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Archive for February, 2007

Friend: I am so nay. Though you bring up some interesting facts about our dear Gowanus Canal, it’s not enough to change my mind on the matter. Fact is, the Gowanus Canal is a potentially harmful stream of chemicals that spawns mutant mosquitoes during the summer. And being just one block away from the man made toxic water hole, I must bear the brunt of this ‘squito situation. People often think screening one’s windows will be enough to deter some flimsy little mosquito from entering into an apartment. However, when mosquitoes are brought to life by an ungodly pool of poison, they inherit the strength of an angry soccer mom and are able to physically bend screen wires open with their arms. I’ve seen this occur. It’s some crazy shit. That being said, I will go on to rebut some of your “high” points. Even though, I think I just won this argument by sharing my *true story, which is based on *actual events.

So you say, “The Canal has proven itself an exceptional receptacle for rats caught in a certain apartment that were not executed in an electric box.” First of all, nothing is better than a rat killing electric box. I think you and I both know that’s true. There isn’t anything more satisfying than waking up to a dead rat in your kitchen, fried, and in an electric casket. But more importantly, I recently watched a documentary on rats and if you think throwing them into a poisonous canal will kill them, you are wrong. Dead (but not a dead rat) wrong. Rats maintain the ability to collapse their skeletons into the size of a nickel and can live in a toilet for weeks at a time. Do you really believe a pool of toxic fluid can kill them? If anything at all, toxins will just make them bigger, stronger, and yup, you guessed it, deadlier. Have you never seen “The Hulk”? Because I have, and the last thing this world needs is a monster (!!!) size rat wearing cut-off jean shorts. (That’s what the Hulk wore when he got really big. Jean shorts are known for their great elasticity.)

You also mention, “The Canal is an excellent place to unburden yourself of illegal firearms – or legal firearms that were used in an illegal act.” Wrong. If anything, the forces of the Canal’s toxic energy molecules would enable loaded firearms to go off on their own, bringing attention to the (hopefully) illegally discarded items. And even if not loaded, that toxic liquid has most likely developed a mind of its own, and therefore would find ways to load the gun itself.

Lastly you bring up, “Without the canal, there would be no need for the little bridges on Union, Carroll, 3rd and 9th Streets.” Hey, have you ever been late to an event or missed the train because there was a divided (cement) bridge in the middle of 9th avenue? Because I have. And you know what bridge that was? Oh, you don’t? Well it was the Gowanus Canal bridge, if you couldn’t already guess by my tone. Although it doesn’t happen often, every once in a while the bridge disbands and you’re forced to wait and watch as a little steam boat passes under. And while that sounds charming, it is. However, being late for restaurant reservations is not.

There you have it, my incredibly accurate, and strong rebuttal. What say, you?

*True story has been taken from an actual dream I had, making it a very solid argument.

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A distorted reflection of a sliver of moon shimmers on the water, between long streams of industrial filth. Wharf rats frolic along concrete banks, leaping from one tire to the next. A tiny paw slips on the slick trigger of a discarded gun and the drone of the BQE is cracked for a moment. It’s nighttime on the Gowanus Canal.

The Gowanus Canal, a heavily polluted, slow moving, body of water, once served Brooklyn’s shipping industry. Even though the industry is basically gone at this point, the Canal offers certain benefits that make it a little stinky jewel in our fine borough.

Benefits:

1. When dug originally, the Canal had the added bonus of draining western Brooklyn’s marshlands so they could put the Safeway in Red Hook and rich people in Park Slope.

2. The Canal has proven itself an exceptional receptacle for rats caught in a certain apartment that were not executed in an electric box.

3. Without the Canal, the F train would not make its two glorious above-ground stops at Smith & 9th and 4th Avenue. Think of all those people who wouldn’t be able to send text messages, check their voice mail and make annoying phone calls while commuting with 6000 other people in a single train car.

