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28.9.04

kiwi beer gazers 

I went in to the grocery store for a six pack.

There were two Aussie or Kiwi guys blocking the beer fridge. They stood there excitedly surveying the beer selection. They were big and burly with a pepped up "Dude, Where's My Car" aura glowing about them.

Because I am a weirdo that didn't want to talk to Men at Work fratboys, I did a circuit of the store and picked up a few other items before returning to the beer.

When I got back, there they stood, reenacting beer commercials, like the McKenzie brothers. They did, "Foster's. Australian for beer." three times before I gave up and did another circuit of the store.

I wanted the beer fridge to myself, so I could survey all the options and choose the best cheapest beer for my personal consumption. So I did a second circuit of the store and returned.

They were still there when I came back, synch talking on their cell phones like in loud pumped up unintelligiblly thick downunderspeak.

I gave up on my private beer perusal and moved in between them to scoop up a six pack of Yuengling for $5.49 plus bottle deposit. Not a bad buy I thought.

They're probably still down there.

26.9.04

What ever happened to Wetlands?

Office building?

Enormo Deli?

Luxury Condos?

I used to dred the stoned hippie grunge-o crowd in the pillow room, but I kinda miss the kitschy Colt quart sales. I once convinced security I got my Miller 40 at the bar.

Garnett Silk [somebody else wrote this] 

One of the most exciting young talents to arise out of the '80s dancehall scene, Garnett Silk began his career as a child toaster, but ended it as one of Jamaica's most astonishing singers; with a rich and emotive voice, he took the nation by storm. He seemed destined for international stardom, when his career was cut cruelly short by his death in 1994.

Born Garnett Damoin Smith in Jamaica's Manchester parish on April 2, 1966, the young DJ-to-be, had decided on his career choice as a small child. Encouraged by family and friends, Silk first took the stage at the Soul Remembrance sound system at the tender age of 12, under the moniker Little Bimbo. The tiny toaster so impressed the audience that he swiftly began DJing regularly, first at Soul Remembrance, and then as the decade turned, at Pepper's Disco, Stereophonic, and then Destiny Outernational. It was at this latter sound system where the teen first met Tony Rebel, another Manchester native. Rebel was making a name for himself as a cultural toaster and went on to become a major influence on the dancehall scene, and on Little Bimbo himself.

The DJ was still in his teens when he cut his first song, 1985's "Ram Dance Master"; he may have recorded others, but none have yet surfaced. It was another two years before Little Bimbo's debut single, "Problems Everywhere," appeared. Cut with producer Delroy Collins, the posthumous Journey album features not just the single, but an album's worth of material recorded by the two at this time. In 1987, Little Bimbo linked up with Sugar Minott and recorded the "No Disrespect" single for the older man's Youth Promotion label. Coincidentally, Tony Rebel was at this time the star DJ for Minott's Youth Promotion sound system, and he and Little Bimbo immediately hooked back up.

The pair began performing as a duo around the sound systems to much acclaim. The Garnett Silk Meets the Conquering Lion: A Dub Plate Selection album dates from about this time and features a clutch of exclusive recordings the DJ cut for the sound system from the mid-'80s through the end of the decade. Rebel, a Rastarfari, eventually converted Little Bimbo to his religion with the help of dub poet Yasus Afari, a close friend of both the DJs. If Rebel had a massive impact on Silk's religious beliefs and toasting themes, Derrick Morgan would have an equal impact on his career. In 1989, the veteran singing star and producer brought Rebel and Little Bimbo into Bunny Lee's studio in Dunhaney Park to record the two both individually and as a duo.

Morgan had one listen and sat Little Bimbo down and gave him some fatherly advice -- stop toasting and start singing. he Heartbeat label's Tony Rebel Meets Garnet Silk in a Dancehall Conference compiles these early Morgan-overseen recordings and captures Little Bimbo (and he was still known by that name at the time) at the crossroads of his career. Several of the tracks are pure toasts, others are somewhere in between, but when Little Bimbo sang, even though his delivery still has the clipped tones of dancehall, he was magnificent.

His solo cover of "Killing Me Softly With Her Song" was heartbreaking in delivery, while "Help the Poor and Needy," a version of "A Little Oil in My Lamp," split between Rebel's rough toasts and Little Bimbo's fervid singing, was equally memorable. Over the next year, the still maturing singer cut a number of singles for a variety of producers -- King Tubby, Donovan Germain, and Prince/King Jammy amongst them -- before hooking up with Steely & Clevie in 1990.

He inked a contract with the production team and recorded an album's worth of songs for them. However, only one, "We Can Be Together," a duet with Chevelle Franklin, was actually released, at least in the singer's lifetime. Discouraged, he returned to Manchester and threw himself into songwriting, often in partnership with an old friend, Anthony "Fire" Rochester.

