I’ve wasted moments in the Bowery light

washing windows on the Bowery at a quarter to four
cause he aint gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more

The second line of this Beastie Boys couplet always made me smile, because I like Bob Dylan.  The first line I could never really make sense of.

On a recent trip to NYC, I found myself on the Bowery in the lower east side, looking into a window that had some historically informative poster inside it called “Windows on the Bowery.”  It just talked about how the Bowery used to be an important thoroughfare in early 20th century NYC, and it’s where people went to buy stuff, and a lot of cultures emerged there, etc.  But it made me think about that Beastie Boys song again, “Johnny Ryall.”  I figured “Windows on the Bowery” must have been the name of a movie, or a play (to be honest I wasn’t sure if it was “washing” or “watching”), or that windows must have had some significance or something to this particular NYC Manhattan street.

(It’s not like the Beastie Boys have ever had super accessible lyrics or anything, though.  There’s a line in “Intergalactic” that goes “I got an A from Moe Dee for stickin’ to themes” which refers to the inlet of a record that Kool Moe Dee put out, this I think was in the late 80’s, where he had a “Rapper Report Card” and he graded other rappers on how good they were in various subjects.  I forget most of them, I think it was like rhymes, flow, etc… IIRC he gave the Beastie Boys an F in every single category except for “stickin’ to themes,” where they got an A.  I’d be mind blown if I ever met anyone else who knew what that lyric meant.)

Later, I found myself in NYC Queens at my grandparents’ house, both of whom grew up on the lower east side.  They used to go shopping for sundries and goods and stuff in the Bowery marketplace during its heyday.  I asked them what “Windows on the Bowery” could mean.  They had no idea what I was talking about.

So eventually I just resorted to a lame internet search… actually, first I went to “genius.com” which is a song lyric website that lets people interpret/explain certain lyrics.  I generally dislike this kind of thing because everyone interprets things their own way blah blah blah and having to read other people dissect lines and words from songs and what they refer to kind of makes me cringe, but here I was.  And all they had written for that line was how people used to wash car windows on the Bowery way back when.  That didn’t help much. (I did look up the lyrics to “Intergalactic,” and they had mentioned the Rapper Report Card, complete with picture.  Turns out I remember it a little differently, but oh well.  Check it out for yourself.)

So then I just googled the phrase “Windows on the Bowery.”  And all I got were results from before those window signs went up about how they were going to start putting them up.  So what is going on here?  Was the person heading that campaign just a cheeky Beastie Boys fan who wanted to throw in a subtle little reference to musicians he liked in something he was working on? What is the significance of the phrase “Windows on the Bowery”????

Actually, I’m kinda happy that Google didn’t come up with any results.  Now that basically all of recorded history is available to anybody whenever they want, there’s something kind of exotic about the mundane, non-accessible stuff.  This can just live on as a mystery inside my head – I’ll never be able to explain this whole situation to anyone anyway. Party on, Windows on the Bowery.  Party on, kupo…

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Yet Another Example of the Porousness of Certain Borders

He was at the playground with three kids, but for the first half hour I saw him, he was on the phone the whole time.  He had cornrows and a beard, plastic American flag sunglasses, tight pants with an American flag design, high top Ewing shoes with large unvelcroed straps, and a backwards snapback hat on the top of his head that said “F**KIN’ PROBLEMS” (censors included) — with an American flag pattern on the underside of the bill.  (His race was strangely ambiguous, and I feel like this matters for some reason).  90% of his exposed skin was tattooed with indiscernible words and images. The best way I can really describe what he looks like is like one of those Insane Clown Posse juggaloes, but without the face paint, yet still resembling one.  Or maybe a skinny thug life Blake Griffin.

screen-shot-2016-09-25-at-10-51-53-pm  551adbf0311ad4fae3f13ad327fe9450

The kids he was with were calling him “Uncle D.”

 

“Uncle D!”

“…Eyyyy”

“Uncle D!”

“Eyyyyyyy”

“I wanna get out!”

“…..aiiiight….. I didn’t wanna bring this cigarette into the playground”

 

So he walks around the outside of the playground smoking the cigarette for as  long as he can before he puts it out on the ground, then goes in and helps the kid out.

 

Turns out he was there to celebrate/set up an all-pink birthday party for a one year old.  Like everything they set up was pink.  A pink cake, a bowl of pink gumballs, a huge dispenser of pink lemonade, pink ribbons on everything.  A Xanadu of princess-ification.

