Saturday, July 30, 2005

The media pretends to not have a thing for young, pretty white victim types

24 Hour news networks: "Okay, we'll cover this story even though she's black/hispanic because you told us to and we feel guilty" Well, they didn't actually say that, but that is the case here.

Look, I don't want to trivialize what is obviously a serious story and very potentially a tragic one, but the media's treatment of disappearances and kidnappings is simply laughable. With thousands of people who go missing each year, the selection criteria for who gets round-the-clock coverage is pretty clear: female, white, attractive (and possibly blonde), helps to come from a rich/prominent family.

*I'm sure I'm unintentionally cribbing a lot from Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things. Forgive me. But it really is a great read.

Now, I'm not accusing the media of racism. It's not that they don't care about black people or ugly people. No, it's not that simple, so let's break it down:
  • The old dog-bites-man vs man-bites-dog. The affluent are less likely to be kidnapped or to run away from home, so it's news whenever it happens (man bites dog).

  • Editors tend to pick, subconsciously or otherwise, the stories that affect them. Editors are middle/upper middle class, usually white, so stories about crime in the suburbs/wealthier neighborhood impacts them the most.

  • Why women and girls, not men and boys? Everybody loves a damsel in distress story (well, except domestic abuse, but that's another story for another post). Missing men? Please, they probably did something wrong anyway, got mixed up with the wrong people. And whatever, they can fend for themselves.

    The media prefers to tell stories where there are clear villains and victims. Nothing like painting a story black and white, Big Bad Wolf terrorizes Little Red Riding Hood.

  • TV is a visual medium and we like pretty faces. We like our TV victims attractive for the same reasons we love our sexy movie stars, and sadly, we're going to care more about attractive victims more than we do unattractive ones.

Don't get me wrong - it's nice that they're covering LaToyia Figueroa's disappearance. Television coverage has helped in solving kidnap cases. But cable nets are dodging the very real questions about their editorial decisions and a token minority victim - eleven days after she went missing - only confirms the suspicions.

We have to ask ourselves - do we watch CNN and MSNBC for news or for entertainment?

Friday, July 29, 2005

Hustling, Flowing, Linking

Caught Hustle & Flow Wednesday. After reading all the gushing reviews, I was ready for a let down but the film delivered. While H&F may not be anyone's film of the year, it could very well be the most pleasing film of 2005.

Yeah, the final act and the climactic sequence with Ludacris drags a bit, the plot is as simple as simple gets, and we're expected to be sympathetic to a small time pimp who rhymes about whooping tricks and how "it's so hard out there for a pimp". And damn, that Mississippi Delta accent is annoying, main.

But H&F works mostly because the characters are so well played. Terrence Howard makes a compelling, if not completely lovable character out of the lowest of the low. Anthony Anderson tones down his usual Anthony Anderson act and D.J. Qualls is comfortable in his, um, quirky body. Taryn Manning, who has made a career out of playing white trash/Eminem's ex-girlfriend, is wonderfully tragic. Even Ludacris puts in a nice little performance as a rapper who isn't unlike Luda himself. The entire cast takes the less-is-more approach when it would have been easy to play overplay.

Worth the $10.75 admission? Yeah, sure. Whatever you think of the film itself (and it really does stumble at the end), there's no denying Howard's performance. The hype is real.

  • My favorite reading of the week: parental review of Hustle & Flow. The best part: Some viewers might not like the joking comment "You Mormons are some brave m*therf*ckers." Yep, that's the deal breaker.

  • On my way home from the theater at Broadway-Lafayette, I almost watched a train run over a kid and a transit worker who was trying to get him off the track. Fortunately, the train stopped a few yards short, but man, that's some shit I never, ever want to see again.

  • Are anyone else's nipples stiffening with anticipation for The Aristocrats?

    My main gripe, not so much with the movie but the press - can we have a review of this film that doesn't mention that Bob Saget isn't as wholesome as we think? Yes, we get it. His material is raunchy, yes, and he probably gets together with John Stamos to reminisce-fuck the Olsen Twins. Let's move on.

  • Try on Gap jeans, get free iTunes song. Hmm.

  • It's been almost 4 years, so I guess we can start commercializing 9/11.

  • Danger Mouse + MF Doom = Danger Doom (via Productshop NYC)

  • If someone publishes a book compiling all Ryan Adams interviews over the years, I'll buy it. In his latest interview with Pitchfork, he talks about, among other things, getting all drugged up and talking to Bryan Adams. (via FAB)

  • Better late than never: non-crazy Republican senators growing spine and breaking rank with the White House.
  • Thoughts upon transferring from the local to the express at W 4th, Thursday evening

    I love you D-train, I really do.

    I know I know, I take the F to work and back everyday but I'd rather be riding you. You're never as crowded, smelly or unpredictable as the F. Your air conditioning works. Your interior is more pleasing and more regularly cleaned. You get me from W 4th to my neighborhood two stops quicker than the F.

    I'm married to the F but D, you're the one I really want to be with. Why oh why must you be an express?

    PS - what's with the Chinese ladies at Grand St who always, always try to get on the train before you can get out?

    Wednesday, July 27, 2005

    Linkatharsis: Slippery When Wetnesday

  • G-G-G-G-G-G-G-SAVE!

    That's right, say good bye to the Global War on Turr-ism, or G-WOT, say hello to the Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism, or G-SAVE. This should make us all feel better about Iraq, or that we haven't really fought turr. Which reminds me, what's a five-letter Arabic word for " struggle", starts with J?

  • In a desperate attempt for some press, any press, Dennis Rodman gets pulled over twice in a charity rally race.

  • Sign that the Chinatown bus is over? NY-DC/Philly shuttle bus operators Apex Bus/Today's Bus has a blog, reports Alice Ayers.

    Quite blah as you might imagine. They could spice it up by, say, posting rider experiences, perhaps? I still have the photographs if that want.

