obvious, isn't it 

The kid in the over-sized flat-brimmed pinwheel baseball cap and braids who stomped the cop on Monday night was just a neighborhood mope who jumped at the opportunity to hit somebody when they were down, NOT one of the out of towners here for a week of anarchist/activist adventure role playing.

So Laura married Dubya after only three months just before his first run for elected office? Interesting.

The helicopters have been circling ominously all week.

Over the last few days, three cop cars have slowed down to eerily observe me like Brian Dennehy's sheriff rolling up on Sly Stallone's Rambo in Firstblood.

Now they've fenced off Third Avenue. I guess the excitement is coming to my doorstep.

UPDATE: They must've herded all the marchers up in plastic orange fencing and driven them off to Pier 57. They never showed up. All them cops standing around in front of the bars on Third Avenue and no action. What a waste of money.

coughing fit 

I was proud to go the entire day without cigarettes.

My lungs immediately got to work purging the toxins. I coughed and coughed.

I went to sleep.

I woke up in the middle of the night coughing with such steady violence that I threw up. Naturally, I got myself some smokes.

different convention


I was disappointed my clever Irish-themed signage at Mets Irish Day got no media coverage. It hurts when a goon in a Dodger cap with a Beltre MVP sign soaks up the glory of two seconds of game recap footage that should have been mine.

However, in my own sick and needy way, I take solace in the fond memories of the positive crowd response to the short joke taunts I directed at diminutive Mets third base coach Matt Galante.

"Galante's an Italian Leprechaun!"

"Galante, Where's yer pot o' gold?"

"Galante, stand up so the runners can see ya!"

new rainbow man? 

Cornelius Horan, right, a defrocked Irish priest, grabs Vanderlei de Lima of Brazil as he leads the men's marathon Sunday.


Thanks to the New York Post I caught a glimpse of the Tin Lizard that slept with those firemen who will now lose their job and wives and families.

I couldn't see her face, but I'm pretty sure it didn't make up for what I did see.

What a mess.

Let the word go forth. Sex with unattractive women is never a good idea.

Especially if you're married and the unattractive woman is not your wife and you're at work at the time of the liaison.

Just ask Bill Clinton.

best in show 

All the bomb-sniffing dogs in town for the RNC seem to be staying in a nearby hotel.

I just watched two morbidly obese Amtrak Police dog handlers (I believe they work with Charlie and Sheila or Sheena) purchase two cases of Bud Light and waddle back in slow-mo to their hotel. The handler with the ill scar behind his ear in the sweatpants and gray West Coast Chopper tee shirt stopped and smoked while the other handler moseyed up to his car to get something. I guess the dogs are staying in the rooms with them. I hope next week's hotel guests aren't allergic.

over New York

The protesters are marching and the sirens are blaring.

Part of me wants to protest Dubya.

Part of me wants to punch out some protesters.

Part of me wants to perch in a quiet bar for the afternoon and watch the Yankee game.

mongo records 

My friend insisted that I pick up the mongo vinyl records I did not want and cannot play. I refused. He picked them up and carried them into my apartment.

Stanley Clarke – School Days
Grover Washington Jr – A Secret Place
Ronnie Laws – Friends & Strangers
Deadato – First Cuckoo
Harry Chapin – Sniper and Other Love Songs
Simon & Garfunkel – Bookends
Ted Nugent (self-titled)
Grand Funk – We’re an American Band
Eric Clapton – Just One Night
Steppenwolf – Monster
Ralph MacDonald – Sound of a Drum
Billy Cobham – Crosswinds
Hubert laws – Romeo & Juliet
Culture Club – Kissing To Be Clever (just record sleeve with lyrics)
George benson – In Flight
Dave Brubeck Quartet – Time Out
Al Di Meola – Land of the Midnight Sun
Columbia Symphony Orchestra - The Stravinsky Album
Isis (self-titled)
The Kinks – Everybody’s In Show-Biz
Elton john – Greatest Hits
Joni Mitchell – Hissing of the Summer Lawns
Paul Simon – There Goes Rhymin’ Simon
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Damn the Torpedoes
The Moody Blues – Days of Future passed
Led Zeppelin – IV
Alvin Lee – Rocket Fuel
Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon
Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water
Al Stewart – Modern Times
The Edgar Winter Group – Shock Treatment
Janis Joplin – Greatest Hits
Don McLean – American Pie
The Moody Blues – To Our Childrens’ Childrens’ Children
Renaissance – Turn of the Cards
The Mothers – Over-nite Sensation
Robin Trower – LIVE!
Ted Nugent – Cat Scratch Fever
Harry Chapin – Heads & Tales
Harry Chapin – Short Stories
The Moody Blues – Seventh Sojourn


irish day at shea 

I attended Irish Day at Shea.

