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Huh?

May 10, 2013

So I was pub-crawling my way up 9th Avenue and I stopped into Billymark’s West. Now I love Billymark’s West. Fantastic bar. Perfect stop on one’s way up 9th Ave., even though I was wearing a suit, but fuck it, if I’m in a suit, I still might want to have a drink, mightn’t I?

So I have myself a Bud bottle and Billy serves it to me perfectly well, and the dude who’s sort of bar-backing comes over and notices that my cash change has ended up in a puddle and suggests that maybe I should take it out of the puddle, but I’m fairly unconcerned. But he’s pretty concerned, so I leave the tip in the puddle and take the rest of the change, which is fairly dry, and pocket it. But I digress.

Anyhow, on my way out, since I still have some hoofing to do, I stop to use the facilities. Now they are basic facilities, but perfectly fine, and as I’m scanning the walls, I notice this:

Billymark's West Graffiti

Now I can’t exactly make out what’s on the righthand side, but I’ve decided it says “Forever Louima,” referring to the brutalizing of Abner Louima. Right on. That was some fucked up shit.

But on the lefthand side, it definitely says “Martin Amis Uber Alles.” Now what the fuck is that about? I’m a big fan of Martin Amis’s books. Decades ago a friend gave me a copy of Money, and I thought it was fantastic. If you don’t know him, he’s a Brit novelist, son of Kingsley Amis (Lucky Jim and such) and buddy of Christopher Hitchens. But whatever. Why is some asshole using some Nazi-ass shit to praise Martin Amis on the bathroom wall at Billymark’s West?

No, seriously, why?

Headline of the Day

April 24, 2013

ACE OF BASE GUY WAS A NEO-NAZI, LIFE HAS LOST ALL MEANING

It’s a must-read. I saw the sign, indeed. Piece of shit. I hate fucking Nazis.

Equal-Opportunity Jackassery

March 27, 2013
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I was just walking across West 51st Street and spotted a deaf guy who was simultaneously walking and animatedly (that’s a word, right?) signing at his smartphone, obviously in the middle of a world-changing video-chat.

It’s a brave new world. I guess.

Posts come in spurts

March 7, 2013

So yesterday I put up the first post here in some time. And it just happened to be a video of Richard Hell & the Voidoids. Turns out, my spidey-sense was working overtime, because it turns out it’s Richard Hell Week, at least according to EV Grieve. And EV points us to an article in the Observer on Mr. Hell. here’s a snippet:

“How can I say I regret heroin?” he said to me. “It would be like saying, ‘Wouldn’t you rather be somebody else?’ It’s a meaningless thing to say.”

And anyway, as he puts it at one point, “sex pervades all.” Among the girlfriends he mentions throughout his narrative, all of whom he clearly worshipped, are teenage hookers, French chanteuses, married art patrons, Rolling Stones groupies, Andrew Wylie’s little sister, bassists, the door girl at CBGB and the doomed Nancy Spungen. Many of them overlapped. Men writing about their conquests are often boring; luckily for us, Mr. Hell is a regular Henry Miller when it comes to sex scenes. Take, for example, the following description of coitus with a 16-year-old, in Paris, a tryst that happened while Mr. Hell was waiting for a fiancée, Lizzy, to return from South Africa.

I bent her over the Corbusier. We were in our element. There’s a point where extreme, knowing drug abandon becomes a kind of delicious hell … It’s like a ballet performed at 1/1000 speed and that’s how I put my granite hard-on into Ava and watched her face and watched her lips as she said something snotty and grateful to me, grinning, and meanwhile Lizzy was in the back of my mind and my heart was breaking, drily and brittle though, not as if I had any meaning to lose.

Yeah, well, we’ll always have the Voidoids.

Oh no, it hurts!

March 6, 2013

Richard Hell & The Voidoids (Christgau memorably described Hell’s singing as evincing an “indifference to vocal amenities like key and timbre”) for you this fine morning.

Smile

February 10, 2013

I’m not usually that impressed with the things people do with the snow that has landed on parked vehicles. Frankly, as far as I can tell, such artwork tends these days to involve penises. Look, to each his own, but this is the one that spoke to me today. Totally SFW (unlike, say, this).

