Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Greenwich Village Halloween Parade, 2004

On the subway en route to the 30th annual New York Village Halloween Parade, a witch checks her palm pilot, three pumpkin heads head-butt each other, and a tall, pale, spiky-haired ghoul poses for a picture with his girlfriend. Oh. He, um, wasn’t wearing a costume.

In the center of the city’s long bohemian tradition, it’s a night for children and a night for everyone else to remember why children have so much fun. It’s a night for bizarre encounters.
On the way to Sixth Avenue from Astor Place, a policeman at the entrance to Washington Square Park bars entrance to a pudgy gladiator. “Sorry, the park’s closed, he says.” And then, after receiving a quizzical look, adds, “If you had your sword, maybe we’d let you in.”
Another woman asks a policewoman how to get to the C and E train. “It’s that way,” she says and points downtown. “I’m not really a cop, by the way.” At this, the woman walking toward the subway glances back to notice the policewoman is handcuffed to another woman in broad-striped, cartoon-like prison attire, complete with one of those striped beanies and holding a ball and chain. All three of them can only smile.
A woman with a (fake) bullet hole in her head says to a (real) cop, “I like your costume.” The cop says, “Yeah, I like yours, too.”

One trend easy to note on this unseasonably warm New York October 31st is the abundance of skin. Judging by the women tonight, someone might suppose there are no dowdy nurses or chaste catholic schoolgirls in America. Only a vast procession of sexy nurses, sexy school girls, sexy devils, sexy angels, sexy teachers and even—Lord forgive her—a sexy nun.

A Greek chorus of ghost-faced “Dead Presidents” perches on top of newspaper dispensers and provides a running commentary on the parade of costumes that runs up and down the sidewalk beside the parade. They give mad props to the pimps, taunt the nerds with cries of “Waldo!” cross themselves in mock pious deference to the priests, ask of the udderless cow-man, “Got Milk?” and chant “Let’s go Marlins!” at the pinstriped Yankees. The scantily clad women receive crass double entendres. To the sexy nurses: “Can you take my temperature?” To the sexy teachers: “Mommy, can you teach me a lesson?”

The women accelerate and the crowd eats it up.

Meanwhile, on Sixth Avenue, the actual parade advances uptown from Spring Street to Chelsea attended by as may as two million participants and spectators. Puppet skeletons hover overhead accompanied by marching bands and a float featuring grand marshal Audrey II from the Broadway revival of “Little Shop of Horrors.”

Josh Dankowitz of West Orange, N.J., dressed as an army soldier with a deep neck gash and a gaping chest wound walks past a man in overalls simply wearing the Michael Myers mask from the “Halloween” movies. “Now that’s scary,” he says.

That mask, famously created on short notice and a low budget on the set of the 1979 John Carpenter film was originally a William Shattner Star Trek mask painted over in white. Now that’s scary.

Paul Sansone of Bellport, Long Island exhibits perhaps a less inspired makeshift costume. “I was late getting out of work today,” he says in response to the question, “Why are you wearing a FedEx envelope on your head?”

It wouldn’t be American culture if Halloween didn’t inspire the distasteful, yet requisite shots at celebrities. Seigfried and Roy avatars march the parade route waving and smiling with stuffed tigers clamped at their bloody necks. A woman stuffs her pants with a rear-end sign identifying her protruding rump as “J-Lo.” A man walks by wearing a sweatshirt over a green turtle neck and a 1980’s-style walkman over his Chicago Cubs cap, in mock tribute to infamous interfering Cubs fan Steve Bartman.

But it’s all in good fun, this childish night in such a grown-up city.

As the parade disburses to the surrounding Greenwich Village restaurants and bars, Richard Scheffer with flowing robes, a wig of bedraggled white locks meeting his full white false beard, large wooden staff and cardboard tablets in hand, proclaims in a somewhat less-than-booming voice, “Thou shalt buy for Moses…many drinks!”

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Nutmeg Bones

According to Wikipedia (and who can doubt anything there), Connecticut has the highest per capita income and median household income in the country.
Sorry, Connecticut. I will be dragging you down some.
Yes, I have left the snarled roads of Central New Jersey for the Nutmeg State. And just in time, as it seems Jon Bon Jovi has taken up residence at the new Newark hockey arena. Actually, I have nothing against Bon Jovi as a person or a band. But David Bryan (Rashbaum)? Is it really OK to call this a haircut? I'm just asking.
Anyway, sorry for the long lag in posts. So much has happened while I've been packing and unpacking and smashing my fingers with hammers and cutting them on boxes and talking to Dell customer support people in New Delhi.
So I'll try to come up with something entertaining to write about this week while I continue to fiddle around the house and spend quality time with the Connecticut DMV.
Thanks for picking up the slack, Perl. I really have been out of it. Any idea who won the World Series this year?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Only $29.95 - the Boras Bullshit Translator

By TPerl

As reported in today's NY Post:

"I got a call from Alex tonight, and he is going to opt out," Scott Boras, Rodriguez's agent, told The Post last night during Game 4 of the World Series. “He was just too unsure with new ownership talking about a transition where the organization is going right now. He is not sure what is going to happen with [free agents] Mariano [Rivera] and [Jorge] Posada, and if Andy Pettitte is coming back. He needs more time to assess where the Yankees are going in the future."

