Saturday, January 26, 2008

With Mad Respect to People Far Fitter Than Me

Dear god.

I went with Tigger to see Fuerzabruta at the Daryl Roth Theater last night. I had seen delaguarda a few years ago, and it was tremendous, and to make a long story short:



See this.

Get up, put your coat on (after signing on and buying tickets, and this only applies if you are in New York City, or if you are going to come here and all that yadda yadda...) go now, get on the subway (see above, as to living in NYC and all that) and as long as you don't have some kind of photoepileptic condition or something that doesn't let you stand up for an hour and change, enjoy one of the most remarkable visual theater experiences you will ever see in your respective lives (this directed to hypothetical readers numbers 1 and 2).

When I saw Delaguarda, my sister was in town, happened to hear about it, and called up to ask about the show and was simply told this:

"Be ready to stand for an hour, and be prepared to get wet."

Right on, kids. Right the heck on.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Just a Few Fragments for Now

I saw another "God Is My Pilot" bumper sticker the other day. I had thought all the lame jokes had been made in my head previously (e.g. "Who's driving right now in that case? You? Did God carjack you, why does it look like there's only one person?") when suddenly it hit me like a sack of bibles swung at my forehead by Jerry Falwell...

Considering how gapingly, meticulously awful air travel is (and continues to become) both in perception and actual reality, do you really think that the best way to draw into your crush on Jesus is advertise it with that particular analogy? I know you guys are totally in love, BFFs and all that, but it's a bit like saying god is your dentist in terms of its raw power as an attractant (or, repellant to my mind.) We all know we should go and see our dentist, but we* are at the same time bound simply to put it off until our poor anxiety inducing teeth spontaneously combust.

Air Travel:Transportation::Root Canal:Use of a Day Off.

Who says nobody ever got anything out of taking the SATs?

I know, bus travel is also no walk in the park, but it is more The Accidental Homeless Guy Handshake of Travel, according to my official pamphlet from the travel agent. It's more spiritually chilling than the alternative, but at least you don't have to take your shoes off (if you are actually traveling on a bus and are lucky enough to be a shoe owner) before getting on a Greyhound.

Anyhow, nothing for a few days to come as Tigger and I are off to the lovely Shawangunks up north of our fair city, for a weekend hopefully sufficiently blessed with snow that perhaps we will be able to go snowshoeing. It isn't looking incredibly promising at the moment, so we will instead be doing some hiking, and plenty of eating in that event. Oh yes indeed (unless the circumstances of Needless Affectation Asterisk Point Three means that I start whimpering like a sickly child at the prospect of eating food, in which case I will get to take off a few needed pounds, which just seems like a WIN WIN!)

*By which I mean me. I have a profound degree of anxiety and procrastination about dental care, and wish you would just leave me alone about it. I know I have to make the appointment, okay? I totally will, too. You know, at some point... got it?**

**That point probably might be the aforementioned Calamitous Tooth Event Horizon,*** if I'm completely honest with myself, but leave me alone anyway.

***Which, I think may have happened today, as goddamn Au Bon Pain left some grit in my clam chowder, which may or may not have been added to the finished (and grit free) soup for authenticity and atmosphere, and which chipped a molar. This sucks, and on top of it I had chipped the same molar, right next to this spot before (thanks to the clowns at the Whole Foods buffet, so I'm pretty sure yuppies are after my teeth for some reason.) This has left me now at a point where it hurts when I bite down hard on that spot... which in turn means that I have to face up to it and go to the damn dentist, and I'm getting a little wobbly just thinking about it. So, just... just shut up, okay?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

For Once

That's right. For once, I'm going to keep it brief. At least that's the aim.

Any of you who are cyclists in some form or another have possibly used a stationary bicycle, or a stationary trainer in the past. You, like me, may well hate them with a truly deep seated intensity; you may have love for them, but then people make all kinds of errors of judgement, and I won't be judgmental as a result. Feel free to persist in your madness if it's what you must do.

