Friday, March 30, 2007

Silly Cat Photo Starring Mimi

If by silly you mean terrifying. She told me if I ever ever touched her banana again she would scratch my eyes out.

Russ's Collage du Who Knows What Jour

Bono was knighted yesterday. Fuck him.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Bad Georgia

The Stooges are reunited and touring. They are NOT coming to Atlanta. I adore the Stooges; they are pretty much my favorite band of all time, ever. Iggy, Ron, Scott - if you are reading this, please know that I find the use of sleigh bells in Now I Wanna be Your Dog to be the closest thing to evidence of a god in this fucked up universe. The part where you, Iggy, say "lose my heart on the burning sand" in that Michigan accent is seriously the sexiest and most awesome vocal styling of all time. So why don't you add Atlanta to your tour dates. My friend Kriss-T saw you in Lawrence, KS a while ago and won't stop rubbing my poor tear-streaked face in it. I show all my friends pictures of your penis, and my number one fantasy is to have you c. 1972 carve my name (my real name, not Russ) into your chest with broken glass. You are my favorite character in Please Kill Me and I really enjoyed counting how many times you had sex or almost died in tghat book. Ron and Scott, you are hands down the coolest brothers-in-a-band ever, not to mention the greatest guitar-drums combo ever. So you see, I really appreciate you guys and have been deconstructing your songs while stoned since I was about 14 and bought a cassette of Raw Power at the gas station. So come to Atlanta.

Are You Smarter Than a Paramecium?

I watched TV last night. As you may or may not know, depending on how closely you have read this blog, I do not have TV at home and barely even relish the opportunity to watch it at this point. The exception is when I am at my parents’ house, and can watch Tivo’d stuff on their gigantic, ostentatious, and thoroughly awesome TV. If you are going to watch TV, a giant TV with Tivo is really the only way to roll. You watch only stuff you actively want to watch, don’t have to watch the commercials, and can see every single strand of stubble on Hugh Laurie’s face (I watched House. I love Hugh Laurie. I was a diehard Jeeves and Wooster and Blackadder fan and am really enjoying this new stage of Hugh’s career, where he has suddenly and surprisingly become extremely sexy. He reminds me of my Narn Airn husband, with a lot of grey stubble and very blue eyes.) There is one catch though – you don’t have to WATCH the commercials, but you do have to fast forward through them, and occasionally stop during one of them and catch a little in order to not miss any of Hugh Laurie’s stubble. So last night I’m watching House, making my way merrily through the commercials, and happened to catch a few seconds of a promo for a show called Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?, in which the inbred cretins known as “Average Joes” compete in a trivia tournament against 10 year olds (or 9 year olds with summer birthdays, I guess). Ok, first of all, if you have to ask if you are smarter than a fifth grader, the answer is most likely “NO.” Second, I know that we live in a country that considers stupidity a virtue. I know that a lot of the appeal of W is because he seems like “regular folks” (see above my opinion of “regular folks”). And I know that people are generally not driven to feelings of suicidal despair by such new items as the fact that the number of people who are able to identify the Three Stooges is far greater than the number that are able to identify the three branches of the federal government (I am quite sure W is one of these people). I know all of these things, yet it still shocks me and gets me down. The fact that some fat prick from Peoria is literally pumping his fist in the air and cheering for himself because he answered a question correctly before a FUCKING FIFTH GRADER makes me seriously fear for the future of all of humankind. David Bowie said it best – homo sapiens have outgrown their use. Boy, that Bowie is even smarter than a seventh grader!!!!

PS The show is hosted by Jeff Foxworthy. Nuff said!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

NYC: Spring Temperatures, and Chocolate Jesus, De-Enrage R2B2

So the other day I made some salty, albeit true, comments about the decline of NYC. I admit I was feeling a mite moody being that I was still working on that "master cleanse." When I left the office at the end of the day in search of pad thai (for the record, not the most colon-friendly end to a 5 day fast), I discovered that spring had sprung!

As you NYCers know, nothing in this world is better than our fair city at a balmy 73 degrees. I cut through Chinatown, which, incidentally, doesn't start to stink until 78 degrees or so. The storefronts along Grand Street go something like this: veg, fish, dried fish, bakery, roast meat, bakery, dried fish, repeat. On the LES, I stopped to snicker at a gaggle of frat boys in cargo shorts, then, on the next block, a Bangladeshi man tried to sell me a man's down coat (somehow oddly tempting). NYC's still a very charming place, even if the yuppies are taking over.

Anyway, after I scarfed down that pad thai , I watched The Host, that Korean monster movie, which I highly recommend.

And then I read about this juicy tidbit:
Artist Cosimo Cavallaro's MY SWEET LORD, a six-foot CHOCOLATE JESUS on a cross, will go on display, just in time for Easter! Between April 1 and April 7, you can view Him between the hours of midnight to 1am and 6 to 7pm at the Lab Gallery in the Roger Smith Hotel (47th and Lex). What the fuck?

Silly Cat Picture Starring Orangello & Sophia

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Next Red State vs Blue State Battleground

Cancer! Tony Snow's is probably shifty and underhanded, but Elizabeth Edwards' might flip flop.

NYC: What the Fuck is Wrong with this City?

I'm not angry solely because I'm hungry although hunger does tend to breed desperation. (It's Day 5 of the "master cleanse" and I'm seriously pissed because a) I'm hungry; b) it's fried chicken day in our cafeteria and I'm surrounded by the smell of it; c) still no sign of mucoid plaque.)

Anyway, enough about my colon. To keep my mind off of the fried chicken fumes, I was listening to the Brian Lehrer Show. The last segment was about yuppie Manhattan parents (blah blah blah), but one guest threw out a tidbit that really stung. He said that rich people in NYC are 52 times richer than the poor, an income disparity that is similar to that of Namibia. Aaargh!

So, what's wrong with this fucking city? (Yes, I realize that there is something wrong with this entire country, but right now I'm talking about New York, which is clearly the center of the universe.) We've all started to face up to the fact that NYC has gotten rich, expensive, and boring in recent years. In addition to the obvious visual cues--chain store upon chain store, Avenue C being a playground for suits, and too much Kobe beef--doesn't it seem like we've all gotten complacent, even those among us who aren't rich?

In our defense, I know that there are many many things to be angry about, and it's really difficult to stay on top of this much injustice. Every day a sad or infuriating story hits the news. (Just this week alone, two things that people should be SCREAMING about: more evidence of rushed cleanup after 9/11 and pre-RNC police spying.) Maybe our lack of focus is due to sheer volume? Given the constant media blitz we live under, when a story comes to prominence, it seems to get coverage above the fold for only a couple days.

