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That’s A Signpost Up Ahead

May 19, 2009

You unlock this door with the key of your MetroCard. Beyond the stiles is another dimension: a dimension of screeching sounds, a dimension of abhorrent sight, a dimension of out-of-mind. You’re moving into a land of both neglect and egregious abuse, of slow-moving things and non-forward ideas. You’ve just crossed over into… the MTA Zone.

*****

I am the last one to talk about strangeness when I become an active contributor to the process.

I storm my way into the 1 train and immediately lunge for the closest facsimile of a chair. It’s there, I know it is. I put the damn thing in my messenger bag this morning…yet when I got to the turnstile, my ticket to ride was gone.

What does that mean, my non New Yorker friends ask? It means that my precious piece of plastic…my unlimited MetroCard…was lost in the detritus of my bag. It also means, more importantly, that I had to purchase a pay-per-ride…the ghetto card. The card of Jersey commuters and shopping mall moms. Livid.

Back to the seat.

As I’m pulling out gym clothes (more for appearance than for use, let’s be clear), the Entertainment Weekly, the three books that I’ll have time to read on the lunch break that I never take, I see…nothing…no card…nothing resembling the card…nada. I decide to shove it all back in (the logic is clear, no?) so I can  pull it out and start all over again.

That’s where the STOMP session of this blog begins.

To my left, a woman has pulled out some Pringles to balance her soda imbibing. I frown and sigh. Deep breath. Frown and sigh. She counters with a long-long-short rhythm, as follows:

Chomp, chomps, sip. (Brief pause) Chomp, chomp, sip.

I sigh again..louder.

She get hungrier and louder.

CHOMP, CHOMP, SLURRRRP….CHOMP, CHOMP, SLURRRRP

The younger woman to my right will not be outdone. This is the age of American Idol. We’re all stars, people, and every text message counts (if you’re above ground on the train, that is)

She pulls out her emory board and gives us both a quick…ch-ch-ch-ch-ch….(looks at nails and smiles)…ch-ch-ch-ch ch (blows the nails away)

And, thus, an urban symphony is born:shatner_twilight_zone-719871

Chomp chomp slurp
CH CH CH CH CH
sigh
Chomp chomp slurp
CH CH CH CH CH
s-i-g-h

Free entertainment, you might think. Not for me, though. I paid $4 for that baby. Two MTA rides for nail snow and song.

For me, the Chadverb, I got off at 96th Street. For the rest of the passengers, it was only the beginning. They had just settled in for a ride into…the MTA Zone.

It’s All Greek To Me

May 18, 2009

In the beginning, the Earth was a stadium, which was ruled by Laurence Olivier and Maggie Smith. Well maybe not the whole Earth, but the whole of pop culture. The year was 1981. Cineplexes seemed to be ruled by the Brits: Terry Gilliam and the Time Bandits, Dudley Moore and Sir John Gielgud in Arthur, and Ben Cross in Chariots of Fire.

bubo2I, however, was ruled by Harry Hamlin. Perseus: Pegasus-tamer, Medusa-killer…and my first crush. Looking back, I’m not sure if it was his full lips, his curly mop, or the barely-there loincloth. I do, however, at the tender age of 8, remember liking his circle of friends. When you’ve only grown up with a poodle, a metallic owl and winged horse seem pretty effin’ cool….and a poodle does not take too kindly to being saddled…or ridden, for that matter…especially by a child who hitherto had been happy immersing himself in Paddington the Bear books.

Perseus, and Harry, awakened something in me…some gnawing feeling that I was living in the wrong time. Somehow, I sincerely believed, I was supposed to cast in plaster and, like Perseus, picked from among the chiseled chess set to face my Fates on the field. The feeling of being dislocated abated over time, but it never disappeared. If only I could be a Time Bandit, too….Damn you, David Warner and your Evil Genius!!

Flash forward…

When I was vacationing in Greece in the late 90s, I found myself in a gay bar (faux shock) dancing shirtless (real shock) with a myriad of Mediterraneans. Looking through the floor-to-ceiling windows of the bar, you could gaze in reverential awe at the Acropolis, awash in orange-tinted lights…Did it look this way by firelight “back in the day.” My pharmocologically induced mysticism led me to answer yes, and I found myself deeply believing that over 2,000 years ago, another bevy of shirtless of boys had hedonistically danced in the shadow of the Acropolis…and, of course, dear Perseus and Harry Hamlin came to mind. To me – they were one and the same. Beautiful men given the chance to partake in something far grander than themselves.

Yes, even a film, however mediocre, offers one a legacy….not as timeless as the Greek myths, but a celluloid column in the temple of pop culture is nothing at which to shake a Gorgon’s head. And the film, like the mythic movie, offers me the chance to see my own beginning….with form and celluloid…and remark “it is good.”

Arrrrrghot

April 11, 2009

A friendly public service announcement presents itself as a scene.


Act I

Curtain rises on a NYC coffee bar.
You, the coffee connoisseur, and Village hipster, have just entered the bar.
You are literate. You are tomorrow’s hope. You are thirsty.
Indie music and mash-ups awaken your ears…sounds from hipster heaven.
Rich aromas of ground coffee beans make love to your nose.
Baristas milk the udders of the stainless steel cows and deliver dairy froth to your fair-trade, organic coffee.
You have arrived.

Unfortunately, you have arrived too late.

You look around.
Seat after table after bench after couch after toilet is occupied.

You have fallen victim to the Lap-stops.

Lap-stops Beware

Lap-stops Beware

They prey on tables, feasting on their level surfaces all day, regurgitating data into their machines…hungry flies at the screeen.

Like your coffee, they are grounded…for hours…with no coffee cup, brownie bite, or cookie crumb nearby to stake their claim.

