Category Archives: brooklyn

Obama O’Clock

obama-smoking

First smoker president, I bet

Well, we did it. Not me, I mean. I didn’t do anything except create viral ideas and launch them into the blogmosphere, like any patriotic young American would have done in my stead. Now it’s all over but the screaming — and boy, is there a lot of screaming! The entire borough of Brooklyn (well, everything north of Division Avenue and the BQE, which is as far as I was willing to bike drunkenly in circles in the rain for the last two hours) has devolved into one hugging/honking/shouting “woo” at passers-by festival, which is just terrific fun. There was one black person at the bar, and all the hipsters kept spontaneously hugging her, which must have gotten awkward after Hour Six. But it’s okay to be patronizing when shit is awesome.

Think of it! Although my loudly pronounced prediction that Obama would win Georgia did not, so much, pan out, I am fairly confident that (1) Sarah Palin will be on The View by next fall (2) I am going to get so sick of looking at photos of Jesse Jackson crying and (3) everything is perfect forever.

This was a good night. Beer was half off (yo, Miller High Life for $1.50 within the five boroughs, you can’t even get that kind of deal in Real America), everyone was optimistic, and the most conservative guy in the bar had voted for Obama — but got pissy when people booed McCain, which in Brooklyn places you somewhere to the right of 99% of the population, who are in favor of booing and of throwing batteries at the Democratic caucus because they won’t impeach the other 42 senators and all that. But hey. We’re excited. Look. Barack Obama stands for a better America. An America where anyone can make out with Katherine Heigl, if they want. Our long national hangover begins apace in the morning — when we realize that, despite how bitchin’ this all is, we are still completely fucked — but for now I’m going to bed in a good mood. SO LONG, HATERS! See you in 2012, when the remainder of Obama’s hair will no doubt have turned that sad grey color that most of it already is.

244082katherine-heigl-posters

“I voted for John McCain, but only because I can’t afford the
airfare to Brooklyn to make out with random bloggers”

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Filed under brooklyn, general complaints, obama, politricks, real life, Uncategorized, 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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Wet Hot American Sellout

I started blogging today strictly because I wanted to use that title. But also I want to talk to you about McCarren Park and what is becoming of it.

McCarren Park, if you don’t know, is the epicenter of all Williamsburg and Greenpoint leisure. It’s a giant, unpleasant, treeless park littered with cigarette butts and dog crap. It has an all-weather track, an astroturf soccer field, a Hasidic softball team, and is now completely surrounded with giant luxury condo towers. It’s a hipster promenade: people put on the absolute dumbest things they own and strut around with their ironically named dogs. (Some good ironic dog names:  “Meow”, “Ceci n’est pas une chien”, “Capitalism”, “Michael J. Woof”)

What’s that? You want more pithy commentary? Well, there’s seven ice cream trucks there, nineteen hours a day, and they never turn the goddamn sound off. When they passed that “shut the ice cream trucks the fuck up” law last year, these trucks straight up cranked that shit up until it bumped, my friend. That’s how the bootleg Good Humor man rolls. Bling bling, and watch out for children. Also there’s a bunch of women that don’t speak English selling sickeningly sweet fruit ices, and they have bike horns on their carts to alert you that they’re now standing within a couple miles of you. This is to protect us from silence, which is one of the top ten problems facing New York. Right up there with “way cheap”, “too polite”, and “subways insufficiently crowded.”

The park is tres complicated and fun, in other words. And the gem of McCarren is the McCarren Park Pool, which is a big abandoned pile of bullshit that you aren’t allowed into ten months of the year. Here’s a brief history [NOTE: this is mostly mythology at this point]:

  • 1935 – Robert Moses bulldozes some tenements or something and builds a pool.
  • 1950 – The pool is popular. People swim in it.
  • 1969 – A bunch of Puerto Ricans move to Williamsburg and have the audacity to use the pool. In a furor, the grumpy Italians and Polish demand that the pool be immediately abandoned and destroyed by weeds. The city gives in, because back in the day the city was a huge racist, and apparently also didn’t realize that Puerto Ricans could vote.
  • 1998 – A bunch of hipsters move to Williamsburg and start using the decaying corpse of the pool for free concerts.
  • 2005 – The concerts are getting really popular.
  • 2007 – Some genius realizes that if they charge $50 for the concerts, they won’t be fun anymore, so Clear Channel immediately starts doing that. Bayard Street becomes jammed with Hummers.
  • 2008 – Grumpy Italians and Polish (now joined by the 1960s Puerto Ricans, who have grown old and are annoyed enough with hipsters to join the “angry” team) realize that the concerts and events are popular and fun. In a furor, they demand that the venue be turned back into a pool, at tremendous expense, so nobody can enjoy it ever again. The city gives in.

