Sunday, December 14, 2003

The Streets Provide No Safe Passage (an IDM piece) 12.14.03

Now the walks are paved in slush and ice and rain and footsteps are held in this muck, craters leading towards the terrain; caught in time. The rain makes it hard to walk and ankle deep puddles reach from sidewalk to sidewalk. My boots are soaked and in the bathroom.

I suppose I should tell you, if you haven’t heard already, I got robbed Saturday night. Myself and the visiting Gully were down at the Bergen Street stop of the F, switching over to the G train, on our way up to Khadijah’s in Greenpoint. The L wasn’t working. Down by the turnstyles a pair of boys, young men, were at the gate. I think they were trying to convince someone to pay them to swipe people in, which doesn’t really make sense. But people do it. Gully goes through, I think nothing of these kids.

Until one grabs my hand and wallet—stupidly, stupidly out in my left hand—and says “give me your money,” in the dopey way kids do when they’ve hardly ever done it before. Though this kid must have been six-foot-two he had a little “can I do this?” in his voice, less than sure from what I saw from his eyes. Kind of like when I was walking in my neighborhood once, years ago, and some kid pulled a box cutter on me, to see my reaction. I stared at that guy and he and his (junior high) people kept going before I realized it was a box cutter.

But Saturday night, this kid gets my wallet out of my hand—I am standing there with my Metrocard in the other—and I’m like, did that just happen? Two more kids emerge and jet up the stairs; I reach for the kid yelling Give me back my Shit. And up the stairs in my boots, not gaining, missing on the first reach for that puffy diamond jacket, on the street, watching them race through the projects just a block from where I used to live.

That’s my station and I got robbed. Not that I could have done much to prevent it. Later on a cabbie asked me “how many were there?” And “what did you do?” And “did you kick them?” The same questions I asked. If I caught one I would have definitely been flying and would have seriously taken some shots, fuck the danger.

Gully was there, helped me call my bank (about the bank card) and the cops (who came quickly to file a report) and it was useful but I ain’t getting back my ID or my old WU ID or my credit card or the small amount of cash I had. Or the business cards. I just hope they don’t use my money and buy G-Unit CD’s or Jay-Z’s Black Album. Buy something good, you stupid fucking kids. Clothes. 40’s. Weed. Notebooks for school. Resume paper. A tie.

I also hope they don’t become rappers and I become the inspiration for their lines about being stick-up kids or “the hustle,” because that shit is mad, mad contrived and crazy tired.

This is the first time I’ve cussed in this web log in a very long time. But probably not ever.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

No Shivers 12.10.03

I am studying for finals and not writing anything good about politics, chasing skirt, weekends out, music, short story clubs, my rappin' brother, the weather, def leppard, or jay-z. soon, my people, soon. i'll drink caffeine until i'm ready to drop and write some lunacies. kisses, folks.

additional: i am also trying to finish suzan lori-parks' book (getting mother's body) and then maybe moving onto cold mountain before the movie comes out, and then zz packer's short stories (drinking coffee elsewhere) and lauren weisberger's the devil wears prada. i am reminded of these because the last two are suggested by barnes + noble... and i was going to read them anyway.

additional: when i was not procrastinating of putting together my public finance notes, i looked at some emails that (unbelievably) i saved from an ex girlfriend years ago. after we'd "ex-ed." that is an interesting experience that causes me to remark on my growth and progress as a human being. and then i think, why the f*** would i look back at those messages? i've always believed that's the worst thing you could do.

i've got to say though, they were interesting and i was a little bit of a jerk.

Saturday, December 06, 2003

World press unconvinced by Bush visit from the BBC, November 22nd.

(commentary from world newspapers on W's European visit a few weeks ago)

Papers around the world see little reason for US President George Bush to return home satisfied after his trip to the UK.

Many believe that his visit served merely to underline the gulf between the US-led coalition and Europe's citizens.

'Unwelcome visitor'

Bush arrived as the guest of Queen Elizabeth but it appears there has been no more unwelcome visitor in the last 20 years.
India's The Hindu

The magician's magic did not work and the visit became a curse for him and his ally, Mr Blair.
London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi

Mr Bush has certainly been offended because he himself, who was supposed to fight against terrorism, has been labelled as the number one terrorist by Europeans.
Malaysia's Berita Harian

Bush's visit gave Americans a chance to contrast the warm official welcome given to their leader against the widespread unpopularity of his Iraq war in Europe.
South Africa's The Mail and Guardian

We should actually be grateful for Bush's visit to London: There could have been no better setting to display the mendacity and remoteness from reality that appears to prevail in the White House.
Germany's Die Tageszeitung

The fact that after two crusading 'wars against terrorism' the popularity of field marshals Bush and Blair... has slid dramatically is a matter of concern for them as well as for their distressed spin doctors, who are now under pressure to come up with a remedy.
Commentary in Greece's Kathimerini

Regrettably, Bush and his colleague Blair turned deaf ears to the chanting slogans of thousands of people and determined to tread the way of barbarism.
Pakistan-based Afghan newspaper Shahadat



The visit was going well. Mr Bush had given a good speech on Wednesday, restrained and balanced... Then came the carnage in Istanbul and the whole vista altered. The war on terror, in which he and his 'dear friend' Tony Blair believe so trenchantly, widened and deepened.
Irish Independent

Though Bush and Blair made a resolute promise to unflinchingly continue the war against terrorism, the terrorists showed that their war knows no boundaries.
The Times of India

If Washington's policy has managed to achieve something, then it is the fact that it has created what it was (supposedly) trying to prevent - it has turned terrorism into a real universal threat.
Commentary in Greece's To Vima

There can be little doubt that the two suicide bombing raids were timed to coincide with the visit of President Bush to Britain. No doubt this maximises the shock value of the attack, though it may increase the determination of Britain and the US, and their allies, to do something about it.
Australia's The Canberra Times

Al-Qaeda timed the Istanbul blasts carefully to coincide with Bush's visit to Blair. Bin Laden has chosen a new target and there's no guarantee that tomorrow it won't be Trafalgar Square or Downing Street.
Russia's Komsomolskaya Pravda


Blair unrewarded?

In London, the president did nothing to thank Tony Blair for his unfailing support: he didn't make use of the visit to announce the abandonment of the protectionist measures on steel and he gave no guarantee to free the British prisoners in the Guantanamo 'gulag'.
France's Liberation

Mr Blair indicated that he did not expect any reward for his alliance with Mr Bush. This was wise because the British prime minister would not have won any concessions from Mr Bush on two important issues: the British detainees at the US base in Guantanamo and the abolition of the import surcharge on steel.
France's Le Monde

The emotional and political gulf between Tony Blair and Britain's anti-war party probably widened this week.
The Irish Times

Friday, December 05, 2003

Bling Flakes 12.05.03

Where does it come from? Is it because I’ve been shoveling snow and I am more tired than I thought I was? Is this simply a novel with actually good parts? Is it the public finance paper, the end of school stress?

Whatever the great big “it” is, it’s ticking me off, because I am all lathered up over a passage I am reading in Columbus Slaughters Braves. The book is about a guy whose younger brother is a baseball star. The older brother is of course in the shadows. Personally, I thought the first section was simply bland, kind of crappy, kind of heard-it-before, as CJ Columbus, the player, grows into his ridiculously mammoth talent (though a .380 average, in any year, gets you an All-Star start and this author can’t tell me no kind of different). None of the writing really inspired or made me think much of the author—

And then in part two I am reading about this fellow, half petty and half jealous, kind of lame, who has fallen into a swampmire post-collegiate marriage with his collegiate sweetheart; and they are out of place. Perhaps economically mismatched, perhaps she simply cannot take this brother seriously—but it’s depressing, it’s everyone’s worst nightmare, waking up next to a person who you are unable to communicate with and you’ve got a whole lot of life to go. And it’s real. I think I’ve had this conversation, or non-conversation, more than once.

But at least my little brother wants to be a rapper. Shorter career arc, and nothing I’d be envious of. I think.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Stories From the Big Chair 12.2.03

By this time next month? I think we will have the short story club ready to be in full swing. But I need your suggestions, your input-- you want in? I'm thinking monthly entries, less than 5000 words, perhaps with some postings about writing and such... but I don't know yet. It'll be like a writing clinic but I am thinking out the bugs. Erica, Anna, if you two read this (and anyone else with suggestions and/ or experience in writing covens) please hit me off with that hot info.

-Progress reports to come.-

Monday, December 01, 2003

How Was My Thanksgiving? 12.1.03

Well, I didn’t plan the Saturday gathering for Shiv. We ended up at the Upper West’s Evelyn Lounge and I don’t think I want to be there again. Of a crowd of stand-arounders and bad dance remixes of your favorite hits of two years ago, with a small bevy of ladies (Shiv/ Abberts/ Gabi/ Lisette) around me, I almost convinced a couple of guys to get in the dancing:

“I can’t dance,” one says.
“Get in here, man,” I reply, “why can’t you dance? We’re all doing it.”
“Well, look at the difference in pigment between you and I!”
“These girls [and this guy, being Silver] are paler than milk. That’s a bullshit excuse.”
“Okay, give me five minutes.”

But they never came back, they didn’t get in. I tried. The night was a success anyway, I suppose, the kids had a good time, we ended up at the ever-famous Café Lalo (yes where that scene in You’ve Got Mail was shot) as we always used to when we were similar sized but more bright eyed and I daresay punkier, and Shiv went back to SF with a smile.


