Thursday, October 29, 2009

Some hat store names

These are some names I have considered for the hat store I will own in the future.

8. Tinsley's Toppers

7. Turban Outfitters

6. Clochework

5. United Colors of Bonnetin'

4. Symonds' Fez

3. Toque Up

2. Beanies, Baby

1. Slumdog Milliner

*I have my good friend Dan D'Addario to thank for numbers 5 and 8.

Friday, August 14, 2009


After spending eleven days in Japan and eight weeks in Hong Kong, I arrived home yesterday with the following things:

- $1.30 HK and 184 yen, which translates to about $2.10 of completely useless money.

- A white and grey striped shirt that’s stained, barely perceptibly, with sauce from a Teriyaki McBurger I ate in Narita Airport.

- Swag from my internship, including a set of regulation stacking cups, two light-up clown noses from Cirque du Soleil, and three aprons.

- A free flash drive, courtesy of the Columbia Alumni Association. In terms of things given away by the administration to appease students, I think that flash drives are the new chocolate fountains.

- Copies of Misery, Jennifer Weiner’s Best Friends Forever, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Great Expectations, and In Defense of Food, which I bought and read instead of half the books I actually packed.

- A sweet tweed jacket custom made for me by this guy.

- Gifts for fronds, including but not limited to a Japanese banana case I’m giving to my brother; two shiny lacquered boxes, wrapped in the finest Chinese newspaper; a pretty paper tray I found at an origami museum that, okay, also happened to be at Narita airport; and a t-shirt inside of what looks like a soda can, notable more for the packaging than for the shirt itself. The blurb on the can, located where you’d expect to find nutrition facts, is amazing enough that I’m going to reproduce it here in full. I like to imagine it as read by Maya Angelou.


Remove collars, shorten sleeves,

and eliminate buttons… …

In an enthusiastic rhythm,

the temperature rises so as to

wear out the whole summer

Put aside the trivialness and bondage of the city…

Sexy, or decadent, or Hiphop, or Punk… …

Therefore, simple and connotative clothing is used to decorate them.

T-shirt expresses our intrinsic desires,

Which mean persistence and individuality

and is also the expression of a life attitude.”

- The above lunch bag from Tokyo, which has become my new favorite possession. Doesn’t the picture look like it might have come from the cover of a Little Golden Book about the first day of kindergarten, if that book were translated from English to Japanese and then back into English by these people?

- So you know how souvenir stores always have racks that display little trinkets inscribed with common names? Like New York license plate key chains that say Madison or Michael or whatever? At the Hong Kong Museum of Art, I found a series of business card-sized gifts printed with English names written in both English letters and Chinese characters. I couldn’t find Hillary, but somehow names like Dagmar and Adolf were readily available. I bought one that says Zoltan.

- Enough new clothing that I probably should have had to pay an import tax.

- Zero bootlegged DVDs, somehow.

In just four short days, I'll be back in New York. In the meantime, I'm going to stare at this pile of stuff, momentarily contemplate how I can possibly transport it all to the city, then give up and see what's on Lifetime.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

This One Time

This one time, Hillary and I were just having drinks at the Waldorf, which is something we often do.*

When Hillary and I go to fancy places, we often like to check out their fancy bathrooms. It's something of a ritual. The toilet paper they give us at college is one-ply. Just a single ply! So we know how to really appreciate the finer things, bathroom-wise.

When we got to the Waldorf's bathroom, there was a sitting area with fancy chairs of the finest Oriental silk, and everything was gold-plated (everything). This sitting area exists because there is a very short staircase (maybe four stairs) upwards to where the actual bathrooms are. A fancy, classy lady with a delicate constitution might get tired and need a sit before she can climb them.

Hillary and I are very fancy, classy ladies.

As such, we made full use of the sitting area, and pretended to be fancy British ladies. A transcript, taken by one of our servants:

1. Tell me, what do you think of the Count?
2. Why, of late I've found him quite rude! I say, if he does not learn to keep his manner in check, he shan't be invited to my manor... a-gayn!

