Monday, April 29, 2013

Do the Math

Back in the day, as we sat behind our elementary school desks, which were laid out in strict rows, we practiced arithmetic drills for fifteen minutes each morning.  If you went to that kind of school, one thing you learned to do was "mental arithmetic, " because heaven help you if you couldn't shout out the answer to forty-two times twenty-one when Sister Twisted's pointer of doom pointed at your head.

Or the answer to parts of clerical drag,
or parts of speech, or parts of heresy, or. . . 

It's a handy little skill, even in the era of smartphones, because it allows me to reject huge numbers of oppressive suggestions out of hand, because I can do the math.

For example, there is that whole series of annoying books (books, how quaint): 1000 Places to See Before You Die, 1000 Places to See in the United States and Canada Before You Die, 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, 1001 Comics You Must Read Before You DIe. 

When these books first started appearing, I was a bit younger, and although I never even picked them up in a bookstore (bookstore, how quaint) and riffled through them (try riffling your Kindle, ker-thunk), their very existence made me feel inadequate.  I just knew they included places like Machu Picchu (sorry,altitude sickness), or the Great Wall of China (sorry, monument to misery and paranoia), or tourist treks involving seasickness, dysentery, or odoriferous funeral practices (sorry, Ganges River, one of the five most polluted rivers in the world.)

Now, I just do the math and laugh.  Let's see, if I have the great good fortune to live 20 more years, or a 1040 weeks, I would have to spend every minute of every day multi-tasking like made to try and catch up with my more adventurous friends, some of whom have probably seen 800 or so of the must-sees.

Scenario1. Trouserville,  floating down the Amazon River scouting for piranhas with one eye, reading Middlemarch (wait, didn't I read this in college?) with the other, worrying about the plane connection to  Yosemite or Yemen or the island of Yap, and sneaking peeks at a mildewed copy of Captain America. 

Scenario 2.  Trouserville, flopped on a chaise lounge, staring at a chickadee, glass of prosecco and a copy of People magazine to hand.

I don't even need to do the math to compute the probability.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Deluged with Invitations

Now that I am on the A (for Aged) List, not a day goes by without a thrilling invitation.  Why just today I received not one, but two, from Hebrew Senior Life, a nearby organization which offers programs and services to, you guessed it, live seniors. 

I was just bowled over by the fact that they are a "Harvard Medical School Affiliate," because it is heartening to know that there are professional geriatricians behind the exciting opportunities on offer.

The first invite was rather pedestrian:  visit the website, download an  ebook, put your name and contact info on a sucker list for further importunings.  Well, they didn't exactly say the third thing, but I am old!  I didn't just fall off the marketing cabbage cart!  My eyesight may be dimming, but I can see what they are up to! 

But, by gorry, (geezer-speak for "by god") it is hard to resist the title: ReAge Your Personal Health: A Wellness Guide for Older Adults. ReAge? You mean I have to do this all over again? Wonder what little communications major came up with that bit of gobbledy-gook (geezer-speak for "bullshit).

The second invite was much more exciting: The Spring 2013 College of Retirement Living(SM), A Celebration of Aging in Words & Images.  My college was never like this. Oh, wait, it was the sixties, the color schemes were similar.

Judging by the cover photo you celebrate by slapping on some red lipstick and dressing up in an enormous hat and oversized sunglasses.

No wonder.  Session 1 is Advanced Style with Ari Seth Cohen, a lovely young photojournalist who is the Sartorialist of the Bubbie Set.  I have looked at his blog a couple of times and as a woman with a closet so full of gray, black, and dark brown that I need a miner's headlamp to tell the trousers from the tee shirts, I find it rather disturbing.

 Ari Seth Cohen's idea of photo-worthy elder fashionistas goes something like this:

Superheroines of the Fashion Revolution.
and this:
Florida, here I come.

All right, they don't all look like that, but even the more, uh, subdued, look like Joan Collins on acid.
Now, where did I put that paisley?

Enough, go visit his blog, but be sure to put on your oversized sunglasses, because if you don't,  your eyeballs will explode. Even better, put on your oversized sunglasses, your red lipstick, and every technicolor fashion mistake you have lurking in those boxes that have never made it to Goodwill, and meet him in person. On May 8. I'd love to include a link, but I couldn't find the event on-line.  Maybe you have to be on the A for Alter Cocker (Yiddish for old fart) List. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Happy (Belated) Birthday, Bill S.