The pumpkin pie went over well.


While I didn’t go out on Friday, and the Mississippi vs. Mississippi State football game for the “Egg Bowl” was nothing short of an atrocious mismatch, and Texas vs. Texas A & M wasn’t much better, I did get some rest and some reading done. I think that sums up Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 28, 2003

From George Soros' Atlantic Monthly Article, "The Bubble of American Supremacy"

...Even so, September 11 could not have changed the course of history to the extent that it has if President Bush had not responded to it the way he did. He declared war on terrorism, and under that guise implemented a radical foreign-policy agenda whose underlying principles predated the tragedy. Those principles can be summed up as follows: International relations are relations of power, not law; power prevails and law legitimizes what prevails. The United States is unquestionably the dominant power in the post-Cold War world; it is therefore in a position to impose its views, interests, and values. The world would benefit from adopting those values, because the American model has demonstrated its superiority. The Clinton and first Bush Administrations failed to use the full potential of American power. This must be corrected; the United States must find a way to assert its supremacy in the world.

This foreign policy is part of a comprehensive ideology customarily referred to as neoconservatism, though I prefer to describe it as a crude form of social Darwinism. I call it crude because it ignores the role of cooperation in the survival of the fittest, and puts all the emphasis on competition. In economic matters the competition is between firms; in international relations it is between states. In economic matters social Darwinism takes the form of market fundamentalism; in international relations it is now leading to the pursuit of American supremacy.

Not all the members of the Bush Administration subscribe to this ideology, but neoconservatives form an influential group within it. They publicly called for the invasion of Iraq as early as 1998. Their ideas originated in the Cold War and were further elaborated in the post-Cold War era. Before September 11 the ideologues were hindered in implementing their strategy by two considerations: George W. Bush did not have a clear mandate (he became President by virtue of a single vote in the Supreme Court), and America did not have a clearly defined enemy that would have justified a dramatic increase in military spending.

September 11 removed both obstacles. President Bush declared war on terrorism, and the nation lined up behind its President. Then the Bush Administration proceeded to exploit the terrorist attack for its own purposes. It fostered the fear that has gripped the country in order to keep the nation united behind the President, and it used the war on terrorism to execute an agenda of American supremacy. That is how September 11 changed the course of history.

Exploiting an event to further an agenda is not in itself reprehensible. It is the task of the President to provide leadership, and it is only natural for politicians to exploit or manipulate events so as to promote their policies. The cause for concern lies in the policies that Bush is promoting, and in the way he is going about imposing them on the United States and the world. He is leading us in a very dangerous direction.

The supremacist ideology of the Bush Administration stands in opposition to the principles of an open society, which recognize that people have different views and that nobody is in possession of the ultimate truth. The supremacist ideology postulates that just because we are stronger than others, we know better and have right on our side. The very first sentence of the September 2002 National Security Strategy (the President's annual laying out to Congress of the country's security objectives) reads, "The great struggles of the twentieth century between liberty and totalitarianism ended with a decisive victory for the forces of freedom—and a single sustainable model for national success: freedom, democracy, and free enterprise."

The assumptions behind this statement are false on two counts. First, there is no single sustainable model for national success. Second, the American model, which has indeed been successful, is not available to others, because our success depends greatly on our dominant position at the center of the global capitalist system, and we are not willing to yield it.

The Bush doctrine, first enunciated in a presidential speech at West Point in June of 2002, and incorporated into the National Security Strategy three months later, is built on two pillars: the United States will do everything in its power to maintain its unquestioned military supremacy; and the United States arrogates the right to pre-emptive action. In effect, the doctrine establishes two classes of sovereignty: the sovereignty of the United States, which takes precedence over international treaties and obligations; and the sovereignty of all other states, which is subject to the will of the United States. This is reminiscent of George Orwell's Animal Farm: all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

To be sure, the Bush doctrine is not stated so starkly; it is shrouded in doublespeak. The doublespeak is needed because of the contradiction between the Bush Administration's concept of freedom and democracy and the actual principles and requirements of freedom and democracy. Talk of spreading democracy looms large in the National Security Strategy. But when President Bush says, as he does frequently, that freedom will prevail, he means that America will prevail. In a free and open society, people are supposed to decide for themselves what they mean by freedom and democracy, and not simply follow America's lead. The contradiction is especially apparent in the case of Iraq, and the occupation of Iraq has brought the issue home. We came as liberators, bringing freedom and democracy, but that is not how we are perceived by a large part of the population.

Read more here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

On Our Merry Way To Pumpkin Pie 11.26.03

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and in the spirit of things, and because I enjoy procrastination, I decided to look up pumpkin pie lyrics. I mean pumpkin pie recipes, a pumpkin pie is beautiful but I can’t go so far as to call it a song.

I lollygagged about making the pie. But better that way, since my mother made it home while I was in the preparation stages. The reasons why I want to make a pie are twofold. First is for the sheer pumpkin goodness of it. The best fall vegetable, by far, bar none. The second is because since I have moved home, my cooking skills have diminished; they are not instinctual anymore. I have no rhythm about creating desserts, no sense about meats, no flair with vegetables. I have laziness and I’ll be damned if I’m ordering in all the time (no offense, Silver).

So in the beginning of the process my mother was kind enough to give me tips. Like grate the ginger over a plate instead of trying to get it into a small cup. I’m not always the swiftest. She also introduced me to the magic of egg whipping.

“Until peaks form?” I ask. “What does that mean?”

Apparently it means make your egg whites frothy and like the snowdrifts in Alaska, hiding the ptarmigans. Yes, Eben, ptarmigans exist. Fold into the orange mixture. Oven’s preheated? Wait, the glass pan is in the oven, resting from its last use, cleaned and heavy and deep and brown. It’s already been heated. Should have checked it before, oh well. It leaves the oven and into the sink.

Now here is something I intuitively don’t do. Not because I think of the possible dangers, but rather that it just seems like an unnecessary thing to do. My mother gives the assist, puts the pan in the sink. I am placing the pie in the oven. She is turning on the water, cold. This is not a good idea.

Simply because the pan exploded.

That is not hyperbole.

There is a bang and then there are brown glass squares and rectangles, at least a half-inch thick, over the floor. They flew in the air and about the sink. They are in a heap in the approximate size and shape of the original pan. They are around my mother. None of them hit her, I guess. None of them hit me. The water still runs and we hear the sound of a couple more popping. Pop. Pop. Pop.

p.s., the pie is looking good but will be saved for tomorrow; my brother and I got my mother dancing to the funk (Give Up The Funk by P-Funk, Hollywood Swinging by Kool + The Gang, Baby You Bring Me Up by the Commodores, Rock Steady by Aretha, Soul Music by Curtis) which is a great way to make her feel involved and loved and fun as mothers like to; and I am going to run to the effing grocery store which should be cruddy.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

On Today's $400 Billion Medicare Reform...

Although it will cost $400bn over ten years, the new bill provides far from universal coverage.

Only about one-third of drug costs will be covered through a complex formula that includes premiums, deductibles, and a gap in coverage once drug costs reach more than $2,250.

Under the new plan, private insurance companies will operate the new prescription drug benefit on behalf of the government - just as they do now under private policies called "Medigap" for seniors who may have company health plans with drug benefits.

And Congress promised an $86bn subsidy to big companies to ensure that they continue to offer such benefits to their retired workers.

The bill also gives an extra $25bn to rural hospitals, helping to gain the votes of Congressmen and Senators from the smaller Western states.

More on BBC News.
Double-Edged 11.25.03

Well, my first presentation of the semester is over, and it's pure relief. HJ is in town from SD, MC Shiv is in town from SF (sorry I didn't know you were at bOb's on Saturday, maybe we would have met up). And Bad Santa premieres tomorrow. And Dave and his Dhol Collective are doing Basement Bhangra tomorrow, check it out before midnight at SOB's.

But, there is also Tom Cruise's Last Samurai, official site here. Take a look! Have a good laugh! If you believe Tom Cruise as any kind of samurai...

Here is a list of people who are better suited to play a samurai than Mr. Cruise.

Val Kilmer
Sir Ian McKellen
Hugh Jackman
Your Momma
Dikembe Mutumbo
Tea Leoni
Winnie The Pooh
Ron Jeremy

Friday, November 21, 2003

Floors With Pillows 11.21.03

Back in the old school a kid could fall asleep any damn where he pleased; the WU was filled with couches and ugly yet functional comfort spaces from the dorms to the classrooms. Everywhere you went, some '70's style lounge-couch invited a body to lay down and take a load off-- remember the long black leg extension psychiatrist office chairs from Olin?

I'd love one right now. My eyes want gravity to take over.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Time Trial 11.20.03

This is a comment on another person’s blog, a person who shall remain URL-less, after Gully asked me what I think of her use/ questioning of terms for people of the African diaspora (I would guess); she asked about using “Black” and “African-American” in her post.

A piece:“I'm somewhat fascinated by the interjections some people can get away with using. if I added "mm!" or anything like it to the end of my sentences, I would sound like a fool. is that because I'm white, or because I'm young? or is it something else altogether, like my hyperliterate eastcoast speech patterns? maybe it's just because I don't have a cool grey suit?”

plus the question: “someone tell me once and for all, am I allowed to say this? Is African-American better or does it sound hopelessly PC-pretentious?

