If you cannot petition the lord with prayer, can I at least petition him for a gator headdress?

these days, I can run out of steam simply after a good meal.  I’m not sure if it’s creeping decrepitude, too much HGTV or carb overload, but it really doesn’t matter – I’z gettin’ to the point where exercising my ‘puter mouse is sometimes all I’ve got energy for.   I surf the web mindlessly looking for signs of the zombie apocalypse or at least a new cheap thrill and usually end up reading more aggravating political crap or gossip sites that incessantly post sixteen times a day about which Kardashian takes the bigger dump.

in the old days when I was bored, I always turned to Ebay for odd and bizarre things I like to surround myself with, such as coconut monkeys from the dusty back closets of snowbirds who vacationed in Florida back in the 50′s and 60′s:

(I don’t own these guys, but they are cute!)
or naughty nekkid girl or guy stuff from those much more provincial times.
  
(yes, we all know what’s underneath – hey, who knew this old
toy was closer to reality than we ever imagined!)

somewhere along the way though, Ebay, the first, biggest and coolest online flea market in the whole, wide world turned into the global marketplace for the same kinds of cheaply, made-in-China junk we all bitch about daily.  oh sure, there’s still plenty of great stuff on there, but now you have to really beware of those bargain Louboutins you bragged about scoring ‘cos their famous red undersides might just have been painted on with a magic marker!  these days on Ebay, it’s definitely buyer beware.

okay, so that’s the bad news.  the good news is someone invented Etsy, a place where vintage sellers and madcap artists from even the far reaches of Wherethefuckisthatistan hand make anything you can think of and even more that never even crossed your mind.  now it’s my go-to place for pretty much anything completely twisted.  I mean, who wouldn’t want this??

Feathered Extravagant Voodoo Headdress

(the Voodoo Headdress by Halfshell Productions by HalfshellProductions on Etsy )

or how about this?  perfect for Halloween or just to don for those important coven meetings!

Witch Hat, real alligator head, with faux red eyes, handmade Halloween costume princess witch hat

(Witch Hat real alligator head with faux red by MysticRealmsArtist)

but not everything on there is wacky.  there’s so much hand-crafted amazingness on Etsy, it’ll amuse you for hours!  check out the beautiful Polymer Jewelry and Art Objects with Swarovski by BillieBeads.

Swarovski Crystal and Polymer Clay Bunny Rabbit

(I’m mad about their FABULOUS pig too!!)

okay, enough of this,  I want a cookie…

yes, this is what I’ve been doing since going on hiatus –

but never fear, I’m ALMOST back!  so with a new, snappy look comes new self-indulgent rants and hopefully – after plunking down $59.97 to add the video feature – I’ll be able to post my art-crazed films from the daze of whine and poseurs!

 

Bassetcoolingherselfwithfan

WWJD?? CANCEL MY SUBSCRIPTION TO THE RESURRECTION!

and THEN WHAT??   well that means I’d like to add some of my videos to this blaaag.  unfortunately, I’ve discovered that that costs extra – as in MOOLA.  so yeah, stand by while I try to panhandle enough spare change to raise the funds to pay these goons the $50 or $60 (depending on which page you get to) and then figure out exactly how to do this mess.

good god, why cant I just have a nice, simple little blog about puppies, kittens and bunny rabbits??

I mean really, this shouldn't be so difficult!!

eh, ya lazy bum, this just LOOKS easy!

STAY TUNED -

"now sit here kids while Mommy goes and pops some pills with her afternoon beverage."

Back From The Dead

well okay, not quite, but after an interminable winter with more snow than we’d had the previous interminable winter, it kind of feels like I’m crawling out of a mummy’s tomb and seeing daylight for the first time in 3,000 years.

"is that, th-th-the sun??"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

not that winter’s shroud has lifted entirely yet, but there are signs, hopeful signs – like our weather forecasters completely missing the mark several days in a row.  for three or four days now, those overpaid prognosticators with hair that doesn’t move even in hurricane squalls, have promised sunshine and climbing temps, but all we’ve gotten are glimpses of Ra through mostly gloomy clouds and continued chills.  my guess is they know we’re pretty sick of the cold weather at this point in time, so they just say whatever sounds good and upbeat, even if it’s totally wrong.  seriously, my cousin can predict the weather better by simply sticking his head out the window!  and for some reason, it happens the same time every year.  despite bold-faced proclamations featuring “Accu-Weather” forecasts doled out by supposedly high-tech, meteorologic tools like the ever-popular, Doppler 4000 or Radar 7 or whatever number sounds futuristic, they just can’t get it right.  however, it’s mid-March, so Spring really is around the corner, which is good news for those of us who hole up in hermetically-sealed apartments until we see the last mound of dirty, city snow with an empty paper coffee cup or a pile of dog poop imbedded in it, disintegrate.  and of course, that means it’s time for Miss Norma to reappear and start blabbing again about her favorite subject: FOOD and BEVERAGES!  and yep, I have some new obsessions to talk about.

