Thing of the Week: Narwhal the Puppy, Las Vegas, The Hollow Winter Hair of Deer

LJ'S THING OF THE WEEK: Narwhal the Puppy! And puppies in general

The other day I was talking to my friend on the phone, and he likened his general state of life-optimism to that of "a puppy seeing another puppy, who he didn't know was going to be there"- what a metaphor! Inside my head I imagined the two puppies- my brain immediately conjured up 1) a classic golden retriever pup, and then 2) a scrappier mutt pup, like an Australian Shepherd sort of vibe, although it doesn't have to be an Australian Shepherd- and I lost my fucking mind. Think about how cute that would be!!! How much the 2 puppies would freak out with adorable puppy excitement over the great surprise of seeing another puppy, one of their own, and then they'd kind of look back at you, their human, like, "Can you believe what great luck we're having?" and you'd just stand there, crying tears of joy.

I've always loved puppies- I mean, that's sort of a dumb sentence. Everyone loves puppies, except people who don't love puppies- I'm not going to sit here and say that people who don't love puppies are "evil" or "heartless" or whatever: we're all entitled to our own preferences. It's okay to not like dogs. I, personally, do not like birds. I am terrified of them. They ruin my life, every day, by existing. I have thrown up from disgust, looking at a pigeon, more than once. If I could have one wish, it would be for there to be no pigeons. That is my number one wish. I think about it so much. But I digress. 

My point is, I've always loved puppies, but in the past three months or so, I've started loving puppies more than I ever thought possible. I barf when I see pigeons, but I cry when I see puppies. Even just writing the word "puppy" over and over again is making me want to cry. It's such a cute word! Puppy is the perfect name for a puppy. PUPPY

The night before I found out about Narwhal, I ate the best chocolate bar I've ever eaten in my life. It was Italian, milk chocolate with pistachio crème in the middle. It was so smooth! I was like, "I feel like I'm some middle-aged rich dude taking a sports car for a test drive, like I finally understand what that experience is like, to be driving, like, a Maserati or whatever, and to just be like, exultant about the smoothness of the engine." And then my friends and I spent a very long time talking about the pros and cons of Beyoncé being with LeBron James vis a vis Jay-Z. Then I told them the "puppy seeing another puppy" thing, and I said, "Thinking about a puppy seeing another puppy is, like, up here," and I reached my hand up very high, "And then, just, puppies, generally, is right here," and I lowered my hand a tiny bit, and then I lowered my hand to the very lowest ground and said "And here's, like, the best sex of my life." 

Then I woke up in the morning, and found out about Narwhal, the puppy with a tail in the middle of his face. Fucking fuck YES Narwhal!!!!! Now the best thing I can imagine is Narwhal seeing another puppy that he didn't know was going to be there, and the other puppy also had some sort of charming and adorable deformity, and- I can't go on. This is too much. It is too wonderful to think about. Anyway, Narwhal fucking rules. I know it, you know it, Narwhal knows it. Check out this fake message some person wrote from Narwhal's perspective, which is just SO GOOD, if you imagine Narwhal actually wrote it, which clearly I am:

I love how it starts out with the overenthusiastic "It's me Narwhal!!"- I love how there's no comma between 'me' and 'Narwhal': puppies don't have time for grammar! But the farewell "Sleep tight, k thanks, Narwhally" is clearly the piece de resistance of the fake Narwhal message. The 'k thanks' is so gorgeously blasé! Classic Narwhal: he doesn't give a fuck. Then- twist ending!- he signs off as 'Narwhally': just testing out some new nickname options! It might stick, it might not: who cares? Not Narwhally! That's for goddamned sure. 

God. You wake up one morning, and you think the best thing that's going to happen to you all week is eating a pistachio chocolate bar, and then you find out that an adorable baby puppy from rural Missouri has a tail on his face. Life is a gift. 


Last week Sophie and I went to Vegas to see Madonna. The show was Thursday night & we left on Wednesday afternoon and stayed at The Cosmopolitan, where there's a Milk Bar and you can get CEREAL-MILK WHITE RUSSIANS TO GO, although we didn't actually do that. Our first Vegas thing was the Neon Museum, which has a collection of hundreds of old/unrestored neon signs from all over Vegas. The exhibition's outdoors and you just kind of wander around and check out the signs and take pix of all the groovy cursive. Here are some of my faves:

After the Neon Museum we went to the Peppermill and had Bloody Marys and fried pickles in the lounge, where there are red-velvet booths & opulent flower arrangements & chandeliers & disco-ball-tile ceilings & fire pits inside pools of glowing water & a million TV screens playing music videos. While we were there they played "Been Caught Stealing" and "Andres" by L7 and "Drive" by R.E.M., which is a very deep song to drink a nighttime Bloody Mary to.

For dinner we had French dips, served in this special way Sophie invented, with blue cheese crumbles tucked into the sandwich. My favorite Peppermill things are the fabulous napkins and the sugar shakers full of rock sugar in all different colors, like confetti. When Scott and I went to Vegas in July he asked the waitress for a napkin to take home as a memento and she gave us a whole nice stack and now I keep them on a bench in my room, next to my Lisa Frank tarot cards that Liina sent me.