{the block parens [] are for comments added for clarification after the email was sent to Gully.}

which of BLOGPERSON's questions are we talking about? [she can't say "mm?" that's not] because she doesn't have a cool grey [Amtrak] suit. her “hyper literate east coast patterns” comment [simply] borders on pandering and egocentrism and pretentiousness. note, of course, this is me and this is where i run afoul of some people, i see these problems/ issues where they do not, so this should all be taken with a grain of salt. blaming something on being young is certainly, by the way, more valid than blaming it on something as wide and vanilla (so to speak) as race. f*cking come on. people are not that simple.

as for her pop-up question, hm. i hate being pandered to, so african american is silly. but. again, grain of salt. personally, when crackers are talking, and i don't at all mean all white people but i mean people who obviously have very surface interactions with other people not only black folk (i call myself black. i ain't never been to africa. you're more african american than i am, gully), then they can signify themselves by calling black folk “african-american.” i think black is much better. and i think when you get to the point of having to ask, anything you say might be misconstrued.

i think it's insulting to always have to be described; sometimes it's okay, sometimes it's necessary, but don't you think it's a little goofy to always be the outside option? that one AFRICAN-AMERICAN. that one BLACK FRIEND. perhaps i have my own "thing" but i think it sucks to always be marginalized in print and in person, and to have all other people assumed to be white until proven otherwise. i like to not know their race. i'm not so different than anyone else.

i suppose if BLOGPERSON is pointing out the way someone talks, or the clothes they wear, you can certainly point to their subculture more accurately. one can fall back on their race; i think "black accent" or "black/ ghetto/ urban" wear is a misnomer but it's understood, for example. note, again, i am a big fan of controlling our language a little better. though... now that i think about it, there is a fine line between being a responsible talked and erasing everyone's ethnicity; that's important too. this should not be a color-blind world, it has lots of color, and our cultures make us strong, interesting, and even funny. and variations of white are color too. i prefer to hear "that italian kid" next to "that black kid" and "that preppy east coast girl," i can certainly deal with that those archetypes because they're not posited as the many against the fractured dusky masses.

that's a rant. i know.

but if someone is going to describe a woman as “cheerily bossy,” and put black on it i might suggest that they simply say nothing; i don't see the point in pointing out the difference. black is a visual, a color, of a train conductor she probably never saw, a voice on a loudspeaker. i guess BLOGPERSON wants us to see some sort of nanny-esque, aunt hattie from gone with the wind image, [I know, that’s reading into it—how about a “sassy momma image?” that might be better, especially in light of this blog’s comment about being treated like “disobedient children.”] which is fine. she can describe it as “nanny-esque,” in fact. i'm not a kitchen cleanser commercial and i don't talk [cheerily bossy] and neither does my mother and i think we are both black. that's what we put on the census.

also note that despite the tone i don't think that question is annoying especially from friends and double especial from good friends. i just want to spell out my line of thinking because it is not necessarily intuitive to some people. and anyway, this is just a tale about her trip home, really. right?


Wednesday, November 19, 2003

/Ribbit/ 11.19.03

Somehow all my “bad” dreams (they’re not so bad, there are no cold sweats, no twitching, no music by Journey and Europe tribute bands, and I wake up, without marks on my body) seem to occur in a school, a large school with lots of corridors. It’s not always the same school. But it’s always attached to a mall. It’s always the afternoon. Someone is always unseen that I’m chasing, or perhaps they’re chasing me, or I’m late—

Last night is no different. This time I am late for a play performance, for about ten people in an auditorium (high school plays in my school certainly sold out better than that), with a cast of 8 or so. The only problem is of course I don’t know my lines, nor do I have an appropriate outfit. I am running through the mall. But this has nothing to do with the outfit, of course. I am running through the hallways and no one is there.

My co-star is Shev. I think. She’s a little more severe, less sweet than the MC Shiv B I know. But I am ready to simply perform in shorts—or underpants in this case. It’s a dream, I barely know what I’m thinking, so I drop my pants—

And I’m wearing tighty-whiteys. Not the classy green boxers (which are real, in my drawer right now) I intended but a pair of faded, ill-fitting, junk-revealing, cotton-pulled-taut-over-buttocks draws. Surprisingly, I am not that embarrassed, it’s part of the day. I get some pants on—

But it’s not like I know my lines. I don’t know why. Apparently I have had lots of time. We’re backstage and we can’t find a copy of the play so I can quickly memorize or bring it onstage with me as a prop. We step outside and we decide to improvise our scene, Shev and I. She’s a little frustrated, and for some reason, there is, in the distance, what looks like real people climbing up the sides of a New Orleans style plantation mansion to reach some woman who is on a difficult to reach verandah. I like to spell verandah with an “h.” I also like Kate Chopin but that’s neither here nor there. It's in that link.

I am watching these people do their thing and Shev is trying to feed me lines; we end up changing the scene. It’s a phone call where we pretend to be on one couch but in two different places; at the end of it we’re supposed to reach out to the other, the imaginary line being the middle of the couch as it might be on television, and almost touch each other, as if we can break this imaginary wall, but of course we can’t. That would disrupt the theatrical physics.

This dream has no significance but I wanted to drop in some content—I know Gully is bored. And also for Erica and Baby Sam, because I haven’t mentioned their names in a while. We have any new readers out there? Any old readers? Anyone?

I feel like the Looney Tunes conductor raising his arm and hearing… just the frog.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Head Up. Eyes Open. Dine. 11.15.03

Apologies to J-Cap, A-a-Lice, and J’s birthday party; sorry to ButtaSammy for not checking out the DJ’s on East Broadway. I am tired, I need to collect some sleep. But here’s something I saw. I shouldn’t have laughed, but…

Leaving the subway at 14th and 8th I happen upon a man looking at the ground; whatever he was looking at was obscured by turnstiles and a metal border grate. I stopped to see what he was looking at, because he looked appalled. I thought I’d see nudity.

Instead, there are two homeless men splayed out, swaddled in mangy clothes, dead asleep, each with a finished bottle of Georgi vodka just out of reach of their hands. It was like a cheap movie, a doctored photograph, and I caught myself kind of… giggling. Or snickering.

“What IS this?” the guy said, pulling his hat over his stringy black hair.
“Man, I just don’t know,” I replied, speeding out before compelled to laugh more. That’s rough and it’s cold but that is such a scene I expect to see at 2.45 AM on Skinemax.


Dinner at Mirchi was good, once the almonds were removed from my dish; and Raycroft’s junior cousin Q was everything a teenager should be in the face of early 30-somethings (and this late 20-something), dismissive and sarcastic. Hey, I understand… we’re a little old to be exciting. Since they clamored for time,

Ruby: Why haven’t you written about us, Norman?
Nicky: Yeah, you didn’t mention my birthday party.

Well, Dame Ruby Curly Locks bounded into the place very red, and wearing a thermal which is an excellent fashion statement. She also asked me a question with a great interviewer’s voice and I found that very fun. Nicky Marie Super Smile sat across the table smiling and at times (as usual) deadpan. Her party, two months ago, it was tight and in a lounge that unfortunately exploded into toolish LI’ers. Nicky is also an OC watcher and we will have to enjoy Mischa and Peter “Eyebrow” Gallagher together at some point. Nice to meet you, James. “Brought together by Friendster” is excellent fortune.

The Looney Tunes movie was pretty decent. I finally found the song I’ve been hearing but have been unable to identify (it’s by Junior Senior). Joan Cusack and Heather Locklear shined as usual. In Arroz’ car, on the way home, we listened to Jay-Z’s Black Album. I would advise you to go out and buy it. If you want to hear Jay-Z introducing each track like it’s God’s gift to the earth (when it’s closer to the environmental value of plastic, as far as we know). If you want to hear strained beats and rap pomp. If you want to hear stale beats from the Neptunes and Eminem and a jack from Trick Daddy. If you want HOVA’s breathy vocals or you think he’s trying to seduce you over the telephone. If you want to hear Jay-Z say not only “I killed my dog, I crushed your cat” in a song, but have that song’s chorus be a perfectly sung “Justify My Thug,” buy this album now.

Yeah, but I’m not joking. Proving once again you can sell sh*t in sheep’s clothing.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

The Trees Waved Like Reeds 11.13.03

While I was out shopping for my brand new kicks (these black Pumas that have soles like cleats) and rocking sunglasses to protect from flying twigs and children, a tree branch, at least twice my height and probably more, and about the girth of Pico’s Johnson (ladies, feel free to attest) collapsed on my brother’s car.

To be fair, it doesn’t look like it just fell on his early 90’s Mitsubishi whatever. It looked like it broke its tree branching foot off in the hatchback a/k/a the car’s ass. With some G-Unit fury! Broken in two, shards everywhere—and that’s just the tree branch! A whole bough, leaning into the street, pointing like the head of a fallen elk. The car itself seems to have no bruises beyond the completely shattered back windshield; I approached it gingerly with a black lawn bag and some masking tape (I couldn’t find the duct tape).

(It’s somewhere here, somewhere.)

A guy with his son in the passenger seat of his grey SUV took the time to slow, stop, and express his shame over what had happened to my car.

“It’s not mine,” I said, struggling with cold fingers to loose a five-inch length of yellowed tape. “It’s my brother’s.”
“Well,” he replied, turning back to the road, “he’s not going to be happy.”

I only grazed a cube of glass once, struggling to hold the makeshift tarp down and protect my brother’s car from the elements; the forecast called for rain. There’s no reason to really worry; this car is one of the cars my brother works his semi-amateur mechanic magic, not worth more than $2000, probably not more than $1000. The neighbor a house away drove in, walked by, looked, went inside.

