Thursday, October 25, 2007

speaking of butt sex

Did anyone else see Julio Lugo tenderly finger one of Manny Ramirez's unruly locks behind his ear during ALCS Game 7? It happened during the seventh inning rally. The dugout candid cam caught Julio gazing longingly at Manny, who was leaning on one knee and looking at the batter. Julio then glanced up nervously, made eye contact with the camera lens, and then retreated a foot or so from the scene of aching homosensuality.

Watch out, Julio! It's not easy to wash Boston cream pie out of those nylon pants.

song of solomon 5:4

"My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him."

Tell me what this means. In the NRSV, it's translated: "My beloved thrust his hand into the opening, and my inmost being yearned for him."


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

sox v. rox

I've gotten really into baseball recently and am ready to sire Jacoby Ellsbury's child, which I've already decided we will ship to China to groom to be a 5'3" male gymnast and/or decathlete. (Jacoby is the left/center fielder for the Red Sox, the team I've been rooting for.) Anyway, so I plan to be out of commission for the next few nights watching the World Series and making zongzi at the same time. I really, really, really like baseball in October, because even exciting games aren't very exciting in July when there are still 100 games left in the season. It's not so much that I feel excited because I feel like the Red Sox are my guys, it's that I get so excited that so many people get excited about their teams - does that make sense? It's just so weird and wonderful to see all these people smiling when Dustin Pedroia hits the ball. I also have an affinity for men named Dustin. My and Jacoby's son, the Olympian, will be named Dusting (to make it a little more Chinese-sounding). Anyway, what am I say...oh yes. Go Sox!

guilty of being punk

Speaking of whispering kaddish, good night and good luck to my brief bedazzlement by the lights of the punk rock mythmaking machine. I watched "American Hardcore" two days ago, after the DVD had collected three months of dust on its wrinkled Tyvek sleeve, because I needed something to distract myself with while I peeled and gutted eleven soft apples for applesauce.

It's a documentary about the beginnings of the hardcore punk scene in D.C. and SoCal, 1980-1985, and how it went from being angry white fifteen year-olds playing awfully and awfully loud to angry twenty year-olds playing slightly better, and the culture of violence, the DIY ethos, and the teenage wastrelism that grew up alongside it. It's comprised of interviews with punks from yore, like Ian McKaye (pictured above before he got sick of all the kicking and screaming), Henry Rollins, H.R. from Bad Brains, etc. Actually, these three turn out to be the most articulate of the bunch but are still fumblingly stupid. Most of the interviews are with people who are now in their late 40s, who mist over with sentimentality when talking about how much they hated the suburbs when they were kids, but now work as CPAs (for example) and say that kids these days are doing it all wrong. But every batch of late 40 year-olds think that every batch of kids these days are doing things the wrong way! Are sellouts, phonies, derivatives! Vehicles for product placement!

I'm over it. I dropped my MP3 player in a glass of wine this summer, not really by accident - just as it dropped in the words "Hey baby, look! My MP3 player sits perfectly against the top of this wineglass!" were about to leave my mouth - which means it plays MP3s terribly but plays the FM dial pretty good. So all I can listen to now when I walk Boo is Top 40, hip hop, R&B (and the constant shuffle through "What's the Story (Morning Glory)?" and the UB40 oeuvre that comprises the playlist for Fresh 102.7 FM). What have I learned from this month of radio? I like the processed noise. I like craft. I like singers who can sing with their mouths open. I like songs that last over 55 seconds. I like Alicia Keys. There's nothing pure about hardcore punks syncopating white noise and calling it the real deal. And whether you pay $5 to see a punk show in someone's basement or $55 to see Justin Timberlake's nose broadcast fifty feet high on megavision, you are paying for performance. You pay to be entertained, which might mean, for one, having one's political views sung in simplified form back to you in an audience full of the converted, or, for another, watching people who can sing and dance do that with speakerboxes, mercenary dancers, and against millions of light-emitting diodes. One profits Pepsi, and the other profits all these angry young white kids who grow up and profit from Pepsi. I don't really see the difference.