Trust me. Robert Caro said so.

So, as a result of all this helpful political activity, this is probably the last summer of events at McCarren. Then they’re going to turn it into another gross New York swimming pool, complete with the pervasive urine and gunfights. [NOTE: People love killing each other at public pools in New York. I blame RENT.] In the meantime, though, there were a few awesome events left this summer that didn’t cost money.

First there was the Hold Steady concert, at which thousands of people were left outside a locked gate on Lorimer Street while the band played, during a thunderstorm. That was pretty hood. I took the bus home.

Then there was Wet Hot American Summer. Let me be clear. This wasn’t a bad event. It was well-attended. The people next to me sat there smoking cigarettes, talking loudly on the phone (“I’m at the pool! In the outer boroughs somewhere! What? No, I’m watching a movie! What? Yeah, there are lots of weird people here!”), and generally indicated how they were just way too cool to enjoy the movie. But hey, I wouldn’t have moved to Brooklyn if I didn’t want to put up with massive douchebags all the time. So I put up with that. Michael Showalter and Paul Rudd arrived and made funny.

Also, the guy from the L Magazine showed up. “L” (get it? it’s the name of a rad train and I guess it sounds like Elle, that’s clever) fancies itself a hipster rag, but the man was wearing a power tie. He had a combover. He asked us to, quote, “give a round of applause for the Scion.” He helpfully informed us that our fun was being sponsored by Brooklyn Brewery (cheer), Greenpoint Wines (faint, snootier cheer), and Starbucks (crickets). And Scion.

[P.S. Scion has also taken over Adult Swim. Maybe somebody should call Scion and tell them that nobody in the 18-24 demographic will ever buy a new car. “Hey, guys, they don’t sell Scions at thrift stores or Old Navy. Yes, really. Uh huh. Stay classy, dudes. OK. Thanks for all those unpaid marketing internships.”]

At this point, walking the six blocks to Williamsburg is like going to a sponsored funeral. Have you been to the American Apparel? It’s right next to Sea! Across the street from the Pad Thai place! No, the other one. No, the red one. They have great egg rolls, I think. The pallbearers were brought to you by Pepsi. That’ll be $74.99, special bereavement rate. Smile for the brochure.

But hey, man, pretty much all 8,000 hipsters showed up to see the movie and be mocked by Michael Showalter. It’s nice to see a little community. And the DoubleShots were free! Let me tell you, I can’t wait to drink Colt 45 in the kiddie pool with all you jackasses next summer. 25 cents off park admission if you buy a condo. Now with authentic grit!

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How I Am Going To Ruin Every Fucking Party I Ever Go To In Brooklyn, Ever Again

Alright, hold up a sec. Put down whatever you’re eating. Forget about all that My Family Is From The Deep South, Boo Hoo Motherfucking Hoo bullshit for just a second. After spending the better part of my weekend digging through old newspapers and family records (shut up, my life is unspeakably exciting usually), I found something surprising — relatives in Brooklyn!

“Pretty cool!” I said, out loud, and promptly shushed by the attractive archivist. (On topic: I’ve yet to meet an archivist that wasn’t twenty-four, with thick glasses, semi-hostile and bizarrely good looking. Time to get my MLS!) I scratched down a couple of unfamiliar looking street addresses and resolved to look into it later.

And I did. And they’re in Bushwick. Bushwick! Not even a nice part of Bushwick! Do you understand what this means? The absurd bizarre legitimacy this bequeaths me? I can only imagine my newfound conversational leverage:

Oh, hi. You moved to Bushwick three years ago? Nah man, that’s cool, cool, y’know, I got here in uh, 1858. It was sort of lame then, though, that’s why we moved to some shithole upstate town and stayed there for about a hundred twenty years. Until the yuppies took over. Yeah, man. Brooklyn, right? Now I live in Greenpoint, whatever, yeah, cool, you know, there aren’t so many paved roads and shit. Wanna buy me another drink?

Jay-Z thinks it’s badass he grew up in the Marcy projects… but they demolished my family’s house just to BUILD the Marcy projects! So that must have been an improvement! God knows what it was like. I heard my great-great-grandfather sold crack out the back his Escalade, although records from that era are, of course, inconclusive at best. Wood Escalade, bitches!

