Monthly Archives: August 2007

All the World: Letting the Cell Phone Out of the Bag

If you drop your cell phone on concrete as often as I do and it happens to have a SIM card (that’s the little chip in the back with all your info and all your digits), you may be about to thank me… Or the undercover guardian angel of delinquent cell phone users at the Sam’s in St. Louis.

This is our big wedding weekend– and with the arrival of our huge families and close friends as widely tossed around the world as Germany– I NEEDED MY CELL PHONE. But as I’ve already admitted, it doesn’t always make it into my bag, or if it does, it’s squashed by a camera and nicked by my keys. Besides, the sticking-out antenna is just asking for trouble. So, imagine my shock when my cell phone completely quit on me a few days ago. No outgoing calls, no incoming calls, no speedy text messages. And how much does a replacement cost? Upwards of $200! If you don’t have that kind of money and you don’t feel like logging onto Ebay and sending $70 plus $20 shipping (anybody know where the hell they’re sending these used cell phones from?) to someone who promises you won’t get a refund, you’re about to lose all inability to communicate on the go. UNLESS…

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Filed under All The World, Career/Life, Science & Technology

The Beauty of Forgetfulness

Totally forgot today was Thursday. I was just on the subway, coming home from a friend’s birthday party, rocking out to “Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! I could be your girlfriend,” by Avril Lavigne on my iPod nano, and I was like, Oh, shit, I forgot about Therapy Thursdays.

I couldn’t believe I had completely forgotten about it. There have been a couple of times since we started Crucial Minutiae that I haven’t written my weekly column, but there was always a good reason. I was heartbroken. It was my birthday. That kind of thing. It was a choice. I never just forgot.

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Filed under General, Random, Therapy Thursdays

Beauty in a Wicked World: Hair, Homes, and Fashion as Feminism

Nick ArrojoLast week, Vidal Sassoon announced the charitable initiative Hairdressers Unlocking Hope, which, through Habitat for Humanity, will raise money for thousands of hairdressers to build a community of 18 new homes in St. Tammany Parish, La., this November. So far, they’ve raised $895,593 for the project — to be sure, a mere drop in the $81.2 billion bucket of damage there, but still, 18 families will have new homes, and that is not nothing.

One of the stylists involved in the project is Nick Arrojo, whom many of you will recognize as the hairstylist on the TLC reality show What Not to Wear.

To follow Kate’s earlier admission about “The Hills”, I must confess that I’m completely and delightfully addicted to “What Not to Wear,” and I think it is fantastically progressive and feminist. Now, don’t you want to know what I mean?

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Filed under Career/Life, Gender, Pop Culture

Kidz Today: McDamage Control

Yesterday, the Trust for America’s Health, a health advocacy organization, announced the results of their latest report on the US obesity epidemic. Obesity–which is known to increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, pregnancy complications, stroke, and certain types of cancer, among other things–is on the rise.

To put things in perspective, two-thirds of American adults today are considered either obese or overweight, compared with only 15 percent in 1980. More than one-in-four adults in 19 states are now classified as obese, up from 9 states in 2005.

This was also the first year that the report included obesity rates in kidz (ages 10-17). The results are alarming.

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Filed under Health, In The News

Composing a Life: Quarter-of-an-Inch Universe

leafI just finished Nicole Krauss’ The History of Love. It is a beautiful little book about the human capacity to hold on to secrets (I hope our friend Joshua Prager, connoisseur of secrets, has read this one), the beauty of earnest childhood, and, well, love of course. One little quotation stuck out to me in a big way:

Sculptor and painter Alberto Giacometti said that sometimes just to paint a head you have to give up the whole figure. To paint a leaf, you have to sacrifice the whole landscape. It might seem like you’re limiting yourself at first, but after a while you realize that having a quarter-of-an-inch of something you have a better chance of holding on to a certain feeling of the universe than if you pretended to be doing the whole sky.

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Filed under Career/Life, Writing


Hey folks. I’m going to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown this afternoon, and I want to write my post about that, so stay tuned.

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Filed under General

The Addictiveness of the Hills (and Newport Harbor and Laguna Beach)

the-hills.jpg I did a shameful thing this weekend. I watched the latest episode of the Hills for the third time. I also re-watched Newport Harbor, and relived the shock I had the first time that a group of teenagers who are throwing a “Pretty in Pink” party had no idea that the phrase was originally a Molly Ringwald movie. I am not alone in my obsession with these MTV shows—when the Hills premiered two weeks ago, millions of folks tuned in to watch, making it the highest rated program for the night.

So what the heck is so addicting about these shows? The characters are often infuriating (I wanted to scream when Heidi accepted Spencer’s proposal and slipped the ring he’d bought at some cheesmo mall store onto her finger) and vapid (Samantha on Newport Harbor believed that “bootylicious” had made it’s way into the dictionary). The plot lines even aren’t all that—you basically know everything that’s going to happen from the previews MTV plays aggressively through the week. So why would I waste multiple half hours re-watching these shows?

Here is my best theory:

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Filed under Pop Culture