Daily Archives: February 14, 2011

25 posts

Easy Tips for Picture Perfect Cuticles and Nice Nails

Keeping your cuticles “picture perfect” is an easy way to make your home manicure look professional, Even if you don’t polish your nails, keeping your hands looking well-groomed is a really easy way to look put-together without taking that much effort. Alternatively, if you’re like me, and you like to post pictures of your manicure on the internet, you may have noticed that the macro setting on your camera makes your cuticles look like an emery board.

Moisturize! Dry cuticles peel but moisturize, and they will look fantastic within a few days. The trick is to moisturize them with something whenever you’re thinking about picking at them. I carry Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Balm. Because I’m a reformed nail biter, whenever I get the tense urge to bite my nails, I moisturize my cuticles instead. (Think: smoker who tries to replace with gum-chewing.)

Mango Mend

Wear gloves when you wash your dishes (and other things)! Water will destroy your hands. Don’t listen to that dish soap commercial where the sponge thinks that the soap makes the lady’s hand sexy. It doesn’t. It just dries it up and makes you smell like dish soap. Do your dishes—that’s important. But just, invest in some plastic gloves. I also recommend dishes for gardening.Humans use tools! Please don’t use your nails to open things or rip off packaging. You will break your nail. And if you’re really unlucky, you will break it so it exposes skin and that will sting like fire the next time you try to make lemonade from scratch.

Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream

Speaking of tools, the best nail file advice I ever got was to use a glass file. It’s less damaging than a metal file and less wasteful than an emery board. File in one direction (this is a lot harder than it sounds) instead of sawing back and forth. It’s better to file than cut but if you want to get rid of a lot of length all at once, it’s helpful to soak your hands first so the nail is a bit softer to cut. The other trick to filing your nails is to file your nails with nail polish on. It makes it easier to see if you’re shaping it the way that you envisioned in your head.

ASP Glass File

If you have any questions or nail polish requests, feel free to post them in the comments and I will use some of those (as many as possible, I’d love to answer all of your questions) as material for future posts. I also like trying nail art and will work on making some easy to follow tutorials for you. So consider this (first) post, “Total Request Tunamelt.”

Simple Rules: Commenting

These rules for commenting should help everyone have a fun, productive and enlightening time on Crasstalk. To make this clear, yes, we are oppressing you and trampling your freedoms just by having these rules.

  • Be respectful of other commenters and authors.
  • No personal attacks.
  • No promotion of illegal activities.
  • Good grammar, spelling, punctuation and capitalization are expected.  Yes, we all make mistakes, but that’s different than purposely ignoring the rules. Capslackers have been warned.
  • Don’t be needlessly argumentative. Going out of your way to argue with others for no reason creates a bad atmosphere and makes people not want to come back.
  • Arguments about the decisions of the moderators or admins about these rules will not be indulged.
  • Animated GIFS in the Open Thread posts go in the reply (ITR).
  • Images of bugs, snakes, etc. go in the reply (ITR).
  • No more than 2 images, or 1 image and 1 video, in top-level (OP) comments.
Any commenter who violates these guidelines will be moderated and/or receive at a minimum a 24 hour suspension from the site. We reserve the right to permanently ban anyone who, in the opinion of the site moderators and admins, doesn’t contribute positively to the overall experience of using Crasstalk.com. All decisions of the moderators and site admins are final.

Simple Rules: Writing Posts

As everyone knows, this site has become an experiment in just how big a group blog can get before it crashes into an iceberg and kills thousands of people. We love the enthusiasm that our 90+ authors bring to the site and we have absolutely no intention of limiting your ability to express your creativity.

That said, we’ve learned a few things over the past week and it’s necessary to make some subtle changes to ensure that the site keeps getting better.