Anyway, I’m sure the past was exactly like today, what with the prosperity and silly outfits and $8 beers, although every single member of my family is listed in 1880 as “Laborer in hat factory.” Ironic hats? Somehow I doubt it. But whatever, man, I’m sure lofts were cooler when you couldn’t turn the lights on. And I don’t have to tell you how much cleaner the subway was, back when it was a horse.

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Across The Sea

Not so long ago, I found out I was a Dutch citizen! In addition to being an American citizen, I am now Hollandaise like Eggs Benedict, my friends. And you know that that means:

That’s right: it means you are a racist.

In all seriousness, there are a lot of benefits to dual citizenship. For example:

  1. Being treated suspiciously at airports
  2. The opportunity to pay more taxes
  3. You can blog about it, like this
  4. Europeans are not asked or expected to see “The Happening”
  5. Extra taxes
  6. Wooden shoes… you racist
  7. Taxes

There are downsides, though. For example, if I get bored, I can just move to Spain. That sucks. And America has its charms: Big Macs, war, terrifying social conservatism, your choice of Dakotas or Carolinas…

Another downside: Amsterdam is the damn devil. I may be the only American in the history of the city of Amsterdam to travel there in order to specifically not sleep with prostitutes or smoke unfiltered marijuana, or buy Marijuanette gum, which I guess helps you quit. I was the American that showed up, tried to speak Dutch to everybody (failed), tried not to spend $6 on a slice of pizza (failed, TWICE), refused to go to the Van Gogh museum, and got unbelievably pissed off. When I ended the trip, I’d been sitting in Schipol Airport for seven hours because I was too angry at Amsterdam.

Still. I am learning the language (“Excuse me hello sir can I purchase a ticket for metrotrain backwards Amsterdam with happiness?”). I have a little button on my web browser bar that tells me when the flights are. And I live in New York, which used to be called New Amsterdam, duh. And “Brooklyn” is Dutch for “Brueckelen”, an old Dutch word meaning “City where everyone gets a stupid haircut or becomes ostracized.” And “New York” is a Dutch word too, but you don’t even want to know what it means.

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Things They Do Look Awful C-C-Cold, I Hope I Die Before I Get Old

Yes that’s right. I’m talkin’ bout my generation.

You guys are aware that we’re being shat on in the media by the very flannel-wearing, pizza-faced slacketarians who used to babysit us and lifeguard at the pool when we were little, right? Well join me up here on this high-horse, because as Charlotte put it, “it’s fun up here. Feels right.”

So my story today starts with poor Robert Lanham.

(pictured below with under-appreciated associate D. Menace)

That frontal lobotomy is not treating him well. Not only did he further doucherize FreeBilly by taking out the galleries section recently (fact: Robert Lanham must have all the art in Williamsburg to himself!), but now he’s attacking what our staff statisticians report make up about 80% of his readership. The group I’m referring to, of course, is EVERYONE between the age of 18 and 27. I thought living somewhere youthful and hating youth was New York Shitty’s job.

Says Lanham of my generation in his May 13 article for radarmagazine.com:

They’re naive, self-important, and perpetually plugged in. This is a call to arms against millenials…They think updating a spreadsheet while simultaneously posting to a Twitter account about the latest gossip on perezhilton.com is an essential corporate skill. And…they’re always doing stupid shit, but rarely getting called on it.

First of all. Jeaaaaaaaaaaaallllllloouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuussssssss?????

Secondly, low blow, dawg. YOWCH! I bought all of your motherfucking deliciously entertaining books and now you have to go and do me like this. God. Parents just don’t understand. Way to join the dark side of the force.

Lanham before and after his Radar online article:

What scrambles my brain so thoroughly on this one is that Robert Lanham’s mental math just doesn’t add up with this attack on 20-somethings. Not only is he seriously biting the hand that feeds him by alienating himself from most of his readership, but he is also embarrassing himself by revealing to us, his Brooklyn-dwelling, blog-reading, and now teary-eyed former-admirers that he is in fact NOT hip, cool, or fun, but actually just old and crotchety AND A HYPOCRITE. LIKE EVERYONE ELSE WHO COMPLAINS ABOUT YOUNG PEOPLE.

Complaining about those younger than you immediately designates you as old, tired, bitter, and, like all dads everywhere, roller blades, vacations at Sandals resorts, last season’s ballet flats, and leggings-as-pants, tragically, tragically uncool.

Which, call me crazy, probably isn’t good for the editor of a major culture blog. BuT WhAt dO i KnOw i’M jUsT a SpOiLeD yOuNgStEr.

Way to get your super-chic, topic-of-the-moment article idea from 60 Minutes, broseph. Way to coast on a point argued on TV 6 months ago. Way to go. Yeah, way to go!