Then we heard a flush coming from one of the private bathrooms. We'd thought we were alone, and this was surprising and embarrassing.

When we worked up the courage to return, we were again drawn by the magnetism of the fancy, silky chairs. We knew we couldn't be British again — what if the woman from before was still there? But we soon found a solution.

2. Que pense-tu au sujet du Comte?
1. Oh! Honh honh honh!

We worked up the nerve to make our way toward the private bathrooms. We wanted to continue playing Fancy Ladies, but we had run out of languages we knew. Unless we wanted to be ancient Roman ladies, because Hillary took Latin, but who even wants to be an ancient Roman lady? I have it on good authority that they aren't even that fancy. So instead, we decided to fake it.

2. Der spriechen der Comzenhimzen!!
1. OCH!! Inzer der haufzen!!!

After we had accomplished our bathroomly duties — I will not go into much detail, because I am a lady of modesty in addition to fanciness, but suffice it to say that there were many plies to be had, and it was disappointing to return that evening to our one-ply existence — we emerged from the bathrooms. I thought the game was over, so it was a pleasant surprise to find out that Hillary knew there was one more kind of fancy lady I hadn't even considered!

1. Sing hai Samurai-san?

Then I laughed for about a year, and that is the story of how Hillary and I got kicked out of the Waldorf.*

*A few things in this story are exaggerated. The important things are real.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

I Also Have a Mom

Inspired by Hillary (whose mom is great), I have combed over old e-mails from my mom (also really great) in order to share the awesomest ones with you, The Blogosphere.

Example 1: "Foodstuffs."


Hey Al,
Here is a spotted dick IN A CAN! HAHAHAHAHAHAHHA
Love you,

Example 2: "Surgery."

Subj: (no subject)

Hi Famblie,

Just a quick note for you to mark your calendars......Pre-Admission testing is 3/9/09 and Surgery is 3/16/09. woo-hoo for me. Anyway, I will be out of work 4-6 weeks if anyone wants to come visit! That's all from the Symonds Sanatorium of Health and Rest here in lovely Schwenksville, PA.

Mom xoxo

Example 3: "The Holiday Spirit."

Subj: last call

Hey you bunch of poopy heads,

this is the last call for christmas gift ideas!!!!!! (this includes you too al) chistmas shopping will be complete by 12/20!!!!!! any item of clothing you want that you want to try on will be purchased 12/ prepare to get your lazy butts out of bed in the am!!!!!!!! santa's feet hurt and she is running out of patience!!!!!!

Love you,
mom xoxo

Friday, March 6, 2009

Text Messages I Have Received From My Mom, Who Is In India

February 25, 7:42 PM:
"Leaving Delhi for Agra to see Taj Mahal. Delhi train experience amazing; like Slumdog! ... Text back so I know you're ok!!!"

February 28, 8:24 PM:
Leaving uaipur for Ranthambore Tiger Preserve in farthest Rajastan. Love you!!"

March 1, 11:16 AM:
"Emerged from the bush after 3 hour safari in search of big game. Unfortunately no sighting of the rare and majestic Bengali tiger, but did meet a nice older couple from Reading, PA. Love!!"

March 6, 12:28 PM:
"Tomorrow night we will Hari home; can't Veda see you!!! Love, Sahiba Mom"

Me (in response to that last message): "Mom, you are funny but borderline racist."

Mom (in response to me): "Haveli-ttle sense of humor!!"

Friday, February 13, 2009


Alex and I are good at a lot of things—having shiny hair, thinking of nicknames, and complimenting each other, for example. One thing we're not so good at is updating this here blog.

But! All that is about to change RIGHT NOW, because I really like this list I wrote for the Spec last semester and want to find a place on the internet where I can both post it and link to all the videos I'm talking about so that you can see for yourselves why these commercials are awesome and that place is going to be right here on Rusty Stapler.

Who knows? Maybe this will open up the blogging floodgates (those last two words make the most terrifying spoonerism) and we'll start posting on a regular basis. Maybe we'll get a book deal! A book deal would be so great.