I brought along a tricolor and made silly signs for the nephews to hold up so they could get on TV. Some of the signs read, "Top of the Inning To Ya," "So Bad, Ya Gotta McBelieve," "Luck o' the Mets," and "Swing the Shillelagh!"

Early on they sold me glass bottles of Harp. I worried security goons would wrestle me to the ground for holding a glass bottle. I struggled to restrain myself from throwing it at someone. I haven't seen a glass bottle handed out in a ball park since... I never saw it. Apparently the cup guys didn't get the memo that a game was scheduled last fall for today.

We were right on the third base line. It was oppressively hot. Shea is really second rate and terrible. I had an extra ticket and they wouldn't give me an extra free hat. On the way out of Shea, I realized I could have left and walked in again to make the point to the petty rule stickling teens in charge of hat distribution. I wish I thought of that earlier, but who needs an extra kelly green Mets hat. They did me a favor.

We had a good time, despite the doofy Met fans and Stadium staff.

Of course, the Mets lost, as expected.


De Profundus


Go Brooklyn... 

Are Rule Gardner's wrasslin' Asics available on e-bay?

Sheff Daddy in 1980 (same year I met Joe Torre at opening ceremonies for Joe Torre East Highway Little League and asked why they couldn't get a Yankee).


Speedo 69 

I saw a movie about a demolition derby guy from Strong Island who called himself Speedo.

It was on PBS. This movie is the type of stuff PBS should be putting on instead of Antique's Roadshow boring train tourist promos and the weird latenight self help gurus. I flipped over there while channel surfing expecting to see some tiresome oldies reunion or show tune PBS fundraising torture show hosted by exWOR newscasters and got a pleasant surprise. By the way, whatever happened to Richard Berman, Secacus' rug-topped answer to Jerry Springer?

The movie gave you the guy as he was, lumps and all. There were times when you felt like smacking some sense in him and saying, "Hey, retard, wake up!" and other times when you felt sorry for him and other times when you liked him and even one or two times when you strangely admired him.

During one particularly uncomfortable scene was when he won a championship and was overly lecherous toward the young race girl who gave him his trophy. I felt both sorry and happy for him when he was so excited about his trip to Hooters after the big win. I got the impresion he was a nerd outcaste who suffered from some arrested development issues. There's something inside me that feels suspicious, like I had been manipulated by quick cuts and omissions and staged scenes that made the guy ionteresting and somewaht likeable, but the bottom line is the film was engaging and very well done. Made you think about who you are, where you are in life, relationships with people, and what's important, without giving you any big whammo ham-handed message. It was just a normal guy, lumps and all.

But the thing I really liked on PBS last night was the documentary on Rod Serling with all the Playhouse 90 and Twilight Zone clips showing all them actors. Where's the DVD box set of this stuff? Don't Rod's kids want some of that money?

I wish today's TV had well done drama done live in a studio that relied on dialogue instead of expletives and things you can't show on network tv? Oscar winning Marty started out as a TV play, you know.

source of the smell 

When I returned home the smell was terrible, but elusive. It was there and then was gone and then was there again. I had to find the source.

I pulled out the stove and fridge. I looked behind. Nothing.

One by one, I mounted each of them on heavy duty cooking pots like junk cars on blocks. I looked below. Nothing.

I removed the pots. Then I couldn't smell the smell.

I'll need to bring in a third party for olfactory evaluation.


familiar smell 

There was a familiar funky smell coming from the kitchen. Smelled like dead mouse. Had to leave it on the way out this morning. Lifting a fridge to remove a dead mouse is not something I'm looking forward to.

In other news the landlord's dragon lady at the management company is giving me no light.

"Renew or die."

My good guy tenant record means nothing to them. To them, I'm just a number, I'm not even a number, I'm just the occupant of an apartment number.


street character migration 

I have noticed a sudden increase in the populace of the hollow-eyed human detritus in the high East 20's and low 30's. This has got to be due to a cleanup of the West 30's for the Republican convention. Maybe they're just the newest NYU Freshman class of bloggers looking for free housing.

