Friday, December 30, 2005

I of course will have nothing to do with the first program mentioned in this article. Nope. Nosiree. I won't be doing those progress reports. Nope. Not I.
I have become a selfish jerk:

- I have been shamelessly promoting my blog. I tell people “why, I posted it on Live Journal.” “Gosh, I posted it on Pico.” Like I am that important. People come to read when they wanna, and it’s cocknoxious of me to ask them to step out of their routines—which probably involve more work than I do—to read my mealy mouthed whining! (But read my/ our sports blog.)

- The continuing sales of candy on the subway by pre-teens and teenagers is making me sick. I assume they’re out because in the holiday season, people are giving, people are sweet, and people are from out of town. I should respect that some of my young (black + Latino) people have a hustle, but what kind of world are we in that they have to hustle like this? I’m a hater, I know. Even worse, I wonder if it’s because I hate to hear people on the subway? I have preaching, I hate sales, I hate panhandlers, I’m halfway to sounding like I am from a red state and I am living in a waterfront condo.

- I’m going to go wash my sins out with whiskey. Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

This morning Alissa met me with a bag the size of a well-fed 10 year old. We walked to Atlantic/ Flatbush, in hopes of finding a ride... and there was a yellow cab, empty of passengers and lights on, in the middle of the street. Sweet! He didn't even pass me by! It took 40 minutes by car, traffic on Flatbush and gridlock on Broadway being the culprits.

post: from the Defend Brooklyn mailing list:


So Pataki and Bloomberg were willing to let TW-100 walk over a pension proposal that would have saved the transit authority less than $20 million over the next three years considering that the city says that every day of the strike will cost its businesses hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenues. Are they that dumb? No, This is all about upcoming negotiations for City employees who's contract runs out next year. Bloomberg was quoted in the NY Post 12/20/05 saying New city employees had better get ready for reduced pension benefits no matter what happens in the transit talks — where pension costs are a key sticking point.

"A fifth tier for city workers is something we have to think about," the mayor said during a press conference on Staten Island, referring to the city's four current pension plans.

Pension reform had been on the mayor's agenda long before the transit negotiations.

This is why we have a strike today! And if you think this is bad just wait till the summer.

Phil

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Escalade-ation

So in response to Mayor Bloomberg calling the TWU workers selfish, cowardly, and thugs, Roger Toussaint, head of the TWU, responded this afternoon by likening their struggle to Rosa Parks' struggle and bringing up the lack of days off/ holiday provisions on Martin Luther King Day. And the story of a transit worker with a child who couldn't get days off.

This ain't gonna end this week, because that's a step up in rhetoric.

plus: i like how this NYTimes graphic starts with the most affected-- a graphic that is city-center oriented; and goes on to the worst affected. the most affected graphic does not take into account the additional time and discomfort on the LIRR or in vehicles for those of us on the outskirts of the city, or the effect on Long Island. That is your paper of record.
Day Deux

Less cold today; walking makes a body tired. But I feel good, exercised; which is the perfect antidote to the malaise I've been feeling recently. Plus it takes a moment like this to remind me how much I love certain people.

Also, shopping at Century 21 was quick and easy. More people in the store than I would have guessed but free enough at lunchtime to get some clothes.

Last night I caught a ride home with one of my big bosses and I will never do that again. On the plus side, he really does remember my name and even my high school. On the bad side, we sat in traffic on Water Street for an hour. And then on State Street for half an hour. I learned a lot about Sir Paul McCartney's oeuvre, found out there is apparently an Eagles song in the movie "the Warriors," and saw my old Windsor Terrace neighborhood, but that trip was not necessary.

Tonight, we walk.

Here is a transit strike photoset from yesterday, including Randi Weingarten at the Manhattan base of the bridge, Marty Markowitz in the Brooklyn Cyclones cap telling us "we're going to get through this" on the Brooklyn side, and lots of morning commuters getting reacquainted with their bunions.

Photo Library - 1524.jpg

Photo Library - 1529.jpg

Photo Library - 1530.jpg

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

What some New Yorkers are saying about the transit strike

opposition seems to be based on people's whining inconvenience (serve me, meat! and smile when i can't understand the subway map and my brittle voice shrieks at you!) and on the premise that being a transit worker is a desirable job. also, the premise that since the rest of the world is getting unlovingly screwed out of pensions that everyone else should.

also, this transit system is obviously valuable to all of us, drivers and walkers and subway riders alike. and if someone's douche-ass advertising job was valuable to the company, they can go to their boss and say "hey, i'm valuable. pay me like i'm in GoodFellas or i go to a rival."

the transit workers have no rival.

so when they get mistreated, when they have given back wages (when in any private industry job have you agreed to not get a raise?) they only have one option. stay. that lack of option should have a specialized status/ value. since the sweet children from indiana who come to the city to test their hipster fortunes playing their glockenspiel into their powermac don't want to be train conductors, obviously, this is a job that a limited amount of people are willing to do.

additionally: danger factor, being in the subways. in 7th grade our science teacher asked us to come up from the subway and blow into a tissue and check the color of what comes out. lovely, right? and we don't work in it.

and yes, the subways are going to be automated at some point (that sends warmth up my spine! hey, digital readout, these kids are robbing me. what's that you say in response? next stop, bergen street?), which should embolden the transit workers. because what are they going to do in 10-15 years? work in finance? study philosophy?

anyway, the comments. these people.

douchey comment string from gothamist.
Transit Strike 2005!

I went to bed last night knowing that it was actually going to happen. The Transit Workers’ Union was going to walk off the job; the MTA representative came out and spun the negotiations his way, the TWU representative spun the negotiations that way. The news reporters clenched their jaws and pursed their lips to deliver the news. The traffic reporters spat gloom and doom. I heard of bottlenecks; Dora and Di decided not to go.

The LIRR station at Atlantic was jam packed with people buying tickets to get to Jamaica and then back into the city. Good luck. Meanwhile, I started my walk up to the Brooklyn Bridge, assuming it should take me 40-50 minutes.

And I had my camera. There will be a photoset later.

Highlights include:

- A few bikes.
- Not much foot traffic, relatively.
- Goofy bikers and rollerbladers.
- Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz greeting us on the bridge. “We’re going to get through this!”
- Empty roads on the bridges and streets.
- The United Federation of Teachers at the Manhattan foot of the Brooklyn Bridge, with some TWU folks, handing out coffee.
- The Red Cross, handing out coffee.
- Reporters everywhere.

Apparently the Staten Island Ferry wasn’t crowded.

Also, that was a good brisk walk! I should do it more often! Except for the frozen nose thing.

Friday, December 16, 2005

From the NY Times, about the strike on the private bus lines likely to happen on Monday. I bring this up because I live out there, with some pretty cruddy bus service to begin with, and at $5/ dollar van ride, i'll take the LIRR, thanks. or just stay with my girlfriend as long as she'll have me. you know, becausde mike bloomberg told me i should. anyway, here is some text from the article:

The Transport Workers Union represents 217 workers at Jamaica Buses, based in Jamaica, Queens, and 490 workers at Triboro, based in Flushing, Queens. By noon today, the buses were still running, and it was unclear when the union members would stop work. A driver for Triboro Coach said a walkout was unlikely before Monday.

Jamaica Buses has about 15,000 riders each weekday, while Triboro has about 42,000. If there is no bus service on the lines, city-licensed commuter vans along those routes will be permitted to charge up to $5 a person and taxis will be allowed to charged up to $10 a person.

The chairman of the City Council's Transportation Committee, John C. Liu of Flushing, said in a discussion on WNYC-AM radio this morning that the patrons of the private bus companies would be the one harmed by a strike.

"These riders have suffered from years of neglect by the city and the M.T.A.," Mr. Liu said. "Their service has become atrocious and to sock it to them this way through a strike at this point just seems profoundly unfair to these bus riders."

He emphasized that the union was not the only one to blame for the contract impasse. "Whenever there is a shutdown of a transit system, it's not just simply the union's fault because it is illegal for them to do so," Mr. Liu said. "The M.T.A. should have come to the table a long time ago in earnest and not wait until the very, very last second. And in fact that's been, I think, a part of the problem. The chairman, Kalikow, didn't even show up until yesterday afternoon."

Roger Toussaint, the union's president, and Mr. Kalikow met at 11 p.m. last night for the first time in the labor talks, just one hour before the union's three-year contract expired at 12:01 this morning. Although talks had been conducted throughout the day, they heated up once Mr. Toussaint and Mr. Kalikow were both at the table.

The major sticking point, according to several union officials, is the authority's proposal that new employees reach age 62 before being able to collect a full pension. Since 1994, the vast majority of transit employees have been able to collect a regular pension at age 55 if they have 25 years of experience.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Normally I’d talk about the extreme self-absorption and anti-tabloid snobbery of the NY Times (Hi! This is Queens here! We exist!) but this is an interesting article, short and sweet, about one transit worker. I like it not only because the writer is one of the kids from the HS (Sewell. I know a funny story that Cappy might know too!), but also because the article talks in monetary and time terms about the life this conductor leads, the middle income people in the middle of the transit negotiations.