Without further ado: The Top Ten Commercials of the Early-Mid Nineties

10. Mall Madness: Four big-haired 'tweens (future Carries, Mirandas, Charlottes, and Samanthas?) giggle as they play a board game about reckless consumerism. Because nothing's more fun than pretending to use your fake credit card at the virtual clothing boutique—am I right, ladies?

9. Play-Doh Meal Makin' Kitchen Play Sets: Raise your hand if you thought this commercial made Play-Doh look delicious.

8. Cool Shavin' Ken: Finally, a male doll who sports a beard that "disappears with warm water!" Because what kid hasn't dreamed of having her very own man to shave? Bonus: As the jingle tells us, Ken smells so good because he "wears Old Spice." That's some questionable cross-promotion right there.

7. Dum-Dums: Dayglo-colored children's heads on lollipop sticks lip-synch to a doo-wop jingle. It's a lot less creepy on film than it sounds on paper.

6. MUZZY: A Carol Brady sound-alike explains how lazy parents can use these BBC video sets to teach their children a second language through osmosis. I never bought the tapes, but I did learn how to say "I am a little girl" in French from the commercial: "Je suis la jeune fille!"

5. Pure Moods: Of all the compilation CDs of the '90s—The Carpenters' Yesterday Once More, Monster Ballads, Now That's What I Call Music!—Pure Moods was the greatest. That's because the CD's commercial was the only one to feature both majestic unicorns and a snippet of the X-Files theme song.

4. Crossfire: The ad shows two kids competing in an epic, fiery battle. In real life, the game involves shooting marbles or something. Clear winner of the "thing that looks much, much cooler on TV than it is in real life" award. Honorable mentions: Mouse Trap (way too much trouble to set up) and Guess Who? ("Game cards do not actually talk").

3. Anti-Drug PSA with Rachel Leigh Cook: Before she was all that, Cook smashed up a kitchen with a frying pan to show the effects of heroin on not only your brain, but also "your family... and your friends! And your money! AND YOUR FUTURE!" This commercial inspired hundreds of kids to seriously consider cutting back on smack.

2. Mr. Bucket: Possibly the most awesome jingle of our time. Sing it with me now: "I'm Mr. Bucket, balls pop  out of my mouth..."

1. Gopher Cakes: For some reason, lists that count down cinema's greatest twist endings rarely include this Hitchcockian gem of an ad. You think you're watching a commercial for a new snack cake, but (spoiler alert!) it's actually a PSA about exercising. Sneaky!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Spool's Out

This is a little gem from Best of Craigslist, which I highly recommend browsing as a great way to not be doing other things. My favorite sentence is in bold.

Date: 2008-05-05, 10:01AM EDT

I have a large spool i would like removed from my property.

I no longer have any need for said spool due to coming home from work several hours early and finding my wife on top of said spool with another man.

If you have any need for this spool email me and I will send you the address for the spool. You may come pick up the spool at any time. No questions asked. No need to call ahead. No need to dress up or clean your truck up because it will only be you and the spools out there.

You pull up, load the spool, and leave. The spool in question is marked with a red X. You may only take this spool. I want to keep the rest of them.

The original post is here. And here's the rest of Best of Craigslist. In one of them, which I didn't want to cite because I am a lady, a dude writes an open letter to his mom expressing his upset at the fact that she responded to his "College Stud Needs a MILF - m4w" ads. This confirms what I already believed to be true: there is no elegant way to adapt Oedipus Rex for the Internet age. Cross that one off the list!

When you say "spool" a bunch of times in a row, your mouth starts to think it's not a real word anymore.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Games People Play

Dear Rockstar Games,

We have invented a video game for your video game company. We think your core consumer group will like playing it.

It is called Grand Theft: Ottoman. It is a first-person thief game. In it, the player steals ottomans of increasing size from wealthier and wealthier homes. In this way, he builds an empire.

This game combines all the danger of stealing with all the social commentary of Edward Said's Orientalism. And all the fun of a good footstool! Frankly, sirs, you would have to be basically retarded to pass this up.

