Saturday, March 08, 2003 at 13:23:35 (EST)

In Times Square, every drunk is famous
B's parents are in town so that means spending a lot of time in Times Square. Someday we'll get the tourists out of there, by god. We'll set 'em free and show them there's other friggin' parts of the city to fixate on. Between B's folks and my dad, I get to see Times Square way more than a resident should; if it weren't for visitors, I might forget it was there at all.

Last night we saw Captain Janeway perform as Katherine Hepburn. It was a pretty good performance, and as the website explains, the role was written specifically for Kate Mulgrew. If anyone was ever born to do an impersonation of Hepburn, it's her, so in that respect it was cool. The downside is trying to build a whole show around a famous actor. The first half was full of amusing anecdotes; it probably should have stayed at that level. The second act tried to tie in some ham-handed plot points to build into some sort of dramatic climax. It didn't really work, since despite whatever hardships Hepburn endured, she was basically a rich celebrity. Kinda hard to sell her brand of suffering in a place like New York. But the audience seemed to dig it; Mulgrew got a standing ovation from much of the audience, which must have been more for her dead-on performance than the script itself.

Now we're waiting to hear from B's parents, to figure out what we'll do today. Because of the Broadway musicians' strike, it doesn't look like we'll get to see Forbidden Broadway, whatever that is. It could get hairy if we don't have some clearly defined activities for the parents; they're apt to get cranky without guidance.

While we were waiting for he parents at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, we met this funny old guy who had a lot to say on chivalry. He kept telling us how he was trying to keep it alive in this post-feminism era, which amounted to him taking his hat and briefcase off a chair so B could sit down. He periodically checked on us, asking our star signs, and telling me how chivalry was up to me now that he'd got things started. Then he asked if B and I were brother and sister. Hmmm. He claimed to be a jazz pianist who played with the likes of John Coltrane and Miles Davis. He claimed to be a personal friend of John Lennon. He said he had a book coming out and was going to be on Oprah. His name is John Lewis, but when I looked up that name in conjunction with the aforementioned jazz greats, the guy who came up had been dead for a year and a half. So I dunno if this guy was just a liar, or nuts, or maybe he's gonna be in a play performing as this legendary John Lewis guy. I did find another jazz pianist named John Richard Lewis, but when I try to Google him, all I get are reviews of Robin Hood Men in Tights, which features AA comedian Richard Lewis as King John. If anybody knows if this guy is for real, lemme know. Even if he wasn't really anybody, he was a hoot.

Posted By Jimmy Legs

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Thursday, March 06, 2003 at 21:13:22 (EST)

My astute political analysis of that asshole's press conference
That press conference blew my lighthearted mood. What a moron we have for a President. Did he actually answer any of the questions posed? Except for maybe that lowball about whether Americans should pray (what the fuck? yeah, we should pray, pray for our sorry asses cuz Bush is ensuring the hatred of the rest of the world). A lot of the questions were valid; but instead of answering them he just kept saying, "Saddam has had 12 years to disarm, and if will not, we will disarm him." Somebody asked him why it is, if all the UN Security Council countries have access to the same intelligence information we have, that so many of them are against military action, which Bush is claiming is pretty much the only solution. He didn't even try to answer it, just dodged and talked about how since September 11th, America is sensitive to those who would do us harm. What utter bullshit. All of Europe has had to deal with terrorism for decades, yet he gives their opinions no credence. This is not even to mention the way he glibly described Saddam Hussein as an Al Qaeda operative, even though there has never been any evidence produced to sustain this allegation. He talks about Hussein the way he should be talking about Osama bin Laden. The difference is, of course, he knows how to take on another country. He never figured out how to deal with terrorist networks.

They could have run an episode of "Kids Say the Darnedest Things" in place of that news conference and it would have had about as much practical information. Did anybody else think Bush had a prompter built in to his lectern? After every question he'd gaze down at the platform like he was waiting for somebody to hand him his lines. The whole thing was like asking a child questions about the probability of war. No useful information other than America is going to take Saddam Hussein out, the rest of the world be damned. He basically said he doesn't care what the UN decides, he's goin' to war! Why does he persist in pretending to care what the UN decides? You can't tell somebody, "Well, what do you think?" and then when they say something you don't like, react with "Oh, it doesn't matter anyway, I'm still gonna do what I'm gonna do."

The bottom line is simple: if Iraq is in such flagrant violation of sanctions, please produce the evidence to this fact. The Bush administration keeps saying they know what Hussein has, but they never back anything up with facts, just artist's rendering of trucks that may be carting around dangerous items. If Bush wants to know why everybody thinks he's full of shit, there's your answer. Show us the proof and we'll back your richboy ass all the way to Baghdad. But don't produce the evidence, speak in vague terms, continue making sweeping indictments without support, and do not wonder why so many people, in this country and elsewhere, think you've got an agenda you wouldn't dare reveal to the public. We may not know exactly what he's up to, but we know we're getting a shit sandwich instead of answers.

