05, 2003 at 16:28:30 (EST)
I don't know Karate, but I know Cuh-razy!
It's been a week since I was sadistically
beaten by anonymous thugs. What steps am I taking to ensure I
do not get sadistically beaten again? Well, I've been looking over
my shoulder a lot, giving the stink eye to every person I meet, and
dawdling on filling out a police report. Consequently, I feel like
a jackass when I go outside. I feel like the kind of paranoid guy
who should get sadistically beaten, instead of the happy-go-lucky
twerp I usually am. Now that I'm paying closer attention to the people
around me, I realize there isn't a threatening face for a two mile
radius form my house. Except mine. Everybody is bopping on down the
street and when they pass me I give 'em the once-over, trying to look
as hard as possible (which as it turns out, is not particularly hard).
Every person I see looks like a nice guy. I look like a defensive
honky; people probably assume I am that guy who wrote the piece
in the NY Press about how much he hates his neighborhood. Not only
do I not want to be associated with that guy, he's actually high on
my list of people who probably could use such a beating.
So I'm giving up the 1000-yard stare and going back to a more pleasant
outdoor disposition. I knew it was pointless to continue like this
today when I was walking down my street. A group of youths approached;
I got my sneer ready. They got closer, and they turned out to be
friends of mine, on their way to the junk shop. If people I've known
for years could be potential attackers in my mind, I know it's time
to take a different tack.
So when you see me on the street, I'll be doing one or more of
the things I usually do: laughing at dogs, talking to my shoes,
humming the melody to "Pusherman," shaking my fist in
the air, or skipping like a little girl.
Now, who'd wanna beat up a guy like that?
Posted By Jimmy Legs
||Friday, April 04,
2003 at 23:43:54 (EST)
Confidential to our Kent State readers
Hey, B is having trouble getting her emails to go through to you.
So don't feel neglected if you haven't heard from her in a while;
rest assured, you're still in her nightly prayers, right along with
George Bush and Tony Tennille (he can still turn it around, just you
wait!). You might have to switch to a hotmail or yahoo address until
the problem is resolved, but only if you really wanna hear from her.
If you are pleased with the current incommunicado state, please disregard
Posted By Jimmy Legs
||Friday, April 04,
2003 at 17:04:23 (EST)
What We've Learned
I'm about to head out to Frank's
Lounge to meet up with J before her goes to see some show at BAM.
We've been talking about real estate, as usual, and he is helping
me get my hopes up again. Our major problem so far has been simply
that there are no houses in our price range in the neighborhoods we
want. The more I think about it, the more I'd like to stay in Clinton
Hill, or possibly further over into Fort Greene. Park Slope doesn't
do it for me, Boerum Hill and Cobble Hill are getting a little too
much attention these days, and Brooklyn Heights is just sort of out
of the question. I just received a flyer from the Corcoran
Group which offers pricing estimates for the various northerly
Brooklyn neighborhoods. Among those listed, Fort Greene and Clinton
Hill came out the cheapest by far.
But it's not cheap enough. The average price for a house is $556K.
If only I could convince B to become a lawyer
or doctor or something we could afford that. But alas, I'm involved
with an academic, which barring tenure, means not a lotta cash.
I can find stuff I can afford in Greenwood Heights (with lovely
views of the BQE and the cemetery), or go to the far side of the
park and settle in Lefferts Gardens. But I keep thinking how much
I like living in a neighborhood I know well, savage beatings notwithstanding.
I'm familiar with a lot of territory on one end of Brooklyn, and
I don't have a feel for what goes on in the rest of it. Not in the
same way, anyway.
So now I'm thinking of sticking with the co-op/condo idea. I keep
thinking we might be able to find a sizable duplex that could conceal
the band's noise well enough. J tells me that often the basement
space in apartment building goes unused, which could prove handy.
He lives in an enormous complex with expansive basement space for
laundry and storage. But apparently there are still vast expanses
that nobody enters. Perhaps we could swing something in such a space.
I'd still rather own a whole house, but it seems that may well be
impossible for now.
What bothers me about co-ops and condos are the "common"
charges. I was looking through the listings and found perfectly
nice, affordable apartments ruined by ungodly maintenance charges.