That's William Shakespeare to you, you gleeking, flap-mouthed foot-licker.

Enough with your a-holes, your d-bags, your f-wits.

Celebrate the birthday of the world's best playwright ever by expanding your inventory of invective with the delightful Shakespeare Insult Kit.

Or, if you are within striking distance of Boston, see the Actors Shakespeare Project  production of Pericles which runs through May 12.

Or, take a look at this portrait and remember that he wasn't always 449 years old.

Yeah, like many of us he didn't always have
bad Bozo hair and bags under his eyes.

UPDATE AUG 2013:  Take a look at Actors' Shakespeare Project's 10th Anniversary Season :  Romeo & Juliet, Henry VIII, The Cherry Orchard, As You Like It.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The "L" Word

No, not the ones you're thinking of, but a really dirty one.

And that word is "lockdown."

Last week, the Trouserville Team was on vacation in London when the Boston Marathon bombings occurred. Through the miracle of Wi-Fi, we could check in on the headlines, and follow events as they unfolded. 

Yes, the crimes were heinous. 

No, I won't rant about the media's continuing misuse of the word tragedy, or their penchant for piety, or their nauseating self-congratulation. Anyone who spent more than one minute looking at Channel 5 or 7 or any other number, doesn't need me to point out the ridiculous quality of the coverage. 

I will refrain from making jokes about the fact that Dunkin Donuts stayed open at the request of the authorities.  

What disturbed me most, maybe because I was viewing the events at a distance, was the appalling spectacle of the lockdown. There it was on the screen, displayed in bright red, my town, landlocked by the other towns locked down around it,  "towns" including the entire city of Boston.

Hello, America, let's get some perspective. It had to have been pretty clear to the authorities that a 7-11 robbery, a point blank killing, and a carjacking in which the jackee was released unharmed was not the work of a well-organized terrorist cell, and that they were dealing with, at most, "grass roots militants," in other words, amateur-hour punk-ass creeps.

Sure, it is just common sense to warn citizens in a town where an armed manhunt is taking place that they should keep their doors locked and stay off the streets, streets where they would be as likely to be run over by a lawman in hot pursuit as taken hostage by a desperado.  I'd like to say that most people would have enough sense to figure this out for themselves, but in  a time where anyone with a cellphone considers themselves a photojournalist, and a huge portion of the population seems to want nothing more than to see themselves on the news, they just might need a reminder.

But are our authorities really such scaredy-cats that they need to place the citizenry for miles around in "lockdown"?  Don't think so.  Which leads to the question, so just what are they trying to accomplish?

Well, for one, encouraging fear and panic in the population is a wonderful instrument for social and political control.  For another, making mountains out of molehills is a terrific way to justify increased budgets for gadgetry, guns, and law enforcement staff. And let's not forget the excellent opportunities for windbaggery and personal aggrandizement which these events provide to politicians, prelates, and other nincompoops.

None of this melodrama has anything to do with making us really safer, and, by the way, we are pretty safe in this country especially compared to a lot of rat-hole places on earth.  In fact,  let's try a little thought experiment.  If all this went down in some other place, what would you make of  the spectacle of authorities who allow the citizenry to be held hostage to a panicked teenager who apparently wasn't even competent enough to blow his own head off? 

For an excellent essay on "the week that was," head over to the Pink Slip blog.

UPDATE April 23:  In the interest of responsible bloggerism, Trouserville wishes to issue a correction.  Although relying on what I thought were reputable and accurate news sources, (okay, okay, us old folk are occasionally snookered) the Bombin' Beagle Brothers did not, in fact, rob the 7-11, although I believe the "authorities" thought so for a while until someone said "Duh, the robbers don't look anything like the bombers."

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Compare and Despair No More

Fitness news that doesn't bother me:  48 year old Boston woman on track to break a record for scaling the highest peak on each of the seven continents, plus the North and South Poles. She's way younger.  She's blond.  She has killer quads. She trains by striding along Revere Beach pulling a 50 pound truck tire behind her. Did I mention that she's way younger than me? Or that I don't much like extremes of cold or elevation? I wish her well.

FItness news that sends me hurtling into the morass of Compare and Despair: 85 year old competitive downhill skiers yukking it up on the slopes at minus 20 degrees, a friend's 81 year old mother who competes in triathlons, and John Whittemore who was shot-putting (and I don't mean shots of Jack Daniels) until the year of his death at 105.   I just want to lie down and reach for that box of Godiva chocolates I've been saving for an emergency.