Above, Lanham in a recent interview.

The most wack part of this whole wack attack is that his afront on my peeps is totally unneccessary to his article! Ironically, his article focuses largely on whining about the unfair shake and lack of coddling and babying the boomers provided Generation X. He sort of implies that his generation longed for the treatment we receive, and that the boomers’ ill treatment of the X-ercists effed their shit up – which has nothing to do with Generation X’s (perhaps more favored, sure) followers…as we were in middle and high school when, to put it millenially, all of these dramz went down!

Lanham is blatantly hating the playa because of the game by dragging my generation into this boring punch-up of hurt 30-somethings looking to place blame everywhere but on themselves for their reputed baditudes. He says:

Let’s face facts: The boomers always detested Generation X. They felt threatened by our youth, confused by our lack of earnestness, and deeply troubled by our lack of appreciation for James Taylor. The boomers’ entire identity was wrapped around being young and progressive. Gen X was an affront to their place in the world. What’s more, they never understood us…

Since the ’90s, boomers have plotted to turn us into the redheaded stepchild of generations. We were slackers. Cynical. We loved Pauly Shore.

So… forgive me if it SEEMS like his complaints about Millenials sound exactly like the complaints about Gen X that he is complaining about with his complainy writing complaints. Complainer!

The bottom line is that Robert Lanham has no reason to villainize those younger than him simply for being born and leading productive, confidently Wikipedia-informed lives and succeeding while everyone lurves us and wants to hire us. I’m so glad that I can blog about how immature he is while I’m working on spreadsheets, playing Wii at my desk, typing on six laptops at once and linking everyone I know to this entry via Facebook and Myspace.

Lanham, we’re here and like it or not…we got to grow up with the internet and political correctness firmly in place. But we also fucking look up to you guys,

(and as for the outrageous cries from Gen X about our cultural appropriation….we’ll be confiscating your Led Zeppelin tapes now in the name of fairness, oh and the White Stripes and the Gossip count as ours so we’ll grabbing those from you too)

and buy your stupid culture-comment books and read your largely pointless blogs, so if you’re going to cry about how the boomers never liked you, at least be a man about it. Now it’s OUR TURN to call bullshit. You made us be PETE WENTZ!?

Now THAT is fucked.

sent from my iphone.

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I’ll have the Nazi Melt

Last night, Zach and I were enjoying our full, young, energetic lives in NYC by shutting ourselves in, sitting on the couch and watching the first of ALL OF THE INDIANA JONES MOVIES, which we tivo’d off of cable this weekend (in preparation for the new Indiana Jones movie that has that wacky Lewis Stevens in it, and don’t you dare pretend you don’t know who Lewis Stevens is, okay.)

First let me say this, have you seen Raiders since you were 10? I hadn’t. So I was surprised to find that in place of a serious, fast-paced, history-meets-adventure tale full of nail-biting suspense and beautiful scenery I ended up with this:

One question: is it true that faces melt before hats!? How can we test this without ruining nice hats?

Even though the Nazis were partially hilarious in this movie (their accent will always remind me of that fat caterpillar from A Bug’s Life), it reminded me of last summer when I revisited Salute Your Shorts only to find out to my horror that, despite thinking it dramatic/comedic genius at age 9, now I see that it isn’t a really great summer camp show, and it’s barely even campy. It’s actually just a lot of bad acting and side ponytails, which is something I can do on my own without TV anytime I want, thanks.

Now for some disturbing facts about car bombs! DRAW YOUR OWN CONCLUSIONS!

1. (If you ignore the hypothesis that there was one in Istanbul in 1905) the first car bomb happened in 1920 in New York City (SHOUT OUT!) on Wall and Broad Streets, shortly after the arrest of Sacco and Vanzetti. It exploded a horse and carriage. GRUESOME!

Thus, car bombs are not Irish, but American.

2. The 1981 release of Raiders of the Lost Ark coincided with the Soviet Afghan War, where carbombs happened!

INTERESTING!

3. There is a totally sweet carbomb explosion in Raiders!

SUSPICIOUS!

THUS, CAR BOMBS ARE AMERICAN AND INDIANA JONES IS AMERICAN AND BECAUSE OF MOVIES AND ACCESSIBLE INFORMATION AND MCWORLD, WE TOLD THE MIDDLE EAST ABOUT CAR BOMBS AND NOW THEY CAN USE THEM ON US.

I can’t believe George Lucas hates America even though most people have forgiven him for Jar Jar Binks!

Seriously, wtf.

(Warning: please check zero facts reported in this post)

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