Schoolgirl outfits in Times Square

I was on my morning slog through the middle of Times Square and stumbled across this delicious scene.

My goodness gracious! At at 6:25 a.m., no less! I think they’re a singing group. When the photographer stopped to adjust his camera, they practiced a few dance steps. That sure woke my ass up. Can anyone explain the proclivity in Japanese society for sexed-up schoolgirl outfits?

At the risk of sounding like a filthy, lonely old rotter, which I am not (I don’t think), I’m going to publicly admit that I find this provocative to the 10th power. I felt creepy starring. But if you’re going to stand in the epicenter of the Crossroads of the World dressed like that and practice dance moves that resemble a stripper grind, I can assure you that you’re going to be starred at by lonely, old office drones on their way to work. Duly warned. I run across stuff like this all the time. New York: Expensive, but not boring.

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My current gig has me in a 10th floor corner office on 6th Avenue in the 50’s. My windows face north to Central Park and east to the Museum of Modern Art. I love midtown. Its where the action is, baby!

You’d think that being ten floors above the Avenue would offer some peace and quiet but you’d be mistaken. Sound waves bounce off the surrounding skyscrapers and travel upward. You can hear quite clearly what’s going on at street level. Taxi cabs with horns blazing sound like they’re passing just outside my window. This would make most people grind their molars but I consider it part of the symphony of the city.

I am only occasionally bothered by this one dude. A street musician. See him down there by the lamppost?

He’s one of these guys who sets up a drum kit using plastic paint buckets, pieces of metal, an overturned soup pot and some bins from the post office. His drum sticks are two thick pieces of wood.

He’s very, very talented. He’s also relentless. He can play for HOURS. It looks like he makes a pretty good buck and, as far as I’m concerned, he earns it. He plays his ass off. But it sounds like the playing right OUTSIDE my WINDOW. We are thinking of taking up a collection to pay him to stop playing.

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Recent article in the New York Times:

9/11’s Post-Traumatic Stress Still Haunts

At least 10,000 people in New York, like Dr. Margaret Dessau, have post-traumatic stress disorder, and while many were emergency responders, others were witnesses.

Really? You witnessed it and are still traumatized? The 10th anniversary of 9/11 is coming up. Ten years and you’re still not over it? There are people in this town who wear their suffering proudly like a thorny crown. They won’t be denied their anguish. My apartment was less than a mile away so I speak from the position of someone who was a participant. It’s time to liberate yourself, my poor, suffering fellow New Yorkers.

Hey, London! Berlin! Calling all cities who have been flattened by bombs! Were you still moping about ten years after the fact? I’ll bet not.

Just watch how politicians distort and use the 10th Anniversary of 9/11 to rationalize their own radical nuttiness. It’s going to be SICKENING.

Someone pushed the PANIC BUTTON

Here are a few of the extraordinary and, in my humble opinion, unnecessary actions that have been taken in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Irene:

  • The southern tip of Manhattan has been evacuated
  • The NYC transit system has been completely shut down
  • All Broadway and off-Broadway shows have been canceled [a first]
  • You can’t drive on the Garden State Parkway south of Exit 98 and beach towns have been evacuated
  • The governor of New Jersey has HALTED GAMING in Atlantic City casinos [yet another first and the most offensive item on the list, as far as I’m concerned]
  • No gym. No movies. No groceries. No nothin’

You should have seen Port Authority yesterday afternoon. There was a mass exodus. It was like the set of a science fiction film where a plague is coursing through Manhattan. CB said that Manhattan is even more desolate today than it is on December 25th. At least you can go to a movie on Christmas Day. (Although, I told him he could probably still get some egg rolls delivered by a guy on a bicycle.)

I think it’s all a lot of of sturm und drang. The storm seems to be weakening and will probably be a Category 1 by the time it gets here. A friend of mine has a Dominican girlfriend and she can’t stop laughing. She said that back home, they don’t even go indoors until it’s a Category 4. If I’m lucky, the 8-10 inches of rain will drown the moles who have furrowed in my front yard.