What a racket. What kind of apartment building needs to tack $1000-1700
onto your mortgage? In many cases these charges are higher than
the monthly mortgage payment. Can all of that money really go right
back into the building?
Sheesh, this smoking ban is gonna ruin my blog! If I can't go get
lit while lighting up, what else will I have to rage about except
the skyrocketing costs of real estate? I'm turning into my parents.
My god I just realized I talked to my mom on the phone the other
day about buying houses, and for the first time in recorded history
she was the one to say "Well, I've gotta go ..." Awk!
Posted By Jimmy Legs
plays here on the 22nd! That's Earth Day.
03, 2003 at 16:55:43 (EST)
Someone's in the kitchen with Carcinogens
Stealing a link off 601am.com:
some restaurateur has found a way to get around the smoking ban ...
sort of. Serafina
Sandro is offering new dishes made with tobacco.
Yes, it's about time somebody tried this. Back when I worked a t a
drug rehab center, one of my jobs was to review educational (propaganda)
materials. We had one from Phillip Morris, a pro-tobacco piece featuring
good ol' salt-of-the-earth US tobacco farmers, showing them growing,
harvesting and drying big leaves of pre-cancerous goodness. They used
a soft focus and had great lighting, so the effect was, "Lemme
at it! I'll smoke it right on the plant!"
I've always wondered since then if anybody ever tried to eat tobacco.
As most of us know, the US farmer has been in trouble for years.
The US tobacco farmer is really up the creek these days; tobacco
companies have even less finesse than auto makers when they move
their operation south of the border or across the pond. So what
better way for these struggling farmers to get well, than to have
them innovate the tobacco-as-food concept?
I do have a couple questions. Is tobacco as addictive and unhealthy
eaten as it is smoked? I know a thing or two about the difference
between eating and smoking other controlled substances, but I've
never gotten my hands on raw tobacco. I know if you're in prison
and want to get away from somebody who wants you to be their punk,
you eat your cigarettes until it makes you so sick you get a vacation
in the infirmary. But that tobacco has not only been dried and rolled,
they add a bunch of crap
(like animal urine!). Apparently raw tobacco tastes pretty good,
according to the article. Hey M, I think I know where we should
have your birthday next week!
This is a harbinger of things to come. What do people do when they
can't smoke? They eat like hogs! Hasn't this whole smoking ban just
been Bloomy and Pataki's way of bringing us smokers into the fold
of the truly unhealthy majority of our country, the sedentary and
Posted By Jimmy Legs
02, 2003 at 12:16:16 (EST)
I can't, I can't, I can't stand losing ...
In other depressing news, I met B at Freddy's
last night and boy did it suck. As you know, the smoking ban is now
in effect, but the city has said that no penalties will be levied
until May 1. So I assumed dives like Freddy's would keep on keepin'
on until then, but as I rounded the corner last night I was horrified
to see several people standing out on the sidewalk, smoking.
Inside, it smelled funny. It no longer smelled of millions of cigarettes
past, it smelled only of bleach and dust. It felt like the coolest
airport bar ever. But that just doesn't cut it in terms of bars
in the Real World. We tried to make it work, drinking a little and
stepping outside with the throng, but it was just depressing. We
left far earlier than ever before and headed straight for the Alibi,
where they are taking full advantage of the grace period. As much
as I love Freddy's, I'm spending every free dollar I have at the
Alibi until May. I know I should just suck it up and get used to
it, but while there's an option (and one, I might add, that's way
closer to my house), I'm taking it. So, fellow Fort Greeners, if
you wanna know where you can still catch a smoke with your Bushmills,
you heard it here: go to the Alibi. If anybody knows which other
bars are still allowing smoking, please let me know.
I heard a report on NPR in which a new study claims that smoking
bans immediately produce health benefits. Studying medical records
from before and after a ban was put in place reveal that people
seemed to rapidly get healthier once the dreaded secondhand smoke
was put to rest. The funny thing is, I believe it's probably true,
to a certain extent. This is despite the fact I can tell the study
is based on biased science, that when somebody makes a claim about
all the horrible things smoke does to a body, nobody is allowed
to question its veracity. The way the guy was talking about secondhand
smoke, it sounded worse than a dose of Sarin gas. I know it's not
good for you, but there is no way I can believe that 30 minutes
of exposure to secondhand smoke can make people just drop dead,
which is exactly the conclusion we're led to believe from the study.
