Counting Down to 2009

I am back from the seven days I spent holed up at my parents' house. It's strange to have been there for so long. First of all, there's not much for me to do there except eat and watch television, which may not sound all that bad except for the part where I get stir crazy and want to scream, and the part where everyone starts getting on each other's nerves. Compared to some people's Christmasses (like my friend V's), ours is completely tame and right out of a Frank Capra movie. But now I am back in my city, where I don't need a car to go pick up a Red Bull, and I don't have my well-meaning but obsessive compulsive mother panicking when I run out to the grocery store and don't come back in five minutes.

The song from SNL's "Dancing Lamps" skit has finally stopped repeating in my head (see last post), and tomorrow my friend L. and I are going to go to a couple of movies. During my stint in the low-security captivity of my parent's house, I made my first New Year's resolution in twenty years, a particularly apropos one now that I've reached mid-life and all of the psychological crisis that surrounds it: Avoid becoming pathetic.

That's probably always good advice.

UPDATE: My brother-in-law questioned my New Year's resolution, and I realize in this hasty post that I probably should explain this a bit further.

The thing about hitting middle age is the tendency to turn into a lizard, where the only great urges left are to lie still on a rock in the sun and eat bugs. The next step after that, which is pretty much the state my mother has fallen into, is to turn into a mushroom, where you don't even want to be in the sun, but have convinced yourself that you are content staying inside watching the Law and Order marathon on TV and worrying about the weather in other parts of the country. Not that there's anything wrong with that, not when you are in fact closing in on eighty, like she is. I just worry sometimes that I (and several of my friends -- you know who you are) might be heading there a little too fast.



Notes from SNL’s Stand-by Tickets Line, Part V: Another Line

This post starts here at Part I.
I know, the suspense is killing you.

When last we saw our tired, tweaked, insane heroes, they had all finally gotten their standby tickets and were free to actually go anywhere they wanted, not just the McDonald’s, the Duane Reade and the Tree. And where did they all go? They went to get something to eat, they went home, and they went to sleep, not necessarily in that order.

The Kids, as you recall, were not able to go home if they wanted to be back in time for the show, so they faced another 12 hours wandering around the city, where they were fast running out of money and steam. But off they went, excited about their stand-by tickets.

L. and I were in search of coffee and food. We ended up at the Stardust diner. We ordered coffee before we even looked at the menus, and then ordered the overpriced, oversized breakfasts.

“I forgot to mention,” I said. “The last time we saw SNL, we were sitting behind two giant lights.”

“Yeah, that happens. Partially obstructed view seats.”

“Yeah, these were almost entirely blocked. But still, it would really suck if we didn’t get in after waiting all night. I’ll be happy with anything.”

The wait staff started singing to music-minus-one CDs. Yes, we know it’s the theater district, and therefore all of the wait staff were budding performers, but it was too early to be hearing their signature Christmas song about Kosher wine. (sadly, I am not making that up.). On the other hand, it distracted me from fretting about asking for the wrong tickets, and it kept L. from having to keep hearing about it.

After three cups of coffee and half the eggs in front of us were consumed, L. and I headed home to sleep.

Duh, again.

Sleep never came for either of us, unless you count the fifteen minutes or so between the next caffeine rush. I got a lot of errands done, wrote Part I of this blog post, bought groceries, sorted laundry, took a shower, got dressed, watched the rest of the Craig Ferguson show that I had TiVo’d while we were in line… you get the picture. No sleep. Very, very awake. At 4pm L. texted me: “Are you awake yet?”

I called her right back. “Not yet,” I said. “Still.”

We made plans to meet later. She was going to take the 7 train, because weird weekend things were happening to the E.

So I watched the Saturday afternoon rerun of House and left for Grand Central Station.

That’s right. Two intelligent, savvy New Yorkers decided that the place to meet on a Saturday night two weeks before Christmas was the clock in Grand Central Station. Wall to wall people, and more people than usual because they were having a lights show. Duh one more time.

When L. called to tell me she had arrived, we were four feet away from each other.

And it was worse when we got to Rockefeller Plaza. Every person on the planet was there to see The Tree and the Christmas windows and God knows what else..

“Watch your bag,” L advised.

“No shit.”

And finally, we were inside, and waiting on another line.

“I bet the Kids went home,” L. said.


“Because they were running out of money, had no place to sleep, and no place to park the car.”

“Hmm. True. Sam seemed really unhappy about the whole thing. But you know, they’re young and resourceful. I bet they make it.”

A few minutes later, there they were.

After a loud happy reunion, I asked them if they slept.

“Yeah. At the McDonald’s!”

As it got closer to the moment of truth, The Kids started negotiating. If only two of them got in, Ruvin would let Chris and Sam in. If only one of them got in?

“We’re all going to get in,” Chris said.

I started to feel guilty again. What if The Kids didn’t get in after we — okay, I —convinced them to stay up all night in the city and wait for tickets instead of turning around and heading back to Rhode Island?

Blood on my hands.

The first 29 were called. We waved forlornly to A. and R. as they were whisked away to go through security.

“Okay, this could really suck,” I said.

“By the way," L. said. "If we get separated, just go. Don’t worry about me.”

Kind of like war buddies: “Don’t worry about me. Save yourself!”

They let twenty more of us through security. Still no guarantee of being let upstairs, but we could feel victory in our grasps. A group of people, again, cut off just before me, were let into the elevator.

And then: “Okay, the next 6.”

There was great rejoicing.

The warm-up guy was already announcing the show when we got upstairs. They were now just filling sporadic empty seats. L. and I were extremely lucky and got put in two seats in the front row of the right section (stage left) of the balcony. The Kids were way off in a section even further to our right, a section perpendicular to the stage.

But we all got in. There were several people in back of us that got in as well, seated during a pre-show performance of Maya Rudolph doing Tina Turner.

The show was mad fun. And our host did not look like he was going to have a nervous breakdown this time. The proverbial Christmas miracle, all around.

Note to Hugh: Your joke about Oliver Twist? I think most of us New Yorkers who didn't get that one right away were thinking that suddenly being surrounded by a bunch of dancers is something that might actually happen in New York, especially in Rockefeller Plaza at Christmastime. I was once walking home in the Village and was followed down a street by a marching band. Things like that happen here.

Note to TV Guide: The Singing Lamps were fun. Guess you had to be there.

Either that, or I was punch drunk.



Notes from SNL’s Stand-by Tickets Line, Part IV: Duh

This post starts here at Part I.

The three or so of you who have been following this saga who were not actually there may well be wondering: why on earth would anyone even consider standing in the cold for 5 hours, with no guarantee of any kind of payoff?

I was wondering that more and more as the night went on.

Stand-by tickets do not guarantee you entrance to SNL, but they are the only way to get in to a specific show, other than being close personal friends with your chosen Joe (or Josephine) Heartthrob or Music God.

Both times I did this, it seemed like a good idea in theory. Not so much when we were in the middle of it.

