Friday Five

1. Did you get your hair cut recently? If so, part of you could be on the way to the Gulf. A Matter of Trust is gathering trimmings from hair salons and dog groomers to be used in the Gulf oil clean-up. They are making absorbant booms by putting the clippings into nylons. This is supposedly very effective in removing oil sludge from the water. At least it seems more effective than whatever BP is doing.

2. I bet Harold and Kumar are getting a kick out of White Castle’s limited edition hamburger candle. Just two days after making the candles available for order online, they’ve sold out. This special scent was created for National Hamburger Month (wow, there really is a month for everything) and the proceeds were donated to the Autism Speaks charity. Those “lucky” folks who scored a candle could just light it in their bathroom and elimiate the middle man. I will file this under toilet humor.

3. There is a bodega across the street  from my apartment that sells gorgeous flowers. Rows and rows of ’em. It’s an intoxicating fragrance, like being in a greenhouse. (Like the smelly segue here?) I can’t help but smile when I pass. Needless to say, they do a brisk business on holidays. For Mother’s Day it was chaos out front – Brooklyn style. People were yelling and pushing . At one point a man standing on the curb started punching a man in the driver’s seat of a car. I didn’t see why or how the fight began, but the driver’s mother (a bitty woman with white hair, mind you) had been trying to get into the passenger seat when the altercation occurred. The driver panicked when the punches started and he stepped on the gas to evade the blows, thereby knocking his poor mother to the pavement. She may have spent the rest of her mother’s day in the ER for all I know.

4. Wasn’t Betty White fantastic on SNL? Best show they’ve had in years.

5. After my trip to Ellis Island last week, I was inspired to dig into my ancestry. It’s amazing and scary what you can find with just a few mouse clicks. (Thank you, Zsuzsa.) I came across my great-grandfather’s draft card and a 1920 census at which time, it seems, an actual census taker would canvas the neighborhood. Thus far I have discovered no kings, torrid affairs or criminals in my family tree. To unearth such juicy information would require extraordinary time and patience and possibly money none of which I have. And there are mistakes aplenty. For example, my aunt Helen was listed in one document as Ellen.

On the shows Who Do You Think You Are? and Faces of America with Henry Louis Gates, the depth of information they uncover is astounding. Brooke Shields, it turns out, is related to King Louis XIV; Kristi Yamaguchi’s family was interned in California during WWII; Eva Longoria and Yo Yo Ma are related (!). How did they find out, for example, that Lisa Kudrow’s aunt was sequestered from the Nazis for three months Anne Frank-like? And they found the little shed in the countryside in which she hid! You can discover, or infer, a lot about the information you do find. This poses a problem for me because my writerly sensibility files more questions. What was their life like? Why did they choose to leave their homeland? Were they happy with their choice? (I know my great-grandfather was. He thought America was the best country in the world. But only because he’d said so, not because I found that online somewhere.) I see why some people get addicted to geneaology research. It always leaves you wanting more.


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