Archive | October 2010

Derek Lam Prostitutes Himself For Ebay


Ebay has been desperately searching for a way to salvage its diminished reputation. From being known as “America’s flea market” to “America’s junk dump” has taken years of hard work. To earn a reputation as bad as Ebay’s is now, requires devotion.

Devotion to letting Chinese sellers rip off Ebay customers with fake designer merchandise. Devotion to shutting down the small sellers that made Ebay so popular when it began. Devotion to progressly stripping sellers of their rights, including the inability to realistically be rated by buyers, unable to leave feedback about bad buyers, unable to respond to unrealistic expectations by buyers. Unless it’s Express Mail, no package can be counted on to be reliably delivered within two days of payment.

Devotion to further undermining the smaller sellers by running ads by large companies for similar merchandise on the same pages as the listings. By making the search engine virtually impossible to use. By giving preferential treatment to sellers who list in the thousands rather than the dozens.

Devotion to letting Paypal, its subsidiary, arbitrarily withhold the sellers’ money under a series of rules that grow increasing more Byzantine by the year. Which included banning cash and money orders and setting up as competition payment systems that both cost more and were harder to use.

Despite a phony claim to being “just a venue,” Ebay treated the sellers, its CUSTOMERS, as if they had no right to be there. Ebay started as a democracy and gradually became a dictatorship, first under the leadership of the vicious Meg Whitman, and later under the unconscionable rule of John Donahoe.

As an Ebay seller from 2002 until 2010, I am in a position to know all too well what I am writing about. A major problem is that no venue has been able to compete for Ebay’s visibility in the larger marketplace. For years sellers have hoped that Google would set up a competing site. But that apparently is not in the cards.

And now, major designers are selling their collections on Ebay. This is a foul thing to do. Derek Lam is merely the latest designer to spread his legs for Ebay.

His collection will be “voted on” in the same way that American Idol votes on its contestants. Previous prostitutes for Ebay have been Norma Kamali and Narciso Rodriguez.

If you want to bring “affordable fashion” to Americans, sell your collections at Target, which has the honesty to call itself a commercial retailer.

Shame on you, Ebay, for helping to further destroy what was once a viable source of income for so many ordinary Americans. All the while baying that you believe that “people are essentially good.”

People, perhaps, but certainly not your management.

Ebay is a disgrace to the values you pretend to promote, and you are a disgrace to America.


Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog

Tomorrow: The Paul Lynde Halloween Spectacular!


Who doesn’t love and miss the great Paul Lynde? Whether on Hollywood Squares or Bewitched or any number of television and movies, Lynde was always acerbic and delightful. To most of America he was in the closet. But really. That closet door was wide open. So I simply HAD to run this announcement for all residents of the tri-state area!

Tomorrow at the Pyramid Club:

1984 At The Pyramid Club!

We’re ramping up to Halloween with our spooktacular annual screening of THE PAUL LYNDE HALLOWEEN SPECIAL — with guest stars BETTY WHITE, Florence Henderson, Donny & Marie, and Kiss!

The special will run endlessly together throughout the night! Definitely the campiest and strangest holiday special ever made!

Upstairs, dance all night to your favorite 80’s tunes by Culture Club, George Michael, Cyndi Lauper, Prince, Madonna, Cher, Pet Shop Boys & the rest. Drink specials!

Friday, Nov. 22
1984 at Pyramid
101 Avenue A
21 & over with ID * $8 * * Doors open at 10 PM

For a synopsis of the special, you can visit

Be there or be hopelessly un-hip.

Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog

Customer Service In the Digital Age


Suffice to say that in the office we are having some problems with the printer. A request for support was sent, and apparently the wrong serial number was on it. The following email was sent:

We are unable to find the serial number you provided within our Service Database. Please check the machine for the 9 digit serial number and reply back. For the model indicated the serial number is located by (fill in location instructions) and it should begin with (fill in prefix). If you need more assistance finding your serial number please select the link below (insert link from KB on how to find serial number)

A request email was sent, and this was the response:

Original Message Follows: ————————

Could you fill in the blanks in the message and respond again?

Thank you.

In a message dated 10/19/2010 10:02:48 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, writes:
Original Message Follows: ————————
We are unable to find the serial number you provided within our Service Database. Please check the machine for the 9 digit serial number and reply back. For the model indicated the serial number is located by (fill in location instructions) and it should begin with (fill in prefix). If you need more assistance finding your serial number please select the link below (insert link from KB on how to find serial number)

Do you think we should write support for support for their support?

Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog

Anne Hathaway: Is It Live Or Is It Memorex?


Sorry for the dated title, but to be honest, nothing else came quite as close to the mark. In my inbox this afternoon was a promo for Anne Hathaway’s cover for Vogue. I am always fascinated by how photo-retouchers are able to turn real women into strange wax replicas of themselves. (I am also fascinated how real women can turn themselves into strange wax replicas, pace Courteney Cox).

Herewith are the photos:

Naturally, my favorite cover line is the one about “Natural Beauty That Delivers.” Vogue would not know natural beauty if they tripped over it on their way to the loo.

I mean, really. Of course every thin young actress since 1975 has had to pose as Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly. One thinks it’s a clause in their contracts.

But that is not my point. Most of us are aware how heavily manipulated the images are that bombard us daily. However, did you know that a special CGI artist was employed on Sex And The City II to fill in the lack of flesh of Sarah Jessica Parker’s bony hands? (My source is quite reliable.) Before the inevitable onslaught of comments accusing me of being negative about extreme thinness, I am writing this about ALL actresses and actors of all sizes and ages.

