The Great Groupression

There has been much talk of the U.S. debt ceiling as of late. As many of you know, I follow politics and the economy quite closely. (I’m jk’ing. I generally have no idea what is gong on in the world around me. No idea.) However nothing shook me more than what I am about to share with you. These observations served as a stark wakeup call for what I fear might be the death of the US economy.

Yesterday I received two very startling emails. The first was this from Groupon:

Subject Line: $6 for Two Subs or Salads at Quiznos.

Really? I used to get Groupon emails inviting me on Cape Cod excursions and to five-course dinners at upscale restaurants. Did I ever buy those Groupons? No, of course not. Who do I look like, Nicole Richie? But let’s have a little pride, America. Are we going to waste our time entering credit card information and printing out receipts so that we can save $5 at Quiznos, of all the Godforsaken places on the planet? Well, yes, we will. I almost did, but I was at work when I got the email, and I couldn’t spend 15 minutes deciding whether or not to buy this thing, because I don’t even know where a Quiznos is, but I’ll be sure to find one if I buy it, right?

Sammich!

The second, from The Skint, read as follows:

Subject line: DailyGobble Presents: Free Lunch at Maoz Vegetarian (July 27-Aug 3)

Body: DailyGobble presents an official partnership with Maoz Vegetarian. Starting today (Wed. Jul. 27th) through next Wed (Aug. 3rd), eat at any Maoz in Manhattan and Hoboken and get up to $6 off your meal:

1. Sign up for a DailyGobble account through our website or one of our free smartphone apps: iPhone, Android, BlackBerry
2. Purchase a meal at any of the seven listed Maoz locations: Times Square, Union Square, Greenwich Village, Columbia University, Upper West Side, Theatre District, Hoboken
3. Claim your rebate by uploading a picture of your receipt within 24 hours of purchase

Limit one redemption per user. Valid at any Maoz Vegetarian location in Manhattan (NY); Times Square, Union Square, Greenwich Village, Columbia University, Upper West Side, Theatre District and Hoboken. Cannot redeem at multiple Maoz Vegetarian locations. Cannot combine with Signpost and YourBestDeals offers. This offer is sponsored by DailyGobble and not paid for by Maoz Vegetarian.

(There was also a massive picture of a falafel in the email, to entice the recipient, of course)

Could this be more complicated? For a free falafel. Are you kidding me with this nonsense? Since when is cost the biggest deterrent in the purchase of a falafel? Cost is probably #6, behind things like “what is a falafel made of?”, “the last time I ate a falafel I got three kinds of sick”, “tahini sauce will totally ruin this sundress” and things of this nature. Don’t get me wrong, falafels are awesome. And I’m quite a fan of Maoz, as their offerings are fresh and hearty. But there are 100 other things I need to worry about other than buying a falafel, photographing my receipt, sending it in, and waiting for my $5 rebate in the mail. Skint, I swear, if you ever email me something regarding a falafel rebate again*…

If these emails are any indication of the state of our nation, I’d say we are officially screwed. I mean, yeah, I’m down for all of these lowbrow shenannigans, but I had no idea there were people with computer access as desperate as myself for sandwiches of all varieties. (Yes, I realize there are people much worse off, but they probably do not receive daily emails from Groupon).

I say we all get the hell out of here before Living Social starts offering 10% off at the Big Lots.

*It took me 4 minutes to decide against taking action towards obtaining a free falafel.

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Babyface

Is that an angel? Oh, it's just you, Babyface!

I’d like to take a moment to personally thank the 90’s hit-maker Babyface for pumping out a series of untouchable songs and music videos.

Kenneth Edmonds, deemed Babyface because his face is cute, like that of a baby, came onto the scene in the late 80’s, writing and producing for people that are much more famous than he is. But by the early 90’s that adult sized baby was all over the place, making sensual songs for the masses with videos to match. Some of his finest works are:

  • This is For the Lover in You (feat. LL Cool J and some other not famous people): This is a good song, because he says “Ooo baby, baby, baby!” in a high pitched voice (an homage to himself?). The video is even better, because it features amazing green screen footage of both floating, spinning guitars as well as a cityscape through which LL rides through with his fly honey. It also includes a LL Cool J washing a woman’s hair, and Babyface getting a barbershop shave from a sexy lady. There are also very colorful walls and a suit made entirely of gold.
  • For the Cool: This is a good song because if you listen to it you automatically think you are cool. The video is in black and white, which is important. Also, there are a lot of body rolls and generally amazing jazz choreography (Lee Nolting anyone?). Additionally, there is fake snow and fake ice cubes. Babyface wears a vest sometimes in this one. Good call, Babyface. There is also a jazz band of elderly men. Extra points for allowing seniors to participate.
  • When Can I See You Again?: This song features Babyface playing acoustic guitar, which proves that he is a serious artist. The video also includes a lot of shots of The Baby looking directly into the camera and snapping. Heavy. There is also smoke floating around in the video, even though it takes place in a coffee shop and no one is smoking. This is disconcerting. The people in the video also look very smart (obvi, they’re at a coffee shop), like they went to college and or write esoteric poetry. This was the first song to prove that Babyface is not a baby. This song is too serious for a baby to have written. If you are on a trip, and you are thinking about your boo, you should send them this song. Your boo will be so happy.
  • Never (keeping secrets/telling lies): I recommend singing this song to your boo after they find out you lied about something (like that you have a job or don’t have kids). This is Babyface’s first video to feature rain. Rain=sad. Subtle choice. There is also lonely-car-sitting and a pretty lady walking alone. What the hell did Babyface do to this woman? (Warning, this video is not in full. I’m going to sue YouTube).