Posted By Jimmy Legs

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Thursday, March 06, 2003 at 18:15:52 (EST)

NEWS: Saddam Possibly Wearing Novelty "Groucho" Nose Glasses
I think this is hilarious. "U.S. Central Command" (what the hell is that? I've never heard of it before, except possibly in a GI Joe cartoon) issued this 'fact sheet' claiming that Saddam Hussein plans on dressing his troops in US and British-themed uniforms. "Central Command" (hee hee, it sounds like "Cobra Commander") says he is doing this so his troops can murder Iraqi civilians and blame it on the US and Britain. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Whatever the motive, he's fucking with the war system, and my hat's off to him. His track record shows he really doesn't give a damn about human life, one way or the other, so at least he's having fun with this whole thing.

What seems more obvious about such a ploy (if indeed, there is any truth to this whatsoever), is that US and British soldiers might be hesitant shoot somebody that might be one of "The Good Guys," right? Kind of like the Human Shields mission to stand with Iraq against US bullets. Of course, the big flaw with the Human Shields concept is that American soldiers probably can't wait to shoot some hippies. Likewise, if the many stories about 'friendly fire' during the Gulf War are correct, our soldiers will be shooting at anything in fatigues, foe or friend. Iraq's only real hope in this regard is to have the soldiers dress as sand, and creep along the ground, one foot a minute. Like sea slugs.

I hope Saddam continues his devious 'ploys' (thanks to "Central Command" for bringing back this fun word!) in the same vein as the uniform swap. I'd like to see his pilots dropping confetti and balloons on soldiers, with false Publisher's Clearinghouse mailers attached. He could blow up an oil field and whichever infantryman guesses its location first wins a sunlamp. Or maybe Saddam could pack a whole bunch of people into Baghdad square, stand among them and have Bush play "Where's Hussein?"

I'd really like to see the whole matter settled with a scene modeled after the one during the musical montage of every Scooby Doo episode: Saddam and Bush in a zany chase through a hall of doors.

Posted By Jimmy Legs

Iraq Giving Own Forces Western Uniforms in Ploy - US
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Wednesday, March 05, 2003 at 15:32:30 (EST)

Rock'N'Roll Lifestyle
Bitchin', The Means are playing Luxx on March 14th. They rock my lame ass. They're from Columbus, but it's Baltimore that truly loves them. Whew, lucky for me that's next weekend instead of this weekend, as B's parents are coming to town to buy us dinner and argue politics with us.

Meanwhile, at some point I have to give A his birthday present (which I need to finish first). Then tomorrow, we may be going to the Rated Rookie party. I'm thinking of actually buying a copy of the zine, rather than just reading its paler online version. And since the coast is clear now, there's no stopping us from attending.

Ah, the window is open in my room. How lovely to have weather that isn't totally fucking annoying. It makes me want to go on living. This feeling will probably pass soon enough.

Posted By Jimmy Legs

MP3: The Means - R. Loxley
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Wednesday, March 05, 2003 at 13:52:20 (EST)

I am such a shitty subway
How could this have happened? I rode the J train the other night, but I swear it was purely out of absolute need. I think this quiz is rigged. What's a guy gotta do to be the train? Or at least the ?

You are the JMZ!

You're sort of a shady character. You sneak into the city under the East River, and make a hasty exit soon after. But while the tourists may steer clear of your decrepit stations, you know you're essential to the commuters who depend on you.

Which New York City subway line are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted By Jimmy Legs
More self-involved quizzes to take up your worthless time
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Tuesday, March 04, 2003 at 14:37:41 (EST)

Sign O' the Times
A couple of representatives walked out of the House the other day because a Muslim was doing an opening prayer before the session started. What a bunch of hypocritical assholes. One said he just wasn't particularly interested in hearing it, the other said "Even though the mainstream Islamic religion doesn't profess to hate America, nonetheless it spawns the groups that hate America." This is some fucked up shit.

How stupid are our elected officials? They appear to be stupider than you and me, and that's pretty stupid for people who make our laws. How many so-called Christians base their belief on hatred? Our President seems to be working off that palette. These idiots who are about to plunge us into war (they'll probably forgo painting a big bullseye on NYC since they figure terrorists can easily find it) can't get their heads out of their asses long enough to see how moronic their actions are.

Frankly, there should be no prayers whatsoever before session; while it's not a clear violation of church-and-state separation, it positions religion in an inappropriate venue. But if they're gonna do it anyway, for whatever asinine rationale they can come up with, at least do it in an egalitarian way. Every session should begin with a different religion. I will be in attendance the day the Satanists pray for the House. And of course, Voodoo Day.

Shit like this makes me wanna urge on the war, let us fuck ourselves up permanently. And then I begin to see how difficult it is to promote peace, when it is simple human nature that drives us to seek retribution. In the short term, I'd love it if this whole thing blows right up in their faces. But in the long term, I'd prefer to see clearer heads prevail. But I have no sympathy for the assholes in Washington who have not the slightest interest in appeasing the American people; not counting the ones who agree with them already. That is not representative democracy, it is rule by ignorance.

