Friday, March 04, 2005 at 13:33:46 (EST)

I refuse to be a slave

Buzz McKinnon has quit his day job! Not only that, he did it without harming any persons or animals! AND he has a new job he will be starting in a couple of weeks! Who thought his story would have such a happy ending? Not me, that's for sure. But seriously, I'm sure his coworkers will be sad (or panicky) to see him go. He's leaving the world of non-profit art in favor of for-profit, money-grubbing, holes-in-the-ozone-layer-be-damned, big-time corporate lifestyle livin'. Look for him on the corner of your local bodega, hawking our records and a selection of fine incense for your den, office or boudoir. Don Boy Records, look out!

Posted By Jimmy Legs | Non-PermaLink

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Thursday, March 03, 2005 at 18:12:56 (EST)

So this is where he came to hide
I think this one of the more deluded real estate postings on craigslist today:


Reply to:
Date: 2005-03-03, 4:36PM EST

$5000 out of pocket gets you a newly renovated 1 or 2 family house in Staten Island !!!

Find out about the Nehemiah Grant and how it will help you !!!

Bad Credit, no credit, no problem !!!

No hidden charges or closing fees !!!

Call Mr. Joe Now 917-642-9001

Map: Staten and Island
this is in or around Staten Island
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

Not that people don't get sick of Brooklyn. But how exactly is Staten Island (at the corner of "Staten" and "Island" apparently) an improvement?

Posted By Jimmy Legs | Non-PermaLink

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Thursday, March 03, 2005 at 14:22:08 (EST)

In the middle of our street
Okay, who wants to buy a house? I know I do. Now that I've resumed my search for shelter, there are a lot of things to consider. If I can find an interested party to co-borrow on the mortgage, we could jointly get more house than either party working individually. Having co-signers would make getting the mortgage easier obviously, but I'm not sure if anybody trusts anybody else enough to go through with it. Heck, that's more commitment than getting married in many cases. So my other thought is to buy a place myself and rent out the other part(s) of the house and become the slumlord I always knew I could be. It would be harder to get a big mortgage, but there'd be less red tape at the outset. But then again, whoever rents from me would still be basically throwing their money away every month, as we all do now. Of course, they'd be throwing their money away to me, which has got to be better than your average slow-witted landlord.

The thought of owning a big house is daunting, and most of us are used to being coddled by not having to pay for heat or hot water, relying on complaining to the owner when something goes wrong. It'd be more hassle, but after 4 years of living in this place, in almost every situation I know I'd rather have handled repairs and whatnot myself, as opposed to depending on my landlady to get things done. In fact, her ineptitude fills me with confidence in my own ventures. If this twit can own a house, how tough can it possibly be?

I'm looking in my own neighborhood, but pickings are slim. Most decent property is being sold for big bucks here, leaving me only the outskirts of the hood. I've been looking into Bed-Stuy for a while; it doesn't have the best reputation, but that's been changing over the past few years. And they got the digs. For instance, here's a house that I would love to buy, just 3 blocks further east from my current apartment.

Oh, I found out those boarded up windows just protect the nice new windows beneath while the building is unoccupied. That makes these listings make more sense. Sorta.

Not as much style as I'd like, but at least it's all new

It's a 2-family and has had a complete renovation: new kitchens, bathrooms, plumbing, boiler, windows, doors, floors. The basement is half-finished (but I'm more interested in just having a basement in any case), and the front yard can be converted to a driveway (should anyone happen to have a car). It ain't exactly cheap, but compared to nearly every other house for sale in this town, it's scraping the bottom edge of the price range. I'm waiting to hear back from my mortgage broker, but I believe I might be able to purchase such a place on my own, assuming I get some rental income. But if I can get co-signers, it'd be no problem. Everybody would be paying less than most renters and get to own property to boot. And you know what that means! Tax breaks!

The tax breaks you get from owning property are one of the biggest advantages to this whole deal. Depending on your tax bracket, you can deduct a portion of the cost of your mortgage interest and property tax. This reduces your overall taxable income and voilà! You're basically getting about a quarter off your mortgage payments. Meanwhile, owning a home builds equity which can be borrowed on down the line for further house-related work. And of course, the whole time you own it, the house is increasing in value. I know it's not exactly a sure thing, but if you've been paying attention to home prices in New York over the past years, you know that things tend to go only up. What other type of purchase increases in value like this, except for maybe certain comic books? Some friends of mine just sold their apartment for over two-thirds more than they paid not 3 years ago.

