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ArJewTino

“Latins are tenderly enthusiastic. In Brazil, they throw flowers at you. In Argentina, they throw themselves." -- Marlene Dietrich

Freedom is a wheel in your sole

Wednesday, January 31, 2007
For years, I have watched with raging envy kids skating on their sneakers. Like Transformers, these children would run around, doing whatever kids do, when suddenly and without warning, they would rear back on their heels and glide across the floor.

I soon learned that the footgear these kids were using were called Heelys. And all I could think of was, “I WANT A PAIR.”

I know I’m not 10 years old. I know I’m supposed to be thinking about adult things like financial planning, career advancement, and the housing market. My “kid time” expired long ago, and with it my inherent permission to talk with my mouth full, eat gobs of candy, and throw temper tantrums.

But I want a pair of Heelys. I NEED them. Like tech-geeks need an IPhone, like the desert needs the rain.

Look at these things. What otherwise rational person over the age of 17 can view them and NOT wish they had them when they were young? Of course, the only people you see in them are “children”, or as I like to call them, “ungrateful little snots”.

But why are they just for kids? Why can’t a 31-year-old professional in DC lace up a pair, head down to the Smithsonian museums, and skate down their long, smooth hallways? Why should I be punished for being 20 years older than Heelys’ target demographic?

Here are five reasons why I think I should buy Heelys

1. Our children are spoiled enough. Between Wiis, cell phones, and a premature sense of entitlement, our children are growing up thinking THEY are the ones who run the show. Frankly, these snotrags are getting too big for their britches and I need to knock them down a peg or four. Buying a pair of Heelys will show them that adults rule the world and we can take away their toys whenever we want.

2. The coolness factor. I am pretty much the coolest guy I know. I’m also the coolest guy you know. But I need an extra niche to prove just how cool I really am. Nothing says “cool” more than watching a man in his 30s shunning adult responsibilities and using a child’s toy in broad daylight. With one purchase, I’ll instantly become that aviator sunglasses-wearing, Tryst-patronizing, velvet blazer-wearing, soy latte-drinking hipster guy who hangs out at Wonderland on the weekends, sews No Blood for Oil patches on his raggedy backpack, and talks about the next show at the Black Cat. I know INSTANT coolness credentials.

3. Think of all the DC tourists I could scare. People visiting the nation’s capital already make the summers difficult for us. They clog up our Metro trains and escalators, mispronounce L’Enfant Plaza, and wear fanny packs. A local reminder to Jim Bo Bob and family to make room on the sidewalks for adult men flying past them on Heelys might keep them away the following year.

4. I’m an amazing skater. Rollerskating, rollerblading, skateboarding, or ice skating. What do these activities have in common? I’m amazingly gifted at them. I should be allowed to master another of the art forms of skating. I never want to hear anyone say, “Sure, Arjewtino can hockey-stop like Gretzky and play rollerhockey blindfolded, but can he Heely?” I'm also good at doing the Hokey-Pokey.

5. The Heelys’ inventor is older than me. Roger Adams invented these things when he was 45 after a divorce and a midlife crisis. If a man approaching 50 can take a spin around the block with them, I can, too.
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Blogging in Buenos Aires

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Clarin, which is only the world's largest Spanish daily newspaper, published a piece about American ex-pats blogging in Buenos Aires. Congratulations to Ian Mount y familia and Yanqui Mike for their mentions.

In case you can't read Spanish but would like to peruse the article, I suggest copy-and-pasting the text into AltaVista's Babel Fish translating tool. Not because it translates words well, but because of the sheer joy one gets from reading a translation so literal that it makes one laugh out loud.

For example, here is one of Ian's quotes, courtesy of Babel Fish:

"We wanted to change itself outside the United States. We worked much and New York is very expensive. And we loved a baby ", says Ian. "In New York there is no place for the babies, but all they love", affirms them here Arch. For which Buenos Aires? "We were once of vacations and we liked."

