Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Fireman Profile

Where I work some people think it's a good idea that this whole group of people who work together go off on an "outing." Outings are like field trips, furloughs, snow days, what have you, except they have to turn those words beige and call it an outing. So today we had a big one (two a year). We went to Belmont Park, today featuring ugly jockeys. It was bone ass empty

but there were some guys hanging out and yelling.

The lunch was like Morrisson's Cafeteria food, soft for dentures and gravyeyeyey. Cashed a couple $10 tickets and headed home.

Two blocks from my apartment, I looked up an intersection and saw an ENORMOUS amount of firetruck and ambulance and yellow police tape cutting off the entire 4-way intersection. Closer, I found out that something indeed had happened and boys it was crazy.

Apparently the man driving the fucked car swerved to miss hitting a lady but did not press on the brakes when he did so. Lesson learned.

But everyone was okay, cause FIREMAN PROFILE WAS THERE!

I love this man and so does the guy who is now in some sort of luckily undead position at a local hospital who got pulled out of that.

Peace car.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Birthday Suit Portraits

It's a rainy night in Brooklyn. Just so happens to also be Jim's birthday. I was to meet him and some of his J-school friends at Siberia, the bar where Jayson Blair made up that New York Times story that got everybody all guffy. But the locale got changed to an Upper West Side saloon too far my feeblin ass to trek in this surrounding rain. I stayed in instead and read "The Long Goodbye" and eavesdropped on the sweaty AA meeting that was "Last Comic Standing: The Jay Mohr Roast."

I'm too far away to give him a birthday noogie, so I propose a toast:

To Jim Higdon:

Tallest in his mind;

Civic-minded with an eye toward free umbrellas;

Racially sensitive;

Wide-eyed dreamer of dreams;

Walking loom

Capable maitre d'hotel

Rare fruit.

Time has no defense. Lebanon will fall into GRATITUDE.


What are malls for?

This is where I work.

A cubicle mate was down in the mall moments after it happened. Said the man my mate was meeting for lunch, who actually SAW the guy in flight (but turned away for impact), "It sounded like an enormous bag of watermelons hit the floor."

I'm sorry. And now on to better things.

Friday, September 24, 2004

25 minutes til class


So here's what happened yesterday in the world of Journalism school:

I was hanging out in front a P.S. 92 on 134th Street between Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. and St. Nicholas Ave. hoping I didn't appear to be a giant hulking white man loitering in front of a school full of children. Apparently I fooled them.

I had my little reporter notebook out walking up to other loitering adults to ask them if they were parents, and when they were, I asked them about No Child Left Behind.

The school in question, P.S. 92, is in "Restructuring," the harshest phase of NCLB. The first two stages are School in Need of Improvement 1 and SINI 2 -- each taking a year to complete. If test scores are still below the AYP (adequate yearly progress -- set by the state), the 3rd year they fall into "Corrective Action," then "Planning for Restructuring," wherein the school maps out what they will do if their AYP again fails to meet expectations, and then finally "Restructuring," where the whole school gets picked up and shaken by a hill giant until all the crusty mops, brooms, and square pizzas are scattered all over the unsuspecting street.

You may well ask how a school could sink to the bottom of a 5-year plan only after 3 complete years of NCLB. It's a fair question, and I'm wondering it myself. My current guess is that it just sucked so bad that every half-year felt like a full year, or something.

Also, since the 2nd phase (SINI 2) of NCLB, students are allowed to transfer out of the school into other better performing schools. Therefore, the class sizes at P.S. 92 are drastically smaller than the city average. First grade classes as small as 15 students, and a fourth grade class of 21, which is "perfect" according to their teacher. One parent said that No Child Left Behind was "the only good thing he ever did," referring to George W. Bush.

So, I was talking to this teacher on the sidewalk in front of the school. She was a short, middle=aged, fat, white woman from Westchester who seemed pleasant and nice like a 4th grade teacher should be. When I thanked her for her time, I mispronouced her name; she corrected me; and I corrected myself and thanked her again. When I turned to leave, a short, chubby 11-year-old black boy asked my, "Are you hollerin' at her?" This took me a bit by surprise. I said, "What?" He earnestly repeated his question. Smiling, I replied, "I'm a journalism student, kid. Get your head out of the gutter."

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Here's what happened:

Jim bought some CDs.