Kids walked by close to see. The last of the tarp still bucked and writhed with each wind gusts, but it looked secure. The wind strained the tape but the tape stood firm. I was on my neighbor’s property—my brother parked his car in front of her lawn—and I break two pieces of branch with my hands, my feet, my whole body. Branches cracked like bones. Brittle bones—what I remember from arboreal science, treeology, whichever, that color on the inside the tree is unhealthy, a sign of rot. Which partly explains why half the tree fell in the first place.

I looked up and the trees swayed like reeds; leaves neatly packed against our gate, windblasted. Empty boxes have toured the neighborhood only to deposit on top of the pile of leaves. The sidewalks swept clean and imprints of former leaves dot the white concrete. I got my first splinter, while in a fit of manly branch stomping. Of course I said, “splinter,” and went back to my task, until I could break no more. Now, the bough was sizable enough for the garbage men to pick up on Friday.

Running through the wind and into my house, inside, warm, radio, chocolate, typing, rest.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

/I Too Appreciate Jessica Lynch's Opinion/ 11.12.03

It's amusing that the Statue of Liberty, after two years since the September 11th (2001) attacks, is still closed, due to the National Park Service's lack of protection dollars. Not saying that we could afford to spend the money... what with the stumbling recovery and the billions going to the non-war firefight in Iraq. Just saying.

Friday, November 07, 2003

/Dilate/ 11.07.03

This is no way to get any work done:

First wake up late, rake the leaves. More leaves than I think there should be, in yellows and reds and some in greens. Push some back and I know I haven’t been working out. Under the clouds and the wind, greeting the “hey buddy” guy who asks if I am interested in selling my house or if I know someone who is;

Trash bags are not to be found. They are bought at cheap cost, unfurled and fingered open, laid on grassy firmament, leaves shoved inside with hands. Hands, concurrently become dirty. Dirty from the driveway to the neighbors’ lawn and dirty from the front bushes to the street and sewers. Too tired from last night’s music-trade-make out with Pixel to do much more. Bags to the side, heavy, pendulous, dragging, loaded with wet leaves—and down on the curb for Friday pickup.

Race, shower, dirty fingernails. Still scrubbing in vain. Toss on the clothes; hope they fit, into the Brooklyn.

Lunch with Po-Bair. We think it is a good idea to have a drink before we get to studying/ work; she is a Brooklyn Pilsner, I am Rheingold. We catch up over Thai and I realize I haven’t seen her in so long I’ve forgotten basics. Basic basics.

Pick up Eben. It’s hours later than I want it to be. We find a café a distance away. The place is okay and the woman at the counter is from Fargo-esque country. Sweet pound cake with apples on top. Coffee. Like-mindeds. The right steps to studying.

Except the background wasn’t background it was loud and blaring and we all recognized the Geechi Geechi Ya-ya-ya. Ce soir. The Moulin Rouge Soundtrack. A high volumes; we were near the speakers (where a wooden baseball bat also resides… hm) and suffering. The bleating sounds of danced up covers to Gloria Estefan’s Rhythm of the Night or whatever. Miserable. Writhingly. No work done. The player skipped when other cd’s were played. Also miserable.

And to the bicycle art opening (thanks Eben) with Nascar Anna and to Silver’s and some television and missing my ride home—and a long trip on the subways, seeing someone I haven’t in a year and a half—I think. I didn’t say hello to her—and not sleeping on the subways and standing on the bus and off into the rain—

A soft mist falls as the bus pulls out to reaches even further than mine with the sound of a blender two walls away. I stand, check my headphones, look for lurking in the night, check the lights of oncoming traffic and cross. My block is silent, sleeping. I am under the cover of mostly bare trees, walking between dormant cars and dormant houses, one or two with a television glowing blue in a living room. I can see the part of the sidewalk in front of my lawn, waiting for me.

And when I get there, my laptop heavy on my back, phantom aches coming on to poke at me in the morning, I see the path, once again delineated by the leaves from that verdammt tree on our property that thinks it’s so hardy it doesn’t have to drop its leaves until all the other trees are bare.

This is like an arboreal pissing contest. I know it. The tree knows it. I am frustrated, knowing that all the work I put in won’t show in a couple days’ time. At least I know it won’t take as long as it might. I turn into my driveway, looking at the firmament, already covered in yellows, patches of green peeking through in the reddish streetlight, wet with the mist.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Electioneering 11.06.03

Yesterday I walked into my house, a little damp from the mist, headphones hanging off the strap of my backpack. My mother asked me if I was going to vote. I told her I was thinking of not voting.

She shooed me out of the house with a swift “What’s that?” that meant more like “Boy, you better go to that polling place and do your civic duty!”

I found out that I was, apparently, STILL registered to vote in Brooklyn, though I called the voting registration folks twice last year to correct that.

I thought one thing was interesting—there was hardly anything on the ballot, besides the sneaky non-partisan election proposition. Basically, it intends to do away with party primaries and allow anyone to enter the race at the primary level. I loved the wording the best. I read, “freedom, everybody gets a little piece of the electoral game of chance!” But we now know what happens in California. “The rich and famous get the best piece of the electoral game of chance.” I thought about the literature that came to the house, asking me to save politics from party bosses.

Party bosses. They could have dropped a reference to Boss Tweed and the Tammany Hall Machine while they were at it. I don’t know who any of these party bosses are. I DO know who Mike Bloomberg and Steve Forbes and who many other rich and influential CEO’s -- many of them living in New York-- are. That’s where the power lies, and that’s where any steps at making the electoral process more egalitarian have to start.

In a completely unrelated note, while listening to Aaliyah’s “Rock the Boat," I realized that song has almost nothing to do with the pleasures of sailing! Work the middle, indeed. That doesn’t mean ANYTHING in the world of sailing!!!

Monday, November 03, 2003

4.00 AM, Penn Station. The kids are... 11.01.03

On the tiles
Covered in suede jackets
Almost kicking their Styrofoam cups with the labels aimed at me as product placement
Laying with toes pointed at open sacks of McDonald’s
Slowly caressing dyed blondes
Slowly caressing brunettes
Muttering half-nonsenses to friends
Watching the police, perky and shaking hands
Jingling their pants and dark angel wings
Tapping to the music
Baring midriffs
Adjusting their black uniform (slacks + form-fitting shirts)
Being led by their schoolgirl outfits (highlighting thick + fit legs)
Holding personal pizzas in their sleeping laps (while sleeping heads droop down)
Stumbling to the escalator then stopping; turning; walking towards empty stores
Chasing skirt with heavy eyes
Surveying their prone friends while swaggering in white tuxes
Glowering with their arms crossed
Laying in wait with six other girlfriends
Looking at the big board for a sign that finally, they can go home

Friday, October 31, 2003

That Kind Of Day. 10.31.03

As I prepare to face the gauntlet also known as Queens' Finest High School Knuckleheads on my way home, I leave you with the kind of day it's been:

*A pigeon flew into my face. How does that happen? They're city pigeons! They know how to fly low. Is this a visiting country pigeon, here to doo-doo on the parade?

*I stepped on the snout of a seeing-eye dog. Oh, it was an accident but it still has to be karmically bad. I should have known the dog was there, I'd seen it in the same position before.

Side note: Suave Mayor Mike "Pimp O' Da Year" Bloomberg is finally getting to meet J-Lo. If she gets engaged to HIM I won't buy any more of her records. I mean that.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

And After the Marathon, Diddy Will Have A Marathon 10.28.03

**P. Diddy does not want your sex. The rap
mogul has opted to abstain from sex in preparation
for the New York City marathon on November 2,
USA Today reports. "Two weeks is a long time
for me, because I'm a very healthy Scorpio.
My hormones are raging. I'm a young man,
very passionate, very romantic. But it's
for the kids."

Friday, October 24, 2003

Letter to Erica. 10.24.03

So I have been thinking about story ideas for you. Because I promised! And I would like to think that if you asked any of my friends about me, I respect most highly the pact made in a promise. I like to keep my word, especially when I’ve promised to do something that is beyond me, or more creative than I’ve been in a long time.

Or I’ve got verbal flatulence. I’m saying, I had some hella good and silly ideas. But let me tell you the lines that I’ve been thinking along, maybe you’ll find them inspirational and motivating and warm and fuzzy and all that. My spirits are a little worn from the all day scratch fest and no it’s not over. But reduced.

So, I am always fans of stories about what happens “post.” After the breakup, after the victory, after the hero, bloody and bruised, emerges from the crashed airplane and “gets the girl.” Those stories are the best but nothing will measure up to the explosions. The quiet times will seem so much quieter. A diaspora, of a sort.

Here is an idea that has nothing to do with that. I thought of it this morning—I had a set of naps filled with the best dreams I’ve had in months. Granted, I haven’t dreamed in months. Still. I was thinking of

1. a man (or a woman, of course—this was my dream to be modified freely) who is living a fine life, maybe an Upper West Side yuppie type, but not offensive, gives to social causes, likes the country—

And there’s the problem because the country, leaving NYC, isn’t always the country. You find your neighbors on line with you for a boat, so and so wants to meet for lunch/ picnics. Maybe there are children. It makes our protagonist a little sick and he/ she wants to get away. Every attempt to get further away is met by more people, or well-wishers trying to find our protagonist, make sure they are safe, make sure they have cellular service, what have you. This should of course be a claustrophobic world, and the descent spiral-like with repetition of themes and rhythm—like the same person could be the one he/she sees in the end of each failed attempt to get away.