The more you look at it, the more buying property makes sense. What kills me is how annoying they make the process. Between realtors, lenders, sellers, and the city sticking its nose in, most people probably just don't even wanna bother with it. But after the tedious paperwork is over, you find you're paying less than you used to pay in rent, and you get all the benefits of property ownership.

"That's right. It's a crime. It is a crime. It's also very safe."

--Dave Moss, Glengarry Glen Ross

He was talking about stealing real estate leads, but this holds true for buying property as well. It's a big deal to go through with this, but once endured, it's actually a wise investment. Of course, the real dream is to own a brownstone in a favored part of town, and have enough rental income that I don't have to pay anything at all, but buying now means I just might be able to swing that down the road.

Posted By Jimmy Legs | Non-PermaLink

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Tuesday, March 01, 2005 at 14:12:58 (EST)

Today your club, tomorrow the world
The New York Press' recent article about the possible closing of CBGB's is of the same sort of unqualified, provocative vitriol for which the paper is famous. But in this case, they kinda have a point:

Be honest. Not counting your girlfriend's friend's band that you had to support, when was the last time you went to see a show at CBGB? Awhile ago, wasn't it? Music on that level—most any level, actually—is as dead these days as most of the Ramones.

A little overblown perhaps, but it's mostly true. When I first heard about the possibility of losing CBGB's I was distressed, but then it occurred to me that I don't even go there very often. In fact, I tend to avoid the venue when possible; it's often crowded with dorks, the drinks aren't particularly cheap, and the layout creates irritating bottlenecks in which I always find myself in the middle. The sound system is pretty good, however, and many of the performances I've seen there have been memorable. In fact, I was there just last night to see Guitar Wolf, the now-ancient Japanese punk band. It was an amazing show, and holding it at this historical club did add a little something to the atmosphere. But it wouldn't have made all that much difference if they played somewhere else.

Still it seems like places like this in New York should qualify for some kind of landmark status. This city is famous for not being very sentimental about its own buildings, razing beautiful and historic buildings to make way for newer (often uglier) structures. The Landmarks Commission has done much good work in sparing worthy buildings from the wrecking ball, but who protects the shabby bars that have produced such historic music? This begs another question, voiced in the article: "Why didn't Hilly buy the damn building years ago, back when he could've had the whole block for $100,000?" He may not have the cash these days, but there certainly must have been a time when the space could have been had for a lower price.

Coulda, should, woulda, mouda. Unless the guy from Guitar Wolf was serious about the Time Machine he said he built, Krystal buying the bar isn't gonna happen. But I'm not totally fatalistic. After all, Freddy's has been under the gun for a while, and even though it seemed absolutely hopeless at the beginning of the arena onslaught, the save-Freddy's opposition seems to actually be making headway in turning the tide of public opinion. Or maybe that's just wishful thinking.

Speaking of the maintenance of truly historic and worthwhile things, BAM is screening the 1977 masterpiece The Car tonight! We're all going to the 9:15 showing, so go to that one if you can. Think of it as a silent show of solidarity with all the other dinosaurs we wish wouldn't get bulldozed too soon.

Posted By Jimmy Legs | Non-PermaLink

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Monday, February 28, 2005 at 15:33:27 (EST)

You don't need to emerge from nothing
What I've been doing while away from the blog:

Decatur and Hubcap in uncharacteristic proximity

Jason Frederick can't stay out of the spotlight

Screen Printing has been taking over my life

But the jackets slowly took shape

I'm never doing a full block of ink like this again

The final product: a quiet dignity ...

... and an inside joke nobody's gonna get except for Satan's Laundromat

Meanwhile, Mr Bones coverted
Buzz couldn't be happier

Now, don't forget! Tomorrow is the only chance you'll have to see The Car on a big screen until it gets picked up by the drive-in movie circuit again.

Posted By Jimmy Legs | Non-PermaLink

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Week of February 27 - March 5, 2005


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