Thursday, August 27, 2009

I was born in the wrong decade

A few days ago, after finishing work at the lovely abode that is the Astor Place Starbucks, I decided to take a short walk through LES, whilst listening to Talking Heads' quintessential album 77. It sounds quite corny, but does have a bit of relevance.

For those of you that do not know, the Taking Heads were part of the original punk movement to take over NYC in the mid to late 1970s. They would play almost regular shows, along with bands such as Television, Blondie, The Ramones, and many other pioneers of NYC punk. Venues like CBGBs and Max's Kansas City would be packed to the brim with people looking for something different from the disco garbage that was being played over most of New York radio. Also, even though WPLJ was a pretty good album rock station, most of the bands played on there were quite unapproachable. People wanted something a little more realistic to identify with.

Now, I know that a pretty vibrant indie music scene still exists in NYC. I, myself, have frequented venues like Pianos, Arlene's Grocery, and The Annex. The way the scene seems to have been in the 1970s, however, (as depicted by ex-Blondie bassist Gary Valentine in his book: New York Rocker: My Life in the Blank Generation, with Blondie, Iggy Pop and Others, 1975-1981) makes it clear that there isn't the same type of excitement that existed back then. It's become more "mod-ish" I guess. People just kind of stand around, drink their beers, and don't really show any interest in the band that is playing. In fact, it almost seems like they are passing judgment on said band (i.e.: how these people were described in the 1994 movie Hype!, about the Seattle music scene - seriously, it's a great watch).

I recall, in my younger days (1998-99), going to L.E.S. Stitches shows at the old Continental by St. Mark's Place. At these shows, there was that same raucous excitement that probably existed back in the 70s, and ironically in the same area. People would go on stage and sing along to every was a wild scene. Now, I'm sure it never got THAT crazy in the 70s, but there was just that level of excitement that doesn't exist now.

So, as I walked around LES and The Village the other night, listening to Talking Heads, I realized that I was probably born in the wrong decade.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Dude...Where's My Car?

So, this morning, due to the stringent parking laws of this wonderful city, I was forced to wake myself up far before my chosen wakeup time of 12PM to move my car for alternate side. You see, thanks to my chosen profession, I am currently on the fabled "Summer Vacation," and choose to sleep as late as possible each day to make up for the fact that my free time, life, and sleep will be sacrificed to the rigors of teaching high school math and computer science (and yes, I do love my job). Needless to say, then, I was not all too pleased to wake up at 10AM to move said vehicle.

Worse off, being that I live in the capital of alternate-side parking, the task of moving said vehicle was not a simple one. In fact, I felt like a tourist as I slowly drove down every side street looking to avoid the ever-omnipresent "TUES AND FRI" or "FRI" signs. Of course, 20 minutes later, I find a spot a block from my apartment.

Now, being that I have been home these days during the hours of 11:30AM to 1PM, I have been able to observe the alternate-side emptiness of my block, and those blocky vehicles coming by to sweep up the block to preserve its ultimate cleanliness. There was a problem, though...

The sweepers don't come. Ever.

You see, back in my days of living in the beautiful, tree-lined neighborhood of Whitestone, Queens, I was able to observe said sweepers as they trudged down the street slowly, making herky-jerky turns as they "swept" the streets clean (in fact, they moreso pushed the garbage around...). So, I know what they look like. I know that they are supposed to be there.

Then it dawned on me. They aren't going to come.

Yes, this is actually a ploy, deviously designed by Michael Bloomberg (my, like, favoritest politician like, everrrr) to "get the suckers".

Think about it. How can the city siphon money into its cash-hungry coffers that are supposedly empty due to the recession? Cut down/eliminate most of the street sweepers, whilst making residents continue to move their cars for alternate side. Moreover, since most residents will forget to move their car (especially if they are arriving home so late that they forget where they actually parked), the city gains $115 for each poor sucker who falls prey to Bloomberg's devious plan.

Yes, I know this sounds like a gigantic conspiracy theory, but to be honest, if I have to constantly move my car from side to side (of the street), then I should be moving it for a purpose, right?

Commence your written!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Jesus Was a Shepherd...Right?

So, there were plenty of topics that I considered rambling on since my last post: Bloomberg's ridiculously irrational (and fake) proposals for how he will improve NYC mass transit if elected, or the Taconic Pkwy tragedy. Fact is, it's been days since the former story came out, and I would DEFINITELY get in heat for the latter. (And yes, two is plenty...)

Instead, I thought the overall topic of sheep would be a great topic.

Yes. Sheep.

Why? 'Cause we all are just that (for the most part). Sheep.