4. The Canal is an excellent place to unburden yourself of illegal firearms – or legal firearms that were used in an illegal act. Actually, it’s great for destroying evidence of all kinds.

5. The actual creation of the Canal was one of the first acts of Brooklyn gentrification. Once the land was drained, property values went up and the birds and fishes were kicked out so robber-barons and merchant marines could move in. So, I’m not sure if this is a benefit because it’s a politically sensitive matter – which I am clearly on the wrong side of – but, it’s certainly historically interesting.

6. Without the canal, there would be no need for the little bridges on Union, Carroll, 3rd and 9th Streets.

7. The Canal provides the central point of enjoyment for both the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club and the Urban Divers Estuary Conservancy.

Thus, I declare “yay” for the Gowanus Canal.

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Ian Ziering and Billy Ray Cyrus, that’s who. This season’s Dancing With the Stars is pulling out all the stops. I say this not because Joey Fatone (Fat-One) will be cha cha cha-ing across that wonderful ABC sponsored dance floor, but because Heather Mills will be competing as well. Interesting choice, Dancing With the Stars. Interesting indeed. Seriously though, really, really interesting. And weird.  There are a number of other competitors, I simply cannot think of any at the moment. Probably because they’re not real celebrities. Not like Ian Ziering. But I do know Muhammad Ali’s daughter will be showing off her tango skills. Maybe she’ll punch someone.

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PSA

Question: Is My Penis Normal?

Answer: As much as I’m sure we’d all like a straight yes or no answer on this one, KidsHealth.Org did not offer one. They did say, however, that “you wouldn’t expect someone who is 11 years old to look the same as someone who’s 19.” Reassuring and creepy at the same time.

P.S. Puberty is a normal and beautiful time of life, and nothing to be ashamed of. Totally.

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NY Magazine has some stuff to say about Britney, her hair, her self-mutilation, etc. They say, she “stripped herself, publicly (huh huh) of her sexuality” note: items in parentheses added by editor.

But one interesting thing they do say is about “Britney” vs. “Spears” – the fact that the media always calls her Britney speaks to their desire to cookie-cutter-Barbie-ize her, while calling her “Spears” would humanize her. Or maybe it’s just a cultural thing that I don’t get.

During Saddam Hussein’s initial ousting, a friend of mine was upset that the biased media was only referring to him as “Saddam,” rather than “Hussein” – he felt like that was a condescending move. But, as it turns out, in the Arab world men are often referred to by their first names, not as a sign of disrespect at all…but still. Pretty much everyone else, Arab or not, gets called by their last name in this media.

But anyway, back to Britney. Maybe she’s just telling us that it’s her prerogative and she is indeed a woman now and not that innocent and sometimes she runs and she’s a slave for us and we drive her crazy and she’s so lucky and outrageous and this is all toxic and…

Whew. Why were we surprised?

saddam.jpgYoung Britney

Saddam and Britney — both stars stripped of their last names by the media.

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Just so we don’t fall behind in our cutting-edge analysis of Brit Brit’s psychosis, here’s an interesting thought.

Slate.com suggests her foray into barber-ism (huh huh) had to do with avoiding drug tests in a child custody fight with Kevin “I don’t look so bad now, do I?” Federline. Hair = alarmingly accurate time line of drug use. Fascinating.

Wait, wait! Can we start calling her Britney Shears? No? Okay.

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Last night I had a dream – a flash of unconscious thought really. I was walking on a dark street and became aware that there was someone walking behind me. It was a tall, thin man, wearing a trench coat and clutching a shot gun. It was then that all my fear melted away.

I was safe in the sights of this psychopath, because he was Omar Little, Baltimore’s drug-laden Robin Hood on The Wire.*

Having dreamed about Omar, I thought it might be time to make my feelings about him known in the public sphere – or the “blogosphere” if you want me to vomit on myself.