But even though we know it is bad, cumulatively, I'm having trouble
getting excited about my own potential for healthiness. After that
report on NPR they went back to reporting how US soldiers, the ones
who aren't already dead, are now killing women and children because
they don't stop quickly enough at checkpoints. Plus there's the
article in the New Yorker in which Heinrich Hertzberg tells us we
shouldn't get so worked up over the "collateral damage"
of killing civilians because we used to do it all the time (i.e.,
Hiroshima/Nagasaki's slaughter of countless innocents). If this
is the state of affairs of the world, and this is the altitude we're
supposed to adopt, then what the fuck good is any of this bullshit
B made a good point last night at Freddy's (when they take our
cigs away, we become irritable philosophers). What's happening is
the result of a country that is corrupt, and has been from the get-go.
There's a strong current of immorality running through American
history, not to be confused with amorality. Our country knows
what it does is morally wrong, but refuses to admit it. The result
is that a lot of attention is heaped on "fixing" things
that weren't really broken, and acting like they were the wellspring
of all our guilt. Smoking bans, minimum sentencing, bogus welfare-to-work
programs, aggressive invasions of other countries for any reason
other than what we're told, we're full of answers that never address
the source of our problems. I'd say we were slapping a band-aid
on our problems, but band-aids promote healing; I don't see even
this happening here.
Think about how we use the word "patriot" these days.
It doesn't mean what it's supposed to mean anymore. Now it means
doing nothing, questioning nothing, not rocking the cultural boat,
not thinking creatively, not having any freedom in the way in which
one expresses themselves. All it's about now is "standing by
our president," "supporting the troops," "waving
the flag." Not only do I feel taking false pride in a lack
of effort does a disservice to this country, I charge that most
self-described patriots do not even have the capacity to understand
how to defend the thoughts they have that might actually be considered
"beliefs." But the unique position of contemporary patriotism
dictates that any dissent is to be treated as treason. The only
way to be a patriot in this country is to do nothing; any wavering
will arouse suspicion. That's not patriotism, that is fascism.
I feel sorry for those guys, mostly. This brand of patriotism is
yet another example of how we try to compensate for our guilt, for
our collective feeling that we're getting something very wrong,
and don't know or don't really want to fix it.
Posted By Jimmy Legs
02, 2003 at 11:33:45 (EST)
Geek rant, sorry: I hate my content management
is a shitty
content management application. It was purchased by my company to
build our external websites. It was supposed to make the process of
building and editing webpages simple. It was supposed to be so easy
to use that even web novices would be able to use it. It was supposed
to bridge the gap between what people wanted to do with the web and
what they knew how to do.
It didn't work.
The application turned out to be too inflexible and difficult for
the novices to use. So the company decided to let only its computer
tech people have access, making them the go-between to get things
on the site. That's fine, that's what most companies do. But they
didn't get rid of StoryServer in favor of something more robust
for users who know a thing or two about web design. The result is
guys like me having to sit around using this clunky slow-assed application
to build sites. The program is so non-intuitive and buggy that it
limits what I am able to do to the most elementary level. People
contact me constantly to ask for completely understandable and useful
updates to the site and I am forced to tell them, "Sorry, the
CMA doesn't let us do that."
What the fuck? We're letting a lame application dictate what we
can and cannot do on our own websites? Of course, all of this is
just what angers me about the program on a daily basis. Today is
special. Today I went into a project to edit a couple of pages and
had both pages return a "Page Modification Failed" error.
I don't know what this means, but the result is that all the content
on these pages was deleted, so I am left with an empty template.
This means that to do the minor edits I need to make on the pages
required rebuilding the entire page, soup to nuts. Balls.