In lieu of going anywhere, here’s what’ll go down in the Unbearable household:

That’s right. A Little Rascals film festival. 10 DVDs, 88 episodes. You can’t go wrong (except for the horribly racist parts). In one early episode, Spanky’s father refers to Buckwheat and his younger sister as “the little Pickaninnies.” Now, that’s just wrong. It requires some sensitivity training for The Daughters. Some of it goes right over their heads, thank God. Does anybody remember “I wish Cotton was a monkey”?

I have no back-up plan for entertainment if the electricity goes out. Perhaps I’ll break out my guitar. That always goes over really well.

A tip-o’-the hat and a thank-you to the nice people who have pinged me offline to check up. Glub-glub.

Chay-Chay-Chain. Chain of Nudes.

Photographer David LaChapelle got his leg-up from Andy Warhol shooting for Interview Magazine. That lead to a whole slew of gigs shooting wealthy, famous celebrities.

His current (FREE) exhibit in the architectural landmark Lever House lobby is Chain of Life. It’s a huge, playful, paper chain constructed from strips of photographs. The chain stretches and dips the length of the lobby. Quite an impressive feat!

It’s hard to tell because of my shitty camera skills, but the color tone at the front of the chain (by the Park Avenue entrance) is dark. As it stretches through the lobby, the tone lightens considerably, giving it an effective dark-to-light blending.

The chain stretches down to the floor. It’s hard to resist giving it a good tug!

Upon closer examination, you’ll see that all of the photos are of nude bodies! [Go ahead. Click on them.]

The exhibit write-up speaks to “…humanity’s need for one being to affect or connect to the next.” I never get these write-ups. They always sound superficial to me. I enjoy art on a very visceral level. I’m shallow that way.

I consider sneaking this exhibit into a big, public space like Lever House a real coup! I’ve been back twice on my lunch hour; not because it’s titillating (there are too many male genitalia for my taste) but because I can’t imagine too many public spaces putting up with this sort of thing.

It’s up through September 30. If you anywhere nearby it’s worth a look. If you go, walk across the street, south a few blocks and have a look a the lobby and floral displays of the Waldorf-Astoria. Always a treat.

I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers

In the past 24-hours, since my last post, in addition to words of support both public and private, I’ve had no fewer than FOUR people (one in the UK, one in Australia and two in the U.S.) come forward and offer their copies of the Thunder Road chapbook in order to right the wrong perpetrated by the U.S. Post Office. In addition, I notified the Office of the U.S. Postal Inspector and the guy I spoke to (Me: “Where are you located?” Him: “All we’re allowed to say is west of the Mississippi.”) seems almost bizarrely enthusiastic about finding the book! As though it’s his new reason for being!

It’s enough to restore my faith in humankind. You people in the blogging ether are best. Thank you.

The dirty, rotten thieves in the U.S. Post Office

I was feeling all full of myself because the Thunder Road chapbook odyssey finally came to a successful conclusion. The books sold out. Demand is still strong. (I continue to get emails requesting a copy.) During the eight years it took to make them, I had a terrible falling out with a great friend but I am happy to report that we are communicating again and it feels like nothing ever happened! I just submitted a fat check to Ambitious about Autism, the designated charity, for $15,778.27. As you can imagine, they’re thrilled.

Then I get this from one of my customers:

Unfortunately, it looks like someone purposely targeted your package, tampered with it, and switched the contents. The Post Office is taking responsibility for the damage to the package…

The generic apology affixed to the package says “Dear Postal Customer: We sincerely regret the damage…bla..bla…bla. Although every effort is made…bla…bla…bla. We hope you understand.”

Once the damaged package arrived at its destination, here’s what tumbled out:

Can you fucking believe this? Of course, I wouldn’t want this to happen to anybody, but here’s a note that accompanied the payment:

The book looks beautiful. My grandfather was a lithographer and ran a letterpress early on. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to see a chapbook ‘in person.’

The book meant a lot to this person and all they got for their money was a Disney DVD. I am in a terrible bind because it is completely sold out. There are no more copies. I reject the assertation that my part of the transaction is complete and it’s the post office’s responsibility. Sending the money back is unsatisfactory to me. I want this person to own a book.

Dear Post Office: I do not understand, nor do I accept your apology. Call me cynical, but do you know what I think happened? I think the package accidentally tore open, as stated in your templated apology, and one of your shitheel employees saw a beautiful hand-made book fall out and decided to steal it. Chalk up another one for mankind. It never fails to disappoint.