Category Archives: Uncategorized

You’ve got a little something…

One day, many years ago when I worked at the Washington Opera, I came to work and saw my colleague, Jimmy Legarreta .

“Jimmy” I said, you have some schmutz on your forehead.

“It’s Ash Wednesday” he replied.

“Oh that’s nice, would you like me to get you a tissue or something?”

“Naomi, do you know what Ash Wednesday is?”





From that day forward, when I see that first person with a blackened forehead, I immediately think is “Oh, it’s Schmutz Wednesday.”

Cut to: Present Day

My office is just 3 blocks from the giant St Patrick’s Cathedral on 5th Avenue. The Cathedral, as you can well imagine, is a very busy place, what with the tourists and all, so on special event days they open up a side door on 50th St to keep the exit traffic moving  Today as I was walking down 50th Street, several blocks before the church, a steady flow of people were also walking along 50th. Not to be pedantic but I swear it really did look like an actual Schmutz Wednesday.

I have learned that the priest is supposed to make the sign of the cross on a person’s forehead. I don’t know if the St Pat’s priest was drunk, tired or just plain lazy, but maybe, just maybe one out of every four people had something that remotely looked like a cross.  There were + signs-pretty close, but not quite. But more often than not, they all looked like some sad attempt at modern art. Think bad Rothko.

smudge tentacles

Seriously. Not a cross.


Perhaps the priest is a secret psychiatrist and is doing weird reverse Rorschach testing.



I see a wheel of Brie!


The worst part of all of this is, I have a colleague who takes part in Ash Wednesday and every time he comes to talk to me I have to repress a giggle. Yes, I’m immature. No, I make no apologies.

I am super grateful this day only happens once a year, otherwise I’d be forced to turn into omni-nana . I’d be spitting on a kleenex and forcibly wiping down everyone’s brow.  Now that would make for a super fun holiday. Omni-Nana Wednesday!

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What’s In A Name?

The Coronavirus is serious. I get that.
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They’ve quarantined over 60 million people in China. 60 million! That equals all of Italy! And people have died. Again, not funny. But (of course there’s a but) here’s why I am having such  a hard time grasping the severity of the matter. It’s called the Coronavirus. 

There is no way I am the only person on this planet who thought to myself “Wow! You can get sick from drinking Corona?”


I mean besides hangover sick, or drinking crappy beer sick, I mean sick because of something in the beer, sick. I super quickly realized this was silly. It’s not like the ongoing Ecoli from Chipotle epidemic. There’s no virus in the beer. 

But then I had another thought, Corona is Spanish for Crown! Oh my god it’s a virus you get on the crown of your head!

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It’s like lice, but in a more specific region, and you can’t see it and you can get it from someone sneezing on you on the A train! I was working out the scientific logic of this, when I realized there was none. Conclusion:  the virus is not head/crown related.

For a moment I thought it was just a virus for crown-wearing royalty, but heck they’ve already got syphilis and hemophilia – not actually viruses, but still pretty sucky – statistically speaking it seems unlikely they’d get a virus all to themselves.



Funnily enough Jon and I were just in Corona Queens and it didn’t even occur to me that we could get sick. I assume the virus has the same instincts as most of us: going to Queens* is a drag.



So the Coronavirus is a very serious respiratory illness with a very silly name.  The disease naming people really need a better marketing department…

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