Monday, June 30, 2008

Bullsh*t! The Songwriter's Edition

Songs are emotional. They are sometimes abstract and there is a beauty in that. Hell, you can't be a fan of REM without unplugging a few logic circuits (See: Swan, swan, hummingbird; Hurrah, we are all free now; What noisy cats are we; Girl and dog he bore his cross; A long, low time ago, people talk to me...cryptic, yet beautiful).

But there comes a point when some singer/songwriters ask too much of a listener's credibility. And I say "singer/songwriters" for a reason: They are the biggest generators of bullsh*t going in the recording industry, in my opinion. See my analysis of Exhibit A below.

Sometimes When We Touch - Dan Hill

Dan's words will be in purple, appropriately so. I will respond as if the song were written to me, because, well, why not?

You ask me if I love you
And I choke on my reply

Ok, so you don't love me. I get it. Why the heck are you writing a love song to me? And seriously, if you want to be honest about this, you ought to work on not choking on your replies...but I get ahead of myself.

I'd rather hurt you honestly
Than mislead you with a lie

Oh, pulease. So, you don't "love" me, and saying as much would hurt, but that hurt would be cancelled out because it's "honest." Gotcha. So you're some kind of hero for not misleading me with a lie, but you can't actually say you don't love me because that would hurt me and cut off access to the "holding" you are about to mention. Therefore, by saying nothing, you are actually lying by omission. Way to go, pussy.

And who am I to judge you
On what you say or do?

Indeed. Who are you to judge? You are no Simon Cowell. He would at least be straight with me.

I'm only just beginning to see the real you

I'm guessing you think I'm a bitch.

And sometimes when we touch
The honesty's too much
And I have to close my eyes and hide

So you like it when we touch, but your inner dishonesty is causing you to fry like Voldemort when he touches Harry. Closing your eyes lets you enjoy the touch without feeling the burn of your own hypocrisy.

I wanna hold you til I die
Til we both break down and cry
I wanna hold you till the fear in me subsides

Well, which comes first? Your death? Our simultaneous lacrimation? Or you become less of a pussy? I think the likeliest first is: "your death."

Romance and all its strategy
Leaves me battling with my pride
But through the insecurity
Some tenderness survives

So you hate all the games, but there is a small part of you that doesn't want to kill me.

I'm just another writer
Still trapped within my truth

Oh, gag me. Trapped within your truth?!? You're a liar! But you are trapped because you don't love me, right? That's your truth. But you still want to fuck me? Ah, an age old dilemma. Poor you.

A hesitant prize fighter
Still trapped within my youth

Don't flatter yourself, Joe. Prize fighters aren't hesitant, by the way. And being trapped in youth means, you don't want to grow up. Duh.

And sometimes when we touch
The honesty's too much
And I have to close my eyes and hide
I wanna hold you til I die
Til we both break down and cry
I wanna hold you till the fear in me subsides

At times I'd like to break you
And drive you to your knees

Wow...way to woo. You hate me! You really do hate me.

At times I'd like to break through
And hold you endlessly

Don't do me any favors, Jack. If I've got something to break through, it's only to keep pussy hesitant prize fighters from messing with my head.

At times I understand you
And I know how hard you've tried
I've watched while love commands you
And I've watched love pass you by

Stop stalking me. You don't understand me. Come one step closer and you're involation of the restraining order.

At times I think we're drifters

Actually, you're the drifter, as evidenced by the cockamaymee internal dialogue you are maintaining at all times...and the stench of Olde English.

Still searching for a friend
A brother or a sister
But then the passion flares again

Um...ew.

And sometimes when we touch
The honesty's too much
And I have to close my eyes and hide
I wanna hold you til I die
Til we both break down and cry
I wanna hold you till the fear in me subsides

Hello, police? Yes, there's a weird man howling up at my window. Could you come and throw the book at him please? Yes my addres is...

Why are singer/songwriters full of such crap? Is it just because this song was written in the seventies? Does the layer of armchair psychology take a song like "Why don't We Get Drunk and Screw" and intellectuallize them? It's crap. I'd prefer the honesty of WDWGDAS to the angst of this phony, hot steaming turd of a song. Or am I just cynical?

In my opinion, if you want a real love song, click here.