Or is it the political climate that's to blame? We have such a warm and fuzzy relationship with our petite mayor Bloomberg, but do you remember the days when we bonded together in mutual hatred for Giuliani? People got pissed back then! Doesn't it seem like we've lost our collective sense of outrage? Did the angry people move away or is it just the anger that left?

Well, I certainly blame myself for my own personal failures. And I'm going to pass the buck to rich people and their rich person trappings. For instance, sometimes I'm stomping down the street, nursing an acceptable anger level (say a 7.5 out of 10), then I pass by a cutesy bakery. Next thing you know I've forgotten about the homeless person I just walked by (get a job, loser!), and I'm stuffing a cupcake in my mouth. Which pretty much instantly subdues the beast.

In sunnier news for Gotham, an urban beekeeper on the Leonard Lopate Show says NYC's bees are in better shape than rural bees.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Russ's Collage du Every Other Jour

Weird Shit on the Ground

One of the things I really miss in Atlanta is not finding as much weird shit on the ground as I did in NYC (or London). There's something about more pedestrian-ized cities that makes for great shit on the ground. However, yesterday I saw this Gizmo on the ground outside Target and was very pleased. I mean, Gizmo? This is like a circa 1983 toy. Maybe Stripe was nearby!

**I am aware that the quality of this picture sucks. I have a good explanation, though - my camera phone sucks.

Narn Airn

That's how they say "Northern Ireland" in Northern Ireland. I know, because I am married to a Narn Airn boy.

Anyway, this scary fucker is Ian Paisley (who looks like he is saying Narn Airn in this picture, btw). He's in the news today as he and sexy, not scary Gerry Adams have reached some sort of agreement that will supposedly fix the fucked up-ness that is Narn Airn. Pardon my skepticism, but we've been down this road before.

I was raised with a healthy fear of Ian Paisley thanks to my mother. Always the actress, my mother would put on nightly shows for me at bedtime in which all of my stuffed animals would have personas and funny voices and act out little stories. Hence a bear in a tux that came free with some kind of cologne was called Tuxedo Teddy and spoke with a very posh English accent. You get the idea. Well, I had one bear that was probably a gift from some loser who deosn't know from kids as he was decidedly un-fun - he was not soft at all and seemed to be destined for purely decorative purposes. He also happend to be made of paisly fabric. So this bear was called...drum roll...Ian Paisley, and spoke with a broad Narn Airn accent and preached Proddy (Protestant) hellfire and brimstone and bullied all the other bears and lions and dogs and stuff. He was exactly like the real Ian Paisley - in other words, he was fucking terrifying.

So now here I am, 25 years later, married to a man whose favorite past-time is, for some reason, to read me Edward Gorey books in the voice of Ian Paisley and scare me. And I have no hope for this latest chapter in the fucked up history of Narn Airn, because I know that scary bear will never truly acquiesce.

March 26th's Sexy Person of the Day

I got kind of sick of posting the sexy person of the day, because there aren't really enough sexy people and it was too close to Michael K's Hot Slut of the Day on However, I have worked myself up into such a lather over fucking Gonzales that I need to meditate on this picture of hot-ass Richard Hell. Why don't you all do the same.

You Got Some Splainin' To Do

OK, I have HAD IT!!!! How much longer am I going to have to listen to these jackass politicians assert that Gonzales "has some explaining to do." Incorrect - he HAD some explaining to do. He now has some RESIGNING to do. I popped the cork on the cnampagne bottle over a week ago and that shit is flat now!!!

Also, do you guys think that he ditched that 'stache because it made him look too Latino? Doesn't the 'stache make you wonder what else he has shed on his road to being the biggest oatmeal cream pie in tarnation (def. oatmeal cream pie - n. - a Latino version of an oreo)? If I were able to dig up some pics of him from twelve years ago, would he be wearing a plaid shirt, cowboy boots, a belt buckle the size of my head, and a Chivas de Guadalajara scarf?

R2B2 Hits Day 4 of "Master Cleanse" and is Easily Driven to Tears

After a particularly rough Day 2, I'm actually doing well on Day 4. But I'm stuck in front of a computer back at work, which is exposing me to things I can't handle looking at.

Namely cake, competition, chocolate, and hamsters. (I'll eat those too.)

In the world outside of my colon, there are two stories in today's news that might actually affect New Yorkers who aren't wealthy. One is Christine Quinn's proposed $300 tax credit for renters earning under $43K a year, which is actually picking up support in the state legislature. The other is a bill that would set up taxi stands, paid for by the city government, in the outer boroughs. This would be bad news for livery drivers, for sure, but given how crabby cabbies are about traveling out to yuppie Brooklyn where they can easily pick up a return fare, I have my doubts about how many of them would want to cruise outside of Manhattan.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

NYC: Crazy Librarian in the House!

I support public libraries, at least in theory. My parents encouraged good library habits that persisted through college and my first couple years of living in New York. Then I moved to Brooklyn, and in typical Brooklyn form, things went downhill.

Aside from the Central Branch at Grand Army Plaza, the branch locations are pretty sad. I used to patronize the Park Slope branch before it closed and it was nuts. Broken AC, potato chip bags and books all over the floor, super slow and crabby librarians. The atmosphere was altogether very unlibrary-like.

And that was the nicest branch I've ever set foot in. In Clinton Hill, the fiction section literally consisted of trade paperbacks and mystery novels. I got by only because I ordered the books I wanted to read through the online system. Until one day a book I returned--Victorian Custards, if I remember correctly--wasn't checked in properly (totally not my fault!) and I also incurred quite a few overdue fines (totally my fault!). To make a long story short, they put a hold on my card. And I haven't been to the library in three years, being that I'm on the lam from an $18 fine.

Anyway, here's some news that just might convince me to go straight. The Brooklyn Public Library's new executive director Dionne Mack-Harvin (the first female African-American to hold the post, by the way) is shaking things up! She's put together a list of new proposals mean to rejuvenate the library system, including home delivery of books and DVDs. The books would be delivered by UPS or FedEx. The DVDs would be administered by Netflix and would allow access to a smaller selection of the Netflix catalogue. And, it being the public library, DVDs would be free! Free! Free!

I have my doubts about logistics related to book delivery. UPS makes an attempt to deliver your package, the notification slip gets lost, they don't come when they say they're going to come, you know the drill. Next thing you know, you have to trek out to shipping headquarters in Canarsie just to pick up a grubby copy of Great Expectations?