The next three hours went excruciatingly (is that a word?) slow. It’s a little known fact that time virtually stands still between the hours of 4am and 7am. Since sane people are not usually awake at those hours, or if they are, they’re not sober, most people are not aware of this phenomenon.

We did some science experiments. For instance, did you know that you are warmer standing than sitting? A.’s theory was it’s because you are closer to the sun. She’s a school teacher, so we believed her. Also, our brains were beginning to freeze and were no longer working properly.

Hmmm… 4:10am. I think that’s when R. told me to stop looking at my watch.

Closer to 5am more people were arriving to get on line, a full two hours after the Gaggle of Girls had joined us, and it occurred to me we could have gotten there at 4 and still have been fine. At 5:30, they turned on the tree in Rockefeller Plaza. We took turns taking walks over there — what was it, about ten feet? We were being rebels, though. I had read on the NBC site that people aren’t allowed to leave the SNL stand-by line except to pee or similar kinds of emergencies. For us there was no one around to police the line, no one cared, and we were free to wander around all we wanted — to McDonald’s, to the Duane Reade, and now to The Tree.

At six o’clock people in uniforms told us to get our things off the sidewalk and form a proper line. We were in the home stretch.

Ruvin called Chris and Sam (that’s actually her name, not “Debra”), who were still in the car, and told them to get their butts back in line. Sam was really suffering. Again, the only sane person for miles: all she wanted to do was sleep.

Now everyone was in planning mode: dress, or rehearsal?

“Whichever is the lower number,” I kept repeating. “Probably dress.”

Eventually an official SNl representative came out and shouted instructions to the line. She had to do this every 30 people or so. I would think the whole process would be more efficient if they gave her a megaphone and a partner who started at the other end of the line. But I'm not in charge of these things.

Her last words were: “Know what show you want.”

The Kids were in a huddle behind me, and they let out a shout: ‘Dress!”

“Hey,” I said, “You want to influence everyone ahead of you to take dress?”

They thought about this a moment.


In the kaleidoscope that was now my brain, I became nervous about asking what number they were on. I thought, “She wants us to know before we get there?” So when it was my turn, I just asked for dress so I wouldn't cause any trouble.

The post-mortem just past the handoff, where people were comparing their tickets, It turned out Live tickets were at number 16. L. and my dress tickets were numbers 30 and 31.

“How did that happen?” I was crushed.

“The woman in front of A. asked how many tickets were given out, and they said more were given out for the dress rehearsal,” L. said.

“Argh! They did?”

We had gotten through the hard part, and then I blew it on the easy part. And The Kids followed my lead. If we didn’t get in, it would be all my fault.

Next: Part V: Another line



Notes from SNL’s Stand-by Tickets Line, Part III: No, Janice, the McDonalds on 50th Street Does Not Serve Tequila.

This post starts here at Part I.

One of the skateboarders sleeps on his skateboard.
Sometimes in the City That Never Sleeps, that's all you want to do.

The initial excitement of The Kids (as L. and I had started referring to them) joining the line was now waning enough for all of us to realize the ugly realities of the situation: 4 hours to go, 25°, no place to sit, and few distractions.

The Kids did have a blanket and a towel that they had had in the car, so “Debra” wrapped herself up and sat on the towel, leaning against the police barrier. L. meanwhile took this opportunity to call her husband in France. My French is rather sketchy, at best, even though it was my major in college, and his English is nonexistent, so when she handed over the phone to me, I just said “Alo” like an idiot and quickly returned it to L.

There were two guys with skateboards a few people ahead of A. and R., who offered to go on a coffee run, bless their hearts. L. and I were trying not to drink too much, figuring places to relieve oneself would be hard to find, but now it was after 3am and by then coffee was the best idea we had ever heard of. At the suggestion of McDonalds, “Janice” piped up:

“Does McDonald’s have tequila?”

She was kidding. We think.

Someone produced a deck of cards — I think it came from the gaggle of girls, but somehow there seemed to be a few young men with them now who had appeared out of no where, so it could have been one of them. The Gaggle and the Kids started a card game, while The Adults (that would be L. and I, plus A. and R.) amused ourselves with conversations about jobs and travel. I had a lively customs story to impart — not mine, but about a friend of mine, which is what most of my stories are about. L. and I can’t remember what she was talking about now, but she told a story that happened with her ex husband. We think it was about Italy.

“But that was with the first husband,” L. said.

A. and R. nodded. Everyone understands about the First Husband.

Out of nowhere, and to no one in particular, Janice called out: “Who thinks Hugh Laurie is hot?”

Everyone in earshot, young and old(er), male and female, straight or gay, turned around to face her and raised their hands. Janice was satisfied with that answer.

Now that the skateboarders had done the coffee run, a sense of adventure came over the line. Where could we go in this city that never sleeps?

After a bit of discussion, this is what was decided: Two all-night McDonald’s, one at 50th and one at Broadway and 46th Street, and a 24-hour Duane Reade on 48th Street. And maybe a store or two in Times Square.

R. wandered off towards Times Square, and L. went to smoke a cigarette behind a van that was parked across the street. Chris and Debra went to go sleep in their car.

Ruvin said he hoped that Kanye would be singing Heartless, and when I was having trouble remembering which song that was, he played it for me on his phone. It didn’t sound like much coming from that little speaker, and I wondered to myself why I hadn’t thought to bring any one of my 3 iPods. Maybe next time….

Next time? Oh, no, no, no, no, no. No.

R. came back, carrying a newspaper and a People magazine.

“Wow,” I said. “How smart is that?”

“Well… I don’t want to be the First Husband.”

Then it was A.’s turn to take a walk. Not to the McDonald’s. They had rest rooms that were open to the public, but they also had homeless people sleeping at the tables. She headed over to the Duane Reade.

“They don’t have public restrooms there,” I said to R.

“She’ll talk her way in,” R. said, “She’s good at that.”

When she returned, she reported that she had indeed talked her way in. And she bought Ruvin a pair of socks.

Next: Part IV: Duh.



Notes from SNL’s Stand-by Tickets Line, Part II: Spotanuity

This post starts here at Part I.

See how we're all smiling? We'd only been in line about an hour.

Next step: Prepare for this insanity.

My co-conspirator, L., and I decided that, since it wasn’t snowing or hailing, maybe we’d go earlier than 4am, probably around 2. We would watch Craig Ferguson’s monologue, then head up to 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

The E train wasn’t cooperating, but we did manage to get there at our targeted time.

The line was a reasonable length, not as reasonable as two years ago when it was sleeting, but not terrible, maybe about 50 people or so. So we did not turn around and head to a bar and then home. We got in line.

I assumed, from the tents and sleeping bags that most everyone had that there were a lot of regulars in line. There was a very nice couple in front of us, armed with camping chairs, who we found out were only there because the wife counterpart of this couple, who I will refer to as “A.,” wanted to see Hugh Laurie, who she referred to as “my television boyfriend.” Her husband, R., was being a very good sport about the whole thing; they had driven in from New Canaan.