Maybe it wasn't Babel Fish. Maybe that's just the way Ian talks.
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Water, water everywhere, not a drop to drink -- A guest blog post by McHeeb

Arjewtino asked me to write this guest blog entry. Well...I'm going to say he asked. It technically doesn't count as “asking” if the “request” doesn't end in a question mark, but rather is punctuated with the word “bitch!”

There is a veritable cornucopia of topics I could discuss here, but I decided to make this blog entry DC-centric as Arjewtino is a D-list weblebrity in the DC Blog circuit. So, here we go my droogies. Strap in and hang on.

A while back I got this pamphlet in the mail. It was kinda long and had lots of words. It didn't have any pictures or nothin'. The words were tiny, too. Reading it was gonna be work. But it might be important! What to do? After a bit of thought, I came up with an ingenious solution: I placed the pamphlet on my kitchen counter. “I'll read it later. It's probably not important,” I said to myself. Ingenious.

A while later, I eventually got around to reading it. Here's how it read:

“On September 23, tests showed an increase in coliform bacteria, resulting in a violation of a monthly federal drinking water standard – the first violation for DC WASA following 95 consecutive months of surpassing the standard.”


Ok.... so, I don't quite get what this means. I'm pretty sure that "Coliform bacteria" is bad for me. I mean, I'm not a fancy big city lawyer or nothin', but I've never heard a cereal commercial bragging, "Now with MORE Coliform bacteria!" Secondly, they violated a federal standard. And you know that "standard" wasn't that good to begin with. So here I am drinking water full of fucking bacteria, and I'm supposed to give these fucking douchebags a pat on the back because they haven't had a violation in the past 95 months? YOU ARE FUCKING NOT SUPPOSED TO HAVE FUCKING BACTERIA IN THE FUCKING WATER THAT PEOPLE FUCKING DRINK.

The pamphlet continues:

“This is Not a Health Emergency!”

Yeah. That superfluous exclamation mark makes me reeeaally inclined to believe you. Like I'm supposed to trust anything thing you say to me now. And if this isn't an emergency, like you say it isn't, if this coliform bacteria is possibly even good for me as you seem to be implying then why are you sending out a fucking emergency notice?

It goes on to say:

"The EPA, the DC Department of Health, and the Washington Aqueduct say that the increase in bacteria is probably caused by the addition of orthophosphate – a chemical added to the water by the Aqueduct to help with the problem of lead leaching from service pipes and fixtures containing lead, and the warm summer weather."

AND NOW THERE'S FUCKING LEAD IN THE WATER TOO?! OH, GREAT! JUST FUCKING GREAT!

The pamphlet concludes:

"We have successfully provided as much early notice as possible to customers, the general public, the media and local and federal government officials."

This part is actually true. They did give me plenty of notice to do the NOTHING that they suggested. No “boil the water”, no “buy bottled water”, no NOTHING. Just an "FYI – you've been drinking bacteria laden water. Cheers!"

You'll have to excuse me now. I'm thirsty. I'd like to drink something with less bacteria than water. Luckily, I've got a nice, hot cup of urine waiting for me.
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My hips were lying all along

Monday, January 29, 2007
There are two words you often won’t hear together.

Arjewtino. Dancing.

This is quite sad, actually. We Latins dance. We have rhythm. We shake our moneymakers in our sleep.

I, however, don’t.

I lead with my shoulders, I have cements blocks for feet, and the only rhythm I possess comes from my IPod.

So when some friends and I went to Habana Village Friday night for salsa dancing, I secretly wished Shakira would show up beforehand and give me personal instruction in shaking my hips. (I wish that anyway, but even more so this time.)

We eschewed the bar’s $10 two-hour lesson and met early for some liquid courage. I thought it might be a mistake. I flashed back to the first time I went snowboarding and opted out of the lessons because, in my words, it looked “easy” and “I used to skateboard when I was a teenager.” I ended up on my ass 95% of the time and it took me several hours to finally get down the slope.