A white guy with no nose - well he had some nose, but it was mostly recently formed scar tissue - was among the horde of freaktards who made my lunch so special today. No-Nose kind of reminded me of Robert the Bruce's pop who's face was falling off in Braveheart, except it was more real and scary looking and there were no strategically placed bandages or any signs of medical treatment. Apparently No-Nose didn't learn any manners from his recent face tearing, cause he was very hostile when I refused his requested quarter.

Oh, I'm a so and so? Gee, I feel bad now. Here's my cash and ATM card and pin number. Here's a key to my apartment. When you get settled up there I'll send my sister over to do you. Better yet, I'll send my girlfriend over. See, I'm not so bad.

Another guy, a Dred Larry Hogue, actually followed me into the curry shop to tell me off for not giving him money. I guess I was too short with him - he was the third or forth guy seeking a handout on one city block - when I said sorry. I didn't throw in the fake sorry eyes or make the phony I'm helpless raised palm hand gestures I usually serve up to placate. I was just about to get lippy with him, which is never worth the trouble, when the owner and his posse of cabbies rose as one and expeditiously showed him the door.

While I ate Dred Hogue provided a floor show. He worked the traffic waiting for the light like an experienced squeegy man without a squeegy. He slapped cars and screamed like a wild man. He called the fat black women in the mini van fat black bitches. No passerby, pedestrian or motorist was spared from the touch up and screamed commentary.

When the traffic subsided, he focused in on a Chinese guy who was parked reading his newspaper. I can't tell you definitively that the guy was Chinese, but I can tell you he was reading a Chinese language newspaper (I had a pretty good seat) and that there is at least one Chinese-owned business establishment on the block (I learned this in the laundromat one day while another Chinese guy who I can tell you definitively was Chinese spoke to the laundromat owner about how he was new to the block and they could do favors for each other). Dred Hogue started hitting the car and yelling and pointing. The guy tried to ignore him and read his paper. The yelling and car slapping and pointing continued until a paper monetary unit was exchanged for privilege of being left alone. I just sat in the window eating and watching the floor show and occassionally (three or four times during the meal) wondering if the right move was to look away or keep watching the spectacle when Dred Hogues eyes, scanning the street like a wild animal of prey, met mine.

I will leave out the part about the gypsy woman, the young kid sleeping on the sidewalk, who didn't bother me but seemed to bother the guy who was trying to paint the wall he was sleeping against), the two old bag ladies who were clearly mentally ill and the guy I literally smelled from around the corner who didn't believe me when I said I don't smoke. Can't blame him for getting mad, I guess. If you saw me holding a lit cigarette in my hand and putting it to my lips as I passed you as you sat in a puddle of your own excrement, you might think I smoke too. I quickly evaluated him and determined that anyone who sits in their own shit rather than get up to shit is unlikely to bother getting up to chase after me for being a smartass.

Seems to me the good old bad old days all these newly transplanted New Yorkers pretend to remember are coming back.

interestingly, the softball photogaphers refrained from the butt photo frenzy of the beach volleyball photographers

The US Capitol police K-9 unit has taken over a busy crosstown street in mid town to double park their vehicles. I guess they're in town for the convention and they have something against using the hotel's parking lot.

Each dog has his name painted on the side of their vehicle. There were no names on the van and two of the patrol cars. Apparently King, Niko, Scooby, Lightning, Eddy and the preppy bomb detection dog duo of Buffy and Chad are in town.


Today I was almost inadvertently spit on by four different spitters. I haven't seen so much spitting in one day since I watched the Iraqi's celebrate the toppling of the Sadaam statue on television. Fortunately I remain unscathed by their saliva.

These spitters weren't even hocking loogeys, which I can understand, because who wants to sswallow a loogey. It all seemed so unnecessary. They were just spitting out of habit like little leaguers spitting on a dusty dirt field in imitation of their favorite stars.

Now, I'll admit to gratuitous spitting as a child. I practiced my spitting, as boys do, and developed my own unique curled-tongue blowgun style that significantly increased distance and accuracy and had a bonus "Thwoop" sound over my previous whole head forward "Thtaaawh" style. My proficiency with spitballs and improvised Bic-stic pen chutes was unrivaled. I freely engaged in spitting contests. I spit on other kids to express myself and set off fights. I eagerly ran to partake in the exercise of the unwritten law of the schoolyard that allowed as many kids as possible to freely spit upon the weak child whop was forced to get a loose ball or his personal property that had made its way into the "Spit-Pit" - a steep exterior staircase in my schoolyard that led down to the basmement of the church.

