Tag Archives: FAO Schwartz

Christmas Time, Goodwill Toward Mankind (Classic Misanthrope Repost)

22 Nov

November 22, 2012

Wow, another from the depths of the bmj2k.com archives. This, like yesterday, is from my MySpace era of blogging. After you read this, you’ll quickly see how I’ve changed in the last 5 + years.
1- I am still just as cynical, just less vocal about it
2- I guess that’s it.

from April 30, 2007

Walking through New York City during December can be a joyous experience. Look at the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center, and the lights and decorations. Look at the skaters, young and old, all spinning, skating, or at least trying to stay upright as the throngs of holiday shoppers look down and smile. See the displays at Macy’s, the lights of Times Square, the sounds of Chinatown. Experience Little Italy. People from all across the globe come to New York this time of  year, all helping to bring the season to a wonderful crescendo, whether you celebrate Hanukkah,  Christmas, or just love the whole magical aura of this time of year.

But keep away from me. I’m staying in Brooklyn.

Who needs all these people? Most of them come from Podunk Iowa or Grabass Wisconsin and just walk around with their jaws hanging open and “gee whiz” looks in their eyes as they block traffic, slow down the lines in stores, and ask stupid questions. Tourists. People from New York are just better than everyone else. You know it too. Go anywhere and you’ll see. People in other cities are all hayseeds, jerks, or French. It isn’t too bad if you, Mr. or Miss New Yorker, are the tourist. A well-planned group of New Yorkers can take over any town, burg, or city in this country. But we are merciful and let them think they count so we don’t take over. Yet.

But let thousands of tourists come here and they screw it all up. Christmas time comes and suddenly it takes 45 minutes for my pizza to be delivered. Go into a bagel store and there’s a line of rubes buying flavored cocoa. Try to walk down a street and there’s a smelly guy in a Santa suit begging me for money. He’s not a tourist, just a Salvation Army guy, but he pisses me off too.

Just last week I was trying to buy a newspaper in lower Manhattan and some family of tourists, with a pair of cute little twin girls, asked me for directions to FAO Schwartz. They were from Dayton Ohio, they explained, and were here for the holidays. It was little Suzie and Sally’s first Christmas in the city and they wanted to buy them something special. “Get out of my way,” I said. “You’re going to make me miss my train.”

But none of this is to say that I hate the holidays. No, no, I hate people, not holidays. The holidays are great. The lights, the sounds, the spirit. I even like gift giving. Sometimes I even do it. There is nothing better than the look on someone’s face when they open the present I’ve carefully picked out (the day before at the 99 cent store) and wrapped (thrown into a bag from the 99 cent store) and  maybe I got someone to pick out and sign a card for me. Of course, there is actually one thing better than gift giving and that’s gift getting. (I’ll get back to this on December 26th and let you know how this turned out.)

Holiday season is also when teachers get a week off. Trust me- it isn’t enough time. There is so much to do- TV, DVD, CD, MP3, sleeping, reading. How can I fit it all into one measly week? And sometimes I even have to see other people.

So as this amazing festival of love and peace approaches, please remember a few simple rules.

1- Don’t cut me off in traffic.

2- Have your money ready at the checkout. I am not going to wait while you find your little bag of pennies, grandma.

3- Remember that New Yorkers are not all rude. But I am so leave me alone.

4- It does not matter if I haven’t given you a gift. The holiday spirit is the spirit of giving, so give me stuff. (And I don’t do thank you notes.)

5- Special rules for unmarried women and mistletoe apply. Please see addendum 14.

So I wish you all Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Kooky Kwanzaa, or whatever else all this season throws our way.

The Celebrity Apprentice: Week Nine

15 Apr

April 15, 2012

For those of you keeping score at home, afterLou’s firing last week these are the remaining eight contestants: Teresa, Paul, Clay, Aubrey, and Arsenio on one side, and Lisa, Dayana, and Penn on the other.

Here are my thoughts on each one’s chances of winning.

Teresa: She has not distinguished herself but despite being called out in the boardroom fairly often has not really done badly. Probably not a contender.

Paul: Everyone loves him and he gets done whatever is asked of him. Unbelievably, other than when he was project manager the first week, he has been quiet and low-key. I think if he steps up and wins another task he has a great shot at winning.

Clay: Not afraid to speak his mind and stand up for himself and his team, I think Clay is the frontrunner right now.

Aubrey: No.

Arsenio: A contender too but like Paul he needs to step up a little more and really make himself stand out.

Lisa: If you listen to her she has done every single task by herself. So logically she is also to blame since her teams have lost the majority of their tasks. Plus she is nasty and confrontational and not the type of person Trump picks. I won’t say she has no chance only because so many of her team members support her.

Dayana: She is just there, neither good nor bad. It is not all her fault because she isn’t usually given much to do. So far, unless things change, little to no chance of winning.

Penn: What a huge disappointment he has been. HUGE. I expected him to win it all and now I am wondering what he is doing here. He missed the majority of two tasks and added little to any of them. He admitted to checking out mentally and after the debacle of the Blue Man Group tossing money to the wind I can see no reason for him to stick around any longer. Sorry Penn, but you have shown no leadership or creativity.

And now on with the show.