Meanwhile, A judge enforced an arbitrator’s ruling that removing conductors from the L train violated the Transit Worker’s Union contract.

And from Ray Sanchez' column:


Joshua Freeman, a labor historian at the City University of New York, said MTA giveback demands plus the union's militant history couple to make a strike a real possibility.

"The very nature of brinkmanship is sometimes you fall off the edge, even if you don't flinch," he said. "But this is not late in the game by standards of these negotiations, which tend to always be resolved at the very last minute."


And, Some MTA Guidelines in case of a strike, from the Newsday:


Enhanced carpooling rules in morning rush hour; restrictions on trucks, cars with fewer than four passengers

Carpool staging areas in all five boroughs

Additional parking at Metro-North and LIRR stops

Encourage use of bicycles where possible

Encourage staggered work schedules

Encourage telecommuting

Start of school will be delayed two hours, field trips canceled


SOURCES: NYC OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT, NEWS FILES

Friday, December 09, 2005



In case you don’t know about the local papers—I suppose “tabloids” can be used to segregate them from the classy and regal New York Times—a little proof positive that the NY Post is very chummy with Fox News and into promoting conservative concepts on New York’s populace (as if reading Andrea Peyser wasn’t enough. Or the mug shots of negroes).

There’s no link to the article because I wouldn’t want you to sign up for the NY Post (though it’s free); you don’t need to get dumber. Read the Daily News instead. That way you won’t think about boycotting stores that won’t put Christmas in their advertisements.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Hiatus

This is a NaNo haitus-- not that I am getting far in the novel-- but I break it for this article about the changing New York (and how we used to be able to say "I'm from New York and that meant that even if you were sheltered you could probably throw a punch or hire someone who could), from the NY Times. Yes, the article is about video games. An excerpt:

WHEN we say, "I'm a New Yorker," we sometimes say it with a little sneer. Rats? Mafiosi? Terrorists? We can take it. Bars here close at dawn. Subway doors are ripped open with bare hands. New York's edginess is so endemic, so untamed, that a crack cocaine den was found this year in the otherwise relentlessly genteel Upper East Side. That's how we roll.

At least that's what we sometimes like to think. In fact, New York is no longer such a tough town. On any given day, we're more likely to dial 311 than 911. This is a city of Prada boutiques and pumpkin spice lattes. One of the biggest disasters to strike the city this year was a public-relations gaffe in which a 24-foot-tall Snapple popsicle melted all over Union Square on the first day of summer. The horror!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

NBA Preview at the sports blog, Athletes in Action (sixstarcamp.blogspot.com)

Monday, October 31, 2005

Halloween was spent as a member of the Incredibles. We had all four (Dash and Violet/ Invisigirl played by Silver and Lara; Mr Incredible by Gulshan; Elastigirl by Dora) and damn we looked good.





Little did Mr Incredible know that I didn't want to know about his woman's mild-mannered alter-ego... and that Frozone always gets the girl.



It's because chicks just love my draws.



post-script. I am now picodulce on Livejournal; I am going to use that site for the more personal posts, the whining and crying and such, because I can make those posts private/ or post to small close inner-sanctums-style groups of people. so, hethalouise, raycroft, silver, chaz, jo-go, greg, nicky brooklyn, everyone named matt, angie, alice, marge, new-top, pixel, eben, coast guard rob, schnapp, toby, assorted e-stalkers, et cetera, it'd be cool if you got Livejournal accounts and were able to read my oh-so-private posts. It's cool if you don't, I hate being a joiner; but the greatest hater of them all, neverecho, has joined, so why shouldn't you?

And when you join, go to /users/picodulce and add me as a friend. That is all.

I will still post to this blog, but it'll be focused on politics and New York living and parties, whereas the other blog will be all emo. Check it weekly at best. Make it an .rss feed.

P.S. - There is already an eben. and he goes to the wuniversity!! whaaa? eben, did you go back to school and get interested in anime?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Festiva 10.27.05

I’m having a bit of a Molly-fest these days. Not that I know her so well, she’s more Alex’ friend than mine, even though I saw her at times before she moved to Oregon. So I am jacking ideas from her, like the list of books a few posts ago, and now, the idea of 100 things to do in the next calendar year. My list is not yet ready and may be read only by me… but it’s going to be done.

I am also having even more of a Dora fest but I won’t talk about it; I want this blog to be work safe and, like Norville Barnes creation in the Hudsucker Proxy, “for the kids.”

Monday, October 24, 2005

Fred, Please Talk To Your Woman. 10.24.05

Wilma. Oh Wilma. Thanks, Hurricane Wilma; you have ripped up the roof of my pappy’s barn and flattened his crops. But the house in FLA is OK and so is my dad, sans electricity, of course.

Ok! A Wilma fundraiser! Who wants to go volunteer their time and farming expertise and come see the house in Florida? How about you? And you? We’ll plant things and build mounds and dig in the dirt. It’ll be better than “Cats.”

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Been busy with work! I’ll tell y’all about it very soon. But for now, here is a post, jacked from Molly. Apparently, Time magazine has listed their group of the best novels ever. So I adopted Molly’s post (and her notations- bold for read, italics as explained below, “I tried” for the ones I part-read) and I ask you the same question: what should I have read from this list that I have not?

[--Bold equals read. Italicized equals read something by the author, but not this particular title.--]

The Adventures of Augie March / Saul Bellow {I Tried.}
All the King's Men / Robert Penn Warren
American Pastoral / Philip Roth
An American Tragedy / Theodore Dreiser
Animal Farm / George Orwell
Appointment in Samarra / John O'Hara
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret / Judy Blume
The Assistant / Bernard Malamud
At Swim-Two-Birds / Flann O'Brien
Atonement / Ian McEwan
Beloved / Toni Morrison
The Berlin Stories / Christopher Isherwood
The Big Sleep / Raymond Chandler
The Blind Assassin / Margaret Atwood
Blood Meridian / Cormac McCarthy
Brideshead Revisited / Evelyn Waugh
The Bridge of San Luis Rey / Thornton Wilder {I Tried.}
Call It Sleep / Henry Roth
Catch-22 / Joseph Heller {I Tried.}
The Catcher in the Rye / J.D. Salinger
A Clockwork Orange / Anthony Burgess
The Confessions of Nat Turner / William Styron
The Corrections / Jonathan Franzen
The Crying of Lot 49 / Thomas Pynchon
A Dance to the Music of Time / Anthony Powell
The Day of the Locust / Nathanael West
Death Comes for the Archbishop / Willa Cather
A Death in the Family / James Agee
The Death of the Heart / Elizabeth Bowen
Deliverance / James Dickey
Dog Soldiers / Robert Stone
Falconer / John Cheever
The French Lieutenant's Woman / John Fowles
The Golden Notebook / Doris Lessing
Go Tell it on the Mountain / James Baldwin
Gone With the Wind / Margaret Mitchell
The Grapes of Wrath / John Steinbeck
Gravity's Rainbow / Thomas Pynchon {I Tried.}
The Great Gatsby / F. Scott Fitzgerald
A Handful of Dust / Evelyn Waugh
The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter / Carson McCullers
The Heart of the Matter / Graham Greene
Herzog / Saul Bellow
Housekeeping / Marilynne Robinson
A House for Mr. Biswas / V.S. Naipaul
I, Claudius / Robert Graves
Infinite Jest / David Foster Wallace
Invisible Man / Ralph Ellison
Light in August / William Faulkner
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe / C.S. Lewis
Lolita / Vladimir Nabokov
Lord of the Flies / William Golding
The Lord of the Rings / J.R.R. Tolkien
Loving / Henry Green
Lucky Jim / Kingsley Amis
The Man Who Loved Children / Christina Stead
Midnight's Children / Salman Rushdie {I Tried.}
Money / Martin Amis {I Tried.}
The Moviegoer / Walker Percy
Mrs. Dalloway / Virginia Woolf
Naked Lunch / William Burroughs
Native Son / Richard Wright
Neuromancer / William Gibson
Never Let Me Go / Kazuo Ishiguro
1984 / George Orwell
On the Road / Jack Kerouac
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest / Ken Kesey
The Painted Bird / Jerzy Kosinski
Pale Fire / Vladimir Nabokov
A Passage to India / E.M. Forster
Play It As It Lays / Joan Didion
Portnoy's Complaint / Philip Roth {I Tried.}
Possession / A.S. Byatt
The Power and the Glory / Graham Greene
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie / Muriel Spark
Rabbit, Run / John Updike {I Tried.}
Ragtime / E.L. Doctorow
The Recognitions / William Gaddis
Red Harvest / Dashiell Hammett
Revolutionary Road / Richard Yates
The Sheltering Sky / Paul Bowles
Slaughterhouse-Five / Kurt Vonnegut
Snow Crash / Neal Stephenson
The Sot-Weed Factor / John Barth
The Sound and the Fury / William Faulkner {I Tried.}
The Sportswriter / Richard Ford
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold / John LeCarre
The Sun Also Rises / Ernest Hemingway
Their Eyes Were Watching God / Zora Neale Hurston
Things Fall Apart / Chinua Achebe
To Kill a Mockingbird / Harper Lee
To the Lighthouse / Virginia Woolf
Tropic of Cancer / Henry Miller {I Tried.}
Ubik / Philip K. Dick
Under the Net / Iris Murdoch
Under the Volcano / Malcolm Lowry
Watchmen / Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons
White Noise / Don DeLillo {I Tried.}
White Teeth / Zadie Smith
Wide Sargasso Sea / Jean Rhys

Saturday, October 15, 2005



Updating from Dora's. She is the best girlfriend ever. Unfortunately, I must leave her now for the Joshua Tree. This is what happens when I am away from email for 24 hours! Oh well, it was mighty worth it for a quiet night of snuggly wuggly. See, since Dora and I are the couple with the most friends ever it's quite rare for an evening of no interruptions. oh, again with the snuggly wuggly!