We downed some beers and girly drinks and moved upstairs. DC’s smoking ban might have made the bar less hazy, but the combined scent of sweat, cheap cologne, and sexually aggressive middle-aged Latin men wafted in the air. Not too sure yet about that tradeoff.

Luckily, one of my friends, Mexican Liz, knew what she was doing and gave us all a crash course in salsa. She grabbed my hips, told me what steps to make, and warned me to keep my shoulders steady. Before long, in the comfort of an unlit corner, a magical thing happened: I started to pick it up.

My left foot-right foot combo was smooth, my hips moved to the music, and my hot Latinoness, long hidden in shame, emerged. I realized that salsa dancing is not a difficult dance to pick up – it’s all about timing. If you master the timing, you can do anything within the parameters of the dance steps.

Hot girls watched me, Guatemalan men envied me, and, I imagine, Shakira placed a phone call to Habana Village asking if I would appear in her next music video.

Now if I could just conquer snowboarding.
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Wanna bet?

Friday, January 26, 2007
I am not the savviest bettor (despite my obvious financial acumen).

Nearly six years ago, I bet Tits McGee that if he bought an Orange Julius from my hometown shopping mall (Fallbrook Mall in Woodland Hills) during his business trip to LA, I would jump in the C&O Canal.

I never anticipated I could lose the one-way bet. I also never anticipated that once Tits got to LA, his whole project would be cancelled and he would have two days to kill in a rented car. AND I never anticipated that he would make a hilarious video of himself driving around the Valley, asking people on the street if they knew me, and finally finding the very same Orange Julius I used to go to during my 15-minute breaks while working in Sears’s hardware department.

So I probably shouldn’t have made the bet I made with The Princess this week.

She told me she had been sort of irregular with her pill-taking lately, to which I responded, “How hard can it be to remember to take one pill a day?”

“Harder than you think,” she said.

“Right, I’m sure it’s tough.”

“You try it, you couldn’t do it.”

“I bet I could.”

Ah, there it was. The word “bet” leaving my mouth so effortlessly. The masculine need to prove to others that I am perfectly capable of performing any – ANY -- challenge. I “bet” I could bicycle down that steep ramp, I said when I was 8, moments before crashing. I “bet” I could drink more tequila than you, I told a friend at a college party, shortly before taking 13 straight shots (we tied).

In some ways, that confidence – no matter how misguided it might be – has served me well. It’s driven me to achieve so much in my life.

But sometimes, like the bet about the Orange Julius, I fail to see the irrational and often stupid ramifications of my ante.

But taking one measly pill every day for four weeks? Come on, it was cake. The Princess and I established that I would have to take one Vitamin C tablet every day. The stakes are private and unbloggable. I don’t see how I can’t win.

Oh, and the infamous C&O Canal outcome? Let’s just say I had to take three showers that night.

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Burkina Faso is the new Nigeria

Wednesday, January 24, 2007
I recently received an e-mail from a bank manager in Burkina Faso who wants to transfer $5.6 million to my U.S. bank account – get this – for nothing!

Now, I know what you’re all thinking. I’ve hit the motherload! And you’re right, I have. I’m going to be rich beyond my wildest dreams! I’ll be able to light cigars with $100 bills and light those $100 bills with $1,000 bills! I’ll be able to pay full price at JCPenney! I’ll be able to afford an IPhone!

I know, I know, I’ve heard about the Nigeria e-mail scam, but this e-mail was sent from a man named Mohamed Buba from Burkina Faso. There’s no way these things are related. First of all, I have a friend from Burkina Faso and he’s never tried to cheat me. And second, their country’s official language is French, so they HAVE to be legit. You say “specious reasoning”, I say “smart decision-making”.


Here’s how I know this e-mail is real.

