February 01, 2003

Sorry...What Did We Agree On Again??

According to today's New York Times, Attorney General John Ashcroft overruled a New York federal prosecutor's plea agreement with a defendant to accept testimony about others in exchange for life in prison. Instead, Ashcroft has ordered the man (after giving the information) to receive the death penalty. I thought the Republicans always believed that local decisionmaking was better because the local governing agencies had more information about a community and could make better informed decisions.

Hmmm...instead, Ashcroft is handcuffing a local federal prosecutor's ability to obtain helpful information or testimony which could enable the prosecution to solve crimes. No defendant is going to trust an offer for life in prison under Ashcroft's watch.

Might as well go for it.

January 31, 2003

As Great Of An Example Of Popularity Meaning Jackshit.

Check out the box office numbers last week. You've got Darkness Falls at number one (the movie that shows that the dark is still scary)...and Kangaroo Jack at number two (the movie that shows that America still loves anthropomorphism). Alright!!!

The Post That Wasn't

I once told Field Mouse that she should cuff me in the back of the head if I ever offered up a post that was emo.

Today should have been an emo post...but it won't be.

Instead, you get tomorrow's weather for Terlingua, Texas...a small (and I mean small) outpost on the Mexican/US border next to Big Bend National Park. The forecast calls for sunny skies and 80 degrees in the desert.

January 30, 2003

Late Night Laura Cantrell

I own a Playstation 2. I discovered years ago that a great source of stress relief could be found in video games. Some people like going to the gym, others find knitting to be relaxing...I like to sit on my ass and play video games.

Anyway, last night I was playing a bit of Madden 2003. I'm not really into this game as much as some other people are but I needed a change after having spent the last few months playing NBA 2K3 and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.

Yes...I am a loser.

When I was in high school my dad bought me these awesome Sony headphones that make every song sound amazing. I decided to listen to some music while I was getting my Cleveland Browns' ass kicked by the Washington Redskins.

I decided to give one of Field Mouse's records a try. So I popped in the new country song stylings found on When The Roses Bloom Again by Laura Cantrell.

Wow. It was quite good. I don't think Field Mouse has listened to the album that much since she bought it a while back. I loved it though, although I think I would have to say that she does other people's songs better than her own. It's funny to think that Laura Cantrell is based in New York. Sure she's originally from Nashville but she's now a Brooklyn gal. As many people know, she hosts a popular radio show called Radio Thrift Shop on the legendary free-form radio station WFMU just across the Hudson in Jersey City. (Boy do I miss doing my college radio show. All those free records...fun fun fun) Field Mouse and I first heard of her when we saw her perform at a 9/11 benefit show at the Bowery Ballroom that took place only a week or so after the attacks. The show was full of bands and performers left in NYC for the CMJ Festival that was cancelled after the World Trade Center attacks. The Bowery Ballroom was only half full but those who were there saw awkwardly (given the time) great performances from such acts like: The Faint, Mac McCaughn, The French Kicks, Interpol and Ms. Laura Cantrell.

Lord knows the winter has been tough here. Between the weather and the economy, it's tough to keep the ol' chin up in Gotham. (Especially since the Knicks and Rangers suck...but since I'm a Celtics and Bruins fan...that makes me smile) Listening to Laura Cantrell really was a grand ol' time. It made me think back to various outdoor spring trips from the past. Like the time Field Mouse and I went to Big Bend National Park last February. There was really nobody there except us, some US Border Patrol officers and a few javelinas and roadrunners. We stayed about forty-five minutes away from the park in Marathon, Texas at the West Texas styled Gage Hotel.

Everything was so quiet and open in southwest Texas. The desert will do that to you. Maybe I need to take another trip to the desert. Like Death Valley National Park. It was as though nothing else was going in that part of the world except whatever you were doing. That sort of peace and quiet transcends an actual blog post...at least anyone I can create.

Winter in New York is not peaceful...and it's not quiet.

I could live another day without seeing some steaming (literally...steam...just coming off this thing...like the kettle is ready for your tea steam) pile of dogshit freshly squeezed from a proud boxer on his morning trot. And it goes without saying (yet I will say it anyway, obviously) that I could go without seeing some human being pick up said steaming pile of dogshit. Sure...it's better than the alternative leaving of steaming pile of dogshit on East Houston Street between 1st and 2nd...but still...get a room or something.