[--the above note was written entirely by dora. the genesis: i apparently have not been clear enough to some people that i have a stoooopid hot girlfriend and her name is dora. she, as an avid reader of my blog, attempted to hijack the blog to express my deep and heartfelt emotions. she also wanted to clown me by supposing that i use the words "snuggly" and "wuggly." together. in the same sentence. that is all. i may not be going to the joshua tree but i will be watching usc vs. notre dame. updates to come on this blog and the sports blog, http://sixstarcamp.blogspot.com.--]

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

He's Courthousin' 10.12.05

From the EUR:

DMX GETS HIS B-BOY STANCE ON
OUTSIDE COURT: Rapper does impromptu
Photo shoot for media following hearing.


*Rapper DMX hit media cameras with
the classic ghetto prom pose (knelt down,
fingers touching chin, looking off to the side)
following his appearance at a hearing
Tuesday at the Queens Criminal Court
building.
Cameras snapped away as DMX hit
poses in his cream-colored Phat Farm
sweatsuit, heavy silver chains and boots –
all this after he actually danced his way
down the courthouse steps.
Moments before the antics, the rapper,
whose real name is Earl Simmons, faced
a judge for allegedly violating the conditions
of his release following a car crash last
year at Kennedy Airport.
X pleaded guilty last December to
reckless endangerment and admitted he
was taking Valium when he smashed his
sport utility vehicle into a gate at the airport
on June 24, 2004, after telling a parking
lot attendant he was a federal agent. He
was sentenced to a conditional discharge,
meaning further violations within a year
could land him a jail sentence. Since then,
he has been cited twice for traffic violations,
one involving driving a car at 104 mph near
his Westchester County home. He has also
been fined and ordered to forfeit his 1998
Ford Expedition.
On Tuesday, DMX remained silent
as Judge Dorothy Chin-Brandt granted
a defense request to adjourn the case
to Oct. 25. He was apparently saving
his energy for the reporters outside.
Chewing gum and in a constant state
of movement, DMX told reporters "they
are all ludicrous," when asked about the
charges against him. "It's been very
stressful," added the artist, who was
accompanied by his wife, Tishera
Simmons. "Nobody likes to come
to court."
The rapper then proceeded to plug his
new album and movie. His film "Last Hours"
is in its final edit, he told reporters, and his
latest album, "Here We Go Again," is due
out in December.
[If A Title Was Encompassing You Would Not Require The Post] 10.11.05

The problem with Floridian fruit is that everything is different. The limes are orange on the inside, the pumpkins talk smack, the sweet potatoes laugh to see such sport and the papayas run away with the spoon. In all seriousness, I believe I am drinking hot limeade but I might be drinking hot water over a fruit only meant for desperate birds.

Skipped out on lunch with Misanthrope Anna, going to lunch with my bosses instead. They’re very chill. We talked about cats and therefore, when we laughed, I can’t refer to it being better than “Cats.” I brought up the well-worn joke phrase, “I laughed, I cried, it was better than Cats” to a pair of people who had never heard that before. Does anyone know where that phrase came from? Joel? Heather?

I returned to work, argued for a while about the Yank-these, and spent a few hours writing with Raycroft.

Raycroft wants you to donate to our ownership group. We’re going to buy the Nationals.

My mother returned from Florida with a possible leave NYC day – end of the year – and the strange fruit that started this post. (Thankfully none of the fruit was Billie Holiday’s strange fruit) That strange fruit, sweetened with honey, powers this post. This post is both mood and filler, and writing calisthenics before I sleep.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

[Titles are Restrictive/ Bougeois/ Pre-Modern Writing Conventions] 10.11.05

This weekend I got to see the morning show,
Dora and Dylan on…
After seeing the spec show, I can tell you that this is going to be the best AM talk show since Katie Couric purchased her cute + youthful smile. It was chill, Nikki G turned 30 and Debs made an awesomely designed scrapbook—3 of them in fact. And on Sunday Dora/ Lara/ Quiggles and I took in some of Open House New York, seeing Grand Army Plaza from the inside and a live/ work space on Duane Street. Pictures this afternoon.

Today, lunch with Misanthrope Anna.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Nine Days In Cali By Pico


the photo set, enjoy!!


Ok. So, I should post something, blog a little, tell y’all about last week's trip to San Diego and California. I have to write a post that inspires vicious envy, the kind of post where you just kick yourself for not being there, filled with jokes, deadpan filth, and a moral code you just can’t quite put your finger on.

Basically, I want it to be the European Vacation monologue from Rules of Attraction – lovingly sent to me by Gully. Dora, baby, don’t worry, that’s the only part of that movie that I really love. The rest of it is background television.

Here goes. If you’d like more unvarnished truth, email me.

FRIDAY.

Took a flight on the aforementioned small plane. Fell asleep and woke up in Atlanta. Ate from a choice of 5 grease-pits serving breakfast, where Popeye’s wasn’t the greeziest one. I chose Checkers. Arrived in San Diego and eventually Heather and I figured out where we were. It was ridiculously warm. Ate a Mission CafĂ© burrito and went to a happy hour for Heather’s classmates who are nice kids. I forgot many names. Coast Guard Rob rolled in, we communed. We went to Pacific Beach, in local parlance “PB” and got our one-drink on.

SATURDAY.

Naked brand orange juice is great and now I am dedicated to spending too much money on it. Also, NYC bagels are also good. Two days before, Alana and I took a hella-long lunch and strolled (after a beer) to Ess-A-Bagel. I swear by H and H but that was too far and far. The bagels then went into my suitcase, left garlic-scented magic on my clothes, and into Heather’s refrigerator. Plus, college football at 9 am is the greatest thing ever. If I moved west it would be a definite reason.

We bike the Coronado and it's beautiful.

Gas lamp district. A bar in the Marriott over Drinks. Yankee fans/ NY Giants fans are everywhere for the Sunday game. We’re all confident that the Giants will slap around the inept Chargers.

Later, Morgan came and drove me to some back end of California. Scripps Ranch, maybe? Where we drank in the backyard, drank “around the world,” and I found myself talking to a young lady named Amanda. She is 20 and wanted to talk about music. Knowing how Silver needs some pictures for the lonely nights, I managed to snap one of her. There was a fire pit and pizza and it was kind of like a really good high school party—that’s a compliment. There is a really yappy guy who keeps talking about how he can walk into all black clubs—he produces music—and like DMX, be really good. I added the DMX part myself.

SUNDAY.

Owww. Andy (the guy whose parents own the Scripps Ranch house) wakes me up to give me his parents’ bed. I almost cuss him out until I realize he’s helping me. That’s a nice bed and I’ve been drinking water. I feel aces when I wake. Garrett and Bernard are awake. We talk sports, try not to wake that really yappy guy. Because 10 AM NFL is incredible… even if you can’t see your favorite local squadron.

I end up not going to the game but ending up in a hot tub with Heather’s friend and Heather. We eat, we watch the Giants get demolished, it was worse than “Cats.”

MONDAY.

From the Amtrak train I can see the ocean stretched out before me; the hills are alive with subdevelopments. And the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in Orange County of the State of California in the United States of America of the Northern Section of the American Continents on the 3 Planet Sol stadium is a few hundred yards from the Anaheim station.

The graffiti along the Los Angeles “River” leaves a little to be desired; haphazard and limp works next to respectable tags. I think there should be a City Commissioner of Tags who has authority to erase wack tags and arrest wack taggers. That of course would just end in a gang war… but it’s an idea, right? Right?

We hang out, walk around, have a bit too much sake and then eat at Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles. The biscuits were bangin’ and when we go back in May it’s all about a bake and a trip back to Roscoe’s. After dinner drinks at the Cat and the Fiddle to get the blood back in our limbs.

TUESDAY.

That was the biggest pastrami sandwich I’ve had since Katz’s. My grease/ cholesterol level is doubling as we speak. I take pictures of architecture for Niffer. I just found out that if I accidentally shift my finger one over in the middle of Niffer I come up with a word I don’t use much. Yes, it’s nidder. I think we sleep a lot. Order in dinner. Watch episodes of Firefly. Read. Watched Law and Order.

WEDNESDAY.

Big Wednesday… until I call my aunt when she’s 20 minutes late for breakfast and she tells me she’s looking around for my number to say she can’t come.