The Devil's Own Cough


I have been suffering for a week now with the worst cough ever. It is like an involuntary spasm of coughing. There is a warning system which feels like a spider tickling the back of my throat and then I'm coughing uncontrollably. The cutest part of this whole deal is that it's worse at night so I can't really get a good night's sleep. I've been downing cough drops, cough suppressants and using an inhaler. But nothing seems to work. It's like either satan is fucking with me or God is punishing me. I can't figure out which. Oh, yeah...and sometimes I cough so hard, I pee a little bit, which is a real treat, let me tell you what.

I guess it's time to go to the doctor...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I Might Be An A**hole...

Everytime I see a person I know with their arms loaded down with stuff, I am compelled to ask them, "Gotta match?" I can't explain this compunction, but I find it hilarious. Why? Victims of this joke usually sigh to themselves and offer a "har har har" kind of response. A co-worker once retorted, "Yeah, a rhino fart and your breath!" I wasn't quick enough to come back with this, which I thought up about five minutes later: "Gotta a mint, then?"

Does anyone else find this funny? Am I an a**hole?



Sunday, June 22, 2008

I Feel A New Chapter Brewing...


It's been a year since I worked on my novel. Time flies, eh? But tonight I feel moved to write some more of it. It is a dark and stormy night, after all. Maybe it's all the reflection and fever dreams a cold brings to a body. Maybe it's because it's a Sunday and I'm feeling moody. I can hear Doc in the kitchen doing the dishes and I know the kids are still up. But the characters in my novel are hovering in the corners, waiting for me to proceed. I think I should tackle it tonight, lest I'm haunted by yet another thing I've left unfinished.


I'll let you know when it's up. It's on a members only site and if you're interested and not yet a member, shoot me an email and I'll invite you in. You can reach me at greenpearl42 at yahoo dot com.
Edited to add: It's been updated.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Grrrrr


I’m sick. Mr. Lawrence’s newly replaced ignition broke. I’m working the late shift. I can’t get a hold of Doc. My phone is nearly dead. The pop machine wouldn’t take my dollar.


So, this is what I’m going to say if anyone asks me how I’m doing:


Be advised. I'm mean, nasty and tired. I eat concertina wire and piss napalm and I can put a round in a flea's ass at 200 meters. So why don't you go hump somebody else's leg, mutt face, before I push yours in.


I won’t say that to any of you, of course. I probably won’t say it to anyone. But it feels better to have Clint Eastwood’s voice in my head when I’m feeling puny. At least then I feel a little tougher.
Update: I'm feeling much better after some medication and the pop machine took my dollar the first time this afternoon. I'm sure I'll go home and fall apart, but at least I won't be cranky. For Doc's sake, cross your fingers.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Rock Advice re: The Lord's Prayer


It's never appropriate to say the Lord's Prayer during a rock song, not even if you're Prince. It's corny and hackneyed. Don't do it.

Monday, June 16, 2008

NYC Day 2 Part C and Day 3: But Wait! There's More!

We finished our meal and made our way out in front of Grand Central Station to snap what turned out to look like our last known photos. We said goodbye, hugged and went our separate ways. It was a very abbreviated departure since the parking meter was expired for Coaster Punchman and Poor George.

It was strange, because I'm used to those lingering goodbyes that we excel at here in the midwest. You know...someone looks at their watch and says, "Welp, it's about that time," or "You can never leave if you don't stand up," that kind of thing. So we stand up and make our way to the garage, through the kitchen where leftovers are forced upon the departing party. A list of things that may have been forgotton are rounded up. We head to the garage and continue talking about that one time and how we'll have to do it again real soon. Then we head out to the driveway and talk about the best route to the highway or whatever the traveler's final destination might be. We talk about where to get cheap gas. We hug and send them on their way. We'll stand in the driveway and wave goodbye as they back up and pull out. Then we'll say, "Welp..." and head back into the house.


This was different, though it was an extended departure from NYC for Andy and me. Andy had yet to buy a souvenier for his wife and I needed to get something for Doc, though what, I don't know. He's made no secret of his distaste for urban centers, NYC in particular. Although how he could judge a city he's never been in, I'll never know. But he's cute and funny, so I let him have his prejudices and try not to work him over too hard about this particular one. Anyway, I had no idea what to get.



