Thursday, March 29, 2007

Fire pics

So the TK I promised is still TK. (For those of you non-publishing types, "TK" is editor shorthand for "to come.")

For now, though, here are a couple pictures of the fire. Some guy on the street took them. Many of you may have already seen these, but if not, here they are.

Picture 1 is of the building and the fire trucks and etc.

Picture 2 is a still from a short movie some guy shot at the scene, and features me. (The link to the YouTube video is below this picture.)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

OK so here's what went down—part the first

Early Sunday morning at 3am I was awakened by a number of things. I didn’t really know what was happening, but in my dream there were alarms and voices and buzzers. I woke up to smoke in my room; not much, but a bit. The fire alarm in the living room was going off. Someone rang my bell.

I opened my bedroom door and there was a lot of smoke in my apartment. I ran back into my room and grabbed some socks, shoes, keys, wallet, and a zip-up sweatshirt. I was in my pajama bottoms (not a onesie, unfortunately) and a white T-shirt.

I opened the door to my apartment and the hallway was filled with smoke; many alarms were going off and someone shouted up the stairs, “Get out! Fire!” I couldn’t even see down to the second-floor landing there was so much smoke, but I just ran down anyway without really thinking much. (So much for all that grade-school fire safety training.)

On the way down I banged on the apartment door below me, yelling to get out. I busted out the front door and there were already fire trucks pulling up, or there, I forget. I sat down on the sidewalk in front of the building and pulled on my socks and shoes. One of the guys who lives below me (and whose apartment door I’d banged on) gathered up my stuff while I put on my shoes and yelled into the building, ringing the buzzers for all the apartments.

We ran across the street. The smoke—which was coming from the tire store down on the ground floor of our building—was acrid and hurt your eyes. Two or three fire trucks were there already; more—at least eight—would eventually arrive, along with the Red Cross, ambulances, cops, and passers-by.

It was cold outside; I was shivering. I had forgotten my cell phone. Ladders started to go up all around the building. I saw a kid being carried out by a fireman on a ladder from his window; on the way down it looked like he was throwing up. He got to the street and was just kind of milling around in front of the building, not looking like he knew what was going on. I went over to him.

“Are you OK, man? C’mere, come with me.”

I led him away from the building and got him some water. “Thanks.”

A crowd had already begun to gather. I forget whether or not flames were licking out of the tire store, but I think they were, as well as the apartment directly above the tire store. Firemen went to work with buzzsaws, sending up showers of sparks, on the steel grates of the tire store, from behind which thick smoke was pouring. I found the other kids from my building and we stood and watched the thing burn up.

More TK.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Theme + new subtitle

I have noticed, lately, a bit of theme emerging within these pages. As such, note the new subtitle for this blog.

So without further ado, here's today's helping of the former:

A Little Tooth
by Thomas Lux

Your baby grows a tooth, then two,
and four, and five, then she wants some meat
directly from the bone. It's all

over: she'll learn some words, she'll fall
in love with cretins, dolts, a sweet
talker on his way to jail. And you,

your wife, get old, flyblown, and rue
nothing. You did, you loved, your feet
are sore. It's dusk. Your daughter's tall.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007



The following statement was issued via iTunes HQ at 6:06 EST (-5hrs GMT):

Individually, both Beyoncé and Shakira are two of the most powerful female voices in modern pop. Together, they might just be invincible. The duet "Beautiful Liar" will appear on the deluxe version of Miss Knowles' second solo album, B'Day, when the deluxe version is released later this year.

The world now waits and watches, to see whether Ms. Knowles and Shakira (surname unknown) will use their newfound invincibility for good or ill. As a precautionary measure, all U.S. troops have been recalled from Iraq, to fortify the homeland against an all-out attack—Beyonce’s dirty bomb posterior plus Shakira’s thermonuclear hips—the likes of which the country has never seen. A curfew of 10pm has been issued for the lower 48 states, and the president will address the nation tonight in an emergency broadcast on all the major networks.

Jay-Z could not be reached for comment regarding his self-dubbed "hottest chick in the game's" newfound invulnerability—and, as some reports are having it, heat vision.

We will update you as the situation develops.

Monday, March 19, 2007

The smokes pop out

Going through old pictures, the smokes
start to jump out at me; there's one
behind my ear, head-on
to the camera and inscribing a circle,
perfect in its symmetry,
a white-rimmed lunar eclipse.

I look tough.
Most of the time
photos lie by showing only one aspect
of a thing at a time.

In the photos we all have cigarettes.
We don't,
but we look like we could or should,
because we are young.
Cigarettes are for the young, and quitting
is an acknowledgement of
one's own mortality.