  • I'll be buying a new laptop in the near future. This will probably be it.

  • Christian fundies plan exodus to South Carolina, where they won't have to put up with any of that separation of church and state bullshit.

  • I'm shocked, shocked to find that payola is going on in here.

    I join in the chorus of yawns heard all across the internets. Any artist who's on mainstream radio is there because money the label specifically paid for airplay, and radio stations got paid. Except normally, an independent promoter is taking a cut to keep it all legal. Sony just happened to cut out the middleman. The only big deal here is that the media is making a big deal.

    Though I'm sure some fans of Franz Ferdinand must be utterly crushed that the band didn't make it to Top 40 radio because of their irresistible indie sound. That can't help their cred, can it?

  • Believe it or not, people aren't shouting from the mountain top expressing their love for the new Chrysler ads starring Lee Iaccoca. Who knew that Seinfeld references wouldn't be so fresh in 2005?
  • Tuesday, July 26, 2005

    Linkartharsis: Tue Busy Tuesday

  • Tale of Two Cities' Joey is drunk with 311 lust (the city information line, not the mid-90s ska-pop band, though who knows, Joey may in fact be rocking out to "Down" as we speak)
    These services have won over New Yorkers like Joey Arak, who first called 311 in the middle of one night last summer after a car alarm began blaring outside his Orchard Street apartment. The call resulted in the arrival of several police officers, who broke into the car, turned the alarm off, re-locked the car, and drove off.

    Arak has only called 311 a few times since then, but his experience has turned him into something of a 311 zealot. "Last week I was walking to work after grabbing lunch, and a teenage girl came up to me and said that the cashier in a nearby bodega stole her money and wouldn't give it back or something, and if I had seen any policemen pass by. My reply? 311. Whenever anyone has a parking question, my reply? 311."

  • Free at iTunes this week: Annie - "Me Plus One"

    I've only gotten into Anniemal recently, but I gotta say, "Heartbeat" has to be the most infectious track this side of "Hollaback Girl" in a year filled with infectious pop songs, Top 40 and otherwise.

  • Hornby interviews the Boss, finally (via Gumsy)

    Also, Pixies documentary? Don't mind if I do.

  • This should be fun: Slate's unauthorized museum audio tours. Really, this is what the iPod was invented for.

    Speaking of Podcasting, if you're looking to try it out and have any interest in current events, you could do a lot worse than NPR's On The Media.

  • New York City wants to reduce fat people, monitor diabetes.

  • Rough week for David Beckham. His team is embarrassed by the second worst team in Japan, he's mocked by the press for claiming to be spat upon, and loses his endorsement with Vodafone.

  • Dude, what's happening to my city? People are such idiots.
  • Monday, July 25, 2005

    It is what it is

    I'm not going to turn this into a personal journal, I promise, but please indulge me this. Last night, my girlfriend and I decided to spend some time apart. While I won't go into any detail, I will say that
    1. It was not my choice.
    2. I am not happy about it.
    3. But I accept that this is best for the both of us.
    Granted, we've been away from each other for the entire summer so this doesn't change things drastically from day to day, but I'd be lying if I said it was business as usual. I've been trying to sort things out in my mind but it'll take time before I make sense of it all.

    That is all I will say about this development in this forum. If I ever do feel the need to post about my personal life full time, I'll get the domain first (oops, scratch that. is unavailable for a reason that is completely understandable).

    Linkatharsis: Case of the Mondays

  • I'm going to revisit the subway bag search issue because I was incredibly bothered by the apparent consensus among subway riders, at least according to the local news, that the searches are somehow justified and necessary. So I was heartened to see that at least our friends at Cole Slaw Blog shared my displeasure and summed up the issues nicely:
    It's clear under established law that a cop can question anyone without suspicion, provided that the person is permitted to decline and go about his or her business. This is different. It is coercive. Under this rationale, the NYPD could post cops on every street corner, demand to search people and their belongings, but claim it was okay because you're free to turn around and walk back to your apartment.

    As far as the "no profiling" remark, this is a two-edged sword. "No profiling" is a way of saying that the searches are wholly standardless and arbitrary. But if there were to be profiling, it would likely be discriminatory. With these types of searches, they're bound to be either ineffective or unconstitutional. The current system manages, horribly, to achieve both.
    I stayed away from the legal issues since the RNC showed how much Bloomberg administration cares about civil rights and regrettably, people won't care until it's too late.

    I'm more worried about exactly what NYPD is trying to achieve with the searches. NY1's newspaper headline guy asked a great question Saturday morning - what are they looking for? If you go to an airport, there's a clearly posted list of prohibited materials before you get to the security check. Does an art student' Xacto knife get confiscated? If you have a grooming kit, are they going to take away the scissors like they do at airports? Are they going to open my iBook?

    My best guess is that this is a case of Totally Useless Preemptive Ass Covering, or TUPAC. If something should happen in the subway, they can say, "Well, we were doing our best." Or worse, they'll stop doing the searches, and if terrorists strike, they can say "We wanted to do the searches but you complained. That'll teach you." Whatever the case, I guess it beats doing real police work.

  • Chicago pretends their hot dog is better than New York's. New York yawns.

  • Lance Armstrong would have been a great porn star name if it weren't wasted on such an amazing athlete.

  • Jon Stewart and Tucker Carlson: inseparable.

    Jon Stewart, Faking it and Making it (NPR)

    This wouldn't be remarkable except this isn't the only medium where MSNBC is pimping Tucker's new show to Jon Stewart's audience. I guess we should file this in the "any publicity is good publicity". I mean, what Daily Show viewer doesn't want to tune into a show hosted by a guy Stewart referred to as a male genitalia?

