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Sunday, January 23, 2005


Yesterday was the birthday of my favorite martial arts movie star, namely Shinichi "Sonny" Chiba and he is now 66 years old. Hooray and long life, ya bad muthafukka!

And on the same day Johnny Carson died at the age of 79. Now I did not personally hate the guy as a human being since I didn't know him, but I couldn't stand that smarmy schtickfest that was "The Tonight Show" during his overlong hosting stint; that show was the slowly-dying last gasp of the Rat Pack brand of alleged coolness and so-called humor that I absolutely abhor, and as a result I tend to think of Carson as the Jim Jones of of late night teevee since he was the grand poobah of a cathode ray cult that willingly laughed along with every stale rejoinder that issued forth from his snarky gob. Godd riddance to a for-the-most-part enemy of quality comedy, sez I. If only my voodoo powers were strong enough to resurrect Jack Paar...

Thursday, January 20, 2005


It is just past 11:30 PM on Thursday night and today is my mom's 72nd birthday. I came home to Westport yesterday and had a good time until we went to her favorite restaurant for dinner, the usually appealing Bombay Grill.

Whenever I have gone there previously it has been during their buffet lunch, which is pretty tasty and affordable, but we missed lunch hours and had to return at 5PM for the dinner menu, a menu which jacks up the price tag to an alarming degree. Now I eat a lot of Indian food in NYC, and one thing that any afficianado of such fare in the Big Apple can tell you is that the shit should be inexpensive; in Westport an order of chicken tikka masala will set you back by $16.95. Yet I didn't squawk since it was my mom's birthday dinner and I wanted it to be nice.

That plan quickly went south as our meal arrived:a sub-par mulligatawny soup (usually my barometer for a decent Indian joint; if the mulligatawny ain't good I will walk and never return), oversized and greasy poori (that airy inflated bread), rogan josh that appeared to be assembled from gray leftovers, meat samosas comprised of 85% potato and 15% meat of undiscernable origin, and chicken tikka masala. My mom happily scarfed down her dishes with gusto, aided and abetted by a palate deadened from her years as a chronic smoker while I forced myself to eat the warmed-over and just not very good "delights" in front of me.

The trouble started with the soup, a near-tasteless gruel that was a disturbing shade of gray/green, and continued with the chicken dish; from the moment that the chicken tikka masala crossed my tongue I knew it just wasn't right, but in case I was wrong I managed a few forkfulls. Soon I stopped eating altogether for the simple reason that the overpriced repast just plain sucked. My mom noticed this and I laughed it off, claiming that my eyes were bigger than my stomach. After much nagging, I finally admitted that I didn't think the food was that good, which lead to her bitching about how I'm just a food snob and that although she didn't eat Indian as often as I did she knew good food when she had it. Biting my tongue so as not to further spoil her birthday, I endured in hunger while she eagerly devoured on.

And then my stomach began to rumble.

I began to sweat a bit and once mom had finished I asked for the check, which of course lead to a litany of bitching about how I was rushing to leave. Upon leaving, I told her of my gastric distress and the need to get home immediately, but she insisted on stopping off at the local Cumberland Farms so she could play the numbers. As she went in for her Lotto tickets my guts began an arabesque of evil and I squirmed in abject agony. Once back in the car, my mother slowly began to realize my situation and hauled ass back to the house. The car had barely come to a halt before I vaulted out and dashed to the toilet.

While my ass reenacted Mt. St. Helen's, I tried to fight off the urge to violently puke all over the place... Once the doo-doo doom ended and I flushed, I had about twenty seconds of respite before I flung myself face-first into the bowl as vomit spewed forth in a technicolor dream. This delicate action went on for a short eternity and when it was finally done I felt like I had run a marathon.

Bleary-eyed and teary, I made my way up to the kitchen where my contrite mother made the situation worse by doing much guilty hand-wringing and being overly-protective (too little too late, beeyotch!). After about twenty minutes I was together enough to fix a couple of Red Hots which I sucked down like a hunger-crazed madman; bear in mind, this was the first food I had eaten in nearly ten hours that hadn't done the stomach trebuchet thing, so it was like ambrosia from Olympus itself.

In a little over twelve hours I will be back in my beloved Brooklyn and all will be well, by which I mean that I will be near friends, women, food of my own making and booze.

Thank Thor.


Just when I thought the Christmas TV ads had finally gone bye-bye for the nextten months I witnessed a local Connecticut commercial which featured "Jingle Bells" as the soundtrack and showcased four border collies done up as reindeer. Soon, hopefully soon...

Monday, January 17, 2005


So for the second time this weekend I found myself out at a bar to listen to a batch of cover tunes.