Posted By Jimmy Legs

Washington Reps walk out on Muslim prayer
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Tuesday, March 04, 2003 at 11:19:22 (EST)

Bad Journalism or Bad Government? Or possibly both.
This is odd, this report says the Al-Quaida guy is already dead. Meanwhile the US is saying they're questioning him, and also that somehow his capture had something to do with the increased Terror Alert Level recently. Yeah, this just makes less and less sense all the time.

Posted By Jimmy Legs
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed: Is the US interrogating a corpse?
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Tuesday, March 04, 2003 at 11:12:35 (EST)

One thing that keeps me from being as cool as I could be
I don't think I like it when they give you both chopsticks and a fork at Asian restaurants. It should be one or the other. When we were out the other night, I was doing my best to use the chopsticks, but with the fork just lying there the whole time ... well, it makes me feel kinda stupid for not just using it instead. I'd rather not have that option.

Posted By Jimmy Legs
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Sunday, March 02, 2003 at 12:57:48 (EST)

How to Open and Operate a Successful Bar Until Your Luck Runs Out
The class was actually very informative, despite that a lot of it was rooted in the same information I got out of the couple of books I bought on the subject. But the teacher was a professional Restaurant Consultant, which means she basically helps rich people put together everything they need to open a bar or restaurant. She also will testify at their later bankruptcy hearings to verify that yes, indeed, they are now broke. Consequently, she was full of funny tales of bars gone wrong, and occasionally right. But mostly wrong, very wrong. She was good at telling us straight what a losing proposition opening a bar was. Everybody has heard the adage "80% of all restaurants fail within the first two years." This number basically applies to bars, too, but there's an additional codifier: "A successful bar's life span is around five years." This was news to me, since the bars I like best all seem to have been around since the last ice age. But they are all either exceptions, or the bar itself has been passed around through many owners.

So the class was good in that it gave me almost all that specific info I was lacking from the books I read. The bad news is that the possibility of me opening a bar in the near future is even less likely than before. I feel confident in the running and managing part of it. It's the starting that's throwing up roadblocks. Money, as usual, is problematic, and if we want to make this place owner-operated, then we need to be evenly matched. Actually, I'm not sure what the laws will say about this. If there are to be four owner-operators, does that mean each of us must front exactly 25% of the money? Or can we get money from many investors, open the bar with the four of us running the show, and pay back the investors without them lifting a finger? My problem is that on one side I have the people who should be the owner-operators, and on the other side, well, there's the people who have money.

We discussed at length the smoking ban and its effects on the city. Our instructor had no idea what things will really be like, but she did say to expect people trying to find every possible loophole and exploiting it. This is what I wanna do! She mentioned that in Europe there is a long tradition of single-proprietor bars, little cubbyholes with one guy serving drinks to a couple of his friends. She said she expected this sort of thing to spring up, like in former Shoe Repair shops and other small spaces. That would be cool if I could put something like that together, but the downside is a place that small may not be able to move enough liquor to reach its operating expenses, even if it does as well as it can.

So again, if I had enough money, this wouldn't be a problem. I'd open the bar myself, set it up with a small booze collection, and open the Bill's Shoe Repair Bar, or Lady Mandala's Psychic Reading Hut Bar, or Hot Nuts Bar.

Posted By Jimmy Legs

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Sunday, March 02, 2003 at 12:33:09 (EST)

Exercise One: Break in to Your Own Home
Such an educational weekend. On Friday Am took us to the Japanese/Thai place that opened on 5th Ave right after we moved out of that neighborhood. The name escapes me, but I think it's on the corner of Bergen. The food rocked and was cheap, and they had Singha, the greatest malt liquor ever. I wanted to go to Freddy's afterwards, but we just went to O'Connors, a place I had not been to in over two years. Either they cleaned it up a lot of my threshold for what I will tolerate has been vastly lowered in the interval. It's still not my favorite bar, but it was pleasant and while we were there it wasn't too crowded. But they don't have beer on tap, which I find a total mystery. Don't they know a bar's biggest single profit margin is obtained through the selling of highly marked-up draught beer? Well, I know that, plus a lot of other bar-related information, but first let's conclude Friday.

We decided to call it a night early because I had to get up and go to my "How to Open a Bar" class at the New School. As we approached our house, we realized with dismay that neither of us had our keys. We started ringing the bell and knocking on N's window, as I was thinking, "This is it, the reason we keep her as a roommate. If she opens that door, I'll forgive all her tresspasses and I promise not to kill her, without giving her a sporting head start." But alas, N never got to redeem these generous thoughts of mine; she was out of the house. Of course, she had left every single light on in her bedroom, as well as every appliance she owns. She also likes to do this when she leaves town for the weekend. Maybe she wants to help the struggling economy by using more of her parents' money on utilities.

So, suffice it say we got back into our house, by any means necessary. B says I shouldn't describe in detail how exactly we went about it, but it did require some acrobatic skill, some tense moments with a fence, and absolute logistical brilliance on the part of your gracious author. It's a good thing I downloaded that copy of "Daredevil".

Posted By Jimmy Legs

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Week of March 2-8, 2003

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