Last evening, the first of what I can only hope is many, many light snowfalls (no two foot blizzards, please) dusted Brooklyn in a soft, picturesque cotton blanket. Frolicking the streets, sashaying my way to the F train to ultimately meet friends for dinner, I was already a solid thirty minutes late, it was hard not to notice the holiday cheer a light snowfall bestows upon the masses. What largesse hath nature!
Fathers and mothers strolling arm and arm, looking at the beauty of the branches glistening white under the orange glow of the streetlights. Their numerous children, many of which I can only hope belong to other people or else community college will clearly be the best they can ever hope for!, scurry around them, throwing poorly packed snowballs at each other, using mommy and daddy, or again, hopefully Mrs. X and Mr. X, because honestly what are they farmers?, as human shields, uncontrollably giggling like the rambunctious, trouble making little devils that they are!
And what do I see on this parked car? Ah, some obviously very creative and original fellow has drawn the outline of a giant penis into the snow on the windshield! Oh what a clever, and yes, somewhat naughty individual. What a bad, bad boy, I think to myself, yet at the same time, I can’t help but be tickled pink by a well placed penis drawing (I always am!). When given a big, blank, white canvass, an opportunity to express who it is that you are, the fabric from which you are cut, so to speak, what better way to show the world than by drawing a giant dong on someone’s windshield!
And imagine for a moment, the surprise on the rightful owner of the automobile’s face when they move their car later this week for street sweeping! Of course their first thought will be, I can’t believe someone touched my car, but soon enough they’ll realize how harmless it is and come to appreciate our little prankster for what he really is: a genius in the art of giant penis drawings. Surely he’ll have to think twice before cleaning off his or her windshield, there will likely be a rigorous pro and con checklist made to weigh the price of the parking ticket versus the pricelessness of the artwork (I’m just lucky I don’t have to make such a hard decision!!!!!!).
But alas, Mother Nature giveth, and Mother Nature taketh away. The snow eventually turned to a hard, cold rain, all but eliminating the hard, cold penis on that sedan, and that poor owner likely will never know that for a fleeting moment, his or her mode of transport was transported into something far more magical. Art.
If a woman pisses in an empty subway car, can anyone hear the sound? I fucking hope not, because it sounds gross. In fact, I’ll tell you exactly what it sounds like: it sounds like someone squeezing a big juicebox onto a basketball court. It sounds urgent. Forceful. The shhhh of piss meeting the gummy subway surface; a sound that’s hard to shake. (By the way, poor subway floors man. Can a surface possibly have it worse? Shit, piss, vomit, chicken bones, venti skim chai mochachinos, you name it…but of course the spot where I put my bag’s BEEN clean.)
I’m on the A train heading to work because fuck work. People seem to hate the “blue” line with a peculiar vehemence, but I’ve never really had a problem with it. It’s always been kinda not-shitty which is practically 5-star by MTA standards. So yeah, never had any real beef with the A line. Until the other day.
The train’s delayed all the way from Jay Street. Not a huge shocker. Trains are always late on Mondays because the conductors hate their bullshit jobs just like the rest of us. So naturally they exercise their demons by making the commuting population a jittering nervous wreck, like, ARRRG!! WTF! I’m going to check my phone 47 times a minute to see how late I’m going to becandycrushhh. Which, good for them. It must suck to be a subway conductor.
But on Monday the train was SUPER delayed. Talking screeched-to-a-stop-in-the-dark-recesses-between-every-station delayed. That’s always fun, by the way. The whole, “maybe this is the time we’re stuck underground for thirteen hours” thing. When that happens, I first do a self-scan to see if there’s any semblance of a possibility that I have to shit, and second, I project my own attempt to not freak out by looking around to see who’s most likely to freak out. That game doesn’t last very long. It’s easy to tell.
So the in-between stops thing happens in-between 100% of the stops, all the way to midtown. Including in-between 23rd and 34th, which is where our adventure really begins. And ends. It’s pretty quick really. But the sound…the sound will last forever.
I’m sitting in one of those weird four-pod forwards/backwards seats, you know, the ones designed for people with no legs, and my back is to the action. I’m reading “Everything is Illuminated,” consumed by my own jealousy, when I overhear a woman proclaim aloud that she really has to use the bathroom. Women have to pee more often than they don’t so I basically take it in stride. But she’s not done.