StoryServer works on a component basis. Each segment of a page
is made up of individual components that can be moved or duplicated
on other pages. It's a nice idea, especially when you want the same
thing to show up on every page and have a single source to edit
to update the entire site. But it makes rebuilding a huge pain in
the ass. I have to go through pages of components and try to figure
out what was used on a given page. Remember, I am not the geek who
built the page, I'm just the editor. The people who originally built
most of these pages were uber geeks who used the most arcane naming
system I've ever seen to label their components, so finding them
is often a lost cause. This means I have to build new components
and drop in the code. You wanna know where I get the code to drop
in? I go to the website itself in Internet Explorer (just like any
of you could do), copy the source and plug it back in. If this isn't
the most unprofessional, fucked up way to handle things, I'll eat
But Mr. Legs, you say, what about the no-doubt fabulous tech support
staff at your company? Surely they must have the flexible solutions
you require! Au contraire. The tech support guys are contractors
like me, they don't really work for the company. They live in Arizona
and spend their days explaining why they can't help anybody. It's
not dissimilar from my constant explaining how I can't do what people
want because of the shitty application. It's like a group of Three
Stooges clones sitting around shrugging and going "Ahhhhhdunnnoooo!"
To hear it from these guys, I am the only person on the face of
the planet who has ever had this problem. They don't know how it
happens, and seem to have no resources for finding out. Couldn't
they email the company and ask or something? I continually ask them
if they can take the component info from the live site server and
just plug it back in to the messed up pages, but they never seem
to try. Usually they just wait until I run out of time and have
to rebuild it myself.
So it's a big FUCK YOU to Vignette and our Shemps in Arizona. I'm
telling you, we could have a far superior website if they just gave
me direct FTP access and a copy of Notepad. The web doesn't have
to be this difficult; it's this sense that it is that these companies
and tech people rely on to justify their still-inflated-since-the-bubble-burst
salaries. It's a fucking racket.
I stand by what I said yesterday, but they apprently hired some
new tech support guy who actually knows what he's doing. He was
able to reset the messed up pages and replace all the missing content.
Yay! But it still doesn't excuse the general lameness of the software.
Posted By Jimmy Legs
does not do any of the things it claims it does
||Tuesday, April 01,
2003 at 17:26:47 (EST)
It is now my duty to completely drain the
In cat-related news (maybe next year I'll win next year's Anti-Bloggie
for "Most References to Pet in Blog"), I took Hubcap to
get the drain taken out of his leg. I realize now that all it was,
was literally a piece of loose-fabric string stuck in his to drain
away the fluid in his abscess. They must have just snipped the knot
and yanked it out of him, since it took all of 30 seconds and they
made me wait in the waiting room. I could have done that. Plus, I
discovered another thing while toting him to and from the vet: if
you've recently been savagely beaten
to within an inch of your life and then you try to carry a poorly-designed
cat carrier down the street, you will be in pain. Actually, the way
those carriers are designed, I'd be in pain anyway. They have those
little handles right in the middle, forcing you to hold the box away
from your body so as not to jostle the feline within, which results
in a feeling similar to holding buckets of water with your arms outstretched
for several hours. And it was raining, so I'm trying to do this all
with our stupid defective umbrella thrown into the mix.
But all our suffering can now begin to end. Hubcap is healed and
I'm working on my list of people I'd like to have beaten up the
way I was. The only trick will be getting them to walk down my street
at just the right time to receive their richly-deserved beatings.
Does anyone have Donald Rumsfield's home number?
Posted By Jimmy Legs
||Tuesday, April 01,
2003 at 17:10:46 (EST)
New York's all right ... if you like saxophones!
I don't think I ever blabbed on this blog about what a great band
I think (thought) Laddio
Bolocko is (was). Well, they rock. I just received my copy
The Life and Times of ... Laddio Bolocko, a collection
of everything they recorded during their brief life. Ever since I
saw them open for Babe the Blue Ox in 2000 at Tonic, I have been trying
to find their material, for sale or otherwise.
I could never track down copies of anything, only the occasional notice
on a website saying they were all out so please stop asking thank
you the management. I turned to the dubious world of peer-to-peer
networking and found precious few songs. It was enough to tide me
over, but I still wanted the real deal. Not to mention I spent a long
time downloading one supposed Laddio Bolocko song only to have it
turn out to be something by Snoop Dogg.