What the fuck am I saying? Oh, right: I think Ian MacKaye is full of shit. Also because in this documentary he says, "How was I supposed to know when I wrote that song that some Polish neo-Nazi was going to be coming up to me fifteen years later and being like, 'Thanks for sticking up for the white man'?" That song in question is called "Guilty of Being White." Here are its lyrics:

I'm sorry
For something I didn't do
Lynched somebody
But I don't know who
You blame me for slavery
A hundred years before I was born


I'm a convict
Of a racist crime
I've only served
19 years of my time


This is a man people get their hand-sown [correction: sEwn] DIY panties in a sop about because he's so anti-racist? Break me a fucking give. I'll take Alicia Keys (what the hell, even UB40) any day. The love affair with punks, anarchists, straightedgers, etc., is officially dead. Time to buy some pantiliners to replace this motherfucking glad rag. RIP, DIY.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

the things they learned

I: could not give two shits about the First Amendment; hate social science writing; find it very difficult to sleep with mosquitoes (IN OCTOBER! GODDAMN GLOBAL WARMING) dinging my exposed flesh (forehead, eyelid, wrist, soles of feet) every hour on the hour; want to sue the FDNY; can't decide which state's bar to take.

I've spent the last two weeks underground working on a brief brief. Yesterday I velobound and re-velobound 48 copies of this brief, and sent it all via overnight shipping to an address in San Francisco that may or may not exist. Now I am filling the brief-shaped hole in my calendar by blogging, and doing research about propaganda, which has led me to the belief that the First Amendment is a strange and useless constitutional dingleberry that makes bedfellows of Nazis and civil libertarians.

Blah, blah, blah. Probably the most interesting thing to note here is that I've started cooking Boo's food. I spend $11 once a week on ground turkey, frozen veggies, chickpeas, peanuts, garlic, and chicken parts (either the word "gizzards" or "innards" is printed on the packaging, but I can't remember which one it is) and throw it in a big pot and stew it for an hour, and then pack it in baggies that I keep in a big baggie in the freezer, and then defrost two per day and stir fry them with rice or pasta and add a 1/2 cup of kibbles and feed it all to my dog, who inhales everything in seconds, except the peanuts, which he spits out and leaves in the bowl until noon, when he gets really hungry, and begrudgingly gums the spittle-covered nuts to tide him over until 6 p.m. I do this because I really have become that dog-crazed lezzie/spinster who will do anything to prolong the life of her dog, which she calls "my friend" (as in, "I went on a walk with my friend this morning"), because her life is already too bereft to contemplate its continuation without a tirelessly loyal, unflaggingly stupid heated fuzzball distracting her from syndicated re-runs. I also crawl under my bed periodically and spoon Boo and whisper to him that we are on our own now.

Saturday, October 06, 2007


At about 1:45 a.m. Saturday night, I got on the L train at First Avenue, headed toward Brooklyn. On the train were two people already engaged in some sort of a fight. I gathered from their exchange that this had happened: a young man and his friend were horsing around, and the friend flicked his lighter on momentarily; a woman got very upset that a lighter had been flicked on in the subway and told the two men to put it away; the man asked her why she was getting in his business about a lighter at a time of night when people do much worse shit on the subway; she said something about terrorism; and that's where the fight was when I got on the train.

There are important details that I thought I should save for the second paragraph of this retelling, namely, that the two young men were Spanish and dressed how lots of guys from Brooklyn dress -- baggy pants, backwards hats, big polo shirts. The young woman who made the comment about the lighter was of a very pale white, with long blond hair. She was dressed in a way that you would expect a young white woman headed to the first three stops in Brooklyn on the L train would be dressed: party-pretty, feminine, summery. (It's October but apparently was 87 degrees in New York Saturday.) These facts are important to omit in the first telling of the story because they unfairly bias the reader in the first instance.

The man was berating the woman, saying, "What did you think would happen? What did you think he was going to do with a lighter? You think we're terrorists? No, you didn't, you just thought because I'm Spanish that I was gonna do something, because you think everyone whose Spanish is going to do something. You couldn't just leave it alone, so I'm not gonna leave you alone. I'm gonna talk to you until you get off the train. What's your stop? I bet you're stop is Lorimer, isn't it?"

