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!