But that Netflix option sounds pretty enticing! The library already has a really great selection of DVDs on file, but they charge you $1 a day as a late fine, plus you're supposed to return them inside the building instead of using the book drop, which makes the whole thing seriously inconvenient.

We shall see what happens, fellow Brooklynites. It being Brooklyn, however, means we probably shouldn't hold our breath.

Friday, March 23, 2007

R2B2 fascinated by No Impact Man but too preoccupied with her colon to give up toilet paper

My birthday's still a few months away, and I decided it would be best not to wait for that colon cleansing kit I told you about. In the meantime, I'm doing a mini cleanse, that thing with the lemon juice and maple syrup and cayenne pepper.

It's DAY 1, I've been awake for 4 hours, and I'm FUCKING HUNGRY. Here's a list of foods I've already fantasized about: coffee, coconut buns, cornbread, coffee, lemon pound cake, peanut butter cookies, onion bagels, pancakes, red velvet cupcakes, granola, coffee, clam chowder, coffee, soy milk, turkey sandwich, fried rice, coffee. I'm pretty obsessive when it comes to food, but this is ridiculous. I don't even like turkey!! Ooh, but a turkey club?

Anyway, enough about my colon. In more important news, have you guys been following the story of No Impact Man. An NYC-based writer, his wife, and their child are planning to live a full year without making any environmental impact. That means buying nothing, other than food grown within 250 miles of the city, no public transportation, elevators, books, magazines, toilet paper! He's even baking his own bread from flour milled in New Jersey.

People have already criticized him, saying that he's doing it to just to write his book (which he admits to, and why not?). Or that taking such an extreme position on environmentalism turns people (morons) off. But, whatever. I'm all about personal experimentation (need I remind you about my colon project). More power to him! Check out his segment on yesterday's Brian Lehrer Show. He makes some interesting points about liberal politics and personal responsibility.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Russ's Not Exactly Sticking to the Collage du Jour

What Do We Think of Edwards?

Ok. I’m way confused. At first I thought Edwards was a putz. I thought Stewart hit the nail on the head when he called him John “Supercuts” Edwards. I mean, shit, that hair. But fucking look at him – dude is 53 fucking years old and looks 12. BUT. I basically would jump into a volcano for krugman and he loves Edwards. I’m all about health care and Edwards is the only one with a viable plan – or a plan at all, instead of platitudes and either black (it looks more purplish to me) skin or a vagina. And he’s all about unions and I have a romantic liberal passion for that shit. I read too much dos passos. Yeah so I dig him and at work, it was weird today. Because I knew the announcement was coming, but didn’t care. But about five of us (all women)watched it on the tv at work - I'm pretty sure it was the first time it was ever on anything other than sports. Anyway, so we all stood there and watched and by the end I still had no idea what me or anyone else thought of Edwards, nor was I sure why any of us were taking time out of day to watch. All I could muster was to say: ”I mean, it sucks if he drops out; he’s the only one with a health care plan etc.” Everyone Else: Silence. I think the only thing a lot of women are sure about with him is that they think he’s foxy. Yuck! Something about him reminds me so much of a smarmy classic southern democrat. I grew up with this shit – Georgia was almost ALL democrat when I grew up and now it’s almost ALL republican…and it wasn’t just the jesus and the brainwashing that made it that way…politicians here were sleazy. It’s like Louisiana is now – look at that asshole with the money in the freezer. Anyway so yeah there’s something sleazy about Edwards. That youthful look smacks of Faust or Dorian Gray or some shit. BUT….what he was doing today was sleazy, kind of tacky exploiting personal shit, but a) people would have been in their business regardless and b) his angle was brilliant from a PR perspective…his thing is healthcare. They’re all like, “we’re going through hell, but we know it would be worse if we were broke like most of you and had shitty or no health care, so for that reason we are staying in!” Smart!!! But it kind of working on me. But it’s all moot…isn’t it? I mean, isn’t it all decided? Somehow I’m not so sure. So I’m going with the most populist guy. I guess I’m a fucking hippie, or commie - i am a populist at the end of the day. I covet shit on the United Farm Workers website store. But at the end of the day I want one thing, and I will throw Supercuts to the wolves if I have to for it, and you know what that is…no Naders this time...we all have to agree to disagree and concede a fuckload...because anything is better than this.

Black Sabbath Fucking Rocks

Sorry, I was just about to post about John Edwards but got sidetracked by Sabbath. If there was ever a classic stoner move, that would be it. But I'm not embarassed - I'm proud. Sabbath fucking rocks (see title of this post for evidence). Anyway....

Cool Artist of the Day: Brendan Monroe

You may recognize this guy's work - he did the cover of the New York Times magazine a few weeks ago. He also did a beautiful album cover for Tortoise.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

NYC: Brown People, 1; The Man, 1,000,000,000,000,000,00...

Watch out, white folks, people of color are catching up. Next stop, reparations.

On Tuesday, the Suffolk County legislature voted down a bill 10-6 that would have made it illegal for day laborers looking for work to congregate near public roads. The bill's supporters cited quality of life issues, and said that there were more accidents around intersections near said public roads. Natch, because people were speeding up to hit the day laborers.

In other news, results from a survey of NYC public school students in 2005 say fewer kids are drinking and smoking pot. White students are more likely than their yellow, black, or brown counterparts to use drugs and alcohol. (So, these numbers might be understated since they don't take into account all of the damage being done to livers and lungs in the city's tony private schools.)

A second interesting side note, probably related to the first, Staten Island had the highest rates of binge drinking. Here's a choice tidbit from Staten Island City Councilman James "Gramps" Oddo: "I blame mom and dad. Too many Staten Island young people are spoiled rotten. ... The same kid who probably answered yes on that survey is driving around in a brand-new SUV or luxury car. He's the same kid who cuts off grandmothers and senior citizens when they drive down Hylan Blvd."

If I had to drive up and down Hylan Blvd in my mom's SUV, I would keep myself pretty well pickled as well.

And, in national news, Al Gore made a very persuasive speech before Congress to say that the "planet has a fever" and used a weird metaphor about flame-proof babies to illustrate his point. The Dems kissed his ass some more and tried to pretend that they weren't horribly, horribly embarrassed by his presence pre-An Inconvenient Truth.

Finally, just to take care of some personal business, I mentioned the other day that number one on my birthday wish list (save the date: June 12th!) is that colon cleansing kit. I've added a couple other things to the list, which you can acess via my profile.

R2B2 has "Intimate" Dream about Ira Glass; Freud would Say it's Just Nerves?