The sultry Cristina — perhaps the only woman on the planet whose musical tastes jibe fairly closely with my own admittedly…esoteric leanings — filled me in on a live performance by a female-fronted Devo cover band called, appropriately enough, Deva at some bar called Crash Mansion on the Bowery, and I immediately declared my intention of attending with bells on. What more could a twenty-six-year diehard fan of the boys from Akron ask for?

I braved the twenty-some-odd degree weather and made my way via subway to the Lower East Side of Manhattan, once a much-frequented stomping ground during my early days in the Big Apple, and marveled at how much the area had changed in what seemed like the blink of an eye. The once unspeakably seedy Phebe’s had undergone an architectural facelift and now looked suitable for humans, something I never could have imagined back in the early 1990’s, and a part of me felt a wee bit sad to see the disease of Times Square-style prettification spreading to one of Manhattan’s last true outposts for reprobates and binge drinkers. Even the legendary CBGB’s, a historical landmark and gestation hive for the golden age of the NYC punk rock scene three decades ago, was now a lot spiffier, even to the point of having a somewhat upscale “gallery” that flogs merchandise — or as I call it, “crap” — emblazoned with the establishment’s famous logo, now inspiring no sense of musical discovery or interest and sadly lingering like the slowly fading tattoo on the sock-full-of-ballbearings titty of a long-in-the-tooth whore. Nope, it ain’t yer daddy’s Lower East Side no mo’.

I made my way past the usual assortment of derelicts hanging out in front of the local Salvation Army mission and finally located the venue, a place that intrigued me since the entrance lead to a space below street level. After shelling out the eight dollar cover I made my way into what strongly resembled Auric Goldfinger’s rec room; the shockingly new stacked stone/brick walls, low lights, plasma screens that showed the stage, and the huge, well-stocked bar all looked like they sprang straight from the imagination of production designer Ken Adam during his mid-1960’s prime, minus the signature sloping walls, and simply reeked of being far more upscale than what I was used to in the area. That gut feeling proved to be right on the money when I went into the Men’s Room.

The lavatory was pristine enough to allow one to perform the most delicate of brain surgeries on the tile floor, the stalls were spacious and not lacking for stuff with which to claw the doody from one’s ass, and there was even an attendant at the sink. The guy was black, so I used my rarely-played negro pass and told the guy in no uncertain terms that unless he was going to hold my dick while nature took its course there was absolutely no fucking way that I was going to pay for him to turn on the faucet, add soap and hand me a paper towel. He laughed at that and agreed, stating that he was amazed that people actually crossed his palm with coin for things that they had been accomplishing since they were in the early single digits. After we achieved this understanding, every time I went into the can thereafter he would nod at me and smile.

When I entered the main performance space I snagged a seat with a good view of the stage — which would later prove irrelevant — and ordered a beer (a $5.00 Budweiser, placing it in what I consider the expensive category since while Bud may be the purported King of Beers, it is notoriously cheap for good reason); eventually my friends would show up, but until then I guarded the table and its seats like a mother bear protecting her cubs. While the lights were still up I continued to make my way through the Mickey Spillane classic “I, The Jury,” wallowing in its sleazy pulp noir atmosphere that acted as a counter to the establishment’s “I have a trust fund” miasma. Then, just as Mike hammer was fucking the shit out of the nymphomaniac half of a pair of rich identical twins, the lights dimmed and the show commenced.

First on the bill was Randy Newton and Her Majic Men, a band who specialized in covering Heart’s “Dreamboat Annie” album, and thankfully none of their unlistenable 1980’s “comeback” bullshit. The singer was a very attractive blonde who blatantly pleaded with the audience to buy booze for herself and her band mates since they were all single, and then launched into thirty minutes of mediocre renditions of the Wilson sisters’ classics. The bassist was very good and flat out punished his instrument, however the guy not only resembled Jack Black, but he had also clearly watched the DVD of SCHOOL OF ROCK one time too many since his onstage antics aped the portly actor to an embarrassing degree, and whenever he bent over he unintentionally treated the audience to glimpses of his pasty buttcrack. The guitarist was a tall dork who admittedly could play, but he suffered from noodly, wannabe Ygwie Malmsteen fingering, which was wholly inappropriate for the material in question, and he even had the nerve to abruptly halt his six string jackoff fest and cup his ear toward the audience in a self serving and pitifully vain attempt to vamp the audience. During their heyday I was deeply enamored with Heart, or as I affectionately called them “Led Zepplin with more original musical ideas and really nice titties,” so I was probably judging this band a bit unfairly. Then again, maybe not, since I am in no way impressed by vocalists who think they can get by solely on their looks and mistake shrieking for singing, or by the spoiled brat/ please kick my ass monkeyshines of axe-slingers who are way too in love with themselves.

