It's A Small World After All as the global community races to contain the virus formerly known as swine flu (H1N1). Many countries are taking drastic- or at least totally random and unproven- measures to control the pandemic.
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For instance, although there has been no known link between the consumption of pork and swine flu, this week Egypt ordered the slaughter of 300,000 pigs... as a precautionary measure as well as a passive aggressive jab at the country's Christian minority who eat them. 

Meanwhile, in preparation for Swine Eleven, old timey Great Britain is busy stockpiling gauze surgical masks, which are almost as effective in virus prevention as crystal amulets and abstinence-only sex education. 

Thailand installed infra-red cameras at Bangkok's airport to screen passengers for unusual body temperatures in hopes of preventing the spread of the disease (note: to anyone traveling to Thailand on "business," swine flu should be the least of your concerns). 

South Africa (along with the rest of the continent) is putting swine flu on their to-do lists, right below every other disease known to mankind.

and China is killing anyone who coughs.

 
 
An Air Force One plane flew dangerously close to the Lower Manhattan skyline this morning... scaring the Brooks Brothers pants (Armani pre-financial crisis) off workers as they evacuated buildings in the financial district. First the Special Olympics crack on Leno and now this... Obama is such a jokester! 
 
 
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Get it, Monica Seles? This was one of the first jokes I ever told, years before I started writing my own. I was also a tennis player, backstab victim (metaphorically) and fan of Monica Seles, which made the retelling of this joke so much more effective... you know, because it was grounded in reality. 

Also, let this post be a shout out to her new book... while, I will most likely never buy it (autobiographical eating-disorder self-help sports non-fiction is just about as appealing to me as bedbugs, mayonnaise, and overly enthusiastic improv students), the title, "Getting a Grip," makes pretty good use of a tennis pun.

 
 
Have you ever dated someone and felt that there might be something a little off with them? And by off, I don't mean "always insisting to have sex with his socks on" off... but more like "what's this red polished pinky toe doing in his glove compartment?" off.  If so, then you might just be dating a serial killer.
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While my fascination with serial murderers runs deep (I assume everyone I meet at a bar is one), the recent arrest of Engaged Boston U Med Student / JV Craigslist Killer Philip Markoff sparked my interest - maybe because he looks like he could be a speechwriter for the Obama administration. Or perhaps because, much like the O-team, he knows how to use social networking sites to change lives.
 
 
Below is a photo of Abduhl Wali-i-Musi, the sole survivor of a group of Somali pirates who hijacked an American cargo ship earlier this month:
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He looks as if he just won a free trip to the U.S... oh wait.

Or maybe he's smiling because he found out his face is going to be on the front page of the New York Times... or that if he can convince a U.S. court of law that he's only 16, he will be tried as a juvenile and sentenced to time in a real American detention center... like in the movies... with air conditioning!!

Some background, piracy off the Somali coast has been kind of a big deal since the early 90s... about the same time that the Puerto Rican boy band, Menudo, broke up... hmm.
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And lately piracy has been BLOWING UP, especially along the Indian Ocean (it was pretty big in '03, but the Tsunami was kind of downer for the industry). Last week, Hillary Clinton announced that the U.S would modify our economic policies to discourage pirate activity by "cracking down on companies that do business with pirates." ... HC, did you know that Urban Outfitters does business with pirates?

Check out their Spring collection:
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According to credible media outlets (O.K., fine... Yahoo! News), development at New York's World Trade Center site is not going smoothly. In fact, because of the decreasing demand for commercial space due to the financial crisis, it may take up to 30 years to complete!

I hate to be a buzz kill, but last time I checked in with Al Gore (and the teachings of Nostradamus), Lower Manhattan doesn't have that much time on its side... unless we want to turn Ground Zero into a really edgy water park?

Hey anonymous Chinese Real Estate Fund, I say scratch plans to convert GZ into another drab office campus and focus your efforts on where the real money is: Luxury Residential Condos.  I mean, have you seen how Bushwick (East Williamburg or East East New York depending on where you're from) has taken off?

As a copywriter, I'd love to offer some suggestions to rebrand this HOT property: 

Ground Zero: You Said You'd Never Forget, Now You Don't Have To

1 World Trade Center: For The Morbid Homeowner In All Of Us

Nine Eleven Redefined: Real. Innovative. Peaceful. 

GZ: A Hip Urban Oasis... and by "Urban," We Don't Mean Black

Location. Location. Graveyard.


and my personal favorite...

Life at Ground Zero: For Those of Us Who Don't Have a Sixth Sense

 
 
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Originally, this post was going to be entitled "Dirty Jews" -it's OK, I'm Jewish, too- just not sexually obsessed to the degree of Dov Charney  (CEO American Apparel, and quite possibly the first business executive to use his dick as a paperweight) and Woody Allen  (Brilliant Director, Kitty Porn Savant)...  who are currently wrapped up in a lawsuit involving the director's depiction in the clothing company's ads.

Woody picked the fight against American Apparel when he sued the company for $10 million last year for using his image on AA billboards in New York and L.A.  In turn, American Apparel argued that the company "can't be held responsible for damaging Woody's reputation by using his image because the director has already ruined it himself" (alluding to Allen's affair with adopted daughter, Soon Yi).  Ouch, that's ballsy American Apparel!

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While it seems pretty tasteless for the clothing company to slander one of the most  acclaimed moviemakers of our time just to deflect a lawsuit, taste is not necessarily one of American Apparel's "core values"... I mean, what other publicly traded company throws pool parties?

In defense of AA, $10 million is a lot to ask... it's not like those ads really increased sales. Woody, why don't you beat American Apparel at their own game of tastelessness and ask for something more offensive-  like Dov Charney to star in your remake of Match Point or, if it's money you're after, how about $6 million... a dollar for every victim of the Holocaust* 

 too Soon Yi?

* The actual Holocaust death toll is closer to 11 million (including Gypsies, Poles, Soviet POWs, Jehovah's Witnesses,  homosexuals, the disabled and a surprising number of Freemasons)... oh, and I'm available for children's parties.
 
 
I'm not embarrassed to admit that the clip below kind of made me cry. I don't even care if it was staged (perhaps "Susan Boyle" is really just a character in the vein of Tracy Ullman or Chris Lilley in drag)... either way, there was nothing more poignant than the sound of 40+ years of bottled up dreams reverberating against her vocal chords.

Thank you Ms. Boyle,  my callous heart needed some saccharine trigger to release the reservoir of tears. 
 
 
I recently made my first mix CD ever for a friend who is not really attuned to indie music... and while I'm definitely no authority, it's fun to pretend. Here's who's been bouncing around in my head lately:

Ra Ra Riot

Okkervil River

Neutral Milk Hotel

Beirut 

Interpol 

Wolf Parade

The National 

The Magnetic Fields

The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir 

Company of Thieves