I really hope to find a place I can live where nature is accessible yet culture is available as well. Some peace and quiet. A patch of grass and a gas grill. Aaahhh...a grill...with knobs and a cover...and...grilled food. Maybe that day I'll have a kitchen table too. Ooooohhhh...a kitchen table....where people can sit and eat...and I can get PLACEMATS!!! WOW!! [ahem] Sorry...got a little bit Crate & Barrel pornographic there.

I'm a kid of the suburbs. The Boston suburbs to be exact. My recent trip to Boston made me realize just how crazy of a beast New York City is. It's almost perverse to view this as a "city" compared to what other American "cities" are. I mean, Andrew DeClercq qualifies as a "center" but Shaquille O'Neal is more than a center. O'Neal and NYC physically abuse you...throw an elbow in your face from time to time. Both are awesomely powerful and amazing. But they're not really beautiful. I'm just kind of overwhelmed at times by the brute force. Maybe it would be nice to see Kevin McHale's sweet low-post moves once in a while. It's too bad McHale is so ugly and dorky...otherwise untold basketball players would be copying his skills.

His kung-fu style was deadly.

So the end to all this is to check out some Laura Cantrell records. You can download some MP3's from her site. I recommend "All The Same To You", one of the more upbeat numbers.

A Match Made In Heaven

Duct tape.

It's an item with many uses. For example, I have repaired a major crack in the sole of my shoes with multiple layers of duct tape. Sarah Kozer, one of the last remaining gals on the latest show signalling the fall of civilization, Joe Millionaire, appears to have found a use for it as well. On her mouth. You see as it would turn out, Ms. Kozer has appeared in a bunch of bondage and foot-fetish videos. Forget Iraq, forget the shitty economy, drop the University of Michigan affirmative action lawsuit. Let's talk bondage and foot-fetish with the New York Post. Well, let's give credit where it's always due with this sort of story. The Smoking Gun was there. Getting us the information that we desperately need to mock celebrities. Check out the pictures and expose here.

Well, color me shocked that a woman vying to marry a man she met on a television program because she believes him to be rich has some sort of bizarre past or moral shortcomings. I'm...just flabbergasted. Let me get control of myself here.

Control gained.

Oh well, Evan's into that stuff...
Evan Marriott, star of Fox's hit show [Joe Millionaire] gets hot about women's feet, according to former girlfriend Tanya Tyrell.

"We'd be walking down the street and he'd spot a woman and say, ‘Wow, look at her shoes!'" Tyrell told The Post. "He likes strappy shoes with a high heel. He really likes feet."

January 29, 2003

Post Exemplifying Why People Hate Blogs

Last Food Item Eaten

Poppyseed Bagel

Next Food Item On Deck

Banana

Currently Drinking

Sunkist Orange Soda

Last Real Source Of Activity

Picking poppyseeds out of teeth with assistance from bathroom mirror.

Last Song Listened To

"The Poisoned Well" by Quasi from Featuring "Birds"

Last Book I Almost Purchased At My Lunchtime Jaunt To Barnes & Noble On Fifth Avenue

No Shame In My Game: The Working Poor In The Inner City by Katherine S. Newman

Weather Outside

Snow

Wondering About

A new way to sit in my chair that is different than all the ways I've ever sat in it yet still comfortable and professional looking.

January 28, 2003

More Things To Think About

Old friend General Norman Schwarzkopf is not entirely convinced yet that the US should invade Iraq. I guess he hates America. He's obviously un-American. Check this out:
Schwarzkopf said he was impressed by the performance of Secretary of State Colin Powell but was somewhat nervous about comments made by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

"When [Rumsfeld] makes his comments, it appears that he disregards the Army," [Schwarzkopf] was quoted as saying. "He gives the perception when he's on TV that he is the guy driving the train and everybody else better fall in line behind him -- or else."


Something To Think About

Read this... but I guess he's just another guy who hates America and blah blah blah...I love that we're always right here in the good ol' US of A.