Are you going to watch Showtime's This American Life premier on Thursday night? At first I wasn't thrilled to hear about the prospect of a TV version, but I think I'm okay with it.

I'm a real dork for public radio, so much so that I get my WNYC fix via AM rather than FM. I even prefer to listen to the Newshour with Jim Lehrer on the radio instead of watching it on TV.

A little while ago I got rid of cable to save money, and the absence of fluffy programming has diminished my TV watching attention span. I'm not being snobby about it—my favorite shows are about prison, psychics, and dwarves. It's just a phase, I think. When I win Powerball, I'll overcompensate with a gigantic satellite dish that broadcasts Mongolian wrestling and I'll blast it 24/7.

But I do prefer radio, especially for news, because it's easier for my feeble brain to follow. When I watch Jim Lehrer on PBS I get pulled into his Stepford wife eyes. And then the commentators come on and David Brooks looks like a weenie (which, clearly, he is, but less so on radio) and the older gentleman who debates him has that hangy turkey neck. How can you not stare at that? I usually do, then I miss it when he says something interesting. The better groomed people on cable and network news are just as bad, all helmet head and bleached chompers. I'm simple and not very good at multi-tasking, and TV's very overstimulating.

And with radio you're free to imagine what you want. You can pretend that Soterios Johnson is a Greek god (sorry to my lady friends, but he's not). Or that Will Shortz and LeeAnn Hanson are doing way more than puzzles together.

For years This American Life's web site posted an old photo (since updated) of Ira taken at his bar mitzvah. He looked like a gawky nerdy teenager, and I was comforted. It fit perfectly with his cartoon voice and NRP disposition. And that's pretty much the way I chose to I imagine him over these last ten years.

Then the media blitz for the TV show began, and it was all shattered. He's, well, um, sheesh… He's actually handsome (for public radio)!

Suddenly, it seemed everywhere I turned, I came face to face with a picture of Ira. And it taunted me! At first I thought, "I can't believe that's Ira." Then, "Ira's kind of cute." Finally, "Wow. Ira's handsome (for public radio)." The next thing you know, I had a dream in which Ira and I were in a compromising position. We were horizontal, and there was ear lobe nibbling! I woke up feeling very confused. Maybe it's something like growing up and developing a crush on your friend's little brother?

Fortunately, my friends are helping me through a difficult period by forwarding me stories about Ira with the message "Look, your boyfriend!"

Anyway, a few days have passed, and I've decided that the dream doesn't mean that I want to have sex with Ira. Nor was it simply due to shock at registering the fact that Ira is handsome (for public radio). I think I was just letting go of some of the tension I feel in anticipation of the TV show. Even if the show doesn't turn out the way I expected, or changes the future of the radio show, or even if Ira comes off like a ninny—even worse, makes America fall in love with him—everything between me and Ira will still be ok.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Camera Phones at Concerts: ENOUGH!!!!

Okay, I have really had it. This is officially now a mission.

I went to a concert last night - Lily Allen - a very fun, upbeat, poppy show with music that makes you really want to dance (half the crowd was 14, but that's a different story - like I didn't feel old enough at concerts already). However, as is the case nowadays at every show I go to, every inch of primo floor space was occupied by these fucking morons with their phones in the air. So not only is there no room to dance, but also the real heart and soul of the audience - the floor crowd - is one solid, unmoving mass of idiots who aren't engaging with the music in any visible way, and only seem to be there to take a photo. A shitty, tiny, grainy photo that they may open up their phone and show to their co-workers tomorrow. Or put on their fucking MySpace page with 800 other tiny, grainy, shitty photos.

These people are ruining concerts for those of us who are there to enjoy the music, dance, and have a good time. And engage with the performer! I felt so bad for poor Lily, who was putting on a great show only to be faced by this sea of people standing there with one arm up in the air like Michael Jackson, but not even saying "HOHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!" Someone I was with tried for a second to compare it to holding up a lighter,, but holding up a lighter was all about engaging with the performance, not trying to cut out a tiny piece of its heart and put in a jar to take home.

I won't even go into the twisted postmodern statement of going to a live show for the sole purpose of bagging a non-live relic. There's some Walter Benjamin to be applied, I'm sure.

Oh and off, the topic, whatever happened to skanking??? All this ska-infused music and not one Jerry Dammers in the whole place. Not only do people not dance, they don't even seem to know how to dance anymore. I remeber going to The Toasters or The Specials not even 15 years ago and it would look like a fucking Two Tone convention.

But I digress. Who's with me on this camera phone business? I seriously think it should be like cell phones in the movies - a serious anti-social crime that results in the bvoos and glares of your fellow audience mebers.

Monday, March 19, 2007

March 19th's Sexy Person of the Day

I don't have a picture of him, but Chef from Apocalypse Now. The one with the moustache. Not the actor who plays Chef, just Chef.

Russ's Collage du Jour

Blessed Herbs

Hi Friends,

Don't forget your favorite li'l Gemini's birthday is coming up in just three months! This year, please consider giving me the gift of complete elimination, a colon cleansing kit from Blessed Herbs. It's a gift that keeps on giving. And giving. And giving. For at least 8 days!

If you doubt its efficacy, check out testimonials from their recent Poo Contest*. If you guys are generous, soon I'll too be able to say, "It's gross and it's mine!"

It's a pricey gift, but, as I've always said, love me, love my colon.



Sunday, March 18, 2007

March 18th's Sexy Person of the Day

Isabelle Huppert shares a birthday with my friend Sparky, so I feel like I know her. I'm still scared of her though. She's hardcore!!

Cool Artist of the Day: Debbie Wale

Debbie Wale lives in Streatham, London. This was painted right on the wall of her sister Erin's room in her previous dwelling, and I wonder what happened to it when they moved. I love it b/c it's not entirely clear if it's about the twin towers or two rabid transformer cheese graters. Either way, it's really scary and cool and has kind of a minotaur/biohazard vibe. Oh yeah, and a Baby Jesus vibe too.

I want Debbie to paint on my wall.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Originals vs. Covers

I often find cover versions of songs to be not to my liking. They generally range from derivative (the band doesn't "make it their own," to use the parlance of American Idol) to inferior to downright blasphemous. However, as with all things in life, there are some exceptions. I have begun burning a series of CDs that put originals alongside their near-as-good-as or even better cover versions. In some cases there are multiple versions of a song. I'm really into blues, a genre that has definite standards that have ben picked up and reworked many times.

I have quite a number of songs already on the playlists, but am curious as to people's input. Let me know some cover songs you like or loathe.