The intervening period wasn't a total waste as he now had a sheaf of new songs and a new name. Besides the one single, Steely & Clevie had also convinced Little Bimbo to drop his old moniker and take up Garnett Silk instead; the silk, of course, referring to his smooth, silky tones. Another run-in with Tony Rebel brought an introduction to Courtney Cole, owner of the Roof International label.

Silk would record a plethora of seminal songs at the producer's Ocho Rios studio, amongst them were the hits "Mama," "Seven Spanish Angels," and a phenomenal cover of the Johnny Nash classic "I Can See Clearly Now," the biggest smash of the group. Roof International would posthumously bundle up these early singles and other material recorded at this time for the Nothing Can Divide Us album, which the VP label picked up for the U.S. By 1992, Silk was in Kingston in the studio with producer Bobby Digital, recording his debut album It's Growing. Split between deeply cultural themes, spiritual songs, and romantic numbers, the album went on to become one of the best selling in Jamaica that year. Over the next two years, the singer would record with most of the major name producers on the island, both on his own and in partnership with Tony Rebel.

He cut a swathe of songs with King Jammy, including "Fill Us Up With Your Mercy" and the fabulous "Lord Watch Over Our Shoulders." The latter track titled a 1994 compilation released by the Greensleeves label in the U.K. and boasts seven Jammy cuts and a clutch of hits for other producers. 1993's Gold, released by the U.K. Charm label, bundled up more hits from this period. Amongst them was the inspirational "Zion in a Vision," a Jamaican number one cut with producer Jack Scorpio, as well as Silk's first international hit, "Hello Mama Africa" (produced by Richard "Bello" Bell) for the Star Trail label, which topped the reggae chart in Britain. There were equally masterful recordings for Sly & Robbie, including the deeply religious "Thank You, Jah" and the haunting "Green Line."

But the pace was becoming too much and Silk collapsed during a show at the Ritz in New York City. The exhausted singer was forced to cancel all his scheduled appearances for the next six months, most crucially of all, Reggae Sumfest. However, Silk bounced back in 1994 and set back to work.

In a show of good grace, he rejoined Steely & Clevie and cut the "Love Is the Answer" single, another massive hit. "Fight Back," produced by Richie Stephens, was next up. By then, the singer was ready to re-take the stage, which he did with a vengeance at that year's Reggae Sumfest and Reggae Sunsplash festivals. His phenomenal set at the latter event was captured for the Live at Reggae Sunsplash 1994, released in 1999 by the Tabou1 label. Having inked an international distribution deal with Atlantic Records, Silk now entered Tuff Gong studios with producer Errol Brown and the cream of Jamaica's sessionmen to begin work on his second album.

He'd recorded ten songs and the album was nearing completion when he went home to visit his mother. Silk had borrowed a pair of guns from his attorney after his home had been burgled, but had no idea how to use them. Sitting with a couple of friends at his mother's on December 9, one offered to show him how they worked, at which point the gun accidentally misfired, hitting a propane tank and setting the house ablaze. The singer, his friends, and his two brothers made it out safely, only to discover that Silk's mother was still trapped inside. The singer rushed back into the house to save her, but it was too late and both were lost in the fire.

Since then, Silk's music has been kept alive by numerous compilation albums. In 2000, Atlantic finally released The Definitive Collection, a two-CD set showcasing the ten tracks the singer had recorded during sessions for his unfinished second album. These songs quell any doubts about the singer's future; international stardom awaited. However, there is no use mourning what might have been, nor in mourning what the world has lost. The world is left with Silk's rich legacy of songs, and his influence remains as strong now as when he was alive. ~ Jo-Ann Greene, All Music Guide


24.9.04

gay music 

My neighbor, a dude in his mid-20's, was listening to a Madonna remix tonight when I went out for smokes after the Yankee game. I'll draw no conclusions and hope he does the same when he hears Peggy Lee vocals coming from my closed door.

blind man walking 

The blind guy on the stadium with the fastidiously groomed braid-dread combo doo announced to all of us that he had never walked into a subway car and not faced accusations of malingering. He didn't use the term malingering. He said that everybody accused him of not being blind. He shared anecdotes of his multiple visits to the psych ward where even the nurses doubted his blinditude. He told us that they never let him hold a blind man stick in the psych war because it woulda been too dangerous. He told us his stick was made of some kind of fiberglass that doesn't shatter when it hits somebody in the head and hurts them. He conitnued on about how the nurses used to fake voices and say he was malingering when he guessed who he was. He told us they had his medical records but they never read them. He had glaucoma cataracts blah, blah, blah.

I was trying to read the paper and he kept blabbing. Then he sang a song about being blind and nobody believing him. I silently stuck my tongue out at him and held my hands to my ears fingers flapping. He tried hard not to react. He didn't get no money during the four stops we shared alone in the car.

Do the crime.... 

No matter what the situational context my friend always found a way to work his favorite rhyming phrase into any conversation. It was a profound metaphor that fit in everywhere. It made him sound deep and gritty grimy true. It matched any situation you could come across.

