Monthly Archives: September 2008

I Threw Up In My Mouth A Little

You know, I don’t really like to discuss politics. Sure, like most Americans, I guzzle Internet blogs and network news the way my car guzzles biodiesel. The way I drink Gatorade before I go do rugged outdoorsy things on my farm. The way my mortgage guzzles up all my savings. But I don’t really like to talk about politics unless somebody asks. Or if there’s a rally. Or if I’m sitting next to a stranger on the subway who looks like they need to hear my opinion. Thing is that every four years (except ’96 I guess) all of a sudden there’s nothing else to talk about.

John McCain is that wizard guy from the last Matrix movie.

My lovely co-blogger had an interesting experience yesterday, which it’s my privilege to relay to you. (Hopefully you weren’t going to blog about this too, Honor! KTHXBAI) After the barista handed over her morning coffee, she went to get a straw. The barista: “No time for a straw! Run, before you’re locked in!” Confusion ensued. As it turned out, Sarah Palin was crossing the street nearby, or some such BS, and the Secret Service had decided that this necessitated locking the doors at Starbucks for several minutes.

A quick “community moment” ensued. “God, Sarah Palin is just awful,” somebody said, and everyone else nodded and made agreeing noises. Honor’s analysis: “Well, when an entire Starbucks in Manhattan is against you, there’s no way you’ll ever succeed in America!” As New Yorkers, despite the fact that we are probably the most diverse group of people in the world — and the fact that, as a result, we all hate each other with a burning fury that makes, say,  forming an ORDERLY LINE to buy drinks at the BAR you STUPID ASSHOLES, impossible — it’s important to remember that we somehow emerge from this festering rage-stew with this weird left-wing consensus that practically everyone in the city agrees on. That’s why, periodically, we have to broadcast our political views to the remainder of the country so that we can be reminded that nobody else believes in them, not even a little.

In other words, it’s important to occasionally succumb to the urge to get down and throw a little mud. Start calling yourself a hockey mom. Overuse the term “Main Street” in economic analysis. It’s a healthy outlet for urges that would otherwise make me punch babies. But we have a serious problem, ladies and gentlemen. The state of political discourse is cratering, to quote Letterman’s unbelievably awesome seven-minute new-butt-ripping of McCain. Here’s why.

This weekend, Barack Obama will apparently be having a debate with an empty chair, as John McCain will apparently be too busy fixing the economy with his BARE HANDS or something. In the morning, USA Today will run an article saying that Middle America really identified with the chair, which was made of a sturdy mahogany with a subtle grain, and not Barack Obama — who was, if I’ve been reading the news correctly for the last four years, slurring his answers on account of his mouth will be full of pâté and cognac and sleeping with your daughter when you’re not home. Fox may accidentally report that he was wearing a lapel pin with the Iranian flag and set fire to a bald eagle. This shit, in a word, is fucked up.

So it is with a heavy heart that I tell you today: I am suspending my political blogging activities and catching the next flight to Washington, where I will remain until I have personally resolved this election. (Note to Secret Service wiretap agents reading this: Not in the way you’re thinking!) This is not a time to be a blogger — it’s a time to be a leader. P.S., see me on Katie Couric tonight! I’ll be wearing rouge. Don’t tell Dave, ‘kay?

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Filed under manhattan, politricks, real life, Uncategorized

Dress to Impress Success

Did you know that the workplace includes a system of complex dress codes?

Yeah, that’s right, that’s what we’re talking about today. Put down your ironic T-shirts and internet porns and pay some attention.

These are confusing rules! Let me give you some examples. I was asked to wear “business formal” one day, so I wore a sweater. Everyone else wore a blazer. Dammit. But on the west coast, I don’t think business formal even has to include pants. I try to dress like Brendan Fraser every day, and we all know that’s not really the way to go.

Only the finest suspenders will do.

Brendan Fraser is just trying to be Indiana Jones anyway. So, with that in mind, I’m proposing the following set of Harrison Ford-based guidelines, and they shall heretofore be used in every American workplace:

Casual: “Day At The Beach”


Business casual: Indiana Jones-style unbuttoned shirt with stains
[also I don’t have any other shirts]

For more formal events, I recommend the following ensembles:

  • Semi-formal: “I want my family back”
  • Business formal: Full Indiana Jones costume with fedora and whip
  • Formal: Indiana Jones professor outfit with tweed blazer and effeminate bowtie
  • Black tie: “Air Force One” — just wear the normal formal outfit, but pull the tie down and screw with the collar a little
  • White tie: “Bruce Willis in Die Hard Crawling Through An Air Conditioning Vent”

Can we all agree this would be a huge improvement, and make everyone better-looking to boot? Besides, it’s not easy to get them mixed up. Imagine showing up for a state dinner wearing an effeminate bowtie! You fop! Meanwhile, everyone else in their ripped, sweat-drenched tank tops laughing at you. And STARING. You probably should have read our blog more.

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Sarah And Me

Well, every other blog has already posted about Sarah Palin. All of them. Even my mom posted about it. [No link for you, suckazzzz!] And I don’t need to point out some of the more obviously hilarious shit, like the fact that the Sarah Palin action figures are male, or that the media really isn’t very good at their jobs, or her apparently legitimate LinkedIn profile. No, I have something way way more fucking important to tell you.

