Sunday, February 22, 2009

Baby Model Catfight

Here, finally, is the issue of Babytalk that Snookums was photographed for.

That is not Snookums on the cover. It is an evil rival who copied Snookums' look -- ivory skin, reddish hair, almond-shaped blue eyes -- only she stuck her tongue out at the last second to win the editor's favor.

That tongue move was the baby model's equivalent of "Blue Steel."

Snookums may have no choice but to challenge little "Luna" (as the beyotch calls herself) to a "Toddle-Off."

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Quotes of the Day

  • "This drug is producing bloodless revolution in antithrombotic area." -- said by a Polish employee of the pharmaceutical company I write for. (I was told to ask him what he liked best about working for the company; I suppose it's all those bloodless revolutions the company foments, as opposed to the bloody ones that have wracked his homeland for centuries.)
  • "She became a bona-fide media star, a working-class Paris Hilton." -- from a New York Times article on a reality-TV star who has cancer and plans to die on camera. But how can you be "a working-class Paris Hilton"? Isn't that kind of like being "Bill Gates, only on food stamps" or "Tiger Woods, but sucky at golf"?
  • "Until you've eaten with a chimp and bathed with a chimp, you don't know a chimp." -- from a New York Post story on that nutjob in Connecticut whose pet chimp was shot after he ripped the face off her best friend -- whoops, the chimp was her best friend. The one who got her face ripped off was her best human friend.
If it weren't for Tuesday's vagina comment, I'd be calling this post "Quotes of the Week."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Something You Don't Hear Every Day

"What you've got in your vagina right now is worth $20,000."

No, that's not what my husband said to me on Valentine's Day. It's what my gynecologist said to me this morning -- referring to the probe from the ultrasound machine that she had left inside me for a few seconds while she went to get some piece of equipment. (To give you some context, she prefaced this with, "Don't jump up suddenly or anything.")

It's a sentence I will probably never hear again -- unless I festoon my fa-chotch with diamonds. (thanks, Happy Hour Sue -- I think).

Or have sex with Warren Buffett.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Who's Your Daddy?

Snookums was watching Sesame Street the other day, and the Count came on. You know... the Transylvanian vampire who teaches children how to count in a Bela Lugosi accent.

Snookums looked up at the screen, pointed and shouted, "Daddy! Daddy!"

It was most unusual in that normally she says, "Da-da." But she was especially careful to say the word correctly: "Da-dee." As if she didn't want there to be any confusion: This was her father.

My mother (visiting for the weekend) and I dissolved in laughter.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

How to Tell If Your Therapist Has Been Paying Attention

My husband went to see his shrink the other day.

"I don't want to be a paralegal anymore," he told him. "I want to change careers. I think I'd like to be a nurse."

The shrink said, "Why don't you just get a better paralegal job?"

My husband said, "Obviously, you haven't been listening to me for the last five years. As I told you before, the law can be wonderful as a mistress, but is terrible as a wife."

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

How to Keep Your Job During the Recession (Or Maybe Not)

I had lunch today with a friend from my old job in magazine publishing. She is now editor-in-chief of her own magazine, a sister publication to the one we used to work on.

Like most other businesses, the parent company of these publications is reeling from the recession and putting pressure on the editors to slash costs as much as possible. But my friend isn't toeing the line.

She compared her own approach to dealing with management to that of Vinnie, our former boss, who's still editing the magazine we both worked on. "Vinnie's attitude is, 'I'll do anything to keep my job,'" she said. "Mine is, 'I'll do whatever I want,' because ultimately it doesn't matter." (Case in point: She was forced to fire her art director recently, even though her magazine saw a 20 percent increase in ad page sales last year.)

So, if you still have a job, here are two ways to keep it:

1) Be like Vinnie. Do whatever management asks.

Results thus far: Vinnie is now editing two other magazines besides the one he officially edits -- for no additional money. He also had to fire his longtime art director. His freelancer budget was recently slashed to zero, so he now has to rely solely on his in-house staff of three people to produce all content, which isn't possible. (I used to work there; I know.) On the other hand, Vinnie is a master of office politics and has kept his job through thick and thin over the past 15 years.

2) Be like Terri. To hell with what management wants.

