From NY Times on Iraq:

Nearby, a boy no older than 10 put his foot on the head of a body and said: "Where is Bush? Let him come here and see this!"

Viscous Goo dripping, drying down elevator door.

The Chinese-TB-trog dentist who lives down the hall is now comfy spitting his SARS sputum in the hall.

Does he spit on the floor in his apartment?


Am I a homeless guy sleeping on Division & Forsyth?

How can I be sure it was him?

The distinctive door slams and coughing fit immediately preceded my visual encounter with the offensive saliva/phlegm blend. Besides, it wasn't me, or the demur Japanese chick, or the old fellow who moved out last month.


The Bushies should spend less time defending themselves and slamming Richard Clarke and more time trying to smash Bin Laden and al Quaida.

That said, some of the dialogue in Clarke's book sounds as real life as the dialogue in the Superfriends cartoon (pre-Wondertwins era, with Wendy and the Shaggy look-alike) and Clarke's eyes do look a bit screwy in the moment between his being asked a question and the start of his response.

That said, Condi needs braces.


Gold Filter

For years I have hoped to own a gold-plated coffee filter. It would be the ultimate luxury. Never again would I waste time and money buying paper filters.

Now every morning I curse myself because I forgot to buy the paper #2 filters the day before.

The fancy gold filter is no luxury. It is just messy.


Siren outside.

Loud and steady siren directly outside for about eight minutes now.

There's either alot of traffic outside or the building I am in is on fire.

I may go and check.


Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly?
Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy.
Why lovest thou that which thou receivest not gladly,
Or else receivest with pleasure thine annoy?
If the true concord of well-tuned sounds,
By unions married, do offend thine ear,
They do but sweetly chide thee, who confounds
In singleness the parts that thou shouldst bear.
Mark how one string, sweet husband to another,
Strikes each in each by mutual ordering,
Resembling sire and child and happy mother
Who all in one, one pleasing note do sing:

Whose speechless song, being many, seeming one,
Sings this to thee: 'thou single wilt prove none.'


This morning, I dreamt I woke up early and accomplished a whole bunch of stuff.

When I did wake up I felt way behind schedule.


Vin Baker is a Knick.

Now I can get an autograph at Hickey's.

Friday morning.




sun is shining
weather is sweet
make you want to move
your dancing feet...

awake from your sleeping slumber
today could bring your lucky number...


Seeing NYC through the eyes of tourist relatives

The waves of Irish, English, and now Dutch cousins and kin keep coming. Twice a month a new group arrives looking to be shown the good time that the last group was shown.

I reluctantly get in touch. For some reason I start out feeling I am too important to waste my time showing around distant relatives I have never even heard of, let alone met. Then I feel bad and make the call.

I am an urban Mr. Rourke - sans Aesop fable morality, sans French dwarf manservant. I instantly gauge the personalities of the visitors and provide a personally tailored New York experience. Usually this involves examining the city from within the confines of the nearest Irish pub.

In the end I always enjoy meeting them, showing off my city, and learning more about my family.

These people know how to have fun. They know how to live. They lack the poseur airs, affected jadedness and self-centered whiny attitude that are typical to so many Mannhattan dwellers.

They take in sights. They're not here to be seen in a scene.

They are far too worldly and cosmopolitan for that.


NYU Suicides

Today's NY Post contains a report on NYU suicides to justify their ghoulish front cover.

Like most Post articles, the explosive headline is followed by an uniformative article of two or three paragraphs. The disappointed reader's eyes then rush to the next sensational headline. Today's NYU suicide article briefly summarizes the suicides that occurred this year at NYU by regurgitating previously published facts.

There is a great deal of suicide lore at NYU. An interesting article can be written about the history of suicide in the Village and in NYU. In the 1800's there were suicide halls in the area and a few years back Deborah James, a high level NYU administrator (VP or something) committed suicide by jumping from a building. Somebody should tell the story.


Swimming to Somewhere Shy of Canarsie's Padergat Basin

Yeah, it is terrible. Why you care?

I haven't thought of Spalding Gray for a long time. Now that I do, I find myself thinking about other things. I like his stories because they are just stories. They are not put forth as high art or highly meaningful allegories, as far as I remember. You can take them and leave them and have a laugh. They are what they are funny little tales.

Years ago I saw Gray do a reading to sharpen up his Monster in a Box or Swimming to Cambodia. I don't remember who brought me. Maybe I brought myself. I enjoyed it and I later saw both of these movies. I saw one film at the Angelika and one on video. I liked the first film I saw better than the second, but I am not sure which one I saw first.