And maybe it turns out that the best way to leave everyone, to get that full day alone, is to buy an apartment in an anonymous building. And then, once achieved, what will our protagonist aspire to? Hmm. That reminds me of Preston Falls.

What else do I have? I’m working on ideas right now that have more to do with race and class and identity, I think, so it’s hard to jump off of those tracks. I’d squeeze out some of those ideas but they don’t all make sense yet.

2. I was thinking of rabbits. I really was. Of a litter of 8 rabbits, all of them sold off by the owner to a disparate group that answers a posted paper ad in Brooklyn. I mean, there are all kinds of stories here; we have to think, who’d rip down a strip of paper posted at the Carroll Street stop and call immediately? Who are those first people? A man with a gift for his 5-year old? The woman who works at the Laundromat? One thing, I think they have to be a little or a lot lonely to suddenly decide—I wanna wabbit!

But I do know that while rabbits are cute, they are also an effective vehicle because everyone loves rabbits. Unlike pit bulls. We’ll see the best out of people through the rabbits, their loves and hates and all that. And it’s like 8 short stories. With rabbits being rabbit-y… and lonely in the background. Wondering what their brother-sister rabbits are doing. And we can look at the ways these people are connected, and the ways in which they think that they are separate, individual, not a community.

3. How about a story about the assistant to your favorite inventor? Make the inventor a complete windbag. Add intensity about research and a slack, unexciting social life. A little television, a lot of reading. Some movies alone. Some deep admiration of a rival inventor, or our inventor him/ herself. Hoping the inventor will notice our assistant-- sort of a love story. Or a hate story, those are fun too.

4. I’d like to read a good story about a high school kid in NYC, the kid who is ostracized as the slut. She’s in the hallways alone, she eats alone, and soon, she finds something else to do besides sit around and talk about pop music and stealing clothes and style and what clubs they can get into. Hmm. Maybe that’s a little hackneyed. I still love such tales.

Would You Like Some Garnish and Bunting, Sir? 10.24.03

An aside—I think it sucks when someone comes up to you in a store, where you are minding your own business, looking around, somewhat knowledgeable, not in need of help, but taking a peek for a specific product. And then they ask you, not yet in your personal space but close, how they can assist you. They take you out of your “get your sales-claws off of me” mode and personally, I know the job can stink, so I am friendly. I ask if they have so-and-so.

And then they know NOTHING of what you’re looking for. It’s like they don’t even work in the store! And then have the audacity to ask you about another product? I could smack fire out of someone’s ass. And I am politely backing up, walking out of the store as they try to engage me, finds out if there is anything else I need, like I am the salesperson’s dream, the willy-nilly know-nothing shopper.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

I Feel Like My Own Private Turntable. 10.23.03

Pixel, you have vertigo. I have hives! It’s like a sympathetic malady! Wonder maladies powers, activate!

The tale—got home on Tuesday (where was the OC crew, hm?) and passed out, only to wake up in the middle of the night, and itching. Didn’t think much of it. Put on some lotion. Woke up again, itching. And the third time I was like, something’s not jake here. And look it! I’m all bumpy. I looked like Wolverine in issue #166 of the X-Men (published in 1981) where his healing factor is fighting the seed of the evil BroodQueen, who is using said seed to transform him into an alien Brood, but with his human healing factor and senses—though I question how that was going to work, since Wolverine’s Adamantium skeleton is human shaped and not fit to Brood-size—but I digress.

I decided to take a trip anyway, loaded up on Benadryl (the good stuff, knocks you right to the ground like Ike Turner). Myself and Arroz the Rice-A-Homie had plans to go down to Princeton. The town. For eatin’ + record shoppin’ (where we saw a J-Hayes clone) + pumpkin pickin’ + cider drinkin’…

By the end I was a squirming itchy mess. I just wanted you to know that. I still am! I’m covered in pink calamine lotion! I am especially itchy in the leg! Yeah!

Electric Honey, I am coming up with ideas for you, I meant to do it yesterday but I was halted by scratching. P.S. the Big N' Tasty rules.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Hookers Is My Point 10.21.03

So, why is prostitution illegal? I’ve been thinking about that one for a couple of weeks now. Not saying, in any way that I would enjoy the services of prostitute, and not facetiously—I’d rather get my booty the old fashioned way, with low-toned sweet talk, crass humor, alcohol and roofies.

Pico does NOT advocate roofies. Beta House frat boys, put them down. No, not in the drink! Aw, you nimrods…

Other illegal activities are criminal because it’s logical, with the severity based on how much you have injured the other party. For example, murder and manslaughter. As individuals we have no right to deny another person their life. No matter how much we think they need to be removed. We can agree on that. Assault is injurious to the person. Collusion, racketeering, injurious to the people who have money stolen from them.

Then of course there are the drug laws… where there should be penalties against sellers of drugs. They do harm to drug users. Though those users in part choose the harm to themselves. Yeah, this one’s messy. But suffice to say, good drug policy would include effective treatment instead of simple incarceration—but I digress.

But let’s get back to the good stuff, hookers. What have hookers done to you? Frat boys, stop telling me about that case of clap y’all got. What have hookers done to anybody? I don’t want hookers on my street, peddlin’ away, but really, where’s the damage to any individual? The hooker has chosen his/ her life (though the circumstances that led to that choice might not be most savory. Let’s leave that out of this argument too). The john has chosen to get a little sumthin’ sumthin’. Is prostitution illegal because it’s a sex act out of wedlock? Someone point this out to me.

And if we legalized hooking, then we could get them topical salves and pills for any unfortunate post slap-n-tickle gifts. Legalize it!

Monday, October 20, 2003

Deportation Station 10.20.03

Gully was a young boy, he had a heart of stone, lived 9 to 5 and he got sent to Virgi-ni-a!

That’s your going away song, kid. Saturday, though, I got to say, that was some party. Between the dirty talk, more dirty talk, and the dancing (yo, Wes, Becky, wait till I get the pictures back! I didn’t mean it like that.) we sent Gully off lovely, with a smile on his face. And I repped okay on the dance floor, after being challenged by Victor and giving him the Danny Glover answer, “I’m too old for this sh*t.”

Friday, October 17, 2003

I Hate The Yankees. 10.17.03

I'd slap all that nonsense about the Yankthese right here but instead, it's on the other blog. More later.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

No, I Promise I'm Coming Back. 10.16.03

Midterms, kids, midterms.

Here's something of note, though, from the EUR. And keep those advice questions coming!

Singer trades sexy moves for Jehovah Witness stroll

*Could you imagine Prince tapping on
your door, bible in hand, with Larry Graham
in tote asking if he can come in and share
some scripture?
Sounds like a bad dream after a late
night of Taco Bell, but that's the latest on
the eccentric entertainer according to UK
Prince has joined Jehovah's Witness and
is spreading the good news everywhere he can.
He was last seen in Eden Prairie, Minneapolis,
on the doorstep of one, identified only as Rochelle.
She said that he turned up and was invited in
along with Larry Graham of 70's group Graham
Central Station, but better known for his solo
debut "One In A Million You." But, soon after
they were invited in, they were asked to leave.
She said, 'I told him, "You know what? You've
walked into a Jewish household, and this is not
something I'm interested in."
Their attempt to spread the word was further
ruined by the Minnesota Vikings game that was
airing on TV at the time of their visit.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Stumble Then Fall 10.13.03

Like the brilliant New Top before me, I plan on holding an advice column forum. I could say I’m doing it because it’s fun, but I am also doing it to work out some new characters that I might use for my National Novel Writing Month novel.

Side note. National Novel Writing Month is only half a month away! Join up! 50,000 words in 30 days seems like a lot but you’re supposed to just spit it out. Don’t think. Let it flow. Write something ludicrous. Join me, yon prolific writers, Juniper Anna and Li’l Fuzzy and Pixel and New Top and Gully and Gurnifer and Electric Honey and everyone else! I did it! Maggie did it! MC Shev B did it! You can do it too. Plus, it’ll keep your broke ass off the sauce.

Back to the advice column. Send your questions, problems, and dirty laundry to me at And if you have a truly ludicrous idea which you want to have made into a novel send it to me also. I won’t use it (unless you really want me to), since I have an idea of what I want to write about, but I will skewer it happily!

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Yank-These 10.02.03

My friend got screwed last night on Paradise Hotel. No money? No sharing? S'okay, though, it's Charla's right to keep the dough. Also, it wasn't that much. $250,000 apiece for the winner, to split with one other person if they so choose? Yaaaaawn.

But, a good reunion, featuring Kevin, Steve, Craig (out of the hospital? It's like a sighting of the Yeti), J-Cap, A-a-lice, and guests the Rugged Chris and Funkmaster Matt.

Sorry about the short posts. I have been working on my other blog. It's about sports, Marla. By the way, Dave says he still chats witll Charla. In case you wondered.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Tonight, the End. 10.01.03

Tonight is the end of Paradise Hotel, wherein my old high school classmate has made waves built a fan base of reality television watchers. You can read through September and August's archives for some notes on all of that. Come watch the final episode at a bar called Suede, 7pm-11pm, 161 W 23rd St.

and from the EUR:

It's the remix of the adult toy.

