Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The WSJ Thinks Your Wife Should Shut Up and Make You a Sandwich

Ken MacDougal feels victimized.  His wife, after she made him a sandwich, stuck a note in his lunch reminding him to stop by Home Depot after lunch.

Even years later, he remains traumatized and "peeved" about the situation: "I didn't need a reminder in the middle of my sandwich," he says.

Nagging, The Wall Street Journal earnestly reports, is even more common than adultery, and yet can be even more toxic to a relationship.  I'd like to helpfully remind you that adultery is traditionally considered a male attribute (although recent studies have shown that women are starting to cheat at almost the same rate as their male counterparts).  According to Howard Markman, a professor of psychology, nagging can be a prime contributer to divorce when couples start to argue about the nagging itself.  And of course, in that type of toxic relationship, who can blame a man for straying?

Women are much more likely to nag because they are "conditioned to feel more responsible for managing home and family life" and are "more sensitive."  Still, the WSJ rushes to assure us, men also hold a share of the blame.
Sure, a husband might tune his wife out because he is annoyed; nagging can make him feel like a little boy being scolded by his mother. But many times he doesn't respond because he doesn't know the answer yet, or he knows the answer will disappoint her.
In other words, his share of the blame is really still her fault, because women are too sensitive, and he is only trying to spare her feelings while he rationally assesses the situation.  It's also his mother's fault, who has been nagging him since childhood.

Back to Ken MacDougal.  His wife, sensitive to his tense "thousand-year stare," started signing her notes with extra hearts and smiley faces, trying to soften her words so as not to seem too threatening.  She even left out her own signature from the notes, instead signing them from "your faithful bathtub drain," or whatever appliance was low enough for him to step all over.

WSJ  leaves us with some tips to save our marriages.  Sometimes it is best to avoid the conflict altogether.  In the most dire of circumstances, perhaps hiring a handyman would be best.  Don't try and do it yourself, ladies!  That's still a man's job, even if your man doesn't feel like doing whatever chore is distracting him from the big game.  No matter what, be sure to avoid direct conflict.
"As long as I am not putting pressure on him, he seems to respond better," Ms. Pfeiffer says. Mr. Mac Dougall agrees. "The notes distract me from the face-to-face interaction," he says. "There's no annoying tone of voice or body posture. It's all out of the equation."
Finally, WSJ suggests adjusting expectations, asking wives, "Does that lightbulb need to be changed immediately?" Maybe not ladies, but your attitudes certainly do.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Signs my future is doomed.

Reasons that I'm convinced I am headed for senility, or Alzheimers, or Huntingtons, or some kind of mad cow disease:

Friday, January 27, 2012

Google Thinks I'm an Old Man

So I have my preferences.  If you have spent time with me socially, you've probably heard me proclaim my preference for "old man bars." 

Last night David and I were watching 30 Rock, and Liz Lemon, during her search for her new best friend, realized she needed to go to someplace where people with similar interests to her would hang out.  She goes to the bathroom of a local Barnes & Noble.  David lovingly patted my arm.

Time for cookie pants!

So yesterday morning I received an email from Google outlining its new privacy policy.  Unlike most of you, I read it.  And honestly, I don't see what the fuss is about.  It's only sharing information about you amongst the Google products you use, which they kinda already did.  I use a lot of Google products.  This doesn't particularly bother me.  They're not sharing outside of Google.  And I keep denying them my phone number or the ability to make a public profile to a minimum of hassle.

So, here's the fun part.  If you go exploring into your account, you can find exactly who Google thinks you are, based on your searches and preferences, right here.

The conclusion? 

Google thinks I'm a 65+ year old man.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Keeping Up With the Joneses

The power of shy

Time's cover for next week catches up with the newest journalistic trend of investigating those quiet people who don't want to go out for happy hour with you:

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


As you know, I'm from the Jersey Shore.

The real Shore, not the one made infamous by MTV, the spreaders of all things hateful, vile and untrue.



However, however, HOWEVER.


I hate to sound like a hypocrite being so excited for this when I get so peeved about MTV's Jersey Shore.  As a native Jerseyan, I've always had to combat the same exact stereotype that MTV chose to perpetuate on their stupid show by casting people from New York, and now has made worse.

Ryan: everyone assumes no one lives at the shore year round in NJ...because outside of monmouth county (and only parts of it) no one does! 
Katie: and it annoys me, because when I tell people I'm from the Shore, they get this completely false stereotype in their head
Ryan:  katie, NO ONE looks at you and thinks "oh her boyfriend's name must be anthony"

So I get it.  The Irish had enough going on with the whole leprechaun stereotype before this showed up, so my sincere condolences, oh people of Ireland. 