All I know is that a solid half hour on my stationary trainer leaves me feeling like crying, or better yet finding someone or something weaker and smaller and hitting it, and making it cry instead.

So, jog over and witness the descent into sheer madness of Elden who decided to ride a century (100 miles with as few interruptions as possible) on a set of rollers*.

Give it a read, enjoy... while you still can and he hasn't been hauled, raving and gibbering mad in a straitjacket. I think it might be that winter has left him slightly... off?

*For those who aren't aware of how rollers work, imagine a stationary bicycle workout that had the added benefit of allowing you to fall and injure yourself if you became slightly distracted, or wanted to stop pedaling.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Don't Know Karate...

So a wild and wooly couple of days are behind us now, a joy to experience, but draining.

Tigger and I took our first bike ride of the year, and while I had had a quick jaunt out to run errands on New Year's Day, it was the first time I really got to use my new wheels, which were pretty rocking (not that anyone cares, but it's an XTR hub and open pro CD rim on the rear, and non-matching ultegra/open pro CD front), and roll out to the ends of the earth without drag.

So, Saturday had the ride, had some brunch on the way, and then rolled down to the beach and watched the sun set before spinning home. Couldn't have asked for nicer (though my feet were a little bit cold when I got home, I underestimated the cold slightly.)

Yesterday, miracles were on order as I watched in absolute amazement as my New York Giants delivered a knockout blow to the Dallas Cowboys. I'm pretty sure the neighbors think we are completely unhinged, but they can relax, it's almost over anyhow, at most another week or three (can't allow myself to really start believing, it's just too much to imagine them doing more than hopefully showing up and being respectable in Green Bay next weekend.)

Finally, I think some news from today has convinced me that Wesley Snipes is crazy enough for TEN men, if you just scratch the surface a tiny little bit. Not only is he claiming that he didn't think he had to pay taxes (typical Patriot fringe group line of thought) amounting to $14,000,000.00, just stare at it for a moment and take in all those zeroes... BUT he also is closely aligned with these guys!

You thought Scientology was wacky? How about a black israelite organization with...


The belief that 144,000 black israelites will be taken away on a SPACESHIP! They will of course return a thousand years later, to do battle with the Luciferians. I'm sure you're all as relieved as I am. Following in the leader's footsteps, as he himself arrived on a space ship that was conveniently misinterpreted as a comet.

A prophet who used to have an office in Coney Island!

A disclaimer about how they're totally not a cult on their website!**

A prophet who also claims he's an Indian Chief! Of a tribe that actually didn't exist! That supposedly came over from Africa on a land bridge***

And finally, a prophet who is also a convicted child molester.****

So, I guess this proves that it is possible to make Tom Cruise look almost

(deep breath, I can't really believe I'm saying this)


*Has since been seized by local government and knocked down, but Wesley did want to build a security force training facility alongside of it comprising a few hundred acres... permission was not granted by local authorities, and a pity it is too.

**I never realized that's what you needed to look for when getting into weird organizations with completely batshit cosmologies and self-proclaimed deities. "Hey are you guys a cult?" "No." "Right, good thing. I was just getting a little worried."

***I suppose he just didn't think construction worker or policeman would work as well for him. Possibly the costume shop was out of those outfits the day he was shopping.

****If you review the details, the fact that he had over a thousand counts that were originally going to trial that were pared down to 200, in the largest child molestation case ever directed at one person is truly unbelievable.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Dispatches From the Sausage Factory

At this point I'm sure you've all seen the images of Mike Huckabee from his victory celebration in Iowa, after coming from entirely off the radar to take the First Sort-Of-Primary Which Is Actually Just A Caucus Whatever That Might Be, and have seen the circled face on television of your favorite internet star and mine, Mr. Chuck Norris.