We look forward to discussing the possibilities with you.

Signed respectfully and sincerely yours,
Hillary and Alexandria

Sunday, March 30, 2008

A list of demands

From the Columbia College Course Bulletin:
(1991) Awarded to a graduating senior in Columbia College who has written a single piece or a body of work so distinguished in its originality of concept and excellence of execution that it fairly demands the award, support, and recognition the prize intends.

We decided to write a body of work that fairly demands the award.

Poem 1: Variation on a theme by T. S. Eliot

April is the cruellest month!
Unless it is the month in which
You give me the Karen Osney Brownstein Writing Prize!

Poem 1a: Variation on a different theme by T. S. Eliot

Let us go, then, you and I,
To the bank to cash my check.

Poem 2: Variation on a theme by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I...
I took the one that was more likely to get me this prize.

Poem 2a: Variation on a different theme by Robert Frost

Whose prize this is I think I know.
It is mine.

Poem 3: Variation on a theme by Dr. William Carlos Williams

so much depends upon
me getting this

Poem 4: Variation on a theme by Emily Dickinson

I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you -- the awards committee?
In that case -- I am somebody.

Poem 5: Variation on a theme by e. e. cummings

i carry your award with me
(i carry it in my trophy case)

Poem 6: Variation on a theme by William Shakespeare
Oh, what a piece of work is a man!
Oh, what a body of work is this!
I would vouchsafe to say that it fairly demands the award!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Bearly Breathing

These are the names that some people we know would have if they were bears.

Alex Beaaronson

Dan D’Abbeario

Tom Beare

Jennie Rose Halbearin

Sasha Beart

Amanda Sebbear

Elizabear Simins

Liz Varnbear

Brendon Bearzard

Rebearcca Evans

Oriana Magbeara

Yelena Bearster

Alex Weinbearg

Gizem Orbear

Kate Redbear

Amanda Bearickson

Justin Bear (Justin Grace)

Noam Prywes.

- Hillary Bearsis and Alex Symbear

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Professional Connections

There is someone on this list with a very special name.

It is Ms. Panda Barber.

That is my dream job.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Hello, Internet.

Surprise, Alex! I posted something!

I guess it's not a total surprise, since you're probably only looking at this because I told you I had updated it.

Last night, I went to Cage Match at the UCB with the usual suspects. We made a rule that from now on, any time someone mentions a show that aired on Nickelodeon in the '90s, they have to drink a whole bottle of whiskey.

If I obeyed that rule for reals, I would be dead several times over.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Alex Carlos Alexes/Hillary Carlos Hillaries

Post-it left on Hillary's computer this morning:

This is just to say
that I have eaten some craisins
on the windowsill

Forgive me, but it is hot
and they are tangy
and so tart

Post-it left on Alex's computer this afternoon:

So much depends

a glorious unicorn

across the enchanted

Friday, August 31, 2007

A sad admission

Apparently we are not the only ones to have considered the winsome possibility of dinosaur/giraffe friendship and... just maybe... love. Has this so-called "duD Lawson" been reading our minds?

We regret that this t-shirt came out before Untitled Holland/Moon Dinosaur Project has entered development; though not before its premise was conceived. However, if done correctly, the shirt's existence could make the start of a great guerrilla marketing campaign! Of course, Holland/Moon Dinosaur Project is on the back burner for awhile until Rusty Stapler gets through the production cycle, which is a shame.

Meanwhile, I am going to buy one of the shirts, because they are adorable.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Meet Virginie

This Observer article is worth a look if only because it contains the best headline I have ever seen: Teenagers feel strain of being French.

I almost didn't want to read the story because the headline was so perfect, but their opener didn't disappoint:
Virginie, 16, is tall, blonde, attractive and does well at school. But she no longer cares. 'You don't understand. There is nothing wrong with me. I just see things clearly and the world is dark. It is black,' she said last week.

In other news, the Christian Science Monitor caught my eye from a street dispenser in Philly this week, due to the following prominently displayed headline: Chinese exporters seek to shed taint.