So we go to Santa Monica, the farmer’s market. Ate peaches. Walked to the long sand of Santa Monica’s beaches. Met his fellow grad Andy, a very smart guy who also loves his sports. Just like the rest of the week, we talk about the Red Sox’ prospects. Andy’s got a Silver-weak tummy so Joel and I go to Fatburger by ourselves. Mmm, fatburger.



And Wednesday is the big day I wasn’t telling Dora about… b/c Joel called his boy Josh and hooked us up with a tour of the OC Set. Top that, y’all. Henceforth—and he’d already held down this title—Joel is known as World’s Best Host. WBH Joel? He’s Seth Cohen’s alterego. My cell phone rings during the taping of a Sandy + Kiri scene. I feel like a tool but I have a mocking picture, suggested by Mitchell, our gracious tour guide.

And karaoke… Uh, picture explains it all. That’s me singing Bon Jovi’s Born to Be My Baby.




THURSDAY.

Irvine. It’s a long way down, baby. A long way. We rest at Joel’s pad, there are blueberries and raspberries and Special K and laziness and then… we drive and drive. Apparently Ross Perot bought a road and put a toll entrance on it. Does this officially make him a troll? Atusa’s house is beautiful and automated and our time there is chill. Her mother tries to make us fat. Joel and I are still svelte so it’s all good.

FRIDAY.

We eat breakfast by Wilshire, I think. The food was good but I was like… wait. We’re eating by a road that’s like Queens Blvd. LA ambiance, I guess. I should have taken a pic.

See Aunt Ivel, who is weak and arthritic and it hurts to see her like that. Almost makes me cry. Definitely makes me frustrated… at what? I don’t know.

I go to see Erin who I used to date in college. She’s still a funny kid, strong willed and with much longer hair, living with her boyfriend and his son. We go up Redondo Beach, we go up Hermosa Beach, we have the best damn mushroom burger I’ve had in my life.

I meet Dani later that evening and we see some solid ass rock bands, meet with Pavel and friends, go to a grimy dive bar that beats NYC bars hands down in street cred. People, we have GOT to filth our spots up if we’re gonna be the nation’s coolest city.

SATURDAY.

Sleeping at Dani’s, wake up for college football! We have yet another good ass breakfast and I go and meet my Aunt Faye. Her friend Thomas is great, we talk football and keep my Aunt mellow. We end up in the valley, conveniently near Pavel.

Pavel’s roommate is a cool kid. Ladies, you want him. Trust me. I’ll being him back east. Pavel and I roll towards Playa Del Rey and stop at Venice Beach for a couple of drinks and by far the worst pool game I have played in a lifetime of bad pool games.

We relocate and I egg him on about calling his ex, Michelle. Here are some things about Michelle: I met her 8 years ago, senior year spring break in LA. She was great, even if her fat friend tried to open-mouth kiss me after I helped her puke. Lovely. I can still smell it. God, I need a moment.


Michelle actually… comes down! Holy spitcan! And that honestly is the perfect cherry on top of the trip. She’s still a sweetheart and gives Pavel shit. It’s misty and we’re on our way to the airport, trying to take pictures through the dark and the fog, and this is what vacations should be. Old friends getting together and notwanting to say goodbye.


the photo set, enjoy!!
But... Is Lauryn Hill Still Crazy? 10.7.05

A couple of days ago those hip kids in the know, Rinda and Lana-P aka Lanky P, forwarded me info for an event called “TakebackTV,” held by Current TV. We had no idea what this was about but De La Soul, Slum Village, and Fishbone were playing, with a Lauryn Hill appearance.

Now, all the cool kids will say the same things—De La is awesome! Slum Village is cool! Say, I like Fishbone!

Is Lauryn Hill still *-cue Chris Rock voice-* crrrrrazy?

Well.

An aside before the show. When Andy and I decided to leave work we also decided to take the bus. Dora, being much smarter than us, just took the train. We, having heard the terror alert and having dismissed said terror alert, didn’t think that many New Yorkers would panic and ride the bus.

Uptown.

Jam-packed and slow. One older woman asked Andy what it was like to be six foot three, relating a tale about her relative who had it hard because he was so big.

The show itself, held at Summerstage under ominous clouds and occasional mist was an advertisement for Current TV, which is supposedly on our cable channels. One of its founders, Al Gore, came out and he didn’t even claim he invented television. Scarlett Johanssen introduced him. Or so they say. I saw a bony blonde and I didn’t know it was her. Their official black man emceed the show, giving it immediate street cred. Lots of videos, lots of encouragement to send in content.

We were on the bleachers, myself, Andy, Dora, Rinda. I took bad pictures, we listened to some guy in a painfully high and nasal voice. And De La was tight, playing a version of Buddy and ending with Stakes is High and Ring Ring Ring. Fishbone was fun, there were some godawful acts. Shevi was enjoying VIP treatment and finally got to meet Dora.

And Lauryn, you ask? Well, Ms. Rohan Marley- who I thought was a minor Marley but was apparently a football star the University of Miami, at the time Dwayne Johnson aka the Rock was there- She was motivated to play a song for us. And did two or three! A version of Lost One (is that the name of the song?) over the riddim used for “What a Bam Bam” (which I will ask Sharma about in the AM).

But now we can’t talk about how crazy her ass is. Instead we will focus on the mushroom that her ‘fro has become. Yes. It's a blurry photo but that’s her HAIR.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Some Presidentinal Words on the Racial Divide

This is a copy of the article taken from the EURWeb
.

BUSH ADDRESSES COUNTRY’S RACIAL DIVIDE: During Tuesday press conference, President asked how he would bridge gap post Katrina and Bill Bennett.

*Yesterday, President Bush held a press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House to underscore his support for new Supreme Court Justice nominee Harriet Miers and to ask Congress to please have her confirmed by Thanksgiving.

But midway through the following Q&A session – which covered everything from the budget, to Hurricane Katrina, to the war in Iraq – American Urban Radio Networks White House correspondent April Ryan stood up and said this:

“Mr. President, the Bible speaks of ‘good will toward the least of these.’ With that, how are you going to bridge the divide of poverty and race in this country, beyond economics and home ownership; that, after Hurricane Katrina and also the Bill Bennett statements? And also, how can the Republican Party gain the black vote in 2008 after these public relations fiascos?”

Bush uttered an overwhelmed “mmmph” before taking a long breath to explain the virtues of economics and home ownership in bridging the racial gap – either ignoring or forgetting Ryan’s request that he come up with solutions beyond those two areas.

He began by stressing the encouragement of “economic growth, vitality, jobs that pay well and small business” in conquering the divide. He said: “It’s a part of how we enable people to realize dreams, by having a growing economy.”

In his praise of ownership, he said: “I think it’s essential that people own something if they’re going to have a stake in the future of our country. I think part of the divide occurs because some people own a home and others don’t.”

He then tossed in education as a means to narrow the gap, using the opportunity to plug his No Child Left Behind Act, “which challenges what I’ve called the soft bigotry of low expectations” and is “beginning to make good results,” he said.

He next touted the importance of faith-based programs “to interface with people” and “help them to have hope.”

“And obviously the tone matters from leadership,” he summed up. “It matters what leaders say. It matters that somebody, first of all, understands there’s a problem and is willing to talk about it. And I will continue to do so as the President.”

He was about to take another question when Ryan reminded him to answer the question of earning black votes in 2008.

“My head’s not there yet. I’m right here in 2005,” he said, cracking a wide grin. When Ryan pressed further to get an answer, Bush said: “You just gotta keep asking for the vote.”

“First of all, the Republican Party should never take a vote for granted, and neither should the Democrat party,” he said. “Therefore, that means you gotta go out and work hard for the vote, and talk about what you believe. I try to do so, with not a lot of success. I’ve improved, but I was disappointed, frankly, in the vote I got in the African American community. I was. I’ve done my best to elevate people into positions of authority and responsibility; and not just positions, but positions in which they can actually make a difference in the lives of people. I put people in my cabinet. I put people in my sub-cabinet, I’ve elevated people from all walks of life, because I believe there’s a responsibility for the President to reach out. So it’s not a matter of tone, it’s also a matter of action.”

His grin came back as he shrugged, tapped the podium and said: “I just gotta keep workin’ at it, April.”

Friday, September 23, 2005

The Place At Dawn

Friday, 4.45 AM (EST)

The first time I have been on an airport tarmac, the end of the night... or the beginning of the morning. We are led through ramps and onto other temporary ramps and then onto the ground level I have only seen from great-ish heights. And the Comair plane? I don't know what type of plane it is but I just hope I don't vomit. The thing is a large biplane.

Space is a premium; the big fellas behind me have been laughing about not being able to stand with the low headroom and tiny seats.

- Forget the movie on this flight, they say.

- The airline equivalent to an '89 Camry!, they declare.

The two may be headed to New Orleans; they talk about beginning to rough it. Perhaps they are with the woman who, earlier and in the terminal, conversed with a friend on her mobile phone about how she didn't know where any of the other aid workers were on the flight. It stands to reason, the biplane goes to Atlanta and that would be a logical transfer to New Orleans.

