Saturday, January 03, 2004 at 04:22:20 (EST)

Hey Spider
The city of New York is entirely peopled by Ohioans. This is my conclusion from my night in the East Village. M clued me into a rock show at Lit featuring Columbus natives Teeth of the Hydra. I got there in time to see The Minus Tide, a hardcore band that reminded me in pleasant ways of Snapcase. But I don't think these guys were straightedge. The lead singer resembled Richard Dreyfuss circa Close Encounters of the Third Kind, if you can imagine him screeching monotone vocals over heavy duty rock. Teeth of the Hydra I liked less, but they hit all the heavy rock notes I hoped for. I thought their set was hilarious, but at some point I realized they may not have wanted an ironic response to their music.

After the set I realized the full influence of Ohio on this little unsuspecting town. M started introducing me to everyone in sight; all were Ohioans. Except D, who is from Virginia. He said it was a Union rule that requires a Virginia representative at every show. Not only that, I ran into Y, who I never see often enough. With him was J, who I have not seen in something like 6 years. It was a warm reunion indeed. I love running into people I used to know, assuming our relationship didn't sever over some sort of unpleasantness. Anyway, we hung out at Lit as long as humanly possible until the bad music and annoying post-show clientele forced us out. We resumed at the Cherry Tavern, replete with wood paneling and Tom Petty tunes on the jukebox (M corroborated my feeling that this one Strokes song sound exactly like the opening of "American Girl"). H showed up and proceeded to give everybody a hard time, which we all enjoyed. Then I noticed a guy talking to another known Columbusite who I suspected was a guy from a band I used to play with. Like my New Year's experience, I was correct. Like many other pilgrims, B has made it to New York and is apparently still into the music scene. I tell you this now: B and his pal E had a drums-and-guitar band years before it became super-popular. Look to this man for innovative musical ventures in the future.

On the subway home some folks were arguing about the proper usage of their digital camera. At some point one lovely young lady asked me if I'd take a picture with her "for shits and giggles." I complied, though I was thinking vaguely that she wanted evidence of the freak on the train. I nearly kissed her on the cheek as I was still full of the Heart of It All, but I thought her boyfriend/photographer wouldn't appreciate it. She probably would have taken a picture with anyone sitting there, but it was a nice end to the evening.

Posted By Jimmy Legs | Non-PermaLink

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Friday, January 02, 2004 at 02:13:35 (EST)

Si les bonheurs perdus s'envolaient en fumée
Here's a cool article about why they shouldn't build that stupid arena in Prospect Heights. Amazingly enough, it's from the ESPN website. It focuses primarily on Freddy's, which I think is the best symbol for the cause. We need more connected journalists who live in the area to denounce the project. Perhaps Rated Rookie will cover it in their next issue (buy a subscription!).

And just in time for those of you who have to work today like I do: my overly long account of my New Year's Eve.

Posted By Jimmy Legs | Non-PermaLink

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Wednesday, December 31, 2003 at 14:32:19 (EST)

Matchmaker Mama, make me a match
When I returned from visiting my family over the holidays, I found my Inbox full of messages from my mom. She forwarded me about a million listings for real estate in New York. Even though I keep telling her I have already scoured these same websites, she keeps sending me listings. I guess she thinks she's gonna find something I missed. I don't mind it, she's trying to help. In a former incarnation, she was a real estate agent, so I know she wants to share her knowledge. This has been very educational in terms of learning about the facts of buying property. But the listings are not all that helpful, especially since she still doesn't understand why I don't want to live in Old Mill Basin.

Today I received another glut of emails from her, I opened the Inbox expecting to find more real estate listings. She hadn't sent any. What was piling up there instead was a large number of listings from an online personals site.

Oh God, no.

I have said previously that now my mom and I are both single, we have shared a few anecdotes about the tribulations of the unfettered life. She even told me of her follies with online dating, and I explained (in what I thought were no uncertain terms) why I didn't think I could pursue this route. Nonetheless, she is sending me profiles of women she thinks I should get to know better. Egads. It's sweet of her to take an interest in my personal life, but I am leery of letting Mom work the controls. Online dating seems rocky enough without the knowledge that your mother helped set you up. Is anybody else's mother doing this?

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Wednesday, December 31, 2003 at 11:38:36 (EST)

Ooh ooh here she comes, watch out boy she'll chew you up
I don't know what's going on around here, but Pinky just caught a mouse. At least I guess she caught it. None of the other cats are awake, and she's parading around with this mouse in her mouth. I have only seen a mouse inside the house once before, when Decatur inexplicably got a hold of one (I nursed it back to health and released it in the back yard, and then Freddie ate it). Earlier this summer, Mr. Bones appeared to catch a bird (and proceed to dismantle it all over MRK's bed), but it was later determined that he probably didn't actually catch it. Freddie is forever killing small animals and depositing them at our back door, so Bones must have caught the delivery and signed for it himself. I just can't believe lil' Pinky is a killer. I should add that to her singles profile. Everybody likes a cat that earns her keep.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2003 at 13:55:01 (EST)

I've got some ephedrine, I've got some dynamite
I've brought this up before, but now the FDA has announced a total ban on Ephedra. I guess I don't really care, I haven't taken that stuff in years (for allergies and sometimes recreationally). Still it pisses me off when a few stupid people make the rest of us suffer because they're too stupid to live. The FDA is banning this stuff because they say it has led to several deaths, as well as many heart attacks and strokes. From the sound of it, people all over the country are dropping dead as soon as they see a bottle of Super Weight-Loss tablets. Well, of course they're not. But somebody sure is interested in making us associate Ephedra with instant death.