But that was then. I grew up. I stopped my gratuitous spitting. And if I ever feel the need to spit these days, I try to confine myself to spitting in the garbage or off the curb. Today's spitters were also grown men, but they just repeatedly turned their heads on a crowded city sidewalk and released their "thtaawh!"


title IX required photo 

 Posted by Hello

Olympic Mascot Levitra entertains the crowd.

there's a Richard Todd that didn't play for the Jets


USA olympic basketball team 

All the criticism these guys get bothers me. Seems racist.

Cut these guys some slack. They're our team.

male gymnastics controversy 

So Korea got cheated.

Call it karma.

We all saw how the World Cup games got called.

product info 

The new (not so new) Guinness in the bottle is usually flat when it comes from a corner store in Manhattan. The draught cans are more reliable.

beautiful mind guy update: 

I just passed Beautiful Mind Guy on 39th & Lex. I crossed the street so I wouldn't have to tell him if I graduated college. He stopped and stood across from the W hotel. He reached into the garbage can and pulled out some rain-dampened pizza crust. After a few healthy bites and some chewing he tossed the rest of the crust back in the can and kept going. So did I.


This jihad-crazed pigeon could be anywhere in the New York metropolitan area.

American shot put silver medalist gets his freak on in Athens nightclub.


It was an important meeting.

I carefully selected the tie and shirt> I sorted through the chaotic array of unmatched dark dress socks searching for an acceptable pair. I was shocked to find a pair of almost new Polo brand socks that seemed to match. I bought a batch of poloi socks years ago and they were all worn out and in need of darning. I still have them all because I don't throw away socks I don't wear for some reason. These socks were not blue or black. The darkened light of my lair hinted that they were dark grey or brown, colors which were suitable for today's all important meeting.

Two blocks into my journey, sweating more than Ewing in double overtime, I raised my hand for a cab and hopped in. I reached down to struggle with the inoperative AC and then it hit me. Olive socks. In good repair because they were olive and thus unwearable until the time I drove off to become a made man. These were the socks I bought to match the worn once double-breasted olive Izod suit I bought at off the truck discount onmm 183rd Street in 1993.

Luckily, my anchor man pose was well practiced.

Not to self: Three options: (1) Get new socks, (2) throw out the old unwearable socks, or (3) install hi-tech sock drawer lighting.

A mysterious pain in my left shoulder has me thinking I have been blessed by a bizarre Sheffield stigmata.


Access-A-Ride drivers are terrible. If the handicapped passengers of Access-A-Ride vans ever drove their own cars on the road near an Access-A-Ride ambulette they would never ride Access-A-Ride again. Well, I guess if they were driving their own cars they wouldn't be passenging in the ambulette anyway. Never mind.


Skell Factor 12, Captain! 

As predicted, the bottle bums have immediately entrenched themselves - thicker than Al Sadr's militia in Ali's Shrine - under the new scaffolding/homeless shelter erected in front of their favorite bottle deposit redeeming grocery store. It was like a who's who of famous bottle bums as I passed by. It was as if Bob Geldof had called all the bottle bums together to pool their bottle redemptions to Ethiopia. Instead of limos they've parked their laundry, grocery, and rubbish carts.

Soon the skell to square ratio on my corner will top the the Best Buy Liquor Store block near all the SRO's in the high 20's.

You'll have plenty of time to call, "Foul!" when "You're living in a van down by the river!" Posted by Hello

In the maelstrom of downtown bound foot commuters and aggressively chain smoking Queens bound bus passengers mulling about Third Avenue, I alone watched as an uptown bound braided teen in a dingy Big & Tall size white tee shirt grabbed a steak knife off a sidewalk cafe table and waved it approximately four feet away from my face as he wildly stabbed at a store awning in an unsuccessful attempt to puncture it.

I pretended not to notice the knife pick up and hoped I'd be able to react in time if the knife came within reaction-necessary range. Luckily my slow reflexes were not put to the test. I was amazed at how invisible this kid and his friend with the darting around up-to-no-good-eyes and the big plain-as-day silver handled steak knife seemed to be to the rushing herd of wildabeast office people on the stampede south. The herd seemed to be focused on the person on the other end of their cellphone, or the blowhard guy who just rudely stepped in front of them, or on matching their pace to the color of the traffic signal on the next corner.

