Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Dib Dib Dib

Ah, for those of you with RSS, this must be like that rain that was missed by the desert that Everything But The Girl predicted. This predicting, obviously, took place after they had turned their backs on folk music and discovered Italo-house. So, ahem, a post. Not one with links, nor with research, nor even one with pictures. Just a brief, overly personal, dispatch from the North Lincolnshire countryside where I await, and plot, my nuptials.

Here in Linky, as it has never before been dubbed, there is little internet, at least none that my brood ever dared install, and so googling, and finding racy images is too time-consuming. The alternatives included asking Migigigigiguel of Nutrament to log in and guest post things like "That Ratner, non, quite the bastard? Why don't you listen to enough Neu!" until my readership returned to its mean.

Still, I've discovered the future, and its scouting. The idea that in the opening decade of the 21st century a small district in nothern England can still find 300-odd teenagers to go around in odd uniforms and concentrate on this like decency, self-reliance, and respect for one's self and others is oddly touching. I want you all (btween three and four of you, by my trend lines) to go out and abduct 15 people each, and you'll have a troop right there. DOB DONE.

No music, although I am toying with the idea of posting a few tracks for Cutesome, even though she will never hear them. They will be touching, they will be sweet, and they will consume bandwith like I consume pork pies. In all a worthy endeavour, since Cutesome is the light of my life, and has been my rock, and comfort these last few weeks.

Come back in two days and see if I can make it more mawkish...

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Will It Spurt? Perchance

Posting's been crap, I know. I have been out and about a bit, toasting Cutesome's birthday, checking out Yo Yo Ma, and exchanging pleasantries with a Mexican undersecretary. It was all good, except for the bit where Yo-Yo played Bartok. That was bobbins. No, I've been hideously busy with my impeding nuptials, as trailed in a rather offhand exchange of comments with Dope On The Slope.

And I have a plane to catch, operated by the endearingly inefficient crackbabies at American Airlines. So this won't be a proper post either. In fact, since I'm not taking my laptop, posting full stop is going to be a bit terrible, unless I can find a decent computer from which to upload a megamix at some point over the next few days. I beg your pardon and understanding, and leave you with some po-faced German metal. Ciao.

Rammstein - "Heirate Mich (Edit)"
The Lost Highway soundtrack is here. Mercilfully light on German metal

Friday, May 12, 2006

Someone Fetch Triumph

"Lilly-livered blackguard," was all the outrage that Dope on the Slope could muster when they heard that Forest City Ratner had barred the most coherent critic of the Atlantic Yards development from the announcement of yet another plan for the site. This is quite unacceptable, not just the appalling atttempt to stiffle criticism from informed writers, but the milquetoast rhetoric that DOTS uses to describe the news. I'm chalking it up to the blog's courtly southern sensibilities.

No, for crass and childish insults of Ratnerville, Marty Markowitz and the whole boondoggle, set your browser to Gumby Fresh. Here's what this classy move by the wretchedly indept Dan Klores Ill Communications says to me: a typically ham-handed move by the dregs of the New York City PR industry, which when you consider that Lizzie Grubman is in its mainstream should make them pretty ashamed. I've handled "PR material" (or literature on a par with book reports from ADD-addled six-year-olds) from these clowns before, and believe me, Mr. Oder's inability to procure their drivel may have inadvertently spared him the horror of having to gouge his own eyes out.

Forest City Ratner is a greedy, confused, and inimaginitive gang of lobbyists with bricks, a set of developers that has given up on the idea of enriching the lives of their hosts in favour of becoming parasites on the public purse. To use a sports stadium to justify massive public subsidies to justify a gigantic raft of condos to justify not building the stadium somewhere it would be appreciated is the sort of unhinged logic that suggests there's a new bunch of crackheads loitering around Pacific and Flatbush these days.