L. and I were bundled in several layers of t-shirts, long underwear, and were wearing double gloves and winter boots. It was something like 28 degrees, but I was starting to sweat. People who were walking by kept asking us what the heck we were doing standing on a line in the middle of the night. A fair question, especially when you consider there was no guarantee that any of us would ever see the inside of the building, much less the show.

Of the four of us — the others in line were trying hard to ignore us, either reading or trying to sleep, which was becoming increasingly more difficult the louder our conversation got — I was the only one who had done this before, so I had become the designated expert. I explained what would happen with the tickets, if we didn’t expire before 7am: They ask you which show you want, dress or live. Last time, we took dress, because when we asked what number tickets they were up to, there had been fewer requests at that point for dress, and after having frozen our ninnies off for three hours, we wanted our best chance to see the show. So my advice was: ask, and take the lowest numbered tickets.

That took up about 15 minutes. 4 hours and 45 minutes to go.

At about 2:30, three very young adults were walking by and asked us what we were in line for, and we, again, explained ourselves. This following is the gist of the resulting conversation, minus the repetition and overlapping and parts I can’t remember exactly:

The kid in the pink I Heart New York sweatshirt: “You’re kidding. Hugh Laurie’s the host?”
L: “You should wait with us and get tickets, too.”
The level-headed female: “We can’t. We have to find my car.”
L: “Where did you leave it?”
The light-haired kid: “35th Street. Where can we park around here?”

The female was, rightly so, skeptical.

Mr I Heart New York: "Who’s the musical guest?”
Me: "Kanye West."

It was about this point that I Heart New York’s head exploded. He hopped the barricade and got in line behind us.

His friends were not convinced.

"We have to go back to Rhode Island. And what are we going to do with the car? And then what are we going to do in New York City all day until the show? And what if we don't get in?"

IHNY: “We have to do this! C’mon. Show a little spotanuity.”

We all looked at him.

“Spontaneity,” A. corrected him.
“What are you, my mother?”
“School teacher.”

Their story, in a nutshell:

They were showing great spotanuity, indeed, and in fact, the whole evening had been quite spotanuitous. Earlier that evening, this trio had decided, on a whim, to leave the culinary college they were attending in Providence and head to New York for dinner. They were walking around, deciding what to do next, when they happened upon the SNL stand-by tickets line. I Heart New York, whose name is Ruvin, had not only left his sick girlfriend behind to come to the city, but he claimed his mother would pull him out of school if she found out he had left Providence.

Note to Ruvin’s mom: I am making this whole thing up.

Their car was parked in the garment district, so after L. and I explained several times how to find their car and get back to 49th Street, Ruvin stayed with us, while his friend Chris and Chris’s girlfriend (who’s name neither L. nor I can remember now, to our dismay) went to get the car.

If they were proper adults, with jobs and all that, they could have put the car in a garage for the night.

Their spotanuitous action of leaving Providence resulted in Ruvin being woefully underdressed to be walking around the city in the middle of winter. Thus, the I Heart NY sheatshirt, which he no doubt bought in Times Square. He had chosen pink, he explained, because he was going to give it to a female friend of his. He was also wearing open-toed Birkenstocks, and his toes were becoming numb. We convinced him to put his gloves on his feet and stick his hands in his pockets.

Chris and his girlfriend, who I am going to call “Debra” so she has a name, returned, and parked the car in a sort-of legal spot across the street. When they finally got back to the line, the trio began to talk simultaneously. Anyone trying to sleep in line at this point had given up all hope. Somehow it came up that Chris and Ruvin were having a weight loss challenge. They were going to go skydiving in March, and there was going to be some kind of weigh-in. Chris ran to the car and returned with a scale that they had bought at the Duane Reade. To our horror, the two started taking off their clothes so they could be weighed.

We stopped Chris when he started unbuttoning his jeans.

Sorry, I do not have photo evidence of this event. You all will have to make do with this shot of Ruvin’s calf.

Ruvin's calf. If you look closely, you can see the silly gloves on his toes.

Shortly after Ruvin and Chris put their clothes back on, a tiny young woman appeared, who I will name Janice, because she had a very Joplin-esque way about her. She wasn’t wearing a coat and explained to everyone that it was because she was drunk. She spent a few moments with the trio gushing about Hugh Laurie, and then after introductions and back-story telling — she had flown in from somewhere, and I was wondering if it was just to see the show, which is never a good idea since entrance is not guaranteed — she offered up her hotel room to the trio so they could have a place to crash after we got our tickets at 7am.

A little while later a gaggle of giggly girls armed with face stickers (“Do you want to be a fairy or a princess?” Yuck!) took their places behind the culinary trio and Janice. And that was about it for the line for the next hour or so.

Four hours to go, and my toes were getting cold.

Next: Part III: No, Janice, the McDonalds on 50th Street Does Not Serve Tequila.



Notes from SNL’s Stand-by Tickets Line, Part I: Gluttons for Punishment

The front of the line, where we were not.

The thing about waiting in the standby tickets line for Saturday Night Live is that it’s a serious pain in the ass. This is basically how it works these days:

There are something like 200 seats for each SNL show (i.e., dress rehearsal and live show). There are three kinds of tickets. They are, in order of importance:
1) VIP tickets, which are given to friends and family of the guest host and musician de la nuit, and, I assume, the regular cast.
2) the tickets that people got sent to them via the internet lottery that happens sometime in August (i.e., "real" tickets)
3) stand-by tickets

Say the host that week is Joe Heartthrob, and Joe wants to give 200 of his closest friends and family members tickets to the live show. If everyone shows up, then likely no real ticket holders, and certainly no standy-by ticket holders, will be getting into the live show, because VIP tickets trump everyone. (Note that dress rehearsal tickets and live tickets are different. If you have one, you can't use it for the other, although the same rules apply.)

On the other hand, if Joe has pissed off everybody he knows, and the musical guest has no friends or family, and the friends and family of the regular cast are sick of the show and don't care anymore, then any real ticket holder who shows up will get in, and the number of people who do not show up will be the number of standby ticket holders who get in.

The last (and only) time a friend and I did this, 31 people were let into the dress rehearsal. We were numbers 11 and 12.

Now, this is the deal with getting stand-by tickets.

The usual crowd who do standby start lining up with their chairs and tents and sleeping bags and portable TVs and what-not sometime late Friday afternoon, weather permitting. Yes, they sleep on the sidewalk all night. These are the regulars, many, I'm told, who go to every SNL show they can. A few have been doing this for decades. The more popular the guest, the earlier people start lining up. I read somewhere on the internet that one year, when Steve Martin was the host, people started lining up on Wednesday.

The earlier you line up the better, because they give the tickets out, one to a person, numbered and in the order you are in line, at 7am.

That year when Steve Martin was the host and people started lining up so early? No standby ticket holders got into either show, and, if there were any VIP tickets issued, some of the "real" ticket holders would not have gotten in either. On the other hand, there have been times in the show’s history where the number of stand-by ticket holders let into the show was something hovering around 100. Why? Snowstorms in NYC.