now here’s the deal, if I’m not out have wine or cocktails, I pretty much stick to water made through my PUR water pitcher (I really do think its double-filtration tastes better than Brita) or I drink tea. hot tea usually in the winter, but this year I started quenching my thirst with what I think are the best bottled cold teas I’ve ever had – and, they’re unsweetened for those of us who think that most bottled teas taste like Paula Deen made ‘em using a pound of sugar.

TEA’S TEA, when I first discovered them, was only available at Whole Foods, but now, the word is out and many delis in my general vicinity sell it too.  it ain’t cheap – $1.99 per 16.9 oz. bottle at WF or $2.25 at the delis, but it’s well worth it.  most of the flavors they offer are a green tea base, but there are a slew of tasty varieties like Green White, Green Jasmine, Green with Lemongrass, Golden Oolong and my personal favorite – Mint Green. they are absolutely delicious and I always have a ton on hand!  however, a quick look at their website tonight gave me pause to shudder since they are made by a Japanese company and imported – apparently some of their offices in Northeast Japan have been damaged by the quake and/or tsunami.  I am officially in mourning and hope that this all works out for all concerned.  needless to say, I will be scouring the neighborhood in the next few days to buy up my favorite flavors just in case!

so refreshing and packed with green tea goodness!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and an unexpected delight was this find at, of all places, my local CVS!  ANNA’S ALMOND CINNAMON THINS.  trust me, I’m not the type to buy fauxr-met foods at a drug store, but these caught the eye of my pal who I was there with.  he bought them as a munchie treat for when we play board games and I really wasn’t convinced they would be good, but after one, I was a GONER!!  I’m talking unbelievably good.  I’m talking so crazy good, I ate 3/4 of the single pack in one sitting (I just finished off the 5 broken remnants)!!  light as air, not overly sweet, so delicate they snap in two easily, just INSANELY DELISH – YOU MUST GO BUY THESE IMMEDIATELY!!

oh lordy, deliver me from Anna's Almond Cinnamon Thins!! DI-VINE!!!

their website lists other flavors too, like Ginger, Chocolate Mint, Vanilla Chocolate Chip, Lemon, Orange and the new, Organic Ginger, but doesn’t mention CVS as a place to buy them!  who cares, they all sound YUM and you can also get them online!!  of course they’ll never replace Pepperidge Farm’s Black/White Milano as the greatest cookie ever made for a grocery shelf, but they’re damn close!

Anna’s Cookies Thins Biscuits, Traditional Swedish Thin Cookies

ok, enough drooling, I think I left some crumbs in the bottom of the package…

DESPERATE, WILL TWEET FOR FOOD –

aw hell, who am I kidding?  anyone that knows me reasonably well, knows that I will do pretty much anything legal for a really good meal, so I didn’t think twice about losing any more self-respect than I usually don’t have by entering a contest last month sponsored by Gothamist.com, a NY-centric news and happenings-around-town site that I visit daily.  to enter, you first had to sign-up to follow Gothamist on Twitter and then re-Tweet their posting of the contest prize, advertised as a “Roman Feast wine and food tasting at Maialino in the Gramercy Park Hotel”.   it sounded like something I could handle even though I’m a terrible Twitterer and had never re-Tweeted anything in my life (I had to look-up how to do it!).  but hey, for a free meal in a heralded restaurant housed in a hipster hotel not far from me, I figured it was worth a shot.

since I had waffled back and forth on entering, by the time I did, the contest was almost over and I was shocked to learn that very few people  - the same people who will happily Tweet their 140-character-or-less daily bowel movements to the universe – hadn’t bothered to enter.  nevertheless, I was damn-near in need of smelling salts when I received the email that told me I had WON!

yup, ME!!!