Now here's that quote using my new BBT-Boras Bullshit Translator (patent pending):

"I told A-Rod that I was going to announce it today. I know we have at least another 10 days, but fuck me if I'm going to let the Red Sox take the front page away from my $30 million dollar baby. He was unsure how I would spin it - I said I'll make up some excuse about 'uncertainty during the transition' and blah, blah, blah - cause I think all fans are idiots and all owners fear me."

It's no surprise A-Rod opted out, but Boras really must think highly of himself if he thinks nobody sees through his ridiculously self-serving antics. Or more likely, he and A-Rod just don't care.

I know there's no more loyalty in sports (except from us gullible fans, that is), but I still hold out hope that one day I'll be pleasantly surprised - maybe the Yanks holding true to their word to not negotiate with A-Rod would be a good start.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Fuck Me? Hey Boss, Fuck You!

By TPerl

Well the Yanks brass played chicken with Joe Torre, and lost. And they lost one of the most beloved, respected, and (most imoportant in Yankeeland) successful managers in their storied history. Well George, or whichever one of your idiot heirs actually made this decision, I hope it was worth it.

Personally, I'm surprised Joe stuck around this long. And I wouldn't mind his departure so much except when I think about how this will affect the off-season negotiations with Rivera and Posada, who clearly loved Joe as their manager (and essentially he was their only manager). Losing Rivera would be 100 times worse than when they lost Pettitte to Houston - and now whatever money they're "saving" on Torre, they're gonna have to give Mo that and much much more to keep him in the Bronx. Fucking brilliant.

So we will be entering a new era of Yankee baseball next season, and in all likelihood, it will be "Donnie Baseball". And that's a good thing, at least.

And maybe Mattingly can learn to throw the cutter, too?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Hey Pretty Darling, Don't Wait Up For Me -- Gonna Be a Long Walk Home

There are days when I'm completely lost.

I doubt my instincts, my reasoned judgment, my sense of hope. I stare from behind the wheel of my car at a metallic liquid swirl of humanity, oozing along New Jersey's clogged roads. Each life inside, disconnected from one another and the madness of more distant lands.

I live in a country divided by pride and shame — and blinded by both. I recognize my neighbors, but I do not know them. My country feels vibrant, but something is dying inside.

Is there anybody alive out there?

You're damn right there is.

When I went to see Bruce Springsteen open his "Magic" tour in Hartford, Conn., last week, I already knew the answer to that question — one he's been asking in one form or another since I was born. It's a question that echoes throughout the new album's first single, "Radio Nowhere," probing the void of American alienation and issuing a challenge to connect.

The song demands attention. It pleads and promises. Like his best songs, it offers a token of faith to escape the cold darkness. "I just want to feel some rhythm!" Bruce belted to the back of the old hockey barn.

Over the course of the show, the unsteady undercurrent of the new songs shake through the wall of sound. Springsteen is not just singing about girls in their summer clothes, sunsets, motorcycles, breakups, barmaids, lost soldiers and hometowns. As much as he's ever done, he's peeling the thin skin off of his country and exposing it to the elements. The songs might jump and swerve, but the aftertaste proves disarming and corrosive. What's happened to this great nation? Where are we going? How did we get here?

I was born here. Like Bruce, here in New Jersey. And like Bruce, I've always peered toward the edge of town, looking elsewhere, wondering, imagining. The best art teaches us something about our world, about human nature. Springsteen songs do more. They let you inhabit other lives, recognizing universal foibles and emotions through the behavior of strangers.

I grew up a white, privileged suburban kid. I've never known real hunger, real suffering, enduring danger or genuine hopelessness. I've never robbed a bank, raced cars, gambled away my life, fought in a war, married the wrong woman, worked at a car wash, or watched my brother's taillights disappear into Canada after he bashed a man's head in.

But thanks to Bruce, I somehow know these people. I feel more complete as a person. More compassionate and hungrier for real experience.

In concert, the E Street Band blows the lid off complacency. The set list takes us from the angry grief and desperate hope in the days after Sept. 11 ("The Rising") to the disastrous squandering of goodwill and good sense that defines our current adventure in Iraq ("Last to Die"). The songs puncture America's daydream, a fantasy in which our leaders do not imprison people indefinitely without due process, in which the rule of law can't be discarded with a signing statement and the machinations of hack toadies, in which we do not torture prisoners, in which fear does not trump bravery and liberties do not sell at a discount under a red, white and blue banner promising safety.

It's appropriate that I saw Springsteen in Connecticut — an old friend in a new place. I'm moving there next week to start a new job, share a home with my girlfriend, meet new neighbors. Maybe I'll get to know them better.

I hope something changes, and this country comes together, rediscovers what made it great, veers away from the cliff and arrives in The Promised Land.

"Here everybody has a neighbor," Bruce sings. "Everybody has a friend. Everybody has a reason to begin again."

Some days I'm completely lost. And some days, with a little help, I'm ready to make the long walk home.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Birthday Bones

By Arielle

Bon Anniversaire D. Bones!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Osi's in the Backfield Yet Again

By TPerl

Check out the link above, and see if you can top the seemlingly endless possible football-related double entendres already written in the comments section.

I admit that I stole my headline from one of the comments.