 

Uncle D went to set up the party at the picnic tables near the playground, and he pulled out a portable amplifier and started blaring some expletive-laced rap music.  Other parents who were with their kids looked around at each other and seemed to give this guy a minute or so to realize how insanely inappropriate he’s acting and turn the music off, but it doesn’t happen.  So the park just starts to clear out.  Finally, a mom yells at him to turn it off.  He didn’t retort.  All I heard him say afterward was that he “just put on Pandora doe.”

 

I’m not particularly bothered since I found this guy’s antics to be mostly entertaining, if not kind of scary and sad – but it started to stress me out when the recalcitrant girl I was babysitting ignored my requests for her to come with me, and instead insisted on taking the path right between their picnic tables to go this long round about way to the bathroom – and their obscene music was still playing, just quieter – and I’m finding myself surrounded by a sea of pink and some people giving me weird looks as I finally give in to this little girl’s demands and follow her into the building and have to use the 20 seconds she spent in the bathroom to process what was happening and stop myself from blacking out. F**KIN’ PROBLEMS.

And Now… John the Businessman Walks Into “Paisano’s” in Georgetown for the First Time

I was “reviewing” a slice of pizza (which is part of a bigger series which I will probably not post here which will honestly probably never get posted anywhere) from the Paisano’s pizza place in Georgetown when this guy came in and I became way more interested in him than in the pizza.  Here is what I hastily scrawled in my phone describing his brief time at the Paisano’s:

—–

Business men just strolling in
“Someone mentioned you have good hamburgers here, is that true? It’s not what you advertise as your strength! You’ve got a pretty good menu. So the hamburger is a double. Got a little bacon back there?”
He gets a doublecheessr with bacon and gets a brownie then asks, “Got anything healthy to drink? I’ll take an OJ.” He “lays off” the fries when he finds out theyre a dollar more. Talking to them about what used to be in this building. This guy is just tremendous. Finding out taht theres another Paisanos in Rockville and VA. It is a franchise & is independently owned. Starting to expand. “Well thats cool, well good. We’re happy to have something affordable.” Ragging on Noodles and co. “I had pasta that was below average and a chicken salad that was made of rubber. How do you open your doors now, you gotta at least be average.” Guys office is across the street. Keeps mentioning the office.  “Thank you for all the information, sorry if I kept you. ” Nice enough.

Your numbers [redacted]-00 ? Thats a good number, surprised it was available. My number ends in THREE zeroes.
[redacted]-000.
[redacted] Company. Been around since 1888.
“Do you have wifi in here?”
“umm, no.”
“You DO have wifi!”

“You dont have a big seating area, but its good that… what does that say? Paisanos1. Alright, I’m in.” Please dont ever leave this Paisanos John the Businessman. “Is there ketchup or anything? Thanks a lot I appreciate it. ” Hes gone. Looks like three Paisanos are huddled behind the counter discussing what just happened. Another guy walks i. while I’m leaving “Hey, how are you.”

 


 

so that’s it, hopefully john the businessman becomes a recurring character in my mind whom i can just imagine into any anxiety-inducing situation i find myself in so that he can ease me through.

i had a rough night and i hate the fucking eagles, man

today i found my car with its front bumper hanging an inch off the ground because someone hit it and didn’t leave a note.  i drove it to manassass where i spent all day outside in the sun for crab fest at my friend math’s house.  took the car to my parents’ house where we called the insurance, and they dropped me off at the metro.  i left my phone on the train and had to endure an hour long search for the thing which took me out to prince george’s county, and i was gonna give the guy $10 for returning my phone but i got nervous and didn’t and now feel bad/anxious about not doing so, and the same thing basically happened with the cab driver who drove me back.  i’m exhausted, it’s 2am, and the ladies who live upstairs just fired up their karaoke machine.

how about this scene from the big lebowski to sum things up:

I’ve Made A Huge Mistake

i was on the brink of overcoming a day-long migraine when i ate a Trader Joe’s Herbal Green Tea Infused Mint which was very bad and disrupted my senses enough to set me back probably another three hours of head pain (that’s like five migraine years).  i only bought the damn mints because my total at Trader Joe’s came out to $100 even, and the round number freaked me out, so i bought the closest thing in sight, which was a pack of the nasty things.  phooey.