I'm not an utter couch potato;  I've been saying for years "If you stop, you drop." But a triathlon? Can't run for the shin splints, fell off my bike the last time I rode it, never passed Beginner's Swimming because I wouldn't stick my head under water. You know that sadistic epigram:  no pain, no gain?  I say, "Hah!"  I say "Double Hah!"!  How about:  if there's pain, I'll refrain. Which leaves me with a regimen of trying to walk and chew gum at the same time and performing some random stretches.

But lately I've been seeing reports that makes me feel lots better about my level of fitness. Health gurus consistently recommend walking as the ideal exercise especially for the out of shape who want to get back into shape. Sounds ideal, doesn't it?  You don't need lessons, or a high-tech costume, or a membership in a ritzy health club. 

So why aren't parks and sidewalks and beaches jammed with happy wanderers? Why has SDS gone from being an old leftie group to a new disease: Sedentary Death Syndrome? Turns out  there are lots and lots of people out there--of all ages--who are too out of shape to even begin a walking program!  Read that sentence again.  Believe it or not, but that group of  does not include the disabled, the deformed, or the dead, only the ordinary unfit who can't walk across a room with gasping for breath.

Yes! This is shocking news, but at the same time heartening to contemplate.  There are millions of ordinary unfit Americans who couldn't begin to get themselves out of the way of even the slowest moving zombie. Millions who need a Segway to haul themselves into line at the Shake Shack.  Millions who will never need more footgear than the single pair of bunny slippers they wear while shuffling from the couch to the kitchen for refills on Cheetos, Ho-Ho's and Yoo-Hoo's during the commercial break on Cupcake Wars.

By those standards, I am 98th percentile in fitness!  I am competitive! I am an Olympian!  I could beat those cream puffs to the snack shelf without even breaking a sweat.  I could slam dunk those Doritos right out of their grasping claws. Compare and despair no more.

Race you to the refrigerator, sweetie! Last one there is zombie meat.

"Burning Man"?  Oh, we thought you said "Baking Man."

If Trouserville didn't already have enough proof that the world is going to hell in a hand basket, Googling for cupcake images provided sufficient evidence in and of itself.  Now I have to worry about what worries me more:  Cupcake Apocalypse  or Zombie Apocalypse?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Not So Merry Mouseketeers

Wipe that goofy grin off your face, Mickey.  Everyone's very favorite Mousketeer died today. Sob! Annette Funicello has gone to the Clubhouse in the Sky.

The talent given to you and me
we must develop faithfully
so we can be good Mouseketeers.

The boys all wanted to "date" her, and we girls wanted to hate her, but we couldn't because she was so damned nice, and, really, in our hearts, we wanted to be her.  I had brown hair, so why didn't I look like Annette? Well, that would be genetic; once and "een" always an "een" so the best I could hope for was Doreen who looked like she came out of the same boiled-potato-face gene pool that I did.  

When she graduated to the beach blanket, I still wanted to be her.  Q: Why couldn't I have fun like Annette?  A: Because my mother was mean, and back in the 1960's good Catholic girls didn't wear two-piece bathing suits or show cleavage.

By the time Annette got around to shilling for Skippy peanut butter, I had long stopped worrying about being Annette.  For one thing, ours was a Peter Pan family, so I wasn't impressed with her taste.  For another, she and Frankie and the gang were way over on the other side of the Great Cultural Divide of 1967. Summer of Love didn't include any beach blanket bingo as far as I could tell. 

But she'll always live in my heart as my first style icon.  And while four years older seemed an awful lot back them, it's not a lot now, and I think "So young to go."  Maggie Thatcher also died today, but she was 87, and I certainly never thought of her as an icon of anything beyond annoying politics, although, come to think of it,  her helmet head hairdo did resemble Annette's.

So, on this sad day in Trouserville, let's raise a glass of milk and chow down on a peanut butter sandwich in honor of Annette Funicello, always and forever a good, good, good Mousketeer.

It's TIme To Eat My Words

I admit it.  After Friday's post exhorting you to get rid of your books,  I have some nerve to ask you to buy one on Monday.

DIng-ding-ding. Shameless Self-Promotion Alert.