Luckily the person who should have the window seat is not here. Or perhaps the seat was never booked. Tiiiight. My eyes hurt from three hours sleep and the previous night (Minus the Bear was the best show!!! I crashed out at Hotel Dora afterwards) and from the hurried packing and my inability to get all of the CD's I had (from work, from Dora, from Gully) onto my ipod before leaving home (hence the discs in my bag).

Two girls from the Argentine or Chilean version of the OC are in front of me. We share a laugh about a vibrating THUNK sound, probably the wheels locking into place. Besides that, it is the smoothest take off ever. The guys behind me join in, I am surrounded by laughter, and am beginning Tom Perotta's Little Children by overhead light. I am trying to identify neighborhoods receding below by shopping malls and elevated train stations and dead spots in the light grids, and San Diego, here I come.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Return of the Marge 9.21.05

Marge is back in the states after a great “surprise friends, Marge is back” party at Park Bar on 15th this past Sunday. It’s good to see things are all the same, even a year after his not-quite-deportation. To wit:


We meet up in the afternoon but Marge and I think we’re meeting in different places. He asks if I’m annoyed and I of course lie because it doesn’t mean anything. We drink until Eben finishes his work and meets up. Sharma and Samantha arrive late.

We go to dinner and Marge says something offensive, Eben eggs us all on. Sharma raises his fists in Dip Set enthusiasm, I flail like a spastic schoolgirl in response, Samantha is sweet and affectionate until she throws a salt shaker at Sharma. She misses him and the shaker lands at the feet of another eating group, luckily missing the window. If Lissa was in the house it would have gone through the window and hit a passing dog.

The two women next to us look over in trepidation, we’re loud and silly, the waitress is reluctant to bring us our check. It’s not even 10 pm and we’re halfway to an incident. Good times, as always.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Go to Google.

Type in the word "failure," look at the first link that pops up.

Thanks, Starla!
our president, writing a note to condoleeza rice, while at the UN World Summit. the text: "i may need a bathroom break." thanks to
reuters. #1 or #2, president shrub?

Quotes on the Katrina Disaster

Here are some quotes, sent by Rob in SD:


25 Mind-Numbingly Stupid Quotes About Hurricane Katrina And Its Aftermath


1) "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees." -President Bush, on "Good Morning America," Sept. 1, 2005, six days after repeated warnings from experts about the scope of damage expected from Hurricane Katrina

2) "What I'm hearing which is sort of scary is that they all want to stay in Texas. Everybody is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway so this (chuckle) - this is working very well for them." -Former First Lady Barbara Bush, on the Hurricane flood evacuees in the Houston Astrodome, Sept. 5, 2005

3) "We've got a lot of rebuilding to do ... The good news is - and it's hard for some to see it now - that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before. Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house - he's lost his entire house - there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch." (Laughter) -President Bush, touring hurricane damage, Mobile, Ala., Sept. 2, 2005

4) "Considering the dire circumstances that we have in New Orleans, virtually a city that has been destroyed, things are going relatively well." -FEMA Director Michael Brown, Sept. 1, 2005

5) "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job." -President Bush, to FEMA director Michael Brown, while touring Hurricane-ravaged Mississippi, Sept. 2, 2005

6) "Now tell me the truth boys, is this kind of fun-" -House Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-TX), to three young hurricane evacuees from New Orleans at the Astrodome in Houston

7) "Well, I think if you look at what actually happened, I remember on Tuesday morning picking up newspapers and I saw headlines, 'New Orleans Dodged the Bullet.' Because if you recall, the storm moved to the east and then continued on and appeared to pass with considerable damage but nothing worse." -Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, blaming media coverage for his failings, "Meet the Press," Sept. 4, 2005

8) "What didn't go right-'" -President Bush, as quoted by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), after she urged him to fire FEMA Director Michael Brown "because of all that went wrong, of all that didn't go right" in the Hurricane Katrina relief effort

9) "I mean, you have people who don't heed those warnings and then put people at risk as a result of not heeding those warnings. There may be a need to look at tougher penalties on those who decide to ride it out and understand that there are consequences to not leaving." -Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), Sept. 6, 2005

10) "You simply get chills every time you see these poor individuals...many of these people, almost all of them that we see are so poor and they are so black, and this is going to raise lots of questions for people who are watching this story unfold." -CNN's Wolf Blitzer, on New Orleans' hurricane evacuees, Sept. 1, 2005

11) "If one person criticizes [the local authorities- relief efforts] or says one more thing, including the president of the United States, he will hear from me. One more word about it after this show airs, and I-I might likely have to punch him, literally." -Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), "This Week with George Stephanopoulous," Sept. 4, 2005

12) "We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did." -Rep. Richard Baker (R-LA) to lobbyists, as quoted in the Wall Street Journal

13) "There are a lot of lessons we want to learn out of this process in terms of what works. I think we are in fact on our way to getting on top of the whole Katrina exercise." -Vice President Dick Cheney, Sept. 10, 2005

14) "It makes no sense to spend billions of dollars to rebuild a city that's seven feet under sea level....It looks like a lot of that place could be bulldozed." -House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), Aug. 31, 2005

15) "I believe the town where I used to come - from Houston, Texas, to enjoy myself, occasionally too much - will be that very same town, that it will be a better place to come to." -President Bush, on the tarmac at the New Orleans airport, Sept. 2, 2005

16) "I have not heard a report of thousands of people in the convention center who don't have food and water." -Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, on NPR's "All Things Considered," Sept. 1, 2005

17) "Last night, we showed you the full force of a superpower government going to the rescue." -MSNBC's Chris Matthews, Sept. 1, 2005

18) "We just learned of the convention center - we being the federal government - today." -FEMA Director Michael Brown, to ABC's Ted Koppel, Sept. 1, 2005, to which Koppel responded " Don't you guys watch television- Don't you guys listen to the radio- Our reporters have been reporting on it for more than just today."

19) "Louisiana is a city that is largely under water." -Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, news conference, Sept. 3, 2005

20) "I also want to encourage anybody who was affected by Hurricane Corina to make sure their children are in school." -First Lady Laura Bush, twice referring to a "Hurricane Corina" while speaking to children and parents in South Haven, Mississippi, Sept. 8, 2005

21) "It's totally wiped out. ... It's devastating, it's got to be doubly devastating on the ground." -President Bush, turning to his aides while surveying Hurricane Katrina flood damage from Air Force One, Aug. 31, 2005

22) "FEMA is not going to hesitate at all in this storm. We are not going to sit back and make this a bureaucratic process. We are going to move fast, we are going to move quick, and we are going to do whatever it takes to help disaster victims." -FEMA Director Michael Brown, Aug. 28, 2005

23) "I understand there are 10,000 people dead. It's terrible. It's tragic. But in a democracy of 300 million people, over years and years and years, these things happen." --GOP strategist Jack Burkman, on MSNBC's "Connected," Sept. 7, 2005

24) "A young [black] man walks through chest deep floodwater after looting a grocery store in New Orleans..."

"Two [white] residents wade through chest-deep water after finding bread and soda from a local grocery store after Hurricane Katrina came through the area in New Orleans..." -captions at Yahoo News, Aug. 30, 2005

25) "Thank President Clinton and former President Bush for their strong statements of support and comfort today. I thank all the leaders that are coming to Louisiana, and Mississippi and Alabama to our help and rescue. We are grateful for the military assets that are being brought to bear. I want to thank Senator Frist and Senator Reid for their extraordinary efforts. Anderson, tonight, I don't know if you've heard - maybe you all have announced it -- but Congress is going to an unprecedented session to pass a $10 billion supplemental bill tonight to keep FEMA and the Red Cross up and operating." -Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), to CNN's Anderson Cooper, Aug. 31, 2005, to which Cooper responded:

"I haven't heard that, because, for the last four days, I've been seeing dead bodies in the streets here in Mississippi. And to listen to politicians thanking each other and complimenting each other, you know, I got to tell you, there are a lot of people here who are very upset, and very angry, and very frustrated. And when they hear politicians slap - you know, thanking one another, it just, you know, it kind of cuts them the wrong way right now, because literally there was a body on the streets of this town yesterday being eaten by rats because this woman had been laying in the street for 48 hours. And there's not enough facilities to take her up. Do you get the anger that is out here-"

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Music 9.13.05

I have some great song files I have been receiving, thanks to everyone’s favorite dhol player and metrosexual, the Paul Wall lover, Sharma. So if you have an interesting or obscure track you'd like to send me, email that joint, or i-m me. I love listening to new music while I'm at work. It gtakes the edge off of the boredom and off of the jackasses at Cafe Metro I deal with on some morning. You really have to hear this live version of Sufjan Stevens' "The Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts."

*****


At some point, does the spammer who sends out penis enlargement/ Viagra emails just stop? Dude. I'm sayin', bee- my jammie don’t need your help.

*****


It’s time for a shopping trip pre-California. Shirts. New kicks. Style from the right coast (as opposed to the left, of course). Oh, I didn’t tell y’all? I am going west for a vacation. After the Minus the Bear show next Wednesday. It’s all ages!
The Good Plus 9.12.05

Go vote today. I mean, Democrats. If I have a republican reader, let me know. I'll even partisan up the conversations. Really.