We started looking in every souvenier store in Times Square. After the second or third one, I decided I'd go for the T-shirt John Lennon is wearing (but with sleeves) in this photo:





I figured he wouldn't mind dressing like John Lennon; he already kind of does. I also thought I'd like to keep this T-shirt for myself, so I picked out a poster of this for th Lodge:


So, I was done, but Andy was just getting warmed up. We tromped up and down Times Square. He was looking for something "artistic" for his wife. I pointed out several artistic things: he could have a portrait drawn of himself, he could by a novel called "Drug Bust" that was being sold on the street. But none of these things seemed good enough. After about an hour of fruitless searching, he told me, "Well, she asked for an I Love NY t-shirt."

"She asked you for that?!? Why don't you get it for her?" I said, flumoxed by the fact that he was making this way harder than it had to be. "You could have bought her one of those at the hotel gift shop!"

"I don't like to buy things I think are tacky," he said.

"Oh, for crying out loud!" I said, "It's 10:00! Just get her the t-shirt and let's get out of here!"

He sheepishly agreed and we went into the closest souveneir shop. We wandered around and he finally got her a t-shirt with a map of the subway on it, which was ultimately more tacky than the I Love NY tee, but oh, well. At least an end was near.

Laden with purchases, we decided to call a cab. "I need to sit down so I can go through my bag and find our taxi vouchers." I explained. My feet were killing me, is what I didn't say.

"We can go in here," he said, making a bee-line for the Stone Cold Creamery.

"But there's no tables," I said, trying not to whine.

"There's a counter," he pointed and found his place in line.

I grumbled to my self and set my bag on the counter, searching though all my paperwork until I found the voucher. I went to where he was in line and asked him to call, since his name was on the form. After a few minutes on the phone he headed for the door, explaining that he needed to find out where we were to tell the taxi company. And he was gone, for, like, forever.

His turn had come and gone and still no Andy. Finally he came back and got back in line. We waited and waited and he got his goddamned ice cream. We made our way to the corner, where, thankfully, there was a pizzeria that had TABLES! We decided to wait there and I got a tall glass of diet pepsi, while he finished his ice cream. A half hour had passed and we headed to the corner where Andy told them to meet us. The New York Times building was off in the distance and there was a drug store behind us.

I settled in to wait for a white LTD and soak up the last moments on Times Square. I was watching the crowds cross the street and I noticed a couple jay-walking. A bus came around the corner and the next thing I knew, the guy was on the ground.

"Oh, my God!" I yelped, as the guy next to me declared the same thing.

"That dude was just hit by a bus!" he said.

The injured party staggered toward us, drops of blood staining his white shirt. He was muttering as he passed. He went into the drug store and collapsed in the doorway. Then blood was spilling everywhere. My new best friend and I waved down an NYPD van and hollared to the policewoman that a man had been hit by a bus and seemed to be badly hurt.

"Was it a city bus or a tour bus," she asked us, all business.

"I don't know," we both said.

"OK, well wait right here, I might have more questions for you."

She went in and began to tend to the victim. Meanwhile a crowd gathered and started mumbling about a guy being hit by a bus. Very shortly thereafter, another policeman came over and began shooing everyone away.

"Move along," he said, waving his arms, "Nothing to see here."

All I could think of was, "Oh my God! It's just like in the movies!"

And then our car pulled up. I looked left. I looked right. An ambulance had arrived and they had the victim's arm bound up. Everything looked under control so I hopped in the car with Andy, who was now convinced I'm doomed with bad luck, and we made our way safely back to the hotel.

The next day was uneventful. We finished the training and got ourselves back to the hotel to wait for our delayed flight (Thanks, AirTran!). We had a great meal and the world's best French Onion Soup. Andy checked our flight and discovered it was undelayed. So we hustled our asses off to Laguardia and made it to security with 30 minutes to spare.

There is a line outside of the secuity room where we waited to have our ID's checked. As I stood in line, I could smell the unmistakable odor of feet. I couldn't for the life of me figure out where it was coming from. I took a surruptitious sniff of my clothes and bag. Nope, not me. It could have been Andy, but I didn't really want to venture a sniff. By the time we got into security I realized, it was the small enclosed room where thousands of unwashed feet had tread barefoot on the industrial carpet. Ah, Laguardia.

We finally got to the AirTrain gate and sat amongst the grumpy, sweaty, unhappy travellers. At long last, our flight was announced and we left the big city for the wide open spaces. The flight was uneventful and we landed safely. I got off the plane and the first person to greet me worked for the airline and she was smiling. Andy and I made our way into the sparklingly clean main lobby of the airport, where, instead of grumpy sweaty people, we saw happy, expectant people, craning their necks to catch a glimpse of the latest arrivals. I looked to my right and saw something I hadn't seen for days: A drinking fountain.