An essay and knitting pattern of mine are included in the second Defarge book: What (Else) Would Madame Defarge Knit?  My pattern is based on one of the first detective novels, Wilkie Collins' The Woman In White, and my essay discusses the not-so-guilty pleasures of detective fiction.  I'll ratchet down the shamelessness by not arguing that my essay and pattern alone are worth the cost of the book; you'll get over twenty others.

What's that you say?  You don't knit? Buy the book anyway.  Read it yourself, or give it as a gift to a reader or knitter (I'll warrant you know at least one of each). I do think you'll enjoy the personal essays on the wide variety of literature that inspired the patterns:  The Miss Marple Stories, Moby Dick, Rosemary's Baby, Anne of Green Gables, The Satyricon, The Odyssey and many more. 

You can buy it HERE.  

You'll be supporting independent designers and a feisty independent press.  The first Defarge book was black and white only;  this time around there are professional models, color photos, and an improved website.

Best of all, you are not required to buy the book in the shelf-stuffing DT (dead tree) format; it's available in digital-only or digital+print formats.  

If you buy a copy, let me know, and I'll eat a word or two on camera and post it here.

Hand me the chocolate sauce, Jeeves.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Talkin' about SABLE

and I don't mean mink!

Every sub-culture has its own jargon. For us knitters, "stash" isn't a bag of weed,  it's bags and boxes and bins of yarn which must be hidden from sight or risk an appearance on Hoarders. Stash may start as an extra skein or two, but it often leads to SABLE:   Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy. 

No picture of my SABLE is included today because there is no camera big enough to capture it. Let's just say that it is bigger than a bread box: two closets, seven or eight large baskets, a breakfront, and few shopping bags.  Some of it, though, is set aside for "destash," which can mean donation, gift, trade, sell, or compost. I really don't want to be remembered as the crazy yarn auntie whose de-stash has become a moth-eaten de-trash.

Have you ever participated in a grand de-trash? One with a Size XXXXL dumpster, hantavirus jokes, and an entire box of disposable vinyl gloves?  I have and I tell you now: take pity on the folk who will have to dispose of your detritus.  There is no E-bay for a rolled up carpet that's become a squirrel nest.

This may be my one and only Public Service Announcement ever, but please take a moment, a few moments, a day, a month, a year, a decade and deal with it.  You may be laughing at my mountain of yarn, but consider that this scourge of prosperity comes in many forms, none of them pretty, and one of which may apply to you. 

How about WABLE:  Wine Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy? Just as my father-in-law in his later days told us he wasn't buying any green bananas, I ask why anyone my age is buying wine that won't be ready for thirty years?  None of us are living in Downton Abbey, and we don't need to lay down the port for the next two generations.  Trust me, the grandkids would  rather have the money than the Chateau Blah-Blah-Blah.  If the zombie apocalypse comes, it'll be the undead, not your grandkids, who'll be glugging it down, unless, of course, your grandkids are the zombies. So let me hear those corks popping, boys. 

As for some of your other "treasures," there are probably more than a few that are way past their drink-by dates.  Down the drain.  You will never be making wine vinegar out of them.  The eight open bottles of balsamic already in your kitchen cabinet  taste lots better than what you'll ever make from that deteriorating Yuckee Cellars cabernet.

Seen this guy in your mirror,
My Preciousssss?
Don't forget BABLE:  Book Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy.  Most of us old croakers have already done the acquisition, and have the groaning shelves to prove it.  Many, many of us find it impossible to part with our beloved hoards.  

I have two words for you:  reality check.  Take a very close look at those shelves. (Tip: stop being so vain and use your trifocals.) Admit that you are never going to read that ratty old paperback copy of The Iliad required for Western Civilization your freshman year in college. Toss it.  It's full of dust mites, paper fleas, mold and a ticket stub for A Clockwork Orange. That copy of Janson's History of Art?  Straight to the recycle bin.  No one wants it.  No one.  If you want to see art, go to a museum or be amazed at what you can see on line. (Go ahead and click the link, it's office-friendly and very tasteful.)

Those Joyce Carol Oates novels?  You didn't finish reading them the first time, and you will never be desperate enough to go back and try again. Bag 'em.  Let's talk about the cookbooks. Are you going to spend one nanosecond of your remaining time on the planet learning how to make puff pastry from scratch or how to bone and stuff a goose? Thought not. Even Martha Stewart doesn't have time left for that kind of crap. And since you haven't seen your crockpot since 1985, why are there three crock-pot cookbooks on the shelf?