This is maybe a good place to tell you that I used to think Vegas was terrible but now I like it: before this summer I hadn't been since 2006, and now I've been three times this year alone. The July trip was for Scott's birthday and it was Fourth of July weekend and for his bday dinner we had the insane buffet at Caesar's Palace. We waited in line two hours & about halfway through Scott went to get me a glass of white wine from the casino bar and while he was gone there was a 7.2 earthquake, which flipped my wig. Also during that trip we went to a rock-and-roll pizza parlor in downtown Vegas & I had a slice of rattlesnake pizza: a revelation. And then we went back in August and ate steak at Nobu and crab fried rice at Lotus of Siam and I forget what else- a cone of vanilla from a Ben & Jerry's stand on the Strip? I fell hard for the botanical gardens at the Bellagio, which was done up in a La Dolce Vita theme and had all these beautiful humungo lemons. I hope they do Japan again sometime; so pretty

Anyway here is the video for "Been Caught Stealing" onscreen at the Peppermill Fireside Lounge. FRENCH DIP WITH BLUE CHEESE, GUYS:

The next day was Madonna Day and we had brunch at the Wicked Spoon. My fave brunch things were the bowls of Dum Dum lollipops & Atomic Fireballs at the dessert station, and the little Chinese-takeout containers of pineapple fried rice, and the glass carafe of mimosas they plunked down at our table. After brunch we went to the Canyon Ranch spa at the Venetian and I got a massage and then we sat in the Wave Room: this big dark dome-like cave with extremely plush chaise lounges all arranged in a circle, and you lie back on the chair in your robe and listen to ocean sounds and watch the ceiling, where there's a reflection of the little mini wave pool set up on the floor- so it feels like waves are breaking above you. If I ever become filthy-rich I'd like my house to have an aquarium very much like the Giant Ocean Tank at the New England Aquarium, and then on the level below that there's a Wave Room of my own, only with a glass ceiling so you can watch all the eels & stingrays & sea turtles float by. And instead of ocean sounds, it's just constantly playing Pod by the Breeders and also the Safari EP. Perfect.

That night we met Sophie's friend Dino at a strip-mall bar called The Golden Tiki which was a heavenly paradise. The ceiling's meant to look like the night sky and every few seconds there's fireworks or a shooting star or comet, and the jukebox played a surf-jazz version of "I Saw Her Standing There" and your drinks come lit on fire. I had a piña colada type thing and then a navy grog; for dinner we ate coconut shrimp & orange chicken tenders & crab rangoon & the crowning glory of the whole shebang: a platter of totally basic potato chips drizzled with honey, with a little bowl of sour-creamy dip at the center. The only way it could've been more wonderful would be if they'd served it in the chip-n-dip Pete Campbell got for his wedding. All night long I had Pete saying "You have your fingers in your ears?" stuck in my head and I loved it so much.

And then Madonna! The show was at Caesar's Palace and they made you lock up your phones in those stupid pouch things. Madonna came on an hour and a half late, aka 2.5 hours after the arrive-by time. It was kind of annoying. The crowd was not stoked. And then they got hostile, and started booing her. People said disgusting things & I hated them. I mean I know it's a drag to wait till midnight for the show to start, but what are you going to do? It's Madonna, you losers. And then she finally came on and started with "God Control" which I'd never heard but I like it, especially when she raps "Each new birth, it gives me hope/That's why I don't smoke that dope!" What a nerd. She was glorious & amazing, the show was a wow. At some point she went into the crowd and drank some dude's beer, and a few other times she talked about how much she loves beer now, ever since she moved to Portugal. I like the idea of Madonna thinking, "Isn't that so fascinating of me, that I drink beer sometimes?", and then making a big spectacle of it. Self-fascination is good. I'm on her side forever.

We got back to the hotel at a million o'clock and checked out in the morning and my last Vegas meal was a chicken sandwich at the airport Shake Shack, where they were playing Ex Hex: bonkers that Mary Timony is fast-food-famous now. I'm going to end with this Madonna pic I recently posted on the semi-new STRAWBERRY FIELDS WHATEVER INSTAGRAM which is really knocking it out of the park. Follow for many pix of Joni Mitchell & Serge Ibaka & sometimes paintings of soft-boiled eggs. 

JEN'S THING OF THE WEEK: The Hollow Winter Hair of Deer

Last weekend I went upstate to go to a Woodstock Farm Sanctuary Fundraiser with a meal prepared by one of my favorite chefs, dessert by my favorite baker, honoring my favorite vegan activist, Lauren Ornelas, and also honoring Rob and Sheri Moon Zombie, who I am obsessed with. I met Rob Zombie. This is all a bit too monumental to be a thing of the week. It's so major, right? Where to even begin? My thing is something I learned while I was upstate, freezing cold and wondering how deer keep warm in the winter. The answer is they grow a 'winter coat' which consists of hollow hair that insulates them and keeps them warm in up to (down to?) 30 degrees below freezing Fahrenheit. A winter coat of hollow hair! How elegant. They also bulk up for the winter, reduce movement, huddle together in forest fields and on south facing slopes. I'm most taken with the hollow hair, though. If you spend some time looking up deer's hollow hair on the internet you will find some hunting sites and images. In case you couldn't tell from the deeply vegan fundraiser I attended last weekend I am very much against this. Let the deer's winter coats keep them warm in peace! And then let them completely take over our world come the spring - we deserve it.