Thursday, July 28, 2005

Neighborhood #6 (It's Not the "Het," It's the "Humidity")

Lillet performing her "marital duty"

The Male Gaze

Dancing at the Błwatny Cyganeria

Rrose Sélavy

Cousin - Cousine (that's what they said!)


Lillet's first fire hydrant!


Full Frontal Lillet and Trey!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


Riding to work last Sunday afternoon, I saw someone in our neighborhood wearing a t-shirt featuring the design you see here. Three possibilities occurred to me. One, this man is destitute. He's homeless or nearly so, unable to buy clothing, and so gratefully accepts whatever he is given or can find. Two, this man is a hipster and means to announce his embrace of amoral irony. In this case, the t-shirt would be semantically indistinguishable from one reading 1986 WORLD CHAMPION BOSTON RED SOX. But demographic clues compelled me to eliminate these two possibilities and I was left with: Three, this guy is serious, he's declaring a nuanced patriotism that takes the form of don't fucking fuck with us fuckwad or we'll fucking kick your fucking ass!

Whether or not the t-shirt was stupid or base in 2001 no longer matters, because — let's face it, buddy — it is now just factually wrong. He has run and he has hidden, successfully. The most fearsome military that this world has ever seen has laid waste to two entire nations in the past four years but it can't find and capture one 6'7" man.

Or else it just doesn't want to find and capture him. It may just be that the interests of the people who run that fearsome military are in conflict with the emotional needs of the man wearing the t-shirt. The disjunction isn't a happy one for the t-shirt wearer: either we don't fucking kick ass or else there is no we, no legitimate polity that we are all part of in any meaningful way.

In a post-rational world, however, we don't have to worry about disjunctions. We can just keep buying stupid crap.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Grand Theft Autonomy

The lobby of my office has a huge flat screen TV, usually tuned to CSPAN, or the "Mendacity Sans Charisma Network."

Yeserday, I looked up from my work to see a blue screen listing that afternoon's offerings:

12:00 CAFTA
2:00 "Grand Theft Auto"

Why the fuck are my tax dollars being spent on a discussion of Grand Theft Auto?


It may surprise some of you that I can't stand Hillary Clinton (and I too went to Wellesley!) Watching her snivel

and compromise in order to "reach out to" "conservatives" and blah blah blah makes me want to gouge out my eyes with barbecue forks. This Grand Theft Auto thing recalls Tipper Gore's PMRC shenanigans back in the day — but at least the act of slapping a warning sticker on a CD was intended to provide parents with information — it assumed that parents would be involved in deciding what media their children would consume. But Hillary's vacuous "crusade" is predicated on a different set of assumptions.


In truth, it's pretty simple: If you don't want your kids hacking into the secret code that reveals the "hidden sex scenes" in Grand Theft Auto, here's a thought: DON'T LET YOUR CHILDREN PLAY GRAND THEFT AUTO! GROUND them or something!

The real "silent epidemic" is the increasing number of parents who will do anything except actually parent their children, because they need their kids to "like" them so much all the fucking time. Just as it would behoove Ms. Clinton to take a brave stand on issues that should DEFINE what has now become the LameoCratic party — say, the right to abortion for women and the moral imperative of universal health care — parents need to lay down the law and not buy games they disapprove of for their kids, or at least pay attention to what the hell their children are DOING.

But no, instead everyone gets on their moral high horse about how important it is to BAN these "dangerous" games, to vitiate any need for parents to actually assume a position of authority or interest with regard to their children.

And Hillary, give me a break. Why can't you come out swinging, like a progressive fucking Valkyrie? Even if you ban Grand Theft Auto from the face of the earth, and equivocate all you want on abortion, NO BUSH SUPPORTER WILL EVER VOTE FOR YOU!

And you know what? Neither will I.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Neighborhood #5 (Okay, That Does It)

Although I moved to Brooklyn more than two years ago, the West Village has been as close as anything in my life has ever been to feeling like "home." No more. I still work in that
neighborhood but I'm glad I moved when I did and would never dream of moving back. I can't: it's not there anymore. What once was a genuine neighborhood is now a big pile of bullshit.

What makes a neighborhood a neighborhood? Well, for one thing, knowing and associating with one's neighbors, rather than locking oneself inside of hermetically-sealed fortresses like those being built by Richard Meier and Meier-manqués. We once lived in small apartments, places largely to sleep. We socialzed on the sidewalks, in the cafes, restaurants, bars, bookstores, in the parks. We knew one another. Now, the latest thing in West Village real estate is to live in a building with a resident chef. No longer must you mingle among the hoi polloi if you want to eat out.