As for Frank Gehry, I'm a bit like Only The Blog Knows Brooklyn on this - the man designs some awesomely cool buildings. But here's the thing, I have seen precisely one of them in the flesh - the Disney Hall in LA. It looked kind of neat, although the surroundings flattered it, and I wasn't concentrating anywhere near enough because Cutecome and I were busy arguing about directions. But Gehry buildings, my suspicion grows, look much better in books than blocking out one's favourite c(l)ock tower.

To say, as Gehry and FCR insisted yesterday, that the buildings would be in tune with the character of Brooklyn, is utterly dishonest. The only way that they can possibly justify such high-rise vandalism is by reference to an earlier act of aesthetic murder that FCR inflicted on Downtown Brooklyn. How about this: the first round of skyscrapers were witless, unnecessary and ugly, the next lot will be also, and all the glass and steel and contrived nods to brownstone living won't hide that.

And should you think any longer that Mr. Gehry is a charming ingenue exploited by scheming real estate thieves, then please note down this quote:

"They should've been picketing Henry Ford," Mr. Gehry said yesterday, dismissing critics who have questioned the pace and scale of development in the borough. "There is progress everywhere. There is constant change. The issue is how to manage it."

Oh dear, it's allmost as if Gehry hasn't realised that his main opponents have the futuristic name "Develop Don't Destroy". I think it's this dishonesty that's at the heart of the whole sorry mess - the idea that Brooklyn can either have a gigantic suite of skyscrapers at wonky angles or a scruffy rail pit. The fact that you never hear an arena opponent saying "I f***in' love my pit" doesn't seen to perturb them. What you have are alternatives that don't justify the gigantic public subsidies necessary to justify the gigantic stadium to justify the gigantic suite of condos. See where I'm going here?

Brooklyn's politics is a poor joke - too many of its civic groups are too close to the fictions that sustain its political class. If the cognitive dissonance that lies at the heart of this colossal waste of time and money cannot penetrate the skulls of the people that make policy in this fine borough.

Thanks for listening, I feel like the Maryscott O'Connor of the stadium-haterz.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Motherlode

It's the sort of day that demands you go out into the world and check out whatever's going on, be it the purple-clad children graduating NYU, or a frothing picket outside the headquarters of craven, thieving Verizon. Hell, I even had the bona fides to get into this press conference about the Atlantic Yards project. But I didn't go, and neither did poor Norman Oder, who knows much more about the project than I do.

But I've just been to the dentist, and my face is still numb, and I'm a waster, and 50% of you are perverts, so....

Molly Kroon screengrabs!

I feel soiled, and would like to add that she is a prairie dog next to the luminous Cutesome, but some of you seem to like that.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Off Putin

Ah, top watery-eyed loon Vladimir Putin is at it again. Today we get a speech that, according to the NY Times advocated that Russians lift their birthrate, and spend more money on upgrading the military. This was in part in response to US concerns, voiced by Dick Cheney of all people, that maybe Russia was becoming a bit fascist.

Now I'm being more than a little fatuous here, I know, since Putin's speech was a lot more nuanced that that, and that it noted that US foreign utterances must be set against the US' tolerance of oil-rich dictators, many of them, um, ex-KGB. But the sight of a man who sets himself up as some kind of father of the nation calling for more guns and for Russia's womanhood to lie back and think of the motherland is disturbingly familiar.

I'd thought, I'd really thought, that fascism had been relegated to jazz bars and intellectually bankrupt rhetoric. Oh, and the Young Ones, though that's allowed. Then along comes this former judo master with the world's largest gas reserves to remind us that it still has a certain panache.

I don't have a solution, needless to say, except for wait till he dies or the economy collapses on the back of falls in the oil price. What's the local angle? You can find fascist imagery in Brooklyn's landmarks, and even its flag. Boo.

I also offer my best wishes for a speedy recovery to the model that took a tumble on the Gowanus Expressway. Would it have been worse if the thing was underground?. Probably. Note on that last link - follow the little camera icon for Live! Molly! Kroon! Action! Or just a report.