For the record, my favorite original/cover combo is Gallows Pole as originated by Leadbelly and covered by Zep. Close second are the Iggy/Bowie takes on China Girl (also my karaoke standard - you should see me when I stumble into town just like a sacred cow - not a dry eye in the house).

A Poem by Russ

Disclaimer #1: I am not big on poetry. I mean, if you're good at it, great, I love it. If you're like Ginsberg or Wiliam Carlos Williams or Ezra Pound or whatever, fine. But there is very little more painful than bad poetry. Possibly bad theater. And most is bad, in my opinion.

Disclaimer #2: I am generally nauseated by the "response to September 11th" genre. The sole exception is Spike Lee's 25th Hour (criminally underrated and one of the best movies about NYC ever. People need to get over their stereotypical conception of Spike Lee. The man is genius.) I digress (for a change...). I wrote the following poem after September 11th. It's a true story and one of the most visceral experiences I have ever had. Anyone who was in NYC those few days following "the events of September 11th," as they are known, knows that the weirdest thing was how quite NYC was. And how NICE people were to each other (shutting the fuck up for once being a major way of being nice in NYC). Anyway. Feel free ti pillory me, but I'm exposing myself big time here, so pillory gently.

"Snap Out of It"

The beauty of life here
Cannot cease to amaze
Even though that brief time is gone
When we all loved each other
In warm silence

It ended abruptly
With an unattractive girl
Pushing her way onto the Q train
Yelling at an old man
To fuck himself

We all looked at each other
(Acceptable on that day)
And through shell-shocked eyes
We silently agreed
She was evil

It was the one day in the long life
Of this invisibly burning city
That everyone agreed on everything
And suddenly this girl came forward
Breaking the truce

God bless her ugly soul
For her selfless willingness
In the face of great adversity
To keep the spirit of New York alive
To be normal

Cool Artist of the Day: Pieter Brueghel the Elder

This is called "The Battle Between Carnival and Lent" and was painted around 1559. This dude so rocks. He's out-of-control genius. Don't get me wrong, I'm down with Pieter Brueghel the Younger, too, but, at the end of the day, I'm all about the Elder.

March 17th's Sexy Person of the Day

Alain Delon is the shit. His Ripley character in Plein Soleil could kick Matt Damon's ass in The Talented Mr. Ripley, any day (and I don't really have anything against Matt Damon; in fact, I think he's okay). Delon managed that rare feat in acting of overcoming his amazing looks and giving fantastic, nuanced performances in every movie he was in. Never just a pretty face. If you aren't fluent in Delon, check out the aforementioned Plein Soleil (aka Purple Noon), Le Samurai, The Leopard, and Rocco and His Brothers, for starters. I love that he worked with Visconti quite a bit. You know Visconti was in love with him, for sure. Who wouldn't be?

Delon is still kicking, btw.

Russ's Collage Du Jour

Friday, March 16, 2007

Oh How I Miss This Guy

This is going to be SWEET.

I thought I woke up in Fantasyland back in November. Senate, Congress, Rummy...But the one I have always hated the second most is Gonzales. And the one i have always hated the most is Rove. And now they might - MIGHT - both be going down.

Pinch me. Hard.

Silly Cat Picture Starring Monkerton

Cool Artists of the Day: Sue Coe & Goya

I actually own this print (left)!!!! It's called "The West Meets the Rest." It is a clear homage to Goya's equally fantastic "Saturn Devouring his Son" (right). Saturn was so freaked at the prospect that his progeny would become more powerful than him that he ate each one immediately after their birth. Goya portrays Saturn as mad and full of senseless rage, driven to orgiastic violence by fear of the exposure of his own mediocrity.

George W. Bush really needs to familairize himself with Roman myth. And read some fucking Chomsky already.

And, I drive a Saturn. It has yet to devour me in an envious rage.

March 16th's Sexy Person of the Day

You may remember Capucine as Simone Clouseau, Inspector Clouseau's cheating wife in The Pink Panther. She and Dirk Bogarde (one of my all-time favorite actors) almost married (he was gay but never truly came out). She suffered from serious bipolar disorder all her life and commited suicide when she was 59. She jumped out of the window of her 8th floor apartment.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Bo Dietl Eats $1K Pizza; Doesn't Care for Crust!

This morning's post on NYC's cop buildup was me putting my best foot forward. Because I really wanted to talk about a most excellent story in The Metro, which is always useful for a nugget or two.

A Grand Slice of Pizza Indeed
Michael Rundle, Metro New York

MIDTOWN. The world’s most expensive pizza was unveiled yesterday — priced at $1,000.

It is topped with six different kinds of Petrossian caviar, Maine lobster, crème fraiche and chives. And the premium-priced pie was not a one-time thing. It’s available at 24 hours notice at Nino’s Bellissima restaurant.

According to Nino Salimaj, the creator of the pizza and owner of five other restaurants in the city, the pizza was a labor of love — and is well worth the money.

“I said I was going to come up with the greatest pie under the sky,” he said. “We did a lot of research, and I think this is the winner.”

Salimaj said he worked with more than a hundred combinations for more than a year to get the taste just right.

“Anyone can go out and throw caviar on a pizza,” he said. “But it’s not going to taste the same. You need the skills and the talent to do it properly.”

The first person to taste the pie was Bo Dietl. He paid for the pizza in cash and folded a slice before eating it with his hands.

“This is the greatest thing I’ve ever tasted,” he said. “Honestly, it’s friggin’ delicious.”

Dietl said he had decided to be the first to try the new dish after winning a bet on the Super Bowl.

But not even the world’s most expensive pizza is perfect. “It was delicious,” Dietl said. “But I would want the crust done a little more next time.”

Check out Grub Street's post if only to gawk at Nino, the jackass who took a full year to make a pizza that apparently tastes like a bagel.

I'll forego a rant about starving children in India so we can focus on Bo Dietl's part in this story. How awesome is his quote? I love how he called Nino out on the crust. He paid in cash and even implied that he might order it again. Best of all, he folded it! I would be so nervous, especially with press looking on, that I would have used utensils, for sure, and probably would have dabbed at the corners of my mouth with a napkin on top of that.

Some of you may recognize Bo Dietl as the potty mouthed security expert on the Daily Show. If you were impressed with what you saw, you should snatch up his memoir One Tough Cop in which he collars perps left and right and instigates all kinds of drama down at the precinct trying to take down the blue wall of silence. Kind of like Serpico but only if Serpico were a complete jerk instead of a stoned hamster lover.

I found a copy in the back of my closet in the last apartment I moved into. Much more interesting and useful than the miniature Greek Orthodox bible from the apartment before.