since “free” and “feast” are two of my favorite words in the English language, I was already licking my chops.  but after checking out the menus on their website, I needed a bib to keep the drool from landing on the keyboard!  I mean, what do you say about a restaurant whose signature dish is suckling pig??  I say, LET’S EAT!!

now for those of you who don’t live in NYC or are vegetarians, MAIALINO is Italian for “suckling pig” (stay with me as there is much more to enjoy here than you can possibly imagine) and this fine eating establishment is the newest jewel in the crown of Danny Meyer, arguably NYC’s most prolific and successful restauranteur.  with Gramercy Tavern, 11 Madison Park and Union Square Cafe  - some of the most respected restaurants in town – under his belt, Mr. Meyer also pioneered the trendy Shake Shack, now with several around town and another soon to open in Brooklyn.  say what you will about the obscene lines that snake around Madison Square Park and presumably their other outposts, for what is supposed to be the best burger in town, I willingly humiliate myself several times each summer to join the waiting wolves for their insanely decadent frozen custard with mix-ins.  I also frequent his Blue Smoke (Jazz Standard is the music venue upstairs), which is just a few blocks from me and trust me, one bite of the shrimp corndog appetizers there will make you a true believer in the God of Fried (see below).

quite possibly the best damn appetizer in NYC - Blue Smoke's Shrimp Corndogs!

but alas, I digress – I’ll get back to those corndogs one of these days.  right now, it’s Roman Feast time!  and since the feast was for two and it was my friend Miss Janee’s b’day a week or so away, I decided to take her along for the ride. she’s a fellow foodie chick and 100% Italian, so I knew we would have a great time – but really, we had NO idea what we were in for.  after all, neither of us had eaten there before and I mean, how good could it be if there were giving it away in an online contest that hardly anybody entered?  well we were about to find out that my silly little re-Tweet was about to reward me with one of the best overall meals I’ve had in years!

on that Thursday night, the restaurant was packed with well-heeled hipsters, business people, trendy out-of-towners – and then there was us – two single gals on the loose!  despite our freebie status, we were ushered to our table like visiting dignitaries and proceeded to be treated like absolute royalty!  first, there were these specially printed menus announcing what was to come:

feast indeed! we expected to choose one from each category - WRONG!!

since it was advertised as a food and wine tasting, we took one look at the incredible menu and thought:  A) we were given them by mistake, and B) we probably got our choice of one from each course listing.  but when our delightful server Dana came to greet us with a beautiful bread basket, gorgeous olive oil and a glass of Prosecco, he let us know that we would be getting all of it!  yes, ALL OF IT!  so there we are, grinning ear-to-ear as we clinked glasses to toast the start of this culinary orgy, when executive chef Nick Anderer  (Google him!  his accolades are well documented!) - who I’m sure had much better things to tend to in his kitchen – came out to personally greet us and let us know how happy he was to create and prepare this special menu for us.  I say, another glass clink!

Chef Nick Anderer - superstar in the kitchen and all-around class act!

LET THE FOOD PARADE BEGIN!

so no sooner had we finished devouring the bread and our Prosecco, when the antipasti arrived.  a gorgeous array of the freshest Fall market vegetables barely coated in bread crumbs and cooked to light, crispy perfection which allowed the true flavor of each to shine through.  as if that wasn’t enough, there was the ultra-creamy, jaw-dropping Drowned Buffalo Bocconcini with a hint of mint that literally melted in your mouth in a way that could only be described as orgasmic.  it was so insanely good, our eyes literally rolled up into our heads and Miss Janee and I agreed that it was without question, the best we’d ever eaten.  the antipasti was paired with a beautifully light, white Italian wine which was so smooth, we almost didn’t notice the buzz coming on!

next up was our Primi course which consisted of two pastas: a black pepper and pecorino Tonnarelli and a Bombolotti all’Amatriciana with spicy tomato and guanciale, the latter being a sort of half-rigatoni pasta with an Italian bacon made from the pig’s cheek.  we’ve probably all had fresh pasta from scratch, as well as pasta imported from Italy, but Maialino goes even beyond that by not only making their pasta fresh, but importing artisanal wheat from a man in Italy who grows this special blend on his own farm.  talk about attention to details!  the Tonnarelli really packed a peppery punch and the lovely red wine that accompanied the pastas was light, but very full-bodied, so it was easily able to stand on it’s own.