"Smoke that rock, suck that cock."

He called me the other day. We hadn't spoken in years. Of course he's doing super well, but he has a slight problem. He happens to be a fugitive facing a few dozen months and he doesn;t want to suck that cock.

sashimi geppu 

Nothing in this whole wide world can compare to a nice fishy burp post raw fish and beer intake. Nothing except maybe a a fishy burp post raw fish and sake intake.

23.9.04

Albany 

I got $5 tix to today's $5 Yankee game. I reached the Bronx before my friend. I wandered around and went into a bar. I drank their last Red Stripe. All the scary Nascar fan types at the bar loved me for the way I made the Boricua from Yonkers bend and twist seeking out the last bottle of Red Stripe. They asked me if I thought they were real. I said I didn't know and suggested they ask. Then the two boys to my right began repeatedly announcing that they were from Albany, had driven downb from Albany, and were gonna be down from Albany all day long. Albany must suck pretty bad if all they got to say about it is that that's where they are from.

It reminded me of some hardcore kids I met from Albany when I was into that stuff. They told me they were down with the Albany Hardcore scene and... well that was about it.

sushi 

I visited a sushi bar where I used to always go about five years ago. I have been there since then and even sat at the bar, but I have gone unrecognized from the sushi master who I used to know well. I felt all cool tonight when he recognized me and acknowledged my presence. He called for free edamame. I was styling. Then he looked at me and gestured and said the word "fat." He smiled and shook his head up and down waiting for me to agree with him. I said thanks, but I wanted to yell, "Tojo!" and "Nanking" and wreck the place. I especially wanted to wreck the doofus wearing the Boston Red Sox trucker hat that was spanking new and at that annoyiingly affected disheveled angle.

Unsightly girth and all, I restrained myself and asked for the low carb hamachikama, a drop of the Harushika and a taste of hikarimono.

21.9.04


Tonto, Jr. had a rough first day of school. Posted by Hello

jailhouse philosphy - how does it add up? 

THE SUPREME MATHEMATICS

1 KNOWLEDGE to know, look, listen, observe and respect. knowledge is the foundation of all things in existence. knowledge is the original blackman.

2 WISDOM the manifestation of knowledge. Wisdom is wise words being spoken. Wisdom is the blackwoman who is necessary to bring forth understanding.

3 UNDERSTANDING to draw a clear picture of knowledge and wisdom in your mind.
understanding is the blackbaby

4 CULTURE FREEDOM Culture is ones way of life. the original mans true culture is ISLAM. Freedom is to free the blind, deaf, and dumb from their mental death.

5 POWER REFINEMENT Power is the truth that must be spokem everyday. Power is a force of energy. Refinement means to be clean mentally and physically.

6 EQUALITY to be equal with all things in existence such as knowledge, wisdom, and understanding.

7 GOD the original blackmanfrom asia who knows and understands his true culture.

8 BUILD & DESTROY to build is to elevate or add onto. Destroy is to take away or despose [sic] of that which is negative. When you build you destroy at the same time.

9 BORN to be complete, just as it takes nine months for a baby to be born it takes nin stages to manifest or make something complete. Born also means to speak wisely.

0 CIPHER a person, place or thingthat is complete within itself and consists of 360 degrees.

Not for nothing, but... 

I thought Bush looked a bit hung over during his address to the UN today.


20.9.04

freshly squished pigeon 

He was on the street, flattened chest up and head to the side like a regal bird of prey on some military medal. But he was no bird of prey. He was just a pigeon who was a bit slower than the car wheel that rolled over him.

Maybe yesterday's puke pile was poisoned.

UN General Assembly 

The caucaphony of siren wails and angry car and truck horns is back as the world's leaders gather in NY for the UN General Assembly. My little stretch of Third Avenue and the surrounding streets have once again been transformed into the Major Deegan just before the first pitch of a Yankee playoff game.

The hovering choppers and scores of overtime police officers are back, but the protesters of a few weeks ago are back wherever they came from. I guess the protesters realize that aside from the everyday graft and semiannual griddlock creating world summits, not much happens at 46th & 1st, so they don't bother.

RIP Skeeter Davis 



Strangely, I listened to Gregory Isaacs singing his cover of her biggest song over and over on "single repeat" yesterday morning on a subway out to Brooklyn. before this morning when I heard she passed away, I had know idea who Skeeter Davis was or where the song originated. If she didn't make it such a big hit, the Cool Ruler might never have covered it and I would never have enjoyed it.

So, thank you, Skeeter Davis.

END OF THE WORLD

Why does the sun go on shining?
Why does the sea rush to shore?
Don't they know it's the end of the world,
`cause you don't love me anymore?

Why do the birds go on singing?
Why do the stars glow above?
Don't they know it's the end of the world?
It ended when I lost your love.