*Outkast has an album out that's selling
fast, now they're about to introduce a complimentary
product?! We're not quite clear what's up, but reports that the duo is considering
starting a line of adult toys.
The site went on to say that they didn't know
whether or not the group was serious, but one half
of Outkast, Big Boi, was somewhat descriptive.
Even going so far as to name the first product.
"We should have put it out with this album.
I hope [people] get a lot of enjoyment out of it.
Right at the point where you are about to climax
a beat will play like, ('I'm climaxing')," Big Boi
The product line is strictly for the ladies,
Outkast explained, and they would be available
for 'home testing.' (Okee Dokee.)
We suppose they're following in the footsteps
of Li' Kim. Earlier this year the raptress announced
that she would create a life-size, anatomically correct
blow-up doll. The um, home-enjoyment apparatus
from Outkast would be called the Big Boi 3000.

Friday, September 26, 2003

Liz Phair 09. 25.03

Happy birthday Ellen H., Leah W.

I am very happy for Liz Phair and my happiness means nothing to her, of course. But I was listening to some of the songs from her latest effort, Liz Phair. And it makes me think about how long I have been seriously listening to music, and how cool it was to listen to Exile in Guyville back in the day. And of course how I told everyone what I would do when I met Liz Phair. In fantasy there would be a lot of sex and falling off the bed. In reality it would have been much more like Paul Barman said, expect bad sex and slapstick.

That was high school. Ms. Phair’s first album was widely owned and traded around the school. And yet I remember that feeling that this album, the way she told specific stories, the way she knew it was fuck and run even when she was 12, told a lesser publicized story about how boys and girls were living. It wasn’t any different than any other generation’s “artist with salacious tale.” But this was our story. And Ms. Liz Phair was subtle in voice yet stark + direct with words.

Of course I remember hearing that she wasn’t making bank. And for the effort on the first and the second album?

So she mainstreamed the sound and she’s come to this Liz Phair album to make cheddar. It’s fine, poppy. I love pop music. It has all the necessary quirks for the radio, you can sing along with it, she’s a little dirtier than average, we can relate to being breathless and wanting to get some.

In the same way I relate to Sheryl Crow and Faith Hill and such. I understand, I can put myself in that place, but the specifics are for me to create from generalities. I, You, Love, Baby, All Night. Fill in your details. We can rock out to the anthems all together. She can throw in a couple of pop culture mentions to make the song slightly different from Jewel’s offering and to tie it to our lives—thank you for the X-Box playing boyfriend character, Ms. Phair, I love video games!

But without those bitter stories that make us sit in diners and in hallways and on subways asking, “did you hear what happened to her?” and “I wonder if she’s creepy to be around in person?” there is nothing different between Liz and the rest of the semi-sassy women on the radio dial. She can't fault me for being cheesy and reminiscing. I can’t fault her for changing her sound, or for not mining more traumatizing relationship memories. One can only do that for so long or turn into Johnny Cash, may he rest in peace.

Monday, September 22, 2003

It Won't Be Long 09.22.03

***Saturday Night***

I bid my goodbyes to Pixel and the newly-arrived Kat, pissed at myself that I tarried too long. I knew I had to go home! I know the LIRR only comes at 1.04 and at 2.55! I knew I had no place to go!

Pissed but happy. Their waiter—I’d say “our” but I didn’t order anything—was loving his day, spewing sarcasm all over the ladies like Lexington Steele spews… other substances…

Diversion. The waiter was quick with the comebacks, the overworked attitude, the suggestions, the cracks, which was perfect for Kat + Pixel, but I got so caught up in playing that I was, well, at the point the first paragraph started us with here. Pissed at myself at tarrying.

I took off. In a very Prefontaine manner. I got the speed up—after all, I only had twenty minutes to make it from 7th and Avenue A to 34th and 7th Avenue—and I ain’t taking a cab. Because I could do better. I could make it. And if I did not it is my fault anyway.

The feet are moving one, two, one, two, I have a good rhythm. The streets, empty until almost 2nd Avenue, start to become clogged. Couples are in the way, Trash bags, dog-walkers, threesomes of women. I run like a football player, looking for my holes. Slow. Studder step. Get low. Burst. Stride long. Short steps. Slide steps. Burst. Blinking red = sprint, on toes, power from the thighs, sprint high, pump arms.

Until I reach the N/R a.k.a. the Never Rarely train. There is also the W that runs local sometimes, but that does not fit neatly into the “never rarely” mythmaking; because the N/R is always true to form. Never there. Rarely comes when you need it. Even and especially during rush hour. The train line is like a practical joke.

I sprint down the stairs in two-by-twos, hoping a train will be pulling in, softly coming to a stop, so I can swipe the mighty Metrocard and take a swift ride to commuter rail.

Of course there’s no train there. Were you really thinking that there would be a train? I mean, I led you this point with Never and Rarely. It wouldn’t hold to form if a train actually came. Sigh.

I am covered in sweat. I lean against the painted black metal grate, catch my breath. A young couple tries to explain that they used their Metrocard at a nearby station and it was not accepted; the token booth clerk has little pity and the couple, kids, really, become all constipated about it. They try to relate to him, they try to browbeat him. He lets them in anyway (was it a pay-per ride? Their argument made no sense to me) and they don’t even say thank you. I have been watching this exchange…

…For five minutes. Time is critical. I need some commuter rail. I promised myself that if I didn’t see a train in five minutes I would go topside and see if I couldn’t find the cabbie willing to pick me up, even though I am on an uptown street and similarly hued as Danny Glover .

But, what if a train is just on the underground horizon? Lighting its way from two stops down, not yet heralded by bright lights or the clarion horn that splits our rush hour ears? It is decided. I will check first since I am f**ked anyway.

The platform is packed. I hear a beep right behind me. More people entering the station. With this many people, a train is bound to come, right? The MTA knows our needs, that’s why they charge us 2 bones. For service!

I take a stroll down the platform and I admit to engaging in my favorite pastime, “birdwatching.” There is no train, and I one can see to the Prince Street station from the back of 8th Street, maybe a little further, before the tracks recede into a maw, lit by yellow dots of light. There is no hope coming.

The rest of the people feel it. They find spots near the two exits and use their cellular phones, playing with their pleated skirts. They lay on the ground in their faded jeans and scruffy faux-hawk hair. They lean into their significant others who adjust the buttons on the three button polos which prove a little thin for the evening.

This platform one is very clean… looking. As such, two women and two men are in various states of bored, one woman sitting on the platform, one man leaning over her and keeping her occupied, the other pair by the wall, looking at their counterparts next to them.

The leaning over man is obviously frustrated. He paces back and forth and is making cracks, not audible from my distance but evident in his language.

He starts with almost a wail. “Lean on me!”

Then I realize he sang “N-R train.” (These are all approximations—I didn’t transcribe the lyrics. For the real Bill Withers lyrics hit this) Followed by more chorus:

where have you gone.
I need a train.
I need to gooooo home.
please don’t be long,
cause I need a train,
a train to carry me home.

You, could be a N,
Could be an R,
Maybe a W,
no train is wrong,
I need a train,
a train to take me home!

By now, people are giggling, putting down their cellular phones, smiling, singing along, clapping! The underground is alive with reverberating claps! Almost in sync, that sound bouncing off the walls and waking up the drunk and jaded and blue-balled! He went back to:

N-R train
where have you gone.
I need a train.
I need to gooooo home.
N, R,
please don’t be long,
cause I need a train,
a train to carry me home.

Then he got into it:

Just call on me brother,
I need a train
We all need a train to take us home
I just might have a problem,
I got to go home
We all need a train to lean on—

And I could see the lights illuminating from Prince Street, coming on strong, and the rising gust of wind, and the feel of the subway running, and the sound of the wheels and tracks racketing, and a mighty cheer exploded from the waiting passengers, cheers and claps and laughter.

If a rain song brings rain then a train song should bring train, correct, by the same naming conventions? Our very own train song, then, for:

the boys in the jeans with the i-pods and tattoos, for the overdramatic kids discussing being high and whether the boy with the poems knows her mom well enough to sleep over, for the bachelorette in the pink feather boa and her helpmeets in flowered tops and knee-length skirts. All finally, going home.

Friday, September 19, 2003

Buckle the Swash! 09.19.03

It's official talk like a pirate day, if you didn't know.
Tongues 09.19.03

I woke in the middle of the night, before the rain, to find my teeth on my outstretched tongue. I was confused. Mostly because I was mostly asleep. But there was my tongue. And I could not remember how to put it back in my mouth, or how to raise my jaws. Kind of creepy. I thought out the steps. Lift jaw. No, not that way. Yes, there you go. Bring tongue back in. Does it roll back like tarp? Will it just shrink? It took me a few moments to think that one through.

Finally, tongue back in the mouth. Now, jaw-- go down, down, there you go.

Never happened to me before... I went to wash my face, get my bearings.

Does this happen to anyone else? Or did I just post my freak flag?

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

County Blues 09.17.03

On my way to the OC I was pissed off. Perhaps, if you can imagine such a thing, I was not in the mood for the OC a/k/a televised candy.

This was the afternoon that provided examples of why it is so easy to assume people are a certain way; in this case, selfish, unrealistic, retarded. Featured was the flagrant disrespect of mothers, an uncalled for shove, more of them damned kids speeding by on scooters, and the hood rich cat behind me who talked into the earpiece attachment of his cell phone:

*I was just thinking of you, Tonisha, I was gonna call you. Yeah. Like two days ago.


