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Archive for April, 2007

Dear New York,

Please stop peeing in every nook and cranny of the New York City transit system. The scurrying rats, regular gusts of hot, moist air, piles of poo, expectorating teenagers and Bugaboos are quite enough. I don’t need the acrid stench of piss to greet me every morning like an over-eager puppy.

Love,

Recklesley

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On the subway on the way home tonight I read over someone’s shoulder “Cheney in Rage at Reid“. My first thought was what did that crazy girl do now?

I was imagining Cheney sitting slumped on the floor inside the oval office, despondently waiting for Tara to call after their drunken groping at McFadden’s after-hours club the night before.

creepy cheney McFadden’s Party Time

Unfortunately, it turned out to be some boring story about ‘defeatism’. Yawn.

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Oh, thank God.

mccain.jpg

I know that there was a lot of confusion about his intentions, but McCain has finally announced that he is running for president. Let the straight talk begin continue.

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As the New York Times, which I read obsessively and love more than my own family, tries its darndest to recapture its waning readership, it has filled more and more of its pages (both online and off) with youth-friendly features like blogs and articles about fancy underwear. And boy does it work. Thursday is now my favorite day of the week. In second place is Sunday, where I can generally count on a healthy dose of Michael Pollan waxing masturbatory on local produce while tsk-tsking our love of corn syrup. God, it’s hot.

However, I like my fluff pieces to feature the same writing standards as the real articles. I have no objection to illogical structure or straight-up bullshit. It’s really just the Times’ appropriation of slang in its perverse dissection of youth culture that makes me want to die a little every time I happen across it. It’s as though every time there’s an article about hipsters, it’s as though the newspaper is saying that the group is not just a subjective social distinction among well-off young people, but it’s an actual cultural group. Like, with legal rights or something. That’s not okay.

Additionally, I take issue in these articles with the use of language commonly found on a 12-year-old’s Livejournal. Snarky, for instance. Or any time “u” replaces “you.” Same goes for “2” with “too” or “to.” Even if you’re just trying to make a point about how we crazy kids love our text messaging.

And while I’m at it, I’m going to also declare a moratorium on anymore discussions on how the world is deeply affected by social networking and Blackberries. Let’s stick with dead Russians and pissy Republicans.

New readers can’t be more important than dignity, right?

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Ann Coulter is a bitch. This is a statement as absolute as “water is wet” or “Brooklyn is rad.” One of her books, Slander: Liberal Lies about the American Right, sits on my night stand. I read it from time to time, most often only for a chapter, until I get so pissed off that I change to Goodnight Moon to calm myself before bed. I read the essays on her website, where she talks about how dispicable Hollywood is, how anyone voting for Obama is simply suffering from “White Guilt” and, my personal favorite, how the media consists of a bunch of attention-grabbing whores. I read her. And I understand, I’m part of the problem. I’m fueling the fire. Pouring salt on the sociopolitical wound. Sadly, I enjoy reading her not just because of her inflammatory nature, but because while I often disagree with her, I also think she’s a pretty damn good writer.

And now Ms. Coulter has thrown in her two cents about the Virginia Tech massacre. I’m with her for the beginning. When faced with tragedies in this country, there is always an overwhelmingly optimistic desire to fix things. Americans (and other countries as well) feel the need to blame something, be it violence in entertainment, the parents, the school systems, in order to feel better. There’s nothing wrong with this, it’s basic human nature. We see something wrong, and we want to fix it. To fix it, it needs to be assigned to a problem. I think Ann understands this too. However she goes on to say that:

“Virginia Tech even prohibits students with concealed-carry permits from carrying their guns on campus. Last year, the school disciplined a student for carrying a gun on campus, despite his lawful concealed-carry permit. If only someone like that had been in Norris Hall on Monday, this massacre could have been ended a lot sooner.”

Gun control is a ridiculously complicated issue, and the concealed carry laws have danced back and forth between states for decades. But there are a few things that I think Ms. Coulter needs to think about. First of all, a concealed carry law would not have stopped the shootings from happening, as she suggests earlier on in her essay. School shootings, at least in the cases of Virginia Tech, Columbine and the University of Texas, are never carried out with escape intentions. They are carried out by disturbed, jaded, (and in the case of Texas, mentally imbalanced) people who know that they will be ending their lives at some point during the attack. So somehow, I doubt they are afraid of being shot, whether by their own hand or someone else’s. Allowing private citizens to carry concealed weapons isn’t going to stop someone from unleashing their pent-up, violent aggression towards society. Also, it should be noted that the concealed carry laws would allow these private citizens to carry their weapons not just in times of desired heroism, but all the time. That’s great that Ann gives statistics saying “States that allowed citizens to carry concealed handguns reduced multiple-shooting attacks by 60 percent and reduced the death and injury from these attacks by nearly 80 percent,” but what about individual attacks? I can understand that some of these attacks may be cut short by another gunman taking out a mass murderer, but what about the individual gun violence accounts? What about the fact that we’d be adopting the same principles that were around in the old west? Doesn’t raising people in an environment where, in any heated situation, they can fall back on having a weapon in their pocket, seem a little fucking crazy?