Think about it. You're watching TV one day, and you see an ad for the newest "lowfat" salad at McDonalds...or the newest Lexus model with "affordable" financing...or the latest episode of the hit reality show about two guys, a bunch of girls, a get my drift. And you immediately do one of three things:
  • Buy the salad.
  • Finance the car.
  • DVR the show.
You don't know why, but you are just so convinced that:
  • the McDonalds salad is the solution to your weight issues
  • the car is the solution to your image issues
  • the show is the solution to the massive boredom you are experiencing in your own life (because it is all sooo real, maaaan!)
Problem is:
  • the McDonalds salad that you saw advertised has 20 grams of fat (true story)
  • the interest rate on the financing could put you in debt in record time
  • it's all an act
The last sentence summarizes it all. Not just the reality show, but the salad, and the car. The advertising industry is built upon the fact that the majority of Americans are so concerned with "following the trend", or improving their image, that they will do whatever they are told. The advertising industry is therefore a modern-day shepherd, and we are all sheep (again, for the most part).

But, are those same advertisers shepherds? After all, couldn't they just be bigger sheep? Think about this question: Do those same advertisers possibly have a Facebook profile? I mean, why wouldn't they? It's a great advertising tool for themselves, right? Puts them right out there.

Another question: How did AOL, then MySpace, then Facebook become popular? Word of mouth.

Hmm..."word of mouth", eh? Doesn't that constitute following others? Like sheep following the herd?

"My goodness...where did this all come from?"

I had a realization the other day that it takes just one person to make you change your opinions about something. Yeah, we may say we all stand steadfast to our decisions in life...the friends we choose, the food we eat, the games we play. But, if you really take the time to think about it, how many times has your opinion changed because one person told you a singular something:
  • "Yo, dude, that band sounds like garbage."
  • "Seriously, you HAVE to check out that's awesome!"
  • "Why do you talk to those people? You should hear some of the stuff they say about you..."
Makes sense, huh? We can be so easily influenced, it is astounding. I mean, entire religions are built upon this idea! Sure, some may be more susceptible to influence than others but, for the most part, our opinions change at the drop of the hat. Due the opinions, the ramblings of others.

So in one way, or multiple ways, yes...we are all sheep.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Oh how I love the morning news...

So lately, being that I no longer have the ultimate pleasure of waking up at the ungodly hour of 5:30AM, I have been privy to the pleasure of the 7AM hour of two of the big three's cornerstone newscasts: CBS' "The Early Show", NBC's "Today". In the case of ABC's "Good Morning America" I have simply decided that I would rather not puke up my meager morning breakfast over the constant fake smiles of Diane Sawyer, the "I'm too cool for the room" ramblings of Chris Cuomo, and the "I don't need NFL Primetime" presence of Robin "should've stuck to sports" Roberts.

Anyways, while I have found that the venerable "Today" continues to hold its own, and that "The Early Show" seems to be a formidable alternative (as unadulterated garbage goes), I have found that they have done a FANTASTIC job in milking a story to its dying breath: The Death of Michael Jackson.

When I say "milk", I mean the cow's udders are squirting air. As in: there is nothing there.

For the last few mornings, it has been the lead story. The toxicology report. The crazy doc. The druggie patient, who just happens to be not only one of the world's greatest performers, but a rich-as-shit "alleged" pedophile, who "allegedly" had enough prescription drugs in his system, that he makes Pete Doherty and Amy Winehouse look like minor weekend potheads. I mean, who the hell names their kid Blanket?

And it's the lead story. Every morning. Not the 9.5% unemployment rate (as of June 2009). Not Obama's idea to use health insurance to further turn the U.S. into a Socialist state. Not the continued debate in the Senate on the next justice to the Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor (because, let's be honest, her confirmation is inevitable - just give the GOP a bit more time to show off their extreme lack of influence in the Senate).

No, it is the latest updates on the custody discussion for the kids, complete with Matt Lauer throwing repeated softball questions to Katherine Jackson's lawyer, who was doing his best impression of Johnny Cochran. The latest run-ins with Debbie Rowe, who is sure to be the newest trailer-trash multi-millionaire by next week. The key interviews with Harvey Levin, of TMZ (because, of course, the former field reporter for The People's Court is DEFINITELY a credible source).

When all is said and done, it is clear what network TV has become. A farce. What happened to the days when the morning news, as well as news in general was relevant? Of course, I do understand the need to appease to advertisers, and put a popular product on display, but is this what American society has become? Pardon me for being a bit naive, but we, as a people look like veritable dunces!

'Here's a concept: dismiss such blithering garbage to the entertainment portion of the newscast. Hell, hire Harvey Levin as a consultant. Connect it to TMZ! Cross-advertise! But, please, don't turn such supermarket-tabloid blabber into hardcore, front-page news on a national morning newscast. You're making us (Americans) look dumb.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Hello all:

I have decided that it is fine time to begin rambling to nobody in particular, after a near six-year hiatus. See, I used to own a fancy 'lil Xanga account around 2003, in which I lamented about the "horrors" of my social existence. The "horrors" dissipated. I stopped.

Now, thanks to a friend, I have rejoined the blogging community. My posts will reflect the inner working of my mind: incredibly disorganized.