Check out this poll/ ranking of presidents from the Wall Street Journal. You’ll want to check out the methodology. It’s interesting at best, interestingly weighted. It’s got 5-6 more days as an active link so read this joint.

My favorite bit is that Bill Clinton—a man who brought us a surplus and happy people—ranks lower than BOTH Bushes. Riiiiiiight.

From the article:

Most such scholarly polls have a strong liberal bias, reflecting academia's far-left tilt. But this survey -- conducted by James Lindgren of Northwestern University Law School for the Federalist Society and The Wall Street Journal -- aimed at ideological balance. The scholars were chosen with an eye toward balancing liberals and conservatives, and Mr. Lindgren asked each participant about his political orientation, then adjusted the average to give Democratic- and Republican-leaning scholars equal weight.

Mr. Bush's rating thus reflects the same sharp partisan divide that gave him a shade under 51% of the popular vote last year. GOP-leaning scholars rated Mr. Bush the 6th-best president of all time, while Democratic ones rated him No. 35, or 6th-worst. Even Bill Clinton -- 13th among Democrats, 34th among Republicans -- isn't as controversial.


** thanks to neverecho for the link

Monday, September 12, 2005

A Good Barbecue Brings Summer Back for an Encore 9.12.05

The Kuub-a-cue-a-ganza was a smashing success. Thanks to the work of Fuzzy and Jeremy. Special thanks to Eben for bringing coolers, everyone who brought stuff;

And extra special credit to Gully for driving to pick me up, pick up materials, helping me haul stuff, and most importantly, brokering the deal to share/ use the grill. When we walked to the picnic house, crews were straight holding down benches and grills. I walked to the 9th Street entrance to see if I could find a spot. I was told to talk to a young man at the end of one table, who had apparently claimed a second:

Pico -yo, y’all are using this grill too?
Fella Holding Down Da Grill- (eyes lift under yankee cap. Imperceptible movement of sizable shoulders, slight nod) *grunt*.


That’s what’s up. Meanwhile, Gully talked us into a table and even a grill area, sharing with Oberlin kids whose friends rolled in on bicycles. Nice.

*My pics

*Silver’s pics

*Gully's pics


Check back tomorrow when I add Fuzzy’s and Gully’s photos. Note that after the barbecue… the weather heats up. Coincidence? I think not.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Voting Guides!

The lady friend had forwarded this to me a few days ago, but it's an easy voting guide for the NYC Democratic primary this coming Tuesday. Get off your lazy ass and vote.

Voting Guide.

Oh, you want more?

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Up North, My Life Has Been Good 9.3.05

I have been reluctant to post my usual happy-go-lucky, deadpan quick notes and rants about my social life in light of the events in New Orleans. But some quick shots, because the living has been hella good:

Ran into a friend, Jason; I’ve known him since kindergarten. I haven’t hung out with him since junior high school and I last saw him in college. He called me this afternoon after brunch, just to say that he didn’t want it to be one of those see you once and never stay on contact kind of things. Been hanging out with Dora and if you haven’t met her, there is a good chance you will. And you’ll dig her.

Been having lots of discussions about what’s happened in New Orleans along racial and planning lines. Times such as these remind me my friends are smart, good people. Maybe a set of people who will be heard about in their specialty fields, and maybe in the wide world beyond said fields. Maybe people who will shape the way we acknowledge and address the disparities in our nation.

Went to the MoMa with my co-temper Alana. Scheduled some interviews. Saw the Hoy band show which was badass, even though I felt ill halfway through. But afterwards I sat in City Hall Park after midnight with Sharma and caught up on things. Watched good college football games. Met Gully’s mama. Had a taco with Niffer. Drank happy hour with lots of people including Niffer and mjunior and Southern Yankee Martha and Julie Y aand Alana and Peter. Danced at the Rub. There's going to be a barbecue hosted by myself and Fuzzy Sweater and Jeremy next Saturday. I’m eating curry and ready for tomorrow’s West Indian Day parade. Up north, here? September has been beautiful, people are trying to stay aware, the living is good, and it’s important to relish these moments.
I know at times it is hard to find many writers/ bloggers going against popular opinion, but I always love to hear the other side. Does anyone have any links to anyone defending FEMA/ George Bush’s “work” in New Orleans? I know it’s fairly indefensible in my eyes, but there’s always someone with another opinion… even if that opinion is some archaic ridiculous survival of the fittest collateral damage claptrap from a person who invokes God but obviously missed the actual reading of the Bible.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

from Talking Points Memo

"...One might note as an aside that the administration is putting a lot of weight on the claim that it simply wasn't foreseeable how bad things were going to be, even though people knew there was going to be a major storm. And yet a similar lack of foresight apparently leaves many of the victims with primary responsibility for their own deaths.

I'll let the logicians pick that one apart. But let's note that, as we mentioned yesterday, a not-insubstantial number of people who did not evacuate did not do so because they didn't have the cash on hand to do so. ....I'm pretty sure there was publicly available information on hand (from the Mayor, I think) before the storm even hit that a substantial minority of the population had not left the city. Whatever their moral culpability may be in Brown's eyes, he knew those people were there. And yet, as I think we'll see over the course of the day, there's a concerted effort to say these facts were not known or were perhaps unknowable."

Thursday, September 01, 2005

A Rant By Chaz 9.1.05

concerning the government's response to the New Orleans/ Gulf Coast disaster. Not that anything could prevent forces of nature, but the evacuation has been slow, people are dying and the images are frankly horrifying. Here is a rant from Chicago; Chaz, take it away. this is printed with very limited edits and editor's notes.

Fact: Both FEMA and the Red Cross identified a cat 4/5 hurricane as the biggest potential catastrophe in the US, apart from some sort of national nuclear/chemical/germ warfare crisis.

Fact: The Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project (SELA) is facing a budget cut of 60% as proposed by a certain head of state.

Fact: The US Army Corps of Engineers is facing a $50 million shortfall this fiscal year. They're the guys who are in charge of repairing/maintaining the levee system that failed.

Fact: The entire system has been patched up for years, but recently, it has sunk to all-time lows.

Assumption: In light of knowing all of this, I would think a certain burden of responsibility must fall on certain groups to insure the safety of those if such a crisis were to occur, which everyone (yeah, everyone, accepted as an inevitable event).

From the FED: maybe not having expectations of you lowered so much that people feel honored you're taking two whole days of a month long vacation touring ranches with doped up athletes and such to get your head in the game. Maybe having your first full briefing on the crisis as it is happening rather than waiting until after you do a fly by and land 48 hours later to get involved. This ain't the Texas Rangers. Obviously, none of us are privy to all of the details, but maybe getting ships to leave port from MD could have been accomplished on Sunday when it was obvious something big was going to hit the Gulf Coast. Rather than waiting until yesterday.

I would say that part of the problem is what happened – the levees breaking – was not the disaster event everyone expected. They were thinking of the direct hit, streets and buildings torn off their moorings and then followed by a deluge; but the possibility of the levees breaking was real. I don’t know about starting the ships early; the Gulf Coast waters were likely very very rough even where the storm had passed. Perhaps that was a factor. And what’s with President ThumbUpMyAss anyway?

From the Fed/States: maybe donating more than 100 national guardsmen to restore order in a location where there are guns, hungry, thirsty, sick, ticked off people. You can send 100,000+ to Iraq, you can surely offer up more than 100. Especially when the ticked off people with guns are the reason being cited for lack of response to tend to the thirsty/dying ones. You think it's a little interesting that we can commit thousands to peace keeping for a project that began under the guise of protecting people here against those terrorist states bent on killing us? Especially when we're seeing something that will probably lead to more casualties than NYC.

So. Very. True. There are more guardsmen on the way; but it is important to note: this is why we don’t go off on wartime engagements with our reserves unless necessary. There was no imminent threat (which was clear but somehow obscured in the Congressional debates on Iraq). And anyone who though for a second would realize that everytime the US sticks its nose in somewhere, we end up leaving troops. The Philippines. Israel. Germany. We’re expected to stay and help out. And when we have eliminated the structure of a nation, we are expected to be that structure. Who the hell didn’t think “crapcakes, if something happens stateside, we don’t have as many capable hands at security and building infrastructure as we could”?

I can second guess to death here, but i would think that multiple, stocked, secured staging/triage areas would be important. With breathable air. On somewhat high ground. Telling people how to get to them would be important (blimps, planes with message banners, leaflets, anyone?). Medical ships and supply ships with helicopters ASAP would be important. A sufficient response here is still currently not in place. Storing 100-200 stripped down rescue boats on trailers, inland at multiple locations, would be important. At least preferable to patching together 20 or so on short notice and relying on additional fisherman volunteers to rescue tens of thousands. I would think that forcibly removing people from their homes (at least those who were healthy) and putting them on municipal buses might be good too. Pumps don't work because the motors are flooded. Gee, what about elevating the motor in a secured housing at an elevation above the water level they are pumping against? None of us have all of the answers here, but we're not paid to assess these situations and come up with these solutions.

Advance preparations. Like the boats at the ready. Maybe upriver. Maybe in Texas. This could have been done better.