I wake up in the morning and I wonder why ev'rything's the same as it was.
I can't understand, no I can't understand, how life goes on the way it does!

Why does my heart go on beating?
Why do these eyes of mine cry?
Don't they know it's the end of the world?
It ended when you said good-bye.

no camera 

Sinday was some form of Mexican holiday or parade. Thus, ten suped up day glo colored sports cars with plates from other states, Mexican flags across the hood, and Spanish names and slogans painted across the top of the front and back windshields were in town and briefly parked on 41st Street. They were like a band of Mexican auto bosozokus.

After I passed the Mexican auto enthusiasts, I came upon a feeding frenzy flock of pigeons (a group of pigeons is called something other than a flock, I think, but I don't know what that is) who had discovered a giant splash of dried puke of pinkish hue dappled with discernable rice and chicken bits. Mexican food with Strawberry Margarita?

Unfortunately, I had no camera.

I think the pigeons eating puke was an image for the ages, if not an album cover.

never again 

I will never again complain about the staff at the Dunkin Donuts near my apartment. I went into the Dunkin Donuts at Flatbush and Nostrand for a morning coffee yesterday and didn't think I'd get it til the afternoon. Short line long wait.

There is something inherently wrong with a Dunkin Donuts employee who wears three inch press on nails. She might pierce a donut with her plastic nail extensions.

"No, thanks. Just coffee."

18.9.04

GMC bites the Stranglers 

Is GMC playing a variation of The Stranglers riff from Peaches in its new ads?

17.9.04

DEP RV 

I've seen plenty of the DEP mini-van type vehicles that sort of look like Con-Ed trucks, but I was thrown for a loop yesterday when a giant DEP Mobile home type vehicle half a block long came roaring up the avenue with its siren on and lights twirling. I stopped to take it in.

Then I heard my thought expressed verbatim and in quadrophonic stereo from all sides as several other people on the street, total strangers all, spoke a simulcast, "What the fuck?!"

As far as I can tell, this HazMat Road Rules event was not covered by Eyewitness News or MTV.

The curb-side sewer grate spray paint dots plot thickens.

dunkin donuts 

I was freaked out by the hyper identical pony-tailed and visor clad Indian Dunkin Donut employees buzzing around behind the counter. I tried to get a peak at their eyes and face so I could lock in on some distinguishing feature to tell them apart, but they were all just short enough to be obscured from view by their visor. I was asked (squealed at) three times, "Next-Sir-May-I-Take-Your-Order!" while I waited for coffee I had already ordered. They were like female oompa loompas from Bollywood. If they were just a bit more intimidating, they'd make a great bank robbery team. Each time I was asked for my order, I struggled to determine if I was being asked by the same person.

You see, I hadn't had my coffee and the Dunkin Donut gals each seemed to have washed down their fistful of bennies with a pint of Redbull. I was also trying to avoid eye contact with the angry obese woman with the big bag of donuts who was screaming that they got her Large Skim Cappucino extra sugar order wrong and rolling her eyes in disapproval at me with every syllable of the donut girls speech. I could tell she was real mad about the mix up because she made a big impatient sweeping head and body gesture that said "Shit!" as she moved her right walkman earphone off her ear and a bit forward toward her cheek so she could sort out the injustice that had bee wrought upon her. This was a welcome turn around from the tedious scene I usually encounter where the Indian counter girl tries to share with me - through eye and facial gestures - her displeasure with the incopmpetence of the non-Indian employees.

I suspect similar causes for the conflicts. The Indian counter girl gets mad at the non-Indian staff because she can't fathom that her unintelligible English is unintelligible and the Non-Indian customer listening to the walkman as she mumbles her order in unintelligible English gets mad at the Indian staff because she can't fathom that her mumbled listening to walkman while ordering English is in fact unintelligible. Perhaps also, they both have enormous chips on their shoulder.

16.9.04

Israelites 

As I walked toward's Chevy's I noticed the closed up storefront and wondered if it once housed the arcade where the shootout was last year. I wanted to take a closer look but the so-called Israelites were doing one of their public scripture interpretations. I didn't want to turn them into dust by fixing my satanic blue eyes on them, so I gave them a wide berth and focused on finding the door to Chevy's which I'd never darkened before.

The so-called Israelites have it down to a so-called science. One so-called guy screams out a line of so-called text from the so-called Bible and another so-called guy provides a so-called translation into so-called everyday parlance. As I passed I missed the first bible quote part, but caught the NYC vulgate version.

"Coming down like Voltron..."

Maybe instead of providing improvised vernacular translations they're just reading out lyrics from old Wu Tang songs. From the way they dress, you half expect them to be reading out GrandMaster Flash and the Furious Five lyrics or dialogue from Patrick Swayze's Steel Dawn.

They don't realize Voltron was created by the so-called yellowman to control the so-called minds of our so-called children.