1. I am an incredibly wise financial planner, so it’s no surprise Mr. Buba contacted me. I only apply for credit cards when they offer me free blankets or keychains, I always bet on red in roulette, and I use the password “password” for my online accounts because no one would ever guess it. I never went to B-school (that’s slang for “business school”, Blue), but this sounds like what we like to call “a sure thing”.

2. In the e-mail, Mr. Buba says he’s a “Foreign Remmittance Manager”. I don’t know what that is or why he misspelled the word “remittance”, so that must mean he’s a really smart guy.

3. He’s from Ouagadougou, which I looked up on Wikipedia and is correctly identified as the capital of Burkina Faso. If this e-mail were a scam, Mr. Buba wouldn’t have known that.

4. Mr. Buba explains that he’s “transfering the left over funds $5.6 million of one of my bank deceased client”. Despite misspelling the word “transferring”, separating the word “leftover”, and referring to his cash cow as a “bank deceased client”, he clearly made his point. These “errors” in spelling, syntax, and the entire laws of grammar may SEEM like the rantings of a madman, but they are part of a calculating ruse to throw off other investors not nearly as savvy as myself. Well done, Mr. Buba.

5. This financial windfall is mine for the taking thanks to the death of Mr. Buba’s “bank deceased client”, who, he explains, was killed when his “sharter plane” crashed “on mount kenyan in the kenyan city of sumburu on 21st july,2003”. I don’t know what a “sharter plane” is, but I think everyone’s been in the position where you’re farting and you accidentally take a shit, hence, sharting. Mr. Buba obviously empathizes with the plight of his fellow man, which I find attractive in a Foreign Remmittance Manager from West Africa.


This is how I imagine I will emerge from my "sharter plane" when I am wealthy

6. Mr. Buba goes so far as to provide a Web link to the CNN story of the “21st july,2003” crash, so I can, even if I’m doubting him for any strange reason at this point, verify his story for myself. He’s like the human equivalent of Progressive Auto Insurance, which gives you the quotes of other insurance companies as well as theirs so you can decide for yourself which company is the most affordable. That’s just good business sense.

7. Finally, Mr. Buba tells me he is “inviting [me] for a business deal where this money can be shared between us in the ratio 60/40 if you agree to my business proposal.” Brilliant, Mr. Buba, absolutely brilliant. He’s not only fair and forthcoming with his offer, he leaves it up to me to decide who will be the “60” and who will be the “40” in this partnership. I think I’ll take the “60”.

Do not despair that I received this business opportunity and you didn’t. Go back to your menial jobs where you actually have to “earn” money and know that I reaped the rewards of being a smart businessman.

Maybe someday I’ll fly you on my “sharter plane”.

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Argentina vs. Guatemala: Not a fair fight

Monday, January 22, 2007
During last Thursday night's blogger happy hour, Throwing Hammers came up to me and asked me if there was a bitter rivalry between myself and El Guapo in DC. Gringos often don't understand the subtle intricacies of Latino blogger relationships, so I explained to Hammer that Guatemalans are often envious of Argentineans for a variety of reasons.

To further explain, I decided to pit El Guapo’s country against mine by comparing nothing but the most objective of measures, as determined by myself. To make this fair and balanced, I decided not to ask for EG's input since everyone knows Guatemalans can't be trusted.

Test One: Futbol

Take a look at the following side-by-side images of our countries’ respective futbol jerseys. Admire the beauty and splendor of Argentina's sky-blue vertical stripes on the left. Be awed by the two gold stars above the team crest, indicating its glorious World Cup victories in 1978 and 1986.

Guatemala's jersey on the right looks like it belongs to the country's international bowling team. And it has never qualified for any World Cup.

Advantage: Argentina

Test Two: Facial Hair

My beard/'stache combo can become so wild if I don't trim it for a week that The Princess describes the long hairs as "face pubes". EG blogs often about his glorious moustache “that makes flowers grow” and is obviously very proud of his pushbroom. I have never met EG, but I imagine this photograph depicts what he might look like. Very cool.