The steam from the coffee co-mingles with the steam emitting from your ears. These squatters have, quite successfully, sedentarily stopped all traffic flow within the establishment.

Exeunt

Act II
You came, you saw, you Yelp.

Curtain falls

Lesson to be learned:
There’s no fair trade in lap-stops, people.
Coffee can bring on more than one kind of movement.
Contrary to popular belief, you can cruise Manhunt and update your Facebook stati from places other than a coffee bar.

Roast your beans somewhere else, people
Think, drink, and go.

There’s a place for us…

April 10, 2009

These enchanting lyrics first reached our ears via Maria. “We” were told and many believed that somehow, somewhere, a community existed for “us” – an idyllic utopia where we’d find a new way of living.

A place…

Today’s blog topic: having some etymological fun with place.
Bring out  your Wheelock’s and let the Latin games begin.

Place is to topos as English is to Latin.
Using the Latin, let’s take a look at some of the “places” for us.
Hold my hand and I’ll take you there.

****

utopia1Autotopia – a band and a Disneyland attraction

Fruitopia – a beverage

Dinotopia – a land before time

Ewe-topia: provides training for herddogs!

Topia – a city and seat of the municipality of Topia, in the state of Durango, north-western Mexico.

Culturetopia – an NPR podcast!

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Him-ericks and My-Koos

April 10, 2009

There once was a boy from the west
Who moved east to show them his best
He ended up thirty
And nebbish (read: nerdy)
Perhaps he should give it a rest.

*****

The gym is Simon
Le Bon yelling at me to
Fle-fle-fle-fle-flex

*****

Perhaps you like music that’s jolly
In Lubbock, we had Buddy Holly
His plane fell from the sky
And the music did die
Until I found Double D Dolly

*****
When you eat a dog from the prairie
More often than not, ’twill be hairy
You’d be better by far
To go off in your car
And visit that white Queen called Dairy

*****

Blogs should be succinct
And get to the point quick
To keep attention.

****

C3 P. O’d

April 8, 2009

These are the days that you wish your bed was already made.

True story.

The MTA is clamoring for a fare hike. It makes perfect sense: exemplary service; tidy stations; courteous staff. Wait, I can’t find the staff. That’s ok. I’mManhattan Man. I’m man with plastic. I’ll just get my Metrocard from the machine. ..

What, what’s happening…Can’t accept credit cards or debit cards? Sweet Mother of God, at least there’s another one right here that…what…another…a n o t h e r one not working?

I find myself channeling the Dominique Dunne in Poltergeist:

WHAT’S HAPPENIIIIIIIINNNNGG?!?!?

Dominque Dunne in Poltergeist

Dominque Dunne in Poltergeist

Who carries cash anymore? Not me apparently..not effin’ me. And that’s when I eye the turnstile….

For Chaddy M, turn turn turn…i have some credit…turn turn turn…and there is a time for this purpose under Heaven.

No response. The cold-hearted bitchstile laughs at me…taunting me at half mast. Jump me, he says. Show them what you’re made of.

I almost give in, but I can’t jump. I had a friend do that a decade ago. He had to wash trash cans and platforms for two weeeknds from 12am -6am.

I cry (inwardly) and look away. It’s then that I see the writing on the wall: Si ves algo, di algo.

Yeah, nada tu mama.

Great campaign there, pard. There is NO ONE with whom I can be di’ing. Now, I’m effin’ mad. Geezuz H. I can’t let machines win.

I sigh loudly. I want people to hear me. And then I’m embarrassed. Why am I sighing? Cause I’ve gone from Plastic Man to Pathetic Man o’er the course of two minutes. Good god, it takes longer to swing at a key party.

Now I’m a man hiding from world in a hoody. I pull up the hoody to cover me, and it’s then I feel something familiar…something pulling at me from far, far, away. I move slowly toward the stile, I raise my palm forward and utter:

These are not the droids you’re looking for, let us pass.

Utterly useless. The only things passing are people and time. I pull down the cowl and live to face another day…machines be damned. I hope Fox renews Sarah Connor. I’m grabbing that milf, MTA…ya hear me?

We’ll be back.

For the birds!

April 6, 2009
Lonesome Dove

Lonesome Dove

I like Lonesome Dove. There, I’ve said it and I’ll own it. In fact, I’d wager I’m addicted to the characters and the locales. Many a moon I’ve sat up lately, courtesy of Netflix, my iMac and insomnia, to follow along the Chisholm Trail with Gus McRae and Woodrow Call. I reckon it’s almost like being in Texas without being there.

Remember that Boys Don’t Cry song from the 80s? Would it help if I cued my portable Casio keyboard?
I wanna be a cowboy…and you can be my cowgirl…

Hear it now? And do you hear that hummin’? It’s me….pretending I’m tendin’ the chuckwagon. Now that’s quite a step from me gettin’ tended to at Cowgirl Hall of Fame down in the Village where Frito pie and black-eyed pea salsa are the main vittles. That sound you hear is me growin’ nostalgic for Texas by virtue of Lonesome Dove.

Here’s an interesting tangent that’s kinda sorta but not really. Now…I have never seen a live dove, but I have seen a live pigeon. Millions of them, actually. They visit my windowsill as if it were Boca, and they beach for weeks. Ready for this? Doves and pigeons are in the same family: Columbidae. Columbidae sounds like Columbia, my alma mater…See where I’m going with this? Anyone else recalling a Dakota Fanning and Mel Gibson flick? The universe is giving me signs…signs that Texas, pigeons, doves, and Frito pie are all a part of me…which ratio is which, however, remains debatable.

Will I hitch up my wagon and head west? Nah…but I just might start figgerin’ out my heritage more and seein’ what’s on my family tree. Hand to God, though, it better be more than poultry.