That said, let's all hope Zab "Super" Judah does well this weekend.

cowboy boots in New York 

I received a frantic mid afternoon plea for help.

The latest wave of Irish tourists were eager to purchase cowboy boots during their last 4 hours in NYC. They wanted the Real McCoy, like, so they did.

I reached out and the information came back to me.

I informed the visitors that there were in fact several locations that offered genuine authentic cowboy boots, including Billy Martin's on E60th Street, Zapateira Mexico on 5th Avenue between 45 and 46th Streets in Brooklyn (for "Real McCoy" Mexican boots), the downstairs place on Hudson Street (I have joked on the way by that they sell more chaps there than the whole stat of Texas), and a store called The Rose on 57th Street by Carnegie Hall. They then told me they weren't going to bother about the boots and that I should meet them at Chevy's on Forty Deuce (no doubt they were in search of Real McCoy southwestern cuisine.)

I learned of the last location from a friend who was on jury duty. One of the other jurors gave him the name while I was on the phone with him.

My friend followed up with this e-mail:

The woman I asked about the boots has worn cowboy boots all three days
this week. She is about 300 pounds, black, shaved head, and 13
earrings. She's taking off Thursday and Friday. When I asked if she
was Jewish, she replied, "Hell, no I ain't Jewish. But my office is
closed those days and what kind of fool goes to jury duty when their
office is closed?"



manhole covers 

When did they put the clear plastic coating on all the manhole covers in Manhattan?

Does this have anything to do the lady being electrocuted on the sidewalk?

Maybe it has something to do with the spray paint dots.

spray paint dots 

Almost every corner sewer grate in Manhattan or the curb just beside it has one or two white spray paint dots. Some have one or two blue spray paint dots. Sure it could just be graff writers testing caps, but I don't think so. Something more sinister must be afoot.


Tommy's still tough.

I thought I saw it all when I rounded the corner and saw a white guy in gray college tee shirt, shorts, flip-flop sandals, and frat boy-angled ball cap talking on his cellphone as he perused the grocery store refuse on the sidewalk.

A moment later I realized it was just the white bum guy who's been sleeping in front of the grocery store wearing some new found clothes and holding the side of his head as he deliberated over the evening menu.


interview with Johnny

15.9.04

Taiwan Protest 

Compared to the excitement of the antiRNC protests, the protest against the UN by Taiwan seemed rather anemic and lifeless. The "UNfair" signs were somewhat corny and ambiguous in meaning and the phrase "Unfair" is a bit of a wishy washy term to throw around when you want people to know your nation faces extinction at the whim of some guy in olive pajamas in Beijing Red China.

The guys in charge of today's Taiwan Protest should get in touch with the Falun Gong protesters in Times Square. They know how to get attention (giant gory photos and freaky public meditation dances). Today's everyday Times Square Falun Gongers totally outnumbered the pro Taiwan protesters who whispered their way down an empty Second Avenue two hours after the average office workers were well back in their offices for the afternoon. Then again, Taiwanese protesters have jobs and probably had to go to work today while the cult members can devote all their time to clipboard surveys and public spectacles.

I did like the militant green Taiwan cross flags with the little leaf in the middle. At first I thought somebody at the flag factory was playing a joke and had created a green Ulster Unionist flag. Then I saw the soft green leaf where the scary red hand woulda been.

14.9.04


Traditional Native American Feather Dress and LongJohns Dance Posted by Hello

Democratic Primary today 

Years ago I registered as a Democrat so that I could vote in the primary and thus have some say in who the Democrats put forth for important NYC wide office elections, because the Democrats always won. Then Rudy and Bloomberg got elected and my 'primary is everything' theory went out the window.

Today I will go vote in the Democratic primary anyway.

UPDATE: I voted and as usual it was a torturesome process. This time two elderly Chinese men with no ascertainable English skills pointed at the book, could not find my address, and waived a yellow mailing in my face before grunting and pointing at the woman with no less than nine strange Davinci Code-esque religious medals around her neck. She struggled as the book was not organized in organized in Mystery of the Rosary order. I eventually grabbed the book and found my district. Then I stood in front of a woman who was fumbling about with the wrong District Book for another eager to vote woman with a crying child struggling to escape his stroller. There were three other women behind the desk, ostensibly to help out voters. Two of these additional helpers were actually sleeping.

In the corner of the room an ominous and imposing overweight black woman with goddess braids and colorburst clothing sat filling out forms and eyeing me suspiciously. Perhaps she sensed my sense of the incompetence in the room and was afraid I'd squeal. She yelled across the room to wake up one of the sleepers and I picked up the correct book - "Please don't pick up the book, sir" - and handed it to her since she had picked up the three wrong books. She called for my signature and guarded her papermate like a crack fiend guards a tiny white rock.

She announced, "I need a pen here."

"C'mon! Lemme use yours, I ain't gonna run off with it."

"Okay, sir."

"Thanks."