Maybe they were just playing dumb like me.


scaffold/bottle bum shelter 

They're erecting a scaffold outside the grocery store that issues refunds to half the bottle bums on the east side. Great, now they'll be there rain and shine.

windex mace 

I just got maced with a cloud of Windex on Madison Avenue.

That's what happens when you don't pay attention and wander down wind within range of a maintenance man wildly spraying Windex on the slightly soiled truck-bomb defensive planters out in front of an office building. I was more shocked by the maintenance man's apparent lack of paper towels than the actual windex macing.

Now it looks like rain. Darn it! It always seems to rain right after they windex the concrete roadblock planters.

Is there a chart listing anarchist looter perks? Posted by Hello

Is this from the same folks that brought us David Dinkins' "Be cool. Don't Whirl-pool." buttons? Posted by Hello

Remember when they were going to make breakdancing an Olympic Sport? They never did. Howevere, somewhere along the line "Trampoline" became an event. Posted by Hello

hand cream 

I prefer those mornings when I leave the front door of the apartment building BEFORE the new tenant with the hand cream obsession.


The craic was mighty as the Irish girls planned their trip out west.

They "couldn't speak for laughing" as they discussed options at various tourist ranches:

1 hour ride = $XX.XX
2 hour ride = $XX.XX

One brochure promised they could get in "all the riding" they wanted during their stay.

stray cell call update 

Number of misdialed phone calls received from the old woman shut-in with the Carribbean homecare attendant in the last 24 hours: 3.

Number of voicemail messages left: 0.

I may abandon the strict no answer to strange calls policy and pick up the next call with my best MovieFone Guy voice.


I left my sunglasses (the fancy ones I picked up in a Brook's Pharmacy just last week) in New York. It worked out well. Despite a weekend of squinting and a mean facial sunburn, I don't look like I was wearing my Lone Ranger mask at the beach over the weekend.


With three minutes to go before heading to the wedding reception, I yanked open the hotel closet door and pulled a lone suit jacket from the drycleaning plastic.

The plan was simple. Play the reception like a news anchor and keep the legs behind the desk. But once the music started, my tipsy toes tapped their way out to the parquay dance floor.


Willie Nelson, the next Cat Stevens


I thought Putin was already married. Guess I was wrong.


- Who gets to play him in the imminent cheesy network television film?
- His wives had to know.
- He desperately needs a Fab 5 makeover. Is he automatically disqualified?
- He owns one tie (red white and blue striped). He can't be gay.
- How are they gonna work this tale into the Sopranos?
- Can he receive communion on Sunday?
- Very good speech (should've left out the "which master do I serve" part as it connotes leather boys).
- Very well delivered speech (coming from New York, I never noticed his lispy speech impediment before).
- Did he use the term Prince Machiavelli during his speech?
- Seems like a very likeable guy, but... I mean... I don't like, "LIKE" like him, like.
- Rough couple of weeks for the kids upon their return to school in September.
- 10 out of 10 speech writers agree that "I am Gay American" sounds better than "I'm a Gay Jersey guy"
- Sure puts the Kushner prostitute extortion/witness tampering a few pages back in the NJ newspapers doesn't it?
- More smoke to distract people from Dubya's blunders.
- The bully who called him a fag in 5th grade is telling his bartender he knew all along.
- If you must lead a double life, don't bed down any litigious ex-Israeli navy poets.
- If you must sleep with a litigious ex-Israeli navy poet as part of your double life, don't appoint him to a homeland security position for which he can't get national security clearance.
- Song Parody idea: "I am a Gay American" to the tune of Real American made famous by Hulk Hogan.
- Does this mean Ed Koch can come out now?
- When are we gonna hear the truth about Daniel Patrick Moynihan?
- He's not very good looking is he? I mean, for a gay guy and all.

 Posted by Hello

When I was growing up, our home telephone number was one digit off the long defunct Nostrand Avenue movie theater. We got several calls a week for years. Each of these calls was very exciting to us as kids because we could make up stories for the misdialing movie fans about how bad the movie was or how the theater closed or we could be helpful and go look up the theater listings in the paper and tell them what time the shows were.

