Hello Kitty: thirty years of cute

Hello Kitty
Happy thirtieth birthday to Hello Kitty, that irresistible, mouthless feline who brings out the inner consumer whore in all of us. Seriously, the Sanrio employee who thought up Hello Kitty should get the Nobel Prize in marketing genius.

My friend Superwoman, maker of apple-almond cheesecakes, organizer of book clubs, and sender of good links, has provided a link to the Hello Kitty charity auction, which benefits UNICEF and Target House. Sample items:

  • Hello Kitty 25 Airstream Trailer
  • Steve Madden Hello Kitty Satin Stiletto Boots
  • BCBG Max Azria Hello Kitty silk and cashmere cardiwrap sweater
  • Celebrity Hello Kitty art by everyone from Ted Danson to Tyra Banks to Sidney Poitier (?!?)

The holidays are almost here, so I’d like all of you to know that I wear a US size 8 stiletto boot. Also, I know that it is illegal and wrong to put Hello Kitty’s face on this weblog; her cuteness makes me criminal.

Boss-across-the-hall update

He just sent a private, ranting e-mail to the entire membership of a listserve. Heh.

New York day trips – The Gates

gates poster
Once or twice a year, I take the train to New York City and wander around for a day. Make that trains plural, since I’m too cheap to take Amtrak and instead make the perilous Trenton SEPTA/NJ Transit connection (though I’m not so cheap that I’ve tried the scary Chinese busses, which careen down New Jersey highways at breakneck speeds).

Last night at dinner, Sassy J and Em the artist/cognitive therapist reminded me that Christo and Jeanne-Claude will unveil The Gates in Central Park this weekend. The project is all the rage on the Internet today, even getting a mention from Scott, Philly’s most influential blogger (*cough*). Obviously, this weekend is the perfect time for the next field trip.

What else is good to do on a mid-winter Saturday in New York? No art museums, since the gang is going to MOMA later this month, and no night-life activities because I’ll be heading back to Philly. Here is the usual itinerary; time to change it up a bit, methinks:

  • De-train at Penn Station.
  • Run across the street to use Macy’s restrooms, which are much better than the ones at Penn Station.
  • Visit a museum for culture and learning.
  • Eat lunch, either at the Grand Central Station food court or at Zen Palate.
  • Wander around the Saturday Union Square market, if it’s still open.
  • Go to The Strand, emerge three hours later with a stack of books that will take three years to get through.
  • People watch in Washington Square.
  • Ride back to Philly.

Caught on Google Street View

Way back in 2009, a co-worker and I were sitting outside of Huntsman Hall when we saw the Google Street View bike making its way across the Locust Walk pedestrian bridge and into the heart of Penn’s campus.

I turned to watch it roll by but never thought to check back on on Google maps.


caught on street view

caught on street view

Boss-across-the-hall update

He is on this strange diet where he eats nothing but sunflower seeds, which of course is an invitation to swipe his big bag of sunflower seeds.


I do, in fact, know why there’s a big dent on the front of the Subaru.

I took three fiddleheads from a wildlife sanctuary and didn’t even eat them.

I snuck into your bathroom and dumped your homebrew down the drain.

I hoard the good pens.

I experimented with Republicanism and Libertarianism.

Yeah, I got your voicemail.

Moroccan night in Fishtown: cheese overview

Moroccan night in Fishtown: cheese overview

The life of Jesus in Christmas lights

lights flogging
What’s this? Why,it’s an animated Christmas light Jesus flogging. Frankly, I find this display a disconcerting piece of Americana.

The above picture is part of an annual spectacle in Blue Springs, Missouri. Guided by smiling gingerbread men, visitors drive through a subdivision and see lights that depict the life of Jesus–everything from his birth to his resurrection. At the end, a kid approaches each car with a donation bucket, rewarding contributors with a small candy cane. Weird, huh?

The pictures below were made possible by the ever-patient J. Bubbles, who incurred the wrath of other sightseers by making frequent stops as we traveled along the route.

Continue reading “The life of Jesus in Christmas lights”

Letting Go

Letting Go, What Medicine Should do When it Can’t Save Your Life.

Everyone should read this New Yorker article.  Not just because it provides an overview of hospice care, its benefits, and the role it plays in an era when technology can sustain life “well past the point of awareness of coherence,” but because it demonstrates why physicians need to have end of life conversations with terminal patients and their families.

I wrote and re-wrote some text here about Dad’s hospice experience and how thankful I am that he spent his last days at home, with a view of the garden and his fish pond, listening to his favorite books and music, and surrounded by family and friends.  But suffice it to say that we were lucky to have a frank and compassionate medical team.

As the cases in the article show, physicians struggle with helping patients decide when to keep fighting and when to stop seeking treatment.  And people need guidance.  Who, when battling and Googling a fatal disease, can even tell when it’s time to ask this question?

These end of life conversations are crucial.  I hope the politicos who coined the term death panel never need to have one.

Revenge of the carbohydrates

If people were after you, trying to turn you into chips, fries, hash browns, or a delicious pierogie, you’d probably wear a disguise too.