But the Gowanus Expressway incident, while a shocking fate to befall the Staten Island bound Tatyana Simanava (even if I don't buy Gawker's theory), at least provides me with a music hook.

I mentioned a week or so back that I'd had the honour of crashing musician Dave Rick's wedding. Not content with that affront, I'd like to post a snippet of music from his first band, Phantom Tollbooth. The Tollbooth were a sort of angular, arty hardcore band not unlike the Meat Puppets, only less country, or Mission of Burma, only less tunesome. Quite a challenging listen, but you're rewarded with moments of occasional beauty.

Their 1988 album Power Toy was re-released in 2003 as Beard Of Lightning, with Robert Pollard of Guided By Voices singing new vocals and playing new parts over instrumental versions of the originals. But Power Toy is one that I bought from Miguel's record pimp, and is the one with the topical reference, so that's what I digitised.

Of course, I could have waited for the announcement of a huge new development around third avenue and carroll street for a super-relevant posting opportunity, but sod it, this one's for the dim clotheshorse.

Phantom Tollbooth - "Down By The Gowanus"
Try as I might i cannot find someone selling "Power Toy" anywhere. Buy "Beard Of Lightning" instead I guess

[UPDATE: Sorry, Gari's being a moron. Have I ever heard of Froogle? apparently not. Idiot]

Sunday, May 07, 2006

She Meant Nothing To Me, Honest

Today has been given over to tending the Cutesome, and I am thus "working from home" - 400 words and counting. This is not so bad as I feared. What I had feared was endless breaks for A-Team re-runs on the Sleuth Channel, spurious coffee breaks and limited progress. Ho-hum - we will see what the afternoon brings.

This morning's news from Atlantic Yards land concerns the launch of an advisory board for Develop Don't Destroy composed of celebrities (Rosie Perez, Heath Ledger, Steve Buscemi), authors (Lethem, Foer), and eminent domain celebrities (Suzette Kelo, who is to fighting eminent domain what "Fitness celebrity" John Basedow is to fitness*). Oh, and Bob Law, whose eponymous shops litter Vanderbilt Avenue, and who is described as an activist and radio personality (Actually, the man has the chops, as you can read here. Bobbins, my googling skills are today).

I'm normally not a fan of these advisory board thingamybobs - indeed in my time I've even killed one on the grounds of extreme uselessness. Their purpose is most apparent at the start of their lives, and after that they fade into vestigiality. But the two things worth noting are that the launch did at least stir Gawker from its Us Weekly-gorged torpor. It also shows that if the stupid project can irritate celebrities living in Boerum Hill and Park Slope, it must be pretty massive and unpleasant.

Now time for a confession. I ambled towards DUMBO yesterday with a celebrity mp3-blogger et fils, looking for a party. Turned out that there was merely an eensy-weensy bit of Kidz Rock capping a bike tour of some sort. I dare say Gothamist was around somewhere. Wasn't that inspiring.

But it was while looking for a frozen margarita we were accosted by to hep types, who clearly recognised us as some depraved sort of fellow traveller. "Dude, where's the art at?," they muttered at us in salutation. Mig-Hole's direction skillz proved to be more than match for mine, and we pointed them towards the abandoned ABC warehouse, where the Columbia MFA programme was having a show.

Not that much interesting stuff there, truth be told, except for an exhibit recognising the fact that hipster karaoke now counts as art. But there was free Brooklyn Pennant. Bugger. Now, here's an ethical dilemma. Did I promise never to drink the stuff, or never to pay for the stuff ever again? I think I've been clear on the subject - none should have passed my lips. But as you can tell from the tense construction, it did, and I'm ashamed at being such a hypocrite. In my defence, I'll note that it was free, and that it was a tad early to be chugging wine.

Still, must do better. Talking of posh w*nkers shirking their responsibilities, here's something from Fluffy. Fluffy were rough contemporaries of Kenickie, fiercely intelligent northern working class girls. Fluffy, on the other hand, were nasty, southern, posh and stupid. Which meant they made better punk rock. They formed in 1994, and were gone about three years later. Christgau was apparently fond of them.