That all being said, this is what my friend and I did last time. We figured we had a couple of things going for us. First, the show we were aiming for was on Halloween weekend, which in New York City is basically like Mardi Gras, so there a lot of parties to go to and people might not be using the tickets that were sent to them, and/or might not be trying the stand-by thing. And then the weather turned really foul the Friday before the show.

We decided that we would go up to Rockefeller Plaza at around 4am, and see what the line was like. If the line was around the block, we'd go get breakfast and forget it. There were only 30 people ahead of us, so we got in line. And we did get in. But picture three hours of cold, wet, sleet and brutal winds. Joe Heartthrob better be worth it.

I had no plans on doing this ever again. The only reasons I even considered trying it two years ago, other than it looked like we might have a shot, was because I had lived in the city for 20+ years and had never seen the show live, and because the Joe Heartthrob du jour was Hugh Laurie, and the musician was Beck.

Now let’s fast forward, and Joe Heartthrob, I mean Mr. Laurie, is hosting again. My first thought was “Wow, that guy’s a glutton for punishment,” because he was a wreck the last time; when he walked out to do his monologue, he looked like he had just been shot out of a cannon. My second thought was, although I was interested in seeing the show, I was not ever going to wait in that line again.

Until a different crazy friend of mine (I do have a few of them) texted me and said, “I’ve never seen SNL. I think we should try and go.”

So I did do this again last night. Talk about being a glutton for punishment. . . .

Next: Part II: “Spotanuity”



Maybe Next Year

When I saw this last year, and when I found out that some kind person had uploaded this video of the moment to You Tube, I swore I would post it to my blog.

So here it is: Patti Smith singing "O Holy Night," from her Dec 31, 2007, concert at the Bowery Ballroom.

To those of you who are familiar with Ms Smith, but have not heard her sing this, you are in for a treat. As you are all aware, Ms Smith is not a "singer," per se... not like a Luciano Pavoratti, or ever (shudder) a Celine Dion, or any performer blessed with an outstanding singing voice. But imagine being at one of her concerts, that thunderous rock, the poetic wordsmanship, that in-your-face brazen rebellious spirit, crashing down all around you, and then she slows everything down to a whisper and surprises the audience with something so traditional -- in fact, maybe the most traditional of all, if one could compare such a thing -- and so precious. And that New-Years-Eve-Bowery-Ballroom-New-York-City audience became silent, and hardly breathed for four-ish minutes. Because, while Patti is not a singer in the traditional American Idol sense (and thank God for that), no one puts over a lyric like Patti.

Now if the tall guy in front of our videographer would just remove his head!

I am sad to report that I am not going to see her this year, because the tickets sold out faster than I could get any of my silly friends to make a decision about going. Oh, well. There's always Sirius Radio!

UPDATE: I am posting this version from Dec 29th that same year, because, while the video was shot from farther away, it's from the beginning and includes her spoken intro. I also think she sings it better. I saw her sing this on the 30th, and have yet to find a clip from that night.

Notice in this version some idiot starts yammering on to her (I think it's a her) friend. I mean really, you can't shut up for 5 minutes?



Some random thoughts

I thought it was time to take a break from political discussion, and turn to things that people really care about: commercials, food, music, you know, the important things. So here it goes:

1) Anyone have ANY idea what the heck "The fit is go" means on that Honda commercial? Even if it actually means something, I find it truly irritating.

2) It's National Novel Writing Month. It's no longer national, however, because people as far as Kazakhstan (literally) and Bangla Desh are involved in this writing madness. Although I have a respectable 24, 040 words right now, I am about a day and a half behind my word count. (oh, and BTW, in case you are wondering what the heck I am talking about, here's the link: nanowrimo.org

3) Saw a snarky post on a commercial news blog about the overuse of certain words and expressions, and the overall misuse of the English language. While I myself cringe at certain usage (especially the ubiquitous "It's my bad," and all of its bastard spawns), I have to say: from a linguistic standpoint, a living, breathing language is subject to change. No one says "groovy" that much any more, except maybe facetiously, but everywhere people are saying "Awesome." A few years ago it was "Phat" and (shudder) "fantabulous," and next year it might be "cheeky" or "gruesome." And yes, in 20 years, everyone may indeed be spelling the word "through" as "thru," and "night" as "nite," and it might be considered not only acceptable, but the preferred spelling. Get over it. There's nothing you can do about it. (but to the writer of that particular rant: Duly noted!)

4) Saw the B52s a couple of weeks ago here at the Hammerstein Ballroom. They seriously kicked ass. Wait, that's such an overused expression. they were awesome. No, can't say that either. They were fabtabulous. No, someone will kick me. (Or should kick me.) Okay, let's just say I can't remember being that happy at a non-Bruce concert in recent memory, and leave it at that.

5) Hmm, I did promise to say something about food. Okay. Went to the Thalia restaurant last Friday night (after going to Town Hall to see Craig Ferguson), and I'm sorry, there's no way around using an overused expression here: Holy crap.

There. No politics. Happy, everyone?



Myself. I'm really partial to purple

Last night, people in New York were literally dancing in the streets.

There are a lot of reasons why people supported president-elect Barack Obama, but after watching all the analysts talking endlessly last night aout the economy, that economy is the factor, economy economy economy, I think they've missed the big picture.

Not that the economy wasn't a factor, and certainly its collapse brought over some undecided voters, and may very well have been the final blow to the McCain campaign. But most people are smart enough to know that Mr Obama does not have an easy answer to the woes of this country, because there's no such thing. The big difference with Obama is the feeling of inclusion.

The reason that everyone was dancing in the streets in New York last night was because it's the first time in a long time that we felt that we belong to this country. So no, I do not expect our new president to make everything right over night, or even in the first four years, or God willing, eight years. But I'm breathing a sigh of relief, like most of my fellow New Yorkers. No we are not traitors because we are not Republicans, or because we don't think we should be in Iraq, or because we don't think deregulating everything is sound economic practice, or good for the environment, for that matter. No we are not traitors because we disagree, and we are not bad Americans because we don't live in a small town. And hello, Wall Street is not a metaphor, it's an actual street, here in New York City. We are part of this country, too.

So our president-elect will have his hands full. Thank God (and excuse me for invoking the "G" word) they are his hands, not the hands of someone representing a party that thinks America is, or in any case should be, all one color: red.

UPDATE: I didn't have the Obama quote quite right when I first posted this. But it's fixed now., and there was greart rejoicing



Election Fever

I am feeling excited, like I used to get when I was a kid, watching the elections results and being highly aware that something very cool was going on.

Every four years, Americans have the opportunity to have a revolution. An orderly, quiet, walk-in-and-vote-'em-out revolution.

I know I am not alone, feeling that I'd just like to hear people discussing issues instead of someone's hair, or age, or race, or level of patriotism -- seriously, so tired of that one.

My intention never was to have a political blog. When I started this blog, I had no focus at all, just general snarky observations, posted some photos, that was it. Yes, I know I recently posted samples of anti-Democrat comments from trollers, and then in a fit of laziness I posted that jpeg of an anti-Palin button. But it’s because I have been feeling a political rant coming on for weeks, ever since I read someone’s comment that said, “Barack Obama is a Marxist.”