I know that getting upset about something that Ann Coulter says makes as much sense as farting with the windows up, but this is an issue that a majority of the country stands behind by using the second amendment. Between the old west and revolutionary times, it seems that a lot of people in this country are more interested in regression than anything else. I know that even the most strong-minded people, in the wake of a tragedy, are desperate to make things better. Allowing private citizens to carry guns in their pockets is not the way to do that.

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I thought that probably the best chance of getting my face smacked would be in an argument with a greasy Bay Ridger at some dank-ass bar, deep in Red Hook. Turns out I only had to venture a couple blocks into a quaint residential neighborhood for the bum ticker to get it on.

I should inform you, blogite, that my usual meandering about the streets of Carroll Gardens with roommate Kelley has us fitting in quite well with the surroundings. My darker, seemingly Italian looks and Kelley’s red Irish cocks-comb both harmonize with the culturally intertwined local spirit you can find on display at PJ Hanley’s Bar (that’s for another review). Anyhow, that night circa 2 am, any fear or respect our looks should have inspired didn’t apply to the bored, low-life, hood youngster scum that is so abundant in this town.

We were well into Henry street, a quiet, brownstone-lined, well-to-do area with a corner pizzeria with a front stoop harboring maybe ten teenagers having themselves a New York moment. I’m sure was a deep philosophical discussion they were having, but as we pass by them one of the larger set members suddenly broke loose from the pack. Hollering “Hey, how are you?” as I spun around distracted, this young hoodlum pops a sucker punch right to my left cheek. I was more stunned by the randomness of it all rather than any pain. Kelley, usually the effusive poet, was also rendered quite speechless.

So this pizza-loving douchebag bolts down Henry while his pathetic cronies are yelling in the street, pointing to which way he went. We snap out of shock and by instinct give chase, my vendetta fueled rage kicking in while Kelley spewed between breaths the most vile of ancient Gaelic curses in his repertoire. A couple blocks down Henry, probably at about Second Place, we realize there are still about five of the trolls trailing us. Kelley turns to me and in an Alec Baldwin voiced hush informs me of the potential for an urban ambush.

So we decided right then and there that our best course of action was to avoid an outnumbered street confrontation and so we turned down another street towards Court. The wanking blackhearts declined to follow.

What I should have done was whip out my cell phone and started barking orders in Russian. Then those kids would have been pissing their pants.

Shite happens, I guess…But doesn’t it suck how you always think of those things way after?

By guest blogger, JJP.

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Pool Bar Review: B61

I joined the American Poolplayers Association last season for a weekly 8-ball tournament. Each Monday I join my teammates at either our home bar, Park Slope Billiards, or another bar in the Park Slope/BoCoCa/Red Hook areas. One bar that I have been to several times, both for league play and socially, is B61. Named after the bus line that runs down Columbia St., B61 is a great find.

To begin, it’s a pool player’s dream. Why? Free pool. Not just after ten on Tuesdays, not just during happy hour, ALL THE TIME. You never have to pay for pool. Despite this, they manage to keep the table relatively clean and tidy. The pool area, located in the back room, is spacious and comfortable. There won’t be any need for a short cue in this bar. The only disconcerting thing is that while you’re playing, you occasionally get dripped on, as the roof leaks. It’s probably not wise to go here on rainy nights if you’re planning on really concentrating on your game. I’ve been playing when there were at least ten buckets lined up around the table, most of the them half full.

The bar atmosphere is pretty friendly, with lots of beer on tap and strong drinks (I’m told they make a mean mojito), as well as a very eclectic jukebox selection. The bartenders are friendly and so is the clientele. It should be said however, the free and spacious pool does tend to attract some hustlers. On one of my more recent visits on a Friday night, I played a group of people in the back. It was casual and friendly until two other guys arrived, played a few games and then tried to get me to shoot with them for $200. I declined, and it wasn’t a big deal, but if this annoys you, you should probably steer clear of B61 on the more popular evenings. If you’re looking for a money game however, well, there you go.

And if drinking whets your appetite, there is a Mexican restaurant called Alma right above B61, as well as Jake’s Barbeque next door. No matter what neighborhood you live in, B61 warrants a trip to Red Hook for a nice atmosphere and some free pool.

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