+++++++++


Thanks, Chaz, for your rant.
W Indian Day Parade 9.1.05

A good September to all of you. It’s a pretty day, and it’s worth mentioning. Yesterday was a long day*, humid and sweaty, but not so hot, oppressive and thick, leaving sweat on your head and on your body and in your clothes where it won’t dry. And inside it was the same, everyone in a cranky mood, on edge, not up to doing much work.

And then there is today, bright and clear and dry air, what a late summer or late spring day should look like. I started it with a good run in the morning. And talked to Sharma about the W Indian parade party that he and Samantha are holding and some of the music he’s working on.

He also turned me on to a blog by and about the people moving into neighborhoods I always thought were scary, the kind of places where you really shouldn’t return from with your wallet. You might as well hand it over to someone and say, just make sure no one slaps the black off of me, thanks. And people are just rolling in from Ohio and Missouri and Tennessee and Minnesota and wherever, with no remembrance of the days of the Crown Heights riots, or why one should never set foot on Empire Boulevard. Is this neighborhood becoming hip too? Will kids start going to Prospect Heights for yummy food and cute boutiques? Ugh. You want to see a dangerous neighborhood and event for real?

I-M To Sharma: oliver and i need to take some pipes to their knees. talking proper the whole way

At the top of the dailyheights blog post? “Murder Day Parade,” taken from a post on their message boards.

I’d like to add that three people have died in the parade, 2 in ’99, 1 last year. For all the mass of humanity on Eastern Parkway, I have never even seen an incident. Everyone just wants to party and talk to women in mesh shirts and tight booty pants. And they want to eat shark sandwiches. Murder Day. You people.

* post-script: but my night was very very good.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Back to School Mix for Silver 8.31.05

For his new academic/ statistical forays. It's very hard to find songs about or titled with "variance" or "correlation." Did my best. Likelihoods, probabilities, books, and references to hypothesis testing.


1. ice cube: the first day of school (intro from "american me")
2. the roots: the next movement
3. average white band: work to do
4. boards of canada: music is math
5. frank black: places named after numbers
6. mates of state: open book
7. the go! team: feelgood by numbers
8. dizzee rascal: learn
9. the appleseed cast: steps and numbers
10. ellen allien: data romance (toktok rmx)
11. elvis costello + burt bacharach: such unlikely lovers
12. the new amsterdams: are you true?
13. the russian futurists: the science of the seasons
14. beastie boys: the new style
15. mos def: mathematics
16. the fucking champs: c'mon smash the quotile
17. thingy: homework
18. pinback: this red book
19. soul asylum: 99%
20. ladytron: true mathematics
21. boogie down productions: you must learn
22. mike watt: coincidence is either hit or miss
23. tahiti 80: aftermath

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Hey, I Have To Put Something on the Blog. 8.30.05

I hope Silver’s first day of class was edifying. Because this is exciting, he gets to try something fairly different. Maybe even interesting. Maybe even something he finds worthwhile? But what will we do without the complaints about work or the constant IM’ing?

Meanwhile, I’m all finished with school, complete with degree, out on the job hunt path. And of course I can’t get past the feeling that nothing g much has changed. And I knew that going into school. I wouldn’t be much different (though more mature); I thought I might be armed with more knowledge, of course. Maybe that I would become more of a flaming liberal. But I am still the same. Interviewing.. And I am temping.

I promised not to temp anymore—I don’t get all pent up as some people, calling it soul crushing and talking about my underemployment (I’d rather be eating, thanks). But I did feel that maybe I could that vagabond work past behind me, dedicate to something. But not yet. Now seems to be a hot interview/ hiring period, and that’s good. But I am still here. I said to a fellow temp off hand that I hope to leave after my trip to SD/ LA in the last week of September, and his reply was “I used to think the same thing.” Granted, he’s a writer, but I remember saying the same thing when I was temping back in the day.

It’s not so much about being stuck as it is about being uninspired. And about having not written in weeks. And about many of my people all engaged in school as I was, using that “I have work to do excuse” I so effectively used.

Monday, August 22, 2005

This One Needs to Stop Making Friends With Bartenders 8.22.05


a hurried post, i have to get some work done

Recap:

Friday night I was in search of something to do so I linked up with Lana-P and Jules and their Irish friends. Good kids. The guy and I talked about early to mid-90’s music. We’re old. He likes the Stone Roses which will of course thrill one of my readers. We tried to get into this party but there was a line- a queue as the Irish said—and I left for Billyburg. But not before running into friends from the Wuniversity, Ellie and Jay. Jay still DJ’s. I have to link up with that kid but I have been too lazy to send emails.

In Billyburg I was meeting Distaster Dave—so known because his parties back in the high school were often broken up by cops and/ or bad trips and/or underage girls in compromising positions and other unsavory moments. He keeps hope alive; and Friday was a bar crawl. Which seems ludicrous. But I went. Met up with Dave’s friend Peter. There was jazz, there was a bartender who slipped me a shot of mean, there were more shots, there was rock and roll karaoke, wherein I was rocking out to Fugazi’s Waiting Room.

Also of note was Dave’s friend Katie. Who he was trying to hit on but she seemed to have a lot more interest in me. I thought that would be a dirty move if I tried something right there but we did hit it off… but then I had to leave before I got her number (I don’t know where she got off to).

Also of note is that I have no idea how I got home. I mean, I kind of know—I took the G train towards the LIRR station in Brooklyn but my train-dar effed up and I found myself at the highest elevation in the subways system, Smith-9th Streets. I’m not sure what I did but I found myself on a G train going the other way. And stayed on until Queens. Then I woke up on an E train. Then I got outside and it was morning (makes sense, I left the last bar around 4 AM) and caught a bus. I think.

******


Saturday I woke up hurting but I got out anyway, met up with Niffer and Rini and we walked up Smith Street. Where we ran into Kandle’s old roommate Rochelle, a couple from the Wuniversity, and Fuzzy Sweater and Jeremy (who are keen on the idea of this weekend’s barbecue/ game day. You will be invited).

I left Niffer’s party for Manhattan to see the Kurtsnoggle, Kristen Pinstripes, Kami, and the birthday girl Southern Yankee Martha. Also there were Lee and my twin Jamie. We invented new dances like the Vietnam and the Dry the Hands. And I re-met Holiday’s old roommate crazy Laura. Who is still crazy but a lot more pleasant. Made friends with the bartender at a cool ass bar called Palais Royale or something—it’s next to Double Happiness—and got bourbon shots. Or maybe only one. And a microwaved White Castle Hamburger that was like heaven.



....

Friday, August 19, 2005

Today is Peter Gallagher's birthday. He turns 50, and I think Kiki should throw him a big ol' party for all the crap he has to put up with (with such humor and grace).

Off to meet Lana-P and Jailbird Sammy and other kids.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

In Case You Didn’t Feel Like Asking About My Weekend. 8.16.05

Friday night I did karaoke to celebrate Holiday’s leaving. I sang Bobby Brown’s “Every Little Step” and I must have been good because some girl freaked me. And then she spanked my ass raw.

Saturday I played softball. It was 90 degrees. I kept hitting the ball and running; I hit a triple to begin with and by the time I hit a 5th inning double (ok there was an error) I had to ask for time to collect my breath and take off my sweatband which was all sweat and very little band. The players wilted in the 6th. We called the game early.

Went to an afternoon barbecue with the Caribbean students from my former program. Which is cool because I didn’t know any of the Caribbean students in my former program. Hot damn there was some good food and when I have my housewarming party for the apartment I do not yet have, I will have that guy bring in some spicy ass eatin’.

Passed out on Eben’s couch. Met up with Raycroft. All the bars were dead ass empty. No one. Tumbleweed on the floor, dust on the barstools. I passed out there too. It was still sauna humid and Africa hot.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Demons Are Trying to Escape My Ass 8.12.05

Last night after work I met up with mjr for really no good reason. So we had beers and a burger and mjr convinces me to have one more.

Which leads to:
• Seeing an old boss on the mean streets of no-longer-Hell’s Kitchen.
• Drinking with the sweetest and most affectionate kid, Sophie, from the HS—she was my favorite when I ran peer counseling.
• Talking to her ex-pat Aussie roommate even when it was clear I wasn’t going to show her that the rumors are true about black men.
• Being shushed a lot in the bar’s backyard (it was Rudy’s if you’re wondering).
• Drinking with the Drinking Liberally crowd (Schnapp, Justin says hello)
• Missing Councilman Bill Perkins who apparently rolled by the bar to make an appearance.
• Driving back with Arroz the Rice-A-Homie.

And today I am tired. Last night’s activities leads to the demons in my ass. This week, I have been in love with my flatulence. Not the SBD’s, but the sound and fury one. Not the ripping of the cakehole ones but the deep bass line releases. My flatulence is normally frickin’ awesome, regular and active, ready to draw attention at the drop of a thought. Today’s has not been as pleasant; it has been the funk phenomenon, the stankonia. Which is simply to pound in today’s lesson—my body just doesn’t process drinks like it used to.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Two For the Gallery

1.I am in an office with some attractive young women and something I have become used to is that when an attractive woman walks by, they usually have an attractive scent. Not always cologne—often it’s a lotion or a shampoo or a soap. But it attaches to memory, as scents are supposed to. The women here, however, are scentless. Or maybe I am not leaning close enough. But it makes me want to ask—what are some of your signature/ favorite scents? Or for the fellas, what scents do you like/ remember on people? Like how the Little Brown One often smelled of sandalwood—things like that.
2.Second: what are your feelings on the upcoming mayoral and senatorial (sp?) races?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Rector? I Was Very Gentle When Tapping That Ass 8.10.05

A rector at St. Patrick's has been charged with shucking his vows, and his robe, and getting biblical with a married secretary. A man who railed against our sex-saturated society. At least he knows what he's talking about!

