the last stupid idea of 2013


I still have a few hours, but my plan to not leave my apartment (except for maybe CPW fireworks) again this year will probably mitigate any attempt to top the stupid idea I had this morning, namely, to take a photo walk down broadway. on new year’s eve. needless to say, my plan got a bit stymied by the fact that I basically walked into the developing morass that is times square. It was still pretty early in the day, so instead of times square being filled with people, the side streets were filled with people who were waiting on line for hours in order to be corralled into the actual times square at what the police deemed to be the appropriate moment. In any event, here are a few final pics for the year. Side note: It was really freaking cold out today.

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i just don’t even… | 365:067 (and bonus)


As part of a daily ritual, my admin and I go downstairs to starbucks every day. Today, we encountered…this. You can’t really get the full flavor of this feathered headdress contraption without seeing the front, where it has scarf-like arm appendages that fall down to one’s knees, but as I am a coward, you only get the back.


As a bonus, here’s a picture of this morning’s snow as seen from our offices that was originally going to be my daily pic. It got superseded.


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CharlatanCharlatan by Pope Brock

Thoroughly enjoyable, I found the Epilogue to be the most disturbing section, with the surfeit of modern-day analogues to “Dr.” Brinkley’s methods.

The story of quacks wouldn’t be nearly as fascinating without the legions of ready and willing customers for their too-good-to-be-true methods. Here was a guy who suckered untold numbers of people into getting goat testicles implanted into them. And only after decades of practice did they turn on him.

But…fascinating read, and I’d highly recommend it.

View all my reviews

Addendum: I finally got to watch this week’s Mad Men, and with talk of Bert Cooper’s “procedure”, I couldn’t help but be glad that I read this book – he’s the right age, and it sounds like he ended up with one of these “rejuvenation” surgeries that amounted to little more than a botched vasectomy in the 1920s/30s.

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365:151 (and I thought being unemployed sucked…)


Taken on Friday, which was widely considered to be one of the coldest days of the year. I don’t know what this guy did to piss off his manager, but while I waited a good 15 minutes for the bus, he was forced to walk back and forth in front of the Old Navy, shouting into a bullhorn about an awesome sale, while wearing this stupid hat, which wouldn’t even keep his head warm if he were wearing it correctly.

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2009 marathon photos


In addition to yesterday’s photo of the men’s winner, I took about a gazillion shots over the 4+ hours that I watch the marathon. After whittling them down, I’ve ended up with about 60. No individual captions, since that’s just too much work :), but if you look at them in order, at the beginning you’ll see the womens’ winners, then the men, and then the pack. silly outfits and flags start about a third of the way down. I edited out most of the blurry shots except for one, because that was Peter Sagal, host of my favorite NPR radio show, Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me. I sent him the pic over twitter last night, and he was very appreciative, so I kept it in the mix, even though the photo itself is kind of terrible (he was way to close to me and my camera didn’t have time to focus before he was gone).

Anyway, here are the pics. click to get the full photo.

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the best interviewer working in TV


I know that Jon Stewart constantly repeats the refrain that he’s a fake newsperson, and that he shouldn’t be taken seriously, but I think that he’s the only one working in journalism today that’s willing to ask these questions. Going all the way back to Thomas Nast’s cartoons (or, quite frankly, the fool in King Lear), it’s often the “clown”, the comedian, the joker who is the only one who is willing to speak truth to power. It’s couched in humor, but one has to wonder why Stewart is the only one who is willing to dig deep on these issues, while the “real” journalists do nothing more than serve as mouthpieces for the industries/administrations that they cover. Oh, and I’d be surprised if the SEC didn’t begin to investigate Cramer for market manipulation based on those clips that were dug up where Cramer admits that he’s pumping stocks.

Full, uncensored interview clips of Part 1 (and please enjoy the schadenfreude of these clips being sponsored by Bank of America). Part 2 and Part 3 can be viewed at the Daily Show’s website (had problems with embedding).

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weird shopping experience of the week.


Yesterday, I was wandering around down near Union Square, and I decided to pop in to Shoemania to see if I could get myself a new pair of crocs.  I bought a pair last year, and loved them, but pretty much wore them out.