Gray used to come into a store where I worked after school and on weekends. That was when Soho was a nice little neighborhood with real people that happened to be in a run-down setting. ow the place looks great, but noone real lives there. I delivered boxes of copy paper to Gray's theater group a couple of times. To me, the place was Dafoe's theater group. This doesn't have anything to do with Gray, but I used to confuse Dafoe with Christopher Walken. Now that they've each become caricatures of themselves, I don't confuse them anymore. Gray was not really on the radar during my days at the store. Why would he be? When someone mentioned the guy from the Killing Fields just left the store I was looking for the Asian guy in the crowd of Asian guys outside.

Anyway, the Gray reading was in NYU's Loeb Student Center. I probably went because I remembered him from the store or because I liked the sound of his Waspy last-name given name. If I had gone up tp meet him after the show I might have told him he would have been called "Spaldeen" if he'd grown up in Brooklyn, but I never do that sort of thing at those sorts of things.

I have nothing relevant to say on Gray. I just saw him buy stationery a few times and then I saw a few of his movies. I hope he found or finds his perfect moment.

Loeb Student Center was more than the site of a Spalding Gray reading. It was the place where all the commuter students sought shelter in between classes. The commuters hanging about there were outer boro through and through. They were me, except I lived in the city with the trust fund babies and burn-outs. I was learning from the wastoids how to value the meaningless and use it to puff up a vapid air of self-importance. I don't know what that means - it just blurted out.

Commuters wore the white high-top sneakers and tight black acid-washed or two-tone jeans and puffy goose jackets or leather trench coats. I like to think I had some better fashion sense, but the white high-top Avia sneakers with the black and yellow stripes that I bought the summer before college were the first pair of high-tops I did not wear holes in.

Loeb gathered the commuter students from each train line and ethnic grouping, but it did not bring them together. Each group staked out their own territory among the strange carpeted platform-hilly terrain that made up the Loeb lobby. They were over grown mouseketeers on a cheap Wonderama stage set. (Does anybody else remember when Mario from Sex and the City was the new Wonderama guy???) There were the Brighton Beach Russians and the Main Street Chinese, et al., etc... You get the idea.

NYU eventually destroyed the Loeb student center and built a shiny new theater complex that is probably named after somebody else. I wonder what Henry Loeb thought about that. Is it Henry?

I wonder where the commuter students go now. Maybe they just go to CUNY.


Dr. Caligari's Bungalow

A nice sunny day in the winter means you get a good, up-close look at the human detritus patroling Beach 116th Street and the nearby boardwalk.

The SRO Cesare's and institutionalized elderly stagger about. They speak Tourettes and pick through garbage and lean into shut shopgates to light a smoke, but just nod off after turning their back to the wind.

The sunglow draws them out of winter hibernation lairs. There's no blazing summer heat to force them back inside, behind closed doors, in front of electric fans and air-conditioners. The shadows in the back of the closed Sandbar are inaccesible. The summertime beach crowds don't get in your way.

You get a good hard look.

The Ramones wrote a song about this. But their songs Chinese Rock, 53rd and 3rd and Go Mental are better fits to describe the scene. Cretin Hop.

The city seems tiny and far off on the horizon behind the new Duane Reade that blocks access to the bay.


another Marbury quote:

"Fans don't really know what's going on..."


"It takes a positive touch."

I crossed out the traviesos tag but did not write "Jets" or anything else.

I almost got caught by grouchy girl who lives downstairs.

She alternates between saccharin sweet greetings and expressions of complete - somehow aloof - disdain.

She didn't put up blinds or curtains for the first two months she lived here. One takes note of such things when one is in the bar across the street and is told to look up at the window by the friendly drunk poetry enthusiast from Iowa who has a Gorbachev inkblot under his right eye.

Grouchy girl once paid me a visit at 9pm to complain about the noise of a spontaneous rebel sing song. I invited her in. She declined. I let my friends bad-mouth her for a little while before silently pointing out the open window that probably carried their voices down to grouchy.

Grouchy has a short OLD boyfriend who limps in the manner of Leave It To Beaver's half-curb/half-street stroll style. Boyfriend speaks in a faux strong baritone voice, perhaps to compensate for his diminutive gimpishness. I assume he is married (why else would he stay overnight in this shithole?). I know he says hello consistently, unlike his grouchy girl.

"Wednesday week never happened at all."

Yesterday the radio announcer said it was March 11th. I freaked out for a few seconds. I had bills due on the 8th and missed someone's birthday on the 10th.

"...nobody saw the ambulance that took little Jim away..."

I am a plus one on their guest list this evening. This guy is supposedly on their list as well, but he ain't a plus one like me.

Maybe I can sell them a song about being a plus one.


the cholos are coming

Some delivery boy clown took a traviesos tag in my building. I will cross it out and write something like "St. James Boys" or "Jets" to fuck with him.

Yeah, so?

Sometimes it isn't that hard to say something without really saying it.

It all depends on the person you're saying it to.



Yesterday I went to look at an apartment with a friend. The prior tenant moved out overnight but still had the lease. My friend has been dealing with him long distance. When we poped out of a car all the drug dealers and loafers from the project across the street eyed us with suspicion.