Of course, The Baby had other hits such as “Every Time I Close My Eyes,” “What If?” “Someone To Love” with Jon B. and so on, and so forth, etc. I suggest you all take some time out and review some of your favorirte Babyface songs and videos. If businesses pumped Babyface songs through the speakers I think the stress levels among Americans would plummet and the pregnancy rate would rise dramatically.

Biker Chick

Madison, 7/6/11 12:30pm

Well I’ve been in Wisconsin for five days now, and I’m having a blast. The people (accents and all) are very nice, the cheese is pungent, and it’s easy to breathe. They have trees and everything.

They call it a city (I’m just gonna say, it’s more of a town), but their public transit system consists of buses, so the only other option is to drive or bike. My dear friend Cori has opened her home to me, and she bikes everywhere. I thought it would be quaint to do things the way that she does, so on Monday we went for a bike ride.

Let me just preface all that I am about to share by saying that the last time I rode a bike was when I was 10 years old. My bike handles had tassles. There were foot breaks. I wore knee pads.

My first challenge was getting onto the bike. I was riding Cori’s bike (she rode her boyfriend’s because it was much to complicated for me), which has a basket in the back. A basket is nice for carrying flowers picked from a field or a freshly baked baguette, but it makes it nearly impossible to get on the bike. I should have stretched beforehand. In order to mount the bike, I had to execute a fan kick. Like a Rockette. I was off to a bad start.

Now don’t worry, I was wearing a helmet, but in truth I wish I’d had elbow and kneepads as well. Maybe a mouthguard and chest pad. Ankle buffers and wrist protectors. I don’t know. Pillows strapped to my entire person.

I began to pedal on her residential street as a practice run. I was rather weebly, and fully wobbly, but I thought that once I got going I’d be fine. She showed me how to work the hand breaks (this blew my mind), and we were off.

The nice thing about State Street, the main street in town, is that cars aren’t allowed on it. I did quite fine on State St. Cori would shout,

“How are you doing?”

And I would say,

“I’m doing good!”

No time for proper English. I was doing good.

But then we approached an intersection at which point we would be joined by cars. Luckily this intersection led to a downhill ride. I took deep breaths. Soon I was flying down a hill, with parked cars to my right, cars behind me, and cars in the oncoming lane. Don’t freak out. I told myself. Don’t run into the oncoming cars.

Something happened to me at this point. I began moving closer to oncoming traffic. It’s like when someone says “Don’t think about squirrels.” You can’t not think about squirrels. I couldn’t not move into oncoming traffic. I quickly removed my feet from the peddles, because that seemed like the right thing to do. It was not. I swerved like a drunkard.

“Ahhhhhhhhh!” I screamed as my feet touch the ground and I walked/dragged the bike to the side of the street. I’d caused a scene.

“Are you ok?” Cori asked. Cori is good at riding a bike. She does it everyday. She doesn’t have to think about it. But for me, it was like rocket science. I’d probably be better at rocket science, in fact.

“Yeah,” I sighed. “I think I just got nervous and lost all control of my limbs.”

“Oh, ok.”

“Yeah, I’m good.”

We took a break (mind you, this was about 10 minutes into our ride, which totalled an hour), and hit the road again. I was ok for a bit, gripping the handle bars for dear life (my forearms are still sore). I had to think about each and every action I did. My eyes were wide like a meth head’s. My jaw was clinched. I felt like a nerd on a date with a model. So nervous, and how did I get here?

Eventually we made our way to a path for bikes only, which was almost worse. At one point I heard someone in my ear,

“On your left.”

It scared the hell out of me. The last thing I need when I’m riding a bike, for what might as well be the first time, is a stranger whispering sweet nothings in my ear. I nearly fell off the bike, as the woman sped past me. I also proved to be really bad at hand signals. Lifting my hand from the bar was like pulling a newborn away from it’s mother. I’d toss my hand up then grip the bar again too quick for anyone to see what had happened.

We stopped for a bit to peruse a thrift store and enjoy coffee and pastries (victory!), and then we took a ride down Lake Menon to get back. Cori said we went this way for the view, which was nice, but I really think she was just worried I would be killed if we went back up the traffic hill.

Don’t worry, this isn’t me. 

By the time we got home I was a sweaty mess with a jean shorts tan line bright red hands. I am pretty sure I will never be able to have children (I still don’t understand how people do this on a daily basis on those rock hard seats…yow!).

Cori and her boyfriend discussed going on a trail ride later this week. Something simple and slow (like me), with no cars. It’s sounds ok, but I know that as soon as I get on the trail I’ll freak out and drive my bike into a poison ivy bush.