They signed to former Geffen A&R man Tom Zutaut's The Enclave label, but unfortunately Zutaut did not get much more out of them than a live EP before they disbanded. Pity, mostly.

Fluffy - "Deny Everything"
Start searching for "5 Live" here

*Interestingly enough, Basedow's publicist, Manta Communications, is based in Farmingdale, NY. And having done a bit of elementary googling, I now realise that the similarities between Kelo and Basedow are limited, because Basedow has proclaimed himself a celebrity, and is the basis for a few complaints. Sorry!

Friday, May 05, 2006

A "Zane" Pun? There Are Wun Meellion

Eerie, not a moment after I namecheck a Dan Zanes song in a post about NY1/Roger Clark/Molly Kroon, but Mr. Zanes shows up headlining a show to raise money to fight the epically mendacious Ratner Boyz. 3 June, Hanson Place Baptist Church. Babies get in free, so you are warned.

I'm guessing, however, that it won't have added grown-up screaming and Juliette Lewis acting psychotic. This song appears to be from the period between ending the Del Fuegos and going into Kidz Rock. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Anyway, today I shall post the verdamten thing:

Dan Zanes - "Moon Over Greene County"
Amazon will sort you out with the Natural Born Killers OST and Dan Zanes music

Meanwhile, Cutesome asked me if I could possibly put up a post explaining how awesome Roger Clark is. I would, I really would, Cutesome, but the man has been quite extensively profiled already, courtesy of the Observer. All I can note is that this morning because of an editing/continuity glitch, a disembodied Pat Kiernan saying "thank you Molly" was heard during one of those stings they use to make up a bit of time before the hour.

Spooky, yes, although not as spooky as the fact that NY1 carries adverts for Sunshine Rent A Car a Florida car rental joint, and that the ads appear to be identical to those of a Queens truck rental company. I suspect a NY-Florida-Mob-Union shakedown operation.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


Dayjobland, and me upcoming nuptials, are making it difficult to post with much in the way of consistency and elan (see? I don't even have enough time to work out where the accents at). In fact, for the first time ever, I was observed widely complaining to colleagues about my workload. But I'd like to draw your attention to a couple of organisations that should get out of the endorsements game right now.

1) The American Red Cross. I'm sure I wasn't the only one that did a double take when I spotted the new ads for the American Red Cross Eton Radio. The various country Red Cross organisation license the use of the symbol from the International Committee of the Red Cross. Some country Red Cross organisations are more assiduous than others in protecting the Red Cross symbol, the unauthorised use of which they claim can put humanitarian workers in danger.

The Canadians for instance, are wont to sue video game makers for using little red crosses on those "extra health" icons you see in games. Even the UK version keeps quite a few intellectual property lawyers on hand to put the screws on people who won't use crosses of a different colour. One explanation I've been given is that American pilots have mistakenly bombed hospitals because they play too many video games, rather than, ya know, being tweaked on speed.

The American version on the other hand, is late in paying its dues to the ICRC, pays its CEO roughly $650,000 a year, and allows anyone that reads the ads in the New Yorker to sport its logo in "rugged conditions". Nice. So are Red Crosses allowed to sue each other?

2) The AARP, short for the American Association of Retired People, though they prefer not to spell out the acronym any more (the link goes to a page of google results, so you can see how much cash they're spending on adwords). Not content with endorsing the convoluted and lethal new Medicare programme, the AARP also offers its own version of the new plans available under the scheme. I don't have the time to work out what sort of deal their partner DestinationRX gets from the association, but I'd imagine in general that AARP should be fleeing this mess like the plague.

It does have some guidelines for ads in its magazine. But, as this pdf from Public Citizen points out, the AARP now gets more income from licensing than it does from dues. Not, um, healthy.

3) The American Dental Association, which regularly favours certain toothcare products over others. Not as pernicious as the others, I'll grant you, but have you ever noticed that, as with razor blades, your average bodega only stocks one brand of toothpaste. In this hypothetical case, the ADA is quite literally putting the tooth and gum care of its devotees on the line. Bears some closer examination, non?