Germ-free living

I know a man who has lived on West 11th Street
for decades, and on every pleasant morning had sat on the front steps of his building to read the newspaper (a recommended method of getting to know one's neighbors, by the way). He did this until a police officer told him — repeatedly — that he was not permitted to sit on the steps of his own building.

There is a lovely new park (despite the rollerbladers) on the riverfront. Shortly after it opened, a friend of mine had a birthday gathering there. One person cracked a beer and suddenly we were surrounded Parks Department enforcers in matching polo shirts, riding Parks Department enforcement bicycles. I mean literally surrounded. In the Village of old, there would have been no question about drinking a beer in the park. Even post-Giuliani, you'd think that, at most, this person would have been sternly warned and been made to pour the beer on the the lawn. But, no. He was immediately handed a summons.

That's the law, you say.
Well, not for everyone. The summons-writer then mistook the birthday girl for Kirsten Dunst. This happens to my friend often enough that it embarrasses her, and her blush was taken by all the Parks Department enforcers as confirmation of her fame. Suddenly, photographs were being taken, and the enforcers tore-up the summons.

That's the law, unless you are a celebrity who is too young to be drinking, anyway.

Making the West Village Safe for Celebrities. That's the motto I've suggested to the Community Board. I've started a petition to widen and straighten those stupid streets like Commerce and Barrow so as to better accommodate limousine traffic.

When I was a kid,
my friend Joe and I would sit down whenever we passed one of those signs reading NO STANDING FIRE ZONE. (What do you want me to tell you? We were smartass geeks.) Today we learn that Jason Eng and Dennis Spafford were ticketed for "standing" in the fire zone in that same West Village park. I wonder: had they been new West Village residents like Hilary Swank or Leonardo DiCaprio or Ashley Olsen, would the summons have been torn-up in exchange for some snapshots? It's a non-question, of course, because none of these people would be caught dead hanging out in their own neighborhood. Don't be ridiculous.

Like everything else in New York, what's out of sight or beneath the surface in the West Village is of no importance. This neighborhood is historically the center of the city's transvestite prostitute trade, and it still is. If only Gwyneth knew what was going on just past those double-panes as little Apple sleeps! I walk these streets often between 3am and 6am, and prostitutes and their pimps own them at this time, just the way that Caribbean nannies and little white babies in $800 strollers own them in the afternoon. Saturday night, I was closing the bar and heard a knock on the door. When you are counting several thousand dollars at 5am, you do not want to hear a knock on the door. But it was my friend, Tyler, who knew I would still be there and wanted to show me his new, high-tech bicycle. I expressed envy, not only for his bicycle but also for the fact that he was starting his day at this time rather than, as I was, ending it. Just then, a heavy-set man with no pants and no underwear came running up the street towards us, screaming. He was followed by several more screaming men (more or less fully-dressed) swinging street debris. Tyler took off and I locked myself in the bar. A good dozen men ran by in pursuit of pantlessman. I recognized a few as local pimps. One of them lifted the standing ashtray from in front of the bar, leaving some 50 pounds of ashtray-sand on the sidewalk.

Leaving the bar at dawn, I found the ashtray a few blocks away, along with some two-by-fours, some empty paint buckets, and a few cobblestones. Luckily, for safety's sake, no one had been standing in a fire zone.


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Hellion Wheels

I have started again to commute by bicycle, and this is a wonderful, even joyous thing, better than it ever has been because the city's greenways have improved to the point where most of my ride is free of oil-burning traffic. While not quite as advertised, it is a pleasure to be able to ride relatively free of the fear of being plowed-down by a city bus or sideswiped by a meth-addled cabbie.

Only one danger remains on the greenways: rollerbladers.

I have no objection to rollerblades per se, and no interest at all in any cyclist vs. rollerblader disputes. It's obvious that there are as many careless and selfish and just plain dangerous people on bicycles as there are on rollerblades.
My problem with rollerblades is that — with the exception of a coterie of shirtless men in the vicinity of Chelsea Piers — no one seems to know how to operate the things. I've seen deeply stupid people on bicycles, but never any who are unable to slow, stop, accelerate, or turn, while virtually everyone I encounter on rollerblades appears to have the motor coordination of an overgrown, drunken toddler.
Often, it seems that Curly Howard himself is hurtling towards me, arms flailing. Put a group of them together and it is Brownian motion on the Hudson.