I'll stop here on the book front because I feel another rant about books coming on and I'd like to save that for another post.  Until I attain the nirvana of B-FABLE (Blog Fodder Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy), I'll keep that rant on the shelf. There'll be plenty of room, once I get rid of the Anglo-Saxon textbook, the Collected Works of Shakespeare held together with red duct tape, and that extra copy of Janson's.

Trouserville Tip:  For those of you in the Greater Boston area, I'd like to recommend donating your books, CD's, and DVD's to More Than Words, an organization that works with young people who have had a tough time of it, training them in retail and e-tail by operating a bookstore/cafes and an online book shop.  They will bring their van and pick up your stuff, but not the Anglo-Saxon textbook, or the Janson's, or the old National Geographics,  or . . .you get the picture.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Cardinal Dolan, Caped Crusader for Christ

Maybe he just breathed in too much incense, or overdid it on the jelly beans, but Timothy Cardinal Dolan's Easter Sunday remarks about the Catholic Church and gays ( as reported in The New York TImes) were deliciously chuckleheaded.  

I think what we can’t tamper with what God has revealed,” he added. But, he said, “we can try to do better in the way we present them with more credibility and in a more compelling way.”

And what is this more credible, more compelling way?  He's going to tell them he loves them, god loves them, the catholic church understands their needs for "friendship," so come on down.  But, well, um, erm, just don't expect to ever have sex again, because you know that sex is only for the married, and married is “one man, one woman, forever, to bring about new life."
Well, good luck with that, Timbo.  Smilin' Frankie may be a really nice guy,  humble pope, and all that, but I don't think the combined super Spidey powers  of St. John the Baptist, Don Draper and Big Data  can help you and the lads.  Hmm-mm-mm. Have you considered asking those clever folks at Big Food how to create the "crave" for the communion wafers?  Maybe you could toss the wafers, unconsecrated of course, off a float at this year's Pride parade.  They always welcome men in dresses, and yours are fabulous, but I think you'll have to do some serious work on your hair and makeup. 

Pax vobiscum, homines. 
(Or, as we say here on earth, "Peace out, dudes.")

Nota Bene:  To those of you who think I am being too mean to the pope and the cardinals, I would like to point out two things.  First, without trying very hard at all, I could be a lot more scathing.  Second,  these people are professional cheek-turners and wannabe martyrs, so in the remote eventuality that any contumely that I might dish out here comes to their attention, it will be as catnip to cats. How do I know? "Jesus said it*, so it must be true."  And he says I can take their coats and their cloaks, too, so there.

*Right over here in Matthew 5:38-40
38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak, also.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Not Taking It To The Street

This is a very nice little town I live in.  There's an independent bookstore, an independent cinema,  an independent coffee shop,  an excellent school system, and 37 Japanese restaurants.  

Sure, a highway runs right through it, runs right in front of my house in fact, but there are ways to get places without driving on it.  Even if you sometimes need to go grocery shopping right over the border of the next town, because you really, really do need the super-colossal packages of paper towels, or the detergent that doesn't smell like a space alien's idea of a spring morning,  or the diet orange soda that is always out of stock at the store you can walk to.

The next town's not a bad little town either, except that when you drive over there, even if you don't use the highway, the first thing you encounter is what I'm coming to think of as The Blight Zone.  Not the blight of burnt-out storefronts or abandoned steel mills, but The Blight Zone of The Strip Malls of  Upscale Hell. (Okay, I'll be fair, they are not all strip malls, some of them are enclosed.)

Because they are The Malls of Upscale Hell, the parking lots are crammed with The Vehicles of Upscale Hell, or Lady Trucks, which take up one and a half parking spaces or cruise about like bloated black and silver sharks looking for two parking spaces together so they can grab one and a half of them. 

Recently, the situation at The Zone has gotten worse, a lot worse, because right past the first strip mall is a new strip mall whose parking lot is contiguous with the first one.  There used to be an old strip mall there, but it wasn't quite upscale enough, and most of it was torn down last year to make way for an extremely glamorous and upscale new strip mall.  For the last six months or so there have been tantalizing, but tastefully small, billboards, asking  "Are you ready for The Street?" 

Oh, let me grind my brains on that one for a second. Why no, I have not, am not, and don't think I'll ever be ready for "The Street,"  and not just because the misnomer offends the language police in my head.  Hey, big-time real estate developer, it's more of a driveway adjacent to a highway than a street, and there aren't any sidewalks or storefronts or, you know, streetiness. What's that you say? It's The Street At Chestnut Hill? Nope, it's the strip mall at Hammond Pond, but have it your way.

