

There is no right way to eat an oyster.  Says who?  Vanity Fair, that’s who.  Although this was back in 2009, to suddenly come up with an oyster eating protocol would totally be against the spirit of old money and tradition associated with these delicious aphrodisiacs, wouldn’t it?  Trick question.  As with many nouveau “delicacies” i.e. Chirashi (sashimi pieces over vinegar rice), oysters were inexpensive and eaten mainly by the working class.

My how-to suggestion?  Like with the silverware, do what makes sense.

  1. Use the little fork to make sure the oyster is detached from the shell.
  2. Use a condiment if you like i.e. lemon, cocktail sauce, or mignonette.  I like it tart so I always use mignonette (clear, vinegar based).  Pronounced minion-ette.  Click here to hear how Webster’s Dictionary says it.Screen Shot 2014-08-03 at 11.39.31 PM
  3. I tilt the shell like I’m going to drink from it, and use the little fork to push the oyster into my mouth.  People slurp it.  But Vanity Fair says I can do whatever the hell I want.
  4. Chew and swallow it.  Are there really people who are just swallowing it?  Yeah, don’t do that.

What oyster to choose:

If you’ve never had oysters, they are all probably going to taste like the sea.  But, it is an acquired taste that is SO worth it.  Oysters are usually named after places, because how they taste depends on geography–i.e. how salty the water is, and what types of minerals are in the area.

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When Restauranteur and James Beard nominated Chef, Jeremy Sewall (Island Creek and Row 34 of Boston, MA), isn’t familiar with an oyster, here’s what is in his head (aka interviewed by the Wall Street Journal):

By Coast (very generally):

  • East Coast: brinier (essentially saltier)
  • West Coast: sweeter

Think of it like you would the people who live there.  Just kidding.

By size, he favors:

  • Smaller–tend to be slightly metallic
    • Olympias (about the size of a quarter)
    • West Coast Kumamoto (brinier)
  • Slightly larger–all below are “really briny”
    • Massachusetts Pemaquids
    • Massachusetts Sunken Meadows
    • Rhode Island East Beach Blondes
  • Meatier oysters–”newer” named ones
    • Shigoku, like the Kumamoto, deep, meaty, round, briny, sweet
    • Massachusetts Moon Shoal, briny
    • Massachusetts Rocky Nook, sweet, mineral

Oysters larger than 4.5″-5″, according to Sewall, are too big.  HOWEVER, please DO NOT try to impress your date by asking if the oysters are under 4.5″-5″ because that is how you like them.  It doesn’t show how much you know, just what a douche you are.

Are oysters aphrodisiacs?

I don’t know of any oyster/oyster product to win a nobel prize.  Do you?  But, I’ll still share with you what’s up at the rumor mill:

  1. They may contain some rare amino acids that trigger increased sex hormone levels.
  2. The texture resembles our lady parts.
  3. I’m guessing gold diggers everywhere associate them with $$$$.

Order online and shuck at home:

Vanity Fair suggests Fresh Direct for Bluepoint oysters/other varieties delivered to your door ($12 for a dozen).  You can learn how to shuck these little suckers from Sewall’s WSJ interview (or a little something called the internet).

Eat it like you mean it,

BTB

Thought of the Day: Suing the President is Such a Good Idea, Said No One Ever

It’s official.  The House of Representatives has voted that Speaker John Boehner (not to be confused with sext offender, former US Representative Anthony Weiner) can sue President Obama.  Although Boehner asserts “[t]his isn’t about Republicans and Democrats…,” he is, of course, wrong.  The 225-201 vote on Wednesday was down party lines.  Only 5 Republicans had the sense to side with the Dems.

Speaker John "Side-Eye" Bohner and President Obama

House Speaker “Side-Eye” Boehner & President “Stop Hating All the Time” Obama

This particular hot mess is over executive orders, essentially where the president writes something down that has the force of the law.  Roosevelt issued 3,522 orders and George W. Bush issued 291.  Obama is at 183, which is actually fewer per year than any president since Grover Cleveland in the late 80s.  Hey Congress, you gridlocked?  How about a little executive order in your face?  Republicans are not on board with any of it.  Some orders, such as the negotiating with terrorists one, are toughies.  However, Republicans are focusing on the President’s “unilateral changes to the Affordable Care Act, known (now ironically) as Obamacare.”