  • My favorite summer drink is, without a doubt, mojito, especially when they stick that sugar cane in the glass. So it was with eager anticipation I clicked on the link for The Best Mojitos in New York City Bars in New York mag. But wait, what is this at the top of the page?
    The Spot: A fashion-forward crowd dances in Dior at this tri-leveled nightclub typical of the new Ludlow Street scene."

    Wait, "fashion-forward"? At least King Size gets a mention, the same week East Side Company Bar got its NY Times writeup.

  • David Rushkoff's angel: Suicide Bombs as Viral Media
    What we're witnessing is viral contagion - the beginnings of what some hope will spawn an epidemic of suicide attacks. These would not be conducted by "foreigners" crossing borders with plastic explosives kits, but locals, spontaneously acting in concert with others around the globe.
  • Friday, July 22, 2005

    Well, this should be interesting

    Manhattan Carnivore

    I'm not sure why I'm linked there since I don't post about indie rock as much as the other linked sites do, but there I am. Should I expect some mockery to come my way? A boy can dream, can't he?

    My only gripes with the site are that (a) the anti-hipster thing is a little too expected - hey, I can just read Gothamist comment pages if I just want to read "Look at me, I'm so not a scenester" rants and (b) why the light green (as BV himself points out)? If you're going to call yourself Carnivore, I want to see blood red! Black coal! Juicy meat!

    Hey, I like the idea. I hope whoever is behind it can ramp up the quality and keep it going.

    Since I Been Gone

    You might have noticed I have not been posting much this week. I hate to say I'm too busy to post because it wasn't like I didn't have half an hour here or 15 minutes there. The real answers are (1) updating this site hasn't been the highest of priorities and (2) I seem to have experienced a minor writer's block.

    But whatever. Consider this my omnibus wrap up for the week that was. Or the week that will soon be the week that was. Or something.

    Anyway, let's take questions.

    Q: What is your take on Supreme Court Justice nominee Judge John G. Roberts?

    A: I don't know why you're asking me. I'm no SCOTUS expert but since you asked, here goes.

    I am simultaneously cautiously optimistic and defeatist. The good news is that he's not a total wingnut. Of course, the reason he doesn't come off as a jack booted righty could very well be because of his limited judicial record, and while I don't believe that to be the case, it does present a problem.

    If you look at the overview of likely candidates Slate posted earlier, you'll see that most of his decisions lean to the right. And he did once argue that Roe v Wade should be overturned. Then again, he was arguing for the Bush I Administration and was not stating his personal view (plus I don't like the idea of Roe v Wade being the all purpose litmus as I mentioned earlier). And as with many things Bush (II), the defense is always plausible deniability.

    I think he'll be okay though. Sure, he has argued against the environment and POW rights, he appears to have done so from sound constitutional grounds. Would I rather have someone like O'Connor in her seat? Sure. But when it comes to the SCOTUS, ideology isn't as important as the understanding and respect for the Constitution (unlike, say, textualists like Thomas and Scalia).

    But again, who really knows given his short judicial record? All I can say for now is, eh, could've been worse.

    At the risk of coming off like a Slate shill, they've had a great discussion on Roberts and the nomination process.

    Q: So the Judge Roberts thing pushed the whole Rove scandal off the headlines, right?

    A: Not quite. Even if Rove and Libby technically didn't commit a crime by outing Valerie Plame, they could still go down for perjury or obstruction of justice.

    Maybe this story has legs, maybe it doesn't. Or it could be overwhelmed by bigger stories like flip-flops in the White House (horrors!).

    Anyway, Guardian has a nice bio on Turd Blossom, while the Voice's timeline has this amusing tidbit:
    1971: Rove drops out of college to devote full time to College Republicans

    Q: Speaking of outing...

    A: Yes, I have been outed. My online identity was exposed for the first time since I began writing this blog. I went to Tiny's for a sandwich yesterday and I was recognized by Kevin, the man behind the Rizzak, who remembered me from when I took the photograph that ended up in this post, then on Curbed.

    It's not like I'm trying to hide my identity though. Hell, I wear my spinachdip nyc neighborhoodie practically everyday.

    Q: So what do you think of the bag searches in the subway?

    A: To put kindly, utter bullshit, which isn't surprising when you're talking about the MT to the motherfuckin' A. Let's agree on a few things here first.
    1. An attack on the subway is near-inevitable. At the very least, we'd be foolish to think an attack isn't being planned.

    2. An airport-style comprehensive security check in the subway is impossible, or at least highly unreasonable

    3. "Random" bag checks will, at best, inconvenience terrorists. They will find a way to get around the bag checks

    Look, I'm okay with a few inconveniences for the sake of security. But this is just a foolish waste of resources when you consider the benefits.

    If money and manpower were no object, maybe I wouldn't mind having my bag searched every time I pass through Grand Central But money and manpower are a consideration, and they're using resources that can be put to better use elsewhere.

    I'd rather that law enforcement be prepared when/if the next attack comes like London's emergency response teams were.

    So yeah, this whole things is for show, to create the illusion that the police are being proactive, and this is going to die down once London disappears out of the news. As I said, I'm okay with a little inconvenience. But it better be for good reason, and I don't see one except the NY police covering their ass.

    Maybe they can get all non-terrorist arab to wear this t-shirt:

    Q: Why so bitter?

    A: I don't mean to come off bitter since I'm generally a happy guy. It sucks I didn't find much time to blog since, there's so much more to talk about, like Deeeetroit Basketbaaaall, the stupid Grand Theft Auto fauxtroversy and Joss Stone's underaged booty. There should be a big music post coming too.

    Have a good weekend kids. I need a nap.

    Tuesday, July 19, 2005


  • So what do you do when you've moved the goalposts from If anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration to the milder pledging to fire anyone found to have leaked the name, and to the laughable If somebody committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration, and no one's buying your bullshit?

    Easy, Create a distraction.

    Seriously, how desperate is the administration that they're announcing a nominee at prime time? We shall see whether Bush has misunderestimated the nation's stupidity. If this fails, I guess the administration just has to throw Ari Fleischer under the bus.