Why have our political discussions devolved into name-calling? More importantly, why is everyone okay with it? It’s like being in a household with parents who are constantly bickering. You want to say to them, “Would you guys just get a divorce already? Don’t stay together for us!”

In 1972, during the Nixon-McGovern race, I was on a school bus with 60 or so fellow middle-schoolers, and for some reason I mentioned that I was for McGovern. This was a stupid thing to admit in any crowd, but I grew up in a town that had no registered Democrats until my parents moved there in 1950, so I was admitting this on a bus full of young Republicans, and was basically asking for trouble, just yelling “fire!” in a crowded theater.

So this kid I had known since grade school, this girl Wendy – never a friend, she was an annoying little shit, a brat and a bully who is probably raising a brood of brats and bullies -- turns around and, with real venom, fires at me, “McGovern is a Communist.”

Now, everybody knows that when you are 13, most of your views about life are still heavily influenced by your parents. You’re not quite at full-rebellion age yet, and there are some things, like politics, you may never rebel against. So clearly Wendy heard that in her house from her Republican parents, who may or may not have been exaggerating to prove a point. In any event, like an idiot, I tried to reason with her:

“If McGovern is a Communist, then Nixon is a Fascist.”

To my surprise, she did not see the correlation I was trying to illustrate. I imagine this was a section of the SATs that would totally stump her, if she indeed ever took the SATs.

“No he’s not!” she yelled at me. Really yelled, like I had insulted her father or kicked her dog.

But this is our two-party system. It’s not politics, it’s sports teams. I’m a Mets fan. Do I stop being a Mets fan when they start playing like the 1962 Mets? Sure, if they keep it up long enough. I’ll stop going to Shea, I’ll stop watching televised games. I might even consider rooting for the Cardinals, or the Red Sox, or the Phillies. I do not, however, become a Yankees fan. Yes, I am like a lot of Americans.

On this election day, it is my sincere hope that one day Americans will learn to stop hating each other for the color of their state.



New York Waterfalls

Again, my friend Cesar has taken some amazing pics. And yes, I know, I've been neglecting this blog terribly these last couple of weeks. Mea culpa. But these photos more than make up for my absence, no? (to all three of you that read this blog!) Click on the images to see them larger and in their full glory.



Learning From Our Mistakes



Happy Birthday John

My favorite Lennon song. Or at least, one of my favorites.

(unfortunate freeze-frame, however...)



I know, I've been lazy

I had a whole new ranty blog post started last weekend, and then I lost my DSL for three days, and with that, my momentum. On top of that, I've been losing my CBS channel again, 12:38am, on the dot (someone REALLY doesn't want me watching Ferguson.)

But in the meantime, I will post this very funny graphic about the vp debate. NOTE: I had never planned on making this a political blog, but I'm sorry, Sarah Palin, or rather, the media circus around her, is just insulting on all levels. The other night, The Insider, on anticipating the VP debate, listed "fashion sense" as one of the key things everyone would be watching for. Excuse me? Would anyone be saying that if Gov Palin was a man? Would the media be obsessed with her hair or her glasses?Serously ticks me off, even more than her stupidity or "ah, shucks" delivery.



Preaching to the Choir

UPDATE: This is where you can obtain this button (for a donation):




Trolls, and Other Political Creatures

Below are responses to an article about Willaim Ross, a biliionaire discussing the fate of America's banks and general economic health (which, yes, is bad at the moment.) It was not a political article. Did not mention any political party, did not mention the president, did not mention congress, did not mention any political candidate.

These responses totally sickened me this morning. I was told by a friend who is an experienced blooger that these people are probably "trolling," (and let's hope to God these people are "trolling" and not this stupid and hateful!). So they probably just want to get a rise out of people. They're bottom feeders... but OMG. Get a life.

No one that writes crap like this loves America. And, they aren't even smart enough to be embarassed.

I was even tempted to comment here about how stupid it is to blame the Democrats for this financial insanity, especially in response to an article that had NOTHING to do with which political party did what, but then I realized none of this bullshit deserves to be rebutted, even for a second.



Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam, etc.

Anti-spam experts tell us that one tell-tale sign of a scam (phishing) email is typos. Hopefully we all know by now that any email that tells you that your account needs to be verified, updated, etc etc. is blatant crap, but I just had to share the one I got this morning:

Hmmm... find the typo....



Those Lights

These are great photos taken by my friend Cesar. If you like them and want to download them, just be cool and keep any use noncommercial.



I'm Just Saying ...

It's always more interesting when they don't know the microphone is still on.



Affirmations for the Overly Entitled

Say each of these affirmations ten times upon waking, before sleeping, and before entering any kind of public space.

1. I am not the only person on the planet.
2. I am not Carrie Bradshaw.
3. I have to wait my turn.
4. Strangers do not have a great need to hear my cell phone conversations.
5. When I get drunk and can no longer stand properly, it is interesting and humorous only to me.
6. I am no more important than the guy behind the deli counter. In fact, I'm probably less important.
7. I am not on a reality TV show. Cameras are not following me at all times, and people do not care what I think, or whether or not I'm a tough competitor.
8. Even if I am on a reality TV show, people don't care what I think.
9. My bad manners are ugly, no matter how much I spend on my clothes.
10. I have the right to be as pushy and arrogant as the next guy. And that makes me no better than the next guy.

UPDATE: Number 11 has been deleted due to popular demand.



Television is the New Radio, 2

Someone sent in the You Tube link to LS3 on Craig Ferguson! (thank you, thank you!)



The sound of 110,000 hands clapping

A long day, then a long line and a long wait for the bus to New Jersey. There was trouble on the Jersey Turnpike. Probably a tractor-trailor truck jack-knifed across the highway. It’s always a tractor truck.

It was after 8 o’clock when we finally got on a bus. I joked to my friend V, “I hope Bruce waits for us.”

Nothing to worry about, of course, because almost half of Giant’s Stadium was still empty as we took our seats. Bruce did indeed “wait for us.” He started after 9:30. I wondered if that meant he would cut the concert short as a result.

There was a woman below us, hanging over the railing of the stadium’s mezzanine, dancing awkwardly to music that hadn’t started yet. She was drunk, so drunk that a stadium usher eventually had to escort her off somewhere. So much for her 100-plus-dollar ticket.

V and I had arrived as disembodied spirits, exhausted from our respective jobs and other life fatigue, Our bodies were sitting at the last row of the mezzanine, but our spirits were in our apartments gathering laundry, at the office finishing some redundant tasks, riding the bus home wondering how long it would take. The lights went out and the crowd started screaming, and V and I sat there, secretly hoping Bruce WOULD cut it short.

And then the music started.

The fans always do their homework, always know every word, every chorus, for every song, from the oldest to the newest. Bruce conducted everyone who was not already standing to get to their feet. And we obeyed.

It was the musical equivalent of fireworks. How do you describe fireworks? You can't. A person has to be there to witness it first-hand.