  • DO request an author account. If you don’t already have an author account, and would like one, email jfurfari -at- gmail.com to request one. If you’re brand new to the site, settle in and start contributing as a commenter. We’re much more likely to approve commenters who’ve already made a contribution to the site.
  • DO pick a unique password. If you haven’t picked out a unique password yet, do it NOW. Failing to do that could compromise the site’s security, and with so many authors, this is a real concern.
  • DO NOT hit publish. From now, authors will not actually be publishing their articles themselves. Instead, you’ll write the post and format it as normal in WordPress and save it as “PENDING REVIEW.”  An editor will look it over, make sure everything is ready to go, and schedule a time for it to be published. This will make it much easier for us to make sure everyone’s articles stay up top for longer without being bumped just because 8 other people posted at the same time you did. If you continually violate this rule, expect to lose your author account.
  • DO NOT edit your post after it is moved to pending or is scheduled.
  • DO NOT create new categories.  New tags are fine though.
  • DO NOT select categories for your post. We’ll assign categories for you.
  • DO add a blurb about yourself that appears at the bottom of your articles. To do that, go to your User page and add it to the About section there. Also, make sure you have an avatar loaded.
  • DO NOT add a “Featured Image.”  Just place a photo at the top of the post that’s around 550 pixels wide.
  • Do NOT start open threads. We’ll handle that. It gets crazy when there are five different open threads being started around the same time.
  • DO submit your articles ahead of time. The further ahead we can schedule all the new posts, the better.
  • DO NOT assume we’ll automatically publish your article just because you wrote it. We don’t plan to wield a heavy hand in terms of what you write about, but in some cases we may feel that your article is not a good fit for the site. Please try to either be cool about it and understand that your article just wasn’t quite the right fit… or cause a big pageview-generating public bitchfest in the comment section. We like spectacle.
  • DO come up with ideas for weekly columns. If you have a great idea, pick out a day of the week and post your idea in the comments here so that the other authors know what you’re working on. We really want more liveblogs, recaps, reviews, etc.
  • DO NOT make posts with just a single link/video and not much else. This isn’t Twitter. Put some time and effort into your posts. There are a LOT of eyeballs reading your articles so focus on presenting something unique and interesting.

Jonathan Solo nsfw

In honor of the most obnoxious holiday ever created, I thought I would showcase an artist who’s work bends traditional gender roles. In the majority of art, no matter the medium, subjects are almost exclusively heteronormative. So when I see the work of an artist like Jonathan Solo my mind whirls. His goal is to make you uncomfortable, to make you think about his work, his subjects.  Adding in his own experiences with death, addiction, and personal struggles, his works are unique to his feelings at specific points in time. About his work in his own words…

Strict polar gender identifications have been used to control and confine us, even persecute us, for millennia. We are at last breaking out into a fuller appreciation of the breadth and power of the multi-dimensionality of the gender spectrum.

My work explores the vast space between those rigid gender identities, through fine graphite renderings that are then cut and reapplied to birth a new identity. I am moved by the remarkable brave individuals I encounter who are exploring uncharted territories. They risk so much by just expressing their true selves, breaking free from the highly constrained paradigm of male vs. female. Lately I am fascinated by the existence of Intersex people and their unique histories and trajectories.

I blend elements of images from hyper-real sources like pornography and fashion with those of everyday people, juxtaposing female and male aspects. I then lens these with subtle distortions to generate an underlying visual tension in the overall image. After intricately rendering them in graphite on paper, I then excise each key element and reassemble them into the final layered composition. My goal is to evoke both a resonance and confrontation with viewers of my work.”

Life, Death and Violence: A Study of February 14

Happy Singles Awareness Day everyone! Not all of us can be lucky enough to spend it flirting with our Facebook fiancées who live across the pond (I know. I’m so lucky!), but we can all be lucky enough to do some book-learnin’ so that we can be smart enough to land that lucky lad (or lass) to share a bottle of Johnny Walker Green next year, when the holiday will magically transform into St. Valentine’s Day™. (Note: Before I snagged  an author account about a half hour ago, I had posted a briefer today in history in the Morning Open Thread. There will be minor overlap because some important stuff did happen today, but I’m going to try my best to make this as fresh as those amazing grapes you get at the Union Square Farmer’s Market in August (i.e. PURDY FRESH))

IT’S ALIVE! (When life rises from the ashes of a placenta)

Beloved dwarfish king mayor of NYC turned 69 today! BAWM CHICKA WOW WOW.  I’ve sent a large pepperoni pizza, a sprite and a pack of cigarettes to his apartment and arranged for a crew of Irishmen to follow him around tonight waving, waving with all the wave they have! If I still lived in New York, I’d totally go smoke in the park even though I quit because, seriously, 14$ for a pack of Luckies!? Outrageous!

