For your pleasure

Here’s my column for the November issue of the UndiePress. This time, my book-collecting brush with celebrity. Forget what I’ve written in the past. This is, without a doubt, my BEST. COLUMN. EVER.

I know I’ve insinuated that before but I really mean it this time.

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Favorite headline from today’s business section:

Greece Beats Ireland for Worst Deficit in Europe

You go, Greece! You’re #1! I’m no economist, but perhaps tax-dodging shouldn’t be part of your national culture. I’m just saying.

Mercurial sexy murals

I had occasion to walk through Rockefeller Center last week. I was there for an interview. The center is filled with a series of beautiful murals that were commissioned by the Rockefellers in the ’30s during construction. The most notorious was a work done by Diego Rivera. In the sketches he submitted for approval, Rivera forgot to mention that he was going to include scenes from the Communist May Day celebrations and a portrait of Lenin. A small detail. When Nelson Rockefeller discovered what he did, the work was promptly covered up.

My favorite murals are not in the main building, 30 Rock, (although those are pretty great and worth checking out). One block south at 48th and Rockefeller Plaza are murals that are so sexually charged that I can’t believe they weren’t covered over along with old Lenin.

(I’ve loaded these pics larger than normal so you can click on them and give them a good look if you’re interested.)

This mural is on the south wall. I don’t know what the hell it this. Progress? It’s a small touch but I like how the movement of the plane propellers are depicted as thin circles (as on the next mural, as well).

What’s really kind of wonderfully bizarre is how these women’s bodies are depicted. The breasts are clearly very bad implants. They’re also too angled and toned. Even their faces are tight.

This mural is on the west wall. It depicts the history of transportation. I think. Again, I’m not even sure.

I can’t get past the reclining woman in the upper right corner. Clearly, she is in the throws of ecstasy. And so submissive! Fantastic.

Sweet. Dangerous.

This post is pure daddy blog drivel. It’s the type of thing I pass over if I’m behind in my Google Reader. I provide it for my distant siblings who live hundreds of miles away and don’t get to see their nieces very often. Feel free to read on and comment, but you’ve been warned.

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The Daughters are a classic exercise in extremes. 8-Year Old is sensitive. Almost too much so. She’ll apologize for things that have nothing to do with her. She picks up after her sister to avoid seeing her disciplined. She worries. Her heart will be broken 1,000 times.

On the other hand, 4-Year Old is utterly remorseless. She’ll commit the same wrong over and over again. She’ll apologize, but with a big smile on her face that makes you question her sincerity. Sometimes, she lies. She’ll break hearts without regret.

How do I get their temperaments to meet in the middle? Is there a magic pill?

Weekend afternoons with 8-Year Old Daughter have given way to afternoons with 4-Year Old Daughter. She likes to visit the botanical garden near our home. The land was once owned by Vito Genovese, one of New York’s crime family bosses. New Jersey busted his ass, took his property (beautiful gardens and rolling hills) and turned it into public domain.

Here, she confronts the half man/half demon-beast scarecrow. She asked me to pick her up so she could touch his pointy teeth and see what they feel like. This is the type of thing that would have given 8-Year Old nightmares when she was her age.

Near the entrance is a topiary caterpillar. I point it out to her. She walks up…

…and, of course, puts her head in its mouth. I could get all metaphorical about her disregard for danger but that would just cause me to lose sleep at night.

We always bring a bit of bread so she can feed the goldfish in the pond. It’s a constant struggle to keep her from fall in. Imagine me bringing her home covered in pond muck! Boy, would I be in the dog house!

Our afternoons end as they always have. As they always will. At the diner.

Two one man

It is said that one of the greatest human fears is speaking in public. Imagine, if you will, walking onto a stage and the only thing standing between you and utter humiliation are your words and this:


That’s the extent of the staging for St. Nicholas, the one-man show at the Irish Repertory Studio Theater (the smallest theater in Manhattan). Man, I love the Irish Rep. If I had some extra money, I’d give it to them. One-man shows are such a crap shoot. The potential for catastrophe is pretty high and I always feel awful when it doesn’t work out. And while this show didn’t quite achieve greatness, it was a pleasant night out.


St. Nicholas was written by Irish fireball Connor McPherson. It’s the story of a drunken, washed-up theater critic (a bit of payback, Mr. McPherson?) who becomes involved with a beautiful young actress. It comes to pass that the actress belongs to a sect of vampires. The vampires give him a new vocation: fetching food for them. There’s a seemingly endless supply of supple, young club kids who are eager to party.

I was seated in the front row and I always find sitting in the front row to be too much of an intrusion into the performance. I prefer some distance between the stage and I. I become too self conscious about keeping my feet off the stage and trying to look lively for the actors. I always try to get lost in a performance but it’s impossible for me if the performance is right in my lap.

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The other one-man show I just saw was Long Story Short by Collin Quinn, which is about to open on Broadway at the Helen Hayes (the smallest Broadway house).


They’re making a big deal out of the fact that it’s directed by Jerry Seinfeld. I’m always suspicious of stand-up comics who do one man shows because often times, it’s nothing more than their stand up act with a pricier ticket. But I was willing to gamble on this because I’m a big fan of Herr Quinn. It’s a great premise. Quinn discusses the demise of the various empires throughout civilization. Yes, we’re next.

He came out and seemed hesitant and unsure of the material. This show ran for several weeks Off Broadway, so his performance should have been a lot smoother than it was. I think he actually might have lost his place on one or two occasions. But I laughed and I guess that’s what it’s all about.

Polish it up, Colin.

Death in Manhattan x 2

I was walking up Varick Street at 7:00 a.m. and came across this sad sight.


Some shitheel took out a tree with his/her sloppy driving. It was a direct hit. It looks like they drove their car right onto the sidewalk and up the trunk of the tree. They stripped the bark clean off for added insult. I can only hope the car was damaged beyond repair.


For some reason, my heart always breaks a little bit when I see a tree taken down. Who doesn’t love trees!? I especially enjoyed J.R.R. Tolkien’s treatment of them. At this point, Manhattan is almost solid concrete. Trees are a scarce commodity. This is one of the distinguishing characteristics that makes London a nicer city than New York. London is much greener and feels more like a collection of homey neighborhoods.

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Here’s a rather plain but still attractive building on 8th Avenue and 15th Street across from the the truly gorgeous Apple store. It has some clean lines and I like the crown work. The brick façade is nice and warm. The awning is a nice touch. Unfortunately, it has been murdered by some shitheel architect.


We’re all out of horizontal space in New York so a popular work-around is to utilize the vertical space. There are lots of older buildings that have had structures added to the top of them. It can sometimes work with the existing aesthetics but what happened here is an abomination.

An ugly, festering, cancerous carbuncle has been jammed onto the top of the original building. It doesn’t have anything whatsoever to do with the original design. But what the hell. I’m sure they’re making a fortune off the rentals and in New York, too often, that’s what it’s all about.


Fun fact: To the right is the Old Holmstead Steak House. At 140 years, it’s one of the oldest steak houses in Manhattan. I had a Kobe beef burger there once and it was kind of gross. The meat was almost raw.