A note, however, before I exit for the day.  I never once, not in any time I visited Ireland and certainly not when I was living in Galway, saw any guys who looked like that.  Irish guys were all super skinny and weight lifting was just not a thing.  However, I have to admit that the ladies in this promo are not too much of a stretch from what I would see over there.  (Except for you, Rach, I love youuuuuu.)  Still, overall, where oh where did they get these people??

Final word: please, please let this go global.  I need to be able to watch it.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Famous Last Word on the Infamous Printed Word

Maureen Dowd may be the Queen Bee but we'd all rather be friends with Gail Collins.

Every week I compile a group of articles featuring what I would consider to be the week's most ridiculous news from [some of] the world's most upstanding news sources.  I scour The New York Times, LA Times, BBC, The Boston Globe, Providence Journal and The Irish Times, amongst others, looking for great writing, crucial snark and the latest in I-can't-believe-this-is-news updates.

The best articles are always those in the Style section (or whatever the particular newspaper calls it) in which the ever hopeful reporter tries to break the newest trend with all the gravity of his journalistic integrity.  The second best is when they report on the young to the bewildered old (Wall Street Journal, I'm looking at you.)  This experience has given me, I think, unique insight into the soul of these periodicals.   Each has its own place in the media's own little cafeteria hierarchy.

For instance, The New York Times is clearly the coolest, smartest kid in the room.  Yes, I know, most of you groaned out there.  But admit it, you groaned because it's true.  NYT has the best writers, hands down, and cover the widest array of issues.  For the five of you who actually read our weekly Friday summary of the news, you'll have noticed that The Grey Lady tends to dominate the conversation.  Their Style section is fantastic.  And no, I don't mean because it's super relevant, I mean because they have good writers writing about completely ridiculous things.  They try really hard to be up with the trends, which often leads to breaking news like "Teenagers share passwords!" or "Being pretty counts for more with teen girls than being smart!" 

That being said, while NYT has the best writers and the best features, they're not the best in every issue area.  When it comes to political news, The Washington Post has that covered.  They tend to have less of a slant than NYT, and they cover a greater spectrum of the political arena.  The Washington Post is never going to be the coolest kid because it tries so hard.  They want  you to like them, they want you to think they're funny and trendy, and they really do everything right.  They even give out a free version of the paper to commuters!  Spreading information to the masses! Journalistic integrity at its finest!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Growing Pains, Pajamas and Other Things From When We Were Young

After a bit of a hiatus, our weekly feature of the most crucial news of the week (and then some), along with some other features you shouldn't miss.  In this week, we remember all the things we loved as teenagers but aren't fit for public consumption: pajamas, Nigerian lovers and boy bands.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

All Goya with a Touch of Picasso

RAG Week, Galway, Ireland
March 2004

I am in the middle of a bar hop during Ireland's Raise-A-Grand Week, in which all the pubs open early and close late.  (Also, something about charity.)  I am the caboose in the Lady Train that is winding/pushing its way through the crowded pub, when I am stopped by a young man on a bar stool.  "Excuse me," he says.  "I just wanted to stop you and tell you that you're lovely-"  I made motions to continue moving towards the back of the pub where my friends gathered.  "No!  Wait.  I didn't want to come out here tonight, I just broke up with my girlfriend, but my lads made me, and I'm so glad they did,   because you're lovely, and-" he pauses and gestures me closer for effect, "- I would tell a girl that I loved her to get in her pants, but I wouldn't tell her she was lovely."

 507 Main, Belmar, NJ
August 2005
It's the summer, it's last call, and I'm out in Belmar, which means I'm looking around for my friends while avoiding eye contact with anybody else.  A young man saunters up to me.

"Excuse me, but you have a boyfriend, don't you?"

I size him up.  "Yes," I lie.

"I could tell.  But I have to tell you....[pauses for effect]....I'm better than your boyfriend."

"Oh?" I said.

"Yeah....I work at Z100."

I immediately perked up.  "Are you Greg T the Frat Boy?!"  (Sorry for the geographic-centered humor there but I assure you that was a hoot for those who ever listened to Z100 in the morning in the late 1990s.)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Imagine Jenny McCarthy As Your Masseuse, But Like, Not Really

I have to apologize for the serious lack of posts in Ye Ole Famous Last Word(e).  I'd tell you that I was busy dealing with the holidays, with my cluster headaches, with desperation apartment cleanings, with finding a new job (mission accomplished!) and finding my own replacement, but really, I hit a major writer's block and all of the above are just excuses.

I tried to break the spell, truly, I did.  There are 27 different drafted posts in my folder right now, of which three are maybe decent, but I kept opening them up, staring at them, typing a sentence, and then opening up Imgur in a new browser tab instead. 