Next up was Baby Maiden, an Iron Maiden cover crew with a scrawny, near-Goth frontwoman on vocals, and they were not only a vast improvement over the previous band, but also an improvement over the actual Iron maiden itself, in my opinion. While I am an unashamed metalhead, I have to confess that Maiden never did much for me thanks to their irritating vocals, especially those of the eternally pretentious Bruce Dickinson, but hearing most of the “Number of the Beast” album performed by a woman who had a voice rich in both power and appeal made me seriously reevaluate the tunes found therein. Her renditions of the title track, “Run to the Hills,” and especially “Flight of Icarus” gave me douche-chills and made me sad that I couldn’t enjoy them again on a CD when I got home. Trust me, folks, if you get a chance to see Baby Maiden you will not be disappointed.

My friends Daniel and Susan showed up during BM’s set and we chatted while waiting for Deva to take the stage. Cristina eventually showed up after spending the previous few hours at her company’s belated office Christmas party, and she held her liquor like the party warrior that she is while looking cute as hell in a skirt that displayed her already enjoyable rear to spectacular effect…


But I digress.

Deva then trotted onstage and were by far the most visually bizarre act of the night; with the exception of the Booji Boy impersonator who wore the requisite mask and a cheesy sailor suit, all were clad in head-to-toe black gear with the word “Deva” skewed across their chests, replicating the Spudboys’ utilitarian t-shirt uniforms, accented with white Lone Ranger masks and gaucho hats. The singers were two female brunettes, one of whom towered over nearly everyone in the whole joint, and they performed an assortment of Devo classics culled from “Freedom of Choice” and “Devo’s Greatest Hits.” The set was fun for me simply because I love the material, but the vocals were delivered too mechanically to really engage the listener; most casual observers only know Devo from the videos for “Satisfaction” and “Whipit,” but the only one of those songs to feature robotic non-emoting is the former, and if one bothers to delve deeper into the Devo catalog they will find that the musically mechanical/minimalist stuff is almost exclusively restricted to their first album and that the vocals are quite expressive, if a bit on the cool and sardonic side. Deva stuck to the Robby the Robot delivery and it pretty much killed the exuberance found in the songs. That, and the lack of any real stage presence or schtick other than a couple of broads standing around acting like uninspired audioanimatronic manikins.

Despite what may seem to be harsh criticisms, I enjoyed Deva’s set, as did the audience, many of whom drunkenly thrashed about on the dance floor, transported by the strains of white boy dorkdom’s most snarky musical offenders. I signed up on the band’s mailing list and look forward to future shows, by which time Deva will have hopefully learned to generate some palpable stage presence. Face it, if you’re gonna get up on stage and purport to rock, THEN FUCKING ROCK! Goofy costumes and someone else’s music ain’t gonna cut it forever, so they should at least make it as much balls out fun as they can while this lasts. Aah, what am I bitching about? The shit was fun.


While walking down 14th Street on Saturday I passed a thirty-something black dude who was manning one of the city’s donation posts for the homeless and witnessed the following smooth move directed toward a girl who couldn’t have been more than fifteen years old.

BLACK DUDE (to teenage girl): Girl! I said GIRL!!! Yeah, YOU! When you eighteen, IT’S ON!!!

You may now shudder as the creep factor engulfs your very soul.

Saturday, January 15, 2005


My pals Susan and Daniel invited me and many of the usual suspects to a live performance by their loosely-knit band at the Cutting Room on 24th Street in Manhattan, and wanting to support the creative endeavors of my friends I showed up with bells on.

I expected the sort of hole-in-the-wall dive that my friends and I usually frequent, but to my horror the Cutting Room is yet another of the many waaaaaay overpriced watering holes that infest the Big Apple; a tip seeking attendant in the pissoir, bottled beers started at $6.00 and their jaw-dropping menu included a green salad for $9.95 and a bacon cheeseburger that went for $16.50 (which people actually paid!!!). My pal Chris and I both ordered beers that we made last for as long as humanly possible and waited for my crew to show up. Presently Susan arrived, followed shortly by her man Daniel (a lucky bastard, who’s smart enough to know it), and the rest of the evening’s attendees whom I give a shit about began to trickle in; Ginna and Lexi Robertson (or as I call them “the cute Romulan Chicks” thanks to their short hair and somewhat exotic eyes), the ever ebullient Carl (whom I later had a great time hanging out with until he just up and disappeared), tiny wee Laurie (exhausted after a week of endless business-related plane-hopping), Christopher Meloni look-alike Mick, Martin (a dead ringer for Stork from “Animal House”) and the delectable Lia the Leather Kitty with a male friend in tow. With a cast like that, fun was guaranteed despite the legal highway robbery being committed via the bar/menu/bathroom.