  • I just installed Audioscrobbler on my computer. Basically, it uploads the record of all the songs I play on iTunes so I can share it with other people and get recommendations based on my playlist.

    I have no idea what I'm going to use it for but I'll play around with it, I gues. Anyhoo, here's my profile and if there are any suggestions for songs or groups to join, I'm all ears.

  • My neighborhood grocery store options is a subject I care about deeply, and Village Voice pits Whole Foods against Chinatown grocers. The results aren't surprising.

    Also in Village Voice, my neighborhood Malaysian joint Skyway is reviewed. At $5 for a generous serving, the fried noodles are to kill for.
  • Belated weekend wrap: I don't want to sound like an alcoholic or nothing but...

    Work is being stupid silly. So I'm back in New York after a weekend in South Jersey (which to my pleasant surprise smells nothing like North Jersey) and a trip to a wedding of my girlfriend's family friend. Now, at your next wedding, please keep the following tip in mind:
    • Do serve alcohol.
    That would have helped quite a bit.

    The day certainly didn't get off to a happy start, as we had to get up early and drive 2 hours from Jersey to the Pennsylvania Dutch country for the 11 am wedding. The wedding itself wasn't too bad, except for the preacher giving a 5-minute lecture on how the wife has to be submissive to the husband. Creepy. Then, there was a 15 minute drive through the countryside to get to the reception site, where we waited over an hour before the bride and groom showed.

    It didn't help much that we knew no one else at the wedding, and it was sufficiently confirmed that I was out of place when Christian rock started playing in the background as we ate, though Maureen had to remind me that I was the only non-white person in attendance. Man, that doesn't happen too often around here.

    Maureen was apologetic for bringing me to the wedding, but really, she was just as uncomfortable as I was, and she had to drive through the shitty traffic. She deserved a drink more than anyone.

    Anyhoo, otherwise uneventful weekend. Did a mini tour of South Jersey and a stroll on the Atlantic City boardwalk. Would've been nicer if the weather had cooperated, but what are ya gonna do?

    In any case, for all the kids out there, alcohol at the reception is a MUST. And dance, dammit!

    Monday, July 18, 2005

    All you need is 'face

    Friday, July 15, 2005

    Happy Day After Bastille Day

    Hope y'all filled up on escargot and shitty drunk on the bubblies.

  • The Valerie Plame saga gets curiouser and curiouser.

    I get the sense that both sides are too caught up in the politics and don't realize the real consequences. First, there's no defending the leak. It doesn't matter whether she was an "operative" or a "staffer" or a "spy". As a result of the leak, all of Plame's assets are compromised, not to mention the safety of any agent who worked with her. And of course, there's the chilling effect - wouldn't an asset have second thoughts about working with the CIA if they knew that their cover could be blown for petty politics? But what is more disappointing (though not at all surprising) is that the Rove apologists are trying to get by on semantics, after all the shit GOP gave Clinton for trying to define what "is" is.

    The Dems aren't doing much better though. First - demanding Rove's resignation is a mistake. Do we really believe that Rove will cease to have the President's ear if he's kicked out of the Oval Office? Please. Turd Blossom really is Bush's brain and Mr. Hyde. More importantly, firing Rove is an easy out for Bush. Then he can say to the people. "I did what I promised to do and made a huge political sacrifice doing the right thing," which is utter bullpoopoo, of course.

    And what's more disturbing here? That Bush had so little institutional control that he wasn't aware that his most trusted advisors were calling around outing a CIA agent? Or that he knew and lied about it? Or that with this administration Covering Ya Ass is a full time job, and the options are either incompetence or dishonesty?

  • Dan Savage was right about Santorum.

    Seriously, what is up with these wingnuts? What happened to the real conservatives?

    Update: Spaeaking of whom...

  • So who's catching Seu Jorge at the Bowery in September? Me!

  • Oh, this is going to be fun. Jerome James signs with the Knicks. Will JJ be another Eric Dampier or will he be a... who was the last underachieving big man who actually earned his big contract?

  • ESPN's Jason Whitlock doesn't so much defends Larry Brown as he pummels the shit out of the Pistons organizations.

    You know, while I never did like Brown's flirtation with the Cavs, the Pistons surely knew what they were getting. I guess Brown and the Pistons deserve each other.

  • Complaining about "classically trained".

  • Four years after Astoria was declared "up and coming", New York acknowledges the existence of Queens.

  • They might as well rename The Villager, to This Week In Gentrification

  • Your favorite Japanese roots pop duo-slash-Cartoon Network stars, Puffy Amiyumi will be doing a mini-tour of the East Coast (and Chicago)

    8/18 (thu) NEW YORK Irving Plaza
    8/20 (sat) PHILADELPHIA, Theatre of the Living Arts
    8/22 (tue) WASHINGTON DC, 9:30 Club
    8/24 (thu) BOSTON, Sommerville Theatre
    8/27 (sat) CHICAGO, Vic Theatre

  • Bomani Jones on the legacy of dead rappers, notably Biggie and Pac. Not much to disagree with - there's no question that 2Pac's legacy gets overblown because of his premature death.

    But while he has attained near-god status, because he didn't outlive the mid-90s feigned outrage over "gangsta rap", those who aren't fond of him end up dismissing him too easily.

    10 years ago, he was the mainstream's media's poster boy for everything that was wrong with today's society. If the media had the gift of foresight, they probably would have blamed his lyrics for terrorism as well.

    The thing is, one can't talk about the ying of Pac without also talking about his yang. Duality defined his career. No, duality was Pac. For every "Hit "Em Up", there was a "Dear Mama". Did his THUG LIFE tattoo glorify gangbanging? Sure. But it also was a (tortured) acronym for "The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everyone". There wasn't anything about his music or his public persona that wasn't two-sided by design.