The show began with Lisa attacking Clay, and Aubrey talking about how much she hates Clay. Where did that come from? He has been nothing but a pro. Oh, wait, he called her out in the boardroom. Aubrey is so obvious. This show was taped long ago. I wonder how Aubrey feels sitting at home watching her performance? Probably loves it, that idiot. “I usually impress myself so I am not worried.” Sheesh.

THE TASK: A live puppet show for adults with an original puppet character.

But first, time to even the teams and guess what? Clay moved over to Lisa’s team. I would not have even the teams. One perk of winning is that you get an advantage over the other team in terms of personnel. If you are going to even out the terms that takes away on of the perks of winning.

Paul, BTW, was credited on-screen as “Star of American Chopper,” which of course is true, but not as “Owner of Orange County Choppers.” Not a big deal I guess but interesting.

Aubrey: “Maybe Arsenio has experience as a comedic performer…”  she can’t take a breath without insulting someone! But Lisa is no better. Last week she grudgingly complimented Dayana  but right away she was insulting her again. “She thinks she can do what we do.”

Meanwhile, I must admit that Aubrey stepped back and let the leader lead. Ok, she said she was going to do that  and yes it was a calculated move, but still it was a nice change.

Lisa was getting offensive making fun of Dayana’s accent and her Spanish language. If she loses she will look bad in the boardroom.

Paul was managing just the way he does at OCC, sitting back and letting everyone do the work. H even admitted “I felt no pressure because I was just sitting on the sidelines.” To be fair, he had extreme back issues that prevented him even lifting his arms.

Aubrey was being Aubrey, complaining about everyone else. “Teresa’s trying her best, which probably isn’t going to be good enough.”

So far, the teams, with the assistance of Jim Henson’s son Brian, have been building Muppets puppets that they will be voicing and performing with. Neither team has yet settled on what the show will but Lisa knows who will, or more importantly who won’t be performing. Much as I hate Aubrey, Lisa has been creeping up higher and higher on my can’t-stand-her list.

Going into the performance, Paul is on the line as the other three members all agree he did almost nothing on this task. On the other side, it is all on Lisa again, as she (she will claim) did everything. Lisa will blame Dayana for doing nothing but once again, Lisa gave her nothing to do. And then Lisa dove into a profanity-laced tirade towards Dayana. “I had to create out of my ass something for you to do!” And that was one of the tamer ones. So Dayana is looking for work and Lisa gives her none but in the boardroom Lisa will blast Dayana for not doing anything. So whose fault is that? Lisa then yelled at Penn and Clay “why do I have to manage her every week? Why can’t one of you step up?” BECAUSE YOU ARE THE PROJECT MANAGER THIS WEEK, that’s why.

Lisa’s team did their show and it seems to go over very well. If they lose, Clay is safe because of his performance.

Paul’s team? Let’s say Teresa… needed work. The following performance was better:

The puppet pros said she broke every rule of improv.

10:25. The Boardroom.

Lisa attacked Dayana for wanting to be on stage. Dayana simply wanted to be involved in some capacity. Lisa gave her nothing to do, and worse, said that her accent hurt her.

Lisa if you lose who will you bring back? “I may just bring myself in. I am not going to be a villan because I have strong opinions.” The preceding was said through tears and sobs.

Paul, who was your weak player? Teresa. “It takes her a long time to make up her mind.”

What did Arsenio think of Paul? “He may not have been able to move, but he was able to lead us.” Everyone loves Paul Senior!

THE WINNER: Team Lisa. This should be an easy boardroom. Teresa is gone for her bad performance. Paul is on the block for being the project manager, but Arsenio was singled out for being a great puppeteer and Aubrey was singled out for her hosting so there is no on else left.

Arsenio, who should be fired? Teresa.
Teresa, who should be fired? Paul. “He didn’t do anything. We pretty much ran the whole show.”
Paul, who should be fired? Teresa.
Aubrey: “Paul was injured, this was not his field. He did not contribute much.”
Aubrey, who is the more valuable team member going forward? She sort of picked Teresa but also ran her down at the same time.
Arsenio, same question. Paul. “He’s a bright guy.”
Is Paul a leader or a follower in respect to this task? “He was nothing but a leader on this task.”

Paul, who is safe tonight? “Arsenio. Moving forward he brings a lot of versatility to the team.”

GOING TO THE BOARDROOM: Paul, Aubrey, and Teresa.

Lisa thinks it is a bad move because if he brought Arsenio he would back Paul, now no one will back Paul.

Ivanka: “Paul seems a bit lackluster, he seems a little tired.”

Aubrey is backing Teresa in the boardroom (with ridiculous backhanded compliments)and it is easy to see why. Going forward Teresa is no competition while Paul would be tough competition. She is trying to get rid of her biggest threat, Paul Senior.

But in the end, not bringing back Arsenio whom the judges disliked was a big problem, so Paul Senior, you’re fired.

I do not know how I feel about that. Tune in tomorrow for the American Chopper Weekly Rundown for my take on it.

Trump: “He will be missed.”

Paul: “It is weird getting fired because I am usually on the other end of the shoot.”

NEXT WEEK: Launching Donald Trump’s new cologne. And George Ross is back!

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