Monthly Archives: August 2008

Bloomberg Returns 3: The Rise Of Taj

So, I don’t know if you heard, but I’m calling off my mayoral campaign. Why? Word has it that Mike “I bought all the laws and now I keep them in my basement” Bloomberg is going to run for his own job again, even though it’s illegal for him to do so.

Oh my God, Adames was right the WHOLE TIME!

I’ve got to hand it to him. It’s a really clever plan. For one thing, he already has the endorsement of the entire media, issued directly from their secret cabal three hundred feet below Park Slope. They even said it was a great idea! So even if he doesn’t win the election, how would we know?

So let’s just let him have it. Do you have a better idea? Ray “If elected, I promise to kill every single person that didn’t vote for me… with my bare hands” Kelly? My man Kwame? You don’t have a better idea. Look at you. You’re reading a blog in your underwear right now. You don’t know anything about anything. If somebody gave you a $2 million studio apartment in Bushwick you probably wouldn’t even know what do with it. Which is lucky, because you aren’t getting it. Or, um, any other apartment, on account of more condos. Sorry.

Ray “that includes children and people who forgot to register” Kelly
Ray “I know where you live: New York” Kelly
Ray “I have a laser on my desk that can burn your face off from across town” Kelly
Ray “Welcome to my labyrinth of murder” Kelly
Ray “Additional funny middle name about how he’s sort of a fascist” Kelly


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Why We Fight: Our National Crisis

DAY ONE, 10:38 PM

Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, members of the house: tonight, August 24th, 2008–a date which will live in infamy–our pet cockroach suddenly and deliberately flew across the fucking living room, nearly landing on my goddamn face. The inhabitants of our apartment were at peace with the cockroach and its kind and, at the solicitation of the Cockroach Ambassador, were looking toward the maintenance of peace in the bathroom. Indeed, one hour after their forces invaded the living room, our diplomats were negotiating an agreement in which the cockroaches would stay the fuck under the fucking sink and not come into the goddamn living room, shit-damn EVER.

I ask that the apartment declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by the roaches at 10:28 PM, a state of war has existed between the Smackdown and any and all insects living in the walls.

Now, we’ll take questions:

  1. Have you ever noticed that FDR uses the word “which” inappropriately in the first sentence of that speech? Isn’t “that” the correct word? Didn’t FDR go to college? I assume he didn’t, but I mean didn’t they read his speechwriters’ resumes?
  2. Cockroaches can FUCKING FLY?

DAY TWO [aka DAY ONE, but 1 minute later]

Previously, I was just trying to chill out and watch Hard Candy without thinking Ellen Page was cute when she’s pistol-whipping people. (It’s hard!) But after the cockroach flitted within a few inches of my face, we brought the entire apartment to a state of high alert.

The full array of anti-cockroach defenses were enlisted. These include:

  1. David Harp’s Instant Blues Harmonica, sad tale of a talent I never managed to develop.
  2. Taal vitaal vols. 1 and 2. Although it’s a pretty good Dutch textbook, it’s also heavy and flexible.
  3. Jill Thompson, The Little Endless Storybook. My Sandman phase has been over for … ten years. (Fine, five years.)
  4. Fine, three years.
  5. The last six issues of The Believer. ‘Nuff said.

The search of the room then began. Let me tell you, mo’fucker, roaches are smart. First it hid on our big canvas mural — on a brown patch, no less! I thew Taal vitaal in its general direction, thereby waking up all the neighbors. I was pretty sure that knocked it unconscious, behind the file cabinet. I declared victory, on the deck of a battleship.

DAY THREE [10:44 PM]: Operation Soaring Hawk-Eagle

Slowly but surely, I removed every book from the top of the file cabinet, checking each individual page to make sure there wasn’t a cockroach in it. Then I removed the file cabinet from the wall.

No cockroach.

I called back the reserves from the flood in the bathtub, stranding thousands of refugees. Suspended habeus corpus in the entire west wing of the apartment. Sent the DVD player into the extraordinary rendition program and had it tortured by Romanian black ops agents. Socialized the oil refineries and sold them to front corporations for big-ticket G8 investors. Searched one in every eighteen bags on the subway. Smacked random parts of the mural with a magazine, hard. (This was not effective.)

Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw something moving behind the expensive cello. And then I saw something leap on the other side of the bookshelf. Very clever, Mister Cockroach, to land on a copy of Artforum. But not clever enough.