    And "by design" is the operative phrase here. All the talk about how Pac was "raw" and "authentic" overlooks how he built his stage persona. Lest we forget, this was a bright dude with a performing art school background, and he didn't have a criminal record before he started his music career. Emotional? Out of control? Hardly. He knew exactly what he was doing.

  • That's it. I'm gone for the weekend. Get wet at Siren Festival.

    Truth or Consequence

    Will Consequence ever stop capitalizing on the fact that he's Q-Tip's cousin?

    Don't count on it

    Will Consequence be to Kanye what Memphis Bleek is to Jay-Z?

    Reply hazy. Try again.

    How about Amil to Jay-Z?

    Outlook promising.

    Meh, I shouldn't judge it until I've listened to it, and I don't think Cons is a bad emcee. I just wish he didn't try to pass himself off as the fourth (or fifth?) Tribe member. And as long as he's around, Kanye isn't going to shut up about producing the Tribe reunion album.

    But I'm actually curious to see how ATCQuence comes out. Not expecting any magic though.

    Wednesday, July 13, 2005

    Wednesday Linkarthasis: should I touch this elephant dynamite?

    So the not exactly secret Roots concert is tomorrow at Pier 54. I've already made my feelings about the current state of The Legendary pretty clear, and do I really want to fight the crowd in what will most likely be an uncomfortable venue?

    It's sad how my enthusiasm for what is still my favorite hip hop group has waned recently. A year ago, I would have been drowning in the pool of my own saliva at the thought of a free Roots show. But not so much after last month's pooper at Central Park. And I was hoping they'd play one of the small downtown venues but no such luck. I might still stop by if I can get out of work at a decent time though. It's free, right?

  • Jill Hunter Pellettieri sticks up for Rachael Ray.

    While I do find a lot of her mannerisms annoying and her whole doesn't quite measure up to the sum of her parts, I like her cooking. Yeah, I don't dig $40 a Day or Inside Dish since they're centered around her pesonality (and her bad tipping), but 30 Minute Meals does exactly what a Food Network program should do: give healthy, easy-to-follow recipes while allowing flexibility with ingredients and equipment. I loves me some Iron Chef and Good Eats but at the end of the day, I'm trying to figure out what's for dinner.

  • Staying with the food theme, MSG: not bad for you! Possibly.

  • Douglas J. Feith: "Yeah, we kinda screwed up on Iraq."

  • MPAA and Michael Bay need to leave Scarlett Johansson's boobs alone. Sheesh. What's wrong with these people?

  • I don't think you ever after worry about American soccer players being too humble as long as Grown Ass Man is around. Though it's not asking too much to be the highest paid player in the league when the highest payroll is $2.75 million. Not exactly major league.

  • The first column from ESPN's first ombudsman, George Solomon of the Washington Post. I think the idea is great but maybe ESPN could have brought him in while the network was still reporting news and not making movies and reality shows?

    Still, it's something every media outlet should do, have someone who will give an honest critique of how it's covering stories.

  • One can't help but be disturbed by the mess that is MTA. Now, I don't have any illusions about security in the subway. If a terrorist attack is going to happen, it's going to happen no matter how much MTA invests in securing the system. But what matters is the response when (not if) something should happen.

    You look at London - they knew an attack was coming sooner or later so the authorities had trained for every possible scenario. And while a tragedy couldn't be prevented, the casualties were relatively few. We're not going to be so lucky here in NY. Coordination between NYPD and FDNY was a problem in 2001 and it is still is almost 4 years later. And to have spent just $30 million of the allotted $590 million (mostly on consulting) is simply inexcusable.

  • Don't like how airport security is treating you? Strip!

  • Speaking of which, this probably isn't safe for work: Pink Panty Poker by Victoria's Secret.
  • Tuesday, July 12, 2005

    No links, no formatting, lots of whining

    New York isn't a very good city to run in, unless you live near Central or Riverside Park. Forget running in Chinatown, E.Vil and LES are hard enough with bars and restaurants on pretty much every block. Just too many people on the sidewalks. I guess I could run in the morning but that would involve getting up in the morning. / What's with these old ladies at the East Broadway stop who give you the Karl Malone elbow to beat you to the escalator, then stands all the way to the top? I mean, really? / People who think you can solve problems with violence need to be shot. / My iBook might be dead. It has been a little sluggish of late but yesterday, it just would not start up. Taking it to Tekserve tomorrow but I have a feeling I'll be in the market for a new laptop. Bastards. / Clients are a stupidface. / Ditto for the post office. / Mayor Bloomberg seriously needs to do something about the humidity. The heat, I'm okay with. / I have a cayenne pepper plant in my apartment. It kicks ass.

    Bloc Party mp3 via NPR

    Bloc Party - So Here We Are (June 16, 9:30 Club) (right click-save)

    This is from their show in DC I posted about back in June that was aired on NPR. You can also download or stream the show in its entirety but I prefer to have individual tracks.

    Monday, July 11, 2005

    Tiny's done gone upscale on us

    Why don't people tell me these things? Why do you people keep me out of the loop? On my way to St Mark's Bookshop Sunday, I stopped by the legendary Tiny's Giant Sandwich Shop for some sammy.

    Except it's closed. The shutter was down and that familiar sign is gone. What the fuck? It couldn't have gone out of business, could it? Damn gentrifiers! (In a somewhat related development, the phone line at Mugajee, one of my favorite delivery joints, has been disconnected with no explanation to be found)

    Distraught and confused, I rode my bicycle in a circle for the next 15 minutes until I looked closer at the shutter and read "Tiny's has moved to 129 Rivington". Oh. (Update: I lie. I was told before.)