Changing the number was not an option in my family. Somebody who never called us might call from the Bronx or Ireland to announce a death and what would they do if our number changed. What would we do? Our number was unlisted and if we got a new number it would be unlisted too.

I think we were the last people in Brooklyn if not earth to retain the dial pulse long after touch tone had become common place. There was an unfounded rumor or superstition or implicit understanding among the powers that be in our family that a switch to touch tone would involve a change in numbers. Ever the agent for change, I protested that no change in number was necessary. I even confirmed this with the phone company, but I was ignored. As a result I never won any radio call in contests as a teen. Our phone was too damn slow.

I know we were thee last people on earth to have an answering machine. When it finally got installed, none of the Irish relatives ever left a message. Instead, they would wait six months and complain that they could never reach us.

Well, our phone number outlasted the Nostrand Theater, which went bust long before Moviefone would have been able to bring an end to the errant calls.

The Nostrand was a neighborhood movie theater. It was the first film house in the area to follow the Kigs Plaza theater's lead and subdivide to show two movies at one time. Thus, it shortly outlived the Brook Theater where I saw The Empire Strikes Back, The Graham Theater, where I saw Grease, and the theater down Flatbush by the Junction where I saw Halloween. I don't remember any of the movies I saw at the Nostrand. Maybe I saw Smokey and the Bandit or the Dark Crystal there, but I am just not sure.

After it closed, my friends and I climbed up on the roof a few times and drank beer up there. We thought it was the coolest surveying kings Highway from our lofty drinking perch. I'm glad no cops looked up while we were up there. The last time we went to go drinking up on the roof of the Nostrand we surprised some half-clothed junkies on the metal-roofed outdoor fire-escape stairs. Maybe they were living on the stairs. From the looks of things, either they took their meals out all the time or they disagreed with the old axiom don't shit where you eat.

Too bad that there's no such thing as a neighborhood movie theatre anymore. Sure they're in your neighborhood, but is Starbuck's a neighborhood coffee shop?

cell phone pick-up policy 

I don't answer my cell phone if I don't recognize the number on the other side. Like most policies these days, it strictly zero tolerance, as opposed to loosely interpreted zero tolerance. No matter how important the call, it can wait at least three minutes while I screen the caller through voicemail. Aside from a last minute offer of free play off tickets from somebody who never calls you from the unidentified number and doesn't have time to offer them through voicemail (this kept me out of a Yankees-Seattle game once), no good can come from a call from an unknown number.

I learned this the hard way over the years. I spent a week fielding calls from nutbags who refuse my assurances and insist Julio is at my number and ask why I am playing them like that.

When my ex-girlfriend's brother left his cellphone in a cab I spent three days in protracted negotiations with the cab driver a man who spoke an unintelligible Middle Eastern inflected variety of English. He wanted a reward. I was 500 miles away from NYC at the time. I made sure the phone got back to where it needed to be and I made double sure the exortion artist cabbie got nothing for being such an abrasive prick. Actually, because the first call cam e from the brother's phone, this tale is probably better suited as a demonstration of why one shouldn't give their cell phone number to a girlfriend's brother who always loses his cellphone when he is drunk, especially when the inclusion of your name in the cell phone address book conspicuously marks you as perhaps the only native English speaker.

I picked up a call from an unkown number while I was at the hoospital for a family member's surgery recently and had to deal with a torturesome process of telling an acquaintance who calls me every six months or so to say hello and then offers nothing else by way of conversation that I could not talk right now. It is always torture getting this particular person off the phone, especially because she's very nice and she rarely says much. It is very hard to have a phone conversation with people who don't speak, but it is harder to get off the phone with them, because you, being the one speaker in the conversation have to initiate the hang up on the person who has called you. It is just rude. Perhaps not as rude as my empty promise to call her back, but rude nonetheless. I played the hospital trump card and said I couldn't use my cell phone in the hospital. That did it. But simply not returning a voicemail would have been easier.

For the last week I have been getting calls from an unidentified number and no message has been left. You never know, so I didn't answer it. Today a volley of seven consecutive calls without messages were fired my way. I turned off the phone. Finally, a message. A confused sounding old lady mumbled hello and then mumbled aside to someone else, "...it doesn't say press 5." Then an angry woman from the Carribbean yelled at her, "[unintelligibe] fi voice mail!"

