Wake up little Susie

3 02 2016

Jesus fuck:

subway sleeping

Subways are not for sleeping, says the man who has a driver.

[Y]ou make yourself a very easy victim and much more susceptible to a crime, says the man with bodyguards.

Why would you put yourself at that risk? says the man who thinks that telling tired people not to sleep is a way to reduce crime.

Hey, you want to protect me? How about paying attention to the jerk-off who’s trying to rob me?*

*Note: I have never been robbed on the train.

All right, all right, I get it: people who are sleeping are sometimes crime victims. And, as the story details, nudging people who are sound asleep in an empty car to wake up and tuck their iPhones back into their pockets is. . . not a bad idea, actually.

But jeez, Bratton, do you have to be such a dick about it?





Don’t let those Sunday afternoons get away

24 01 2016

It’s a snowy Sunday, so of course, the Jane Siberry song:

Last year we were told the city was going to get hit, so the governor—giving the mayor 15 minutes notice—shut the entire MTA system.

We got bupkes.

So I was a bit see-it-believe-it, but this is what it looked like at noon on Saturday.

009A proper storm.

This was the fire escape around noon:

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And then around 5:00:

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So, some decent accumulation.

It kept up well into the evening, at which point I headed outside; this was the entrance to my building:

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With the driving ban there were no cars on the streets, so I copied the other shadow figures I saw and trudged down the middle of the avenue:

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One bodega, at least, remained open:

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By morning the warm and the wind turned the fire escape sculptural:

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Beneath the blue, I headed to the park; I was not the only one with that idea, as every slope was smoothed by saucers, skinny cross-country skiers slowly glided along side trails, and snowmen appeared in fields and on fence posts:

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I’m a sucker for the melancholy view:

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But as I was walking out of the park, behind a guy smoking some skunky weed, and listening to David Bowie’s Ashes to Ashes wobble out of the speakers by the ice rink, I did come across some incongruous green:

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It snows all across the north and the prairies; there’s nothing new about snow, there’s nothing special about snow in New York City.

Except it’s my city, and I like the snow, and I like the city.

And its incongruous green.





This is ourselves

12 01 2016

I was never a huge fan of David Bowie’s.

I mean, I liked his music, had a few records, and generally enjoyed his work, but I was never a super-fan, and never had a full-on Bowie fever.

So why am I so sad today? And why can’t I stop reading about him?

~~~

David Bowie is actually associated with one of my worst memories from high school.

I wanted to be the yearbook editor my senior year. I’d started working on the yearbook staff when I was a freshman (which frosh usually didn’t do), was generally acknowledged to be ‘the writer’ in my class (not that hard, really, in a class of 150), and fully expected that the adviser, Ms. G., would appoint me.

She did not.*

L. and T. were appointed instead, and I’d be pissed about it to this today had they not a) put together a kick-ass yearbook; and b) treated me really, really well, allowing me to contribute in all kinds of way. They were champs.

Anyway, my idea was to create a yearbook around the lyrics to “Changes”—which is how Bowie gets dragged into this bad memory.

I have no idea whether or not this would have worked: it could have been amazing, it could have sucked, it could have been Eh.

Woulda liked the chance to have found out.

(*She had her reasons, which were legit. Still. . . .)

~~~

I’ve said “Under Pressure” is one of my favorite guilty pleasures, but today I’ve read all kinds of pieces holding that song out as some kind of genius.

I don’t think it’s genius, but yeah, it is a good pop song, undeserving of the guilty-pleasure label.

~~~

One good thing that’s come from all this reading today is that I found, courtesy of the Huffington Post, a couple of videos of Bowie playing with Arcade Fire.

First I saw this one, one of Bowie’s songs:

Then one of Arcade Fire’s:

I like Arcade Fire’s cds just fine, but watching them live, man, I realllly want to see them live.

What it would have been like to see them live with Bowie.

~~~

I think the main reason I considered “Under Pressure” a guilty pleasure is that every time I hear it I tear up.

I cannot handle my own tears, cannot handle that I am moved to tears.

~~~

It’s kind of astonishing how amazing a singer Bowie was, given that he didn’t have much of a voice.

He’s not like Leonard Cohen, who can’t sing at all, but if I were asked for the best straight-up voices in pop, I wouldn’t name Bowie.

But oh, could he sing, so many different types of songs, with so many different types of singers. Some of these collaborations (Arcade Fire) work better than others (Mick Jagger), it wasn’t down to him.

Something about that thin reed, stretched across the universe.

~~~

“Space Oddity” reminds me of John Lennon. I don’t know why. Maybe I heard it while thinking about Lennon’s death.