Hello Wisconsin!

Milwaukee Airport 7/2/11 8:30am

Good news! I’ve landed safely in Milwaukee, and I have a four hour layover before my final desitnation of Madison, and thus tons of stories to share with you!

Nothing to see here. Literally.

Smart traveler that I am, I purchased 6am flight tickets from Laguardia, so after 2.5 hours of sleep, I was ready to head out at 3:45 am. I got a call from the car service I requested on my cell phone. He mumbled a lot, and then said “black escalade.” I made a mental note, but did not process the words until I walked outside to find a black escalade waiting for me on the corner. I felt like a rapper’s girlfriend. The enormous SUV was completely unnecessary for me and my six year old pink Jansport, but I went with it and rolled out like a baller/shot caller.

The Romanian (?) driver proved to be chatty, asking if I’d seen the fireworks last night. What fireworks? At Coney Island.  What? No. I wanted him to shut the H up so I could sleep. It’s a long ride to the airport, and I could at least use a little shut –eye. Wrong. We were there in 20 minutes, before I could even slip into REM.

By the time I checked in and went through security, I was pretty hungry (I’d only eaten a piece of a delicious turkey avocado sandwich 30 minutes prior, so you can imagine my pangs). There was one bootleg spot that was open, but I could see them setting up at Au Bon Pain, so I awaited a hearty whole grain bagel. When they finally opened, after I returned from bathroom break #3, the line was rather long. It was also a DIY situation, so I was forced to cut my bagel with a plastic knife (always successful). That took me about 12 minutes, then I had to toast it myself. I burnt it. Severely. But I had not the wherewithal to give a damn, so I mumbled some curses under my breath, got some scalding hot coffee, and paid my $32. It took my 28 more minutes to spread the cream cheese onto the bagel after I sat down. And the bagel was subpar, I’ll admit. Overall, that whole ordeal was a failure.

For the first time in my life I was flying Frontier, a special airline whose motto is “A Whole Different Animal.” That’s weird, because when I fly I like to know what’s happening. I’ve done it a lot, so I pretty much have it down. You can’t throw a whole different freaking animal at me. That’s unsettling. What I think they mean by this, though, is that they have a crazy boarding technique that goes like this: First, superior awesome class and number one great members. Next up, people with small children and very short people. Now calling people who have no carry-ons. That’s right, you creeps who just travel with absolutely nothing, all aboard. Now let’s hear it for rows 18 and up. Aw yeah. And what about my ladies in rows 15 and below? Get it! Finally we will be seating row 16, seats A and C—F. Now, that girl with the pink Jansport. You can get on, I guess.

I finally made my way onto the plane, where I was pleased to have a middle seat (whhhyyyyyy?) between a normal girl and an older drunk man. (I conferred with the girl later I was getting my second, yes second, bagel in the Milwaukee airport. We both agreed that he smelled like booze and was, as they say, the worst). This fellow, did sleep the entire time and made annoying grunts, much to my dismay, but I was able to fall asleep anyway because of my inexplicable ability to sleep when in public (but not when I am in my own bed). Upon landing and having the flight attendant thanking us for riding a whole different animal, the man called someone and shouted “I’m here, JUST LANDED!” The worst. He got an eye roll.

After waiting 45 minutes for everyone to struggle with their overhead bags, I finally got off the plane to enjoy my four hour layover. It was 7:05 am. Unacceptable.  There were lots of little Midwestern children running buck wild in the terminal (an inappropriate number of gingers too, if you ask me), and I was hungry. It wasn’t a good situation. So I decided to walk around the Milwaukee airport to find, I don’t know, MORE BAGELS!!!!

An unusual amount of people were sprinkled about eating things like roast beef sandwiches, and these kids kept screaming. Just screaming! I kept walking. I thought it would be nice to really see the whole airport, get a taste of Milwaukee. It was a lame idea. The Milwaukee airport is the least interesting place I’ve been, save for the Columbus, OH airport. Sorry. It was nice to hear the announcements over and over again. The woman speaking into the intercom was either 89 years old or a ghost with a heavy Wisconsin accent.

“Latasha Thomson, you left your boarding pass on a chair. Please come pick it up at the Harley Davidson store. I repeat, Latasha Thomson. Harley Davidson.” Over and over this woman came on, and no one seemed to notice the absurdity of it all except for me. What’s worse is that every person I spoke to in the airport, the guy who sold me bagel #2, the lady in the bathroom with the red-headed child, all had the same accent. I don’t mean to dog you Wisconsin, but your accent is not sexy! It makes everyone sound like a mom. A mom who collects Precious Moments and makes snickerdoodles just for the heck of it. I can take it in small doses, but the Milwaukee airport does not offer such.

So here I am, sitting here drinking my coffee, wishing just one person would speak with any other accent, but it’s not happening. Even the Chinese people who just walked by sounded like park rangers.  I have three more hours before my next flight takes off, and something tells me I’m going to need another bagel.

Stay tuned for more adventures from Wisconsin!