The guy who was in charge of standing by the booth and taking the little green cards looked embarrassed. He shoulda been put in charge. I went behind the curtain and was treated to task of choosing among the hand chosen Democratic machine nominees for judicial offices that were left unspecified on the ballot. I tried to pull the thing back without voting for anybody, so I selected a few names at random and pulled the lever back to the left. Used to be that the curtain closed once you pulled the lever to the right to start the process. Apparently that involved too many moving parts so now the curtain stays closed the whole time.

As I left I passed a beat beat cop lounging on a couch in the polling room half asleep.

God Bless America.

13.9.04


Does the kid have a say in how much time he has to spend with a fruitcake dad in a Batman suit?


This was some kinda protest, but the women who sat next to me in the park spent twenty minutes discussing how much he was gettin paid to wear the bunny suit. They eventually settled at a wage of $7 per hour.

10.9.04

bottle bum boombox 

As I stumbled around sleepily this morning, I heard a loud discussion. Wow, my next door neighbor must be sleeping through his radio alarm, while sleeping on the fire escape.

Curiously, I cracked the window open and found the source of the radio noise. Below me at street level a ghetto blaster delivered the maximum volume radio chatter of some urban morning show (WBLS? Hot 97? Kiss FM? - I lost track a long time ago when walkmen replaced the once ubiquitous radio on the street) to my window. The radio was positioned so that the speakers aimed directly at my window from atop a crowded shopping cart. The Bottle Bum (the short angry guy in the jean shorts who never wears a shirt and occassionally teams up with the hispanic blonde trannie) was industriously unloading the bottles and engaged in a loud conversation with the grocery store employee supervising the redemption process.

They had to yell their amiable small talk at each other to be heard over the clank of bottles, the blaring radio (the hosts spoke in about "climbing up dat corporate ladder"), and the deafening traffic and refrigerator truck din. For some reason, maybe the cool dry air, maybe the unexpected radio, maybe the audible amity between bottle bum and grocery store worker, it just felt good to be alive.

But I had to wonder, just how many bottles does it take to keep the giant radio in "D" batteries?

9.9.04

daytime drinking 

There's something to be said for fleeing the burning sun for a dark air-conditioned watering hole once in a while on a weekday afternoon.

It gives you time to decompress to settle down to think to have a drink. Its like stopping to smell the roses, except there's room for self loathing when you step back out into the now setting sun and face the reality that you've wasted another day with the daytime drunks who have far too much too say about nothing and the sycophant bartender who's only puts a buy back in front of you cuz you look just dumb enough to leave the full price as a tip.

I stepped into the cool darkness and was treated to a freshly arrived Paddy tourist posse. They stopped talking and stared at me as an unwelcome outsider in a pub I was all too familiar with. They took turns strutting about the sidewalk with cellphones and cigarettes held aloft at odd angles that must feel much cooler than they look cuz they looked like advanced MS patients trying to get a hold of their doctor. It seemed that the only way to get cellular service or a proper drag from a smoke was to raise the elbow of the arm that held the device above your ear.

Their hair was groomed in the requisite wet look gelled Pee Wee Herman crewcut. The were outfitted in their best travel clothes, blue collar designer name tee shirts that were too small, football tops, space age Puma trainers, and the strangely just off color bell bottom ("flair") Levi jeans. Frighteningly, I became aware that a few pair seemed to be low-rise cut. I guess even culchy scaffolders like to dress like plumbers when they're going abroad.

They outdid each other with uninterested aloofish poses in the silly paddy tourist hard man pantomine. They drank bottled cider, some with glasses of ice, and spent more time rubbing off the top of the bottle with napkins that had been stored for months in a rat-infested basement than they did putting those very bottles to their lips. In fact, most just poured the contents of their newly shined bottles into a pint glasses that were far more in need of a cleaning than the bottles. One Paddy had tea and, like a little kid impressed with the fact that he stayed up way past bed time to watch TV, repeatedly announced to all those present several times over that he had drank too much the night before.

Then there was the Colin Farrel MiniMe WannaBe. He was the bar back or the night cook, but he fopped around in his untucked unfortunately three sizes too big tailored diagonal checked dress shirt as if he was the owner. The shirt was Dashiki-big on his tiny wee frame. I wondered if he was wearing his older brother's shirt or maybe the owner's shirt or maybe he couldn't find such cutting edge fashion in the children's department where they had the clothes to fit him or perhaps maybe he wasn't aware that stores have clothing in different sizes. The self-importance that came out his mouth and into the cellphone while discussing the coverage of bar shifts was laughably sad.

I finished my buyback and turned to go, leaving all the money on the bar.

8.9.04

Hmmm... interesting.

subway chaos - too much rain


Sadr City Crips?