Would you like some more lame allusions? No? I’ll cut to the chase, then: I whacked it with a Dutch textbook, then dropped the book on it, then (quite literally, I’m afraid) jumped up and down on the book for several seconds. I trapped it in a giant stack of paper plates and flushed it down the toilet.

No longer shall we live in fear, ladies and gentlemen. Of course, now we have to pay for the Cockroach Marshall Plan, but it’s a small price to pay for hegemonic domination of the apartment and the cash money to finally build some suburbs on Long Island. There is nothing to fear but fear itself… and other cockroaches. But we’ll deal with that in thirty years or so.

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How To Be A Beloved Contemporary American Writer!

I’ve deliberated long and hard and finally decided that actually, most of the formula for being a super-successful published essayist is to have a few stories to tell about various shit that happened to you in your life, and to be able to prove that you are qUiRkY! Congratulations FUCKING EVERYBODY. Time for us to call up our literary agents.

I made mix-tapes as a teen and have a cursory knowledge of history too Sarah Vowell, b.f.d.!

[photo: Getty Images via]

Writing a book used to mean something. “I AM GOING TO WRITE A BOOK!!” used to be met with gasps and applause, and the endeavor itself used to command respect. But now, all you have to do is live long enough to have at least 10 wAcKy AnEcDoTeS to tell and be able to get to a Borders to read that dumb NaNoWriMo guy’s book.

How to write a book without the only thing that makes a book!

"How to write a book without the only thing that makes a book!"

In one short month, you will have your very own book of essays that other people can buy and chuckle at and be like

“OMG that is SO something that happens to people!” or

“NUH UH I had a problem relating to my parents/boss/French people one time too! LOL!”

Has anyone else read Sarah Vowell’s book “Take the Cannoli?” Did anyone else notice that it was just a bunch of stories about different stuff that ANYBODY could have written? She didn’t escape from a war, she didn’t discover any scientific discoveries, and she definitely didn’t figure out that having bangs and wearing makeup helps you be pretty. But she did grow up, go to high school, and have some friction with her dad and some trouble learning to drive! Sound familiar? WHATEVER. Also, yeah RIGHT you have a lisp and are allergic to gluten, and played the recorder. TOO ADORABLE, I AM NOT BUYING IT.

Then there’s David Sedaris, who unlike Sarah Vowell is actually really funny and a good writer and related to someone else funny and famous. However, he’s also just an OCD dude from the middle of nowhere in North Carolina of all places who did a lot of drugs, worked as a furniture mover, dropped out of art school, and sort of walked around for a while. JOIN THE CLUB, GUY.

So…why are these two living the good life and not having to wake up early to go to a job? Telling stories that anyone could tell and getting to be on national radio like every day? What is the secret to their relatively random success? I need to know, because getting famous enough to be able to live in like, Flatiron and not have to get up at 8 am is basically the most pressing goal on my plate right now.

Well, friends it’s pretty simple. Do you want not to be REALLY famous but at least get to be read by snobby kids on the F train and able to get published in NY Mag or whatever if you need vacay money? Then like Vowell and Sedaris, you need the magic ingredient. The magic ingredient is what qualifies you for publication other than being a hipster who loves to speak in public (HELLO, OVER HERE!).

DUH it’s Ira Glass.

King of Anecdotal Entertainment


Ira Glass, listen, I’m pretty sure that listening to/inserting poignant music into anecdotes from across the country and having a professorial speaking voice is not the same as being smart. So why don’t you just take off those sexy foxy salt and peppery used to have a ponytail infectious chuckle having smart guy Elvis Costello looking fake glasses and stop haunting my dreams with your unwelcome but undeniable sex appeal, k?

David Sedaris on Ira Glass:”I owe everything to Ira….My life just changed completely, like someone waved a magic wand. (”

Um yeah, no shit it did. I wish Ira Glass would wave his magical wand all over me too (yeah that’s right). One minute you’re reading your diary at an open mic night and like, working odd jobs, and then two seconds later you’re all over the mags and radio and getting artsy smoking pics taken of you! Pretty sweet if you ask me, and just the excuse I’ll need to take up smoking again in another 25 years…

"Ilive in France, but it's soo haaaaard!"


What if you don’t think you can meet Ira Glass? What then?