    129 Rivington happened to be just two doors down from the old location but oh, what a difference. For one, the new space is much, much bigger, which is great since the old location was way too cramped for the amount of traffic it got. And as you can tell from the photograph above, they actually have a decor. To top it off, there's table service! Of course, the best part is that Tiny's new location challenges Schiller's Liquor Bar for the supremacy of the Rivington/Norfolk intersection.

    A part of me misses the hole-in-the-wall atmosphere of the old loc. A huge part of me. The polished look of the new place is going to take some getting used to (though I already like it better than the transformation at Kossar's) and they don't have any kind of signage outside yet. But I do appreciate that the prices have stayed the same and I can eat on a table that's bigger than my thumb.

  • So when you're naming an SUV, you're thinking tough and rugged, like Denali, Yukon and... Tribeca?

    Because, you know, nothing says "roughing it" like the unforgiving cobblestone streets of the 013.

  • The people behind The Wedding Crashers (or "one big Budweiser commercial" as referred to by, wait for it, a Budweiser exec) invite you to Crash the Trailer.

  • I only link to this piece because "Turd Blossom" doesn't appear in headlines nearly enough.

  • Senator Arlen Specter's proposal for the perfect candidate to replace Sandra Day O'Connor: Sandra Day O'Connor.

    Update: okay, not really. Specter was suggesting O'Connor to replace Rehnquist as Chief Justice. Still, it's nice to see a moderate Republican with a functioning spine.

  • I'd like to teach the world to fuck off
  • Friday, July 08, 2005

    Friday Linkatharsis: they can pry my KY jelly from my cold dead hands

    Oh shit. Not only is Rehnquist reportedly packing up his box as we speak, Justice Stevens ain't doing so hot either and the SCOTUS is going to have 3 Bush appointees.

    So yeah, if you've been holding off on that abortion with your gay husband, you might want to move it up on your To Do list.

  • Thankfully, yesterday's terror attacks didn't distract G8 from their main agenda. As Blair says, "We speak today in the shadow of terrorism, but it will not obscure what we came here to achieve." But with a President like Bush, who needs terrorists? Eh. It's progress, I guess.

  • Chris Tucker has become so greedy, he's passing up guaranteed millions. You know, most actors wait until after they win an Oscar before acting like their shit don't stink. Or at least play another character.

  • You know the northwest corner of Canal and Bowery, where that scaffolding's been up since, likek, forever? Well, a spanking new Commerce Bank is there. Why did it take so long though? Apparently, Chinese folks like their deposit boxes:
    In fact, construction work on the bank was nearing completion in January until "we began hearing that we needed more safe deposit boxes," Mr. Braca recalled. "We didn't know. So we began rebuilding from the bottom up, until we had a brand new building - and an extra floor, just for the boxes." Chinatown, in fact, is safe deposit box country, one aspect of the highly competitive, and escalating, bank war in the neighborhood. Across the street from the new banking interloper, the domed HSBC branch at 58 Bowery has 21,000 safe deposit boxes. And the HSBC branch at 11 East Broadway has 12,000.

  • The Olympics hate America! IOC votes to kick baseball and softball out of the Games. Naturally, Cuba blames America.

  • The Economist ponders the martyrdom of Judith Miller.

    You know, as a former J-School student, I'm all "Yay, journalists! Yay, confidential sources!", but it's hard to have any sympathy for Miller, considering the circumstances (a spook getting outed for partisan politics' sake) or her current status as the wingnut overcompensation at the Times.

  • Via our friends at Cole Slaw, more Faux News goodness in the London bombing aftermath.

  • Also from Media Matters, Rush Limbaugh has traveled back in time: "And look at us -- we're in the 20th century".

  • Shhhhh! According to BV, we are led to believe there will be a "secret" Roots show, sometime in the near future, somewhere in New York City. Despite my most recent Roots experience, I'm all signed up.

  • Speaking of hip hop that didn't/doesn't suck, new Blackalicious: Sticks (thanks Marcel).

  • Supermodel girlfriends, fast cars, long flowing dark hair are not enough for Italian soccer stars.

  • When tragedy strikes, it's all about finding an angle. The whole Flickr thing has been covered by BBC et al, the techies at Wired focus on congested cell phone networks.

  • You know you want one. You know you really do: Inaction Heroes action figures from Degree deodorant!

  • That's it. Have a great weekend, be safe.

    Thursday, July 07, 2005

    Thursday is Turdsday

    You know, I hate the idea that tragedies somehow put things into perspective and allow us to recognize trivial things in life for what they are? Please. Do we really need for dozens of innocent people to die to realize that most of the shit we worry about is insignificant in the whole scheme of things. You're just noticing that Tom Cruise hopping up and down on the couch doesn't really affect our lives?

    No, joking about stupid little shit is how we get by in this crazy world of ours (I do anyway). Mocking the trivial allows us to focus the right amount of energy on things that actually matter. At least that's my excuse.

  • Why oh why does the White House let Bush near two-wheeled vehicles? Don't they know it only leads to trouble.

  • So yeah, thanks for joining the army but sorry about your student loans.

  • A man, an iPod, a piece of wood, a lot of free time.

  • Why do so many sports fans find Jennie Finch so attractive? Sure, she's blonde, big breasted, likes to handle bats and balls, wears make up and tight clothing... oh, right.

    Still, you'd think an audience that is exposed to a healthy dose of beer commercials and lad mags would have a higher standard of beauty.

  • Staying with SI, the magazine's website has a pretty decent Truth & Rumors feature, updated daily in its Scorecard section. Sure beats paying for Chad Ford's tea leaf reading on Insider.

  • Fox News' Brian Kilmeade wins the first prize in the "Which media member can say some stupid ass shit about the London terror attack first" contest.
    And that was the first time since 9-11 when they should know, and they do know now, that terrorism should be Number 1. But it's important for them all to be together. I think that works to our advantage, in the Western world's advantage, for people to experience something like this together, just 500 miles from where the attacks have happened.
    Right. Because the other world leaders didn't care about terrorism. Because the UK has never experienced terrorism. Because world leaders shouldn't be wasting their time on African aid or global warming.