Smiling Snow Postal Truck

Pussy

February 8, 2013

As you may have heard, the idiots at Hasbro let us morons on the Internet choose a new Monopoly token. The choice was a cat. The iron is gone. Now I’m a fan of cats, I think cats are great, but what the fuck? That iron has been around forever. Mind you, I never wanted to be the iron (I’m a top hat kind of guy), but I took comfort in the fact that it was there. At least I now realize that I took comfort that it was there. I don’t want to be the fucking cat. It’s bullshit.

Something Wild

February 6, 2013

Posting about Reg Presley’s death put in my head one of my favorite versions of “Wild Thing” (albeit I’m pretty sure with completely different lyrics), Sister Carol’s version from Something Wild. It could be Queen or it could be King.

Love is all around

February 5, 2013
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Reg Presley, lead singer of the Troggs, has passed away at 71.

Presley was born Reg Ball in Andover, Hampshire. After leaving school at 15, he played the guitar in a local skiffle group, but by day worked as a bricklayer. His musical career lay dormant until the early 1960s when a fellow worker, Howard Mansfield, suggested forming a band. Mansfield was the singer and lead guitarist, with Ball on bass guitar. When Mansfield left, Ball reluctantly took on the role of lead vocalist, accompanied by Ronnie Bond on drums, Chris Britton on guitar, and a bass player, Pete Staples. As the Troglodytes, they won a Battle of the Bands talent contest in Oxford in 1965, and sent a demo tape to the rock entrepreneur Larry Page, who shortened their name to the Troggs. The Troggs were not among the most technically proficient of British pop groups of the 1960s, but they generated great affection among audiences and disc jockeys alike. The naivety of their sound, their songs and, above all, the singing of Reg Presley, who has died of lung cancer aged 71, made records such as I Can’t Control Myself and With a Girl Like You into big international hits.

Presley’s most lasting performances, however, were on Wild Thing (a 1966 hit soon adopted by Jimi Hendrix) and the wistful 1967 ballad Love Is All Around, given a new lease of life when a version by the Scottish band Wet Wet Wet was used in the 1994 film Four Weddings and a Funeral. In the 1970s, the Troggs were feted by the punk generation, while the infamous “Troggs tapes”, a recording of a heated discussion at a studio session, was said to have inspired a scene in the cult 1984 film This is Spinal Tap.

Headline of the Day

February 3, 2013

The Problem With DIY Penis Implants

Umm, the problem with that headline is obviously the word “THE.”

I can’t say I actually read the article, but I did notice this line:

Like most exotic sexual practices, penile implants date back to the Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana.

Sure, okay, DIY penile implants are the Hindus’ fault. Of course they are.

I never really much cared for gingerbread.

Prop Joe

January 22, 2013

Robert Chew, who played Proposition Joe on The Wire, has passed on at the far too young age of 52. And, reading his obituary, one sees that he was actually from Baltimore, not one of those British dudes playing a role (Idris Elba and Dominic West, I’m looking at y’all).

Robert F. Chew, an actor best known for his roles in gritty HBO dramas like “The Corner” and “The Wire,” died on Thursday at his home in Baltimore. He was 52. The cause was a heart attack, said his sister, Clarice Chew. Mr. Chew was a well-regarded stage actor when he began appearing in television shows created by or based on the work of David Simon and Edward Burns. He played a shoe salesman on “The Corner” and the drug supplier Wilkie Collins on the NBC drama “Homicide: Life on the Street.”

As Proposition Joe Stewart, the portly, deeply connected and relatively civil drug kingpin on “The Wire,” he preferred to broker deals between rival drug factions rather than resort to violence. “We were looking for somebody that was sensible and even paternal, as almost a foil to the rest of the brutality and ambition that you were seeing in that underground economy,” Mr. Simon said on Friday. “So you needed him to be incredibly human, funny, connected to whoever’s in the room, and yet he’s a gangster.”

He recalled one scene in which Mr. Chew used four different voices while calling a telephone number that turns out to be that of Baltimore’s homicide unit. “He becomes four different characters before your eyes,” Mr. Simon said. “It was a soliloquy of pure acting.”

Robert Francell Chew was born on Dec. 28, 1960, in Baltimore. He graduated from Patterson Park High School and then studied music at Morgan State University.