In a sign of the degree to which this has galvanized the Republican field, John McCain has announced that he will be accompanied everywhere by Tila Tequila, Rudy Giuliani is hoping to be endorsed by and appear with lolcats everywhere he goes, John Edwards has committed to campaigning every day for a month, and Mitt Romney has leaked that he will be the subject of a soon to be released sex tape.

Welcome to political internet 2.0 people... it's only going to get weirder.

As to Giuliani, to be frank, as a New Yorker and an American, I feel like his message of


is subject to a bit of bad timing.

Had "America's Mayor" (though almost half of us New Yorkers didn't like the guy at all, we'll give him that meaningless media induced title) been campaigning a few years ago, the Endless Bloody Shirt Waving Strategy might well have paid some dividends, but at the moment I think it's ill conceived.

It feels a lot like the American public has had a moment that is effectively like waking up from a real Jingoism bender, and his having those morning after regrets, much like a GBH toting frat boy after a night of Jaeger Bombs...

"Man, I can't believe how jacked up on flags I was last night. Jeez, did we invade someone? Afghanistan or something? It really seemed like it made sense at the time. Whoah, Iraq too? Damn. I can't believe how wasted we were. The UN is never going to hang out with us again after that."

We all have metaphorical Sharpie-drawn penises all over our international political visage, and yelling about 9/11 is something we really don't want to indulge in anymore, it's just kind of awkward right now... we totally made out with that dictator** while we were out at the bar last night, and it's just not cool to remind us, okay?

For those of you who don't recognize it, the title of this post is brought to you today with a shoutout to someone really important from my second nation's political past:

"Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made." --Otto von Bismarck

*I'm not entirely sure this is a direct quote, but I think it's pretty close to the campaign message he's working on.

**Or this one (Rest In Peace), or these guys, it's frankly all pretty hazy right now... it was a crazy night, man, crazy.

Friday, January 11, 2008

If You Were a Tree, What Kind of History Would You Manufacture from Whole Cloth?

I was reading the local free rag yesterday, which hawkers hand out at the exits to train stations. It's one of my morning rituals, when I'm not too burned out to remember to grab one, and it has basic local news, celeb details that I skip, and some sports reporting.

It's a phenomenon that is growingly common, they have a bunch of them in London as well as other cities, it's a bit like News Lite... tabloid fold, under 50 pages.

So, I was flipping through while on my shorter walking option to work from the train, and saw an article about the initiative to plant a million trees in New York, a program which is planned for completion by 2016. Very cool, no? Yes, self, it is indeed cool... it is a town of a great many parks, some of which just happen to be only slightly larger than your bathtub. Yes kids, that one is 0.04 acres of verdant wonder.

But I digress.

So, the article in amny mentioned the tree project, and said that cuttings were going to be taken from the fantastic European Beech trees in Central Park, and cloned and subsequently replanted elsewhere in the city. Very cool, no? Yes, self, it is indeed cool.

And there, loyal pair of readers, is where the all the magic happened. Drew Becher, executive director of the New York Restoration Project, "...a nature group that is working with the city on the project..." spoke his feelings, and I quote:

"Everyone remembers the story of George Washington and the apple tree,"

Here the quote is interrupted, to provide the earlier indicated attribution of Mr. Becher. I will pause as well, but just for dramatic and snide effect.

"Wouldn't it be great if that apple tree was still around?"

I'm not expecting him to be a big time history buff, understand me, okay?

I just kind of expected that someone running the program for cloning and planting trees all over New York City just MIGHT be aware of the fact that:

-Said apple tree was not in New York
-George Washington killed said apple tree
-Said apple tree was, in fact, a cherry tree.

But then, those of you who went to elementary school already knew that,

didn't you...?

Please say yes.

If no, would you care for a slice of...

apple pie, anyone?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Gunnysack Grab Bag Mix-n-Match Thursday!

So no real theme, pretty much, is the idea.

Not so much the idea, but just how things wound up.

