Sunday, April 10, 2011

Abby & Spencer Get First Grooming, Then Run Like The Wind!

Abby & Spencer got groomed Sunday at Clark Pet Store in Brooklyn Heights, their first cut since the critters came into our lives in November. When I picked them up, I hardly recognized them! For the first time, they have Schnauzer mustaches—and they look half as big. I'm in love all over again, now that I can see their beautiful brown eyes.Here's what they looked like before the shears... More picolas of the "new" critters...After grooming, Abby & Spencer were rewarded with an hour at the Brooklyn Heights dog run, as temps finally reached the upper 50s. What a joy watching them interact amiably with other doggies, while running as fast as their legs would carry them. Happiness.

HBO's 'Cinema Verite' Explores 1973's 'An American Family'

While reality shows in the millennium are a dime a dozen and increasingly crass ("Pregnant In Heels," anyone?), PBS' 1973 "An American Family" was a fascinating three-month, 12-episode documentation of the Loud family from Santa Barbara, Calif. Producer Craig Gilbert believed at the time that TV shows like "The Brady Bunch" and "The Partridge Family" weren't exactly realistic portrayals of family life. Hey, really?

HBO's "Cinema Verite," which debuts Saturday, April 23 at 9 p.m., dramatizes the rocky behind-the-scenes action of the series, starring Diane Lane and Tim Robbins as parents Pat and Bill, Thomas Dekker as gay son Lance and James Gandolfini as producer Gilbert.

Following the HBO movie, World TV will air a 12-hour marathon of the original series immediately after the movie premiere, April 24, from midnight to noon. It has not been shown in its entirety in more than two decades. World is apparently shown in few markets; to find locals channels airing the marathon, click here. New Yorkers can tune into WNET/13 beginning at 11 p.m. April 23.

I can't wait. HBO does it again: having a blast with "Mildred Pierce," and now this. See the promo below!

NYC Councilman Comrie Blames McDonald's For Fact That He's Fat

A morbidly obese New York City Councilman believes it should be illegal for McDonald's to include toys with Happy Meals—because he's a fat fuck!

In another example of New York becoming the nation's runner up Nanny State behind meddlesome Cali, Queens' Councilman Leroy Comrie intends to legislate what should be parental responsibility. The fatty tips the scale at a death-defying 320 pounds.

NYC Mayor Bloomberg has already turned the city into a civil rights-defying locale on everything from salt and trans fats to cigarette smoking and sugar sodas, hastily enacting laws to mandate what's good for you... and what's not.

Now, the grotesque Queens politico is steamrolling momentum for a ludicrous law that would only allow toys to be included in kid's meals under 500 calories or with <500mg of salt. McD's already offers a Happy Meal where parents can substitute apple dippers for fries. Violators would be fined up to $500.

"If we can get fast food companies to create nutritious meals where children could receive toys, they would be just as excited," Comrie said. Yeah, right. Here's the real deal: The fleshball admits he gobbled down Happy Meals as a child and lets his fat kids do the same. Since he possesses no self restraint or parenting skills, a law should do it for him.

Stating the obvious, he adds, "Clearly, my weight has always been an issue, and it's something that has given me the impetus to do this bill." He called fast food restaurant toys "predatory."

Comrie didn't hesitate to play the weary race card, whining, “Ads and meals are targeted in low income and minority neighborhoods already at risk for childhood obesity. These communities have limited access to supermarkets (and) healthy food options." Simply, that is a lie.

The New York State Restaurant Assn.,  opposes robbing parents of choice. "We need to find a more effective way to combat obesity than taking toys away from children and choices away from their parents," a spokesman says. Try telling that to an overzealous city government.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

FREE STUFF: Here's Where To Find It!

If you're always looking to save a dime or a dollar like me, there is an endless bounty of free samples & discounted deals inundating the webbie. All you need to do is know where to look, and in a week or two, your mailbox will start filling with free shampoo & deodorant, toothpaste & dog food!

A word to the wise: It's savvy to create a "junk" email address to sign up for samples, since you're likely to get a modicum of junk mail from some vendors. In addition, an email addy is always required.

Also, I never share my cell number. If a freebie requires a mobile text, forget it. And increasingly, freebies ask you to "Like" a page on your Facebook account. For a free squeeze of Fructis shampoo, not gonna happen.

It also helps to have your computer set to auto-fill so as you type in your address/info countless times, all you gotta do is type the first letter and the rest fills typically itself in. You can even do this for states and birth years, by opening the scroll-down and typing in the info; so instead of scrolling down to "New York," I click the bar and type in "New Y..." then hit return. Done.

Let the games begin... Sweet Free Stuff and its accompanying daily email, Your Daily Free Stuff, is the site I rely on each day for freebies of hair care products, restaurant coupons, pet products, cheap (or free) mag subscriptions and store-centered giveaways, like free crap at Walgreens when you print a coupon, or alerts for free ice cream at Ben & Jerry's, etc. The site also shares upcoming sales at national drugstore and grocery chains, and links those in-store deals with coupons in Sunday papers. Every deal has been screened, so you know none are scams.

