Friday, August 06, 2004 at 12:29:40 (EDT)

Like nine cans of shaving powder
Here's a good illustration of why Brooklyn is cool: in the same day I saw an amazing funk band, and then later the same night I took in a show of bizarre jug band music. First it was the historically significant Ohio Players at Metrotech.

These guys kicked 5 kinds of ass at this free outdoor concert. Despite how long they've been dong this (the few original members have been at it since 1968), they obviously enjoy themselves and were especially attentive to thanking everybody involved, something few performers remember to do.

They got the crowd on its feet several times, no small feat considering the audience had a lot of old folks in attendance. At one point they even got the whole audience to chant "OHIO!" which as a transplanted Clevelander I found a most surreal sight.

All the guys pictured here are original members, including the drummer, who miraculously switched places with another drummer mid-song so he could run up and introduce the band. Can Buzz McKinnon do that?

Later that evening I rolled out on the folding bike to go to Southpaw's Jugfest, an evening of jug bands. Or so they said. We saw nary a jug onstage, not counting the freakish fake boob of transsexual porn star Allanah Starr she was waving around at one point. Don't ask me to explain what a she-male was doing at a country music showcase. Also don't ask me why representatives from Troma films showed up and gave away DVDs and other paraphernalia. Or what any of this had to do with L Magazine. In Brooklyn, we don't ask such questions, we just accept the magic. Speaking of not asking questions, look at this weird truck I saw on my street on the way over. It's an SUV totally covered in weird baubles and stuff. It was hard to get a photo cuz it kept reflecting too much .

The Flanks

The Flanks brought the house down with their bluegrass version of Queen's "Fat Bottomed Girls" which they rightly dedicated to Ms. Starr. Most of my pictures didn't really come out, but all the bands we saw were excellent. The music ranged from old-school country to Django Reinhardt-style guitar jazz (the latter was best performed by the Wiyos). There were washboards, jaw-harps, kazoos, even a wash-tub bass, but no jugs were to be found. We left before The Brooklyn Jugs went on; maybe they had the only one. But it was still a great show.

The Mad Jazz Hatters

Another things that was weird was the sheer number of dancing people. At most rock shows around here, nobody bats an eye when even the best bands are playing. I don't know much about the jug-band scene in Brooklyn, maybe this is the way all their shows are. But people were going nuts at this thing. Is this happening at all the country shows these days? Oh right, I'm not supposed to ask.

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Thursday, August 05, 2004 at 11:48:20 (EDT)

Over and over and over again

You knew it was going to happen sooner or later. After many auditions, we're proud to announce The Summer 2004 Jimmy Legs Charity Case. You may remember last year's graduating class, which was a family of cats sired by Pinky. Like last year's finalists, our newest winner distinguished himself by barging into the house and making himself at home. We've been calling this guy Toby, after Sylvia's family cat whom he closely resembles. He appears to be a fairly young male, with big round eyes and a big round head. Oh, and his left ear sticks out funny (it doesn't even appear to be an injury, it's like he was just born that way). The rest of him is pretty scrawny, a state wrought all the more extreme when he sits near Mr Bones.

The resident cats, by the way, have done jack to stop him from roaming around the house. Despite the fact he's male and therefore a possible threat, Mr Bones ran out of hissing steam pretty quick and Hubcap barely notices there's another cat on the premises. Decatur just runs away. Why don't these animals defend their turf? Is it the near-constant parade of cats that seem to pass through our doors? Are they just wimps? Yes.

I think he has a brother cuz I've seen an identical cat outside with a non-crooked ear. But despite the perfect ears, that cat didn't have the foresight to turn on the charm at our back gate. I thought about trying to aritifcially increase demand for this guy by saying we wouldn't be giving him away, but that's just too pathetic to endure. But the good news is that interested parties are already weighing their options and so Toby may soon be claimed. However, if you simply must have a cat with a perpendicular ear, do not hesitate to contact our offices.

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Thursday, August 05, 2004 at 01:51:05 (EDT)

Might as well jump
It sucks that this post was inspired by my reading about a new, most likely lame, movie that's about to come out, Without a Paddle. But whatever. Do you guys know the story of D.B. Cooper? This was always one of my favorite Unsolved Mysteries-type of story. In brief, a guy took a flight from Portland to Seattle in 1971, hijacked the plane and demanded $200,000 and some parachutes. Then he forced the plane to take off again, he opened the aft stairs and jumped out with the cash. The FBI has never been able to pin the crime on anyone. D.B. Cooper was never officially heard from again.

Actually the name he gave at the airport wasn't D.B. Cooper, it was Dan Cooper, some reporter got it wrong. Exhaustive manhunts of the area thought to be his drop-point revealed nothing. A few years later a little kid found $5800 of the dough, far upstream. But nobody found a body, or a discarded parachute. From the optimist's perspective, it sure looked like this guy managed to score 200 grand and get away with it.