January 27, 2003

Terry's Coming To Your House

I sat down to watch the Super Bowl yesterday afternoon and within minutes I was on the verge of sleep. The drive back from Boston had taken its toll. So instead of watching the game I laid down on the really uncomfortable sheets that my mom bought me for Christmas and passed out. I woke up hours later and flipped on the television to see the Buccaneers leading 34-3. Hmmm. Well. Game over.

The Raiders made a mini-comeback only to have Rich Gannon throw to the wrong jersey...and say it with me...ballgame.

So I missed most if not all of the Super Bowl Sunday commercials. By all accounts, I didn't miss much. However, I do believe that this Reebok commercial starring Office Linebacker Terry Tate is downright hilarious. It's sort of like Saturday Night Live when Saturday Night Live was a late-night comedy program.

In order to watch the commercial you have to offer up your e-mail but hey...you can always fix that later. It's worth it.

Hometown Hoedown

Apologies for not having written lately. I have been saving it up for this mega-post.

I'm still working on the new layout. I really hope to get it done soon. I've basically been learning html along the way which makes the task a long one. Most of the time I'm like Columbus...looking for Asia and finding the New World. So I get sidetracked a lot by my discoveries and I'm probably too ambitious for my own good. The substance is really more important than the aesthetics here.

This past weekend Field Mouse and I took a trip to Boston to visit some college and high school friends. We rented a car for an exorbitant fee from the fine folks at Dollar. Usually we rent from Hertz up in North White Plains where it's cheaper.

(Aside: Tip to all those in the NYC area not in the know. There's a Hertz rent-a-car in White Plains that rocks the body. You take a Metro North train from Grand Central up to the North White Plains stop on the Harlem line. The Hertz is right across the street from the station. Benefits include (1) a twenty dollar a day (or more) difference in charges and (2) escaping New York City traffic. Downsides include (1) taking a train to North White Plains and (2) the North White Plains Hertz keeps almost bankers' hours on weekends and holidays...perhaps necessitating a drop-off in NYC or Westchester County Airport. The NYC drop-off negates the savings and the Westchester County Airport usually calls for a cab ride to the train station.)

This was the first time I've driven in NYC and I'd be happy if it was my last. During my short twenty block spin down to the LES, I nearly got sideswiped by an aggressive MTA bus driver, almost killed three pedestrians in a crosswalk, and came damn close to getting my Dodge Neon rental totaled by oncoming traffic on E. Houston. It's hell out there.

After picking up Field Mouse we headed out onto the FDR where I did a bit of white-knuckle driving or stopping and going for around...oh...an hour. Gross.

After that it was a smooth ride, except for a stopover in a Burger King from hell somewhere in Connecticut. I hate Burger King and McDonald's. That statement means a lot when you consider who it is coming from. I hate vegetables. I sometimes involve bacon and cheese in all three meals of the day. However, the unbelievable feces that they serve at these joints is completely unbelievable. To think that in the great free market system that these places are still churning out dollars is crazy. Hardly anyone goes to McDonald's or Burger King these days...they end up there. If there was another choice..let's say a quick noodle shop or something like that...Oh how I miss you Noodles & Company! Instead you get Burger King where they asked Field Mouse the following question after she ordered a BK Veggie.
Do you want that broiled or microwaved?

Yummm!! Microwaved please!!! And can you run it through your ass crack like you're swiping a credit card please? Thank you!!!

Using our trusty Yahoo! driving directions Field Mouse and I attempted to navigate our way to my friend's place in Cambridge. Luckily enough they were waiting outside for me. Crazy! What nice guys. They apparently missed me so much that they were waiting for hours outside in the freezing cold.

After a couple of swings by neighboring streets looking for a parking place we found a resting spot for the Neon. Upon approaching my friends, we realized they were plastered. Hmmm.

Not only were they plastered, but they were also locked out of their apartment.

And the front door to their apartment building was halfway knocked down...the door hanging on by one lonely hinge.

And one my friends had a bloody scratch on his face. It all made sense once I found out it was just another run-of-the-mill wild brawl between my friends and a mysterious Portuguese couple on the prowl looking for another mysterious figure who allegedly kicked in their car door. Things lightened up once the local authorities showed up and tossed a couple of them to the pavement. Of course this didn't explain how another friend of mine got tossed out of a local bar a few hours later for attempting to steal several pieces of silverware.