"This train better start moving," she says. "Or I’m gonna go."
Now I’m half-reading, half listening. No way she’s gonna go.
"Alright," she says. "I’m sorry y’all."
And that’s when I heard The Sound.
"You might want to pick up your bags."
At least she was courteous about it? Which makes me think she was either not a crazy person, or DEFINITELY a crazy person who has not only pissed on the subway before, but pissed off a lot of people by soaking their bags (Am I still going to put my bag on the floor like a dummy? Yeap).
But that’s all it took. Really. A warning-and-a-half, and then public pee-pee. At 9:17 in the morning.
The best part? Maybe a minute after The Sound has stopped and I see, from the corner of my eye, the woman raise trow, the train lurched forward eight feet until we reach the 34th Street station. At which point the piss lady gets out, bladder gleefully empty, and sets off about her day, leaving the rest of us to sit there dumbfounded, feet hiked up like we’re all about to fart.
I can’t shake this incident for several reasons:
1) Seriously, what the fuck
2) It was 9:17 in the morning
3) The woman, as far as I could tell, was business-casual
4) There were OTHER PEOPLE commuting
5) And, aside from a few awwsheeeit-type groans, no one really made a big deal out of it. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen some crazy shit in this city. I’ve seen a naked homeless dude giving himself a sponge bath on the platform. I’ve seen another homeless dude take a shit sorta-but-mostly-not behind a bush in broad damn daylight. But I’ve never seen a woman casually take a piss on the train during the morning ride to work. It was like, “Welp, hadda pee. Time for coffee.” I even checked, and re-checked Twitter to see if there were any other civilian records of the incident. So far, there are none.
I’m hoping that my record will encourage others to come forward. It’s for your own good.
And it’s the only way to cope with The Sound.
It’s time to stop evaluating rap releases based on how much they remind us of the 90s. The “Golden Era” is gone and it ain’t coming back. Unless you’re a serious nostalgist, or never really bought into the whole “WinAmp” thing, you’re probably not popping the new Cappadonna into your Aiwa anytime soon.
Is Action Bronson a product of the 90s? Without question. He says things like “Hide the money in the Nintendo.” And “Hand up her ass like a Muppet Baby” (giggles). His sports references alone will make you smirk like, “Damn, dude just threw out Ken Caminiti?!” I mean, the names of two of his latest mixtapes are “Blue Chips” and “Blue Chips 2.” Shout to Neon Boudeaux.
But there’s a difference between influence and throwback.
The dude is three-hundred-pounds and Albanian. People like to compare him to Ghostface. Fine, there are similarities in cadence and delivery. And some thematic parallels (the whole street-tale thing). But the dude is three-hundred-pounds and Albanian. He used to sell drugs. Then he became chef (of food). I’m not sure how well he does with women, but if his songs are to be believed, Action is quite capable of doing all three very well. Especially the food part. What rapper do you know can drop things like “whole grain mustard, twelve grain bread, move cocaine out of Spokane I got no shame” and sound cool?
The other day, I got on the train to go to work and noticed a colleague sitting in the same car that I boarded. I’m not sure if she noticed me. I’ll never know, because as soon as I saw her, I did an about face and went to the other end. Then, when we arrived at Jay Street, where we would both transfer to another line, I made it point to go to a different car altogether, because I’m an awful human being. I switched cars to make SURE I wouldn’t have to talk to another person, who by all accounts is a perfectly friendly woman. Then guess what? The same thing happened the next day. And the NEXT fucking day. One of those freak, we-both-left-the-house-at-the-same-time-and-got-on-the-same-train-and-used-the-same-door-to-board-the-same-car kind of deals.
Except three times in a row.
The odds of that happening have to be lower than Neon Boudeaux’s free throw percentage (burn!). So what did I do for the second and third times? I scrambled like an idiot to make sure I wasn’t seen, all while thinking about what an asshole I am. What does that mean exactly? That I thought about how big of an asshole I am, all while doing again and again that very thing that made me feel like an asshole? A coward, that’s what. It’s like God tested me and I failed so he let me make up the test. Twice. Then I failed those tests too. Know what I was listening to the entire time? Action Fucking Bronson. Somehow this makes him complicit in my assholitude.