Incredibly, Bruce is always incredible.

It took exactly two songs to become re-embodied, brains and body in one place.

Summertime Blues. Okay, I’ll stand for that. Wait, is that “Prove it All Night”? Ack! I can’t sing in this key! Wait, he’s going into the audience! He’s singing to a girl in the first row! She just kissed him! Talk about up close and personal...wow, this guy can’t get any sexier...Did he just do a somersault in the middle of that guitar rant?...Oh, yeah, Born to Run, with the house lights on, and everybody singing.

A short four hours later, the show ended.

Stuck in the parking lot on the way out, we were in line with a woman and her 12-year-old son. They were here from Vegas, and the kid had never seen Springsteen and his mom is a big fan who doesn't get to see him any more.

"They won't invite him to Vegas, He played there once, but they won't invite him back. They didn't like the fact he played so long. They want the people to get back to the casinos."

Bus home, drunk young republicans standing over us. (One of them makes a comment about a song not being patriotic, not sure if he meant bruuuuce’s.) One voice is particularly loud, incredibly crude. ““She wants me, Bro, I’m going to spread her cheeks!” He is apparently referring to someone in the group’s sister, who is no, not on the bus with us. Yikes, dude, have you looked in the mirror lately? Pasty and chubby, sweaty and stupid. I make the comment to V that he’ll be a lot less boisterous when he’s not a virgin anymore. Then there’s an awful smell, and it’s obvious who it came from. When someone comments on it, our loudmouth says things like “I WISH that were me!”. What the heck does THAT mean? I wondered how that nice mother and son from Las Vegas were feeling about this idiot. Of course, the jerk had to stand right next to ME.

But I am bruuuuuucified, mood altered, feeling fine and at one with myself, and that is what I am left with when I wake up late the next morning, not the ugly memories of that Stupid Farting Young Repulbican with entitlement issues.



Television is the New Radio

Back when 102.7 FM in New York was WNEW, back when Vin Skelsa and Tony Morrera did the overnight and back when WNEW had no play list, leaving DJs to play pretty much whatever they wanted when they wanted (as long as it was some kind of "rock," I guess), it was not uncommon for someone like the aforementioned Vin Skelsa to hear a record, like it, and put it on the air, maybe even just ten minutes later.

Craig Ferguson just pulled a Vin Skelsa.

Heard a group singing out in the corridor earlier in the day (or the equivalent of a corridor -- he wasn't clear on this, really), liked them, and had them on his show tonight.

They were three singers who called themselves LS3. They sang acapella, and were terrific.

This was just so extraordinarily cool, hopefully someone will post it on YouTube so I can link it here.



UFOs On a Coffee Break?

It's mysterious.

At 12:38am every weeknight, and a little after 1 am on weekends, my CBS channel 2 turns to white static, leaving me only a hint of audio telling me that the station is still there, just to taunt me. Sometimes it takes out other stations as well, but it always starts with CBS. And then by morning, everything is back on.

Months can go by and everything is fine. In fact, it hadn't happened since maybe last February or so. Then, the other night, in the middle of Craig Ferguson's monologue, BAM! Static. I was able to listen to the rest of the monologue, but I'd prefer to have the visuals as well. It is teleVISION, after all.

Is there something odd going on at the Empire State Building every night after midnight that we should know about? A thousand pigeons having a rooftop party? A giant gorilla up there playing around with the broadcast antennas? UFOs landing on the tower so their inhabitants can have a quick rest stop before going home? Sunspots? Conan O'Brien sneaking into the transmitter rooms to disconnect CBS so we can't watch Craig? Cable and satellite companies, conspiring to get more customers, mucking around with the antennas?

Definitely mysterious.



More Flags, More...

Does anyone else want to slap the holy crap out of that guy that does the TV ads for Six Flags Great Adventure?



Things That Make You Go, "Yikes!"

A used car dealer in Missouri offered buyers a choice of two sales incentives: $250 worth of gas, or a free semi-automatic handgun. 80% of the buyers chose the handgun. My negative reaction to this story has a lot to do with the fact that I live in New York. Imagine, if you will, if New Yorkers — let's say all New Yorkers — were armed. Think about the frustrated New Yorkers on the subways, the line at the Whole Foods, the traffic on the LIE, the Macy's fireworks, trying to walk down St Marks Place on a Saturday night. And now picture how often a frustrated New Yorker loses his or her cool and has a meltdown. Now imagine that person having a firearm.
Yikes, indeed.



Rosie Comes to Town

Rosie Flores and "Men" sing Truck Drivers Blues at the Rodeo Bar, 6/19/08. Arthur Neilson on guitar with Rosie. As soon as I remember who everybody else is, I'll let you know. (to see this in high quality, click on the picture to go to the YouTube page and select "watch in high quality.")



An IKEA Grows in Brooklyn

Played hookie on Wednesday to go to the opening of the new IKEA in Red Hook.



Future Blog Topics

Why is Logic Never Even Tried?
Duly Noted
Sanity in an Insane World
Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 3
Must Get Satan Out of Big White House
Too Free, Some Might Say
Perhaps I Should Have Read the Directions

I don't have anything to say on these topics -- yet -- but I'm sure I will.



What's wrong with this picture?



Ah... Spring?

I was asked out this afternoon.

His pick-up line was, for the record, "Do you like Mexican food?"

And then he said, "You must let me paint your apartment for you. I can make it nice."

Paint my apartment. Is that what they're calling it now?

Another sign of spring: Last week, most shows had their finales, and are gone until September. I am posting at 9:35 pm, and the only station that has had anything on that's scripted is CBS, and right now it's a pretty bad sitcom. I guess what's on the CW is scripted as well, but it's their usual twenty-somethings angst soapy opera stuff, One Tree Felicity Gossipy Hill. I thought, maybe, I might watch the dancers on Fox. So I tuned in, and there was this blonde bimbo doing interpretive dance -- badly, badly, oh lord, so very very badly, klutzy and she didn't complete her lines (can you tell I used to dance? throwing in that $40 comment there? cool, huh?) and there were these bizarre jumps for no reason and then these cheesy "reach for the stars, I'm emoting" kind of moves --and I thought sure the judges were going to trash her, but they loved it. Capital L loved it. Gushed about how much energy she had in her...get this..eyes, and they all agreed "She's got 'it.'" "Yes, you do, you've really got 'it.'" and I had to turn it off.

We all know people dance with their eyes, don't we? Yuck. By the way, apparently the guy just before her did a stepping dance of some sort, which I did not see... but I did see the part where they said no to him, even though they all said HE had "energy" -- He was wearing a mask, though, so they couldn't see if any energy was in his eyes, I guess. Next time he'll know to lose the mask.

Which brings me to wondering: What did we do to deserve Reality TV? That's rhetorical, I know the answer. We watched Cops and Real World too much and encouraged it, that's what we did. Well, not me, I didn't watch those shows, but enough of us did, or at least, enough of the Nielsen Families did and it has ruined television forever. It doesn't even matter if people stop watching these stupid shows...they are cheaper to produce, so as long as some people are still watching them who cares if most of the viewing public has turned off the set and are reading books?