at this point, we were tipsy, stuffed full of unbelievable food goodness and overflowing with giddy joy at the personal attention we were getting from the super-friendly staff, but never mind all that, here comes their signature dish of roast suckling pig and roasted potatoes, with side dishes of a swiss chard and tomato stew and beautiful mushrooms in white wine and garlic!  oh, and did I mention another incredibly tasty red wine?  needless to say, there’s a reason why the suckling pig gets top billing here – it was so juicy and flavorful and with that wonderfully crispy skin on top – seriously, we thought we had died and gone to hog heaven.

yes, more food! their suckling pig and roast potatoes - an almost out-of-body experience!

this pig deserves two pictures!

unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we barely made a dent in the swiss chard-tomato stew, but the mushrooms were so divine, I went for seconds, with still some to take home in a doggy bag.  oh yeah, sorry about the lousy pics.  by the time I started snapping, I was a babbling fool in a booze and food haze taking pictures with a cell phone and sending Twitter updates from the table at the same time.  and eating!

all that aside, despite being ready to explode from everything we’d already ingested, they presented us with a little something to cleanse our palettes: their mind-blowing, Concord Grape sorbet.  listen, I like sorbet just fine, but next to creme brulee, it’s always going to be at the very bottom of my dessert wish list.  however this glorious purple offering was totally in a class by itself!  it was, to say the least, outrageously rich, divine and even weeks later, I can still recall the bursting, bold intensity of its flavor that was like eating the most beautiful, fresh grapes picked moments before they were prepared, only better.  I have no idea if it’s a regular part of their menu, but it really should be. suggestion guys:  pair that with some simple flavored biscotti and I’d call that a winning dessert!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and speaking of desserts, our insane, FREE, 2+hr. food-a-rama came to a close with two:  a silky smooth panna cotta with a luscious fig topping (see pic below) and a chocolate tartufo (also below).  while I’m normally a diehard chocoholic, we both thought the former completely outdid the latter, which was very good, but would’ve been better had we not had to fight the rock-solid frozen center – we literally had no strength left (or room in our stomachs!) to lift any eating utensil to our mouths even one more time.  like  im. possible.

the panna cotta was the clear winner - the perfect end to a perfect meal!

sadly, we were too full to fight it -

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

drunk and nearly comatose, we thanked our gracious hosts and waddled our separate ways home to crash.  I am still stunned by my good fortune at winning such an extravagant outing that was completely on the house (including tax and tip!) and want to give an extra shout-out to Maialino’s General Manager, Terry Coughlin and Ryan Pernice, who if I remember correctly is their PR/Social Media Director (Ryan, I’m officially “following” you now!).  even though I was a food freeloader that night, I couldn’t have felt more welcomed and let me tell you, I truly savored every bite.  and, I’ll be heading back sooner rather than later – some friends and I just booked Thanksgiving dinner there.

hey why not, one good gluttonous turn deserves another  - even if this time, I’ll be paying for it!!

Norma’s gotta brand new bag – and no it’s not a Prada!

- a Doggy Bag is more like it, because Miss Norma Desperate is HUNGRY (yes Mark Lindsay, my non-Facebook friend – that was for you!) and has decided to open her arms – and mouth – by sharing her crazy culinary adventures with all of her FABULOUS fans!  whether it’s the crappy diner down the street for a tuna melt or experiencing an exquisite meal at one of NYC’s fine establishments, eating out (AND ordering in) here in the Big Apple (Tart) is a huge part of our life, so come along as Norma wines and dines her way around one of the great foodie capitals of the world!

of course Miss Desperate is still going to retain the snark she’s so famous for, only now her mouth will be stuffed with food and her brain cells rearranged from any accompanying spirits!  yes kids, it’ll be fun for the whole family!!

and don’t be surprised if a recipe or two shows up here as well!  YES, I CAN COOK -

having a delicious Latin Cosmo @ Vamos! nyc while I wait for my Tacos De Camarones (shrimp tacos) to arrive! HEAVEN!

COME BACK, NORMA, COME BACK!!

ok, now shut the hell up,  ya freak!

yes, that headline was written by my Sybil-like alter-ego, that dumb-ass, goody  four wheels that I’m forced to share my body with (worry not, there’s PLENTY of room in this expanded funhouse frame for both of us!!).  so to keep her medicated – even more so than she usually is, that is – I shall return with a vengeance later this week!  HEY!  NOW WILL YOU GO AWAY???