The Freebie Blogger and Totally Free Crap and Bargain Diner and Eric's Free Site and I Crave Freebies and Start Sampling are similar, scouring the web for free food, kiddie portraits, cookbooks, make-up, detergent, magazines, even software.

Speaking of free software, the best place to download all sorts of helpful goodies for your computer is CNET.com. You can choose Mac or PC, free, shareware or paid, without fear of a virus. There are also user reviews and you can choose by application, popularity and the latest/greatest.

Walmart offers a fairly frequent posse of free samples, like shampoo and dog food. Free shipping for all!

Groupon, founded in 2008, has of course, become the big daddy of social networking deals on the webbie, offering daily bargains in major metros. The caveat: time limits & a limited number of offers for each. I've used Groupon to pay $15 for a $30 credit at Red Envelope, $30 worth of food at a Brooklyn nabe restaurant for $15, and two hours of handyman services for $50 (a $130 value). Watch for blackout and expiration dates. Also of note: If you refer a friend, you get $10 in Groupon bucks when they buy their first deal.

A number of sites offer similar services, including Scoop Street and Buy With Me and DealSurf and DealOn and Lifebooker and Zozi and Living Social. The latter's cool gimmick is that if you convince three of your pals to buy the same deal, you get it free.

Dealzon shares deep discounts on electronics, including computers, home theater, storage, gaming, cameras and office supplies. It also offers a column on the bottom right of the home page with free stuff. As with most, you can sign up for a daily email highlighting the best bargains. Within the past week, I've opted in for free Lacoste cologne, a Kit-Kat bar, dog food sample, Aveeno shampoo & conditioner and Nescafe flavored coffee samples.

Working Advantage is an employee-based discounter focused on shopping, entertainment (movie tickets!), travel, events and gifts. I apparently signed up for this years ago when I worked for Nielsen and continue to get their weekly emails. Not sure if you have to prove employment to sign up, but it's worth a try.

TravelZoo has evolved from a national webbie with air fare, hotel and other travel alerts to offering local deals in more than two dozen markets for dining, shopping, spas & salons and events. There's also the occasional skydiving, yoga class, speed reading or hot air balloons.

And finally, order one of those free coffeemakers with a couple boxes of java from Gevalia, and you become of member of Gevalia Perks, which offers some of the best daily deals we've seen, including its Overwhelming Offers, like $100 off a $200 purchase at West Elm or $25 for a $50 Home Depot gift card. Deals are "unlocked" at specific times, with a maximum number offered (like Groupon), so act fast. Deals of apparel, travel, electronics and home furnishings, too. Boffo.

Happy shopping!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Christian Chavez Pushes Equality Envelope With Hot Homo Video

Former member of Latin boy band RBD Christian Chávez, who came out of the closet in 2007, has released a music video for "Libertad," featuring former RBD co-member Anahí.

Following its release March 26, the clip, which celebrates freedom of choice, a la Lady Gaga's "Born This Way," received more than 1 million hits in three days and has become a viral hit.

Showing two men passionately kissing is a rarity in the Latin market... or for that matter, in the American Anglo world. Remember when Adam Lambert had the gall to embrace a male band member on ABC-TV, and the ridiculous backlash that ensued?

In an interview, Chavez says that the video's risqué scenes are a reflection of real life: "When young people are discovering their sexuality they live these things." Which, of course, has been commonplace in the hetero world for decades.

It sounds like progress to me. One baby step at a time, baby.

William Levy Stars In New JLo Vid 'I'm Into You'

Jennifer Lopez's upcoming music video for single, "I'm Into You," featuring Lil' Wayne, will co-star the sexiest man alive, William Levy, as her love interest! The multi-talented actress and singer lensed the clip near a historic pyramid last weekend in Yucatán, Mexico.

She sent a Tweet to fans saying, "Maybe if I have a really hot guy in the video, nobody will notice that I can't sing or dance, and that listening to Lil' Wayne is kind of like sticking pine cones up your behind. Ha ha."

Okay, I made up the quote. But Levy's presence will be mighty real, cool cats. Better than sloppy joes and french fries!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Webbie Posts 'Ridiculous Celine Dion Photos' (Oh, And They Are!)

Funny as hell... There's a spanking new webbie called Ridiculous Pictures of Celine Dion via Tumblr and my god, there is some hysterical stuff here. Let's remember that Celine is a very expressive, well-traveled woman, so the camera is bound to catch her in some less than flattering poses. But unlike Mariah Carey, at least she kept her damn clothes on during her pregnancies. All in good fun, eh?

ENCORE: New York Subway... 100 Years

I posted this long, loving look at the New York subway back in February and now, with The Smoking Nun's new template, I offer an encore look, with the bigger, bolder, brighter images. This is a goodie.

According to MTA, ridership on the New York subway was up by a whopping 24 million rides in 2010 over the year before, totaling 1.60 passengers. The tally is one of the highest since 1950...

For all the whining—mine included—about fare hikes, overcrowding and slow or no service, it's still the best way to travel in NYC, if not the world.

Here's a historic look back over the past 100 years of New York's venerable New York subway system... from the 1920s to the 2010s. (P.S. This was a whopper to put together; I spent more than five hours collecting webbie photos from every conceivable locale.)