I'm not going to touch that one.

Harry Potter and the Douchey Blowhard

In preparation for the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, has set up a special Harry Potter section that holds every article ever written for that newspaper about the Boy Who Lived, the author who created him, and the franchise that followed.

Among these is a review of the first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, that appears to have been written by a Bizarro version of Andy Bernard who cheered for the Crimson rather than the Big Red:

“As Harry worries that first day about whether he can compete with the privileged children of Hogwarts alums, I found myself thinking back 30 years to my first days at Harvard, wondering how, coming from a blue-collar shipyard town and a public high school, I could ever compete with preppies from Exeter and Andover.”

Really subtle, Mike.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Rusty Stapler, P.I.

This blog came about because of a conversation we had one wintry, wintry winter-break evening during our freshman year, when we were much too far away from each other and very bored, very late at night.

It was as follows, slightly abridged:

ALEX: what are you thinking about?
HILLARY: right now?
ALEX: no, in '97
HILLARY: well, i was 9
HILLARY: so i was probably thinking about how awesome cookies are
ALEX: god, i'm probably STILL thinking that
HILLARY: that or "when does "ahhh! real monsters!" come on?"
ALEX: what about right now?
HILLARY: i'm thinking i should get off the couch tomorrow
HILLARY: and that i need to get out of my creative slump
ALEX: me too, man
ALEX: let's write a screenplay

2:50 AM

ALEX: and we will be like matt damon and ben affleck except neither of us will be ben affleck
ALEX: because
ALEX: you know why
HILLARY: start shooting out ideas
HILLARY: i see a dinosaur
HILLARY: go with it
ALEX: on the moon
ALEX: there's a girl
ALEX: girl loves the dinosaur
ALEX: dinosaur has a freakishly long neck, cannot kiss the girl
HILLARY: why moon?
ALEX: zero gravity; hilarious antics with a banana
HILLARY: i like it, i like it
ALEX: back to dinosaur. dinosaur has a pet giraffe, which is funny because giraffes have long necks but this dinosaur has like a REALLY FUCKING LONG NECK
ALEX: provides contrast
ALEX: as well as a sounding board for dinosaur's romantic woes
ALEX: also, the dinosaur should be sick
ALEX: its heart should be too big
ALEX: sally field should play its grandmother
HILLARY: wait...
HILLARY: i feel like i've seen this one before
ALEX: damn
ALEX: then you take it up
ALEX: pick it up at the last original point
HILLARY: so giraffe... is he like pluto to mickey in that he doesn't talk, or like donkey to shrek in that he's sassy and has romantic woes of his own?
ALEX: oooooh
ALEX: tough one!!!!
ALEX: what do you see?

2:55 AM

HILLARY: i see more option number one
HILLARY: he's mute and cute
ALEX: thank god
ALEX: i was just going to bring up cute
HILLARY: animals these days are too sassy
ALEX: i completely agree!
ALEX: i can't see past all the sass!
ALEX: to the CHARACTER inside, you know?
HILLARY: totally!
HILLARY: and character is what's important
ALEX: also, fake legs
ALEX: the dinosaur and the giraffe should each have one, i think
HILLARY: is that dinosaur's dark secret?
HILLARY: reason he won't open his heart to girl?
HILLARY: afraid she won't see past his fake leg to the heart within the saur?
ALEX: we could MAKE it so she has a fake leg
ALEX: i know a guy, if you know what i mean
HILLARY: joey the snake?
HILLARY: i think i got that from boy meets world
HILLARY: that's joey the rat
ALEX: bertrand the newt
HILLARY: winthrop the potato
ALEX: can the giraffe's name be winthrop the potato?
ALEX: let's talk more about the girl
HILLARY: i see her with red hair
ALEX: how old is she?
ALEX: can she wear a ribbon?