This is all past now, as some intelligent person decided to release
their material on a double CD. I am wending my way through it now.
In recent years, I find myself increasingly attracted to musical
aspects I previously eschewed, namely long droning songs with complex
dynamics. The spectrum of this interest can be charted with Dianogah
on one end (let's call it the "easier listening" side)
and Laddio Bolocko and Shellac
on the other (the "grrr" side). Don
Caballero is somewhere in the middle. Not that Laddio Bolocko
can't be melodic and pretty, they do that well, but generally there
is something heavy, almost pummeling about their sound. But not
in an I-Farm,
headbanging sort of way. It's somehow smarter, I don't know how
else to put it. Something I learned when I lived with K, a hand-drummer,
is the notion of playing a beat not to go somewhere, but to sort
of stay in one place. It's a different concept than usually found
in rock music, the sort of drive that allows drum circles to play
for hours and never get boring (well, good drum circles,
not the wannabes you find on most college campuses). Both Laddio
Bolocko and Shellac can do this, and I find it fascinating. I like
it with a completely different part of my head than what I use to
like, say, the Misfits.
But I'm blathering in Rock Critic mode. The bottom line is that
I think they were a great band, and I would have loved to see them
live more often. I'm gonna check out the new bands the members are
Turn To Me and The
Posted By Jimmy Legs
||Tuesday, April 01,
2003 at 09:51:49 (EST)
I don't care what you guys do to me, but,
my cat, don't touch
I continue to heal. My back still hurts but it's getting better all
the time. And my valuable face will also soon be its old self again,
and I can return to my lucrative male modeling career . I think my
cat and I share the same luck. Hubcap also got jumped last week, albeit
by another cat, and he too sustained some injury. After it happened,
he was sleeping all the time and not getting off the couch, plus he
seemed feverish, so I took him to the vet. She found an abscess on
his hind leg. This required sedation, blood work, minor surgery, and
$300. I think we both got screwed on that one, me for the cost, and
Hubcap for the big string coming out of two holes in his leg (called
He's had abscesses before, but he's never needed a
bunch of rope threaded through his leg. I wish I knew more about
cat medicine; then I'd know if this was necessary or it my vet is
But Hubcap is feeling better. He's been getting antibiotics
all week, and even Decatur has been leaving him alone. He's even
been sleeping in our room again. Since the incident, he'd been sleeping
down in the basement ... in the bass drum:
This is one of those pictures that must be hidden
if I ever want to sell this drum set. Anyhow, today Hubcap gets
the drain removed and then he should be all better. I'm just worried
about what they'll have to do to remove it. Also I'm worried about
getting him in the damn cat carrier; it was hard enough when he
was weak and feverish. Luckily, while he was sedated last week,
the vet cut his nails, something I'd never do without a deep-sea
diving suit on.
Posted By Jimmy Legs
||Sunday, March 30,
2003 at 12:16:07 (EST)
I got jumped by the brothers from Fort Greene
(aplgs to Public Enemy)
So things didn't quite turn out as I had planned in the previous blog
entry. I left the house at 8:30, G-train bound to go up to Williamsburg.
As I was walking down Greene Ave (my street), I passed a group of
black teenagers, who I assumed were all together. The last kid, a
girl, said hi to me as she walked passed. I continued on down the
street for a few seconds, when I heard footsteps quickly approaching
behind me. I dimly thought that this might mean trouble, but I dismissed
this as paranoia. Then something hit me in the back of the head (it
felt like a board, but it was probably just a fist). I went down like
a sack of potatoes, sort of dazed, and looked up to see these two
kids going to work on me.
What a bizarre experience. My memories of the incident are kinda
fuzzy. I remember getting kicked a lot. I'm not even sure if they
used their fists at all, after knocking me down. I was pretty much
in the fetal position at this point, so they concentrated on my
face and back. They kept saying, "What up, nigga?" and
"Get up" over and over again. I kept saying "I'm
sorry!" and "What'd I do?" and a lot of "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahh."
