Andrea Harner
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December 30, 2008

Le Cirque: A Table in Heaven by HBO Documentary Films

This documentary was truly enjoyable. It follows Sirio Maccioni's restaurant Le Cirque from its heyday in the Palace Hotel decades ago when it was populated by people like Ronald Reagan and Joan Collins, to its close, then it's reopening in the Bloomberg building just a few years ago. Of course no story is complete without conflict and it doesn't get any better than conflict between an old Italian patriarch and his Italian-American sons who are either constantly being berated by their father or who try desperately to convince their father that things aren't as they once were; the arguments over whether the new Le Cirque should have a jacket and tie dress code get heated and are very entertaining and touching. My only criticism of the film is that it was too short. There were incidents such as the firing of the chef after only receiving two stars by the New York Times shortly after its reopening that were glossed over; I would have loved to see more of that hairy process. Towards the end I could sense the film was winding down and I got sad because I wanted more. Nevertheless, it is definitely worth seeing - it aired on HBO last night but I'm sure it'll air again so get to your DVR/Teevo now!

Click here for the trailer! It's worth waiting for the annoying ad to pass.

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* Thanks to HBO for a screener of this great doc I was happy to review!

December 17, 2008

Interesting article on behavioral changes in this economy and my friend Beth is quoted! And see how easily psychology can become forensic psychology?!

Downturn spurs "survival panic" for some. By Nicole Maestri, Reuters.

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A paralegal, recently laid off, wanted to get back at the "establishment" that he felt was to blame for his lost job. So when he craved an expensive new tie, he went out and stole one.

The story, relayed by psychiatrist Timothy Fong at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute and Hospital, is an example of the rash behaviors exhibited by more Americans as a recession undermines a lifestyle built on spending.

In the coming months, mental health experts expect a rise in theft, depression, drug use, anxiety and even violence as consumers confront a harsh new reality and must live within diminished means.

"People start seeing their economic situation change, and it stimulates a sort of survival panic," said Gaetano Vaccaro, deputy clinical director of Moonview Sanctuary, which treats patients for emotional and behavioral disorders.

"When we are in a survival panic, we are prone to really extreme behaviors."

The U.S. recession that took hold in December last year has threatened personal finances in many ways as home prices fall, investments sour, retirement funds shrink, access to credit diminishes and jobs evaporate.

It is also a rude awakening for a generation of shoppers who grew up on easy access to credit and have never had to limit purchases to simply what they needed or could afford.

Instead, buying and consuming have become part of the national culture, with many people using what is in their shopping bags to express their own identity, from the latest gadgets to designer handbags.

For those who need to abruptly curtail spending, that leaves a major void, said James Gottfurcht, clinical psychologist and president of "Psychology of Money Consultants," which coaches clients on money issues.

"People that have been ... identifying with and defining themselves by their material objects and expenditures are losing a definite piece of their identity and themselves," he said. "They have to learn how to replace that."

DEPRESSION TRIGGER

Beth Rosenberg, a New York freelance educator and self-professed bargain hunter, said she stopped shopping for herself after her husband lost his publishing job in June.

She is now buying her son toys from the popular movie Madagascar for $2 at McDonald's, and is wearing clothes that have hung untouched in her closet for years. She said it has been stressful to stick to an austere budget after she used to easily splurge on $100 boots.

"I miss it," she said of shopping.

Resisting temptation now could be even more difficult, as struggling retailers roll out massive discounts to lure shoppers during the holiday season.

Continue reading...

Reiko and her baby daughter Leon!!

Do we need any more proof that Asian babies are the cuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuutest????!!!

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A year in the life of a Japanese kitty: this is great for people who understand Japanese traditions and TV culture!

* via BuzzFeed!

December 14, 2008

My parents in their natural habitat

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* Sent by family friend Dan who's hanging out with my parents in China.
** I intend to introduce my future kids to karaoke around age 5 as I was!

December 13, 2008

Kucoon/Andrea Spratt's LA Fashion Week Show!!! I couldn't be prouder of you, evil twin!!!

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Update on the 'first kill of the season by my grandmother' post

Apparently, it wasn't a deer she killed, but a BEAR.

My mom told me that Nahna's apple tree was damaged by a bear so she called in people to catch it. Two days later they caught the whole bear family alive and killed one to scare the rest of them away. According to Nahna, in California, the total number of bears that can be killed annually is 1700 because of increasing bear numbers.

