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THE END

the-end

When there are no more smackdowns to smack down
Sometimes a smackerdown gets depressed
The road is long and sad
It’s lonesome to be a cowboy

Well, that’s the end of that. After slathering unpainted Spackle over all the holes in the walls, coating the walls in cockroach-attracting toothpaste, and STILL WAITING FOR MY GODDAMN SECURITY DEPOSIT YOU SONS OF BITCHES, the Smackdown has been evacuated. Through a brief six-week moving process, we somehow managed to find strangers to take all our stuff, put the few remaining boxes into a moving van, and set off into the old unknown world.

Me? What am I doing? Well, I simply called my uncle (the king of Austria, natch) and reclaimed my place at the throne. Don’t worry about me readers, I’m at the palatial Hausensplitzervolksfatter on Hefeveisenstrasse, dining on petit fours and romancing various dilettantes. You know how it is.

So there shall be no more smackdown, because there is no longer a Monitor Street. Greenpoint is dead to us — and, by extension, to everyone else. While we’ll miss the coffee shop on the corner that never had coffee and the grocery store closing at SIX FUCKING THIRTY and the rude stares and the dog crap everywhere, and the garbage storms, and the FREEWAY, I suppose all good things must come to an end. I’d recommend you read our other blogs, but I don’t think we have any. See you out in America, readers! I’ll be the one standing under the world’s largest ball of twine, sipping Courvoisier. And pouring some out for my proverbial blog homies. Peace out, kids.

goodbyeIf you haven’t met us, we looked like this

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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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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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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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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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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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