All the different scenarios flashed through my mind: mugging, gang
initiation, or random beating for no reason. When I realized they
weren't robbing or murdering me, I picked the latter explanation.
The kids were high school age kids, big enough to take down a scrawny
white guy, but not too big to know how dumb it is to beat up random
neighbors. They kept kicking me back and forth. I couldn't get my
brain to focus on what the kids looked like. I know one kid had
cornrows and one of those off-white quilted jackets. I think other
kid must have been the one kicking me in the back, because I don't
know what he looked like at all. It seemed like the best thing to
do was just lie there until they wore themselves out and had to
go to home to take a nap. But rapidly I realized that if I could
just "get up" as they constantly informed me, I could
"run away" to go home and "get drunk." So I
rolled over and shakily got to my feet. I don't know what the kids
were doing at this point, if they had wanted to they could have
easily pushed me down again, but they just sort of stood there on
either side of me. I was disassociatively obsessed with my watchband,
which had come unclasped, so instead of studying the facial characteristics
of my attackers, I spent those precious moments gingerly removing
my watch and putting it in my pocket.
I glanced at my assailants. One of them shouted "We out!"
and they ran on down the street. I turned and headed home, which
was about 50 yards down the street. Some of the kids I had passed
before ran from across the street to see if I was okay. These kids
were younger than the guys who beat me up, probably junior high
school age. I asked them if they knew the punks, but they didn't.
They seemed genuinely shocked when I told them the kids had jumped
me unawares, that it was completely random. They were really nice,
much sympathy, which was a nice metaphorical counterpoint to the
"Where were you going?" a girl asked.
"I was trying to get to the G train," I replied.
"You gotta get on the train?" a small be-hooded boy piped
in. "You want us to walk you to the subway?"
I decided just to go home, both to clean my wounds and for the
fact that my attackers had run towards the subway. I was not in
any pain. I touched my lip and realized I had a bloody nose. My
lower back felt sore, like I had run up too many stairs. Having
never been beaten up before, this was all a new experience. I really
had thought it would hurt more. Upon reflection, I think the kids
didn't plan on really doing any damage, they only used their shoes
as weapons, the whole thing only lasted 10 or 20 seconds. It could
have been much worse, but I decided that as a beating it was more
I got some good sympathy points when I went home. I put some ice
on my head and back and tried to sort out how this might affect
my view of the world. There's an old saying: "Definition of
a conservative: a liberal who has been mugged." But I came
to the conclusion that there's no possible way to quantify this
incident to weigh against the rest of my life. In the future, I
will probably be a little more wary of fast-approaching footsteps
(I keep thinking if I had only stepped out of the way, I could have
made a run for it) and other red flags, but after all, it was 8:30
at night, right on the street I've lived on for over two years.
Nothing like this has ever happened before.
So what are you supposed to do with this new information? I now
know I can be beaten up in my own neighborhood. What should I do,
move? Right before I left the house last night, I was reading this
blog, which featured a story of a guy in swanky Park Slope getting
it even worse than I did. No matter where you live, this stuff happens.
I don't think there's any way to guard against it except a certain
level of vigilance. But it's not gonna stop me from staying out
and getting drunk, then coming home at 3 in the morning. Actually,
3 in the morning is sounding safer than 8:30 PM right now.
In the end, I called up M and lured him down to Clinton Hill (he
was watching Deathwish when I called him with news of my
attack). We all ended up at the Alibi, ringing out the end of the
smoking era in New York. I was very glad that the beating didn't
even stop me from my basic plan of the evening, even if we stuck
closer to home. Everybody was very concerned that the bartenders
would remove all the ashtrays at midnight, but they made no such
move. So we smoked on, feeling like smoking past 12 was some sort
of little victory, a show of solidarity as we filled up that low-ceiling,
poorly-ventilated bar until it was hard to see to the other end.
I looked around at all the people in the bar and thought "None
of these people were beaten up before they came out tonight."
And that somehow made me feel better about it. Like Henry Hill says
in Goodfellas, "Occasionally, everybody has to take
a beating." And while I can think of a list of roughly 60 people
who I'd rather see beaten up before me, I know I can't control the
universe. Not yet anyway.
Posted By Jimmy Legs