"Did you notice," I asked Andy, "That there are no water fountains in New York City?"

"Probably because they want you to pay for everything," he explained.

"Probably because they don't want you to pee in them," I explained.

"Well, have a good night!" Andy said, hauling ass to his car, eager to be done with me and my kharma. I was reminded of an exchange from Red Green:

Did I say something wrong? Harold asks...

No, he left, didn't he? Red retorts...

A good night indeed, I thought to myself, as I dragged my tired ass to E8, got into my car and zoomed home.

Friday, June 13, 2008

NYC: Day 2 Part B, The East Coast Bloggers Conference

Day 1
Day 2, Part A

Andy and I wandered into the bar area of the Pershing Square Cafe and I craned my neck to see if I recognized anyone. There at the far end of the bar was Beckeye, looking lovely and scanning the room herself.

I walked up to her and introduced myself and Andy. Before I knew it, Coastser Punchman and Poor George appeared out of no where and we were whisked off to our table. We studied the menu and began to talk. It was only awkward for the briefest moment and we were off. Even Andy joined in on the conversation.

I ordered a blackened steak caesar salad, Poor George and Beckeye got the pork chops, Coaster Punchman went with the classic hamburger and Andy got the short ribs. There was wine and gimlets and mojito's, oh my! The mojito was yummy and refreshing, just what I needed after the long hike I had just completed.

We talked of work, American Idol, cooking and the Cap'n, of course. I discovered that Poor George and I are both nazis in the kitchen, and proudly so. I learned just how deep Beckeye's love runs for Michael Johns, the gone-before-his-time AI contestant. CP and I discovered that we shared a mutual admiration for all things Bewitched, even the movie. It was a wonderful way to while away two hours.

But what we said or talked about seems to blur in my memories. Perhaps it was the mojito, but when I think back to that evening a week ago, what I see is a golden glow around our table made up of sass and savvy. I remember what a good time it was to meet these luminaries and find that they were who they said they were. It was a charmed evening and, even Andy agreed, they weren't weirdos.

Thank you, Beckeye, Coaster Punchman, and Poor George for your hospitality and for spending an evening with me. I look forward to returning the favor the next time you're in Ohio. Cold beers, seats in the hot tub and a night at Tiki are waiting for you.

Cheers!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

NYC Day 2, Part A

I’m sorry to make you wait a week for Day 2. I hope your suffering will not have been in vain…

We hit the road at 7:15 a.m. in our own private Town Car. This was more like it. It was black and sleek and roomy. The arm rest was down in the back seat and it was holding in place a crisp new copy of The New York Times. The windows were tinted, so I was free to stare openly at other people on the road. If I got bored with all of that, I could leaf through Jet Setter magazine. But I didn’t want to overindulge, so I snagged The Times, snapped it open to the front page and inhaled it.

It took nearly an hour to travel from our hotel to the Bronx, where we were working. The area didn’t look too much different from home: Trees, walking paths, people, 1950’s brick colonials. Every now and then, though, we’d pass through an obviously ethnic area and I was reminded of the differences between NYC and home.

We arrived at our training location and spent a good day toiling. The only breaks in the otherwise seamless day happened during lunch. We walked a ways to get to the cafeteria, but when we were almost there, our hostess, Kate, decided we ought to take the stairs.
“It’s just one flight,” she said as she flung the swinging door open and followed Andy up the stairs at a quick pace. We reached the landing with me as caboose and before I knew it, I was face-to-face with one of our older trainees, who was carrying her lunch in one hand and grasping the banister in the other. I made my way past her and heard her paper bag crinkle. I thought I had nudged her lunch with my large travel bag, so I turned to reach for her lunch so she wouldn’t spill it.

At this time Andy and Kate turn around and see me grabbing for her lunch while this poor woman’s knees began to buckle. In fairness to them, it must have looked like I knocked her down. However, I didn’t knock her down, I merely bumped her lunch bag ever so slightly.

“Oh my God!” said Kate, “Are you all right?”

“No, actually,” she gasped, “I’m not!”

“Do you want me to get someone?” Kate asked her.

“No…” she gasped.

“What happened?"

“I just got done with rehab and my back went out,” she explained.

“Why are you on the stairs?!?”

“My therapist said it would be good for me.”