Advantage: Guatemala

Side note: This month is Moustachuary, heralded as the "time of the moustache". During this celebratory month, all who are able to are to grow the most respectable moustache they can.

Test Three: Culture

Argentina is known for its European-like cities and architecture, tango music and dance, and amazing food and wine. Guatemala was named the "first cultural destination in the world". Ooh, too bad. The British, despite bringing us The Office, spotted dick, and imperialism, bombed the ARA General Belgrano Navy cruiser while it was IN RETREAT during the Guerra de las Malvinas in 1982. I wouldn’t want their devious endorsement.

Advantage: Argentina

Test Four: Religion

Guatemala's government protects its country's Mayan ruins by providing altars at each site and allowing traditional ceremonies to be performed. Argentina’s government protected Nazis at the end of World War II.

Advantage: Guatemala

Test Five: Vacation Spot

Argentina is a well traveled country that attracts thousands of tourists who, if they manage not to get mugged or killed, become lifelong Argy-philes. Between the beauty of Buenos Aires, the wine region of Mendoza, and the unique destination spots of Bariloche and Perito Moreno, Argentina is chock-full of places everyone wants to visit. Its 3-to-1 exchange rate also makes visiting very financially advantageous for Americans, provided they don't get robbed of their life savings.

No one ever says he or she just came back from Guatemala (except for The Princess, who loves it there). Tourists would much rather go to Belize, anyway.

Advantage: Argentina



Test Six: Independence

Argentina gained independence from Spain in 1810 during the historic May Revolution. The political and social events occurred in Buenos Aires and directly led to the liberation of Argentina AND three other countries. Guatemala didn't have the balls to copy-cat Argentina until 11 years later, and even then only as an annexation to the Mexican Empire.

Advantage: Argentina

Test Seven: Blogging

Guatemala produced El Guapo in DC, one of the most consistently funny, creative, and witty bloggers in DC. Argentina produced a vain moron who likes to make lists.

Advantage: Guatemala

Winner: Argentina, 4-3.

This impartial, dispassionate comparison makes it clear that Argentina is the better of the two countries, but not by much. We should all understand El Guapo’s jealousy and not make him feel any worse than he already does.

P.S. My planned trip to Guatemala this summer may influence future considerations.
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Mi abuelita querida

Thursday, January 18, 2007
One night while visiting Buenos Aires nearly five years ago, my best friend Blue and I came home from a night of joda to find my 80-year-old abuelita missing.

It was 12:30 a.m. She wasn’t reading the paper or watching Benny Hill reruns on her little TV. She wasn’t watering her jungle of flowers or cooking knishes. Her small, two-bedroom apartment that she had lived in for nearly 30 years was empty. And I started to freak out.

I called my mom in LA.

“Guille’s not here!” I shouted into the phone. “Blue and I came home and she’s missing!”

“What? Wait,” my mom replied, “what time is it there?”

“It’s 12:30 in the morning!”

“Oh, she’s probably out.”

Out? My petite, sweet, widowed grandma? Out? At this time of night? I don’t think so. People MY age go “out”; my abuelita is supposed to be home when it’s dark and night has already started to creep into the next day.

I made some te con leche to calm my nerves, sat down at the kitchen table, and waited up like an anxious parent. At 1 a.m., I heard the keys rattling outside the apartment. The door opened and in walked my abuela, furtively stepping into the kitchen like a teenager sneaking in after prom night.

“Where have you been?” I asked her in Spanish, standing with my hands at my hips. “I was worried.”

She took one look at me, smiled, and in heavily accented English said, “Oh, oh! Busted!”

This, to me, is my grandma. Mi abuelita. Guille (an affectionate nickname her brother gave her when she was a little girl that stuck throughout her life). So full of life, energy, and silliness.

Guille and me, New Year's Eve 2006

When I saw her while visiting Argentina last month, she was still the same, fun grandma who let me stay up late watching TV with her when I was a boy, the same grandma who hugged me when I was sad and scolded me when I was being petulant.