Pennies from HELL – Pt.2 – a.k.a. dragging my ass on finishing this entry!

yes, I know it’s been a week since part one, but your friend here IS LAZY!!

you'd be lazy too if you drank Mango margaritas in the middle of the day!

…so anyhoo, last I left off, I was schlepping around four tons of coins in a giant Ziploc bag stuffed into a small paper Starbucks bag with a handle, heading to my nearest Coinstar coin-counting machine.  all was well until about midway through my trip – at 2nd Ave./18th St. to be exact – I felt the Starbucks bag giving way as I was readjusting it on my lap.  holy crap, I thought, if this bag breaks, I’m totally f#*ked!  I can’t roam the streets of NYC with a visible cache of change – some homeless guy or out-of-work hipster will mug me!  so, clutching that heavy-ass bag from the bottom where the tear was widening by the minute, I kicked the Zippymobile into high gear and started to haul ass – and I mean haul ass, because I was still four blocks and about four looong NYC avenues away from my destination!

now for those of you that don’t know, NYC is an insane asylum inhabited largely by the living dead and no matter where you go.   – even traveling at a nice, normal pace in my motorized chair, clueless fools who would embarrass Helen Keller are forever walking into me while texting or yapping on their phones, so you can well imagine the chaos I was creating, zooming along on the sidewalks like I was racing to the Indy 500 finish line, while bobbing and weaving to avoid the zombie masses.

"outta my way, sheeple! yeah, go ahead and text THIS!"

miraculously, I didn’t hurt anyone (too seriously).  ok, so maybe I got a little too close to that extremely large minority chick in a midriff/mega-roll baring top who was blathering loudly into her phone and not paying attention, but she deserved it for going out in public like that!  whatever, with my heavy change baggie poking through the paper Starbucks bag, in less than ten minutes, I was flying through the doors of the Food Emporium on 14th St. (see below) like I was Dorothy & Co. making that last dash for the Emerald City through the poppy fields!

yay, I made it!!

so I quickly zipped over to where I knew the Coinstar machines were

great height for the kiddies - not so great for the cripples!

- yes friends, there were actually TWO of them in there standing side-by-side, but I realized they were too tall for me to work on my own.  ok, no worries, I thought, as I tried flagging down a nearby check-out girl to see if she could help, but she ignored me and continued her LOUD conversation with another check-out girl across four aisles of customers.  FINALLY, a female employee walked by and when I asked for help putting my coins in, she just stared at me, shook her head and said in perfect Ebonics, “they broke”.  “WHAT???  BOTH OF THEM???”, I barked.  she walked away and I’m thinking,  NOW WHAT AM I GOING TO DO??  I mean, my bag is breaking, I’ve got ten tons of coins ready to spill out into the streets and there are no other Food Emporiums around!  this was NOT good.

BROKE?? where the hell is my medieval battle axe when I need it!!!

I ran out of the store and figured that I could just go home and sulk, but a sudden surge of seething fury pushed me to start looking around for another place to dump the change.  now I don’t know about anywhere else, but here in NYC, there are banks on every street corner, hell, one of them MUST have a Coinstar machine!  I mean, they’re banks for chrissakes – holy temples of currency where you go to get, take, store and negotiate anything to do with money!  WHY DOESN’T EVERY BANK ON EARTH HAVE ONE OF THESE DAMN MACHINES IN THEIR LOBBY??  why must I go to a specialty grocery store to dump pounds of change??  and why am I wasting time by pondering all this??  there had to be another Coinstar machine somewhere in the vicinity and I was going to find it if it was the last thing I do!  so I do a 360 and see that I had plenty of potential targets: Apple Bank, Chase, Bank of America, Citibank – all within eyeshot.  I stuck my head into each one of them, plus a couple of chain drugstores (just in case), all to no avail.

yeah but "full service" does not include a Coinstar machine!

plenty of $ for an English/Chinese sign, but no Coinstar!

dejected, tired and with a dent in my leg where the coins had been sitting for the last hour, I turned to head home via Irving Place when I saw one last beacon of hope – a Flushing Savings Bank branch!