My life will not be
a field by the river, crawdads
and free smokes, festival beer
and in-jokes.
Or it won't be that entirely or all the time.
So, realizing that,
down go the Marlboros.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Sometimes I think a third hand would be good

Like when you're in the shower and you're trying to squeeze some conditioner into your hand, except the conditioner bottle is made of thick plastic and you really need two hands to squeeze it out -- so where, I ask, does the conditioner go? Hence my idea that a third hand might be good.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

With apologies to Pound


The angry train crashes in
to the station, a rusted-out car
crunching down a dusty hill.

Is it just me

or is this beginning to remind anyone else of this, from Raising Arizona?:

GLEN: Yeah, it's a good one . . .
Course I don't really need another kid, but Dottie says
these-here are gettin' too big to cuddle.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Humor quiz

Here is a quick humor quiz.

Which is the funniest planet?
A) Pluto
B) Earth
C) Uranus
D) Neptune

Choose carefully.

Monday, March 12, 2007

To an Antarctic Traveller

What follows was given to me recently by a friend. It choked me up on the subway, and it chokes me up now. Dig it.

To an Antarctic Traveller

By Katha Pollitt
When you return from the country of Refusal,
what will you think of us? Down there, No was
final, it had a glamour: so Pavlova turns,
narcissus-pale and utterly self-consumed,
from the claque, the hothouse roses; so the ice
perfects its own reflection, cold Versailles,
and does not want you, does not want even Scott,
grinding him out of his grave—Splash! Off he
goes, into the ocean, comical, Edwardian,
a valentine thrown out. Afternoons
in the pastry shop, coffee and macaroons,
gossip's two-part intricate inventions
meshed in the sugary air like the Down and
Across of an endless Sunday puzzle —
what will such small temporizations mean
to you now you've traveled half the world and
seen the ego glinting at the heart of things?
Oh, I'm not worried, I know you'll come back
full of adventures, anecdotes of penguins
and the pilot who let you fly the cargo — but
you'll never be wholly ours. As a green glass
bottle is mouthed and rolled and dragged by the
sea until it forgets its life entirely — wine,
flowers, candles, the castaway's save me
meticulously printed in eleven languages — and
now it rests on the beach-house mantel
opalescent, dumb:
you'll stand at the cocktail party
among the beige plush furniture and abstracts,
and listen politely, puzzled, a foreigner
anxious to respect our customs but not quite sure
of the local dialect, while guests
hold forth on their love of travel —
and all the time you hear
the waves beat on that shore for a million years
go away go away go away
and the hostess fills your glass and offers crackers.

They named a mountain after you down there.
Blank and shining, unclimbable, no different
from a hundred nameless others, it did not
change as you called to it from the helicopter
it was your name that changed
spinning away from you round and around and
around as children repeat a word
endlessly until at last it comes up pure
nonsense, hilarious. It smashed
and lay, a shattered mirror smiling meaninglessly
up at you from the unmarked snow.
More lasting than bronze is the monument I have
raised boasted Horace, not accurately, and yet
what else would we have him think? Or you,
that day you wrote yourself on the world itself
and as the pilot veered away forever
saw mist drift over your mountain almost
immediately and your name stayed behind
a testament of sorts, a proof of something
though only in the end white chalk
invisibly scribbled on a white tabula rasa.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Bada Bing!

The above picture is what I was just eating. I saw it at the store in the freezer and I had to have it. It was actually really good, but what bizarre marketing. "The Snacks that America's Favorite Mobsters Love" -- wait, why? I've never seen Tony and Christafuh eat Chipwiches.

Nevertheless, I highly recommend these ice cream novelties. They are even tastier than eating Mickey Mouse's head:

Thursday, March 08, 2007

My friend Emily

I have a friend named Emily who is currently teaching school in Thailand. Last night I chatted with her via Google Talk and we discussed, among other important issues, Cookie Monster's recent repudiation of cookies. I had been told that he even changed his name to Vegetable Monster.

Emily, shocked and dismayed, did some research and emailed me the results later. What she sent me, which I'll reproduce below, is maybe one of the greatest emails I have ever received.