* I do not care to inquire about this incident further.
** The second I heard "the whole bear family," that was it. I don't care about the apple tree.

December 12, 2008

THE OMG CUTEST BEST FUNNIEST AWESOMEST PICTURE EVER.

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December 11, 2008

Has it been too long since you've had a good ole puke? Well you're in luck.

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December 9, 2008

2 papers, 1 presentation & 1 exam DOWN. 3 papers and 1 final TO GO!!

This is my last semester of grad school with a full schedule so the prospect of completing this semester is exciting!

December 8, 2008

Japanese commuters told to be courteous as standards fall, Telegraph

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Five years ago, it would have been unthinkable for passengers on Japan's crowded trains to witness a female office worker applying make-up on her way to work. But now, grooming in public is commonplace. For some, such behaviour reflects the fact that the politeness and courtesy that was a trademark of Japanese society are fading fast.

Standards are falling so rapidly that Japan Railways has just launched a poster campaign urging women to "Please do it at home" – put their make-up on, that is.

"I would have to say that levels of inconsideration have accelerated in the last five years or so," said Toshiko Marks, a professor of multicultural understanding at Shumei University. "I first saw a young woman applying her make-up on a train about five years ago but now it is an everyday sight," she said. "I even see people on trains eating food that has a strong smell, such as noodles, which means everyone has to put up with it."

Professor Marks said that the worst culprits are youngsters in their teens and twenties, and that women are the greater offenders.

"Japanese women used to use different words to men, a more polite and feminine version of the language, but that has completely disappeared, and even television announcers now use words traditionally used by men," said the professor.

But not everyone sees the new-found willingness to speak out as negative.

"There is a whole trend towards informality, and people here are finally relaxing," said Nicole Fall, a trend director with consumer intelligence agency Five By Fifty. "Before, young people were under pressure to act in a certain way, but we are advising clients now that they need to get rid of the formality in their offices because they're not getting through to their own staff and they're not getting through to a whole range of young clients.

"And if you can't connect, then you're just building barriers," she said. "Young people have become freer and that means Japan is more democratic. It's a sign that the country has progressed."

While this means that commuters now rarely apologise for inadvertently treading on a toe, there is a more sinister aspect. Men seem more ready to argue and even come to blows than before.

Masao Nakabayashi, of the Aiiku Hospital's Maternal and Child Health Centre, said that his department had reported 13 "monster husband" incidents in the first half of the year alone, in which many fathers-to-be have become aggressive. A record of the increasing violence to staff have only been kept for the past two years; before this, it wasn't deemed an issue.

"Parents used to have time to teach their children respect – we could actually call it common sense – but mothers and fathers now both have to work and are too busy to nurture and raise children in the right way," said Professor Marks. "People say they are frightened they will be attacked if they get involved in a situation. And that leads to another great Japanese tradition: pretending that if you can't see anything, then nothing is happening."

That reluctance to get involved, claimed the professor, means that people who put their feet on seats or shave on a train are not being shamed into reconsidering their actions – which in turn reinforces the notion that what they are doing is acceptable.

Voicemail from my grandmother the rancher in Northern California

Nahna (in her high-pitched, sing-songy, saccharine voice): Hiiiii Aaaaandrea! I thought I missed your call so I'm calling back but maybe it wasn't you who called. Anyway, I thought I'd let you - animal lover - know thaaaaat (dramatic pause)...we killed our first deer of the season today!!! (Laughing, laughing, laughing).

Andrea: '___'

* She really isn't as evil as this sounds.
** Deer are sweet and innocent.

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December 6, 2008

Anyone know of a good Ear, Nose, & Throat doc in Manhattan? Recommendations much appreciated!
OMG: White Supremacist Mug Shots Before & After

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* via BuzzFeed!

December 5, 2008

I WOULD ADOPT JACK IN A HEARTBEAT. PLEASE ADOPT HIM IF YOU ARE A GOOD PERSON.

If you're a dog person this may make you cry. The close-up of Jack expression while he's being an obedient dog is so hilarious you may pee. For more info click here.


My Name is JACK - Please ADOPT ME! from adriene hughes on Vimeo.

My Uncle Robert's Thanksgiving Turkey: Best turkey I've ever seen!!!

Really, anything other than turkey is better than turkey but this takes the cake: a 6.5 pounder.

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