Now 85, she’s smaller in stature and she can’t walk far without her legs feeling like they’re on fire. Walking down Avenida Cabildo one morning, I teased her that if she walked any slower she’d be going backwards. She laughed, squeezed my arm, and gave me a kiss.

On a different morning, we discussed the principle of marriage and family over medialunas.

“When are you going to give me great-grandchildren?”

“I don’t know, Guille, not for several more years.”

“When?”

“Let’s say five years.”

“Five years?” she replied while belting out a mocking laugh. “You think I’ll be around that long?”

“Yes, of course, you’ll only be 90.”

Only 90. I swear, if you knew my abuela, you know she could live to be 120 if she wanted. She’s obstinate and difficult to sway, a trait that has been passed down to my mom, my siblings, and myself. She likes things her way and no one’s going to change that.

“Guille, it’s so hot in here, can I turn on the air conditioner?” I asked her one day as I suffered through a record-breaking Buenos Aires heat wave.

“I don’t have an air conditioner.”

“What? Why not?”

“I don’t believe in it.”

My grandma can be so eccentric sometimes it defies logic. During my visit, she gave me a bag full of underwear Blue had left here accidentally during our last visit. She had washed, folded, and saved his underwear for nearly five years, waiting for the day I would visit to return it.

I asked her why she kept it and didn't just throw the underwear away, and she said, "Why would I throw underwear away?"

Hermano, abuelo, me, Guille, and Hermanita, 1982

A running joke with my grandma during this last visit was that she was constantly drunk. When she told me something irrational like “walk on the floor softer” or “don’t touch my plants”, I would tilt my hand to my mouth and mime the act of drinking. Once, she thought I was just thirsty and brought me water.

When Guille was a child, her parents fled Poland for Argentina, seeking to escape pogroms and anti-Semitism sweeping across Eastern Europe. She grew up in Buenos Aires and lived there her whole life. She was married to my grandpa Meir for 40 years before he died in 1983 of cancer. She smiles when I talk about him and has dozens of framed photos of him around the apartment.

A few years ago, thieves broke into her friend’s apartment while she was playing cards with her friends and stole her wedding ring at gunpoint. She pleaded with them to take anything but the ring, explaining that its only value was purely sentimental. They took it anyway.

“Why don’t you move to the U.S. and live with Mami?” I asked her once. “Argentina is so dangerous.”

“No,” she said. “I grew up here and I’m going to die here.”

No problem, abuela. But I’ll see you when you’re 120.

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What is this, Sophie’s Choice?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007
As I weighed the decision this weekend whether to keep smoking or go on the nicotine patch, I wondered: “Is it in my economic interest to quit?”

I know there are plenty of social and health incentives to quit. Smoking will kill me, it stinks up my clothes, and it’s newly banned in DC bars. But is there any economic incentive?

Having recently finished reading Freakonomics, I’ve started questioning the conventional wisdom of nearly everything. The book’s authors revealed that human beings tend to behave less because of social or morality pressures but because of financial incentives.

Yesterday, for instance, while at the Laundromat, I wondered if the facility’s owners had any incentive to cheat customers. By turning down the heat slightly on their dryers -- not too much for anyone to notice but enough to make customers pay extra to dry their clothes -– Laundromat owners theoretically could rake in several thousands of extra dollars per month. And if this were true, would this financial advantage be enough to outweigh the fear of being caught and the ethics involved in cheating loyal customers?

Roosh investigated this principle of incentives yesterday by examining how much each sexual partner was costing him and considering whether an escort service was a more financially desirable choice. He found his $187 CPN (cost per notch) was less than an escort’s rates and, therefore, enough of a difference to be advantageous.

If Roosh could figure out the economics of sex, I could certainly determine whether economics could help me quit smoking.