saved by Flushing Savings Bank - "thank you for calling"?? (explanation of the latter later)

just as I reached for the door, two nicely dressed women sistas emerged and although I didn’t know if they were employees or customers (luckily they turned out to be the former), I asked if they knew whether there was a Coinstar machine inside.  first looking at me as though I was sporting a green hue and antenna, they hesitated for a moment, before one of them spoke up to say there wasn’t.  however seeing the frown on my face and the bag of coins poking out from beneath the broken bag, I could tell that they got the drift of my dilemma right away and they kindly stood there thinking out loud for a few seconds about where there might be one lurking.  now to their credit, they did know about the machines in the Food Emporium, but I told them that I had just come from there and both machines were down.  even more sympathetic to my cause now, their street brainstorming session continued for a minute before one had a lightbulb moment and blurted out, “oh wait, there’s a TDBank on 5th/14th.  I’m pretty sure they have one”.  holy cow, of course!  I’ve seen Regis and Kelly’s commercial for them plenty of times and in one Regis is carting a bag of coins!  wow, and I was only a few blocks away!

who says advertising doesn't work?? HA! I was saved by incredibly annoying ads featuring Regis and Kelly!

yes, yes – the end IS FINALLY HERE and with a happy ending to boot!  I rush over to the TD Bank, passing a counterfeit Mister Softee on the way and vow to celebrate the triumph of the coins with a choco shake on the way back with my loot.  the bank is plush, well-appointed and well staffed.  a handsome. nattily attired, black gent came over and asked if I needed help, which of course I did.  he smiled when I asked if they had Coinstar machine and he kindly took my battered bag of change.  by this time, I was a frazzled wreck, not only from now-over-90-minute-ordeal, but from the 87 degree heat.  but aw hell, I didn’t care, their Coinstar was so damn cool – much more modern than the behemoths at the Food Emporium!  and, it’s groovy graphics lit up, danced and made really fabulous ca-ching noises when you put your change in – like a tacky slot in Atlantic City!!  JACKPOT BABY!  I rolled in without a Benjamin in hand and left with a U.S. Grant, two Andrew Jackson’s, an Abe Lincoln, four Georgie-boys and some (ugh) change.

Time wasted looking up where Coinstar machines are (TD Banks were NOT listed):  30 minutes

Time wasted rolling around effin’ NYC trying to find one not broken:  102 minutes

Cruising out of the TD Bank like I just scored a fat, government bailout:  PRICELESS!

and the moral of the story is?

Pennies from HELL (in the beginning) or AM I STILL WRITING THIS?? pt. 1

ARRRGH, I HATE CHANGE!!  I mean, I REALLY, REALLY HATE IT!!  no, not the kind that makes you gasp every time you look at your ever de-evolving face in the mirror or watch as you sprout your first gray pubic hair  - however worthy contenders they may be.  nope.  I’m talking about the shitloads of coins that we are handed almost every time we go to pay for something with a paper bill.  handfuls of a nickel here, two dimes there and pennies, always friggin’ pennies!   c’mon, admit it – they’re a complete waste of time as far as legal tender goes and they pile the hell up, litter our homes, our streets, our very lives!  I mean, LOOSE CHANGE IS EVERYWHERE!  while we sit around and watch it devalue more by the day (don’t believe me?  go ahead and try to buy something with change!)  well okay, at least you can still make a call for a quarter or pump the parking meters with a few,  but as for the rest of them – they’re useless!  completely and utterly USELESS and I am hereby declaring WAR AGAINST CHANGE!  what’s that you say, you think coin money is important?  yeah, well if they’re so damn important, why do we always drop them indiscriminately and later unearth them beneath the couch cushions or in old pants pockets or purses, or worse, throw them in the damn laundry??  and seriously, who hasn’t sucked up a dirty, dusty penny or dingy dime with the vacuum cleaner?  and don’t lie and say you haven’t because I know you have!!

as modern consumers, we see tons of coins.  no matter where I go here, all it takes is a quick glance down on pretty much any street corner here in NYC and the faint, ghostly remains of FDR, Thomas Jefferson, Georgie Washington and old, Honest Abe ‘s faces are frequently staring up at me as if to squeal, “HELLLLLP ME”  like the poor scientist who turned himself into THE FLY!  sure, most are salvageable for those who enjoy that sort of “found money” rush, always noting out loud if they are “heads up!”.  others are smushed to an almost unrecognizable nub by the daily crush of cars, trucks, bike messengers, dog shit and a zillion, filthy-shoed NY’ers trouncing over them. call me a fool, but I can easily say no thanks to padding my pathetic coffers with something worth just a lousy cent, even if its mythology might imply that it’s good luck.  I mean, face it, what the hell is so lucky about finding a damn penny??  and of all the coins, the penny is by far THE most worthless of them all, and of course, the one we most often end up with.  I will cop to picking up the occasional quarter or rare dime if I happen to spot an abandoned one in a place where I feel safe picking it up without looking like a broke-ass, old cripple, but if it’s a penny – the hell with it – I leave it.  besides trying to score good karma points for leaving them there in the hopes that someone truly needy will pick it up (you know, like one of the thousands of 20-something kids here who whine about toiling at unpaid internships for glam jobs while mommy and daddy pay the rent), I DON’T WANT THEM!!  I’ve got plenty of ‘em and all of the other damned coins!  in fact, that jangly crap  collects so fast that many of us empty our change and toss it into littles dishes, on countertops and of course, in the infamous change jar.  I believe that everybody has a place where they dump their spare change – and for most of us, it ain’t in a paper coffee cup of a guy on the street with a sign that says, “I’m Hungry”!

