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8 Fabulous Things to Give Yourself

| 0 Comments | 2220 Views | Back to top | Posted on 12/09/2011 at 03:15 AM

the MoMa Thermal Carafe, $42

Struggling with what to give yourself this Christmas? Imploding over the stress of what to get that special someone (you)? Let KB make a few suggestions.

Home Comforts: The Art & Science of Keeping House, by Cheryl Mendelson.

If you have ever felt a lack of confidence about your ability to keep house, and if you have ever swooned over a beautifully executed sentence about dust, this book belongs on your mindfully-dusted bookshelf. I showed up late last night for a comedy performance because I became convinced I needed to have this book. I was right. I needed to have this book and so may you. Buy it for yourself without reservation and for someone else with caution. I know I might take offense if someone handed me a housekeeping manual. Ms. Cheryl Mendelson, Esq., you are rocking my domestic world.

Earphone Splitter - The Branch.

How else could Irving and I so luxuriously enjoy an episode of "Bored to Death" while riding the F train? Sure we could do the whole "one bud for you, one bud for me" thing, but that's so high school. We're 35 now! At least I am. Get the Branch. Or as Irving calls it, "The Aorta." $10.

HUT Studios Christmas tree ornaments.

These are for anyone who loves NYC--and who doesn't? That's right: I don't. But I live here and I'm a comedian and have to keep up that whole "life isn't treating me right" schtick. Get your miniature Twin Towers, your Chrysler Building, your Empire State Building. Also: West Village, Times Square, Lincoln Center, the corner of Evergreen and Jefferson where I got mugged.... I wish they made a 1970s Times Square and a 2011 Times Square. Maybe in time. For now, enjoy all the different hoods and highlights AND one of the most obnoxious websites since I made one in community college:

Everything Kitchen Book (I need to get the real title).

I purchased this book over ten years ago when I moved into my first apartment in Chicago's Ravenswood. Contains very helpful hints, such as the stay-with-me-for-the-rest-of-my-life "if it floats, it's old." That's in regards to eggs. I was recently at a dinner party and the conversation turned to fun kitchen tricks. Okay, I grabbed the wheel and cranked it towards "kitchen tricks." We had fun. Save your family from a bad egg, and get yourself this book.

Hudson Bay Blanket.

My heater is broken. Guess who doesn't care? Besides honey bagdger, I don't care because I have a thick, super warm wool Hudson Bay Blanket. I purchased mine years ago at an antique store along the Wisconsin-Illinois border for a reasonable $125. Woolrich is selling them for $370, but find them on ebay and at antique stores for less. Check out the pic from a New Yorker fiction photo. Worth it, don't you think?

LL Bean Flannel Sheets.

For the ultimate "camping with your loving family in the Adirondacks in the 70s" experience. Never experienced that? Who did. Whether you are taking to your bed due to seasonal depression or reliving a fantasy past that never happened, these are the sheets for you. Get them in one of the charming prints: Evergreen, Vintage Skier, or Plaid Forest. $69 to Prices I Can't Afford.

J Crew Minnie Pant.

I tried these on last Wednesday and went total lesbo for myself. That's how flattering these are. Get them in the bi-stretch wool. I don't care that they are cropped-legged pants like my mom wears. Prices I Can't Afford.

MoMA's Shiny Red Thermal Carafe! REMOVED

Usually I rave about things I already own. I do not already own this. But it looks great and I bet it works great too. UPDATE: this thing looks nothing like the photo in real life. I thought it would be shiny just like the pic. It's a matte plastic rather than glossy. For shame MoMA! Get a more realistic pic before you get a torrent of highly descriptive and artsmart complaints from your high falutin' customer base.

What are your favorite gifts to yourself this season? Anything I absolutely shouldn't miss?

An Oldie But Goodie: Lutherans, Death and Exaggerating Aunts

| 0 Comments | 1622 Views | Back to top | Posted on 11/04/2011 at 03:15 AM

This Sunday I was home for Easter with my family.