*I’m writing a song. You want to sing on it? I need you.

All in a deep rich baritone. All very seriously. But not smooth, no, more earnest. As if he was looking for a record deal, along with a taste of Tonisha. Which got me thinking. About people with schemes, in their late 30’s as this man appeared to be. People plotting out their big break when their time is passing. When they need to think about more realistic pursuits.

But, what are we if and when we stop dreaming? When we stop aspiring? And how MTV-cheesy is that statement? But it has validity, weight, relevance. We are only as hopeful as our next goal. Are dreams the province of youth, only?

My internal commentary about this man… he has a right to want to do something. I can’t look down on him because I think he sounds silly. But I also worry: that could be my life. That could be my sibling.

That could be my end. I could be flypaper’d where I stand, talking about oh, oh, I got a plan! Oh, oh, you know what I’m gonna do once I get the money for it? Oh, oh, I got a bad business idea. Oh, oh, I’m gonna do this crazy thing once I get up off of dropping this bomb up in le salle de bains.

This is why it is bad to have too much time to think, kids. On the subway, I was attempting to eat a Subway sandwich. I don’t like to be that person who’s eating on the subway. Sometimes it gets a little messy. Sometimes, there is a smell. It’s not the most considerate thing to do. My sandwich is the slippery slope to fast food, which smells bad enough if you don’t want to be near it. But then that leads to fish. Ox tail. Jerk chicken. You don’t want that up in your train car. Even if you like to eat it… you understand.

I’m settling in, taking a few quick bites with the plastic Subway bag on my lap, waiting for the train to move. I look over at people, both because I like describe people’s facial features (it’s good practice) and I wanted to see if any one was giving me the “you’re eating on the train” screwface.

One small girl of about 4 or 5 was giving me a face. Actually she was chewing. In rhythm with me. I stopped chewing. She stopped chewing. This girl was curled into the grey seat, her toes tapping her mother’s knee, she taking up approximately the space of her mother’s thighs and tummy. Not to say her mother was large, but this girl was so tiny. And bright-eyed, and cornrowed in parallel zigzags. She was kinda dark, and her cornrows were fraying a touch.

But I think she was mocking me. I started chewing again. She did a dead on, up and down, exaggerated chew, ending with her cheeks stuffed, starting with her face long. I stopped for a second hoping she would simply quit, but I know kids. I was like a game now. This time she looked up when I looked back at her, but when I would chew, she’d be right back at it. I’d look at her, she’d look up.

I opened my eyes wide to say “well? Are you done yet?”

Of course she imitated me some more. Opening her eyes wide. Then following as I closed my mouth and squinted to say “yeah, very funny.” The guy next to me busted out laughing, so did I. She had me. I stopped eating.

This girl also was talking to her mother, all smiles. The I believe she wanted something, screwed up her face and in the space of a minutes, generated real-looking tears. Her mother smiled through it and then asked her a question quietly.

“I crying,” the girl said, unable to hold the proud smile. “I crying. Sad.”

She brightened the ride.

The OC night devolved into a rain of bad jokes and voices as Pixel revealed her latest pun. Silver was filth, Stephanie was almost offended and we fear that we’ve scared off Karen.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Two Tickets 09.16.03

Last night, 9 pm Eastern time, I finished my trek from the evening’s classes to Dave’s Paradise Hotel party. I didn’t think it would be a “party” like that, but then… I forgot that Dave loves his newfound fame.

And how could he not? From the beginning he was getting airtime on the show. He’s is the center of the program really, and the whole crew whooped it up. There were 20-25 people in this apartment, centered around the couch. I have to say, these television parties-- not a bad idea. I admit it, I noticed how it was mostly ladies up in there and who can dissent to that? A-Lice and J-Cap were in the house, as were the old HS friends Rich, Pool Party Steve, Kevin; and kids popped out of the woodwork to watch this.

The table was half filled with beer and half filled with pictures from the wrap party, screen shots of Dave and Charla, and Paradise Hotel stationery. The show itself was good for once; tension building as the players try to figure out what the twist is as they mark who their allies and rivals are. The show displayed Dave guessing at what each participant will choose as a rival, and as an ally. He gets most of them right, playing up the intelligence factor…

A-Lice guessed the people who would be voted off the show and won some hot Hotel memorabilia, a t-shirt and the shirt Dave wore on the show—a white t, with Happy B-Day Tara in red marker on the front. Hottt!

It was raining outside, cats and dogs and horses, but inside, we were getting back in touch, laughing at how ridiculous Amy is, was, and will continue to be on the show, and cheering Dave on. Marla, Nicky Marie, I forgot to pass on how much you and your friends dig him, but I’m sure he knows. Write him an email! Check the message boards! hey... and he might even be in your town very soon.

And if you want to join the OC party tonight... let me know.

Monday, September 15, 2003

From the EUR:

*We've always kind of wondered how R. Kelly
views himself in light of being indicted on child
pronorgraphy charges. Well, it turns out that
Mr. Kelly thinks he's another version of Osama
Bin Laden.
"People can say whatever they want about
you without knowing the facts," Kelly tells Blender
magazine in its October issue. "They can criticize
you without even knowing you, and hate you when
they don't even know you. All of a sudden, you're,
like, the bin Laden of America. Osama bin Laden
is the only one who knows exactly what I'm going
C'mon Rob. Osama Bin Laden? Last time
we looked, the Taliban leader didn't have a hit
CD and sold-out tours going for him either.
Speaking of CDs, Kelly's kept himself busy
in the recording studio for the past six months,
and says song ideas come to him in the kitchen,
on the basketball court, everywhere.
"I love music, and music loves me back. We're
kind of married, and I'm pregnant by music," the
36-year-old told the magazine. "I have three to four
years' worth of work you've never heard in the
vaults. I've come up with at least 20 to 25
From the New Yorker... 09.15.03

from the New Yorker, read here for the full article, it is very good.

Goals as morally grand as defeating terrorism and ending tyranny make any objection to the program for reasons of logic or practicality look puny, niggling, and cynical. The President’s rhetoric divides the world into those who have passion and courage and those who believe in nothing except a self-defeating caution. The willingness to make the gesture overwhelms whatever difficulties there are on the ground. This is not just a habit of thought that Bush conveniently seized upon after the war. The understaffing of the reconstruction and the lack of post-combat planning wasn’t the result merely of Donald Rumsfeld’s bullheadedness. It stemmed from the President’s soaring conviction that courageous intentions must inevitably produce pleasing results.

Saturday, September 13, 2003

No Makeup, Saturday Morning 09.13.03

I awoke in the dark, too tired to actually go up to school and find the articles I promised myself I would this morning. I also woke up next to Selvadurai. That is NOT the optimal outcome of a Friday night. At least he didn’t violate me.

I crashed at Selvadurai’s after an evening featuring the return of Dave from Paradise Hotel. He won’t tell us who won, or any juicy upcoming nuggets. There are four shows left, after all. And good for him, good for him; I don't need to know everything about the show. But he gave us some behind the scenes insights, as we discussed our "relationships" with the characters we'd seen, the characters who pissed us off as they verbally assaulted Dave. The idea that they did other things besides complain about each other (creating personal relationships, playing tennis... listening to non-copyrighted music as they "partied"). The idea of being isolated from friends and family with no contact, no letters, no telephone, no carrier pigeon.

J-Cap + A-Lice and myself were up in his Gran-mama’s apt, drinking with his friend Andy Kaufman, watching Dave bask in the glow of his newfound semi-fame. We were around Washington Square Park, the sky clouding up outside, on hard-backed chairs as Dave reclined in a loveseat with a Red Stripe in hand. Dave answered questions, waved his hands, laughed a lot. Jenna smiled, Alice leaned in with interest. He talked to us about a talk show pitch, about how everyone in the cast of course wants to greet the sun-kissed City of Angels like so many before them have—with dreams of acting stardom.

His other friends came. Now, A-Lice is obsessed with reality television, watches it all. These two women had specific questions on their Clie. They could describe the rooms from what they saw on television. They watched before Dave got on the show. And this, my friends, is why I steer clear of the Upper East Side.

Good luck on your Arizonan endeavors, Mr. Crushman. Don't take a drunken slumpen fall like that bald pallid man last night at the bar's brick wall. Welcome back, New Top. Hello, New Top’s blogging friends such as Electric Honey. I was tired and standoffish last night, ached in the lower back, and in the mood to sleep in my bed, so I was less gracious than I meant to be.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

I Think... 09.10.03

You want to be a part of the next OC night. Wherein we watch the OC on Fox. And Nip/ Tuck. This is what all the cool kids are doing, not going out and "meeting people" or "drinking" or "making sex."

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Ru’ Baby! 09.09.03

Anonymous sources inform me that Ja Rule was confronted by one of his haters recently near the set of a movie shoot. This hater, not more 12 years old, accosted Mr. Rule outside of a school with a boom box playing one of the many available Ja Rule dis tracks—let’s go with Eminem/ 50 Cent/ Busta RhymesHail Mary” as an example. Mr. Rule became furious, grabbed the boom box and smashed it on the ground.

Post-script: Ja Rule was ordered by the producers to buy the boy a new boom box and a new cassette containing the track.