Pour one out.

The Finger, redux

January 4, 2013
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Happy new year, y’all. Apologies for the radio silence, but I’ve been busy mourning Jack Klugman (more on that soon). In any event, what spurred me to finally put finger to keyboard is today’s breaking legal news.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled yesterday that John Swartz and Judy Mayton-Swartz could pursue their civil rights claims against a couple of upstate New York cops. What was the basis for the claims? The Swartzes say they were pulled over, and then arrested, because John gave these cops the finger. That’s right. They were pulled over and arrested for flipping off a cop.

As we have recounted, many of the greats have proudly given the finger. Hell, I flip people off regularly. My innate cowardice generally stops me from flipping off people carrying loaded weapons, including cops, but hell, I theoretically might someday be drunk enough to flip off a cop. Anyway, in my view it’s a fundamental civil right in this country to give the finger to The Man and these Swartz people should be able to sue to vindicate that right. Circuit Judge Jon Newman totally agrees with me, and he had a nice little discussion about the reasonableness of the cop’s explanation that he thought John Swartz’s giving the finger was a sign of distress:

The only act Insogna had observed prior to the stop that prompted him to initiate the stop was John’s giving-the-finger gesture. Insogna acknowledged in his deposition that he had not observed any indication of a motor vehicle violation. He stated, somewhat inconsistently, that he thought John “was trying to get my attention for some reason” and that he “was concerned for the female driver.” Perhaps there is a police officer somewhere who would interpret an automobile passenger’s giving him the finger as a signal of distress, creating a suspicion that something occurring in the automobile warranted investigation. And perhaps that interpretation is what prompted Insogna to act, as he claims.

But the nearly universal recognition that this gesture is an insult deprives such an interpretation of reasonableness. This ancient gesture of insult is not the basis for a reasonable suspicion of a traffic violation or impending criminal activity. Surely no passenger planning some wrongful conduct toward another occupant of an automobile would call attention to himself by giving the finger to a police officer. And if there might be an automobile passenger somewhere who will give the finger to a police officer as an ill-advised signal for help, it is far more consistent with all citizens’ protection against improper police apprehension to leave that highly unlikely signal without a response than to lend judicial approval to the stopping of every vehicle from which a passenger makes that gesture.

Amen, brother. Now go fuck yourself.

People are morons

December 16, 2012
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I know that sentiment is hardly newsworthy, but consider this headline from today’s Times:

Yoga Class Draws a Religious Protest

Huh?

That’s right:

Jackie Bergeron’s first-grade yoga class was in full swing. Though the yoga class had a notably calming effect on the children, things were far from placid outside the gymnasium.

A small but vocal group of parents, spurred on by the head of a local conservative advocacy group, has likened these 30-minute yoga classes to religious indoctrination. They say the classes — part of a comprehensive program offered to all public school students in this affluent suburb north of San Diego — represent a violation of the First Amendment.

After the classes prompted discussion in local evangelical churches, parents said they were concerned that the exercises might nudge their children closer to ancient Hindu beliefs. “They’re not just teaching physical poses, they’re teaching children how to think and how to make decisions,” Ms. Eady said. “They’re teaching children how to meditate and how to look within for peace and for comfort. They’re using this as a tool for many things beyond just stretching.”

God forbid kids look within for peace and for comfort. What is this world coming to?

Om, motherfuckers.

All things must pass

December 14, 2012

Famous sitarist — I daresay the only famous sitarist (putting him somewhat above Zamfir in the pantheon) — Ravi Shankar has passed on at the ripe old age of 92.

Shankar gave his first concert in 1939, and the following year began giving recitals with Khan’s son Ali Akbar Khan, the sarodist, on All India Radio. He first made an impression in his own right with scores written in Mumbai for two notable Indian films of 1946, Dharti ke Lal (Children of the Earth) and Neecha Nagar (The City Below), and composed for the Indian People’s Theatre Association. In addition to an arduous performing schedule, he composed the music for the films comprising Satyajit Ray’s Apu Trilogy (1955-59). He also composed a concerto (1971), which he performed with the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by André Previn. Shankar’s initial exploration of the possibilities of combining jazz and Indian classical music led to the album Improvisations (1961). He went on to teach Indian music to the jazz musicians John Coltrane and Don Ellis, and for the drummer Buddy Rich and tabla player Alla Rakha he composed Rich à la Rakha (1968).