  • Not quite sure how this has happened but I'm starting to get semi-regular event postings in my Gmail Inbox. Some, more interesting than others, but I found this one intriguing and I might actually go check out, depending on when I get out of work: Touching Van Gough
    \"Touching a Van Gogh\", 72 min documentary on the arts in the East
    Village in New York City, a film by Ethan Minsker and Marie Le Claire
    Winner of Best Alternative Experimental Film at The Bare Bones Film
    Festival 2005

    Thursday July 7, 2005
    at 8:00 PM

    The Anthology Film Archives
    32 2nd Avenue (at 2nd st)
    New York, NY 10003

    $7 Donation is Requested

    Be safe everyone. Thoughts, prayers.

  • London

    There are so many things I want to say about the terrorist attacks in London, but most of it wouldn't be particularly insightful, and I'll leave the political commentaries to those more informed and intelligent than I. Not that I'll read much of it - I don't have any patience for rhetoric or grandstanding right now.

    But watching a little bit of BBC News as I was getting ready for work today, I was impressed by how calm and composed the people were in the face of tragedy. At the same time, it didn't surprise me. I lived in London for 3 years during the height of IRA bombings in the UK but as far as I could tell, they never allowed fear to affect their everyday lives. I did not see any panic or rush to point fingers. The "stiff upper lip" might sound cliche, but the British people truly embody it during challenging times. Not at all shocking from a nation that survived the Battle of Britain.

    As Mayor Ken Livingstone said addressing the culprits, "Nothing you do, however many of us you kill will stop that life. Where freedom is strong and people can live in harmony, whatever you do, however many you kill, you will fail." Come Monday, London will be back to being London again, and I hope that no one else allows fear or anger drive their actions, understandable as that may be. Patriotism does not require jingoism. Vengeance does not equal justice.

    My sympathies go out to the victims and everyone else affected.

    Update: David Plotz of Slate has been posting Dispatch From London - it's worth the read.

    NYC2012: 24 hours later, I still don't give a shit

    Well, especially since there are far more important things going on in the world, obviously. And what could I possibly say about Mayor Bloomberg's failed bid to bring the Olympic Games to NYC that hasn't already been said? Not a whole lot, really.

    I do have a problem with the split-personality reporting the media has done. On the one hand, they seem to recognize that most New Yorkers ranged from apathetic to vehemently opposed, but on the other hand, you have titling the link to this article "NYC Saddened" and opening the article with "For a city used to success, defeat was stinging."

    Or worse, you have a Reuters piece trying way too hard to find an exotic reason for the apathy, quoting a Texan of all people (no offense) to represent the average New Yorker, who gave the following reason for why New York isn't ready to host the games: "I think we're doing quite a lot at the present time recovering from 9/11." What right thinking New Yorker brings up 9/11 unprompted? We haven't forgotten about it but we've moved past it. No, hosting the games is a bad idea, 9/11 or no 9/11.

    Though of course, that wasn't as silly as the pro-Olympics quote found in the same article, "It would have been nice to have it in New York. Ever since Sept. 11 in New York people have been scared, so it would have been nice to have it, to bring New York itself back up." Um. scared? Really?

    Which gets us back to the voting in Singapore and it's easy to see, as BBC points out, "Raising New York's ability to cope in the wake of the 11 September attacks smacked a little bit of desperation by the city's delegation in Singapore, perhaps." No kidding.

    And that gives me another reason why I'm glad we're not hosting the 2012 Games. NBC and everyone else pimping the Games will be tripping over each other digging up memories of the terrorist attacks, nevermind that nothing in the NYC2012 plan would have brought any commerce to Lower Manhattan.

    In the end, I'm glad London got the bid because at least judging by the reaction at Trafalgar Square, the people of London wanted it. And more importantly, holding the Games in London means as much for Londoners as it does for the entire country. That's the thing with the US - while its massiveness allows it to hold major events, the rest of the country doesn't get all that excited about things that happen in New York. Hell, the rest of the country probably doesn't think of New York as part of America.

    And the scene in Trafalgar Square provided a sharp contrast to the sorry attempt at a pep rally at Rockefeller Plaza. And that the event was held at Rockefeller should tell you that the Olympics were meant for tourists, not regular New Yorkers. I'm glad we're done with this nonsense, at least for the next 4 years.

    Wednesday, July 06, 2005

    Let's do this Memento style

    First, an apology for not being a good little blogger. I opined a while back that regularity was more important than quantity in blogging, and I've been failing on both counts lately (not to mention quality). I don't have an excuse other than my work getting in the way of everything. Maybe I should take up on my girlfriend's offer to ghostblog. It's not that hard, really - just whine a lot about tourists, Bush, the current state of music and anything above 14th Street, throw in a bunch of "shit", "fuck" and "motherfucking shit", and you're good.

    But enough mea culpaing. Let's wrap up the weekend, last things first, Memento style.

    I'm sure my non-NY friends hate when I talk like this, but every now and then, I get these "Fuck, I'm glad I live in New York" moments and watching the Fourth of July fireworks from my apartment rooftop was exactly that.

    Too lazy to go out to the river and fight the masses, Maureen and I headed for the roof, which proved to be the perfect vantage point for watching shit get blow'd up. Okay, not really perfect, what with taller buildings around us and all, but good enough. The great thing about living downtown is that the East River is to the east and south, so you get this odd setup of half the people facing one way to watch the fireworks and the other half facing the opposite direction.

    Anyhoo, I discovered my roommate told me about a hidden rooftop on top of the regular rooftop. Score. We got a great view of the Midtown fireworks with THOR providing a not unwelcome obstruction. So yeah, even my building didn't give me the most ideal viewing angle, the setting - LES tenements all around, sparklers going off other rooftops, etc - made it a "Fuck, I'm glad I live in New York" moment. Unfortunately, it was also one of those moments I wished I had a camera.