Recipe Nook: Spaghetti Carbonara (the best EVER)

I have perfected this dish over many trials. People regularly demand that I make it for them. In fact, I am making it for someone tonight. Spell check is of the opinion that it should be called "Spaghetti Coronary," which is hilariously apt.

-1 large box of spaghetti
-1 pack of thick-cut bacon
-1 large white or yellow onion, chopped
-bottle of white wine (Pinot Grigio works well. Nothing too sweet.)
-1 large carton of cream (not the pint size like what milk was served in in elementary school, but the next size up, whatever that is)
-block of quality aged parmiggiano, fresh grated (If you can't get it, use the shaved stuff in a tub. Don't use the Kraft or 4C!!! I have no problem with that stuff but it doesn't work with this).
-Salt & pepper

Time to make pasta!

Pour yourself a glass of the wine to drink while you cook.

Get the water boiling for the spaghetti. The sauce generally takes about as long to cook as boiling the water and cooking the spaghetti, which is cool.

Fry ALL the bacon in a large sautee pan. Woo! While it's cooking, you could grate your cheese and put a little aside for the table. You will use most of it in the sauce.

Set bacon aside. Dump a little of the fat out, but keep more than half in the pan.

Don't forget to boil the spaghetti!

Put the onion in and fry it up in the bacon fat until a clear brownish color is achieved. While it's browning, you can chop the bacon into little pieces. If it's still too hot to touch, hold it down with a paper towel while you cut it.

Snack on a few little pieces of bacon.

Throw in a good dash of white wine. I hate Nigella Lawson and how flippant she is with measures, and I know I sound like her annoying ass right now. But I really don't know how much I put in. 1/4 cup maybe? It should smell winey but not too winey...Deglaze the pan with the wine (aka push it around and scrape up the pieces of onion that are getting sticky). Cook for a minute to let the alcohol burn off.

Turn the heat off - boiling must stop before the next step.

Put in most of the cream and a good portion of the cheese. Stir it all together and turn the heat back on, but on low - no boiling! You don't want the cream to curdle.

Add the chopped bacon. Continue to mix together, tasting it and adding cream, cheese, salt, and pepper to taste. Occasionally I feel like it needs a dash more wine, but be careful because it won't boil off and you don't want it tasting alcohol-y.

Drain the spaghetti when it is ALMOST done. Then dump it in the sautee pan with the sauce and cook them together for a minute til the spaghetti is done.

Serve with garlic bread and enjoy!

Bad Georgia

(To your left you will find Johnny Isakson, quintessential Georgia Republican Senator. I went to school with his son, Kevin. That's not Kevin he's holding. I'm assuming it's Kevin's spawn.)

Georgia can be good or bad, and I will be posting on Good Georgia and Bad Georgia quite a bit. Okay, to be honest, when it comes to politics, it's not great - it's not as bad as most of you out there may think, but I'm not here to blow smoke up anyone's ass. There is great diversity, a ton of cool people, wonderful restaurants (except Italian), and a decent amount to see and do (and I can actually afford to see and do here, unlike NYC, and cool concerts aren't instantly sold out, horrific mob scenes where you wait an hour in line to get your coat back, getting rapidly sober and almost guaranteeing a subway ride marked by an almost uncontrollable urge to pee b/c the asshole bouncers won't let you use the bathroom after you finally get your coat, plus your scarf is no longer stuffed in the sleeve or anywhere to be found, for that matter). BUT it is predominantly super religious, super conservative, and bleeding heavy flow period red.

I'm sure many people are familiar with the “Fugees” soccer team debacle and heard the abhorrently redneck, racist, chump stain mayor of Clarkston making an ass of himself and all of Georgia on NPR (if not, got to and search for Clarkston). But here are a few fun facts you may not know, coming straight at you from the "Empire State of the South":

1. We have the strictest anti-immigration laws in the whole country.

2. We are about to start forcing women seeking abortions to have a mandatory sonograms. Don't worry, the law, as drafted, stipulates that "no patient would be forced to the view images of her unborn child." That makes me feel SO much better. And it's not like women have to pay for the sonogram: "The expectant mother would be given a list of health care providers, facilities and clinics offering ultrasounds free of charge." The proposed list of such venues consists primarily of the so-called "pregnancy crisis centers" run by Christian groups, which are proven to spread misinformation and myths about abortion (e.g. causes breast cancer and suicide) and browbeat women into opting out of abortion.

3. The state has now proposed a law to increase the chances of a convicted prisoner receiving the death penalty. Under the proposed law, a jury would only need 11 out of 12 jurors to vote for death, as opposed to the full 12. The idea is to "prevent one juror from negating the wishes of a majority." Isn't that kind of the whole point of a jury???

I could go on and will be back with more (some positive, I promise). Let me leave you with this.

4. A co-worker - who is senior to me - today told me that crime in Atlanta is up so much in recent years (it isn't; it's always been a cauldron of crime, and the statistics are pretty steady) because of a) Katrina refugees and b) immigrants (which we all know means "Mexicans", which we in turn all know means Guatemalans, Hondurans, Salvadorians, and pretty much anywhere else south of us that produces people of a brown skin tone). Of course it is not news that people think this way (see #1), but I am still un-cynical enough to be scandalized that people think they can say shit like that to me.

But hey, we are talking about the same co-worker who asked me if I was Christian.**

**this person has an HR role, making these transgressions of the basic tenets of HR 101 all the more egregious.

NYC: I'm Ready to Strap on Riot Gear

I carry it in my purse, just in case. I have a miniature suit for my cat, too, because she likes to go out and crush skulls.

In anticipation of the Sean Bell verdict, the NYPD has put an extra 4,000 plainclothes on duty and repositioned scores of regular uniformed cops in five "trouble spots." Which I'm sure is simply a precaution, but come on. Yes, the NYPD has to be prepared in case anything does happen, but doesn't that attitude just underscore the disconnect between the races in our fair city? Or should I say racist attitudes on the part of the government? The natives are getting restless! They gonna fuck shit up! Get out the riot gear!

Anyway, I'm curious about the five trouble spots. One is outside of the courthouse. I'm guessing another would be Sean Bell's neighborhood. Where is that, somewhere in Queens? Email me if you can id the other three. Look for a bunch of coppers with billy clubs.

Cool Artist of the Day: Marcel Dzama

Silly Cat Picture Starring Orangello

Sexy Person of the Day

That photo of Keith at the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony has gotten a lot of screen time this week. Let us all now bow are heads in reverence as we remember how supersonically, sublimely hot Keith once was. And he's still cool as shit.