Kate gave her the hairy eyeball on this one, and checking once again that the poor woman didn’t need our assistance, we decided to carry on. We made our way to the cafeteria and I struggled, as always, with what to get. I decided on a grilled chicken salad, which was the grill special. I asked the ex-con behind the grill for the special and he menacingly retrieved a pre-cooked chicken breast and threw it on the griddle. I let my eyes slide off his scary visage to what counted as the “salad” part of the grilled chicken salad. It was a pile of shredded, iceberg lettuce and three slices of tomatoes.

“Um, excuse me, sir?” I asked, “Could I just have the chicken and hold the salad.”

He stared at me while reaching for a regular plate.

“Also,” I ventured, spotting a large bin of corn nearby, “Could I have a serving of corn with that?”

“I don’t have corn,” he lied as he slapped my chicken breast on a plate and handed it over.

“You’ll have to get it from him,” he said, motioning toward his cell mate.

I moved along and waited for my helping of “Southern Fried Corn with Bacon.” It had bacon in it, it must be good, right? I waited and waited while the person behind me in line began to eat her chicken wings. Finally, having had corn slopped on my chicken, I made my way to the salad bar. I considered the vessels they offered for containing salad. They were pretty big. I still had a small corner compartment on my Grilled Chicken Salad sans Salad plus corn plate. So, I fixed myself a salad, got a Diet Coke and met my colleagues in line to pay.

“You can’t do that!” the cashier scolded me.

“What?”

“You have to put the salad on a salad plate; I have to weigh it in order to charge you.”

“Oh,” I said, “I’m sorry…I didn’t see a sign or anything.”

“You new here?” she inquired accusingly.

“Yes, I am.”

“Well, next time you come down here, put your salad in a separate bowl. I won’t charge you this time…I’ll charge you for a Grilled Chicken Salad, since you didn’t get the salad that was supposed to come with it.”

“Oh, thank you,” I said, “I’ll be sure to do it right next time.”

The rest of the work day went off without a hitch, though Kate and Andy endlessly teased me about knocking down that poor, defenseless old woman. I retorted that they were walking so fast, they must have created a draft strong enough to knock her down. Fortunately, I was there to save her. After lunch, we told Kate about our experience trying to get back from the city the night before. Andy was developing a theory and sharing it with Kate. He was sure all the crazy things that were happening were my fault or due to my karma.

Once we got back to our classrooms, Kate hurried off to get us some taxi vouchers for the evening so we wouldn’t have to worry about a night time walk through Queens. She also arranged a car to take us to a subway station after work so we could head in to the city to do a little more sight-seeing, buy some souvenirs and join up with the East Coast Bloggers Conference for an auspicious meeting of the minds.

Our day complete, we hit the road and got on another subway. We eventually were crammed in because it was a busy time of day. I had the good fortune of having my foot crushed by a man in a short sleeved suit. He apologized and plunked down in the seat next to me, where his thigh was in constant contact with mine as he text messaged like his life depended on it.

Exhausted and grimy, we arrived at Grand Central Station and once we emerged from the subway, I was knocked over by the grandeur of the place. I wanted to take my time and soak it in. The ceiling was amazing, painted like the night sky with constellations outlined. People were moving very quickly since it was around the rush hour. It was thrilling and exactly what I expected to find in New York City, though I wasn’t intimidated. For a moment, I pictured myself one of these people, hauling ass to catch a train to wherever I would call home. I could do it. I like rushing around. I like it when other people rush around when I’m in a hurry. This shared urgency seemed very humane. Often, in Ohio, I’m in a huge hurry and everyone else has decided it’s a good day for a nice drive. On those days, it feels like the world's against me. I appreciate hustle.

But not today. Yesterday, I chased after Andy to keep up, but today I wanted to adopt a more leisurely pace. It was around 5:30. We weren’t to meet Coaster Punchman, Poor George, or Beckeye until 7:00 p.m., but when we emerged from Grand Central, I immediately saw the Pershing Square Café, where we were to meet.

“I want to go to F.A.O Schwartz,” Andy proclaimed. “It’s just up a few blocks near the Plaza and Central Park.”

I stood there for a moment (or an eternity, if you’re Andy) and considered. Shall I sit in the bar for the next hour and a half? Or should I join Andy for this lark and see Eloise’s home? Sentimentality got the better of me and I agreed to go with Andy. Again, we hauled ass at nearly the speed of light, block after block after block. We got to the toy store and Andy pointed out the Plaza across the street. I cast a glance over it and we went in to F.A.O. Schwartz, past a starving actor playing the part of a toy soldier.