Okay, I admit it, I'm in a mood.

On the other stations, we have the Bachelorette and an awards show for Movie Trailers (!!!!!) and a news magazine about a murder. At least that one involves a dead body.



Ah, Spring

Another sign of Spring in New York is the arrival of critters. Not the year-round apartment invaders like roaches and mice, or the outside-your-window fire-escape regulars like pigeons or squirrels. This morning, there was a centipede in my tub.

And yes, I killed it.

Here is what Wikipedia says about the house centipede:

"Unlike its shorter-legged but much larger tropical cousins, the house centipede can live its entire life inside a building. Because they eat household pests, house centipedes are considered among the most beneficial creatures that inhabit human dwellings, but because of their alarming appearance, frightening speed, and painful bite, few homeowners are willing to share a home with them."

There was a moment, as I was dousing it with hot water, that I felt bad. Fact is, humans are the only animals that will kill something just because they don't want it crawling around in their bathtubs. I've now decided that the proper thing to do is simply keep the stopper over the drain. Voilá, no more centipedes in the bathtub; they can live on to eat cockroaches and ants and spiders and (shudder) bedbugs the way nature intended.

And a note to Mike: The air kiss was definitely NOT "one of those light and fluffy Latin lover air kisses." Not light and fluffy at all. Wet and sloppy, in fact.



Please Be Patient

How many times a day does a New Yorker hear that from the MTA: "Please Be Patient"? It always makes me wonder what else, exactly, do they expect us to do? Scream and jump up and down? And what if we do loose our cool and make a scene? Does that disembodied voice on the intercom REALLY care if some of us go ahead and have a tantrum?

That being said, I had One of Those Commutes this morning on the 6 train.

The problem with being late EVERY morning is that when you finally have a legitimate excuse for it, it doesn't matter. You are late because you are Not a Morning Person: your 15-pound cat made herself comfortable on your chest just before your alarm went off and you can't bear to move her; you are having a bad case of adult ADD and you can't seem to focus enough to get yourself out the door; you've waited too long to take a shower and now there is no hot water and you have to wait for the boiler to catch up with the demand; you can't figure out what to wear so you change clothes five times; you can't find your keys/wallet/ID; because you are now running late the construction crew who are renovating the apartment next door has parked a Giant Thing outside of your door and you can't get down the stairs; or all of the above. And then, you have One of Those Commutes.

So I made it down my stairs, my cat fed and purring, my clothes Weather Appropriate, my hair smelling of Fructis Garnier conditioner, keys, wallet and ID present and accounted for, and a man sidles up to me and says, "Excuse me, Do you have any spare change?"

I said "no" and shook him off, but he kept smiling at me and then said, "Are you sure?"

"Yes, I'm sure."

"Okay. Well, have a nice day." And then he leans in. "Have a nice night."

Springtime in New York. (see previous post)

He was grinning at me, and kept walking with me, so I crossed the street. Every time I looked over, there he was, smiling at me.

Okay, yes, I shouldn't have looked over. I stopped doing that.

I looped around out of my way until I saw him veer off in the other direction, and headed to my train. When I got down the stairs, there were a hundred people on the platform. This is never a good sign. Then there was an announcement:

"There is a southbound 6 train at 42nd Street." Six stops away. Why do they bother telling us?

There were policemen everywhere, and it occurred to me that Something must have Happened. Then came another announcement:

"Attention passengers. Due to a police action on Bleecker Street, there are train delays on the 4, 5 and 6 lines. Please be patient."

A group of twenty or so tourists picked that moment to enter the station. They huddled together in the center of the platform, right across from the turnstiles. (insert the snarky anti-tourist comment of your choice here.)

Twenty minutes later, a train arrived. The twenty tourists all filed into the same car of an already crowded train. (insert another snarky anti-tourist comment of your choice here as well.)

When the train finally left the station, it went about 6 feet, and stopped.

"Attention passengers. Due to a police action on Bleecker Street, there are train delays on the 4, 5 and 6 lines. Please be patient."

I suppose it was important for someone to say that at this juncture, because I'm pretty sure the riders in the next car were going to start sacrificing tourists.



Springtime in New York

Okay, I have been chastised by my loyal fans (both of you) for failing to post anything new recently, so here I am, back again.

I was on a train to Connecticut and instead of taking my usual single don't-you-dare-sit-near-me seat, I thought I'd take a chance and spread out in one of those group of fivers that has a window, with the hope that not too many people would sit next to me.

By 125th Street, another woman sat down across from me, and by Stanford, there were three other people in this cluster of seats.

The first woman to invade my space, at least a decade or two younger than me, put on her iPod and opened a book. It wasn't until two more twenty-something women got on at Stamford and made us shift all the way over to the window that I became curious about the book she was reading. It was a thick paperback, and from the looks of the back cover it seemed it was not a novel: There was a photo of a man in a business suit, and although I never saw the exact title of the book, the back cover shouted "Find the perfect man online!"

Now I'm thinking... am I missing something here? This woman was not model pretty, but she was definitely pretty nonetheless, and not model-thin but who the hell wants to be model thin? So this woman who was maybe 33 at the oldest, is having trouble finding a boyfriend? Yikes! What the heck am I going to do, being dangerously close to completing my fifth decade?

As it often happens, New York City provided me with a tiny glimmer of hope as I was coming home late afternoon on Sunday on the subway. As we were approaching my stop, I stood to get ready to exit, and I felt somebody's eyes on me. I looked elsewhere, figuring that he was either a) looking at my blinged-out Grammy-Awards-50-years tee-shirt, or reading some ad behind my head. But as I was stepping off the train, he caught my eye and air-kissed me.

I haven't been air-kissed by a stranger in I don't know how long. Does that mean I still "got it"? (assuming, of course, I ever had it.) Not sure, but he wasn't a homeless person. He was Hispanic, possibly around my age, dark curly hair, gold chain, yellow and white tee shirt. It was absolutely inappropriate behavior and not actual flirting. But I haven't gotten inappropriate behavior of any kind thrown my way in quite a while.

Ah, Springtime in New York.



Great Moments in Rock and Roll

My 10-year-old God daughter Catherine, sitting in the back seat of the car, listening to her mother's iPod:

"Mommy, what's a working class hero?"




Florent is closing, so we went there last night.



IRS Spam

I know that we are all getting pretty savvy about ridiculous phishing emails, but just as a public service, I am posting this recent one that apparently a lot of people fall for. I have to hand it to the authors, it's clever.

In case there is any confusion: This is not real. The IRS will never contact you via email, even if you e-file. And you don't have to fill out any forms to get your rebate (or your refund), other than filing your taxes.

Click here if you want to report some IRS spam of your own.



Late 1970

My sister and I have been working on a project. What if the Beatles had not gotten a divorce in 1970? What if they still loved each other and got couples counseling instead? (just NOT Primal Therapy) What would those albums have sounded like?