What's going on here? The FDA has never banned an all-natural supplement before (unless you count pot!). From the article: " The FDA has reports of 155 deaths of people who took Ephedra and more than 16,500 complaints." Over what time period did these people die? Not to sound callous, but 155 deaths doesn't sound like adequate justification for a total ban. According to their own press release, "The totality of the available data showed little evidence of Ephedra's effectiveness except for short-term weight loss, while confirming that the substance raises blood pressure and otherwise stresses the circulatory system." Well, big whoop. From a weight-loss perspective, what else is there besides "short-term weight loss"? There are tons of substances we consume every day that raise the blood pressure (the most ubiquitous being listening to George Bush talk), yet we see no other such bans.

Is this some sort of a conspiracy? These guys seem to think so. I don't know if I totally agree with their statements, but if the data linking Ephedra to deaths really includes some of what they list, something is fishy. From the study of adverse reactions involving Ephedra:

  • A report of a woman whose blood alcohol was twice the legal limit and died of a fractured skull after driving her truck into a tree at 90 mph
  • A report of a suicide from a gunshot wound
  • A report of a man who died of environmental hyperthermia
  • Reports of excessive hairiness

So using Ephedra drives people to drink and crash their cars, shoot themselves, die of exposure, and get really hairy. I remain somehow unconvinced. This sort of specious reasoning reminds me of the 1992 EPA study on secondhand smoke, which brought us, among other things, our lovely smoking ban. It's like they can hold a study about anything and then, regardless of the facts, make the forgone conclusion they had chosen in the first place. Nobody argues because hey, studies show it's bad, right?

The FDA even admits they're taking shots in the dark: "There is no single piece of evidence that stands out," says Dr. Mark McClellan, an FDA commissioner, about the supposed evidence against Ephedra I'm not a big believer in conspiracies, I tend to think it's our own ignorance that gets the best of us. But perhaps the pharmaceutical industry really wants this stuff out of competition with their own metabolism-raising drugs. It certainly seems possible. Those big companies have the money and influence in Washington, and they're the ones who stand to gain from the ban financially. Or am I just smoking crack, since I can't get my Ephedra anymore?

Posted By Jimmy Legs | Non-PermaLink

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Tuesday, December 30, 2003 at 01:47:56 (EST)

Sweeter than wine
Last holiday season I finally realized what was causing my worst hangovers. Was it because I carelessly combined multiple types of alcohol in rapid succession? No! Was it because I didn't eat enough before boozing it up? No! Was it because I just drank way too much? Possibly. But since I certainly couldn't be expected to stop doing any of the above things, there had to be another scapegoat.

At a friend's party I drank a couple of cups of his Special Holiday Punch, which was basically a bucket of Cosmos with extra vodka thrown in. All I had to eat all night was cookies and other sweets. I didn't even drink that much. But the next day I had a screeching hangover full of nausea and malaise that lingered like the Bush presidency. I thought back to the other worst hangovers I've had, and I finally picked out the similar thread: sugar. When I combined alcohol with pretty much any amount of sugar, my body punished me horribly. I resolved to avoid sugar whenever I might end up drinking (not even Skittles!) Some thought me strange for refusing the sweet stuff so vehemently. But now I have something resembling proof! The NY Times recently wrote a hard-hitting article about how people drink a lot around the holidays. But at some point, they ask some experts about the proliferation of super-sugary cocktails. Dr. Marc Siegel says

"The sugar load is very problematic because it is very hard for the liver to metabolize a lot of sugar and alcohol at the same time."

That seals it for me. I don't think my liver needs to multitask. Alcohol alone will have to do. No more mudslides and banana daiquiris for me! I should just stick to hefeweizen. Drug abuse counselor David Burr adds,

"I tell you one thing," he said. "You lay in a lot of booze and a lot of sugar, and you're going to get a lot of sick."

Yes. A lot of sick, indeed. [Via Gawker]

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Monday, December 29, 2003 at 09:25:02 (EST)

You should never have opened that door
Soon I will be left alone in this house with 4 cats. MRK is taking off tonight to see his sweet babboo in Berlin. Also I've been looking in on Rocky, and I'm not even sure how much longer Juli will be outta town, as I conveniently forgot this vital piece of information. So many cats ... I take solace in the fact that their limited brain capacity precludes them from joining forces and rising against me.

We planned to record a bunch of stuff this weekend, but our efforts were stymied by fate. In the midst of recording a song for the umpteenth time, the bass drum head broke. We had rocked too hard.

This prompted a band field trip to the music shop for a replacement at least. Z also suggested I purchase a stringwinder since I suffer from an ever-increasing stringbreaking problem. I am so ashamed.

Saturday night I met up with José at Freddy's for a couple of drinks with his cronies. I picked up some more literature about the whole arena issue with a list of pertinent email addresses to complain about this impending annoyance.

Gothamist has some good info about the arena.

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Week of December
28 - January 3, 2004

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