As I was talking to someone who had been at Burning Man last night, they mentioned the problematic phenomenon of "Shirtcocking". It is, simply, the act of just wearing a shirt, and having your junk just waving around getting down in some serious dust. Also known as Reason Number 47 I'm Not Going to Burning Man Next Year.


There's a strange juxtaposition involved in seeing a Whole Foods delivery van at a stoplight, with the driver gunning the engine hard enough to make the entire vehicle shudder.


It's more than a little disturbing to hear someone continuously whistling Rod Stewart's "If You Want My Body" in the office, quickly and a bit off key to boot. It's an open plan workplace, so not only was it any one of 30-40 people who was ripping away with it, but I couldn't even begin to guess who it was.


Also, out talking to folks last night, a friend mentioned that a (female) friend of his, when asked about Public Enemy, replied "I don't know them, but then I was never really into Gangster Rap."


I work with someone who is 24, 8 years younger than I am. When the announcement came out that Led Zeppelin was going back on tour after a 27 year hiatus, he brightly said "Wow, I wasn't even ALIVE when they last played."

Now, I'm not saying that at four years old I was getting hammered on Budweisers in the parking lot at the Nassau Coliseum waiting for Zep' to play, but still...


There was a homeless guy selling a few things at the Second Avenue F Train stop the other day, and he happened to have an 8 VHS tape collection of Tae Bo, with Billy Blanks. I guess he did seem to be in pretty decent shape, but where did he get to watch TV and work out at the same time? Barring that, isn't a set of work out tapes something you'd sell to raise money before you got kicked out of your apartment?


In the world of the nature documentary, wildebeest are pretty much always just a buffet item.


Finally, as a bit of an homage to bikesnobnyc, two quick mentions from the daily show of horrors that is

This fine creation, with the lovely "Color Matching" "Bar" "Taping"

Goes beyond perfection, into true and special territory, but hold your breath! Take a look at the write up, where he not only shows the original, woefully handlebarred iteration, but mentions the "Sweet" red front tire, and promises the he's TOTALLY "planning on some sick upgrades". An eager public waits, friend.

I'm hoping for lime-green deep V's, but who knows, given the taste and planning that went into this bad boy so far.

At least he's a step ahead of this guy, who is (one can only assume) still saving up for his first hacksaw. The bitchin' pink grips are just place holders for where this sweet machine is going to get chopped all the way to nirvana.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Indeed a Wonderful World

Tigger and I just watched disc one of the BBC documentary "Planet Earth", with narration by David Attenborough last night.

Point one: netflix is fantastic. I know, I know, 2003 called and wants its revelation back. I just finally gave in and started netflixing things, and am sheepishly compelled to admit that it is pretty damn nice. Now let's just leave that be.

The thing that really struck me was, well, how lousy the life of a Panda is... they have too mediocre and marginal a diet to be able to put on enough fat to hibernate. They have to stay up all winter, eating bamboo, simply because they can't manage to eat anything else up there...

It also means that the milk they feed their young is "tremendously poor", and makes the young Panda cubs develop woefully slowly, taking months before even opening their eyes.

The scene segued to a group of monkeys in China, who live at the same high altitudes as the Pandas, and are the only primates to live in that cold an environment in the world. All I could think, with this bolt from above, was:

"My God. They're Chinese Blue-Faced Freezer Monkeys!"

All of this is evidence to me that there is no such thing as intelligent design, even if I had believed in it before (I didn't, I don't, I don't think you have a brain if you do), as it's all just too strange and sometimes silly to be designed.

Hell, if there were intelligent design, why not just have the Pandas eat...


So, long story short, get Planet Earth on DVD, go forth and get it NOW. Get the one with David Attenborough, he's just brilliant and soothing, and I remember him from documentaries that were great even as far back as my childhood. This one also has footage that will have you pretty much constantly asking yourself "How could they have possibly gotten those shots? HOW?" (This would include underwater, paw level action scenes of bears fishing literally within arms length of a camera lens, occasionally bumping it.)

I'm serious.