Results thus far: Terri is still the editor of just one magazine, not three. (In fact, it was after she turned down the "offer" of editing the other two magazines that Vinnie ended up doing it.) However, she does write about a third of it herself, which -- if you know anything about how magazines work -- is not a good use of resources. And again, despite a banner year in ad sales, she had to fire her art director, as I mentioned above. But her freelancer budget, oddly enough, hasn't been eliminated. (I should also mention that while Terri is not as Machiavellian as Vinnie, she also knows how to play the corporate game when she has to.)

It's too soon to tell how well these two strategies will play out. Terri seems to think she'll get canned, which would be a victory for Vinnie's strategy -- albeit a Pyrrhic one, since Vinnie would just end up editing her magazine in addition to the other three. For no raise.

Stay tuned...

Monday, February 9, 2009

Office Bitch

I had a call last week with the client I work with on the German project. (She is American, by the way.) I was hoping for some feedback for her on the articles I'm supposed to be writing -- something along the lines of, "This is why we're writing about X, this is the angle we want, this is the value for our readers."

Instead, she didn't bother to prepare for the call. She wasted my time for an hour, rambling on and thinking out loud about how to cover Eastern Europe in the "Country Spotlight" section. (Yes, I know Eastern Europe is not a country. This gives you an idea of how fecked ep this project is.)

"Hmmm.... Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary...." she said. "I don't really know anything about these countries. Are they near each other?"

I explained that the countries were all in the same region, they were all former Soviet satellite states, that they had certain historical/cultural traits in common, etc.

"Well, I'm looking at a map here," she said. "It looks like most of them border on each other."

(Long pause while she she thinks. She doesn't think very fast.)

"Hmmmm... Maybe they're all Muslim countries?" she suggested.

This woman is at least 10 years older than I am -- in other words, she grew up during the Cold War and was probably in her 30s when the Berlin Wall came down. How could you think Poland is a MUSLIM country? WTF???

You know what's even more enraging than the fact that such an idiot is in charge of this project? The fact that she makes six figures and drives a BMW.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Katie Couric is a Total Nitwit

I just watched Katie Couric's 60 Minutes interview with the crew of that US Airways plane that landed in the Hudson River. For those of you who missed it, here's a recap:

Katie: How did you feel when you heard the engines cut out? Did you pray?

Sully: No, I left that up to the people in the back of the plane.

Katie (to flight attendant): What was going on in the cabin at that point? Were people crying? Was anyone praying?

Flight attendant: (generic, nondescript answer)

Katie: But could you talk about praying? Whether or not passengers ere praying, or if you were praying, or if there was anyone praying?

Apparently 60 Minutes is aiming not only for the geriatric demographic, but the psycho-Christian geriatric demographic.

Oh, and in other 60 Minutes news: There's this hot new band all the young whippersnappers are listening to, called Coldplay. Their music is pretty edgy and alternative, but they're a phenomenal success! Go figure! We've never heard of them before, but now you have, so you have something to talk to your grandkids about.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Myth of German Efficiency

In my day job, I work with Germans a lot. And for the most part, while perfectly pleasant to work with, they totally conform to the stereotype of being incredibly anal and hidebound.

But efficient? Not a chance. In fact, I would say they prefer to make work for themselves -- and therefore, me -- than do things in a faster, easier way.

Here's an example I wish were NOT typical. Someone I interviewed for an article said she had some emails from her colleagues supporting some of the points she'd made in our interview, and that she could send them to me. So while I was putting the article together, I emailed her requesting them.

In a couple of hours (efficient), she sent back an email containing 3 attachments. They were jpegs. Odd, I thought. But I opened them anyway. Each jpeg contained a single quote -- the promised quotes from her colleagues (not efficient).

So I opened each jpeg separately and tried selecting the text, copying it and pasting it into another document where I had all my notes for the article. This was a very cumbersome process and it took about 15 minutes to get all 3 quotes into the section where I wanted them.

Then, the next time I opened that file, they weren't there. Instead, there was some kind of error message saying they couldn't be "read."

So I started all over again, opening each jpeg individually, this time transcribing them into the document so I could be sure I didn't lose the information. So a task that normally would have taken less than a minute had wasted about a half-hour. (And this doesn't even include how much time it took to create these mysterious jpegs in the first place.)

Is it just me, or is this incredibly inefficient? Wouldn't it have been easier to just send the quotes in the body of an email?

I'm counting on the one techie who reads my blog to post a reply that will explain this.