The band took the stage at 7PM with an assortment of cover tunes, most perpetrated by vocalists who had absolutely no business in front of a live microphone, but those wielding instruments almost made those in the audience forget about the caterwaulings that plagued our ears. Some very good guitar work from our Daniel and others graced the stage and this hulking Italian dude who looked like an accountant let loose with some hearty blues yowls, but the true highlights of the night were:

1. Some rather drunk motherfucker named Bryan who looked like a telepod experiment involving Mike Meyers and Stephen King that went savagely wrong belting out a rendition of Prince’s “Purple Rain” that had my mouth hanging wide open for most of his performance. This virtuoso later returned with the Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Sedated” and closed the show with U2’s “I Will Follow.” This guy I would see again in a heartbeat.
2. Our Susan wielding some very solid bass, which was a lot of fun to witness after years of hearing her plunk and thub away on her couch and finally getting to see her prove once again that are few things in this world hotter than a tall, cute bass-playing chick letting loose some crushing bottom. And as if that wasn’t enough of a revelation, she completely stole the show with a killer rendition of the German language version of Nena’s “99 Luftballoons.” The crowd totally went bullmoose apefuck for her, and as she left the stage a far less talented chanteuse had the nerve to (allegedly) kiddingly chide the audience for making a big deal out of a first time singer like Susan rather than her. Sour grapes much, beeeeyotch?

On an irritating note, I went to use the can and upon returning I was just about to take my seat when a blonde who had been onstage earlier flagged my attention and said, “Can you get me a chardonnay?” I looked at her, confused, and said, “Excuse me?” She looked at me again and repeated, “Can you get me a chardonnay? A CHARDONNAY???” while miming kicking back a wine glass. Before the words came out of my mouth, her companion looked at her and said “Uh, he doesn’t work here,” which should have been readily apparent since I was sporting a black t-shirt with Sonny “The Street Fighter” Chiba’s screaming mug on it surmounted with huge white letters that read “BADAZZ MOFO.” The mortified blonde apologized profusely and began to grill me on how I knew Susan in a vain attempt to deflect my attention from her faux pas, so in keeping with the goodwill of the evening I let her slide.

The evening finally wound down with the drunk motherfucker doing an encore of “Purple Rain” and our little crew casting itself to the four winds, some going home and others heading out for further liquor-fueled adventures in the city that never sleeps. Since I was in no way going to pay the exorbitant prices for food at the Cutting Room, I held out until we left and made my way to the Wendy’s on 23rd Street, where I scarfed down a burger and then made my way to the Brooklyn-bound “R” train.

One stop after I got on, the doors opened at Union Square and an Asian kid of perhaps eighteen stumbled into the car, sat down next to me and blearily eyed the subway map. The kid reeked like a fucking distillery — along with a sickening redolence of bad fried fish — and he immediately passed out, slowly nodding and falling over on top of me, so I moved to a seat six feet away from him. It’s times like this when I realize that the subway survival skills that I earned during the ‘90’s and my then almost nightly barhopping have not gone rusty, and I listened when the kid’s presence set off my internal alarm bells: just after I moved, the kid began to cough and in short order he blew chunder all over himself and two fortunately empty seats, and then he passed out again, nearly landing face-first in the results of his own puke-alanche. Needless to say, that display cleared much of the car when the doors opened at the next stop, and I flew from the train with a speed and gazelle-like grace that belied my size.

Not a bad Friday night, if I do say so myself!

Thursday, January 13, 2005


It is ten days since my last posting and the Christmas-themed TV ads are valiantly clinging to life. Soon they will die, only to return next fall... JESUS FUCKIN' CHRIST, GET IN THE GODDAMNED BOX ALREADY!!!

Monday, January 03, 2005


It's January the third, so one would think that the endless bombardment of Christmas music that began before Halloween would finally come to an end, neh? Guess again, my friends. This evening I was washing my sinkfull of dishes with the TV left on for noise when I suddenly heard one of the (hopefully) last straggling Christmas-themed adverts violating the airwaves. Some black dude was warbling a re-written version of "Winter Wonderland" that shilled for some home appliance store, and I came very close to jamming a pair of green plastic chopsticks into my eardrums.

Please, merciful goddess, let it stop soon...