At long last, The Street At Chestnut Hill is open and the joints are jumping, even if the parking lots are gridlocked.  There isn't much to appeal to an old demographic hag like me.   Since lululemon's episode of the transparent yoga pants, I don't think The Lululemon Store will enjoy my custom, not that it ever has; if I am going to spend 90 bucks on a pair of pants, I'd like them to conceal my underwear, thank you.  I don't have the desire, let alone the  costume or the stamina, to Spin My Guts Out (tm) at The L A Sports Club with all the lululemon-clad, Lady Truck-driving ladies, or contort myself in some sweaty fusion class like Zumb(yog)a or Cage-Fighting/Pilates Boot Camp.  Not even if the gals are not really the beyotches they act like in the parking lot and are nice enough to  invite me to stand in line with them for two hours outside The Shake Shack, which is conveniently located right next door, so I can scarf down a Shake Shack snack. Some Waffles&Bacon faux-retro hipster frozen custard perhaps or a Flat Dog?  {LINK}  

But the Lady Truck ladies really will have to spin their brains out not just once but  at least twice a day if they are going to be frequenting The Shake Shack, or just plain Shake Shack as it refers to itself.  

I began to shake, and it wasn't with anticipation, after I went to the company's website to check out the menu for pricing and downloaded the pdf of what I believe they must be required to entitle nutritional information. { LINK.} Just imagine the delectable meal (and I am sure it is, alas, delectable) you might order.  
  • Double Smokestack:  850 calories, 54 gms fat, 2575 mg of sodium.  Go healthy-wild and add a piece of lettuce, it's only one calorie. 
  • Cheese Fries:  685 calories, 41 gms fat, 1095 mg sodium.  
  • After all that  "nutrition" you might want to choose the Vanilla Shake:  640 calories, 34 gms fat, 420 mg sodium instead of the Chocolate. 
Or maybe because you are wearing yoga pants you will close your eyes and chant "one meal won't kill me and I'll just have Greek yogurt and baby carrots and bottled water the rest of the week" before treating yourself to a  "Concrete."  Appetizing name, no, for frozen custard, with mix-ins (cookies, candy, bacon bits, rock salt) whipped in.  The unadorned chocolate "Concreation"  has only 640 calories, 40 gms of fat, and 360 gms of sodium. Mix-ins will cost you extra in every way imaginable.  

I think this concoction must be something like a Friendly's "Blizzard," but why call it a "Concrete?"  Does your stomach feel like a truck ran over it after you eat one?  Does your butt start to resemble a New Jersey knee highway divider after three or four? The story's probably on some chipper little sidebar on the website, but I was shaking too hard to poke around there very long.

I couldn't find prices on the on-line menu, but I am sure they are commensurate with the nutritional load, the stainless steel signage, and the prominent and upscale location.  I saw no mention of a frequent-eater reward program, but perhaps that is in the works.  "Eat here ten times and receive a coupon for a cardiac catheterization?"

I do find the presence of Shake Shack to be consoling in an odd way.  It's nice to know that upscale people can chow down on the same revolting and calorific junk as anyone, even if the ingredients come from upscale beef slaughtered in an upscale abattoir instead of a pink-slime burger patty factory.  I am also delighted that there are so many Lady Truck ladies out and about who won't have to worry about acquiring vehicles large enough to haul their future lardball selves and their globular offspring to and from the Shack.  Most of all, I am impressed by how thoughtful and community-oriented Shake Shack is:  not only do they want to reduce their corporate footprint (if not their customers' collective ass print) on the earth, but they have located their first outlet in the area only a short ambulance ride from a major medical center.

No.  There'll be no Waffles&Bacon frozen custard for me, especially since my doctor's office is located right across the street and I wouldn't want to be spotted in line.  But maybe I could sneak in there after dark for one of the lower cal treats I spotted on the menu.  In addition to that lettuce leaf, they offer a glug of Brooklyn Brewery Shackmeister Ale for 190 cal or a nice glass of Frog's Leap Merlot for 130, both with zero fat and zero sodium.  Why, instead one Concreation with a few mix-ins, I could have, let's see, six glasses of Merlot.  Now, that's the kind of nutritional information that I truly welcome.