I have always loved Easter. Lutherans go absolutely apeshit for it. The resurrection of the body of their Lord, Jesus Christ has them positively mad with happiness. The hymns at Easter have more horns than a Mighty Mighty Bosstones tourbus and have the congregation literally crying out “Prince of Peace! Lord of Lords!” As I child, I remember each Easter in Sunday school making some sort of artistic rendering in honor of that fantastic Sunday morning when they rolled away the stone. A removable cut-out of the stone that you could place back on the tomb, a Mary Magdalene finger puppet, a bath towel brought from home and fashioned into headgear for an in-class play. Frankly, I was never on board with the whole “he’s gone up to heaven” theory. It went against everything I had gathered in my ten years on the planet. If something is missing, it’s because somebody took it or a tornado came and whirled it away. Just like when Chastity Gunther had her hearing aid disappear. It wasn’t because it ascended into heaven. It was because Mark Cody took it. I was no fool. I wasn’t buying any of this “he disappeared and went to this magical place in the sky” bullcrap. And to predicate a whole way of life upon it? Flimsy at best. I started refusing to go to church. None of this made any sense. Of course, what Ellie Buller could have done was sat me down and told me that as members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, we weren’t biblical literalists and were going to church more for the built-in friendships, folk songs and annual recipe book. That I would buy. But my mother resisted my resistance and we’ve been locking horns ever since.

Still, I go to church. For her.

After church, in the parking lot, waiting for my mom to hug hello to every solo senior lady in the church, my brother asked me what I do during the service. “Oh, I try to really be present for it. You know, really listen. Try to sort out the bullshit from the stuff that actually makes sense.” I went on. “I think it’s interesting that every religion tries to circumnavigate death. Like we just can’t accept that we might die and that’s it. We’re either reincarnated or go to heaven. We just can’t accept that this might be it.”

Mom and Dad eventually came and we drove home. I didn’t mention that I noticed Steve Templeton’s mom had purchased a commemorative Easter lily in his honor for the alter— even though her son is the one who back in summer of ‘94 told everyone, post-make out with me, that he “wouldn’t touch Kara Buller with a ten foot dick,” causing me to take to my bed for the whole summer. I’m pretty sure we did make out so I’m pretty sure it was okay for me to tell everyone. Sure, I have no clear memory of making out with him now, but if I back then said I did I must have… at any rate it was clearly wrong for Steve to say that thing about a ten foot dick.

Back at the house, I went back to working on my blown out egg project with Cassandra and steering a child towards crippling perfectionism. “Hold it very carefully Cassandra. Don’t—better let me do it.”

“Oh shit!” I heard my brother yell from the living room. Then my dad started yelling. “Now look at what you did!” My brother had knocked the fake window panes off the window while he was looking out the window. “Maybe we shouldn’t be tacky and have fake window panes!” I thought in my head.

“Is Buddy out!?!?!!” my mother yelled from the kitchen. “I’ll get the leash!”

“The dog is out again!?!” my sister yelled.

Our beagle runs away at least once a day and sends the whole family skittering all over the neighborhood in a shameful panic. There’s the Bullers, out of control again with their out of control dog.

My brother ran outside of the house then came back in.

“Mom! Mom! Come! You need to do CPR!”

“The dog isn’t out?!??”

“NO! Just come!”

As my mom and dad grabbed their jackets, I went out to the front yard with my brother to see what was going on. Across the street, under a clear blue sky and amid trees just starting to bud, a car was parked up on a lawn, next to a bent utility pole and on the green grass a man in a peach shirt was lying motionless. I could hear a girl screaming “MY DAD MY DAD SOMEBODY DO SOMETHING!!!!”

Her wails were desperate, pained, and apparently, futile. Neighbors came out of their houses and a crowd started to gather around the body. Nobody attempted CPR or took his pulse. Eventually someone brought out a blanket and placed it over the body. I guess early on it had been determined a lost cause.

The wailing continued and was intolerable, too much for me to take. Too heartbreaking. That one moment you are driving down the road on a beautiful Easter Sunday with your annoying, joking father and the next he is lying dead on the ground. I went back inside.

“What’s going on?!?!” my niece asked.

“Let’s just wait inside. Let’s just wait inside.” If I was disturbed by this scene, I couldn’t imagine what it would do to a ten year old.

“What’s happening?”

I held my niece close and rubbed her back. “It’s okay. Everything’s going to be okay. Even when things aren’t okay. They really are okay. Even when people die it is okay.” I realized I was comforting myself more than I was her—and saying really inappropriate things—a horrifying preview of how I would parent.

“But what’s going on??”

“I think someone’s losing her daddy right now.”

When I was eleven, Palm Sunday took my mother’s mother, then one week later Easter took my father’s father. I didn’t know these people. They were ancient people from another world—and literally another century. Proper, simple people. Rickety and serious with 1950s glasses and worn bibles. Still, it was jarring to me. The buds on the trees, the light breezes and the soft pastels my mother made me wear. All these things were signifying life, comfort and family, and in the midst of it was irreversible, inarguable death. I remember standing next to my mother in the pews of a small Lutheran church in Wisconsin as we sang “Amazing Grace” at her mother’s funeral. I couldn’t do it. Tears streamed down my face and I hiccupped as I tried to breath. My aunt rubbed my back. “Oh Kara. It’s okay. It’s okay. We know you miss her.” I wasn’t crying for my grandmother, though, who I hardly knew. I was crying for my mother and for me and all that I was learning.