7.9.04




"Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their-- their love with women all across this country."

fdny rant 

The FDNY Union's endorsement of Bush for president must be part of the same PR masterplan that has their membership leaving their wives and families for the wealthy widows of their fallen comrades, tooting blow and getting blowjobs from mental defectives in the firehouse and lying to cover up their drunken brawls while on the job.

Before 9/11 firemen were the sloppy blue uniformed drunks who took over the bars of Brooklyn and Queens after overdoing things at the St. Paddy's Day parade in Manhattan. The occasional headline grabbing donnybrook like the one in Bryant Park, never even raised an eyebrow. Boys will be boys.

After 9/11 they have soaked up all the adulation and milked it for all it was worth. Enough already. These guys must be starting to believe their own press hype, 'cause they party like rockstars and wild pro athletes.

back to normal 

Now when I hear somebody screaming in the street I can safely assume its just a regular crazy person and don't have to bother looking around for protesters.

five dollar bill 

I watched it for at least six minutes as waitress, bar manager, two groups of table bound customers and three bathroom goers kicked it around. It was a five dollar bill just three steps away from the front door. It was going to be mine. This caused much consternation with my companion who said it was wrong to pick it up and just go. Perhaps, but I had already determined that the passerby who dropped it was long gone. It was too far away from anybody at the bar. I wasn't going to line the pockets of a spaced out hostess or a bartender who charged me six dollars for a pint of beer in an over-the-top remodeled former dive where I used to drink for free.

I dragged my leg in club foot limp out the door. Two drag steps, one shy of my initial estimation. I picked it up and purchased a bootleg "Best of Barrington Levy" CD from a street vendor just seven blocks north. I could now hear the all the favorites I only own on vinyl and haven't heard in my home for years. All the favorites, except the crowd pleasing Broader than Broadway. Of course, there were a couple of other "hits" that I never really liked, but that's the price you pay for free copies of Prison Oval Rock and Shine Eye Girl. Barrington high pitched never-ending "Whooooaah!" is a signature comparable to Jacob Miller's midword/midsyllable voice-cracking "ee-yaa-aah-aah-ahh-aahh!"

I'll miss Broader than Broadway, but I can get a taste from Shine's pre-incarceration debut. It the Bad Boy song, where Shine demonstrates his lyrical genius by listing various makes of firearms and rhyming the "cannon" with "Andrew Cunannon." I first heard that Shine song as he walked Zab Super Judah into the ring one night weeks before it was released.

They arrested Jamal Holiday in the same clothes he was wearing the night he stomped an NYC Detective.

Maybe he can plead not guilty by stupidity.



Bronx stickup



militant child's "F" word tee shirt 


take a close look at the last few letters of the alphabet tee

back to normal 

The streets of NYC are back to normal.

The one constant in my life over the past week or so remains constant. Yes, pushy little Nida, the counter girl at Dunkin Donuts on 40th and 2nd is still there hurling abuse at her Black and Latino coworkers when they fail to understand her incomprehensible shrill shrieked Hindi-inflected orders and then pushes them or points in their face or repeats her order painfully slowly with affectation and eye-roll designed to let me and them know she thinks they're really stupid and she's a brilliant genius.

The streets are back to normal.

The Queens commuters are pouring out of their buses across the way.

The ConEd guys are back to digging the whole they like to dig in the street outside my building. Wonder what they forgot last time.

The pudgy business man who seems to have a heroin problem is on a nod pupils wide in the phone booth outside his office. He's been getting much worse over the last few weeks since I first noticed him. Must be quite a scandal in his office.

The herds of office workers are bumping into each other like electrons and cursing drivers that block the box and winding their way around them in the frantic rush to work.

Things change, but nothing really changes.

5.9.04

Brazilian Day in Midtown. Fun for all. Good food at low prices. A rainbow of of people and football jerseys.

There were more Falun Gong members in the streets than there were cops on the corners outside the Garden last week. They wore yellow tee shirts for the most part, so you didn't notice them in the sea of Brazil jerseys until you were right on top of them with a copy of their newspaper in your hand. Hard to get a read on the Asian Falun Gong members, aside from the gruesome torture photos they proudly raise aloft with a distant smile and their spooky displays of public meditation. However, one look at the wide-eyed skinny pale white members of the group and you know you're looking into the eyes of a brain-washed cult member.

If the Falun Gong ever goes violent, they just might have us outnumbered.

4.9.04

I dreamt I was on a blind date with a gay guy. He was real boring. I kept thinking, what am I doing with this guy? I'm not even gay.

While it lasted, the date consisted of getting to the place we were going. We made our way through the streets to an immense fictional subway station with a complex series of escalators and platforms that has made its way into more than one of my dreams over the years. I think it is a blend of old stations like the Canal Street N and R, the 34th Street IND circa Gimbels, and the Times Square of the late eighties. Here in the subway station maze, the dream unfurled.