Monday, September 08, 2003

Overheard on the Dollar Van 09.08.03

The scene:

Our hero Darnell is a male of African descent (whether he be/ considers himself African-American, Black, Afro-Ameri, Caribbean-American, et cetera, I cannot speculate on), about 18 years of age, an almost stocky or husky build. Not one to be called fat, he stands at approximately five feet ten inches. He dresses in popular “street” gear circa 2002—red jacket covering a replica basketball jersey, sweatpants, du-rag and red cap as garnish.

With him are two ladies of the African diaspora, both sizable in nature. One (whom we shall refer to as “1”) wears denim jeans, tightly fitted to contours like the plastic that holds a wall clock together. These contours are especially noticeable and healthy at the midsection + hip. She accompanies these with a denim blouse, which opens three buttons downward. Her hair is extended in plaits and reaches up and out like a mane covered in grease.

Two, heretofore known as “2,” wears a striped shirt, short on the belly and tight on the chest. Here, the denim jeans are as tight but curve at softer angles. Her hair is braided close to her head, her skin is paler than the other two. Judging by her teeth, bulging eyes, and muffled speech, this observer would not be surprised if she were kin to Raekwon the Chef of Crack Rock.

They discuss clothes, the homosexual population of Springfield High School, and how they are too old for sneakers at age 18 on a dollar van, typical for the area; the van is 13 people thick, a collection of folks from the Southeast Queens area ranging from (guessed) ages of 12 to 55. Traffic is moderate. The time is mid afternoon.

Darnell begins his story by talking of a friend’s cousin. He has known her briefly. She is looking for a new job because she dislikes her position at Rite Aid, and she also desires male companionship for a somewhat long-term period. Darnell’s brother is a male who is suitable for companionship. He informs her of a job opportunity with said brother. Which pays $800 every three days. But the job is only at night. In the South Bronx. To which she says,

Darnell: “when can I start?” And I’m like, I don’t know, it’s my brother’s deal. Let me get in contact with him. So I get in contact with him, call him on the cell, you know, and he’s there and she’s there so I’m like talking to him. And I’m like, she wants to work for you, and he’s like on the phone, all right all right. She got some references? And I’m like, I’m calling on her behalf, and I’m her reference. He’s like can I speak to her.
2: He’s up in the Bronx?
D: Nah, hold on, hold on, let me get to it. So he’s talking to her and he’s like you work at Rite Aid and she’s like yeah, and he ask her have you had any trouble at your job and she’s like, oh, you know, I got in trouble once because I was late.
He’s like, no, no, we don’t tolerate that around here, and she’s like, no, no, I’m a hard worker, I want to do this job, when can I start? So he’s like I need to meet you first, when can you come up? She’s like, I got night school and all. He’s like, when you get out of school, and she’s like I got class at 5. So he’s says to me, bring her up.
2: Up to the Bronx.

This observer failed to get enough notes on this part to provide actual dialogue. But the woman goes to the Bronx with Darnell, very late at night. They see a man pull into a parking space, where the woman declares “that n***a’s cute.” She is pleasantly surprised to find that the person is Darnell’s brother whom she is slated to meet. There are four people in this imagined apartment; one can imagine a small couch, a dark pallor over the place. There is another woman named Ebbie in the apartment along with Darnell, his brother, and the unidentified female. We continue.

D: So I was like, didn’t you say you thought my brother was cute? And she’s like, come on, Darnell, why you blowing up my spot? But my brother, you know, he’s kissing on her neck and Ebbie’s passed out on the couch by now.
1: You ain’t mess with her?
D: Ebbie? Nah, nah, I already messed with her and she’s like (sound indicating dissent, or flatulence), so nah. But she on the couch, snoring like a gorilla. My brother comes out and he’s like, I think you should see this.
I go in and she’s like buck naked, up on the bed.
1: No!
2: Come on.
D: Yeah. (coyly) So we trained her.
1: Trained her?
D: Yeah, trained her.
2: More like ran a train on her.
1: Oh, that’s hood. That’s nasty.
D: Nah, you know. It’s not my fault if she’s gullible.
2: You ain’t mess with Ebbie?
D: Nah, Ebbie’s like (indicating a size too rotund for his liking).
2: Nah, she slim down. She a size 3, 4, 5, 6.
D: She might look a size 3—she’s no size 3. She’s like, you take her clothes off and all of that fat—it’s like skin all over the place. She got stretch marks too.
1: I got stretch marks.
D: Yeah, but she... but one time, I got with Ebbie, and we were like on a table and there's this piano there and she's coming and coming all over the place, but I'm not coming, I'm like working but she's come like twice now. So I'm doing my thing and working hard and she comes again and her arm and her head jerk back and she bangs her head into the piano and her arm goes limp--
2: Nice conversation we having on the dollar van.
D: Come on, everybody grown here.

Friday, September 05, 2003

And When I’m Done With Your Wife I Go Straight to Church 09.05.03

I discovered a great many things today. Walking is a direct cause of sweat. With some prodding, one-hour photo can become 2-ish hour photo, which is an improvement. Linen should be dried carefully and not with the rest of one’s rags.

Also, while walking past the worst pick-up games I have ever seen (son, don’t try a crossover dribble if you can’t do a basic dribble), and wondering what these blame-fool kids were doing, still on the street with their scooters and their giggles, I realized I had been hearing non-stop Eminem.

Still. Didn’t 8 Mile come out last year or something? Still cars are yelling at me to lose myself in the moment. And filling kids’ heads with hope. That g*ddamned Eminem! It is very difficult to pry the youth from MTV dreams of musical success, childish excess, and flashy flagrance as it is. And this cat is spouting this “hard work will bring you success” line which is great and edifying in the real world but not in the completely flipside planet called the music business. That planet’s next to Mxyzptlk’s planet, Kltpzyxm.

In a sense, I am wrong. Reaching is beautiful. Safety nets are good too, kids. Get them in the next aisle.

Then I think of 50 Cent—or Fitty Fat as we like to call him when he comes out of his cave for Easter dinner. He, at least, has the courtesy to go to tried and true standbys. After all he has been doing this for a long time. Did you hear the verse on Kobe Bryant’s album? Do you know Kobe Bryant dropped an album in 2000? Or that Chris Webber did the same? Or that Jason Kidd was one of B-Ball’s Best Kept Secrets?

Just checking.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

The Admonisher 09.04.03

The library is the one you know, both a tourist spot and a grad student stop, ceilings the height of 5, 6, 7 people. With rain outside. I can check the weather by looking up into the ephermal grey. Like a stocking tossed carelessly by a goddess over the world. Stretched taut in some places and letting light through the thin. Thicker in some places, bunched up or with some sort of sediment or dried... I do not wish to speculate.

But the rain can be seen against the close corner of the building as I look up and right, phantom impressions of drops, that let me know it is still slick outside. The lamps to my right and left wave heat upwards if you can patiently watch the patterns.

And damn, that was approaching some maudlin s**t. I need lunch.

Friday, August 29, 2003

Nothing to Report, Sir. 08.29.03

Last night I went to the Cornelia Street Cafe for Pool Party Steve's birthday. Good jazz. Talked to the other "Pico" from high school. Shock of the evening-- we were there because, apparently, Small's has... closed???

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Match Point 08.28.03

Samantha (I need a nickname for you. Skids is too dirty. How about Baby Sam? Like a reference to Baby Cham?) is a sweetheart, thinking of me when she obtained some US Open tix from her place of employment. And she took me. As she put it, the evening was great because it wasn't like us trying to catch up (which is somtimes simply forced) but more of an everyday hangout. We made fun of almost everyone in Arthur Ashe, on the grounds, in the seats; there was a solid wind, almost chilly, which is an improvement over usual US Open weather-- the confluence of all the smutty dripping weather of the summer in one place.

Samantha also pointed out that we probably annoyed everyone around us with our quips and commentary; but we didn't have to give anyone the finger, so that's good. I was only attacked by the grasshopper once, who took to pacing throughout the whole James Blake match. That was an hour and a half.

As for the matches, Lindsay Davenport really whooped the hell out of her "opponent" who has no name but will be heretofore called Italian-Flavored Fodder Only Here For the Money. "IFFOHFM" flailed, she whiffed, she bored the crowd, she was worse than "Cats."

The actions of Mr. Blake's opponent, Zabaleta, was wonderfully pronounced by our British-accented announcer, his strong serves given a hot-weather tropical grace; Blake's relentless (yet sloppy, reactionary, and unplanned) athletic abilities given an urban Grey Goose feel. Blake outlasted him in three sets. Or more appropriate, Mr. Blake stopped f**king up and getting in his own way.

On my way home, the evening was marred by a slow roll from Flushing down through Queens, where I saw a random act of violence at the Sutphin Boulevard station. A man is with a crew of I would guess thugs-- this, based on their retro outfits (of teams that did not win in retro or current times) and the depth with which they rolled. This man walks up to a woman, who is talking with them. She is closer to the road than the KFC which lights their backs. Mind you, the bus windows are streaked and there is a greasy afro-stain on my window. I reach over to watch the people, as I always do. The man strides to her, and I believe I saw him grip her by the shoulders and lift and bodyslam her to the ground, on her back, with the kind of speed you only see in Governor Swarzenegger's movies.

This seems incorrect, because I wonder how he could just stand up as if nothing happened, while she seemed to protest, timidly give him the finger, and drift up the street towards Jamaica Avenue, rubbing the back of her head. He was swaggering, from what I could see. Watching her body language, I thought she would soon return to enjoy the company of thugs.

The light changed and I left them to their stories, they unknowingly leaving me to mine.