Republicans, I get it, you’re caught up in the moment.  With a country so divided, it’s tough to jump off the party boat.  But, you’re losing me on this whole Obama is bad enough to sue but not bad enough to impeach action plan (uh but I also don’t think you should impeach Obama).  What are you hoping to happen?  That Obama learns his lesson and stops making executive orders?  Spoiler alert: he won’t.  And hold up.  Does Obama’s salary come from taxpayer money?  Are you using my money to sue me for more of my money?  #wtf.

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Setting aside any opinion about the war in Gaza (pray for #peaceinthemiddleeast), I’m going to offer a solid quote by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu “…a society is tested not by the extreme fringes of that society, but how it takes care of them.”  To clarify, moving towards the fringes is frowned upon.

Republicans, your move to sue Obama, real fringy.  FYI–when people call you fanatics and/or fringy, it is not a compliment and it is not because they are jealous of you.  Our President isn’t perfect.  He is, after all, just a man.  But 99% of you are probably lawyers or have sued someone or have been sued.  Or at least read the news or watch TV.  You know how much money and time lawsuits consume.  Appeal the orders, negotiate, there are other options–we’ve resolved more and less serious issues without this lukewarm resource-wasting lawsuit junk.

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Especially with everything going on in the world, you’re doing exactly what you are trying to prevent.  When thinking about the oaths you took–57% of Americans do not agree with what you are doing–and this is something totally in your control.  It’s hard to believe that at any time in the future, any one will look back to reflect, wow, that move to sue President Obama…really outstanding, so tremendous.  Think about that Republicans.  You can still do the right thing.

#dotherightthing,

BTB

P.S. To cheer you up….a mom took the most adorable photos of her 10-month-old baby and their rescue dog:

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News Catch Up July 30, 2014

Life gets busy, so when I do a whirlwind tour of what’s going on, you get to come with.  Don’t worry, all links open in a new window, so you won’t even lose your spot.  

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While Republicans are busy suing President “why you gotta be mad” Obama, a young girl writes the President to ask why there are no women on US currency.  Anyone else feel like kind of a jerk for not even thinking to wonder this?  On the upside, our economy is up by 4% and tea party people agree with liberals that GMO (genetically modified foods) should be labeled as such.  And here I thought the “common ground” is that we are all Americans.  In Maine, what looks like a murder-suicide of a family of 5 proves yet again that people who appear nice can do really awful things.  On the West Coast, a teenager is accused of intentionally starting a fire that torched 20,000 acres of San Diego, CA, causing about $10.4M in damages and costs.  Um…also in San Diego, a 17-year-old was beaten while attending the Comic-Con 2014.  Seriously.  Wtf is wrong with people?  In the world, children and women continue to flee the horrors of Syria’s civil war (the photos are heartbreaking) and the largest Ebola outbreak ever has killed at least 672 people in West Africa.  Palestinians and Israelis are still engaged in a war where even UN safe zones are not safe.  Pray for #peaceinthemiddleeast.  To continue in horror, the rebels in Ukraine have allegedly scattered land mines at the MH17 crash site.  Running off with dead bodies in refrigerated trains and stealing plane pieces apparently isn’t enough.  Nothing yet on MH370.  Turning to South Africa, after hanging out in a night club and verbally crapping all over President Jacob Zuma’s family, Oscar Pistorius is waiting for closing arguments (as I am) in his trial scheduled for August 7-8, 2014.

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Somberly,

BTB

Life Hack Product: Z Malouf Travel Pillow (is a Game Changer)

You know what’s super sexy?  Feeling well rested.  

Although I have the gift of being able to sleep anywhere–plane, train, automobile, ground, floor, sofa–restful sleep is hard to find.  It’s the difference between Ms. Cranky Pants and Ms. Holy Shit this is the Best Day of My Life Pants.  In pictures, it’s like the difference between:

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and…….

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Miranda Kerr knows what’s up.

Uh, did you know she is the world’s second richest model and only takes 15 minutes to look like this every morning?  

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You can click the link for Miranda’s routine, but spoiler alert: she’s a winner of the genetic lottery.

But, I digress.  In my dreams, I throw money at anything bedding like it’s on fire (the money, not the bedding).  Many moons ago, I fell in love with these pillows from the Westin/Sheraton/one of the Starwood Resorts & Hotels.  The 50/50 Encompass Group Pillow.  50% Goose Down/50% Goose Feather.  About $160 for a set of 2 standard pillows.  But my god.  They were amazing.  So soft and fluffy, like angels kissing my head.