Emily wrote:
I think the only change made to Cookie Monster is that now he has learned (and tells children) that cookies are just a "sometimes food." A monster does not live on cookies alone. So now he eats other stuff, too, like fruits and veggies. I think the Vegetable Monster thing was just hype following this little change. The end.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A List

Ten Things that Should Be Wiped from the Face of the Earth

  1. Wine bars.
  2. Celebrity weeklies.
  3. Sleep coaches for babies.
  4. Of-the-moment phrases used to describe an ostensibly important bloc of voters, such as “Soccer Mom” (the O.G.) or “NASCAR Dad.”
  5. Strollers that in their bulkiness and unwieldiness recall WWII troop carriers.
  6. Untucked dress shirts and the men that wear them “out.”
  7. The Crate and Barrelization of Manhattan (and, increasingly, Brooklyn).
  8. The word “luxury,” and everything to which that word is attached.
  9. The trapper hats everyone seems to be wearing.
  10. Cigar bars.
Go forth and wipe.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

That Friday

That Friday
* a Hunter Slaton original

That Friday I was fizzing angrily above it all,
in a the hell with it, hail-mary mood. The clouds
were grey so the Empire was too, gunmetal,
like a battleship, or a battleship in the game Battleship.

That building had moods. Feelings
rushed through me like high clouds, quickly,
over a scooped, fresh-scrubbed valley. The reason was because

of the meeting. During the meeting (and after, and later)
I had seen red, like a Pamplona bull on the boulevard. A righteous fury'd risen
within me, a red mist a bulletspray.

Leaving my work building
the street was a curl I shot; I made appointments
left and right: a stalking,
deep-breathing, Serenity Prayer-saying
sneaker-clad tiger, burning bright.

Put a Geiger counter on me and
I would have fairly crackled.

After I got nearly to where I was going
in Bryant Park I paused. The grass
was all ripped-up and gone, sand-flooded. A small sign said

"The lawn is closed for reseeding." I should say it was.

Pacing through puddles I counted it down, checked the watch
did some breathing, before the interview. The meeting:
would it turn out to have been a good or bad thing?

I couldn't tell and couldn't smoke; I'd quit. That morning
I'd woke sober, for the 10th month. Ten times ten times ten times I hadn't, hating
the swim up from sleep. But not this one.

On the air was the smell of spring: fresh, newness, thaw;
the opposite of November woodsmoke. I remembered
my intro to the city'd been here, into 11 W. 42nd and the green chairs

of Bryant Park. The park was not being reseeded then
and soon it would not be again.

I pushed through the tall revolving doors and went in.

Monday, March 05, 2007

I've got nothing

Today I've got nothing -- not because I have nothing to have, but rather because my brother's got a post that kicks any post I could come up with today's ass.

Read it here: it involves a penguin, a marathon, a chicken, beer, water, and a blind man. And it actually happened.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Since when is this a word

This paragraph is from The New York Times Magazine's long (and quite good, mostly) story on the band The Arcade Fire, published (I think) this Sunday (note the word I've bolded):
Win Butler, RĂ©gine Chassagne, Will Butler, Richard Reed Parry, Tim Kingsbury, Jeremy Gara, Sarah Neufeld — all of them crowding together, massaging one another’s shoulders like actors in the school play and grabbing for empty plates so that Liza can dole out steaming ladles of pasta from her ginormous pot — this is the Arcade Fire, born in Montreal, soon to play London, New York and 5,000-seat venues in Dublin, Paris, Amsterdam, Oslo, Stockholm and Berlin, perhaps the biggest sensation right now on the world indie-music scene.
Since when is "ginormous" an official, acceptable word? I can see using it if you're a 15-year-old girl and you're writing about, I dunno, the birthday cake you saw MTV's My Super Sweet Sixteen ... but The NY Times? And I know that the writer is writing about a band and not, say, the U.S. trade deficit with Japan ... but I just can't see using it in respectable writing, no matter the topic.

And so: ginormous = officially banned. I shan't have it used again. NY Times: you've been warned.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Chuck Berry

Wikipedia, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Way #1***:
In 1990 [Chuck] Berry was sued by several women who claimed that he had installed a video camera in the ladies' bathrooms at two of his St. Louis restaurants. A class action settlement was eventually reached with 59 women on the complaint. Berry's biographer, Bruce Pegg, estimated that it cost Berry over $1.2 million plus legal fees. A Miami purveyor of celebrity sex videos is currently marketing video footage purporting to show Berry urinating on a young woman in a bathtub. Although the voice sounds similar to Berry's his face is never visible on the tape, making positive identification impossible.
What I want to know is, to whom is this video being marketed? The weird Venn diagram overlap of sexual deviants and 50's rock 'n' roll enthusiasts? I dunno man.

***Courtesy of J.B. Gordon

Open Letter

Dear The Weather,

Hi, how've you been? Good to see you back in New York, but could you maybe lay off the monsoon season until oh, I dunno, April or so? You're kind of messing stuff up for everybody.

Take care,