Russ's Collage du Jour

This one is called "Flayed Lambs on Parade."

Thoughts on Bob Dylan

I’m trying to make my way through Don't Look Back, which just came out on DVD - Dylan touring England in 1965, D.A. Pennebaker directed, year before Dylan went electric, blah blah blah. It is so hard to watch because Dylan is such a HUGE dick and his manager is an even HUGER dick and Joan Baez is Dylan’s girlfriend at the time and is always there and SINGING. Dylan is definitely so genius, but the elision between his music and his persona is incomprehensible. I am convinced that the obsession and fascination with him beyond even what his (admittedly amazing) music would dictate (that crazy, make a four-disc documentary, write a bunch of books, spend eternity analyzing type of obsession) is because his lyrics seem so deep and filled with meaning, yet he refuses to indulge in any self-analysis or to attribute any meaning to his lyrics. He is the opposite of a conceptual artist, where all the meaning comes from the artist's intentions and you have to know the intentions to get it. The more one attempts to study Dylan, the more he slips away, which I think makes people want to chase after him, hoping there will be some confession or acknowledgement that will shed some light, and there never is.

Plus he looks like such a Jew when he's young, like my cousins or something, and, as a Jew, it's difficult to not focus on that since he makes no sense as a Jew. None!!! He makes even less sense as a Jew than he does in general!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Great Summer Punch (Alcoholic!) Recipe, Freshly Invented

I just invented this, like two minutes ago.

-1 1/2 oz melon vodka (I used skyy, but i don't make very much money)
-1 1/2 Club Soda
-1 1/2 oz cranberry juice
-1 1/2 oz oran juice jones

The soda, cranberry, and Simpson can be adjusted to taste. Ice. Tall glass. Would make a great summer drink to take out to the pool in a pitcher to your buddies. Oh, not you R2B2. You live in New York.

Tastes like: Watermelon Jolly Rancher, but kind of more bite, like a Greyhound. Overall aura is that of Pimm's Cup or some other excellent summer pitcher drink.

The Arcade Fire Grinch

I am the Arcade Fire Grinch. I really tried with Funeral, but it's so cacophanous. Now I am listening to Neon Bible and it's just okay...i like it better than Funeral (barely) but a) she sounds too much like Bjork, b) a lot of their songs wind up sounding like Band Aid due to all the bells - the bells don't work like they do in "Hitsville UK" by The Clash - I dig those bells - let's not even TALK ABOUT THE BELLS IN "NOW I WANNA BE YOUR DOG!"!! - but these make me feel like Bono is going to chime in with "Tonight thank god it's them instead of you." The DJ on my crappy download said, after one yet another annoying songs finished, "If this music doesn't get you somewhere special, then there's something wrong with you." Okay. Oh and c) she sounds too much like Bjork. Well worth saying twice. It's egregious. Oh and d) please tell me that track 2, "Keep the Car Running," is not IDENTICAL to that song "On the Dark Side" by John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band from the movie Eddie and the Cruisers???

When it comes to French-Canadian, I'll stick with Voivod.

Whole Foods Machine

Any of you NYCers been to Whole Foods at Union Square lately? I know I sometimes rant about it, but I had a gift card! (Russ: I confess I scampered over there directly following the mini-rant I delivered to you via cell phone on the suburbanization of New York.)

Anyway, they've got a new check-out system. I'll withhold judgement--let's just say it involves TV screens, colors, and robots. Or at least robotic recorded voices. And mass chaos! It's funny to see people react to a new system of organization (by that I mean being herded like the cattle we are).

Do you think it's meant to replace that person who points you toward the next open register? There was one there tonight, and he seemed resentful. Replacing people with robot voices (and colors and TV screens) would seem to run counter to the store's corporate hippie ethos, but they can repurpose him to nut packaging.

Little known WFM nugget I heard from a friend and employee. The average wait time in NYC stores is 6 minutes. If true, that's pretty pretty good. You could do far worse in a line of three people at Duane Reade.

R.I.P. Jean Baudrillard

"The order of the world is always right - such is the judgement of God. For God has departed, but he has left his judgement behind, the way the Cheshire Cat left his grin." - from Cool Memories.

This really speaks to me. I feel that many "god-fearing" people are exactly that - terrified of god (Baudrillard goes big G, I love him but not enough to follow suit). They are religious more out of fear of Judgement Day than any true religious sentiment. Do you want a happy god or a vengeful god?

It's also a cool response to his ancestors. It's like he's saying "God isn't dead, not when he exerts a pull over so many people. God may be dead to you, Jean-Paul, but not to me." And then Sartre would be all like "You're dead to me!", exactly the way Janice Dickinson said it to poor Brooke on America's Next Top Model that one time.

He would have a point, because they are both dead now (Sartre and Baudrillard, not Janice and Brooke. Although Brooke could conceivably have died and we wouldn't have heard about it, because you don't even hear anything about the girls who win, let alone the third one to get sent home. I sure hope not. If you're out there, Brooke, send a shout-out...).

Celebrity Tanka of the Day: Hilary Swank's Boys Don't Cry Oscar Acceptance Tanka

Although I myself
Am not gay, lesbian, bi
Even transgendered
I was married to Chad Lowe
Which is kind of the same thing

Sequins, Spankies and Sass: My Day at the 2007 National Cheerleading and Dance Championship

I’m going to go ahead and rank Cheersport’s 2007 National Cheerleading and Dance Championship up there with the 2003 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show as Events I am Most Glad I Decided Not to Smoke Pot For. There are, quite simply, some things in this world that are perfect on their own. So perfect, in fact, as to almost provide me with that ever-elusive Evidence That There Is a God, and that He/She Has a Wicked Sense of Humor.

Some background: Cheersport, aka “The Future of Cheerleading and Dance,” is America ’s premiere organization for competitive cheerleading and dance (a very specific sort of dance). The National Championships this year took place at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. There are 800 teams competing and over 8,000 attendees, making Cheersport the third largest convention in Atlanta, coming in behind the national Poultry and Egg Convention in second place, and, in first place – predictably enough – something Christian. So if convention attendance is any way to judge the character of a city, the things Atlantans hold dearest are cheerleaders, chickens, and Jesus. Not my top three, but sounds about right.