The place was a wreck. It hadn't been painted in 13 years. The carpet had been ripped off the floor, but carpet tacks, staples and foam goo remained. Chinese chalk and crumbled plaster powder were all over everywhere. There were two dozen Combats stuck chaotically on the walls of the tiny kitchen. The doors were ripped off four of the six cabinets. There were hundreds of black scratch marks by the doorway that looked like a tiger had been trying to escape from the apartment. The bathroom was carpeted. It was moldy. The bottom of the toilet seat was lined with shit and gunk. Knife (ax?) marks in the bathroom door hinted that a Travis Bickle scene had been enacted here. There were remnants of Asian girlie posters on every wall, including inside the walk-in closet. They were torn down carelessly. Weird.

My friend may take the place. Apparently the prior tenant is some kind of dentist. We had a lot of fun imagining the prior tenant's bizzarre life in the apartment and his deviant use of dental tools. As we closed the apartment door, I noticed an Eastern European name in DYMO labeling on the door. I pointed out that I hadn't seen DYMO labeling in decades. My friend pointed out that the prior tenant is a Chinese fellow. So he must have left the name on the front door for the past thirteen years. Weird.

I also have a Chinese dental fellow living in my building. I came to the conclusion that he is a dentist from his medical clothing, the proximity of a cluster of dental offices nearby in the high 30's and low 40's, and the dental product catologue I saw on the floor outside his apartment door in my hallway.

I don't care for my Chinese dental guy neighbor. Anybody who wants to put their hands in peoples mouths all day is a freak, no? My Chinese dental guy neighbor always slams his door on the way in or out. He is tubercular like Doc Holiday or some great Irish writer. As soon as he enters the hallway he releases a fit of loud coughing, only stopping when he is one cough away from throwing up. It is truly disturbing.


I can't imagine how he can work without spewing phlegm into patients mouths. Perhaps he's got SARS.

He never says hello. He litters in his own hallway. He runs for the stares if you are near the elevator and he runs into the elevator if your coming in the front door.

Now because I saw what might have gone on in a Chinese dental guy's apartment way uptown, the image of lanky Chinese dental neighbor imitating Charlie Sheen in the opening of Apocalypse now or DeNiro in Taxi Driver's "you talking to me?" scene by pacing around his squalid apartment coughing and throwing dental tools into the door like Amsterdam Vallon is permanently etched in my brain.

Fantasy Music

Last night I went with the flow and ended up at Joe's Pub listening to Enya's sister sing songs from her new album, which chronicles her quest for a magic harp. Each song was introduced as if it was a new level on some fantasy Dungeons & Dragons-type video game.

"And this next song describes how I went into a large estate and an elderly man, an earl, sat in the main hall and behind him was a painting that showed my harp..."

Moya kept used her harp as a prop and plucked a few strings while some no name Paddy in the back did all the real playing. The show was so amazingly short I felt ripped off, even though I hadn't paid and didn't really want to be there.

Between me and the stage were three doofy guys who were acting much cooler than they were. Very affected. They stared in my direction until they were joined by the gruesome-grilled girly who literally fell into their table in an attempt to sit down. Ugly and clumsy. Rough.

They laughed when the show was serious and spoke loudly during some quiet points. I didn't want to be there, so their rudeness got to me a bit. I said nothing. I thought about how the singer was probably a tease target back in elementary school.

The schmaltzy goofballs aggressively applauded the Shia LeBeouf doppenganger behind the keyboards and I finally understood what they were doing there with the new age middle aged mystical Clannad crowd.

The real mystery, still unsolved, was the connection between the middle-aged woman in witch clothing seated next to me and the three scary and friendly young cop-ish BALCO lab test subjects who joined her halfway through the show. Kids? All three juice monkeys ate the tortellini. The witch just drank water.



I voted today in the Democratic Primary today. I registered as a Democrat because the Democratic Primary usually determines who wins city-wide elections in NYC. I don't particularly like the Democratic machine. Anyway...

I always forget the District and have to stand by as the painfully slow electoral workers sift through the impenetrable address book that lists districts. The elderly Chinese electoral worker couldn't find "Third Avenue" in his book of election districts. Apparently, he couldn't find his teeth this morning either.

It was listed under "3 Avenue." Go figure.


The first time I voted I entered PS 207 for the first time since kindergarten. I was amazed at how small the once mammoth lunchroom/gym/recess area looked. The electoral workers (crazy Scots woman and the Italian housewives whose kids I knew) started yelling at me when I asked which button I needed to press to vote Al Sharpton into the Senate. "Don't vote or him!" Stronger, more racially charged words were whispered and knowing secretive eye gestures were transmitted to and fro. They told me not to joke about stuff like that.


Today a guy passing out flyers tried to hand me one when both my hands were full. That always bothers me. C'mon am I supposed to take it with my teeth?

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