I wanted to protect my niece from this sort of “death amid the willows” imagery, but I supposed there was no use fighting it.

Eventually, the Crystal Lake Fire & Rescue showed up with two trucks and my parents and my siblings walked back to the house.

“What happened?” I asked.

“Oh some woman was freaking out. I guess she just had shock. Her tire blew out.”

“Well, what about the man?”

“What man?”

“The man who was lying on the ground motionless, who had the blanket pulled over him.”

“That was a woman.”

“But there was a woman screaming about her dad and the dad way lying on the ground!!”

“No. The woman had shock and was yelling like crazy for her dad. She was driving when her tire blew out. Must not have been going more than like 35.”

“So nobody died Aunt Kara?”

“I guess not.”

A tow truck drove by towing the woman’s car. Later, a utility team showed up to try to fix the pole.

Cassandra’s dad showed up out of nowhere. “So somebody died?!”

“No. Aunt Kara just thought somebody did.”

“There was a man lying on the ground and someone was screaming her head off! Yes I thought somebody died!”

We went back to our blown eggs.

“You told Cassandra somebody died?” My brother asked.

“Well. Why was that woman looking so much like a man!?" I really thought that lady was a dead man.

Buller vs. Buller: The Mouse Trial

| 0 Comments | 1601 Views | Back to top | Posted on 09/16/2010 at 03:15 AM

Prosecutor: Ms. Buller, can you tell us what woke you in the early morning hours of September 16, 2010?

Ms. Buller: Why yes.

Prosecutor: You don’t have to do your little money-maker Jackie O impression for us Ms. Buller. Just tell us what woke you.

Ms. Buller: Well, at first I just knew it was a squeaking sound. A loud, close squeaking sound, like someone was rubbing rubber clown shoes on a car window.

Prosecutor: Is that what you thought Ms. Buller? That someone was rubbing clown shoes on a car window inside your room?

Ms. Buller: No. I just said it sound—

Prosecutor: Ms. Buller, can you tell me WHY someone would put clown shoes on a car window that had been placed inside your room?

Ms. Buller: You are bad at your job.

Prosecutor: Well you are bad at your job. Did you do anything to investigate the sound?

Ms. Buller: No. I was terrified. I wanted it to be squeaky clown party shoes worn by my roommate or a radiator hissing, but we don’t have radiant

Prosecutor: Do you even know what kind of heat you do have Ms. Buller?

Ms. Buller: You’re just like attacking me for random things and not even forwarding a specific line of questioning.

Prosecutor: “You’re just like attacking me for random things and not even forwarding a specific line of questioning.” Gettin’ all fancy pants I see. Think your 1.5 years at a flagship university entitles you to smarty pants aggressive language like that. But you had to struggle to arrive at that particular word string didn’t you?

Ms. Buller: What are you like, the evil voices in my head?

Prosecutor: Well, yes. That’s exactly who I am. Your negative self inner-talk.

Ms. Buller: And you are putting me on trial for what happened on the night of September 16, 2010?

Prosecutor: You got it! Ms. Buller, can you tell us what’s under your bed right now?

Ms. Buller: Well…currently, just glue traps, and some strips of carpet tape, and well now, something else.

Prosecutor: Why don’t you tell the jury what that something else is.

Ms. Buller: (long pause, looks down) A live mouse.

Prosecutor: A live mouse!

Ms. Buller: Yes.

Prosecutor: And what is the mouse doing?

Ms. Buller: well, I don’t know right now because I’m on brain trial here and not in my room, but I can tell you that it is, well, affixed to a glue trap and….

Prosecutor: Crying. Isn’t that right Ms. Buller? It’s most likely glued to a trap, it’s cute little paws outstretched, outstretched in glue, as it cries and writhes for freedom, the freedom which you snatched away from him on the night of September 16, 2010, when he scurried INNOCENTLY and cute-like along, onto one of your heinous glue traps. Ms. Buller, why do you even have glue traps in your room?

Ms. Buller: Well, first off, “objection!” all over the place on your last couple sentences. “Leading the witness!” That’s something, right? Anyway, I have glue traps because my landlord told me to put them down to catch the bed bugs.

Prosecutor: Bed Bugs! So you have bed bugs on top of mice! You must be a pretty disgusting person Ms. Buller.

Ms. Buller: Okay, that is exactly the kind of harsh language our therapist warned us about. I’m not disgusting or bad or gross I just happen to have traps all over my room to catch live animals. Oh god.

Prosecutor: Ms. Buller, I’m going to let you have your moment of shame there for like 3 (looks at watch) seconds, before I ask you this: glue traps for bed bugs? Nowhere on the website--pretty much the web-based authority on bedbugs and I think you know that because you were on that site in a pretty much addictive way for two weeks in August. August.—anywho, on this bedbugger website does it say “put down glue traps and just kinda see what you catch?”

Ms. Buller: No. I agree. Nowhere on there does it say glue traps. My landlord told me to put them down.

Prosecutor: Ahhhh. Your landlord. Now if your landlord told you to jump off a short pier, would you do it?

Ms. Buller: Umm…that’s not really how that phrase goes but no, I would not jump off a short pier. I was thinking I should do everything my landlord tells me to do as far as bed bug remediation or elimination, so that if it goes to trial I would be able to say, “I did everything that was suggested.”

Prosecutor: Ms. Buller, are you insane?

Ms. Buller: Generally, no.

Prosecutor: Preparing for mock landlord trial? What sort of trial was this Ms. Buller? Some sort of bed bug court? The Brooklyn Court of Bed Bugs?

Ms. Buller: I’m sure it won’t be long...

Prosecutor: Can you tell us a bit about your relationship with mice?

Ms. Buller: Well, I harbor no ill will. I think they are actually sort of cute. There’s that children’s book A Mouse in the House—well I think. I loved Ratatouille. Of course, that was a rat, but…I generally don’t freak out about little creatures like other people do. I like that Jeremy Benthem quote “The question is not do they think but can they feel.”

Prosecutor: Ehh…according to the internet the quote is “The question is not, "Can they reason?" nor, "Can they talk?" but rather, "Can they suffer?"

Ms. Buller: I stand correctable.

Prosecutor: What did you do when you heard the mouse’s cries for help?

Ms. Buller: well, first I want to say that there’s a bit of anthropomorphizing going on here—and that’s going to be inevitable. Cries for help? Okay, fine... That’s what they were. They probably weren’t mating calls. It was a call so that it could be saved and live and go on to mouse school and have mouse children and have a mouse midlife crisis and buy a mouse convertible. Have a mouse affair. Comb his hair over to one side at the mouse high school reunions. Go fuck yourself. It’s just a mouse.

Prosecutor: Are you aware that the Human Society has labeled glue traps as inhumane? And yet you had one under your bed.

Ms. Buller: FOR BED BUGS.


Ms. Buller: Which one.

Prosecutor: The one where I really stick it to you and ask you what you did once you heard the cries for help.

Ms. Buller: Well, it was agonizing. I felt—

Prosecutor: Not looking for feelings, looking for actions.

Ms. Buller: I put my earplugs back in. They had fallen out.

Prosecutor: You put your earplugs back in so you wouldn’t have to hear the cries from a terrified and emperilled creature.

Ms. Buller: Yes. There was nothing I could do!

Prosecutor: Maybe take a shovel and put it out of its misery maybe!

Ms. Buller: Okay, right, with the shovel I keep in my closet right next to my Proactiv kits and vintage skirts.

Prosecutor: Do you own a hammer?

Ms. Buller: Oh God. I do.

Prosecutor: Well, tonight, instead of working out, I want you to go home, get some newspapers, lay them down, get the trap, then get the hammer and put that living, suffering thing out of its misery.

Ms. Buller: Oh Lord. For being the evil voices in my head you’re actually thinking quite…bravely and ethically. Can’t I do this with poison? Maybe some mouse euthanasia?

Prosecutor: Let’s research this together on the internet. Me, the part that always criticized you but helped you get pretty much straight A’s through college and you, the “true self” of consciousness or whatever Oprah bullshit you call you.

Ms. Buller: Again, kinda sounding pretty much on target here, Evil Voice. Let’s go.

| 0 Comments | 1591 Views | Back to top | Posted on 08/19/2010 at 03:15 AM

Here in New York there’s a bar named The 13th step. I don’t mean to sound sensitive, but that’s like creating a “More Choices for Sophie Children’s Cancer Hospital.”

| 0 Comments | 1592 Views | Back to top | Posted on 08/19/2010 at 03:15 AM

Police continue to search for two Arizona fugitives. One is missing an incisor tooth and the other is missing half of her finger. Quite the pair, well, where a pairing occurs.

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