DO NOT PANIC. You just have to revert back to the time-tested approach of just being really pretty. Being pretty will still get you everything you want, including popularity and a book deal even if you grew up in the suburbs and your book revolves around a story about a boss who was pretty mean to you. It also doesn’t hurt to happen to work in book publishing while you are being so pretty.


Oh um hey Sloane Crosley….sorry…I didn’t see you there, how awkward…. umm, you ARE really pretty though…


Filed under general complaints, Honor!, jealousy, manhattan

What We Talk About When We Talk About Rock

Hey, is anyone in the audience an American? (Or, I guess, British?) If not, please plug your ears for awhile while we have a discussion about rock and roll.

When you think about rock, what New York neighborhoods come to mind? Well, Dylan and Springsteen used to play in the Village a lot. There are tons of great bands in Brooklyn. And the East Village has that CBGB place that sells those T-shirts you see everywhere. (Oh wait!) The Ramones claimed to be selling their bodies on 53rd & 3rd (note: if you have a better idea what that song’s about, please tell me).

Pictured: The Ramones, shortly after being
sodomized by wealthy East Side businessmen.

But, of course, there’s one neighborhood that is uncompromisingly ballsy. One neighborhood that sticks it to the man. One neighborhood where a 150-square-foot apartment costs 8.2 million 24-carat diamonds an hour. Oh, that’s right, you guessed it: motherfucking SOHO.

Yes, that’s right. Soho is the most awesome, hard-rocking, leather-jacket-and-spiked-belt neighborhood in New York. What’s that you say? It’s not? Really? Soho is a hellhole populated entirely by effeminate European tourists and street vendors who drive in from New Jersey to sell brightly colored trinkets to idiots? Soho is, you say, the opposite of rock?

Then why did they get a Rock And Roll Hall of Fame, asshole?

Yes, you read it right. You can now learn about the history of populist American music… then go next door and get a $62 hamburger at Mercer Kitchen. And you can buy a painting with no discernible composition!

“Oh, look, Bjørnsten, it’s that thing the Americans call ‘rock.'”
“Oh, how quaint! How much is it? I hope it’s less than a million! Because I only brought two!”

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Breakdancing Kid and Captain Rip-off

I’m so very very sorry to disturb your commute at 6:45 on this beautiful Thursday morning. New York City, greatest city in the world! And you are all the greatest people that have ever lived, anywhere. Give yourself a round of applause. (Waits.) Ladies and gentlemen, I only require a moment of your time. This is my younger brother. He is six years old and a veteran of the first Gulf War. The VA has cut off his benefits. We have quit our school’s basketball team to go out and make a little spending money for ourselves, especially since our house burned down last week. Jesus bless you.

Anyhow, this is my boombox. BOOM BOOM CHH, BOOM BA-BOOM CCH, BOOM BOOM CHH, BOOM-BA-BOOM BA-BA-BA-BOOM. We’re going to do a brief performance for you. (Louder: ) BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BA-BOOM BOOM. Watch me dance for you. (Dancing.) Now my little brother will dance also for you. (Additional dancing.) Now we will dance together. (Throws little brother against ceiling.) THUD. (Little brother collides with ceiling with a sickening sound, then does a perfect backflip in the air, and lands on his feet without breaking tempo. One or two tourists applaud.)

Thank you. I know what you are thinking. You have seen this brother-brother dancing-ceiling-backflip act before. In fact, most of the people trying to get money from you on the subway seem to be coordinated, seem to be running the same essential scams. Well, it is not true. It is a coincidence that I am one of about thirty thousand “high school students” of dubious age selling candy at high markups out of boxes held together by mailing tape in exactly the same way. I am also selling these DVDs and plastic-wrapped individual double-A batteries.

I want to make one thing clear. When this train stops, I will not get off and walk three blocks to our secret training center. When I do not open the door to that weird abandoned bank on Stuyvesant Avenue, it will not be full of boxes of Starburst, rolls of mailing tape, and water cooler bottles with “United Homeless Organization” written on them in Sharpie. Let me be perfectly clear. There is no network of secret tunnels under Brooklyn. We do not have a private jet docked at a Batman-esque hangar under Ridgewood Reservoir. Anything you can give will be appreciated. Adames is the mayor in our secret underground scam city, BTW, and that city, if it exists, is made entirely of baby formula bottles and stolen copper wiring. Have a nice day.

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