"...it's a hit. don't give me that do-goodie, good bullshit."

first, reasons to not carry change and to dump all of it into something when you get home.  well hello, they weigh a damn ton!  I travel light when I go out.  in a very small bag that I always wear across my chest, it’s strictly the basics:  my Metrocard, a credit card, cash, keys and cell phone.  that’s it.  once I took a tube of lip gloss and a pocket mirror, but it upset my delicate bag balance and I never did it again. plus, I don’t care if you have a separate Hello Kitty coin purse or the best-lined, pants pocket on earth – lugging around coins is a drag!  I say get rid of coins and we’ll be a much happier society.  but then we’d miss these kinds of ingenious things, wouldn’t we??

(above) – a glorious coin wall sculpture for the Masons.  a MUCH better use in my opinion!

and really, who isn’t sick and tired of rummaging around or standing in line behind someone who’s trying to dig up exact change for whatever they’re paying for??

hey kid, take your change and MOVE IT ALONG - I'm on line here!

eh, enough of that I’m sure you’re all dying to know where I toss my multitudes of coins when the Trevi Fountain isn’t available.  well, I’ll tell ya, I have a bucket.  and it’s not just any bucket.  oh hell no, it’s the “King” of the spare change collecting universe!

"Thank you, thank you verry much - now where's my fried PB& Banana sammich?"

as you can see, in bucket, as in life, the King is big and round enough to hold a whole lotta change.   and that’s good because usually about once a year, I find myself short of cash on hand for a decent meal out and I decide to cash it all in.  now historically speaking, it usually adds up to only about $60, but this time, I could see that the King’s guts were busting so I knew I was in for a heftier than usual payout.

now being old school, the routine is that I roll ‘em up in their respective coin wrappers, write my bank account number on each roll and take it to my bank a block away.  last week, it took me over two damn hours to roll those suckers and I still didn’t get ‘em all done because I ran out of wrappers for the ZILLIONS of pennies that remained in the bucket.  oh yeah, and what else did I get?  SORE, CRAMPED, totally gnarly, zombie fingers afterwards!  ah, to hell with the rest of those miserable one cent pains in my ass, I thought, I’ll just take what was a solid $82 worth of rolled change – a new high for the King Bucket – go do my errands that involved spending money and I’d still have plenty left over for a nice lunch – with wine or cocktail, of course.

the next morning, I realized that I had forgotten to write my account number on each of the rolls and suddenly got a case of the extreme lazies.  yes, the extreme lazies - that’s Norma-speak for too damn lazy to take a crappy pen and try to legibly write a bunch of numbers onto already-rolled coins.  luckily the lazies coincided with a brilliant, menopausal brain fart – hey, why don’t I just take it all to one of those coin-counting machines – if I can find one!  I already knew that neither my bank, nor any of the others in my neighborhood had one.  ditto for the grocery stores.  no, I don’t live in the damn sticks, I’ve got a slew of ATM-only Chase, Citibank and Bank of America’s nearby, but I guess my ‘hood is one where they can’t afford human beings in the banks – or coin-counting machines.  so I go online to see if there were any websites that could tell me where those machines were located locally.  I’m looking and looking and coming up blank.  okay, maybe this wasn’t shaping up to be a good idea at all, but alas, it was too late because in my self-congratulory giddiness for even thinking it up, I had UN-rolled all of the coins, put them into a giant Ziplock plastic bag and then put that bag into a small, paper Starbucks one with a handle!  now I’ve GOTTA find a coin-counting machine or spend another two hours re-rolling it all!  uh-uh,NOOOO WAY!

no more!! I am now an Anti-Roll-ite!!

luckily, about two pages into my Google search, an entry popped up in a short list for Manhattan stating that the Coinstar (hell, I didn’t even know they had a name!) nearest me was in a Food Emporium, a higher-end chain grocery store here in town.  since I had planned to head down to Union Square anyway, a Food Emporium was right along my route – sweeet!  so I threw on clothes, hopped in the Zippymobile, made sure that the incredibly heavy Starbucks bag chock full of change was securely nestled against my chest and I headed out, full of life and happy thoughts about whether it would be a glass of Cabernet or Pinot Noir with lunch.  but then…

TO BE CONTINUED in Part 2….