I spend, on average, $4.50 per pack and smoke about 12 cigarettes per day. With an average cost of 22.5 cents per smoke, I am spending $2.70 per day or $37.80 every two weeks.

The Nicorette 2-week patch package costs $44, about 16% more than the cost of smoking. This is hardly what I would call an economic incentive. Over the course of the six-week program, this would extrapolate to an extra expense of $18.60.

I’d have to spend nearly an extra $20 AND I’d have to suffer through smoking cessation? Not much of a push to cease the habit.

Luckily, everyone’s favorite dual-circled, red-and-white company came to the rescue, this time with a generic alternative.

Target’s Nicotine Transdermal System offered the same two-week package for $28, nearly 26% LESS than my cost of smoking. That’s a savings of almost $30 over six weeks. Good, right?

Maybe. I started to wonder if that thirty bucks was even WORTH the exchange of the pleasure smoking brings me? Perhaps the VALUE of that $30 savings isn’t actually enough to make me quit.

In the end, I bought the Target package and today is my first day on the patch. My wallet may get slightly bulgier in the coming weeks but whether it matters has yet to be seen.
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I’m breaking up with Woody Allen

Thursday, January 11, 2007
Woody, we need to talk.

Things have gotten so bad lately. I don’t think I can do this anymore. When we first started out, there was so much promise. Remember when I first saw Annie Hall in college? It was immediate love. I thought, “Finally, I’ve met someone who understands me.” But I was so young and naïve. It was like some kind of whirlwind as we hurled through life and love in Manhattan, shared some stupid laughs in Take the Money and Run, and even got serious in Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Zelig cracked me up like no other and Love and Death still brings a smile to my face. You taught me so much, even making me watch Everyone Says I Love You despite my hatred of musicals.

But somewhere along the way, you changed. I guess it all started with Small Time Crooks. Not sure what that was all about. And The Curse of the Jade Scorpion? What the hell? I started to feel hurt and resentful that this was all you could give. I kept giving you a shot, but Hollywood Ending made me nearly walk out on you all together.

I saw some flashes of the old days, Woody, in Melinda and Melinda and even Match Point (I know now Scarlett Johannson was the reason).

But after watching Scoop last night, I know now that it’s over. We need to call it quits before things get worse. Scoop is NOT what I want out of this relationship and you just don’t seem to understand that. You used to care, really CARE about me. Your movies inspired me, made me talk about you to all my friends, and felt so carefree and easy.

Please, don’t be upset. This hurts me just as much as I’m sure it hurts you. But even Scarlett in a bathing suit wasn’t good enough to save the crapfest that was Scoop.

Don’t make this any harder than it is by reminding me of your upcoming Cassandra’s Dream, Woody. I want to think of the Woody who “lurved” Diane Keaton, who heard that Dissent and Commentary merged and formed Dissentary, and who talked about how even your worst orgasm “was right on the money”.

You may have said it best in Annie Hall: “A relationship, I think, is like a shark. You know? It has to constantly move forward or it dies. And I think what we got on our hands is a dead shark.”

We’ve got a dead shark, Woody.

So I wish you luck in the future but I don’t want you to think that we have one. I’m sure I’ll hear about you at Cannes and I may think of you from time to time. But I’ll think of the Woody who slipped on large banana peels in Sleeper and NOT the Woody who cast Jason Biggs in Anything Else.

You’ll always have a place in my heart, Woody. Just not at the box office.

P.S. The painting of Woody above was done by a friend of my brother’s named Preston, whose amazing artwork can be found at: http://www.pmsartwork.freeservers.com/
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Skipping Wonkette's Grid

Wednesday, January 10, 2007
My friend A Portable Snack may have seen his work poem blog picked up by Wonkette yesterday, but the travelbug in me is all happy thanks to a mention today in Gridskipper: The Urban Travel Guide. I can now claim to be a published travel writer. Sit on that, Walt Whitman!