We went in and it was amazing. I found some “Hungry Little Caterpillar” plush toys and a couple of books for my girls. Andy found a puzzle and some books for his son. We explored the main floor and the basement. We were working our way towards the cash register when I asked him if he wanted to go up the escalator.

“Sure,” he said and we hopped on. It only took me a moment to realize the giant stuffed animals on the median between the escalators were mythical creatures from the Harry Potter stories…Fawkes, Aragog, Fluffy, the three-headed dog…My eyes lit up and gasped.

“They’re from Harry Potter!” I squealed, “Look…see the Gryffindor Banner?!?”

“I take it you’re a fan of Harry Potter?” Andy said, in mastered understatement.

“Yeah!” I said, his irony completely lost on me as we ascended and found ourselves smack in the middle of a room full of Potternalia.

“I’ll see you later,” I said and marched over to the Gryffindor scarves.

I drooled over the wonderful stuff they had. A set of wizard money, a miniature of Harry’s wand, the Goblet of Fire. I coveted them all and lingered over them. I didn’t know what time it was getting to be, but I had this nudging feeling that we should depart this place soon. Eventually, I found Andy, we checked out and headed out the door.

The toy guard at the front was charming the children who were rushing to the door. “What’s your rush? We close at 8:00 p.m. and it’s only 6:30!”

6:30?!? Andy and I looked at each other, looked at our maps and began to race back to Grand Central Station. I had foolishly hoped to find a different shirt to change into before we met the gang, but there was no chance of that now. We strolled in to the Pershing Square Café with five minutes to spare, sweaty, grimy and full of anticipation for meeting a group of strangers I had known for years.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

NYC Day 1: The Details...

Photobucket
Pictured above from left to right: The awesome Beckeye, yours truly, Coaster Punchman, and the lovely Poor George. As you can see, the combined powers of blogdacity, PoorGeorgery and New York City had caused my camera to become starstruck.
Where do I even begin? This trip to New York City was amazing and exhausting. I haven't been this tired since I returned from band camp. I traveled with my co-worker, Andy, to this amazing city in order to train a group of lovely ladies at a local hospital on how to use our software. This would be my first solo training as Andy and I would have our own training rooms. I was worried about it because, I had heard, that New Yorkers confined in a small space for eight hours can sometimes equal a tough room. They were tough, but, thanks to years of handling your comments, I believe I was able to handle myself quite well.
We arrived in the city two hours later than expected (Thanks, AirTran!). Andy and I dumped our stuff in our respective hotel rooms and grabbed a subway train to the big apple. Andy was on a mission to procure the world's most awesome cupcakes from the Magnolia Bakery and I was on a mission to have the Most Awesome New York style pizza from Lombardi's, America's first pizzeria.
We arrived at Times Square, where Andy, map in hand, took off toward Bleecker Street with a maddened determination, the likes of which I had not since since the Cabbage Patch Kids craze in 1983. This man can haul ass. But I wasn't going to complain. I was going to keep up if it killed me. It was really cool to see that much of the city from street level. I got a bit discouraged when we realized we had walked several blocks in the wrong direction. The last quarter of our trip, it began to drizzle.
We finally arrived at the Magnolia Bakery in the West Village. It was a charming little establishment that specializes in cupcakes. It wasn't too crowed, but still busy at 8:30 p.m. Andy could barely contain himself as he selected two white cake cupcakes. Under the spell of his enthusasiam and moved by the absolute cuteness of the place, I grabbed a box and selected a white and a red velvet cupcake. I didn't know what I was thinking, buying cupcakes. I really don't like them. But I was here for the experience and along for the ride.
We left and I convinced Andy to idle long enough to check his map and mine so we could locate Lombardi's (on Spring Street, near Mott) and plan our route. I didn't want to risk any further wrong turns, as my Speedo flip flops were beginning to give me blisters and shin splints were developing.
We made it to Lombardi's without further missteps and submitted our name and settled in to wait 25 minutes for a table to become available. I seriously hoped they had a restroom, because, and I say this with no offense intended: two hours traipsing through NYC had gifted me with an exterior coating of grime and I wanted to enjoy NYC without actually ingesting any of it. We sat on a bench outside the restaurant and commenced people watching. My throbbing blisters caught their breath and quit complaining as couples, freaks, toursits and hobos drifted in and out of our line of sight. It was quite a pleasurable respite to be sure.
They called our name and we winded our way through the front of the restaurant, past the legendary brick oven and to our miniature table. I found the bathroom and luxuriated in the pleasures of temporary cleanliness as I scrubbed my hands with pink institutional soap. I headed back to the table as Andy and I decided what to order. Our Russian waitress took our order: Caesar salad, a small pizza (14 inches, six slices) with pepperoni and meatballs, water for Andy and Diet RC for me.
Anna Karenina brought us our salad, which was wonderful. And then our pie arrived. It was so delicious.