I’ve tried to keep this to myself, but I know Sarah Palin. And not the way America knows her warm, moose-gutting smile from the small-town life we all participate in, and not the way that she knows Jesus or whatever. I mean, we met. For a brief period, I like to think that we were something special. And not in a gay way.

WARNING: This story is, for once, entirely true

Do you remember when Into The Wild was published? Well, I do. I was ten years old, but already starstruck by the majestic beauty of Hatchet. This wasn’t the book Hatchet, but the mediocre TV movie with all the bearfighting. I couldn’t read the book, because throughout most of the ’90s I was illiterate because of brain parasites, etc. In fact, I only knew about Into The Wild because I met Chris McCandless at a press conference shortly after it was released. At the Barnes and Noble inside the Stuckey’s in my Massachusetts hometown, his smile dazzled me and his tales of the Arctic lit a fire in my soul.

I was so impressed with his charisma and pallor that I promptly started hitchhiking to Alaska, like in that famous eight-episode sequence from Malcolm In The Middle. A variety of friendly truckers gave me rides across British Columbia, putting me through various trials, each of which I passed with youthful vigor, aplomb and spontaneity. After weeks of this foolishness, I reached my destination: beautiful Wasilla, Alaska, then a finance boomtown with over 400,000,000 residents, and a downtown with skyscrapers, and unbelievable amounts of relevance. Due to my own inadequacies, I was unable to obtain gainful employment and was forced to take a position as a newspaper boy, one of millions struggling to start a new life in this fast-paced metropolis of opportunity.

One of the quieter neighborhoods in bustling Wasilla.

In the crowded stations of Wasilla, where the packed trains left every twenty minutes for Milwaukee, New York and Terrifying Communist Russia, I plied my trade with issues of the Wasilla Daily Courier (circulation: 200 million). “Daily Courier!” I would shout, with the vigor that poverty and starvation brought to me and so many of my compatriots, “please, sir, just 25 cents for a Daily Courier!” It was particularly difficult to make sales on account of I couldn’t read the headlines.

And so thousands of frustrated commuters brushed by me without so much as a fare-thee-well, hurrying to Communist Vladivostok to buy whale futures and shares in igloo distribution firms: these were headier days. But the town shuddered under the potential yoke of a potential Russian invasion, and we all shuddered with it. But who was I to complain? The constant fear sold newspapers, and only our ineffective Mayor Stein was there to defend us. A weak line of defense he was, yelling across the Bering Strait, suitcase in hand, begging for a Terrifying Communist trawler to ferry him to sunny Siberia. In our beds, silently, at night — we quaked with terror.

In 1996, after a year of this backbreaking labor and mind-rending fear, I met Sarah Palin. At the time, she was only a City Councillor (one of 752 that represented each of the massive city’s many districts). Still, even the meekest of salarymen had a good excuse not to stop and talk to a knee-high newsie such as myself. But she did. “Excuse me, young man,” she said, kneeling so as not to dominate me with her 6’7″ frame, “but have you had anything to eat today?”

It wasn’t long before we found true love.

Being a good sport, Sarah posed frequently for informal portraits such as this one.

Living in a small apartment in a fifty-story high rise in Wasilla’s Skyscraper Heights district (the site of which is today an empty, mouldering parking lot next to a derelict walrus factory), we each worked toward our respective goals. While I struggled to get a job where I didn’t breathe coal dust in the dark corners of locomotive platforms, Sarah plotted against Stein. While we slept, she knew, Stein was making clandestine phone calls to the Communist premier, negotiating the handoff of Alaska to Russia in exchange for 3% of ANWR revenues, gross, plus 22 points on the antique stores dotting the Alcan Highway. She shook with fury while she slept and moved with a stunning quickness while awake, faxing out press releases and calling the editors of the Courier to insist that they denounce Stein. The newsroom, which was by then entirely in the pockets of the whale industry, declined with bald-faced bravado.

In other words, Sarah was an uncompromising ideological badass, fighting for all that was right. I guess that’s what finally drove us apart. For awhile, she was content to teach me the ways of her home; to date, I can kill a polar bear from over ten thousand feet away, with my bear hands. [Oops! I meant “bare.” — Zach] I loved to learn. But there was a problem. Like most East Coasters, I was an ardent believer in Communism, and Godlessness, and Doing The Wrong Thing, and Mandatory Abortion, and Didn’t Enjoy Shooting Guns, and I thought that All Small Towns Should Be Fired Out Of A Cannon Into Space, and Hated Trucks, and Mandatory Gay Marriage For Straight People Also.

Of course, one night our disagreements became more than academic. “Goddammit, Sarah,” I shouted in a fit of pique, “if we don’t confiscate 92% of the pre-tax earnings of middle-class Americans, how will we fund the Welfare Baby Higher-Taxes Space Program For Transgender Welfare Babies?”