His first meeting with George Harrison and Paul McCartney of the Beatles came in 1966, at a friend’s house in London. Harrison took up the sitar and later that year went to India for a period of intensive tuition. From this partnership came Shankar Family & Friends (1974). Performances at the great pop festivals of the time – Monterey, California, in 1967; Woodstock in 1969; and Concert for Bangladesh, New York, in 1971 – brought Shankar even more firmly into the west’s popular gaze and saw him established as a pioneer of crossover sounds.

You have to give the dude credit. It ain’t easy to become world-renowned as a player of the sitar. And he hung out with George Harrison a lot, and to the extent I have a favorite Beatle, he’s it. So rest in peace Mr. Shankar.

Headline of the Day

December 6, 2012

“Dale Sveum shot by Robin Yount”

For those of you who don’t know, the participants in this Cheneyesque event are Dale Sveum, the manager of the Chicago Cubs (perhaps they were goat hunting), and Robin Yount, the Hall-of-Fame shortstop for the Brewers.

So two baseball dudes go a-huntin’ in the offseason, and what happens?

The two were hunting quail in Arizona when Yount bagged a bird, but also Sveum.

“The bird was in front of him and I was about 50 yards up on a hill,” Sveum said Tuesday at baseball’s winter meetings. “He got the bird up and lost track of where I was. He pulled the trigger and was like, ‘Uh, oh.’ ”

Sveum was hit in the back of the right ear by the spray pattern from a six-shot.

“I got drilled with pellets in the back and then one stuck in the ear,” he said.

Sveum said there was plenty of blood, but he wasn’t worried.

“We do it all the time,” Sveum said. “Not that close all the time, but we do get BB’s fall on us.”

Fuck. So they were hunting tiny fucking birds with huge shotguns and they manage regularly to shoot each other. That’s some brilliant shit. I’m gonna have to be much more careful next time I go sparrow huntin’.

Take Five

December 6, 2012
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Dave Brubeck died yesterday. He wasn’t the coolest jazz dude, but he was pretty awesome in his own right.

But this success had not come without reservations in the jazz world. Brubeck was on the wrong side of the purists almost as soon as his discs started to become hits – for what were seen by some as three betrayals. First, and maybe worst, he made money, which was a form of notoriety usually regarded as a sell-out by hardline hipsters. Second, his conspicuously complex tempos paraded cleverness and a fondness for European classical devices at a time when black American jazz was dumping much of its formal baggage, and fiery, impassioned and unpredictable improvisers such as Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane were on the rise. Third, he was portrayed by the cognoscenti as wasting the talents of a truly great improviser in Desmond, his lyrical and delicate alto saxophonist.

Such generally perspicacious writers as the British critic Benny Green were merciless with Brubeck. But the band was a huge success all around the world, and toured constantly. The jazz-loving American comedian Mort Sahl once remarked of American cold-war foreign diplomacy that “After John Foster Dulles visits a country, the State Department sends the Brubeck Quartet in to repair the damage.”

As I said, pretty awesome.

Quote Unquote

November 30, 2012
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I’ve been pretty solidly of the belief that blogs are pretty much purposeless, and I’ve done my damnedest to prove that fact right here. So I found it fairly remarkable when I came across (thanks to a New Yorker blog) a blog that is actually useful.

It’s called “The ‘Blog’ of ‘Unnecessary’ Quotation Marks.” And what it documents are instances of ridiculously, well, unnecessary quotation marks. To take just one example (which I can only assume is referring to Tom DeLay):

These people are awesome, and performing a true public service. I look forward to the spin-off “air quotes” blog.

Is it bad

November 29, 2012

that I love Lindsay Lohan? Yeah, it’s probably bad. I know.

Without further ado, today’s headline:

Lindsay Lohan busted after allegedly hitting Tiffany Eve Mitchell, 28, in the face at Avenue nightclub in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood

Lindsay Lohan is in hot water again — she punched another woman in the face while in a Manhattan nightclub early Thursday, police sources said. Lohan was questioned, along with witnesses, at the NYPD’s 10th Precinct stationhouse and charged with misdemeanor third-degree assault for the 4 a.m dust-up inside Avenue, a Chelsea hot spot on 10th Ave.