America's First Pizza

The toppings, of course, were amazing, although after the first couple of meatballs, I decided they interfered with my enjoyment, so I flicked them off, folded my slice and continued. The pepperoni was perfect. The cheeses, mozzerella and romano, were wonderful and the sauce was a bit sweet. But the crust...it was divine. I chewed it thoughtfully, trying to suss out what made it so good. I like to make my own crusts at home and hoped to be able to replicate this. After a few bites, I determined that the x factor must come from 100 year old, 900 degree bricks it was cooked on. And extra salt.

We finished eating more than we should have and I asked Anna for an itemized copy of the bill, which she remorsefully agreed to provide. When she returned with our change, she explained dolefully that she couldn't give us a copy of the it since their copier was broken. I asked her for the bill itself, but she flatly refused. We were momentarily chagrined. At work, we were recently told: no itemized receipt...no reimbusement. So, then, I had a brainblast: I'll take a picture of the bill! So I did. Andy laughed and said, "Only you would think of that."

Bellies full, we made our way out and to the nearest subway station. Earlier, we had purchased 4 rides on a Metro card, which came with a bonus dolllar fifty on it. Andy swiped the card and went through the turnstile. He handed me the card, but the metal asterisk refused to budge and let me pass. Somehow, it didn't understand that we had more than enough dough on it to get me through. So I went to the machine to purchas a new one with my company card. Inexplicably, it asked for the billing zip code, which neither of us could remember. So I got some, cash, grabbed the card and receipt and went on through.

We had to get back to our Laguardia hotel, and unfortunately, there is no subway that goes there. So we thought we'd head that way, get off at Shea Stadium and catch a cab from there. We wrongly assumed that all places in or near NYC would be bustling and overfull of cabs. We were the only ones to disembark at the Shea Stadium stop and landed on the road which was dark and deserted. I started to think that perhaps we should get back on the subway and try another stop. I turned to Andy to tell him this but he was already fifty paces ahead of me, walking towards our destination.

During our walk, we saw about three cars and one bus, which didn't even pause as it passed us. The stadium (and it's new iteration) glowed spectrally at us as we regretted not stopping in a pawn shop and buying that gun I suggested we get. After about a half a mile, we saw a gas station, that would have been a good place to stop and call a cab from, but Andy, being a man, didn't even consider. Fortunately, there was a Mexican car service not much farther down and I walked right into in order to hire a car.

We startled a man who was loading the little office refrigerator with energy drinks and asked him if we could get a car to our hotel. He considered it a moment, sizing up these two silly gringos who dropped into his life at 11:30 p.m, and then agreed to find us a ride. We waited for a while, taking in our surroundings. It was a small room with a pool table, two skinny kittens, a consul TV perched precariously on a baroque coffee table and a display case full of used CB's, cell phones and flashlights. Spanish television blared the results from a recent soccer match while Andy and I exchanged nervous glances under the glare of flourescent lights.

A driver came in and I think he understood where we wanted to go. As we were getting into the black Town Car, I told Andy we would either make it to the hotel and end the evening or we were on the verge of our own After Hours adventure. We sat in silence as we listened to Mexican radio. Our driver nearly passed our hotel, but we intervened and arrived safely at the front doors.

Andy laughed as we made our way to our rooms, claiming it was all my fault such weird things had happened this night. He said that he had made many trips here with no incident so it must me my luck. I told him to enjoy his cupcakes and we parted ways, exhausted, grime-encrusted and full of the wonders of the Big Apple.

To be continued...

Monday, June 02, 2008

Aveatque Vale: Harvey Korman


God darnit, Mr. Korman, you use your tongue prettier than a twenty dollar whore.
You will be missed.