First of all, Omar is a total badass and is admirable and exemplary in that way. Proof of bad-assedness: gigantic scar across face (which, admittedly, is the actor’s and not technically Omar’s), trench coat/shot gun combo, and the courtroom smack-down in Season Two.

Secondly, Omar is more than a character. He is a statement about agency. In the world of The Wire, there are two strong bureaucratic institutions that control the power – the Police and the Drug Trade. In both institutions, you see a very specific ranking system which at the low end features Hoppers and beat cops and goes all the way to the top, to Avon and the Mayor. The ranks are solidly established, although there is possibility of (limited) vertical mobility. Essentially, once you are in the system, your entire purpose is to perpetuate the institution and the circumstances which allow the institution to exist.

Omar is remarkable because he is not part of either institution, but is able to move freely between them, exploiting the institutions and the circumstances that they create. While others go on as cogs in either the law enforcement or drug machines, Omar is a vigilante, a free agent, going around and fucking things up. He can be compared to another floater, Bubbles, who putters about in both scenes, but is not part of either and wholly reliant on both.

Thirdly, Omar remains a pillar of moral fortitude – albeit the fucked up, killing-is-okay moral order of Baltimore. He is the most consistent character despite the fact that he is not compelled by any outside forces to act in a specific way. While the other characters – both the drug dealers and the cops – constantly stab each other in the back or undermine each other to get a sliver of the power available within their respective institutions, Omar adheres to a strict behavioral guideline from which he never wavers. It is something special to run around as both the most feared man around and the most morally righteous (which is why his face-off with BrotherMouzone is interesting – but a story for another time).

Finally, Omar is a poor, gay, black man and I’m going to go ahead and say it – members of this group do not traditionally hold a lot of power in society. This just makes it all the better that he is the toughest, most righteous, most powerful person on The Wire.

So, in conclusion I can say with little hesitation that if Omar were walking behind me with a loaded shotgun on a deserted street, I wouldn’t be scared. I would just wonder how I ended up in a TV show.

 

*Just to address one concern – yes, I often dream about The Wire, and no, I don’t think I need to get out more.

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Baseball season has almost arrived and many of us here at Brooklyn Skeptic are already hot and bothered over the most adorable team in baseball: The Mets. While I’m sure any reputable Mets blog will give you all sorts of information about hitting and throwing stuff…and like, running after stuff…or whatever they do, we’re here to give you the hard-hitting cuteness updates all you Brooklyn girls are looking for.

Important information from the beginning of spring training:

  • “The Mets are coming together.” [Hott. – Ed.]
  • “They speak different languages. Most say hello with words. Others use different means. Reliever Scott Schoeneweis passes by the locker of second baseman Jose Valentin, extends his rigid left leg to the side and lightly taps the stool on which his onetime White Sox teammate sits. His greeting is little more than a nod. Valentin nods in response. Enough said.”
  • “Even during drills, pockets of players, based on ethnicity and language, form. But then there is Delgado lockering next to his longtime friend Shawn Green, the union of a Latino and a Jew.”
  • “Wright and fellow rising star Jose Reyes are hardly inseparable. But they know, like and trust each other. They can communicate by no more than a glance and a smile. [No need for a safety word. – Ed.] They laugh at the same things. And when either becomes more proficient in the other’s language, he will begin to complete the other’s sentences.”
  • “David Wright walks through the obstacle course of teammates, reporters, clubhouse workers, trash cans, laundry baskets and stools as if he is a one-man welcome wagon. He has hellos, handshakes, backslaps and embraces for everyone.” [Isn’t he just a cutie? – Ed.]
  • wp_wright_reyes_800×600.jpg

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    Hey all in the neighborhood,

    On Gothamist I came across this flyer for a delicious sounding winter BBQ at Flatbush Farm (on St. Marks next to Flatbush Ave.) on Sunday. Classy.

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    Industrial Sunset

    Smoke stacks, pipes, sunsets, steam. Oh industry, such ugly beauty.

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