It was unclear at this point where sympathies should lie; with the woman, because she should not be so angrily, loudly, and publicly berated for seeing ves algo di'ing ves algo in a post-Rudy world; or with the man, who identified something the woman would not admit -- namely, that if the young men horsing around with a lighter had been two slack-haired white guys in tight ironic graphic Ts coming home from the Randall's Island Arcade Fire concert, she would not have harassed them for flicking open and on their stylish Zippo. Yet for the other white people on the train -- and there were only seven, and they were all standing or sitting near each other -- and I do not count myself accidentally among them* -- and speaking now is not my own crass hypersensitivity toward race but a specific, empirical observation, a simple act of reportage from your neutral scrivener -- it was clear that the Spanish man was at fault. So gradually, a triumvirate of defenders emerged, among them the (1) white woman, apparently not in the first woman's company, whose personality lent itself to healing chakras and earth-toned clothing suitable for extended periods of sitting meditation; (2) the tall, self-righteous white woman, most likely soused, also not in the first woman's company, whose boatnecked styles are of the day but will be roundly mocked on cable "Remember the 2000s?" retrospectives, accompanied by (3) the artificially brunetted white man in his early thirties, wearing tight black jeans and a black T-shirt stretched like the head of floor tom over a distended belly that read "J.H.S. Gymnastics," who stayed mostly silent until he wryly mumbled some poorly-delivered insults before exiting the Graham Avenue stop.

*I say this because when I lived in the Bronx with community garden-affirming, SoBro-gentrifying caucasoid Vermonsters they would say things like, "We're the only white people in the neighborhood." And I would think, "I'm white?" and I would say, "Yeah, smash the state."

The first to rise to the first woman's defense was (1), who tried repeatedly, to no avail, to calm the situation down. Lighter lady continued to try to explain why 9/11 changed everything and lighters should not be lit on trains, and (1) said, "Now wait. I want to know too. Why did you think it was a problem that he lit the lighter?" She was mostly ignored for the remainder of the ride.

Her participation, however, prompted (2) to begin her assault. (2) shouted at the man, saying, "Why can't you just shut the fuck up? You're making such a huge fucking scene! Just shut the fuck up and stop picking on that woman. You're making such a big fucking deal out of it and everyone on the fucking train wants you to shut the fuck up!" The man seemed delighted to have this new target, especially one who moved the conversation quickly from being a genuine, if very agitated, debate about post-9/11 paranoia to a contest of voluminous insults at high volumes. He responded by saying, "Yeah? Why don't you just shut the fuck up? Huh? Why don't you just shut the fuck up?"

This particular thread repeated for a few cycles. (Meanwhile, (1) tested her dispute resolution chops by saying, in her "outdoor" voice, "Hey, do we really need to be this angry right now? Everybody just stop and think: do we really need to put so much anger out there now?" Despite her pleas to the universal third person and her leading by example, she continued to be ignored completely.)

Then, he said, "Why don't you just get off at the next stop?"

To which (2) responded, "Yeah, I'll get off at the next stop...after I put my foot in your ass!"

The man responded by shouting, "Yeah? You're gonna put your foot in my ass? Go ahead! Put your foot in my ass! You want to do it, go ahead! Put it in!" and standing, turning his back toward her (over her shouts of "I can practically see your ass because your pants are so low!", drawing some applause from the other vascoconstricted hipsters) and dropping first just his pants, and then, with a defiant yank, his underwear just to a point where, from where I was standing, about four feet in front of him, I could see the plunge from pyramidalis to penis and a roll of flubby, fatty, shorn flesh directly above it. Most people on the train gasped, several said "Damn!" and I could only think: "Flesh tube!"

At this point I very discreetly and slowly retreated ten feet and continued watching the show from a vantage where I might not be accidentally hit by a seminal stream of tidy. I stood near two gothy/Renn Fayre types, one of whom had a hemp chain dotted with punk spikes connecting his wallet to his raver pants, who were commentating on the action unfolding. The conversation continued, to everyone's great amusement:

(2): You're a fucking idiot! You just made an ass of yourself! The whole train saw your ass!