3:00 AM

HILLARY: i mean, is she little?
HILLARY: if this is a romance, she has to be legal
ALEX: i know!
ALEX: that's a problem!
ALEX: but i don't want her to be sexy, i want her to be sweet
ALEX: maybe the giraffe is the girl.
HILLARY: she can be sweet!
HILLARY: wait, i thought giraffe was pet?
ALEX: forget i said that thing
ALEX: okay so she's sweet
ALEX: naive
ALEX: she doesn't live in america, clearly
ALEX: holland?
HILLARY: but do they make redheads there?
ALEX: that is why she is an outcast!
ALEX: a sweet, simple outcast
HILLARY: okay!
HILLARY: her name is unhollandic, then
HILLARY: so that she can stand out more
ALEX: ohhh but i wanted her to be gertie
HILLARY: okay, that works
ALEX: pivotal moment
ALEX: dinosaur bellowing
ALEX: brando style
ALEX: the giraffe has LONG eyelashes
ALEX: maybe they're not on the moon so much as in a magical fairy land
HILLARY: but one where holland exists
ALEX: what's a stapler? i don't even know, i'm a baby
HILLARY: what if there was a baby stapler!
ALEX: wait a sec
ALEX: are we talking a tiny newborn stapler
HILLARY: i see a new movie
ALEX: or a stapler which staples babies together
HILLARY: "look who's talking" but with staplers

3:05 AM

HILLARY: hahahhaa.... wait, i like your second option
ALEX: can we insert "baby stapler" into existing movie titles?
ALEX: Indiana Jones and the Baby Stapler of Doom
HILLARY: "baby stapler actually"
HILLARY: "my big fat greek baby stapler"
HILLARY: verne troyer could star
ALEX: didn't he die?
HILLARY: oh, never mind, then
HILLARY: what other little people work in showbiz?
ALEX: oh my god i cannot have this conversation
ALEX: it's depressing
ALEX: let's go back to baby staplers
HILLARY: which are always happy
ALEX: if you wanted to have it be similar to look who's talking
ALEX: you could have
ALEX: look who's staplin' babies!
ALEX: the answer: VAL KILMER is staplin' babies
ALEX: why?
ALEX: he's a renegade, damnit!
ALEX: julianne moore, a clever cia op even though she's a lady, is put on his case to figure out why he's always staplin' babies
ALEX: and they fall in love!
ALEX: and they have twins!
HILLARY: i'm in love with you
ALEX: how does it end, hilly? how does it end?!

3:10 AM

HILLARY: dustin hoffman, an FBI agent with a mysterious past, approaches him with a challenge
HILLARY: he can either leave his family and continue on in baby staplin bliss, or he can stay with them and lay down his stapler forever more
HILLARY: and somehow you find out that dustin is really his father
ALEX: ooh! and and and
HILLARY: the way he left little val and his mother (sally field again) was what led val to become a stapler in the first place
ALEX: we see val's bronzed baby shoes from when val was a baby
HILLARY: and they're fuckin stapled!!!
ALEX: it's genetic.
HILLARY: val finds out dustin's true identity and goes crazy
HILLARY: because of his lost childhood
ALEX: julianne moore meets an affable keanu reeves and is unable to marry him without asking the question, "do you... do you staple babies?"
ALEX: keanu laughs. "what a silly question!" he says
ALEX: fade to black?
HILLARY: i think maybe a title card comes up saying "the end"
HILLARY: then a ...
HILLARY: then "or is it?"
ALEX: I was just going to say!!
HILLARY: i think val kills himself by self-inflicted staple wounds after the dustin confrontation
HILLARY: just to go back and clarify
ALEX: ooh! a rusty stapler!
HILLARY: doesn't rusty stapler sound like a hard-boiled detective from the 40s?

3:15 AM

ALEX: i see a new movie
HILLARY: clive owen IS
HILLARY: "rusty stapler, PI".
ALEX: oh my god
ALEX: i have to actually wake up before noon tomorrow
ALEX: just for a change of pace
HILLARY: all right, if you insist
HILLARY: i should too
ALEX: goodnight!
ALEX: ...or is it?
HILLARY: [pause]

So there you have it.