Plus, since that purchase, the amount of colors and styles that have been made available has increased, and what I really wanted were the more "industrial" type that had an adjustable back strap.  Unfortunately, even though the shoes are essentially unisex chunks of rubber you strap to your feet, this particular style has been marketed towards men (while the pink strappy ones are over in the women’s section, go figure!).  It’s not that I have a problem shopping for or buying "men’s" shoes, it’s that, most of the time, the sizes available in this style have been way too big for my feet.

So, I get to shoemania, and discover that they’ve actually got racks of the things, some of them even approaching my size! (between 8-9).  So I hurriedly grab a pair and start trying them on, finding them both comfortable and generally the right size.  At which point, a complete stranger taps me on the shoulder (which gets my hackles up right away, because, call me crazy, I don’t like complete strangers touching me).  And when I turn around, she starts, very animatedly, lecturing me about how "those are men’s shoes" with a disgusted look on her face.


So I, being my ever so polite (read: bitchy) self, after being touched, interrupted and lectured at by a complete stranger about how I’m essentially not conforming to her gender stereotypes, first ask if she works at the store.  Answer?  no.  At which point I kind of ripped into her about:

(a) the fact that she doesn’t know what the fuck she’s talking about, as the shoes are UNISEX, and print both men’s and women’s sizes on the bottom (regardless of the fact that they’re fugly clogs worn for casual comfort, and not to, say, a fancy ball)

(b) maybe she should keep her fucking unsolicited (and wrong) opinions to herself, and

(c) even if was buying "men’s" shoes (I guess, wingtips? other than high heels, there actually aren’t too many really "gender specific" shoes), why would it be any of her goddamn business?

She ran away at that point.

Yeah.  I think the fact that she felt so strongly about this that she actually had the gall to touch me, to interrupt my shoe buying reverie, to lecture me, was what set me off. 

Anyway, I mentioned this to the checkout counter person as I was paying, and she couldn’t stop laughing – shockingly, even if I wanted to buy "men’s" shoes, they would have no problem selling them to me!  imagine that!  because they’re in the business of selling shoes (and frankly, being on the border of Greenwich Village and Chelsea, I’m pretty sure my buying a pair of crocs and a new pair of chuck taylors (also unisex!) was the least unusual sale of the week). 

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House of cards


Sometimes it’s amazing to me that this city doesn’t just collapse in on itself. Packed like a sardine on the M7 bus this morning, due to the fact that about 8,000 extra people were trying to get on the bus at my stop alone thanks to the flooded subways, I remarked to someone that this city is like a giant house of cards – anything goes wrong and it’s like the entire place comes to a grinding halt. Of course, then I said that I still wouldn’t live anywhere else, and they all smiled and laughed and generally agreed with me.

So, my morning.

Woke up at 5:30am for no apparent reason (I realize now that it was probably due to the thunderstorm outside). Dozed until about 6:30, when I got up to go to the gym to meet my personal trainer, with whom I had a 7am appointment. Trekked 5 blocks through a torrential downpour to Reebok, worked out for an hour (even the over-air conditioned gym was a bit humid), and then went home. Noticed on the way home that there were about 100 people at my normal bus stop at 8am, which seemed a bit unusual.

Got ready for work, and then went to catch the bus at a little after 9. Again, there was an unusually large number of people at the stop, and someone explained that the subways weren’t running, or were only running on a very limited basis, so they were directing everyone to take the bus instead. Six buses went by, too crowded to even attempt to get on. Bus number 7 had a sign indicating that it was only going to 42nd street, so I thought this was my best bet. Squeezed myself on, although the guy behind me almost got his arm amputated by the closing bus doors. Make a few stops, people squeeze on an off the bus, and then…

Then we get to Columbus Circle, where every subway train that was running at all had decided to terminate (the elevation is lower the further downtown you go, so there was probably more flooding below 59th street). There are hundreds of people standing there, to the point where everyone at the front of the bus, and the driver, start laughing at the improbability of any one of the people actually getting on the bus. In the meantime, there are a few trapped poor souls who actually need to get off the bus at this point. So, the doors open to let them off, and before they even have a chance, the bus is rushed by crazed people, including one woman who forces her way on, pushing the rest of us into immovable objects like metal bars, and then tries to say that she’s trying to help the people getting off the bus by moving further back! Never mind that she was essentially the cork that stopped the entire flow of people moving.