There are more Argentina stories and photos to come, including about my abuelita, homeless children, and inflight magazines. Be patient, chicos.
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I feel pretty, oh so pretty

Tuesday, January 09, 2007
I’m not a Mac fan, but I’ll give it one thing – it sure takes funny photos.

Dickgirl and I used her IBook’s “photobooth” this weekend to twist, contort, skew, and flabbergast our faces into different ugly shapes and sizes. Think of it as the modern day equivalent of a fun house mirror without the whole, you know, having to leave your house part. Here are the results:


Arjewtino



Dickgirl




Baby Bien




GoPats

Good times, guys.

Also, the winner of Saturday night’s impromptu What Would Your Blog Be Called if You Had One contest goes to Luddite, who came up with http://blincolnblogs.blogspot.com.

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A 12-Step Guide to Having Fun in Buenos Aires -- What Lonely Planet Won’t Tell You

Monday, January 08, 2007
Every travel book to Buenos Aires tells the same story. Visit La Plaza de Mayo, walk through the city’s beautiful parks, and enjoy its sidewalk cafes. But if you hate acting like a tourist and want to experience the REAL Argentina, follow these steps. You might just get mistaken for a porteno.

1. U.S. dollars go a long way in Argentina, so exploiting the country’s fragile economic base is fairly easy. With a favorable exchange rate of 3 pesos to every dollar, pretend you’re the Bush twins and order the most expensive items in restaurants. A parillada mixta and bottle of Malbec wine will never taste so financially advantageous.

2. Visit your tee totaling 85-year-old grandma who doesn’t understand English well and accuse her of being drunk. When she tells you something irrational like “walk on the floor softer” or “don’t touch my plants”, tilt your hand to your mouth and humorously mime the act of drinking. She’ll think you’re thirsty and bring you water.

Note: My grandma could be the subject of an entire blog. No one register http://mycrazydrunkargentineangrandma.blogspot.com. It’s mine.

3. Take a 3am ride with a taxi driver who runs red lights, makes right turns three left lanes over, but crosses himself and kisses his crucifix whenever he drives past a church. Wonder if god would rather he just pay better attention to the road.

4. Pester your relatives to reveal a treasure trove of family secrets, ranging from the innocuous (mom wanted five kids instead of three) to the interesting (great-grandparents escaped pogroms in the Ukraine) to the disturbing (Argentine military agents paid a visit to Communist-minded dad and uncle at home in the 70s).

5. Live out your lifelong dream and take a 2-hour tour of your favorite soccer team’s stadium, River Plate’s Monumental. They’ll grant you an entire THREE MINUTES on the field where Argentina won its first World Cup in 1978. Ignore the tour guide when he hollers at you to leave by pretending you only understand English.

6. Visit family and friends you haven’t seen in years. You’ll get a headache from spending hours speaking in Spanish. They’ll also remind you every five minutes how small you were the last time they saw you.

7. Count how many mullets and rat tails you see men sporting in Buenos Aires. Consider growing one before your horrified girlfriend talks you out of it.

8. Watch “Los Simpson” dubbed in Spanish. Not funny.

9. On New Year’s Eve, take to the streets of Buenos Aires and try dodging an arsenal of fireworks, rockets, and fireballs. Walk in the middle of an empty Avenida Cabildo before nearly getting hit by a car you didn’t see coming.

10. Spend hours losing IQ points in Argentina’s cybercafé dungeons that play loud gay club music. Ask the attendant repeatedly to unlock the Internet porn block on your computer when you try to access such raunchy Web sites like Hotmail or DC Blogs.

11. Visit Buenos Aires during its most brutal heat wave since the 1950s. Stay with your grandma, who doesn’t “believe in air conditioning”.

12. Book your return flight home through Lan Chile. When they say you have a direct flight from Buenos Aires to BWI via Miami, what they ACTUALLY mean is you have a flight from Buenos Aires to Santiago, Chile, to Bogota, Colombia, to a delay in Miami, THEN to BWI, arriving at 2am.
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