Well-rested people will notice that I used “were.”  This is because I have found:

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meet the Z by Malouf Travel Size Memory Foam Molded Contour Neck Pillow-Luxurious Washable Cover ($30-$60).

I found it while searching for the perfect travel pillow to use on the plane/car/ground during a camping trip with the love of my life who is very angry with me.  Compact, travel friendly, and comfortable (the pillow, not the man).  Apparently, even though we’ve walked on the moon, this is too much to ask for.  I’ve gone through travel pillows of every shape, size, brand–ones that strap to luggage, that you blow up, that blow up themselves, convertible rectangle/U-shaped ones, memory foam ones with tiny pockets for earplugs.

At first, I was hesitant about the Z Pillow:

1.  I confused Malouf with Maloof.  As in Adrienne Maloof from the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

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Although she is one of my favorite people ever (business woman, peaceful resolution specialist, feisty), there’s a certain apprehension that comes with i.e. David Beckham cologne, Brittany Spears perfume, Jessica Simpson shoes….

2.  You can’t really attach it to anything i.e. luggage, travel bag.

3.  Memory foam.  Anything that makes a dull thud when you plop your head or body on it, is suspicious.

HOWEVER, I don’t think I will use another pillow ever.  It is so wonderful, I totally get why the company registered the letter Z as a trademark symbol.  This little gem rocks my world:

1. Light and compact: About 12 oz and 10″x12″x4″.

2. Travel friendly: memory foam can be squished real little.  Even rolls into its “luxurious [velour] washable cover.”

3. So soft and comfy.  My neck started to hurt from stress, and my Encompass pillows weren’t cutting it.  In the interim I’ve used the Z pillow nightly.  I can’t really roll around on it, but when I wake up, no neck pain and good morning Ms. Holy Shit the is the Best Day of My Life Pants.

4.  Ergonomic to align spine.

One day, I will upgrade to:

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the Z Gel-Infused Dough Memory Foam Contour Pillow with Z-Gel Liquid Gel Packet ($80-$150+).  It’s bigger and the gel distributes heat.  It’s so awesome the “Z” AND “Dough” are registered trademark symbols.

Sleep well sexy face,

BTB

Life Hack: Be a Poser II (Get the Picture Perfect Smile)

Penelope Cruz is a woman of many smiles.  She beams, she grins, smiles softly, pouts so sweetly.

Man or woman, you too, can be a person of many smiles.  You too, can nail it in front of the paparazzi.  Practice, practice, practice.  In front of a mirror.  Until muscle memory kicks in.  Ok, maybe just until you can remember what each smile feels like.

Meet the basic smile (The MMMmmm face)

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  1. Put your lips together.
  2. Lift up the corners of your mouth.
  3. Say “MMM” without opening your mouth, to create a smile

Grin like it’s your thing (Me, Me, Me, Meeeee)

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  1. Put your lips together.
  2. Lift up the corners of your mouth.
  3. Say “ME” opening your mouth and showing your teeth but keeping it soft.

Beam brighter than the sun (haaaaaayyyy)

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  1. Say “HEY” and hold it.  Notice your tongue is forward and lips are apart.
  2. Say “HEY” again with a smiling expression.
  3. If you can, push your tongue up against the roof of your mouth.  This helps pull up the double chin.

Look poor (the gaunt look)

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  1. Say “POOR“.
  2. Keep the lips soft and sultry, hold for a few seconds.

Smiling saves lives.  Fact.

Be a Poser I: Slim down in photos here.

Yours always and forever,

BTB

Raving Rants: Oscar Pistorius Did Not Just Compare His Pain to Holocaust Survivor’s

Oscar, please tell me this isn’t so.  Not only did you “accidentally” kill (say it) your girlfriend by shooting her with exploding bullets, play the victim in the resulting South African murder trial, and allegedly run over a dog while texting, get out, shoot the dog in the head, and drive away.  Now you’ve gone and compared your pain to that of a Holocaust Survivor’s???  Mercy.  Seriously, mercy.  You are so special that all these improbable things had to happen to bring you to where you are today, aren’t you?

OP’s sobbing and vomiting High Court murder trial in Pretoria, South Africa is on break, scheduled to resume August 7, 2014 for closing arguments (Gerrie Nel, I can’t wait!).  YouTube will probably have the video.