The puppy up top is an actual puppy owned by an actual relative of Gringcorp. Adorable, non?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Kroon Over Greenpoint Flaming Bounty

greenpoint fire
Originally uploaded by sgoralnick.
It took a little work to stretch the headline into something that resembled the Dan Zanes tune. Was it worth it? I'd say it was somewhere between this sorry parade of happy snaps, and an afternoon spent reading about Japanese war crimes.

But it cannot be denied that the flaming warehouse is stirring stuff. Officially the biggest fire the city has experienced since 9-11, and the cause of terrible traffic conditions along both the Brooklyn-Queens and the FDR Expressways. Grist to the mills of citizen journalists and the ones with helicopters alike.

Somewhere between the two, of course, there is the mighty NY1. And if there is any need to work out who the star of the station is now, it can be met by noting that while Roger Clark was covering a yoga meet in Van Cortland Park this morning, Molly Kroon was sent to look urgent in front of the flaming Greenpoint industrial landmark. All this, and she doesn't yet have a staff profile.

Cutesome's take on Clark is that Pat Kiernan secretly despises him, and since Kiernan is currently numero uno at the station, and apparently enjoys an easier rapport with Kroon, Clark will have to be careful. Proof for this strained relationship can be found at the pained banter between the two at the end of each Clark segment. In support of the relationship are some pretty warm quotes from Kiernan in Clark's Observer profile (no, not that Observer.

That's as may be, but a more likely explanation lies in Kroon's long-flowing blonde locks and the fact that you're all perverts. Yes, you heard. A good twelve of you every day are scouring the internet looking for information about her. Like crazed cyber-stalkers, you wash up here looking for fragments of personal information. Well I don't have any, not even a salacious screengrab, just half-formed theorizing about NY1 newsroom politics.

It took me a while to leave the house today, but what I did note was that when NY1 flags its reports as "On Scene" rather than "Live", this doesn't always mean that they were banged together hours ago, and that the reporters are already chugging beers in Farrell's by the time you watch them. What it means is that NY1 doesn't quite have the chops to do live reports, and is likely to provide regular updates to its stories, just not in real time. There is, for instance, a lot of hair that can get in the way of Kroon's face during a 30-second spot, which can necessitate a lot of mane-tossing.

I can tell you're getting excited. Just stop. Her aunt might be reading.

Oh, and while we're on the subject of NY1 faces, Cutesome says that Dalton Ross was BANG OUT OF ORDER for eviscerating Tori Spelling's wretched new show.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Screaming Cellos Of Doom

Well, the last thing I remember, certainly the last thing I trust, was The Hurricane, and I say screaming cellos because the only time I ever heard the song played live was with a cello. More likely the original used screeching violins. No matter, it was an episode and half, capping rather cruelly what had the makings of a fine night out.

I'd like to go into more detail here but 1) I can't remember much and 2) I think that not even anonymity gives me enough leeway to describe activities of questionable legality. Suffice it to say that I am rather grateful to the organisers, one of whom had the unpleasant task of nursemaiding this ambulant paranoid round downtown. I blame the jetlag but I ask their forgiveness.

The following day was a tad more sedate, an afternoon spent sweating at a Bania in Borough Park. We followed this up by crashing the wedding reception of avant-garde folk musician Dave Rick at Commonwealth. Congratulations Dave and Colette, I wish you much good fortune together. Thanks for the wings.

Still, all the excitement means that I did not put together a column for Sugarzine, even though I could probably have put together a dEUS review without too much in the way of effort. But I did not. I apologised profusely to the editrix, and she was sweet enough to think that my list of current bands of interest would be of interest to her readers. Certainly has more nutritional value than threatening real estate developers with fisticuffs.

Time for a nap. Meanwhile, take a moment to marvel at the moment when Britain led the world in perpetrating war crimes.