You know who else was born today? Pat O’Brien, but also, someone named JoJo Starbuck. That has to be, like, my favorite name ever. It’s amazing on so many levels. Plus she looks like a lot of fun (she’s 60). Evidence:

To round out the life portion of our programme (now that we have politics and athletics), Italian Baroque composer Francesco Cavalli was born several hundred years back. A piece from an opera of his is at the top of this post.


Just kidding. It was actually the ornithologist James Bond is named after. You only live twice, Mister Bond. Once as a mild-mannered birdwatcher, and again as a sexy, sexy, sexxxy spy. What I’m saying here is that Daniel Craig is hot and can I please have him for Singles Awareness Day?

Today’s Dead Saints are Cyril and Valentine. That crazy Russian writing was invented by Cyril and his bro Method Man Methodius.

VIOLENCE (Won’t someone please think of the children!?)

Nothing violent today happened except for some Prohibitionist Chicago gang wars. That’s boring. Except, well, I guess, not, because seven people died due to Al Capone and Bugs Bunny Moran not being able to be friends.


  • Eli Gray woke up late and lost his patent for the talky phonograph to Alex Bell.
  • The Importance of Being Earnest opened and Oscar Wilde’s career began it’s tragic descent thanks to the libel case against his lover’s father that was initiated in the weeks after the opening.
  • Today is the 30th anniversary of the Stardust Disaster in which 48 people were killed in a fire at a Dublin discotheque after they found that all the main fire exits were chained and padlocked.

So that’s today in history, everyone, I’ll see you tomorrow when it’s socially acceptable to be a single person again and I won’t have to leave the house with a grocery bag over my head so as to hide the shame.

Music is my hot hot sex? (And other neuroscientific hyperbole)

Music is highly valued across all human societies. The specific sounds vary widely, even within cultures. My mom loves to listen to Gregorian chanting; I’d rather be involved in an automobile accident, but I do love The Strokes. The concept is the same, though: an abstract stimulus invokes a pleasurable response.

So is music a drug? New research published last month in Nature Neuroscience(1) indicates a strong similarity. Drugs, sex, and eating have long been known to produce pleasure by releasing dopamine in the mesolimbic system, commonly thought of as the “reward pathway.” These are tangible stimuli that promote (or, our bodies think they promote) survival. Music, though, is abstract. It feels good to listen, but it doesn’t provide us with safety, nutrition, or reproduction.

To test what neural pathways are engaged during musical enjoyment, researchers first had their test group select their favorite music. A “musical frisson” test was used to identify moments of peak pleasure – if you get “chills” on hearing “DON’T STOP – BELIEVING,” you’re actually experiencing a measurable physiological response.

Brain activity was then measured as subjects listened to their chosen piece. Two types of brain imaging were used: PET scans were used for their precision over time, while fMRIs were used for their neural precision. The results were combined to accurately determine exactly what the brain was doing at what point in the listening experience.

Two different neurochemical responses were discovered. In the anticipatory stage – leading up to the subject’s favorite part of the song – dopamine was released in the dorsal striatum. In previous studies(2), the dorsal striatum has been linked to learning and action selection. Researchers at UPenn have specifically linked it to cocaine cravings in addicts.

During the peak pleasure stages (measured by the musical frission response), dopamine was released in the ventral striatum. A previous study(3) strongly linked the ventral striatum to sensations of euphoria associated with amphetamine use in non-addicted individuals .

This biological parallel between drug use and listening to music makes sense, especially if you’ve ever tried to turn off someone’s favorite song “right at the good part.” Only an addict could respond so violently to a 60-second pleasure delay.