This wasn't as easy as it sounds. While 1970 and 71 found our boys churning out music like a busy jukebox, later years found them further and further out of sync. The other problem is, even from the very start, the albums were produced very differently. Finding the right balance and transitions took some work.

There were logistical problems on our end as well. For one, in general. I'm not a big Paul fan, although when I do like something of his, I really love it. So this required my rethinking my feelings about his music and buying a bunch of his songs off iTunes. And speaking of iTunes, all of my George Harrison albums are on vinyl, so when  iTunes finally put his (and John's) catalogs up it was very helpful. Now, if they would just put Dark Horse and Extra Texture up, I could do a 1972 list.

Anyway, we decided we should put some thought into what the boys would allow each other to get away with. "Cold Turkey" did not make our list because this was a song Paul had rejected for a Beatles album. So I originally started this play list with Working Class Hero, until my sister pointed out that a Beatles album probably wouldn't start with a song that uses the F word... twice**.  Chances are John's lyrics might have been altered for a Beatles album--you know, couples counseling does encourage compromise--but not wanting to second guess the past too much, I changed the song order.

So here are the play lists we came up with for 1970 and 1971, for those of you who 1) care and 2) are familiar with at least some of these songs. This would have seen the boys putting out back to back double albums, but this whole thing requires us to extend our sense of disbelief, anyway.

1970 (Thinking it should be titled "Early 1970"..either that or something weird like Scrambled Eggs, or No We Don't Hate Each Other Vol. 1.)
It's So Hard
My Sweet Lord
Maybe I'm Amazed
What Is Life
Instant Karma!
Every Night
Ballad Of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll)
The Back Seat of My Car
I Found Out
Isn't It A Pity
That Would Be Something*
Working Class Hero**
Early 1970
Run Of The Mill
Oo You
*my sister and I both agreed that this song, very pretty but very repetitive, might have benefited with some input from John
**The night John was murdered, WPIX FM, which was the "Lite" music station, played Working Class Hero in it's entirety, i.e, not censored. I always wondered if they just weren't familiar with the song, or hadn't heard it in so long they forgot, or, less likely, decided to take a chance that the FCC wouldn't bust them considering the circumstances. I kind of picture them scrambling to find a John Lennon album, finding "Plastic Ono Band" from their old library of albums (from when they were a real station), dusting it off, and throwing it on the turntable. "Oh, God, did he just say 'F*ck'? Oh GOD, did he just say it AGAIN?"

1971 (Another Dollar, or No We Don't Hate Each Other Vol. 2)
Another Day
Apple Scruffs
Jealous Guy
Oh Woman, Oh Why
Let It Down
I Don't Wanna Be A Soldier Mama
It Don't Come Easy
Monkberry Moon Delight
Gimme Some Truth
Art Of Dying
Oh Yoko!
Dear Boy
Awaiting On You All
Too Many People
Crippled Inside
All Things Must Pass

Still working on 1972, 1973, 1974-76 (this is where things get quite a bit out of sync), then 1980-81. Will keep you all (excuse the blog pun) posted.



Random Thoughts Day

1) A huge chunk of ice broke off of the Antarctica shelf yesterday. Scientifically, how big, exactly, is "huge"? 415 square kilometers. You can't get any more scientific than that: it's in kilometers. In layman's terms, for all of us laymen, that's 7 times the size of Manhattan.

2) A Texas man got a sentence of 25 years today for MICROWAVING A BABY. And no, the baby didn't die. (I know what some of you are thinking, and shame on you.)

3) On the lighter side, I received a check in the mail today for $3,985. It appears to be a real check, although I have no idea who these people are who sent it to me. Apparently, if I cash it, I will have agreed to be a secret shopper. While I know for a fact there really are secret shoppers, in this case part of this money is supposed to be used for a money gram. A $3,000 money gram. The whole thing is really fishy, and the check is going into the shredder. If I had a shredder.

4) When I got out of the train at Astor Place tonight, the kid in the Mud truck was playing John Lennon's "Mind Games." I decided I had to talk to him.

"Is that your CD?" I said.

"No," he says, "That's John Lennon."

I did not laugh out loud. "Yeah, I know, I meant, is that your music choice or was it forced on you?"

""Oh. Yeah. It's on my iPod."

"That's a great album," I said, as if he needed or even wanted my approval.

I walked away from the truck as "One Day at a Time" started. Sometimes your favorite music sounds even better when someone else has chosen to play it.



Instant Botox

"You're really happy to see me, but you can't express it."
(Mr Angell's explanation of how to look botoxed.)



The Ultimate Spam

Okay, the ultimate spam:

I had to change my password the other day because I got a spam email from....MYSELF.

Apparently I was trying to sell myself replica watches.



Hawk Man

A sighting: From across the platform at the Brooklyn Bridge IRT station came the sound of...pigeons? Actually, it sounded like one very large pigeon. I looked over, and saw a man wearing a hat with a long feather protruding out of it. (stop giggling at the word "protruding.") It took me a minute, and then I recognized him: The Hawk Man of Lower Manhattan. Usually, he caws like a hawk. Today he was cooing. Then chirping. Then he growled like a lion, which confused me.

Eventually he starting cawing, and my world made sense again.



More Pictures

For some reason we were fascinated by these clouds.
No, we were not high.

This was the hotel entrance.



I sent this information out as an email, but recently I was reminded (read: chastized) for not posting for more than a week (horrors!), so I thought I should get back into posting mode by adding this information here on my blog. That's what blogs are for, right? Not just to rant randomly or post vacation pictures?

So here, in its entirety, was my email. Those of you who have read it before, just chill. There will be more photos soon and other silliness to entertain you:

Anyone who spends any time shopping online should know about iGive.com. Basically, any time you order something online from one of the participating stores, they give a percentage to the cause of your choice--any cause, and if it's not on their list, you can add it. It can be anything from the March of Dimes to a personal cause (the example in the link is someone's kids' dance school). And all you have to do to send the donation is go to the iGive site first and choose the store from there instead of going to it directly.

The list of stores who participate is really long, and includes the Apple Store (including iTunes), LLBean, 1-800-Flowers, and Banana Republic, to name just a couple. (Amazon is not a participant, unfortunately, but B & N is).

You can have more than one cause. (My charity is the Wild Animal Sanctuary. )

Here is the link for more info and to register:




Palm Springs

V and me at a restaurant named "Azul."
That was Matt's tee-shirt, although I think it belongs to V now.

This is the hotel in Palm Springs. An amazing place.
More photos of this to come, as soon asI get them
developed. (how very old school of me)

It was 75° in Palm Springs, but there was snow in the mountains.

The hats were courtesy of the hotel.

I told Matt he looks like Juan Valdez in this picture.



LA Chronicles III, cont

See? I really was there.

Best performance: Tina Turner
Best comment: Vince Gill (""I just got an award given to me by a Beatle. Have you had that happen yet, Kanye?")


LA Chronicles III

V and I before heading to the Grammys. Yes, I am that short. (especially when I'm not wearing shoes!)


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