Nice work. Remember kids, don't become a priest because people will laugh harder when you are caught with your secretary.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

More MIA pics

thanks to lana-p.


the hip fans

line at park
the long line

mia set
the M.I.A. set

Monday, August 08, 2005

Five Notes 8.7.05

<>Spent Friday night with mjr and the wondertwin. We drank and talked trash.

<>Missed out on going dancing on Saturday with Cappy and Ali-Pack.

<>Sunday: M.I.A. show. I didn’t like the sound of her—junior league rhymes, a cruddy hodgepodge of garage and grime and dancehall and hip hop and dance pop. Overhyped by MTV. The it-girl that everyone wants to see (what happened to the Arcade Fire?).

But I went, met up with Lana-P and Rinda and her friend Conrad. We got to Summerstage early under partly sunny skies and surrounded by a certain kind of hip kid—the not-so-pretty ones with good clothes and ironic or obscuring haircuts, and lots of Office Space-style “flair.” You know, there but for the grace of a hot body they would be a stripper/ porn star.

On line, right before the floor opened, the fella in front of us realized his friends were never going to reach us. So he opened his bottle of wine to us and became our new buddy. Which started a long afternoon of beer swilling, olive eating, blueberry photographing, thai-stick smoking. Best of all, it was the Summerstage show that was like it was ten years ago. We made friends with a kid from Cali who showed us what medical marijuana looked and smelled like; we met couples; saw friends from the high school; saw some crazy blonde dancing and some ill Latina dancing. And made friends with the guy who gave us the wine.

And M.I.A. was incredible. Energetic, fun, and when I realized that I don’t have to take her seriously, I don’t have to compare her to political artists. I can… just enjoy the music.

I’m all danced out. Lana-P, shuttle them pictures over. I promise not to post any of you.

<>This week, have some temp work. So if you’re wondering why I don’t email you back… that’s why.

<>This week’s Entourage was the best. With the OC’s Melinda Clarke playing the bitchy actress made for a bitchy role… and then gratuitous all-alone dancing the hip hop music. Purr.

Plus: R.I.P. Peter Jennings, the man who, if I remember correctly, was live amongst gang members in Los Angeles during the riots in street clothes and a bulletproof vest. And a shot rang out. He reacted with all the gang members—first a duck and I swear he reached down like he was packing a heater in his waistband. For real. Coolest moment in news in the past 15 years. And seriously, he’s my favorite news anchor (I’m too young for Uncle Walter Cronkite).

Friday, August 05, 2005

guess who's back!

the laptop returned all fixed. yesterday around noon. four days! impressive. more later.

Monday, August 01, 2005

A Better Ink

So, the nuclear option has happened to my laptop. The hard disk has gone from full of Pico's writing/ schoolwork/ info to a set of red letters that add up to useless during a diagnostic check at the Apple store. So it goes. It would be better if I had backed up more of my school stuff or the progress I made on fiction pieces. Or saved the name/ time/ location of my interview on Wednesday.

What's done is done, unfortunately. I am a fan of the positive; this is a new week (or so) of my life, being almost computer free. My brothers use an old Dell; it's from 1998 or so, a heavy brick of a laptop that is now missing some buttons, lacking in memory and full of virus problems. It's slow and they use AOL for access. I've added Firefox, but still, I won't be a constant e-mailer, nor will I be able to research whims about basketball players or long-tail distribution.

Those distractions have come to define my life + dominate my way of thinking. I get distracted, treating topics like moving targets in a carnival shooting gallery. Never delving into any one thing. It shows in my writing-- ideas and snippets and maps to where I want to go, unfinished + unconnected words that represent great hope and passive failure. This is a chance to make sea change, turn the rudder, hoist the main sail, swim to a different shore, and introduce midsummer nautical themes.

I am writing this (originally) with a pen I thought did not work. It's dry, the ink is not always constant. But it serves its purpose. Using my hand in this way- writing like in second grade versus typing-- hurts, requires exercise, as it does for Eben. My hand hurts from a page. That is good, I have to hold my thoughts longer using pen and paper. I edit with strikethrough lines not deletions. I don't turn away to read more about baseball trades that didn't happen (but SIlver, Raycroft, &c, y'all can catch me up).

Further: I have time. To finally organize my papers. To create new writing samples. To rediscover the concept of "end of page." To restart the short stories that have been kicking around my head. To think longer and harder about podcasting. To finish books. To practice my backhand. To run.

To rediscover self without the regular crutches like reading the paper + looking through jobs I'm not qualified for + skimming dozens of blogs + playing with my music and address book and photos, emailing for hours, checking RSS feeds, IMDB'ing actors, checking AllMusic for music information.

If you want to reach me, it's better to call. It's gonna be good, and in a week my laptop and I start over fresh.

But damn, I'm gonna miss all that good ass porn I had saved on my 'puter.

p.s. khadijah, i hope you're doing well.




....

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Supreme Court Note.
Since when was "I have no recollection of being a member" an excuse? Especially for a lawyer? Isn't that what the guilty say?

This guy is brilliant.

I am sure you have heard of the Arabic Assassin, a wanna-be rapper with no record deal that worked as a baggage screener. Until he was found out and fired. What a great way to get publicity- his name is now nationwide and it won't even matter if his rhymes are as junior-league as M.I.A.'s, the people pissed at life, Dubya, and the rest will be on the lookout for his single.

AA- I bet you can find his album online.

Happy not to Smear Santorum

PA senator Rickie Santorum says he's leaning towards not running for the presidency in 2008. Fingers crossed.

New Yorker = Behind the Bitter Sea

New Yorker's article on Diplo. I was at that show, you lazy, month-lag-time suckass writer. God, I am so very cool. Anyone feeling hot today? Bask in my chill glow.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Search Me Where It Smells Funny

Another hot ass day in New York City. But we have a new wrinkle—bag searches on the subways! Is the city/ police administration in DC instituting this change if not, why not? All I know is that I’m glad I have been keeping my concealed weapon at home… I wonder if the cops will report this weekend about how many brass knuckles, plastic + metal unregistered weapons, liquor bottles from teenagers, and porn they collect? And how many bitter privacy lovers and conveniently brown people (the police department claims there will be no profiling) they will arrest?

Is there better ways for their time to be spent? Here are some reactions.

p.s.: this story is covered in the ny times by some fine reporters, Sewell Chan and Jennifer 8 Lee.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

camp. 7.13.05

camp was awesome. rewarding. almost inspiring. this time, you could feel the african heroes theme. the kids liked it even though we made some hasty rain-date plans on friday; all the locations we were supposed to have at the college seemed to be taken over by the other camp groups. i understand we have to share the space... but i did think we had those assigned to us.

small potatoes. we had workshops on history and stress reduction and identity and storytelling/ african songs. and they all seemed to work- a fairly rapt audience, and good commentary. i think. i don't know because i was running around all weekend making sure the next thing on the schedule would happen like it should.

in fact, that was the strangest thing about the camp weekend. unlike putting on WILD back in the wu days, i never had a chance to stop and look out among the crowd and grab my nuts and say, "yeah, i did that." nonetheless, camp was tight.
i had the arroz rice-a-home and dirty jersey sammy and my sibling aqua dulce in the house to help things out.

the last day left a little to be desired, though. the kids' portion of the talent show climaxed with a half funny, half gripping retelling of the amistad story, where some slavejacked sierra leoneans took over the ship, landed on american shores, and found allies to help them legally fight for freedom. if you happen to be in connecticut you should check out the amistad exhibit in new haven and look for a fellow named donald who will tell you great tales. after the talent show the gift and thanks ceremony took forever. and ever. i missed my gift, chasing after little ones.

on the same subject, i was cleaning out the last of our stuff- later than we should have- and i knew i was late. i did not, however, expect the bus to pick up and leave my ass. i was running behind a yellow school bus, cussin' with all the creativity a weekend of interrupted sleep and harnessing adolescent energy will leave.

there were some people still on campus; i caught a ride with one and caught up to my bag, already put on the bus by someone else. though i might have lost my gift, which was a badass candle holder.

p.s. i forgot to mention about jury duty. my ass got tagged. today. hopefully, not much more; i am fixin' to see shakespeare in the park's production of "as you like it." i might even skip out on something thurs or fri to see it.

p.p.s. i can't seem to stop saying ass.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

East River Waterfront?

I didn't know the city was working on the East River Waterfront. Is this going to get in the way of Black Top Street Hockey? Though I think the proposal stops short of the East River Park where today's hip heroes bang, scrape, and sprain their way to street hockey glory.