1. I like them all.

2. Streethawk: A Seduction suddenly seems like the best Destroyer album. I can see every guitar chord he's playing. The music is blocked out and strong, but strung with lyrics that are like a subconscious version of the Kentucky Revised Statutes twisted into a double helix.

3. Did you know that RTX Jennifer Herrema's dad was Robert L. "Herrema, who died last year, was a longtime Hill resident and pathbreaking developer who renovated and restored over 30 residential and commercial properties in the city over a 20-year period, most of them on Capitol Hill. He pioneered the emerging concept of “adaptive reuse” here, turning old school buildings and the vacated Grace church at 9th Street and South Carolina Ave., SE, into new housing units." The new RTX album is dedicated to him. The main musician behind the reformed RTX is heavily influenced by Yngwie Malmsteen.

4. Giant Sand sounds even better now that Howe Gelb doesn't have to deal with Joey Burns' face.

5. JC/DC, the production team behind Your Blues, back up a guy named Rodney Graham on an album called Rock is Hard. This guy is also a reknowned visual/conceptual artist. Jim calls it "nuts and bolts rock." But the songs are queer and self-deprecating like a Canadian Steely Dan: less coke, more lighthouses.

6. I pulled out one of my favorite albums tonight that I haven't listened to in eras. White Trees, by the Flat Duo Jets, is deeply connected to my feelings about my favorite radio station - 88.1 WRFL, UK student-run radio. I saw the Flat Duo Jets with Kara in the dank goth-billy confines of Heresy down on Main St. in Lexington. Dexter Romweber and Crow looked like the realest rock n roll I'd ever seen. They were not mystic, they were not high and they were not "going places." Crow hauled a gigantic filigreed cement block onto the stage to keep his kick drum from being blown into the chest of whoever might risk standing down front. Dexter played an ancient Danelectro that he tried to tune for minutes-on-end between each song. They seemed more tired than I had ever been. They played probably 30 songs in an hour of furious hell-bound exhaustion. Plus teenage love/death ballads. After the show their wrecked merch/manager companion made a cardboard sign with a sharpie asking for a place to stay and some weed.

All the tiles like dollar bills

I take long bathroom breaks at work. I rub my hands together and think, "I'm gonna go make five dollars!" I tear off the toilet paper like little certificates of deposit.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

The Fat Baby That Cried

There once was a cubbly little baby, cute as could be that was sitting on a log, moss covere of course, in the woods, weeping. Up to him crawled a small stick bug, like you would see perched on a boy's shoulder in a picture in National Geographic. The stick bug said, "I know why you are crying." The baby, suprised that the little stick bug could talk and that it understood his existential pain, said, "Really?" "Yes," the stick bug said, "You cry because you are a disgusting baby that smells of special oils and you can't even feed yourself," and with that the bug ate the baby whole.

The next morning the sun rose.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Perfect Tiny Hairs

"Jonny Zero,"

showing this fall on the WB
another crappy show that no one'll see,

shot an episode on my block Tuesday night. Apparently there were explosions and a 'fire effect.' Also, they moved my car to another block without telling me and didn't get their list of moved vehicles to the local precinct. Plus it wasn't my car, it was my girlfriend's, because mine is being repaired and she entrusted me with her car til mine is fixed. So last night she and I spent all night on the phone with precincts and DMVs and the Marshal and the NYPD and they had no record of the car being towed and we all had no recourse but to decide it was stolen. Then the locations department for Jonny Zero returned my call this morning and asked me what the car looked like and goddam if they didn't have it.


Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Harlan the Brave

Nation Sack Style Editor John Harlan Norris, resident of Baton Rouge, reports that he is "sticking it to Ivan" by fleeing town early for the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Upon his return, he promises to provide a full analysis of said Festival. As well, he promises a blow-by-blow account of the assassination of Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, which is to take place right on stage at the end of their ACL show on Sunday evening. Innocent until proven guilty.

P.S. to Bobby Bare Jr. & YCSL: when you're done with your set, you should clear the area immediately.

The time I met all these other people

One day I met all these other people. They were all around me. Picture a donut surrounding a frozen pea. Or an orange surrounding nothing. We all met in a cafeteria and continued to do so every day for many weeks. We had conversations, arguments and marching band together. As the fall drew to a close, we had already begun to grow nostalgic for the time we had spent circling each other.

Satellite Sister

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

It's where you put all your silt

Oh-ah, she's gone
I know she won't come back
I've taken the last nickel
out of her nation sack
You better come on
in my kitchen
babe, it's goin' to be rainin' outdoors