Hey celebs/FB morons, your brain is calling and is “AWAITING CONFIRMATION”!

Dateline: Thursday, 5/27 – 11:45pm:

I like FB.  yes, it’s retarded and a waste of time but jesus effin’ christ, you know what pisses me off?  getting FB updates of people who are now confirmed friends of people you’ve tried to friend but were ignored by!  I mean, wtf is up with that??  why am I getting notices of the zillions of people they’re now friends with when they won’t confirm you – or in my case – ME??  and why should I give a rat’s ass what they’re doing or who they’ve added when I’m not among them?

now mind you, I’m not asking to be befriended by some secret society, dead celebrity or head of state, these are usually fan sites open to anyone, so why am I not being added to their already list of  THOUSANDS??  do I smell or have you detected an internet STD I’m carrying but don’t know about??  hell, I even try to send a nice little personal note attached to my friend request and so far, I’ve been met with DEAD SILENCE from several celeb-types who really should know better.  it makes me even angrier when you have a few friends in common.  I mean, how hard is it for whoever runs the site and is in charge of accepting friend requests to take a quick look at shared people and see that this person should be confirmed stat??

case in point here is this gentleman, my #1 offender – MARK LINDSAY, former lead singer and all-around heartthrob of Paul Revere & The Raiders.  I HAVE TWICE requested to be “friended” by Mark (yes, I know that he probably hasn’t looked like this in 30 years!), but so far, nuttin’:

STILL WANTED: FRIEND CONFIRMATION FROM THIS MAN!!

seriously Mark, when a fan says your band was the first they ever saw live, this person IS A PRIORITY!  he currently has 4,800+ friends, including several we share – but so far, I’m not one of them!!

Mark dear, this is bad for business – you need to coddle us old boomer chicks who used to think you were the hottest thing in tights (trust me, he was!).   some of us are still willing to plop some coin in your coffers, so a little effort here on your part would go a LONG way.  I went onto your regular website the other day and was tempted to buy some goodies, but remembered that I’m still waiting to be anointed as a “friend” and decided not to bother, so c’mon baby, show me WHERE THE ACTION IS and I’ll gladly reconsider!

presenting our culprit #2, Michael K., author of the often-scathingly brilliant gossip blog, “dlisted.com”.  as everyone who knows me knows, I live for this trash site – it’s my fucking Homepage for crying out loud and I read it every hour on the hour when I’m home.  he’s foul-mouthed, twisted and his queer sensibility just adds to the fun.  I post comments regularly so it’s not like he doesn’t see my avatar and JT moniker spouting off on his postings – but as of this writing, I have been “AWAITING CONFIRMATION” as his friend for OVER A YEAR. yes, you read right.  in fact, he was the first “celebrity” if you will, that I tried friending when I joined FB a year and a half ago – and I’m STILL WAITING…

MICHAEL K - on MY D-LIST! 5,000 friends, but not ME!!

oh yes and lest I forget one more, the leader of a legendary disco-funk band from the 70′s who shall remain nameless.  we not only have a good mutual friend, but we knew each other (more or less) from the old Hialeah homestead!  huh – WTF??  now to be fair, I rarely get updates from him on my FB Homepage, but when I do they’re always a FRIEND CONFIRMATION!  HELLO, how hard is it to click the ACCEPT button?

Listen, I’m not a stalker (yet) and in this person’s instance, not even really a stranger, but here I am getting updates on who HAS been confirmed as a friend!  HEY, IF I’M NOT ONE OF THEM, I DON’T WANNA KNOW!  yes, I could probably click a button and ask not to be notified of these things (if I can find it among FB’s stoopid, ever-changing controls), but it’s so much more fun bitching and whining about it!  NOT!!

aww, screw this – I’m going to go eat some chocolate.

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