Best I can tell the number is from the Upper West Side. For a moment I was puzzled. Then I realized the old lady didn't speak in patois because she was with her homecare attendant. She's probably trying to reach her good for nothing son, Morris.

Anyway, today my cell phone pick-up policy spared me a conversation with a confused lonely old woman and her abrasive homecare attendant.


Dubya gone fishing 

This week Jimmy Kimmel has been showing clips of Dubya on some fishing show.

After showing the firtst clip, Kimmel joked that Dubya decided to keep fishing even though he knew there were no bass in the lake.

After the second clip, in which Dubya tosses a tiny fish to the first dog Barney for a vicious mauling (who brings a terrier on a boat?), Kimmel said that Barney was a Weapon of Bass Destruction.

Last weekend as Marines fought in Najaf Dubya had time to fish with his daughters.

gonna kick tomorrow 

I've been smoking again. Four months of being clean gone with the first puff.

It started out with trying that 'one' to see what it would be like. It was just like I expected. I turned green like I did at the age of eleven.

Wow, I am so glad to be rid of them, I thought.

Then I smoked a few more at a party.

Then I bought some on the sly from the anonymous newsstand and Duane Reade personnel, smoked one and tossed the full packs. Then I started buying them and leaving them in the closet for the super who is also trying to kick. Unfortunately he'd leave them there too and I would go down and take one one at a time, like a kid who hides their smokes under the stairs of their building or in the mailbox overnight so they didn't have to worry about their parents detecting them.

During my four months of freedom from nicotine, the owner of the newsstand across the street has been politely patiently persistenly asking me, "want cigarette, Chief?" He must have missed my two bills a month from smokes, the requisite gum, and the odd candy or beer, but he never said so.

I had drunkenly declared myself free from the foul weed about a month ago. I told him how great I felt, how the best part about quitting was not thinking about smokes all the time, how I was able to fight off the occassional urge to spark up by focusing on the fact that I was now free, how, miraculously, homeless guys had stopped asking me for cigarettes on the street, how I no longer had to wait behind the lotto junkies with their endless variations of boxes and betting options and number combos, how I laughed at the slobs smoking outside their office buildings, how, if I was not better than them I was at least better than I was when I was smoking. He just smiled in agreement in a bored heard-it-all-before sort of way. I was trying to convince myself, but I wasn't kidding him.

Earlier this week, the owner of the newsstand across the street asked his usual, "Want cigarette, chief."

I thought, "How does he know I'm back?" I panicked and lied.

"No, I'm done with that. Dabbled a bit, but I'm clean, daddy-o."

As far as most of my friends and family who were proud of my kicking knew, I was still clean. So I somehow found it necessary to walk blocks out of my way to buy smokes just so the newsstand owner guy wouldn't find out. I guess if he didn't know, I wasn't really smoking. Maybe it was more practical - I didn't want him to offer me smokes in front of my girlfriend some night, but that was certainly not my conscious motivation. So perhaps, I am a subliminal sneaky liar and fake. I was always careful not to light up in view of the newsstand. The other day, desperate, I walked into his newsstand and looked around to make sure he wasn't there.

I quietly ordered a pack of Marlboro Light Soft. The new guy at the newsstand had trouble locating them. He was taking so long to find them and they were right there. I pointed aggressively almost poking his eye out so that the owner wouldn't come out from the back and catch me buying smokes. Then he bellowed out in Urdu like a pharmacy clerk in a teen comedy asking for a price check on condoms, "Blah blah blah MARLBORO LIGHT SOFT?" I was right there pointing and this idiot felt it necessary to ask the guy in the back of the store. He may have been fuckin' freedom fighter in his country or some kind of engineer, but he was a freaking retard in my book.

I poked again desparately under his nose like a crazy man, "Right there! Yeah, to the left! Up! There you go!" I took the name of the Lord in vain with a sigh. Just as he handed them over the owner popped out of the back and made his way forward. The guy was real slow with the change and sure enough I came eye to eye with the owner and his smile. First he glanced almost imperceptibly at the cigarettes before looking up at me and presenting his pearly somewhat tawnies.

It was like a scene from a Donald Goines novel where the uppity loudmouth junkie who has just told their dealer to fuck off comes crawling back desperate for a fix. I felt like I was the girl in Requiem for a Dream greeted at the door by the big black guy in full self-satisfied "knew-you'd be-back" grin.

This time newsstand owner just asked "Hey, what happening, chief?"


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