There are far too many stories of that nature. In this digital age, it is truly an outrage that virtually no public image is the image of what is actually there.


Elisa & Bucky The Wonderdog

Book Review: Chasing Zebras by Barbara Barnett


It is not often that I am asked to put on my bonnet as a reviewer of books, movies and television. However, this subject seems relevant to my interest/obsession with the television show House M.D.

Fans of House MD who feel that Season 6 represented an overall decline in quality in the series and that Season 7 may well be in the final nail in the coffin can find solace in Barbara Barnett’s Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide To House, M.D. (ECW, 2010).

Barnett is the aficionado’s aficionado, a fan who writes entries for Blogcritics org., titled “Welcome To The End of The Thought Process.” This book, a labor of love, is, she admits, a “highly subjective” look at the popular series. Series creator David Shore, a former lawyer, first conceived a show built around “a lawyer who hates his clients.” He later changed it to “a doctor who hates his patients.” The character was originally based on Sherlock Holmes, with Watson as his faithful sidekick. Holmes/Watson became re-invented as House/Wilson. House is played by the splendid actor Hugh Laurie, and the underrated Robert Sean Leonard plays his one and only friend, Wilson.

Barnett views the central character, Gregory House, as a heroic character in the model of Lord Byron or Mr. Rochester. Indeed, an undertone of romanticism runs through this book. One gets the impression that the author, like many fans, is hopelessly in love with Dr. House. As Robert Sean Leonard observed early in the show’s life, “the character of Gregory House is designed to be attractive.” Based on the misanthropic, drug-addicted detective whose brilliance and lack of conventional social empathy isolates him, Gregory House is all this and more. Like Holmes, the thing that House dreads most is boredom.

The first section of Chasing Zebras, “Differential Diagnosis: A Character Wrapped in a Mystery Wrapped in a Medical Procedural” examines House through the prism of the show’s medicine, ethics, music, religion, House’s chronic pain and drug use, his isolating genius, even the character’s personal belongings. (Each of the supporting characters, including his boss, Cuddy) is given their own chapter.) In the search for meaning that runs throughout the book, Barnett has conducted interviews with producers, writers, crew, and actors, including executive producer Katie Jacobs, writers Doris Egan, Russell Friend and David Foster, and a wealth of others.

The second section, “The Guide,”are recaps of the episode of each season, built around a comprehensive rundown including the disease of the week (the “zebra” of the title), House’s famous “epiphany” moments, other basic aspects of the formula, and what your faithful correspondent enjoyed the most, casting trivia. If there is anything you want to know about individual episodes, it is certain to be here. Barnett also takes thorough looks at certain episodes that she feels are pivotal to the development of the series and the character of House.

There is an exceedingly entertaining appendix, “Time Is Not A Fixed Construct,” in which Barnett attempts to unravel the show’s (to put it politely) elastic timelines. The author explores the character’s development over six seasons and how it has affected the show overall.

Some fans feel that Seasons 1-3 are the “classic House.” Others have the opinion that all of the seasons are “classic House” with the occasional weak episode here and there. Some viewers feel that with House detoxing off Vicodin in Season 6 and trying to become a better person, he lost the spark of individuality that made him such a fascinating character. In Season 7, he seems largely devoid of the torment that defined him, reducing House to the level of many snarky, smart television heroes that have proliferated in the wake of House M.D. Others feel that this is genuine character development and layers of his soul have yet to be exposed.

In this reviewer’s highly subjective opinion, this book needed a more rigorous editor and proofreader. And an index. Chasing Zebras could easily be cut by a third without sacrificing its essential purpose.

The author is in love with her own use of language, such as a tendency to follow the character’s mot juste with “Well played, Dr. House!” Barnett’s writing can slip into florid overstatement and redundancy. Much of her initial section on House repeatedly brings up the Byronic hero aspect, even if it is a stretch at times. She quotes lines from the 2008 film The Dark Knight in which Alfred says to Bruce Wayne: “You’re the one who can be the outcast and do the things that no one else can…A watchful protector, a dark knight.” Or in her own words: “[House] is a many-faceted crystal, and depending on the part of the prism through which you happen to observe him, he can be angel or devil, noble or an unrepentant bastard. The true colors you see may vary greatly.”

Barnett has a healthy ego: in the introduction she briefly mentions the sometimes rabid House online fan community, recommending her own blog for “in-depth analysis” without mentioning that she is the writer. And without naming the many other sites that discuss the show in great detail, save for the official HOUSE/Fox website. In the acknowledgements she thanks her loyal readers who have made “Welcome To The End of The Thought Process” “one of the best places on the Internet to discuss the series.”

Despite these flaws, this is an excellent addition to the collection of the dyed-in-the-wool House M.D. fan. Where else are you going to find the hidden similarities between House and Chick Webb? Or that sets of ancient calipers decorate his apartment walls? Or that Ethan Embry (“The Down Low”, Season 6) worked with Kal Penn (Kutner) in one of the Harold and Kumar movies?

For the casual viewer, this book might be a bit much. But it is not written for the casual viewer. It is written for those who are deeply invested in the program and its characters, like Ms. Barnett herself.

Chasing Zebras: An Unofficial Guide to House M.D can be purchased at and other outlets.

PLEASE NOTE: The House fandom is a large and vocal one. However, I will not publish comments that amount to hate mail, as is my usual policy. Also please not that I am not responsible for the “cool” “interesting” and whatever tags at the bottom; apparently they are part of the Blogger format.

Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog