Monday, February 26, 2007

This week's column:
He's very much out-of-date

I remember from when I was a dating person, sometime before the turn of the century and after the Paleozoic Era, that the whole process was a complicated, messy affair. First you had to actually meet someone somewhere, like your office, the Laundromat or through a friend who pitied you. Then you spent months getting to know the person while doing your best to make sure they didn’t get to know you, at least not the real you, the you with five-day-old stubble and pile of old socks under your bed. It was exhausting.
Fortunately I’m married now, so the only person I “date” is my wife — and we have young children, so our dates consist of anything we happen to be doing without them, like looking for furniture or comparing paint swatches. At least we know all the dates will eventually wind up in bed, although in between us will likely be two kids, a lumbar pillow, a black Lab and a golden retriever (whose noses can get pretty darn cold, incidentally).
But I think it would be difficult for my wife and me to start dating today, given the archaic way we got together — spending months as co-workers while pretending not to be attracted to each other, and then starting to date without telling anybody. We didn’t fill out any forms or record any videos, and we certainly didn’t use computers, which back then were primarily for playing solitaire.
For the rest of this week's AT LARGE by Peter Chianca, click here.

Monday, February 12, 2007

This week's column:
How throbbingly passionate of you

For those of you looking for the perfect book to give that special someone this Valentine’s Day, I’m wondering if you’ve considered what may be an entirely new genre in literature: the personalized romance novel. That’s right, it’s a romantic adventure, but instead of starring attractive people, you and your spouse are in it. I think this may have been what killed Sydney Sheldon.

Nevertheless, it’s true. The Web site apparently offers 21 different “customized capers” with you and your significant other wedged into the text. You can even upload your picture for the cover, although you’ll have to stick your head on Fabio’s body yourself. (Oh, like you haven’t already done that. At least in your head.)

They can also incorporate things like eye and hair color and “affectionate nicknames” — for instance, in the sample they use “Passion Flower,” which is a mainstay on the list of popular marital nicknames, right between “lazy slob” and “unintelligible under-breath mutterings.”

For the rest of this week's AT LARGE by Peter Chianca, click here.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Whatever happened to Karaoke?

For those of you who can’t help but wonder if there’s any common sense or decency left in the world, look no further than the Tabu Ultra Lounge in Saugus, Mass. All it took was an undercover hidden-camera investigation by “Inside Edition” to get them to cancel all future girl-on-girl kissing contests at the club’s “teen nights.”

And we’re sure if someone had just pointed out that encouraging scantily clad underage girls to make out in front of cheering crowds while promoters poured water on them was wrong, they would have stopped the practice sooner. Work with them, people!

The “Inside Edition” report, which aired last week, spotlighted Tabu in addition to clubs in New York and New Jersey. The report claimed that in every club they visited, undercover reporters found girls walking around “in little more than underwear.” The hidden cameras also captured kids groping and fondling each other in open view at several locations. But as Tabu owner Frank Amato points out, no alcohol is served at these events, and “We’re a safe place for teens to come.” That’s right — if it wasn’t for Tabu, these teens would be groping and fondling each other in the streets.

Regardless, the practice will probably come to an end at Tabu in the wake of the report, meaning the town probably won’t have to suspend its license like it did in the wake of 2005’s triple stabbing there. What was it they were saying about it being a safe place?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

She also may be a pod

Before we pass judgment on Lisa Marie Nowak, has it occurred to anyone that it's very possible she was bombarded by cosmic rays on her last space mission? Everyone knows they're very unpredictable -- she could have just as easily turned invisible or sprouted orange rocks as turn into a diaper-wearing, pepper spray-wielding psychopath. It happens.

We're just lucky it wasn't gamma rays.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

This week's column:
Something to fall back on

I recently discovered the only thing more humiliating than throwing your back out while candlepin bowling; namely, throwing your back out while taking off your candlepin bowling shoes. I managed to do this despite the fact that billions of people manage to remove shoes every day without serious injury, many of them more than once.

The day was going so well, too — I had even bowled a personal best, coming close to breaking 100 thanks to resourceful use of the bumpers. Then I leaned over to take off the shoes and I felt it — the muscles in my lower back giving way like failing cantilevers on an uninspected bridge.

I tried to put a good face on it for my kids and our companions until I managed to hobble back out to the car, but it wasn’t easy, given that my upper body was suddenly at a 90 degree angle from my legs — I looked like I’d just stopped in to bowl a quick string on the way to my bell tower.

For the rest of this week's AT LARGE by Peter Chianca, click here.