I recently had to cry on command for an audition, but with all the comically disturbing celebrity deaths this week, I just wasn't in the mood.

As someone not so "in touch" with their emotions, crying on command is not an easy task. In fact, aside from a dewey-eyed reaction to the ubiquitous Susan Boyle clip, I can't remember the last time I shed a tear. So, in order to artificially wet the ducts, I turned to an old staple:
Note: This clip is most effective if, while watching it, you the recall Lennon's tragic death, particularly as the media portrays it (complete with images of Yoko reeling and the flood of global public outcry) and skip out on his wiki page (namely the parts about his estranged relationship with first son Julian and pre-Yoko misogyny).
This week, according to a tripadvisor.com poll of over 4,500 travelers, 34% reported being more germ conscious after the recent swine flu "outbreak." Oh H1N1, you make me sick (figuratively), parading around like a real pandemic, discouraging people from taking advantage of their frequent flyer miles and instilling fear into all the aortas of my would-be blood brothers. Enough already!

In response to this whole SWINE FLU FEVER, Trip Advisor editors decided to list their Top 5 Most Germy Places In The World, which includes Blarney Stone in Blarney, Ireland, Seattle's Gum Wall, Oscar Wilde's Tomb in Paris, St. Mark's Square in Venice, Italy and Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood, CA.

Really, Trip Advisory? I think you missed a few spots:

Navy Pier's Funhouse Maze in Chicago, Illinois -  just because I've been there and it's gross. Black lights and sticky children allowed to run amuck don't mix well.

The Ganges Rivein India - where a 4 mile stretch of bathing ghats in the holy city of Varanasi contains 120 times the official limit of fecal matter considered safe for bathing (thank you, Wikipedia).

Russian and Turkish Baths in the East Village, New York - give Africa a break, AIDS totally started here.

but speaking of Africa, how about...

Wet 'n Wild Ebola Virus Water Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo- with the $4 bottles of water its kind of a tourist trap.

Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey - the only campus bookstore where HPV is airborne.

China, in particular, all of it.

and last, but certainly not least (drum roll please)...  

Mercado De Brujos (Witches Market) in La Paz, Bolivia - where I witnessed a postpartum market woman lactate on a dried llama fetus she then tried to sell me. 

Am I missing any other places?  You bet, but I have enough ideas up my sleeve to turn this entry into a daily calendar- or better yet a witty parody book that might sell one copy at Urban Outfitters.

I love rain. But contrary to my opinion, an article in todays New York Times, entitled "New Yorkers Near a Saturation Point," suggests that many of you feel the opposite (I'm assuming the bulk of my readership resides in the NY metropolitan area).

The author claims that due to the recent spat of "bad" weather (it has rained all but 4 days in the past 20) more Manhattanites are experiencing rain rage; local Weight Watchers clients are reporting gains, gardens are flooding and obscure parades and rooftop screenings of indie hipster flicks are getting postponed... all of these things translate to little victories for me, but my schadenfreudian tendencies aside, I wouldn't go so far as to blame New Yorkers' tenuous mental states on the rain.
If anything, I'd imagine that there is less rage on the streets of New York during rainy days, if only because we come into contact with less people. Don't get me wrong - I LOVE people (to the minute capacity that I am able to), but there are far too many of us on this little island.  And, I know I'm not one to talk (I'm NEVER one to talk), as I moved here less than a year ago, but the over-saturation of humans in this city is kind of a public health hazard. Just visit the Trader Joe's in Union Square or observe our nonchalant expressions to a machete wielding crazy person, with scratches on his face, trudging down 1st avenue in broad daylight... it's just not natural.* 

Is this post snarky and unfunny?... maybe I'll blame that on the rain.

p.s. I do commend New Yorkers for their tolerance to crazy, particularly in the East Village.