1. Salimpoor, V. N., Benovoy, M., Et. al. (2011, January 9). Anatomically distinct dopamine release during anticipation and experience of peak emotion to music [Electronic version]. Nature Neuroscience.

2. Volkow, N. D., Wang, G., Et. al. (2006, June 14). Cocaine cues and dopamine in dorsal striatum: Mechanism of craving in cocaine addiction [Electronic version]. The Journal of Neuroscience, 26(24), 6583-6588.

3. Drevets, W. C., Gautier, C., & Et. al. (2001). Amphetamine-induced dopamine release in human ventral striatum correlates with euphoria. Biol Psychiatry, 81-96.

Your Open Post Love

Happy Valentine’s Day, even if you are single you have the Crasstalk love to keep you warm tonight.

Just a quick rehash in case you haven’t been over here. We did a redesign last night and hope that everyone is feeling very pretty. Please give the new format a chance, but please also report any bugs or issues to crasstalk at gmail dot com. Here’s a few headlines to start of the conversation tonight:

Iranian security forces clashed with protesters today in Tehran. Tens of thousands of demonstrators have taken to the street after last week’s detention of a number of journalists and activists.

Pro Publica has an interesting investigative report on disabled student loan borrowers. People who become disabled are entitled to get the loans forgiven, but apparently the process of doing this has become confusing and arbitrary leaving many disabled borrowers in severe financial trouble.

A report from Politico details the enduring nature of the Obama birth certificate conspiracy. While national politicians will not touch the issue state and local politicians have taken up the cause. Ten states so far have introduced birth certificate requirement bills before their state legislatures. I am sure this is a productive way to spend lawmaker’s time.

Hope you all have a wonderful evening.

Tracking the Crazies – Prince William is the Antichrist

I have a long-standing fascination with crazy people. I love them. Absolutely love them. Through Crasstalk, I have found an outlet for this hobby of mine. So, without further ado, here is the inaugural “Tracking the Crazies with BBQ” column.
Recently, I came across an important global issue while mindlessly trolling the internet. This proves that wasting time on the internet is never really a waste. I’ve been fairly wrapped up in my own menial concerns and have failed to keep tabs on the Antichrist. It’s one of my biggest flaws and it was actually my New Year’s resolution to keep a better eye out for the Antichrist. Up until now, I’d failed miserably, but I came across a YouTube video which lead to further research and I have an important revelation about Revelation:
Prince William is the Antichrist.
I know what you’re asking yourself. How the heck did I miss this? I felt stupid too. It’s easy to get mired down in your day to day life and I think most Americans are so overly patriotic that we assume that the antichrist will show up closer to home. I always thought he’d herald from Texas or California but that was just typical American arrogance.
If you Google “Prince William antichrist” you will get more hits than you ever imagined. There are lots of YouTube videos and some detailed reports. I got lost in the middle of some of them but I’ve never claimed to be any kind of biblical scholar. It’s actually taken me days to sort through the research to understand why and how Prince William came to be the Antichrist. I’ll outline them for you briefly.
• Remember when they cloned Dolly the lamb? Well, you were tricked into believing that the lamb was the first clone. Actually, Prince William was the first clone. He was actually cloned from the Shroud of Turin.
• Since Prince William was cloned from the Shroud of Turin, he will have the same DNA as Jesus, whose DNA is on the Shroud of Turin. So, he’ll be able to claim that he’s Jesus reborn because the DNA will be an exact match. But, he won’t be because any clone of Jesus would be an abomination, and would therefore be the Antichrist.
• His family shield has all the harbingers of doom aka signs of the beast a la Revelation. I can’t make head or tails of Revelation but evidently it points clearly to Prince William’s family crest and you can read it for yourself at http://www.cephasministry.com/prophecy_royals_and_the_antichrist.html. I got a screeching headache after about three minutes so consider yourself warned.
There are other miscellaneous details that are convincing evidence in and of themselves. They include:
• He was born right after a solar eclipse on a summer solstice when the sun is most high
• The Lion King was released the week of his 12th birthday. Some think the movie was made as a subtle and cunning tribute to him. His enemy Scar mocks Jesus, who has scars from the crucification. He was the same age when this movie came out as Jesus was when he preached in the temple.
• On March 6th, 1996, Prince William showed the world that he and his two sons William and Charles, had been the first people to be voluntarily implanted with microchips (RFID) in their right hands. This is very beast-y (devil-like) behavior.
• He posed with a lamb in a picture, which is intended to mock the famous picture of Jesus with the lamb.
I think you’ll agree that taken individually, these facts are troubling, but taken as a whole, they all point unmistakably to the fact that Prince William is clearly the Antichrist and we should all be on vigilant alert. He’ll be turning 30 in 2012, which is the year that Jesus began his ministry, so it’s likely that the Antichrist will have a similar schedule. According the Antichrist experts, he is really going to start acting up in 2015, so you will want to start planning accordingly.
Here’s the original video I found, in case you’re interested: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwJ0PZMbu-w