The Georgia World Congress Center is a pretty big place, big enough to hold Cheersport and then some, so this year the event fell on the same weekend as World of Wheels, a hot rod car and motorcycle show, and the Bronner Brothers Mid-Winter Hair Show, an African-American hair extravaganza. This made for quite a mixture of crowds, as portly bearded hicks clutching model replicas of the General Lee weaved their way through gaggles of very large black women made even larger by towering, Divine-worthy hairdos, only to get cut off at the pass by 25 teenage girls standing bent at the waist while their friends attempted to scrape all of the pony tail bumps out of the backs of their heads. It was at this point that my friend – a naughty Atlanta Convention and Visitors Center employee who shall remain nameless – informed me that the hotels and other venues participating in Cheersport had designated special “Glitter Rooms’ for the application of glitter after having spent the better part of last year having all of their furniture and carpeting industrially vacuumed only to have guests still complain of being covered in leftover glitter. I can confirm that even previously applied glitter gets around, and the floor of the Congress Center was covered with a sticky paste of glitter, sequins, Rave #4, and liberal snippets of gold rick rack that had made a successful escape from the trim of someone’s spankies.

The team names are heavy on sports-style boasts – The Something All-Stars seem to be a favorite. Sting Ray All-Stars, Thunder All-Stars, and – my personal choice for Best Name – The Freedom Eagle All-Stars. Guess what flag figured prominently in their costume? If you guessed United Arab Emirates, you guessed wrong. Although a Freedom-Hater All-Stars with little girls in burkas would be awesome…

The competitors range in age from about 6 to about 18. They are overwhelmingly female, with a handful boys thrown in for good measure. The young boys generally seemed semi- to very uncomfortable and mostly stayed near the back during the routines, save for one little flamer who was very talented and the unquestionable star of his team’s show, which ended with the 15 or so girls parting like a sequined sea to allow him to slide triumphantly all the way to the front of the stage on his queer little knees. And how could I forget the poor man watching his twin sons merrily fly through the air – he was smiling and clapping, but his eyes betrayed a soul curled into the fetal position, softly murmuring “I can’t believe they’re both gay.”

And then there were the older boys. Oh, the older boys. 16, 17, 18 - they were all jubilantly, flamingly, homosexual - out, proud and louder than the crowds of mothers screeching “Caitlin!!!” and “Schuyler!!!” at their competing spawn. One of my favorite sights of the day was a young biracial pair of cheerboys of about 17, coming down the escalator as I went up (they were Kelly LeBrock, and I was Robert Downey, Jr. I know it’s LeBrock that goes up in Weird Science, but trust me – they were LeBrock). Both had stripped down to their cheer vests and had their cheer sweaters jauntily thrown over their shoulders as they clearly relished whatever tawdry gossip and dissing of the competition they were indulging in. They were a lovely couple, positively exuding well-adjusted sass, and absolutely made my day. Cheerleading may strike me as a relatively miserable extracurricular option for a girl, but if you’re a Lance Bass in the making, it seems like a pretty good option. There was even a sizeable contingent of gay teenage spectators, such as the pair clearly on furlough from their Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered After School Club – an excitable and exactingly-groomed young man with as solid a grip on the rules of cheering as he had on the wrist of his utterly lesbonic chum, who he dragged from Arena H to Arena G as if she were a ragdoll. Once again, adorable, and made my day.

One of the finest nuances of competitive cheering is, it turns out, not to be found in the cartwheels, round-offs, and back flips, but rather in the vast iconography of facial expressions. My high school cheerleaders smiled, and that was it, unless someone broke something or happened to clap eyes on an offensively unpopular student. Those days are over. Cheersport girls boast a range of expression not seen since the gargoyles of the 14th century. There were growls, sneers, grimaces, bug eyes, Standard Pouty Face, Puffed-Out Cheek Pouty Face, Super-Duper Surprised Face, and so on, all accompanied by a constantly side-to-side waggling head (picture the way someone would move their head while giving a classic delivery of “oh know you dih-uhn’t”). These girls had more attitude than Mr. T, Gary Coleman, and SheNeNe all rolled into one. And 90% of them were white! (We soon figured out that the black cheerleaders were far superior – especially when it comes to facial expressions - and learned quickly how to scour the spectators in the friends and family section to get an idea if a particular group was ethnically mixed enough to be worth watching. Oh how we long for the day when the Cheersport program indicates the race of the teams. This is far from racist – after all, it’s not like we wanted to know where the black cheerleaders were so we could avoid them – quite the opposite!).

I find myself entering potentially offensive territory, so I will leave the particulars of the Special Cheerleading Competition to the reader’s imagination. Better yet, I recommend that anyone with a taste for the absurd come to Atlanta for Cheersport 2008, and help me cheer those gay twins.

NYC: Nobody Hearts Rudy!

At least in NYC, that is.

Apparently the rest of the country still loves Rudy Guiliani ("Ghouliani") even though he's got soap opera style stuff going on in his personal business. Ghouliani's even ahead of McCain in polls, which is inconceivable! I hate his chipmunky teeth! And the fact that he's a Nazi and the instigator of the yuppification scourge hitting NYC.

Anyway, Quinnipiac released a poll today that says NYCers love our petite mayor Bloomberg more than ever. His approval rating is at a near-record high despite the Valentine's Day snowstorm tragedy (sarcasm!). And NYCers say 46-31% that Bloomie would make a better president than Ghouliani (granted, responses are split along party lines). I'm still on the fence with Bloomie. I'm over the fact that he's a Republican. He's continuing, even encouraging, the yuppification scourge, but that's now reached Frankensteinish proportions. (No one who's electable would really handle it any differently.) I admit I feel I should distrust him on principal given his gazillionairism, but he seems kind of sincere, right? He plans to head up a philanthropic group after his term ends; I mean, it's not like he's VP at Halliburton! Anyway, Quinnipiac posed the ultimate question: does Bloomie care about "the needs and problems of people like you?" then breaks answers out along party lines, race, and by borough and gender. Scroll down to number 12 here to see the responses. (Hint: Whites and Manhattanites like him an awful lot!)

In other news, NYCers are still freaking out about the Health Department closing more restaurants (even yuppie ones!) after Taco Bell Rat Fest 2007. I think the Health Department is generally more lax than they can be (I used to work in the restaurant biz), and they are definitely going overboard right now. But, hey, even though this is OBVIOUS, let's keep debating it! Or instead we can talk about this creepy editorial from the ever creepy NY Sun suggesting that good intentions and modern science negate the purpose of inspections altogether.

And we are eager to hear the grand jury verdict in the Sean Bell case. (ATLers, catch up here). Bloomie urges we stay "calm."

And one other great nugget. The MTA is banning drinking on the LIRR for St Patrick's Day on Saturday citing potential "disruptions." And the Irish American community is screaming stereotyping. Which is odd because Irish people don't really drink that much.