    Earlier, caught the Matador Records free show at Battery Park but by the time we got there around 4 pm, the joint was ppppppacked and we just couldn't be bothered to get in. We ended up chilling out on the lawn behind the stage while Malkmus played. At this point though, we were absolutely pooped and headed back to the apartment before long.

    What's Fourth of July without the Hot Dog Eating Contest at Nathan's? To not attend would have been practically treasonous.

    Okay, I have to complain here - by the way the event was set up, it was clear that this was for the benefit of the TV audience and the live audience was simply there to provide the atmosphere. The stage was set too low for anyone who wasn't in the first few rows to see, and worse, TV cameras took up the entire area directly in front of the stage. It didn't help that by the time we got there, full hour and 50 minute before the contest, the place was packed. We ended up following most of the action through the commentary and shots off my digital camera.

    Still, nothing like good, over-the-top theatrics to kick off Fourth of July, and the heat could have been much, much worse. Takeru Kobayashi won for the 5th straight year albeit with just 49 hot dogs in 12 minutes, 4 and a half short of the record he set last year. Still, it was another triumph for us smallish Japanese dudes - crashing your national holiday since 1997.

    And the rest of the weekend:

  • I usually can't stand areas with high concentrations of tourists but I'll make an exception for Brooklyn Bridge. I don't think I'll ever get tired of walking the bridge.

  • Not sure if I could ever live in Brooklyn Heights or DUMBO though - once you get over the pretty brownstones and the cobblestone streets, the neighborhoods don't really offer much.

  • Almodovar's Bad Education. Hmmm. Yeah.

  • So before making the walk down Centre St to the bridge, we make our obligatory stop at the corner bakery. Except there's a dude with a walkie talkie blocking our way. Bastards. Turns out, they're shooting 16 Blocks and the block on East Broadway between Rutgers and Allen is one of the 16. No Bruce Willis sighting, but there was fake rain all over the street and Mos Def chilling in the tent. Of course, I do the nerdy thing and get a picture of Mighty Mos.

  • I know, I know, LES gets film shoots all the time, but they tend to happen more above Delancey St. We don't get too many famous folks in the stinky end down here.

  • Life Aquatic - is there a film that is any more infuriatingly disappointing?

  • Anyway, I'm going to get back to a more regular posting schedule soon enough. Till then, um, hold tight.

    Friday, July 01, 2005

    1st of July, Washington DC (Sandy)

    Please excuse this horrible pun of a post title, which I'm especially ashamed of since it completely butchers my second favorite Springsteen song.

    But who woulda thunk it, Sandra D leaving the bench? Surely this must mean, Rehnquist won't retire until the big guy upstairs tells him - which I can't decide is good or bad. If Rehnquist were to quit in the very near future, you can bet that at least one of the Bush nominees will be an anti-abortion wingnut and the Dems wouldn't filibuster two nominees, would they?

    Then again, Rehnquist could last a couple of years longer but drop before 2008, then maybe Bush will be more likely to nominate two radicals. I don't know, I'm not a SCOTUS expert by any means so I'll let WaPo talk about the possible nominees and Slate about the Notorious S.D.O.'s legacy.

    Well, I will add this - I prefer my SCOTUS justices moderate and as non-partisan as possible (which is the whole purpose of the Court's existence, of course). As long as you don't get too activist or too laissez faire but make firm stands when appropriate, you're cool with me.

    Okay, one more thing. Naturally, I'd like the same for the replacement - I don't care whether he/she's liberal or conservative leaning, as long as it's just leaning and not knee deep. And at the risk of getting my Liberal Card revoked, I'm not entirely too comfortable with Roe v Wade being the litmus. Don't get me wrong, I understand that it's a very important case and why it is the litmus test. And all things being equal, I do want Roe to stand.

    At the same time, liberalism is not a one-issue ideology. It's about creating opportunities, eschewing concentration of power, maintaining a viable middle class, maintaining a separation of church & state, etc etc. It is not a simplistic, all-or-nothing dogma. I do hope that the Democrats don't dismiss nominees simply because of their stand on abortion. Chief justices should be judged by their reading of the Constitution, not their positions on particular issues. Well, not necessarily, anyway.

    Linkatharsis, y'all.
  • Looks like I need to save even more money for next year's World Cup in Germany. Heavy fines planned for World Cup streakers.

  • From Flickr user tangentialism, Orchard Street, As It Once Was:

  • Chilltop? G Love?

    Man, I like G and all, but I'm not feeling this at all. I mean, do people even remember the original "Hilltop", that saccharine, ethno-condescending piece of schmaltz from the 70s? And what kind of title is "Chilltop"? I can only assume someone has a picture of G in bed with a certain War of the Worlds star not named Dakota and a certain lead singer of Matchbox 20.

  • Sweet. This Christo-like art installation covers up all advertising and branding in Vienna's 7th district for two weeks.

  • Nothing says "Culture of Life" than sending your fetus to die in Iraq.

  • Over a hundred songs from the Simpsons available for download (via BV)

    I bet people who spent $15 on that the Simpsons Sing the Blues CD a few years ago feel really silly right now. I know I do. Still, superawesome.

  • It's only appropriate that I read this Village Voice piece on alternative hip hop's very white audience right after the highly disappointing Central Park triple bill. No, that doesn't sound right.

    Well, I guess my point is that "mainstream" hip hop and "indie" hip hop are becoming more and more segregated, and the indie types perhaps try a little too hard to not be "commercial". Or not.

  • More and more, Bush is preaching to the choir:

  • You can stream or download the Overheard guys' appearance on WNYC.

  • I can always count on Cityrag Cathy for the truth. Such as: Tom likes a he

  • That's it. Have a great long weekend, Happy birthday, America. Fuck yeah!