Or maybe it just reminds me of high school.

It’s not every time I hear the song I’m reeled back, but sometimes, sometimes I’m in the parking lot at Sheboygan Falls High School, Bowie on the car radio, singing And I’m sitting in my tin can. . . .

~~~

“Under Pressure” is about love, after all.

And love, I don’t know what to do with love.

Thus my chagrin over my tears, my chagrin over love.

~~~

And all of the work he’s done, all of the chances he took, all he gave and all he withheld, all he hid and all he revealed.

David Bowie, 1947-2016, was a Starman, a man who fell to earth, an alien, an artist, but most of all, most of all, David Bowie was a human being.





Cheese, glorious cheese

9 01 2016

How could this not be wonderful?

cheese electricityCoffee, chocolate, and cheese: the three Cs that make life worth living

~~~

Sorry I haven’t been posting much. I’ve had ideas, just not the oomph.

I’d say I made a New Year’s resolution to be more disciplined, but y’all know I’m too lazy for that. . . .





Well, something’s lost, but something’s gained

26 11 2015

I went to the Neue Galerie yesterday to see the Berlin Metropolis 1918-1933 exhibit—but, alas, the exhibit was closed.

On a Wednesday! (I thought Mondays were when museums snoozed.)

Anyway, the upside to that downer was that it was early enough to stroll through the park.

I haven’t been through Central Park in, oh, a year, maybe? My favorite part is the very north, but angling down from East 85th to 72nd and Central Park West was still lovely.

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017

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Once I hit the street again I kept walking west until I hit the train station. There were a lot of people out, but I’ve learned how to look around while dodging oncoming pedestrians; all I could think, as I gazed at the sculpted ironwork and stately facades, the cheeky cornices and inscrutable reliefs, was Oh, this really is a beautiful city.

I bitch a lot about my life—I’m middle-aged and living like a graduate student, I’ve tanked my own career—but I’m living in a city that I’ve loved since I was young, and teaching students from around the world at a city university which is open to them all.

I really don’t know life at all—maybe I never will—but I’m all right. I’m all right.

May you live a beautiful life in a beautiful city, however strange it all may be.





Black coffee

13 10 2015

Have I mentioned how I like my coffee?

'People Who Order Coffee Black Are More Likely To Be Psychopaths'

I learned the hard way that, in New York, if you want a black coffee, you have to specify ‘black coffee, no sugar’.

‘No cream’ is implied in black coffee, but, unlike elsewhere, ‘no sugar’ is not. You must be clear.

(‘Light and sweet’, by the way, means hop that hot caffeine up on cream—and it will often/always be real cream—and multiple scoopfuls of sugar.)

If the coffee slinger doesn’t know you, s/he’ll repeat this back you, skeptical: ‘Black coffee, no sugar?’

Again, this must be confirmed: ‘No sugar.’

If you buy coffee often enough at the same place, your java dealer will remember you by saying ‘black coffee, right? no sugar?”, then grin when you confirm this is so.

I very occasionally drink coffee and cream—a shot of Bailey’s in a mug of joe is a lovely winter drink—but sugar makes it unpalatable.  I once threw out a large cuppa because I had simply ordered a black coffee, and the server helpfully included the sugar.

That was a sad day.

It was also instructive, as I never made that mistake again.

~~~

I think I’ve mentioned this story before, but it’s good enough to repeat: A former editor of mine at The Daily Cardinal once said ‘I hate coffee, but when I drink it, I drink it black, because real women drink it black.’

Now that’s a role model.





I hate you, you hate me

30 09 2015

This is a nightmare-in-waiting: a human-rating app.

And it’s called peeple. (Of course it is.)

“So, you can’t please everybody, but if you’re a business owner, or you’re a professional, or you’re that young urbanite or you’re that parent looking to make better decisions, you also deserve to see where you could improve,” [peeple CEO and co-founder Julia Cordray] said.

“Think of this as an ability to grow and get some honest feedback.”

Yes, that’s just what the internet is good for: honest feedback.

And if you sign up and decide you don’t like it? Tough.

“Let’s say we allow you to delete your profile and let’s say you are a person of questionable character. All the people of questionable character could hide from the app and then what’s the point?” said Corday, adding those on the app could see benefits for their good scores.

What would be the point, indeed?

And even I, the epistemological nihilist, shrinks from this:

“It doesn’t matter how far apart we are in likes or dislikes,” she tells some bro at a bar in episode 10 [of her YouTube series]. “All that matters is what people say about us.”

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

h/t Shelby R. King, The Stranger








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