Monday, July 31, 2006

Big Strong Man Me Win Bikini Girl Yum Yum

These appeared yesterday all over the 'punkt:

Mr. and Mrs. Greenpunkt!
Yeah, really. I think I'll give it a shot. Why the hell not? I can look like that by September 5th, no prob! (The one on the right, that is...)

Subway Nuts

What better way to kick off a Monday morning than with a story of someone who's crazier than you are? (And, of course, some fun facts about subway shodding!)

I was waiting for the 1 train last night at 86th Street, probably around 1am or so. The mental degradation of those waiting with me appeared to be in proportion to the distance they had managed to stray from the turnstiles (writer excepted, naturally). A moustached man in a black, floral shirt, very short shorts, and sandals sat at one end of a bench, legs crossed; another, seemingly complicit, slouched at the opposite end. I heard moustache talking from the beginning, but then, I finally started listening:
"You see, every time a train goes by, it's shedding steel. You know, steel wheels on steel tracks. And it just shreds. Then, it goes into the air, and gets pushed up by, you know, air pressure. And we're here, breathing steel. You think breathing steel is good? Oh no. I don't think so. It's so toxic, deadly. And there's no ventilation down here. We're breathing steel! You breathe it in, and it just stays. So toxic! And this is all totally documented. You know, other trains, they have rubber wheels, like in London, but not here. No, we get steel wheels. Steel wheels on steel tracks. So toxic. And every time the train goes by..."
This constitutes the core motif on which the entire ten-or-so minute speech was based. Simply separate the various elements, reorder, and slightly vary the exact word choice and phrasing. Repeat until dazed. You pretty much got it cold.

I had the fact checkers look into this looney notion of rubber wheels on subway cars. To my surprise, he's not completely out to lunch on this one. Rubber tires were first seen in the Paris Metro, but only used presently on several lines. Mexico City uses them on all but one of its lines, but the only fully rubber-tired Metro system is that of Montreal. London has never seen them. (Ouch!) Sadly, the reasons for using rubber tires have nothing to do with the deadly risks of steel inhalation, but are, instead, because rubber "...permits a quieter ride for both the passengers and for buildings above the tracks; it also makes it easier for trains to climb slopes." (Montreal Metro FAQ) Other bits of wisdom imparted above can be found here and here on Wiki, and in this Montreal Gazette article. Who knew!?

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Overheard and Overseen

I just passed by a young-20s, well-groomed, nu-Greenpoint couple who, it appeared, were in the process of being ticketed by two police officers for drinking beers out of brown bags while strolling along Nassau Avenue. Now, this is no strange occurrence, seeing people brown-bag it (or no-bag it) along Nassau, but they're usually old, leathery Polish men who have probably drank their body weight in vodka hundreds of times over. This, though... this was entertainment!

What dialogue I caught went something like this:
Girl: " need a warrant for that!"

Cop: "No I don't."

Girl: "You can't just look in there without, umm, probable cause! You need to get a warrant first..."
Oh my. Perhaps she was sleeping in high school Civics class the day they were discussing the finer distinctions in search and seizure law, namely, that one's apartment and a paper bag fall into substantially different categories. Come on, honey, all they need to search your CAR is reasonable suspicion and a chip on their shoulder! I know your daddy's probably a lawyer out on the Island, but I'm afraid you're shit outa luck this time around...

I arrived back at the house, and had myself a couple minutes of a porch-sit. A guy walked by, glanced at our recently-installed aluminum gate, and his face immediately reflected the tacit question, "What the F*CK is that!?" I chuckled silently, because I then knew what I look like every time I walk up to the door.

A straight-on view of the gate can be found here, and a detail of that weird, recurring Mercedes hood-ornament thingy exists at the end of this link. And thus ends the pictoral series describing our building's multi-month metamorphosis. We live in a fucco-coated, south-Florida-esque row house in the garishly-gated community of Little Poland.

Guess that's Brooklyn living.


...and the only one for me tonight, I can assure you.

Does anyone know about this One Night of Fire event? Seems that in all likelihood, it'd be a diluted, wanky version of Burning Man, and then only reaching significant levels of fascination for those sucking on little squares of paper. Then, I may be completely wrong and it could rock. I mean, dueling brass bands? Where the hell else does that happen? (I don't think high school marching band competitions count.) In any case, I'll be at Lincoln Center when the whole thing kicks off, so you'll have to wait until next year for any sort of first-hand account.