Yesterday, riding north through Tribeca, I spotted a rollerblader ahead and prepared to take evasive action, for not only was this man on rollerblades, but he was also pushing a large cart, the sort used to move plants and shrubs around a nursery. He must have been confused about the applicable definition of "nursery," as he had his twin girls of about three years-old in the cart — unsecured, needless to say. I tried to banish those three little words from my mind (Stupid. Fucking. Yuppie.) and thought instead about what fatherhood will be like for me. Will I then ever have the luxury of four-hour bicycle rides? Will I be a Stupid Fucking Yuppie running with one of those jogging-strollers in front of me? What I know for certain is that I will not be on rollerblades, and just as I reaffirmed this to myself I watched S.F.Y. lose control of his own body and by extension his cart and his offspring. S.F.Y. wobbled, fell. His girls careened into a stone wall. Luckily, the cart wheels had a very high rolling resistance and the girls were barely puttering along at the point of impact. Tears, but no injuries.

Ahead, their mother, also on rollerblades, heard her children in distress. She turned. And fell.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Neighborhood #4 (Blue Lady Lounge)

Not even $2 drinks can get us to the Blue Lady Lounge.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Really, Really Icky and Weird

I just did a Wikipedia search on Karl Rove.

Not only is his birthday December 25th, 1950, but his middle name is "Christian."

Sometimes the universe has a very perverse sense of humor.

Have a nice day!

Friday, July 08, 2005

Neighborhood #3 (Mrs. Pantani's Laundry)

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Sweet, Sweet Relief!

At last, some happy news! No Olympics in New York!

Trey picked me up from work yesterday and we took a detour through Rockefeller Center where people were gathered in some bizarre pro-Olympics rally, waving "NYC 2012" flags. Not a single person I saw appeared to be a resident of the city. There was a very cute team of martial arts students from Singapore, and many cops carrying semi-automatic weapons, which Trey pointed out to me when I suggested screaming "NO OLYMPICS!" at the top of my lungs.

And this morning, the happy, happy news! But not happy for all.

Seeing this picture of Jake Duhaime of Mansfield, Massachusetts, despondent over New York's failed Olympic bid instantly called to mind those people making a scene outside of Terri Schiavo's hospital: both were intensely, personally invested in a situation they knew absolutely nothing about.

Jake Duhaime doesn't live here. Every time a city is lured into hosting the Olympic games they end up wrecked financially, and the promised jobs and tourism never amount to much. The estimated 1.3 billion cost for the games in Athens ended up costing a whopping 14+ billion, doing a real number on Greece's deficit. Montreal is still paying for 1976. Dave Zirin's Counterpunch piece says more.

New York remains the biggest target for terrorists, and W's policies mint more of 'em every day. Our airline security still sucks, there's still little inspection for shipping containers. The MTA is such a TRAIN WRECK (intended baby!) not to mention the new "robot train" L line [Trey's and my subway line, by the way, and now an even easier terrorist target]-- we have schools without air-conditioners, potholes, inadequate affordable housing -- it would be an obscenity to impoverish New York AND increase the risk of its inhabitants. But perhaps that's too "reality-based" for Bloomberg and Hillary and Duhaime and anyone else who is willing to subordinate the quality of life of others for their political gain or selfish projections.

When the RNC held its thug-fest in the heart of the city BushCo ALLOWED, yes, willfully ALLOWED to be attacked, everyone said it would be good for the economy. And that was a bunch of lies. People fled town if they could afford it, or worked from home, and all the local businesses in the Madison Square Garden area lost tons of regular business, except perhaps for the good ol' red state favorite, TGI Friday's on 34th and 8th. Oh, yeah, I forgot about the escort services and strip clubs' BIG spike in business as all those values voters got their rocks off.

I'm sick of my city being used as a hook for other's projections and agendas. I'm glad New York escaped the "occupation" of 2012.

I wish I wasn't worried of possible future occupation, of a more malevolent sort.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Day of Emancipation

According to Gary Goldschneider and Joost Elffers, people born on July 1 are highly sensitive, capable and adaptable, as well as emotionally open. They are profound, giving, and determined, as well as troubled, depressive, and long-suffering, but ...

they generally win out in their struggle against dominance, injustice or oppression of any type [...] Sometimes those born on this day become remarkably extroverted once they come out of their shell, and actively seek out life's pleasures. Such revels are a kind of lifelong celebration of emancipation.
Some well-known July 1 natives are Princess Diana, Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz, Debbie Harry, and Lillet Langtry.

It's my favorite day.