“Get out of my apartment,” she replied. “I thought you’d fit in here in Alaska, but it turns out you just loved my innovative hairdo!” Dejected, I packed what few possessions I had into a steamer trunk and headed back to New York City, then and now an isolated backwater with no relevance to the way that the country functions. Since then I’ve led a paltry and middling life, never matching the vigor that Wasilla — and Sarah — had filled me with all along.

The test rocket had to be scrapped somewhere over the Pacific.

Of course, Wasilla is a quieter place today. Since the 90s, it’s shrunk to house only a few thousand residents. The skyscrapers were taken down, packed up and relocated; to Shanghai, mostly. I often think back on those days with Sarah, or pause briefly at my desk to compose to her a typo-ridden letter. Still, the responses never come, and the threatening knocks on the door from her staff are ever-louder. I think of how much better the times were then… Ah!, but those were Wasilla Days, the sort of days we shall never see again until we’re carried away in Heaven’s merciful chariot. Until then, dear friends, adieu. Mon cherie Sarah, adieu!

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Filed under politics, politricks, the deranged ramblings of a madman, Zach

Close Encounters of the Ill-Mannered, Possibly Retarded Kind

One of the many charming, intriguing mysteries surrounding Smackdown HQ (our apartment, on Monitor Street) is the nature of/name of/ mental state of our “landlord,” a strange, impolite personage who landed on my radar last night, unfortunately.

The whole affair surrounding him/her is very strange. For starters, our rent check is made out to a woman who we’ve never met or seen, and we are required to slide it under the door of creepy, behind-the-stairs-apartment 1R every month. It’s all very Wizard of Oz. The woman doesn’t even live there. She must be some kind of puppet-master calling the shots from a nice building.

inside 1R

the real landlord?

A dude named R**** (and in case he knows how to use Google, I’ll be blocking out his name in most instances) does live in the building, maybe. And, he might have a duel identity. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

Here are the facts of the case DUN DUN:

1. We used to call R RonnyBobby, because we’re pretty sure he’s introduced himself as both-on separate occasions.

2. R may have a brother named Bobby, with whom he shares a voice mailbox- or maybe he is really both. He has referred to Bobby as both his “buddy” and his “bro,” which tells us approximately nothing. Zach claims to have met “Bobby,” and says that he is identical to R.

Unsettling, no?

Unsettling, no?

3. R doesn’t have a last name? Or maybe is the son of our real landlord?

4. R lives in 1R? But usually sits out in front of the building in his car for some reason, emerging only to lecture building dwellers on the proper way to recycle? He told Zach he lives there sometimes….

5. R does not appreciate or actually, seem to notice sarcasm. He never laughs or smiles. He curses a lot and says “Ya know wha’m sayin?” after like EVERY sentence. This + the Bobby mystery leads us to believe he may be mentally retarded, or at least generally retahded.

Okay, so whatever. He’s your average middle-aged, cantankerous, Brooklyn landlord. NBD, right? WELL THAT WAS UNTIL I GOT ATTACKED. Yesterday, while we were at work, working full-time office jobs like real people, R was apparently inspecting our apartment, possibly with his side-kick/bro Bobby, with no prior warning.

He was appalled to discover that our window AC unit was left on low throughout the day, that we had 10ish empty cereal/little frozen pizza boxes ready to be recycled and also like 15 or so bottles/cans. This recycling pile was not even big enough to be on the floor. Everything was arranged by size and type on top of the recycling bin lid. Man, we are SUCH aNiMaLs.

The thing that kills me is that between my occasional OCD and Zach’s propensity for general tidiness, we generally have a pretty orderly lifestyle. I’m more Phoebe than Monica, it’s true. But Monica is in there , goddamn it. I scrub floors, I dust everything! And always have a back-up canister of Clorox wipes under the sink! There were no dishes in the sink, no food left out, etc. Just strange art supplies and books strewn gracefully, WHIMSICALLY, throughout the space.

But as Zach put it: we have a right to our clutter. We also have a right to reasonable warning before being descended upon. If this were a real blog like curbed or gothamist I would have a scan of that stipulation in our lease inserted below. But this isn’t that kind of operation. Weeeee!

PS- type Air Conditioning Unit Fire Hazard into Google. Unless it is also a HEATING unit, which makes sense as a producer of FIRE….it’s job is to COOL things. Also it is full of WATER.

(Thank you to Z for calming me down off of the “we’re going to burn alive in this air conditioned death trap one night” ledge using Google last night, so I could go to sleep.)

It’s true, we had one pet “roach” … I prefer the term “palmetto bug.” But um, HELLO, it came from the depths of hell, and no matter how deeply I clean, that’s a little out of my jurisdiction.

I really don’t like the thought of our possibly twin’d, definitely unstable land person minion or whatever just wandering around our apartment whilst we are away. Did he bring his 25-year-old Asian girlfriend with him? Did they make fun of our pathetic DVD collections, rifle through our books and records, watch some HBO, and sample all of the different kinds of cereal we have? Did they test our beds to see if they are just right? It’s hard to say.

Bear Tennants Outraged at Goldilocks Abuse of Master Key

"Bear Tenants Outraged at Goldilocks' Abuse of Master Key"

WE MAY NEVER KNOW.

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