By the way, make sure to check the daily weather link, which I've added to the right, courtesy of these guys. Archives are available on their homepage — and be careful, they're addictive.

Friday, July 28, 2006


I had a brilliant idea this morning, when I woke to the sound of an air compressor and some sort of powered metal saw, making this probably the 14th or 15th day in a row where our apartment has been subjected to some sort of construction-related noise from at least one side of the apartment. How about having four weeks during the year here in the city when construction would be prohibited? Any construction producing significant amounts of noise, that is, which would rule out anything that involved power tools, hammering, scraping, sawing, drilling, etc. I don't think I would be bothered if the neighbors were gluing together a cabinet, or building a brick wall — provided they had cut all the necessary bricks beforehand! It wouldn't have to be a whole, four-week block of inactivity, just one in the middle of every season. Call it "Your quarterly dose of peace of mind."

Supporters? I may just have to write to the mayor's office.

Bicycle Thievery

I found this lovely video a couple minutes ago while poking around on Gothamist (it was their video of the day on July 14th), for all you who buy chains to lock up your bike which are strong enough to pull a fully-loaded dump truck. Although it sets out with the purpose of illustrating the ease with which a bike can be lifted through various methods, the weightiest theme upon conclusion is the apparent disregard of New Yorkers for just about ANYTHING happening around them:

My favorite part has to be how he gets power for the grinder. Who knew!?

The origin of this chain of links * was yesterday's video of the day on Gothamist, a clip from a morning show on Fox 5. Apparently, they had the two creators of the above video on the show to demonstrate, live, how easy stealing a bike really is. But, put two clever and mischevious guys on camera with a vapid, humorless Fox anchor, and you're asking for trouble...

Aww hell, why make you travel any further? Here:

What a splendid way to kick off a Friday. Cheers!

* No pun intended. Honestly.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Oooh, that heat's creeping back again. I can feel the humidity rising after a week of relative comfort; when it reaches that point where you can feel the sweat lazing atop your cheekbones, unable to evaporate, you know it's time to tie yourself to a tree and hold on tight. Even here at Cafe Grumpy, what I thought would be a 70-degree, 20% humidity haven is no more than 5 degrees cooler than the Land Beyond the Door, and I'm sitting right under the AC unit — come on, Bessie, give it your all, I know you can do it!

Every now and then, the Onion really hits gold with an article, especially considering matters of today's internet culture. Minutes ago, I glanced at a hard-copy version to see this headline: Wikipedia Celebrates 750 Years Of American Independence. Who knew that Chuck Norris incinerated the Stamp Act by looking at it, or that the White House was at one point painted black by funk-slaves? Hell, who needs real history anyways? It's more fun to make it up.

And for those of you who want to watch a video and laugh for a few minutes, (especially fans of Star Wars, blaxploitation, and James Earl Jones) go here.

Always my pleasure to take your mind off of things of consequence.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Fucco Conspiracy

Behold, the Fucco Truck on the job:
The Fucco Truck

Thanks to Adam for his sly mobi-photography skillz in obtaining this beauty. At the time of its application to our own home, we wondered about the extent to which fucco had permeated the community thus far, and the degree to which it would in the near future. Now we see that the fucco folks are serious in their Machiavellian plot to faux-facade every damn hovel in Brooklyn. Dear god, will we never see brick again?

For those of you for whom the term "fucco" may be unfamiliar, you will find a very satisfying background cumulatively provided here, here, and here.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


I seem to have succumbed to my first cold since quitting smoking. Not a bad haul at all: almost 9 months. Non-smoking colds don't pack quite the punch as smoking colds. Those suckers rip through your throat with a garden weasel, then hang around for a couple weeks to keep you company. And they liked coming back every couple months or so. No, this is much preferrable. But it's a mild summer cold, and mild summer colds are just a pain in the ass. They're the equivalent of mosquitos and black flies: aggravation manifest. At least you can swat a mosquito. With a cold, the best you can do is megadose on vitamin C, pop the echinacea, and reach for that bottle of Zicam, hoping that, for some reason, shooting more snot up your nose — highly medicinal snot, mind you! — will make the thing go away sooner.