Welcome!

The next day we went for a walk around town and saw that much had changed in Boston since I left three years ago. Returning to Boston was an interesting experience. I still consider it home and I sometimes have difficulty telling people that I'm from New York. I may live here, I may work here, but I'm not really from here.

Along this walk we took a short jaunt over to the Haymarket, an open air meat and produce food market located near Faneuil Hall Marketplace, City Hall Plaza, and the North End. Here's a good short primer to what the Haymarket is all about.

The primer is quite on-point about the place...especially this...

Who shouldn't shop there?

If you put a premium on convenience, Haymarket is not for you. Nor is it if you don't like crowds, off-color language, less-than-diplomatic (at times) customers and sellers.

Don't vendors have a reputation for being gruff?

It's true that you might encounter that, particularly from one regular near the North Street end of the market. The reputation is a sore spot for many of the vendors.

"A lot of times we get a bad rap," says Willie Carbone, 42, who's been working his own stand for 20 years. "With the amount of people we have, and the number of nationalities we have . . . I mean, how often do you hear on the news, "riot on Blackstone Street' "?

Adds his brother, Chris, 31: "We're like a family. About 120 vendors come down here. In a family that big, you're going to have, say, an aunt or an uncle who's a jerk."

Joe Bottari, a Haymarket vendor of 25 years, says that customers are treated as they treat the sellers. His advice: "Be polite, and have a positive attitude. Be normal."

He concedes, though, that some buyers test his patience. "If they're a little slow, I'll tell them to have their money ready."

It's pretty hard to shock people from New York with "gruff" and "off-color language." But shit....check this out.

[Female Haymarket grocer] Did you pay for those bananas?

[Unidentified male] aghggg.

[Female Haymarket grocer] You didn't pay for those bananas!! Give me back those fucking bananas!! Don't steal my fucking bananas!!!

[Unidentified male] aghggg.

[Female Haymarket grocer] Don't you dare put your fucking hands on me!!! You steal fucking bananas from me!!!

[Male Haymarket grocer] Yeah!! Get the fuck out of here you fucking thief!!!

I'm amazed I heard all of this because at the time I was getting violently pushed from behind by the corner of a pizza box held by an extremely aggressive (and maybe extremely hungry) Haymarket shopper.

wow. I didn't even discuss the woman who must have huffed a good deal of gold paint before she started to push her watermelons on me. Or the guy who started to flip out over a woman's assertion that the bag of bananas is definitely a great deal for a dollar. A GREAT DEAL.

On Saturday night my friends, Field Mouse and I met up with a YKIT regular and Giraffe Brothers tweeker, Andrew Burton and his wife Sarah, as well as some friends of theirs. I went to high school with both Sarah and Andrew. Haven't seen them in ages though. It was a quality good time. Best time I had in a while. I heard one of my best friends from high school was possibly in a cult. I confirmed that several kids I went to high school with were gay. I lost 75% of my hearing to one particular Slayer tune. It was glorious. I'd like to publicly thank Andrew and Sarah for a great time.

Field Mouse and I ended up taking a cab back to my friend's place. I have one minimum expectation for a cabdriver. To know where you're going. Handing me some special cabbie map book while I'm drunk and in an unknown place and asking me to tell him where to go happens to fail my expectations. Serendipity brought us home that night. And no...Serendipity was not a stripper.

On Sunday, after a solid breakfast that did not occur, as previously planned, at the devilishly titled "Sweet Touch Cafe" Field Mouse and I thanked our hosts and friends for a great time and started to travel home. We had planned to see a bit more of the city on the drive home but got a bit lost. We ended up travelling right through a portion of my hometown of Dedham, Mass. In fact, we even purchased a Coke at the local Shell station across from the lightning rod adult bookstore once known as Video Expo.

A lot of the local chains are gone and have been replaced by national ones. Kind of a disturbing trend...to think that everywhere will someday become everywhere.

What was interesting about this weekend is that although at this point in my life I have no idea where I'm going, I know where I've been. At least I have that.