Duane Weber
There's gonna be a new documentary about the case, which is apparently still open. It purports to reveal new evidence linking Cooper to real suspects. The most intriguing is that of Duane Weber, who died in the mid-90s, whispering on his deathbed "I'm Dan Cooper." There appears to be a lot of evidence, but there's still nothing that conclusively links him to Cooper. My favorite suspect is Richard McCoy, a guy who executed an almost-identical heist a few years after Cooper. He got away too, but his big mouth landed him in prison. The he escaped! Yea! And then Federal agents shot him. Oh well. It was fun while it lasted.

Still the best theory is to believe the guy really did get away with it. This seems unlikely, mostly because none of the money has ever surfaced (the FBI logged all the serial numbers). Then again, how closely is this stuff tracked? Do you ever look at the serial number on a bill? Who cares as long as I can use it to buy beer at the bodega.

Because of the novelty of the crime, and the incredible odds involved, one would be forgiven for romanticizing what is otherwise another scary airplane hijacking. But nobody got hurt, and the guy didn't have a political axe to grind; he just wanted moolah. His story belongs to an earlier era, the same one that produced that Catch Me if You Can story. Neither could exist today. The further we get from this kind of thing, the more attractive it seems. Oh, to fly on airplanes when the worst possible experience you might have to face is a guy in a conservative suit who hijacks the plane with a note. And the flight attendant he gave it to didn't even read it right away because she thought it was his phone number.

We're so spooked these days it sometimes seems like we'll never have crazy things like this happen again. I suppose the trade-off is supposed to be that we're safer, even if it means a blander existence. Huh, I still don't feel safer. Do you?

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Wednesday, August 04, 2004 at 09:57:59 (EDT)

White lines

Coleen had a little birthday get-together at the Highline, so named because the actual Highline rails run outside the building. Apart from that, there is no other discernable connection to it; it's a Thai restaurant with a bizarre interior. Especially the lower level, which is completely white, resembling both an Austin Powers setpiece and the TV studio scene from Willy Wonka.

In the light of the flash, the fountain was somehow less appealing than in the dark

The restaurant has a waterfall fountain that spans its entire 3 stories. What was good about the place is that there are very few sharp corners on which a drunk person might injure himself. What's bad about it is the preponderance of chairs made out of the Swedish exercise balls, which I felt would be increasingly difficult to balance upon the longer one was drinking. I stuck to the mod chairs.

JC Penney catalogue, circa 1968.

I spent a long time trying to photograph myself in the big mirror ball. This is as good as it got.





Eventually we decided we couldn't take it anymore and retreated to the decidedly less stylized Brass Monkey down the street.




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Tuesday, August 03, 2004 at 09:45:00 (EDT)

We got a drug, we wanna try it out on you
When they first started up with the terror alerts the other day, I must admit that the first thing that popped into my head was, "It's a Republican ploy; they're drumming up the paranoia so when they come to town they'll look really 'brave' for coming to New York." Buzz added that such terror alerts have the effect of tightening security weeks before the convention, and so people will be less likely to question restrictions when they get here. But I felt a little bad for being so skeptical, especially since the information could be saving my life.

So what are we to do with the news that the 'tips' used to induce these new alerts were based on data from 3 or 4 years ago? Some officials are saying the info is important because the terrorists like to gather information for a long time before striking. Okay, so now what? They're planning on attacking financial institutions in New York ... sometime. While I'd like to believe these terror alerts are prompted by only the best intentions, these intentions no longer matter. The only results of giving this information to the public are increased traffic, government clamp-downs, fear in the general populace, and the sneaking suspicion that somebody is interested in keeping life like this as long as possible.

You might say I'm just being overly sensitive, that my conclusions are unfounded. But how is that any different from these dubious warnings we're getting from the government?

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Monday, August 02, 2004 at 15:35:48 (EDT)

Fence me in

After staring at the unused fence panels the landlady left in our back yard for nearly four years, I finally put them to good use. This involved a whole lot of hassle, a word I have come to associate with every project to whose grindstone I apply my nose (case in point: our recording session last week where we recorded a bunch of songs but nothing actually made it to the hard drive). Read more.

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Monday, August 02, 2004 at 11:31:55 (EDT)

Freddy's on the corner ... now

I urge all local residents to go to Freddy's as much as possible, since we don't know how much longer it will be around, due to the Stupid Arena Thing they want to build on top of it. We gathered a team of highly professional photographers to document an evening at the bar so that future generations may know the joys of said establishment. Or something like that.

Shaves as close as a blade


My forehead produces its own light

Buzz is gonna go kick that guy's ass

At least some people had some class

It's not always easy to hang out with a stand-up comic









Booze helps Heather endure

But what evil does he have in store?





Three tomcats on the prowl! Rrrrrooowwwr!

This is what happens when you lend out your digital camera

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Monday, August 02, 2004 at 10:20:18 (EDT)

I will be clean
It starts off cute when Decatur starts into the grooming thing. But it rapidly gets disturbing because she never ever stops once she starts. I have to pull away when it becomes intolerable; otherwise I think she'd just keep going until she hit bone.

She'll do this to anyone who'll sit still for it. She even hits on the other cats who usually get really freaked out by it.

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Week of August 1 -7, 2004

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