On Monday, I didn’t see the woman on the train. I wasn’t listening to Action Brosnon.
So go download Action’s new mixtape Blue Chips 2 for free. It might make you an asshole. It’s also the most fun I’ve had with a rap release in a long time.
The War/Photography exhibit at Brooklyn Museum is filled with hundreds of powerful images from dozens of conflicts over the past two and a half centuries. The exhibit, which includes images from wars ranging in styles from the Iraq war to the Argentine Civil War, isn’t shot chronoligically. Instead, the exhibit is laid out through the ark of a war, from recruitment and training to the return home, and the seemingly endless possibilites in between. It is a heavy and moving exhibit and definitely worth checking out.
I recently had to explain why I had an affinity for cities with one professional sports team, such as a Portland or a Montreal. It’s because I grew up in the one sport town of Hartford, Connecticut, a city that, a decade and a half after the team moved away, still has this dream (dillusion?) that maybe one day its beloved Whalers would come back, blaring Brass Bonanza from the fake organs of the XL Center. It got us on the topic of brainstorming, and ranking, our favorite one sport towns.
- Minor leagues doesn’t count. That is a post all its own, which unfortunately means that…
- Major League Soccer doesn’t count. It may be the top soccer league in the US, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the top leagues elsewhere. Plus, nobody cares.
- The pro-lacrosse league doesn’t count, because, name a team….
- US only. Canada doesn’t count because a. it would be overly represented on this list, and b. I can’t name them all off the top of my head.
- Criteria for ranking: basically what I say goes, but I’m open to hearing people’s arguments
- Location concerns: The Giants and Jets play in NJ, but identify as NY. The Patriots play in Foxboro, but I’m keeping them off the list because they’re basically Boston Strong. Just because the Tennessee Titans call themselves Tennessee doesn’t mean they play games in Knoxville, or Memphis. They’re located in Nashville. I may have taken some liberties here, but it is my post; I do what I want.
The List, As I See It
1. Green Bay - The residents OWN the team. It doesn’t get any better than that. If it wasn’t for this franchise, you wouldn’t know Green Bay existed.
2. San Antonio - They love it when the Spurs make a playoff run (the NBA front office, however, does not)
3. Portland - how can you not live the Blazers?
4. Oklahoma City - Heavily supportive of their team (while they’re good)
5. Brooklyn - Nets gear is flying off the shelves. A stretch here, since they’re located in New York City, but they, as many Brooklynites do, identify as Brooklyn, and typically shun association with New York City, and particularly Manhattan, except when comparing themselves against it.
6. San Jose - The Sharks are sweet. Even though they’re basically a solid 3 wood away from San Francisco and a long par 5 from Oakland, they’re still San Jose.
7. New Jersey - With the Nets gone, Newark is a one team town, and the Devils have a lot of history. Newark might not be the greatest place on the planet, but it is hard to argue that this has been one of the best teams in the northeast for the past 20 years.
8. Sacramento - They are lovable losers. They almost left for Seattle, but fought to keep their team (even though if people went to the games, they probably wouldn’t have tried to leave).
9. Salt Lake City - Even though they haven’t been all that great since the days of the mailman, Utah supports this team. I however, had almost forgotten they existed.
10. Memphis - What’s not to like about Memphis and all of their grizzley bears?
Also Ran (aka, not impressed)
- Raleigh / Durham: screw the hurricanes. They’d be in the top 3 of this list if they were still the Whalers
- Orlando: nobody cares about the magic, including people on the magic
- Long Island (Islanders): they’re stadium sucks, but at least they’re moving to Brooklyn.
- Connecticut Sun: They’re home state loves them, but not enough people know they exist / care about the WNBA.
- Florida Panthers: Hard to say if they belong on the list or not. They play in Sunrise, FL, which is 30 minutes north of Miami. They’re likely more associated with Fort Lauderdale within the confines of South Florida, but I’m sure people across the country think of them as Miami. I think they belong here since they’re really in a suburb of Fort Lauderdale, a city that has its own international airport…