Afternoon Numbers: Nothing Happened

Wall Street sighed a collective “meh” today following President Obama’s release of the FY 2011 Budget.  The Dow closed down 5 points to end at 12,268.  The NASDAQ gained 7 3/4 to end at 2,817 and the S&P 500 gained 3 to end at 1,332.  Following yet another flat day of trading, some analysts wondered why they even bothered going into work with some going so far as proposing that pants be optional for floor traders.

Meanwhile in Washington, President Obama’s budget proposal was greeted with tepid hatred.  Rep. Michelle Bachmann, who chairs the House Committee on Batshit Crazy, rambled about how it proved the President was a secret Muslim, citing the use of Arabic numbers as proof of her latest idiot theory.  Meanwhile, freshman wingnut Rand Paul spoke for several Tea Party members while voicing complaints that the proposed budget didn’t do enough to establish complete anarchy.

In entertainment news, Glenn Beck used his radio program to complain that Esperanza Spalding is the vanguard on a jazz-based attack on American liberties aimed at creating a post-modernist bebop caliphate in the United States.  He then blamed her and Neil Young for making Christina Aguilera botch the lyrics to “Baby.”  When reminded that “Baby” is by Justin Bieber, Beck went on a 30 minute stream of consciousness tangent linking Canada to the decrease in playing time of folk-rock albums, ezplained by increased sunspot activity and fluorine in the water supply.

Open comment thread below.

The Cinderella Story

The crowd had gone deadly silent, a Cinderella story outta nowhere. Paired with former SNL star and now about to become the masters champion.

Shooting a 67 is pretty damned cool.  Not many people can do it (at least not without cribbing on the scorecard).

Shooting a 67 on Pebble Beach, one of the finest golf courses in the world, is incredible.  Not many pros can do it.

Shooting a 67 on Pebble Beach in a PGA Tour match is a once-in-a-lifetime happening for anyone not named Jack Nicklaus or Tiger Woods.

Winning a PGA Tour match at Pebble Beach by shooting a 67 is something many a duffer can only dream of doing.

Which is why the most incredible thing that happened this weekend was when D.A.Points, ranked 161 in the PGA standings, won a PGA Tour match at Pebble Beach after shooting 67.  And his partner…

Bill Murray.

Talk about your Cinderella stories outta nowhere.  It’s the sort of thing that never approaches the realm of reality.  Every golfer knows Caddyshack backwards and forwards.  In fact, most Americans know Caddyshack backwards and forwards.

There are the all-time great sports movies: The Natural, Hoosiers, The Pride Of The Yankees.  And there are the all-time great comedies.  Caddyshack straddles both categories (in spite of being horribly dated).

I’m willing to bet that right now, D.A. Points is happier having played a round of golf with the iconic Carl Spackler (“We’ve got a pool and a pond; pond’s good for you) than he is with the win.

And what does Bill Murray get out of the deal?  Asked for comment, he responded by quoting the Dalai Lama as saying “Gunga galunga… gunga, gunga-lagunga.”  Murray explained that there won’t be any money, but when he dies, on his deathbed, he will receive total consciousness.

So Murray’s got that goin’ for him, which is nice.