Lohan was wearing handcuffs and chunky high heels when she was loaded into a squad car and taken to the stationhouse for questioning. Others were brought in, too. About 15 minutes later, Lohan waltzed out of the NYPD stationhouse with a coat covering her head. She was accompanied by a man and they left inside a black Escalade. Lohan was issued a desk appearance ticket and is due in court Jan. 11.

The first rule of Chanel No. 5

November 27, 2012

Is don’t do fucking ridiculous, pretentious, overwrought ads for Chanel No. 5.

Look, I don’t give a damn what Brad Pitt does (although doesn’t he have better things to do?), and I’m of the view that his highest and best use was in Thelma & Louise, but this shit is over-the-top:

Yoga Pants

November 21, 2012
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No, seriously. Another headline I don’t know what to say about:

Lululemon, Calvin Klein Agree to Settle Yoga-Pants Suit

I mean, not that I have anything against yoga pants or anything, but the Wall Street Journal really has a yoga pants beat?

Presented (mostly) without comment

November 19, 2012

Paris Hilton has opened a shop in Mecca. Yes, that Mecca. Yes, that Paris Hilton.

Foreign Policy explains:

Paris Hilton, darling of tabloid papers and the star of a notorious sex tape, has opened a new store in the most bizarre of locales: the Islamic holy city of Mecca. What could go wrong?

“Loving my beautiful new store that just opened at Mecca Mall in Saudi Arabia!” Hilton tweeted on Nov. 14, causing disgruntled tweeps to engage in a heated discussion about the implications of the starlet’s decision to open her store in a city that is considered the holiest site in Islam.

“R u kidding?” was one person’s response, while others commented on the absurdity of such a controversial female celebrity marketing her goods in a country where women aren’t permitted to drive cars.

Oy.

Ding Dongs

November 16, 2012

Apparently Hostess is liquidating its business.

Hostess Brands, the bankrupt maker of cream-filled pastries like Twinkies and Ho Hos, said on Friday that it planned to wind down its operations. The decision comes a week after one of the company’s biggest unions went on strike to protest a labor contract.

Friday’s decision spells the end of Hostess, an 82-year-old company that has endured wars, countless diet fads and even an earlier Chapter 11 filing. But the liquidation may not mean the end of Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread. Such sweet treats could find new life under a different owner, once the company begins an auction of its brands and assets.

Absolutely fucking ridiculous (although, note to the New York Times editors: I believe Twinkies are filled with “creme,” not “cream”).

You’d better get going and start hoarding all the damn Twinkies you can find. Get thee to a WaWa.

Or start praying at TwinkieHenge:

Of course, we still have Drake’s.

Fallout

November 13, 2012

As we all know, there are many tragic human consequences from the recent storms on the east coast. And our thoughts here at THEG go out to all of those affected. However, the show must go on.

So I thought it was worth noting one story that has gone underreported in the aftermath (God bless the New York Post):

Liquor drought looms in New Jersey after Sandy floods distributor’s warehouse

That’s right. Boozers are people too, and when do you need booze more than when you’ve been totally fucked over by Mother Nature and Jersey Central Power & Light? Rarely, I say.

Floodwaters from the massive hurricane smashed a New Jersey liquor distributor, causing tens of millions of dollars in damage to its supply of top-shelf alcohol, the company said. Yesterday, a sad mix of liquor and slush puddled on the ground outside Fedway Associates Inc.’s warehouse in Kearny — where the smell of red wine hung in the air as workers piled boxes and broken glass into an 8-foot-tall mountain.

The devastating deluge smashed bottles of pricy libations such as Grey Goose vodka and Cristal Champagne, leaving a river of booze pouring onto a pile of soggy cardboard. The flood could leave countless Garden State drinkers crying in their glasses. Fedway is the state’s exclusive distributor of Cristal and other popular beverages, such as Svedka vodka, Bloomberg News reported.

Look at this shit:

That is ugly. And brings to mind one thing:

Headline of the Day

November 8, 2012
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From The Atlantic:

“1 in 3 Men Can’t See His Penis”

That is all. I don’t really know what to say about that.

Time Lapse

November 6, 2012