Apparently (full article on Yahoo! Sports), for the first time since Feb. 14, 2014 (exactly 1 year after he shot Reeva Steenkamp), this is what OP tweets in rapid succession: a psalm, a photograph, and a passage from an Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust Survivor.  These me, me, me tweets come after OP’s 30 day psych eval (that annihilated any psych defense), and after OP’s defense team rested (because no one wanted to testify).

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Uh…..outrageous….

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even more outrageous….

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#wtf???????

The passage is from a book written by Holocaust Survivor and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl.  In “Man’s Search for Meaning,” Frankl discusses the concept of Logotherapy, where a basic principle is “life has meaning under all circumstances, even the most miserable ones.”

Only your actions are not making sense.  Your attorney looks like he is doing everything he can (except maybe the deal with Roger Dixon), and your family and friends are doing their best to support a loved one.

This outrageousness must stop,

BTB

Raving Rants: Dear AT&T, Your Service Sucks

AT&T service sucks SO bad. To quote the lovely Jessica Alba who ALWAYS knows what to wear, and what to say:

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No reception in my home (and I live in the big city) or my parents’ home (they live in a well populated suburb). My bill is obnoxiously high and I’m locked in forever because I needed a phone before my contract was up, and because I’m an A-Pod (Apple Pod: one who is brainwashed by Apple), it had to be the most recent iPhone.  When I called AT&T, know what they said?

The buildings in your city are not conducive to reception. Everyone else in the area is using a microcell. Would you like to purchase one?

I don’t care if a goddamn microcell (works like a mini cell tower in your home) is 99 cents.  It is the principle. The possibility that I could be having a heart attack and need to fish around for my $100+/mo. cell phone service in my own home makes me want to scream into a pillow.  By the way, to all the lovebirds out there:

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(*note, because of AT&T’s shit service the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires all providers to relay a 911 call from a working cell phone.  But, of course, this also means there has to be a cell tower near by).

You know who has conquered cell reception in buildings? Verizon. T-mobile. Probably the 5-yr-old next door.  AT&T, get your sh*t together. Scraping by just isn’t enough anymore.

Love you Jess!!!!!,

BTB

Life Hack: Be a Poser (How to Look Slimmer in Photographs)

Fact: Even Gisele Bundchen gets fat-arm in photographs.  Translation: posing can make a difference.  Here’s a shorty short short summary of quick fixes to sizzle in those summer sexographs.  I mean, summer photographs.

Generally:

  • body parts closer to the camera will appear larger than those farther away
  • highlighted areas will appear larger/more prominent than shadowed areas

THE FACE

What to do: chin up (not too high), turn to the side (slightly)

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Why chin up?  Chin down can mess with your face proportions in an unattractive way.  The forehead is already naturally wider than the chin.  With your chin down, the forehead is closer to the camera, and the chin is in the shadows and farther from the camera.  Also, when your chin is up, the area is stretched so you minimize double chin.

Full face frontal can be fatal.  The short of it, you risk big face/moon face/pie face.  Angling your head to the side adds light and shadows to your face creating depth and definition.  If you have the time and the will, you can quickly contour/sculpt your face with makeup.  Highlight areas of your face where the sun would naturally kiss–forehead, bridge of nose, bow of lip, chin, cheekbones.  Bronze/darken areas you want to minimize, and around areas you want to define–down sides around bridge of nose, outer edge of face, hollows of cheeks.

Highlight:      

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Bronze/darken:

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THE BODY

What to do: turn to the side (one foot in front of the other, leaning into back foot), arms slightly away from body (one arm in back triangle formation, if possible)

Why turn to the side?  I’ll let the photos below do the talking.

Front view:  

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Side view:

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Keep at least a sliver of space between your body and arms.  If you don’t, your arm fat will spread and flatten out against your body.  The sound of that sentence alone should deter you from ever forgetting this.

Flattened:                                  

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Sliver of space:

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Back arm triangle formation in action.  Gisele knows what’s up.  Put your hand on your hip, angling the elbow back.  That triangulated arm now has something to do, and is farther from the camera.  Don’t forget the sliver of space between the other arm and your body.

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That’s all I have for now.  Why?  Because the first time I finished this blog entry, I refreshed the window and lost everything.  Seriously, I got this really adorable message from WordPress:

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and then, all my work was gone.

Pose like a rock star,

BTB