As we argued over which way to go - I felt I knew the system of escalators and platforms better and the crush of the crowd made quick decisions necessary - I grew more and more frustrated with this guy. I'd like to think his sexual orientation had nothing to do with it, but I am pretty sure his bitchy mannerism didn't help. I stuck around longer than I might have had he been a woman on a date, instead of a gay fellow. I didn't want to seem like I had anything against gay guys. I also realized I would never be on the subway with a woman on a first date if it could at all be avoided. What a cad he was to bring me into this maze when he didn't even know they way to go.

Eventually I just slipped away and faded into the crowd after he insisted on going the wrong way that would have left us at New Lots Avenue.


 Posted by Hello

1.9.04

flight story number four 

My friend and I were incorrectly upgraded to first class on a flight back to New York from Vegas. We went with it and played it cool. He pulled out his lap top and made like he was doing important stuff. I pulled out the business section of the Times and gave it a read for the first time in my life. The flight attendants realized thay'd made a mistake and checked everyone's tickets but ours. They asked some other people to move and man were they pissed. Me and my pal just sat there and exchanged conspiratorial winks, nods and knowing glances as we fought off our mischievous grins until we were in the air.

When the food came, my friend asked the stewardess if she had any Grey Poupon.

flight story number three 

I sat at home the night before watching silly tv because I had a flight at noon and didn't want to miss it or fly hung over. I had some coffee and decided to leave for the airport. I got stuck in traffic and was close to missing my flight out of Laguardia. I ran through the airport and arrived sweaty and excited at the boarding gate.

"Sir, have you been drinking?"

flight story number two 

After two beers and a sake over two hours, a stewardess on a flight to Japan cut me off.

I was not only NOT drunk, I was fully aware that only a drunk argues that he's not drunk in order to get more drink.

It was a no win situation. I lost.

flight story number one 

I couldn't find my passport and had to delay a flight to London until the next afternoon, when I had my new emergency passport in hand. That meant I was flying on Friday and not Thursday. The flight was packed and the man who climbed into the seat next to me was either a devout Muslim or a member of some hidden camera show. As soon as the plane levelled off above the clouds and headed east to London, my aisle mate pulled out some prayer paraphenalia and started chanting his Friday vespers and bowing bending over in his seat repeatedly to bang his head on something he held in his hand for what seemed to be a very long time. The entire seat moved with him and I had quite a rocky ride. I chalked it up as just another funny tale of my personal misfortune that would make friends and family smile on the other side.

I might have forgotten about my Friday in-flight prayer pal were it not for a similar experience on the return flight to New York.

I boarded the plane at Heathrow after drawing some additional scrutiny from airport security. It was only a few days after the Docklands bombing. My passport was brand spanking new. Irish parents are not particularly creative in their selection of given names and I am sure mine appeared several times over on the suspect lists. In an effort to assuage the camouflaged security officer I put on my best Lords of Flatbush accent and tried to convince him of my loyalty to QPR, if not the Queen. They could have brought me in the back and tortured me, but there was no way I'd say a kind word about Chelsea.

Once aboard the plane, I quickly located my assigned seat and made myself confortable. I watched with some satisfaction as the plane door closed and noone was seated next to me. Karma was repaying me for the shaky strange ride over by giving me room to soread out and sleep off the effects of the previous evening's excessive intake of "proper pints of bi'ah."

Then I noticed an Hasidic man in full curl and costume playing musical chairs a few rows ahead of me. He did this several times over until the fight attendants intervened and told him to pick a seat and stay there. He did not listen. There were loud exchanges. He kept at it and discussed his need for comfort. I knew what would happen immediately. It was like watching a bad movie where you can predict the ending. Inevitable. Terrible. I feigned sleep. He stepped on me, not over me and never said sorry. I feigned being fitfully woken up. He elbow-wrestled for control of the armrest. I told him to chill. He started mouthing off. I ignored him, because you can't win an argument with a guy who has been arguing about the Torah for his whole life. His smelly girth encroached slumpily onto my seat.

I tried to dispell the thought that it couldn't get any worse as soon as it entered my mind, because I knew it could get worse. It soon did. As the plane taxied down the runway for take off, he started shaking his left leg nervously. Fast then slow then fast. The Japanese refer to such nervous leg shaking as "bimbo usuri" or the pauper's leg shake, so don't shake your leg around the Japanese or they might think you're broke. My Hasid bimbo usuri guy shook the entire row of seats with him. When asked to stop he would pause for a few minutes and then resume shaking with the right leg and then bring it back to the left when the right got weary or bored. Occassionally, when he was loudly snoring, the leg movement stopped.

I hope those two guys get stuck next to each other on a flight someday.

awful 

Wayne Rooney to Man U-SHITE-D. $50 million transfer fee.

Dubya to visit FDNY firehouse today.

Maybe he'll discuss his refusal to take Al Qaeda seriously until September 11th. In any event, he'll fit right in with the cokefiends, drunk drivers, and sex addicts at the firehouse. Well maybe not the sex addicts.

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