Last weekend, I lost my wallet. Not this freshly-past weekend, but the one before. I've always taken a snooty stance with people who have lost their wallets, especially those who have done it more than once. How do you lose a wallet? You stuff the thing in one of two ass-pockets, your purse, or your man-tote. Lest it suddenly develop the ability to pass through solid matter, it stays there. You take it out, use a card, pull out some cash, stow a fresh number, put it back. Not quite sure where the losing happens. Well, I am now tempted to give credence to an emerging theory which posits that wallets sometimes leap out of their owners' pockets in the back seat of cabs, where they burrow into the seat cushions and look for other wallets, with which they then mate. It's an urban equivalent to spawning salmon, maybe.

In the frenzy of trying to replace all the cards of consequence, I decided that maybe it would be cool to add a couple more. I am ashamed to admit that, although I have lived catty-corner from the Greenpoint branch of the Brooklyn Public Library for almost two years now, it wasn't until this afternoon that my repertoire of cards was augmented by one of their own. After over two years, I've decided to lift the personal moratorium on reading. The selection isn't exactly a dream come true, but it's something to work with. All the "Top 100" classics seem to be represented in fiction, amidst a wash of Dean Koontz, Tom Clancy, and other treacly-looking distractions. The non-fiction shelves resemble somewhat the scant-stocked shelves of some of our neighborhood's darker and dingier bodegas, the ones you expect to see closed in a matter of weeks, although they do hold a full complement of The Idiot's Guide to X and X for Dummies books. If ever I wanted to sharpen my Polish or Russian chops, I'd be in heaven, but I had to request that a copy of Earth in the Balance be sent from the central branch. At least they do that for you.

While packing up to leave my Monday evening gig at Chez Oskar, a police car cut off a motorcyclist, resulting in some significant damage to the bike, as well as was was recounted as a sonorous collision of the 'cyclist's head (helmeted) with the pavement. Apparently, the 'cyclist, a large black man, wasn't all that pleased with the cop's driving style, and confronted the offender in something of an animated manner, such that when the second police car showed up, they misunderstood the situation and cuffed the 'cyclist. Facing a growing crowd of vocal witnesses, they quickly realized their error and released him. It was at this point that I walked outside, probably no more than a minute after the chain of events had been set in motion. In no time, five or six cruisers had blocked off the entire intersection, and the crowd of Ft. Greene locals was growing exponentially, both in numbers and intensity. I thought, for a moment, that I may be standing at the epicenter of a live version of Do the Right Thing — which is ironic in its own right, as Joie Lee drops in to hang from time to time. Now I see where Spike may have had the idea. Alas, I know not the conclusion, as I had to split to Manhattan, but shall surely hear it soon enough.

In trying to uphold the promise of more stunning visuals from the vacation, I leave you with a composite image of something else we don't have in NYC: a Gehry. Specifically, it's the Pritzker Pavillion, also in Chicago's Millenium Park, paces from the Bean. I'm not sure that the composite is any more spectacular than the base image, but at least it was fun trying to put it together in Photoshop:
'Til the next...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


*gasp* *cough* *sputter*

Yes, BloggerDave™ is back. I guess it's inexcusable, the nearly four weeks of non-presence, but I must say, it's nearly impossible to think about blogging in the UP. Much easier to think about, say, logging. That one could do in a heartbeat.

But ok, that really only accounts for one of the weeks. Where did the others go?? There was quite a lot of prep to sub on a certain musical featuring the music of Earth, Wind & Fire, and then it was decided by Powers That Be that the thing would close two days before my scheduled first day, which would've been tomorrow. The closing comes as no surprise, as the plot and dialogue were pretty horrible, and the choreography seems have gotten the same criticism. Is it moderately disappointing to have put a significant amount of work into something for naught? Is it slightly unsettling to have one less potential source of income? Maybe.

Which leaves me at a crossroads... what to do, what to do. Trying to assess some options, see things clearly. It might just be a perfect time for blogging at the expense of others.

Long ago, upon returning from my two weeks in Chicago and Michigan, it was my best intent to share this photo with y'all:

Central Park is great, but C.P. ain't got no Bean! Otherwise known as Cloud Gate, a recent addition to Chicago's Millenium Park by Anish Kapoor, the Bean is easily one of the most elegant and powerful sculptures I have experienced. A full set of pics on Flickr has been posted for your viewing enjoyment.

Other imagery from the two weeks away is certain to appear shortly. As always, stay tuned...