At this point, I realize, of course, that none of these people are bus people, they’re all subway people, so none of them bother to read the front of the bus. So I helpfully start announcing that the bus is only going to 42nd street, and if people want to go further south, they should wait for a different bus. At which point this woman starts freaking out that she’s on the wrong bus and pushed her way back off.

People actually applauded me. The driver was laughing, and we all had a nice collective bonding experience over the sheer ineptitude of our fellow new yorkers.

Just another day in the big city…

By the way, it took me an hour to get the one mile from home to work.

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Idiot bicyclists


Reading this entry over at bstewart’s blog totally reminded me of a similar (yet more "pedestrian") event that happened to me the other day. I was walking home from work, on Columbus, very much on the sidewalk, when some twenty-something on a bike goes from a standing stop on the sidewalk to swerve immediately in front of me, almost hit me, and nearly fall off her bike in an attempt to stop.

I, being me, so helpfully point out that "that’s why it’s illegal to ride your bike on the sidewalk," wherein said twenty-something starts yelling at me and calling me a bitch.

You know, for apparently expecting to be able to walk on the sidewalk.

I should point out here that we were all of one block from central park, so if she was so incapable of riding her bike in Manhattan traffic, perhaps she herself should have, I don’t know, walked her bike over to those car-free environs?

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Riding the bus.


I find that some of the more, let’s say, confrontational, experiences that I have living in NYC involve riding on public transportation. Most of my anecdotes about "crazy" new yorkers usually involve the bus. Like Thursday.

Decided to take the bus home from work, and it seemed like it would be an uneventful ride. Got a good seat, and it’s only 20 blocks to home.

Then, the fighting of the old biddies started. Two women who were sitting in the "elerly and disabled" seats at the front of the bus (neither of them looking particularly elderly or disabled, but that’s not really the point of the story), almost came to blows over the third seat.

First, I should probably describe these seats for those of you who don’t spend your lives memorizing MTA routes. At the front of the bus, behind the driver, are a set of seats designated for the elderly and disabled. These seats line the sides of the bus, a bench of three on each side, and face each other. Once you get past these seats, the rest of the seats, until you get to the back, face forward. I am in the very first forward-facing seat. Sitting on the front bench on my side of the bus are two women (the aforementioned old biddies), seated next to each other, with the one in the middle seat having piled up a bunch of bags in the "empty" seat directly behind the driver. Across the way, there are also two women, who have sat leaving the middle seat empty.

So, next stop.

Elderly stooped man with a cane gets onto the bus. Moves (slowly) towards the empty middle seat on the opposite side. This is when the biddy closest to me starts chastising the other one that she should move her bags so that the old man can sit down, because she’s taking up two seats. This then degenerates into a screaming match, with the middle biddy pointing out that the guy is already sitting down somewhere else, and then insulting the other one by saying that it’s not her bags that are the problem, it’s the fact that the first biddy is so fat that she’s taking up too much space (never mind that objectively, the first biddy, while heavy, is obviously only taking up one seat, and the middle biddy has 18 plastic bags filling a legitimately empty seat). So now we all know that the middle biddy is a bitch as well as a seat hog (even if she started out kind of right, in that giving up the spare seat wasn’t absolutely necessary).

I of course, sitting right next to these people, start wishing desperately that I had remembered my new issue of the The New Yorker so that I could ignore all of these people even more pointedly than I already am.

But the best part is that at the very next stop, a very pregnant woman gets on, looks at the seat with all of the bags, and just says, "move those, I want to sit down." So middle biddy of course makes a big show of how much effort it is to move the bags, with this look on her face like this is the worst thing that’s ever happened to her (and now, of course, she’s also completely embarrassed because she had made such a big stink about not moving the bags only two minutes earlier), and the other biddy has the biggest, self-satisfied grin on her face and starts silently mouthing "see! see!" to everyone in the back of the bus.

At this point, I got off the bus.

Of course, none of this compares to the time back when I was a summer associate when the bus driver had to actually call the police to force a crazy woman off of the bus. That one will always remain the best. I’ll have to actually write about it one of these days.

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