"Katie," I told myself.  "You need to relax." 

So I did what any other downtrodden urbanite would do: I dialed up my regular masseuse and requested a massage in the immediate future.

Unfortunately, Marcus, former masseuse to the Women's Olympic Soccer team, was not available. 

And thus my trauma begins.

So I made an appointment at a small salon near our apartment and walked over.  I sat myself next to another woman in the reception area and continued A Dance with Dragons until a very small, skinny man with a mustache came out and immediately triggered my NOPE NOPE NOPE alarm.

In case you haven't noticed, my Photoshop skills are slowly but steadily coming along.

He started looking on the list for his next client. Not me, not me, not me, I thought.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

On New Year's Resolutions and an Upcoming Five Year Review

New Year's Resolutions. Do you make them? Or don't you? At this point, ten days into 2012, you have probably made a decision one way or another - and, as Rush so wisely reminds us, "If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice."

I'm a classic type A girl. I love me some lists, and even more I love checking things off of my list. Typically, 1/1 of any year (or 2, 3, 4, or even 5, depending on how lazy I am that given year) finds me christening a new or newly revived journal with my year's to-do list. The list doesn't usually include World Peace, but it does usually check realism at the door. I'm usually sane enough to realize that at my personal mid-year review (...yup, I usually have those), and I usually don't take my "failures" too much to heart. This year, though, will be an interesting test of that philosophy.

I-don't-know-how-many-years-ago-but-let's-say-10ish, my husband (whom I didn't know at the time) sat down with a group of friends to compose a series of personal predictions - not resolutions, exactly, but best guesses and gut feelings for where they would each be five years in the future. Ten predictions. It was an individual exercise, for the most part, but I suspect they influenced each other in the composition. I also suspect that ten items was a little on the aggressive side. (I base both of these suspicions on the fact that my husband's list counted not only his age but also his gender among its predictions). They nominated one person in the group as the Keeper of the Lists, whose primary responsibility was not to lose them in the intervening years.

Three years ago or so, the Keeper sent the lists back to their creators. At this point, hubby and I were living together, so I got to participate in his "five year review," and smile and enjoy where exactly he thought he would be at this point in his life. (In case you were concerned? He is indeed still male and his age predictions were right on track.)

Unsurprising for the almost-psych-major-I-am, I thought this was the.coolest.thing.EVER. So I made my own. Five years ago this Friday. I'm pretty excited to see where 23 year-old me thought she would be in 2012. Probably not here...

But I wouldn't trade it.

watered-down, post-grunge crap, horrendous shit

Hey y'all. I'm about to leave the office for the day, but wanted to share with you a heartwarming quote I read in Rolling Stone. The issue features my lovers, The Black Keys, on the cover. Now, if you're like me and many of my friends, you absolutely want to punch every member of Nickelback in the face. And maybe every member of Daughtry for similar reasons. It is truly wondrous to have this sentiment embodied by the Key's drummer, Patrick Carney:

"Rock & roll is dying because people became OK with Nickelback being the biggest band in the world,” he says, blowing cigarette smoke out the window of his rented East Village loft a few days ­before the band heads to L.A. “So they became OK with the idea that the biggest rock band in the world is always going to be shit – therefore you should never try to be the biggest rock band in the world. Fuck that! Rock & roll is the music I feel the most passionately about, and I don’t like to see it fucking ruined and spoon-fed down our throats in this watered-down, post-grunge crap, horrendous shit. When people start lumping us into that kind of shit, it’s like, ‘Fuck you,’ honestly."

Love. You can read more here: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/cover-story-excerpt-the-black-keys-20120104

I'm seeing these boys in person, albeit from very far away, in March and will kiss them in the face.

Now doesn't that make you want to get down (in the dancing sense) and drink some whiskey?

I've been thinking a lot recently about Blues-influenced music and why I'm so drawn to it. It has a quality of recognizing sincere emotion (pain, regret, longing) while at the same time making the listener feel powerful, happy and resolute. It's good therapy. It's that place where pain doesn't turn to apathy and abandonment or melodramatic, adolescent crap. As a visual artist, I'm jealous of musicians because they create with a media that touches people on some primitive, unconscious, emotional level while at the same time carrying meaning that the listener understands. I know that visual art can hit at that non-verbal primitive place too, but not in the toe-tapping, cry by myself on the train kind of way...It's like watching an extremely graphic, horrific scene in a movie. Turn off the sound, and closing your eyes doesn't seem as important. What I mean is, I think sound digs deeper than anything.

Now if you want to go cry in your basement, listen to this nostalgic horseshit (as my roommates in Ireland used to say):