Man: Well, you said you were gonna put your foot up my ass. You wanna put your foot up my ass? Go ahead! Are you gonna do something about it?

(3) (hipster man): [laughing, standing slightly behind (2), presumably his girlfriend]

Man: Oh, you think that's funny? You're a man. You're just gonna sit there in your cheap-ass shirt and hide behind your woman?

(2): You think you're so cool with your backwards hat? "Ooooh, I'm so cool! [In falsetto, gesticulating vaguely and derisively in the air, frowning like a tragic mask, rolling eyes back into head] I'm wearing a Yankees hat backward!"

Man: [grabs hat off head and points] It's the METS! My clothes are worth more than you are! My shoes cost more than your whole outfit!

(2) and (3): [cooing] Oh, money's everything! Money is everything! You're so important! Money is everything!

Man: My pants cost $120. My shirt - this cost $100. My shoes cost $120. They're worth more than everything both y'all are wearing.

(2): Oooh, well, I bought him [jerks a thumb at (3)] this shirt for $4.

(3): Yeah, I don't waste money on my clothes. My brain is worth more than your clothes.*

*Implying that his brain is worth at least $340.

Man: What are you, a bunch of cokeheads?

(2) and (3): [dissolving into laughter]

Man: Oh, I see, y'all are just a bunch of cokeheads. Get off this train and go do your coke somewhere else.

(2): So what if he's done coke once in the last...three...and a half...years?

Man: What a stupid-ass shirt. "J.H.S. Gymnastics." What the fuck is that?

(2): [hysteria increasing] Can't you see he's a gymnast? He's a superstar gymnast? This is a cool shirt! I bought him that shirt. That's a cool shirt in this neighborhood!

Man: I'm from this neighborhood!

(2): Yeah, right! If you were from Williamsburg, your shirt would be tighter! Your pants would be tighter!

At this, el blanco in a tight shirt sitting directly across from me applauds wildly and says, "Yeah!"

Man: I'm FROM WILLIAMSBURG! I live at South 5 and [unintelligible]. Fuck you!

(2): Well, go back to Century 21 and buy another $21.99 shirt!

The trains pulls into the Graham Avenue station.

(2): [unintelligible] That's all gonna change...November 2008! Peace in the Middle East! Peace in the the Middle East! [(2) and (3) exit train]

After the Graham Avenue station, there are no more hipsters on the train. All there is on the train is silence, and the man and his friend with the lighter shaking their heads at each other. The goth kids are discussing who has won. "The right thing to have said was 'How long did you have to work at McDonald's to pay for your clothes?'" one says. I interject and say that it the woman lost because she thought that she was entitled to the neighborhood when ten years ago people who look like her didn't live here. The goth kids disagree, and I exit the Montrose station to go walk my border collie who doesn't know a thing about why people yell at each other and is just very, very happy to see me, every time he sees me.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


A new mantra. I will say, "My mouth is a moist environment" when extremely angry. I tried it yesterday for twenty minutes after getting in a fight with a pissy neighbor/neighborhood vermin. (A carbon-based life form who will eventually, and spectucularly, get his comeuppance, to the pleasure of all misfortunate enough to have met him. More on this when that day happens, though such pedestrian heartaches as middle-management politicking exposed and unattended funerals are so minimally covered that one may never hear news about this so-called man.) Though it dried my mouth, it deflated my temper.

Also, a new ambition, to supplement previously existing ambitions (early retirement to an administrative post in a small but well-funded college; cult stardom in twenty square blocks of Williamsburg and Echo Park). Now I'm planning a triptych. It's going to be a thinly-veiled autobiography in three parts, called "M.O.I.", unfolding as a (1) reminiscence of heady, greasy-faced teenaged passions; (2) a murder mystery about a book plate; (3) a long distance romance between a disappointed hausfrau and the New Yorker essayist who, unbeknownst to him, has written everything he's ever written for her; a volcano keeps them apart. I will not disclose all the titles I have in mind, since I don't yet know how to secure patents for my intellectual property, except to say that #2 will be entitled "Ex Libris" and that embossed, Haettenschweiler-studded covers for it will be printed by the ton. I am only half-joking about this.