It seemed like a constant thought, but it may have been interrupted with a second or two of "WOW!" here and there.

I'm going to be checking your queues to find out who's been listening to me, people (all one to three of you.)

Sunday, January 6, 2008

In Which I Discharge Duty

So I have been really busy, and frankly I am not a ray of sunshine in general.

I figured I'd save my bile until the end of the holiday season, and let you all get to the edge of your own roof over these past few weeks.

That is the B.S. answer. The real one? I've been lazy, I've been tired, it's been cold, it's gotten dark at 4pm. I don't expect you to love me, and like a dysfunctional parent I don't expect either of the two of you to show up at my funeral. It's a deal, right? Good. Now go pour me a nice tall cocktail and empty the ashtray, alright?

I understand this is the time where the understanding is that I give a seasonal/annual retrospective on things, and I am working that out as I go along, but FIRST, a few thoughts on New Year's itself:

First off, having New Year's day brunch is way more fun than having a New Year's Eve party, in that you worry less about people coming. And, you feel okay with no one coming and just starting to drink a 10AM. Hey now! That and: it's a bit easier to make finger food that doesn't involve wrapping or stuffing things (preposition) other things. Just a mental note, thought I'd share it with you.

Watching New Year's ROCKIN' Eve (now with Carson Daly??? Does this mean he's made the most recent deal with the devil? Does this mean my great grandkids will watch an eerily youthful Carson Daly in a North Face parka calling out the final ten of 2298?) I was reflecting:

1. On how awesome NY1 (our local New York cable channel, with news etc.) is. They didn't have a delay on, and when asking around as to what people's resolutions were, one really eloquent guy just YELLS out: "To travel the FUCKING WORLD!!!!" Right on, NY1, and happy NYE to you as well.

2. Lenny Kravitz was on the main network self-abuse fest, and Edgily Introduced His Performance "Off my new, 8th studio album 'Bring it On'!" And couldn't help but think:
How many people just yelled out "Play ARE YOU GONNA GO MY WAY!"
aaand.... Dude. Lenny. I never was a big fan, but please, stop trying to act this way. I think it's a fair rule of thumb that when you play "New Year's Rockin' Eve" you are no longer The Edgy Outsider Guy. It's time to put away that set of wigs and praying mantis glasses. Do it for the children, and their children's children who are one day going to watch Carson do the Rockin' Eve with their kids rolling their eyes by the imitation holo-fireplace.

As to the other thing: a guy at work asked whether I had resolutions... I never do, I told him.

I don't, to be honest, ever make real resolutions. They just make you finish the tub of ice cream, metaphorically, when you've promised not to ever touch it again, and I don't need that added motivation to carry on sinning once I've inevitably started, but I do have some ideas:

I will do less drinking, and do more cycling.

I will do less eating gyros, and do more running.

I will do less listening to music, and more making music.

I will watch less television, and read more.

I will read less, and write more.

I will finally get back on a training schedule, and make a ride up to Nyack, which I have shocking never done so far (big cyclist destination for road nazis). I will also finally finish a regular century, and attempt a double metric.

And, I will finally start convincing this country to start singing "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" again. This shit has GOT to stop. Baseball is supposed to be fun, people. Let's let the seventh inning stretch get back to ball scratching, and getting a fresh beer before they close the concession stands to prevent fistfights, and let it stop being a grand x0,000 person act of waving an 80 foot flag over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

I think the troops probably miss hearing the old chestnut as well, and they deserve peanuts and cracker jack as much as the rest of us do. That, and frankly... do you really think that the most purple, tacky, jingoistic song in this nation's great musical history is actually going to make a difference to anyone, other than destroying one of the oldest traditions in our national pastime?

And if we destroy our national pastime's greatest traditions...

Don't the terrorists win, people? Don't they?

(And while we're at it... using that phrase is the whole reason they all keep on trying to win. So stop thinking that way, you're not sheep.)

Happy New Year people!