On my most recent visit to Chicago, I ran into a friend who started a "yogurt blog" after discovering that an ill-conceived coupon on a certain product, when paired with his employee discount, actually earned him money upon purchase. When he invited me to be a guest blogger/contributor to his borderline O.C.D musings on the product, I couldn't help but say yes. If you're interested in checking out the rest of his blog, friend "Aaron Ackerson" on Facebook (the blog is set to private so as not to upset the higher-ups).

Here's to creativity spawned from boredom:
11:23 AM (CST) After informally accepting the invitation to be a guest blogger on A.Y.B (Aaron’s Yogurt Blog) last night, I couldn’t punk out this morning when I woke up with a head cold and the inability to breathe, let alone taste the yogurt that has been Aaron’s muse for the past month. But, to preserve the integrity of his blog, I decided to suck it up, figuratively and literally.

For starters, I mixed my OIKOS Greek Vanilla with an oatmeal raisin cookie from The Chicago Diner, which they also sell at Aaron’s “anonymous” employer (hint: it rhymes with Whole Foods). The vegan dessert paired well with the tart organic bacteria… much better than the mucus slowly building up in my throat.

Halfway through, I ran out of cookie crumbs* so I sprinkled a little bit of Trader Joe’s Almond Cashew Cranberry granola on the OIKOS to cut the overwhelming flavor of the acerbic white paste. This allowed me to finish the yogurt with ease.

After consuming my yogurt-cookie-granola mess, I washed it down with a tall glass of NyQuil. Much like milk, NyQuil coats your stomach quite nicely… although, it’s a little on the sweet side… speaking of sweet, I think I’m going to go to sleep now.

*because I only used half of the cookie, maybe if I still lived in the Midwest I would have eaten the whole one.
As I alluded to in my blog the other day,  American Girl's newest doll shares a pretty common name with Jewesses everywhere. In fact, there are 9.2 million Rebecca Rubins registered on Facebook alone (I'm guesstimating). This week, the doll caused quite a stir when bloggers at HEEB Magazine (I heart you) discovered that her name also belongs to a wanted arsonist. SCORE! 
As I alluded to in my blog the other day,  American Girl's newest doll shares a pretty common name with Jewesses everywhere. In fact, there are 9.2 million Rebecca Rubins registered on Facebook alone (I'm guesstimating). This week, the doll caused quite a stir when bloggers at HEEB Magazine (I heart you) discovered that her name also belongs to a wanted arsonist. SCORE! 

While this latest controversy isn't as awe inspiring as previous American Girl slip ups (like when the company offended Chicago Latinos by labeling Pilsen, the culturally proud yet gentrifying Mexican neighborhood as "dangerous" in Marison Luna's backstory... or when AG was exposed for underpaying non-union child actors to play the parts of children protesting child labor in their play... got that?) it has inspired me to do a background check on the names of other American Girl dolls- guess what guys, they're all convicted felons.

JK, but here's the first thing google came up with:

Felicity Merriman is Regional Chair of the "Conservative Woman's Organization" in London. 

Addy Walker is a Realtor from New York who graduated from The School of Hard Knocks (it's actually written as such on her resume). 

Julie Albright is an award winning researcher and lecturer, and a trusted expert in the media for stories related to popular culture, relationships, sexuality, gender, and plastic surgery, and the social aspects of the Internet, including online dating and social networking sites like Facebook, Craigslist and Myspace. This Dr. Julie and I would be great friends.

Kirsten Larson is a 25 year-old Pulmonary Hypertension patient turned documentarian recently featured on Montel Williams.

Kit Kittredge is also Abigail Breslin's fraternal twin that she ate while in utero.

Samantha Parkington is a UCF College of Business Administration student on LinkedIn. Join her network!

and Molly McIntyre is a detective, a mother and the focus of the CBS special "A Mother's Duty," about her experience coming to terms with her son/convicted murderer, Patrick, who she brought to trial...

not as cool as Arsonist Rebecca Jewbin, but I'll take it!