 

the summer of worst-case-scenario-sports-outcomes-for-mike has ended as my most hated team in the Euro 2016 competition defeated my #2 most hated team in said competition.  i’ve strongly disliked France ever since, as an eight-year-old boy, i watched them win the 1998 World Cup in their own country, thinking the entire thing was rigged and that the refs were cheating to allow France to win. that might be a silly reason to dislike them (though i maintain that i was right), and it’s why i was rooting for them to win (in their own country again) over Portugal, who can screw off with their whiny pretty boy divas who belong in a 90’s boy band.  at least i know it wasn’t rigged this time.

 

and in another soccer tournament, the USA took fourth place in the Copa America (a tournament they probably shouldn’t have even been in because it’s traditionally amongst South American nations, and held every three years, and there was one last year, and this year’s was held in the US – don’t ask me) , but the title went to Chile, who have now won it twice in a row, and Peruvians and Chileans don’t get along too well. (i think the feud has something to do with grapes, i don’t know.)   i’m not Peruvian, but i lived there for a little, and really got behind the Peruvian soccer team when i did.  during the first few weeks i was there, Peru and Chile played each other, and i kinda hopped on the anti-Chile bandwagon.  so yeah.

 

in the NBA, my disdain for LeBron James is well documented amongst my friends.  long before “the decision,” he and the Cavs knocked my (not so) beloved Wizards out of the playoffs three straight years in a row, one of which included his famous “crab dribble, hesitation dribble” which is really just him travelling. i vowed to stop watching the NBA if he ever won a title with Miami, which he did, and I did stop for a little while – but now that he came back to Cleveland and the same fanbase who burned his jersey when he left welcomed him back with open arms and ESPN called it a “great story” instead of seeing it as the only move he could make that people would praise him for, (since it’s obvious he doesn’t actually care about Cleveland, a place he wouldn’t have left if he did) i was a little intrigued (via wanting him to lose badly and also to see Golden State complete the best season ever).  but i was disappointed again, so i guess i’ll go back to waking up tomorrow with the same personal problems i woke up with today.

 

and i’m a capitals fan, which speaks for itself.  it’s one thing watching your team get eliminated from the playoffs nine years in a row with most of the series going to seven games, but it’s another to watch your most hated team knock your team out two of those years and then go on to win the whole thing, which happened again this year.  there’s no recovering from that — to do so, they’d have to (in this fan’s mind) win three Stanley Cups, knocking Pittsburgh out each time.  they’ve never even gotten past the second round in the last decade.

 

what i think i’m saying is, i’m growing out of being a sports fan.  with my dispositions, it was a bad idea to become one in the first place.  and i find that when i ask myself “why do i care so much? i magically stop caring.  at least until i forget not to.

 

anyway, back to my headache (which, by the way, i get without fail every single time i play soccer on a sunny day, which, you guessed it, i did today.  it’s my favorite thing to do, but the price i pay for doing it is obnoxious.  once again, i think i’m growing out of this shit).  if you actually read this, thanks.

Songs I’ve Liked a Lot in Life and Don’t Hate Yet

since i’m turning 26, here are 26 songs that i have obsessed over, and still like, in chronological order.  this list starts around when i was 10 years old, with probably the first song that i ever played on repeat for hours, and it continues all the way up to a song that i’m obsessing over at the moment.

red hot chili peppers – road trippin
sum 41 – makes no difference
garbage – i can’t seem to make you mine
modest mouse – 3rd planet
pink floyd – run like hell
a tribe called quest – excursions
wolf parade – dear sons and daughters of hungry ghosts
wu tang clan – shame on a nigga
pixies – alec eiffel
ben sollee – bury me with my car (from album “turn on the moon”)
negativland – drink it up
smashing pumpkins – 1979
hi-score – 2600
owen – breaking away
la sarita – guachiman
john prine – that’s the way that the world goes round
wolf parade – cave-o-sapien
laura stevenson – runner
paul baribeau – never get to know
m. ward – undertaker
beck – broken drum
“500 miles” as performed in the movie Inside Llewyn Davis (justin timberlake/carey mulligan/stark sands)
blood orange – it is what it is
sufjan stevens – should have known better
solange – losing you
lightspeed champion – everyone i know is listening to crunk

notes: tried to limit artist repetition.  i probably would have listed half of everything mike kinsella and dev hynes have ever put out if i hadn’t.  i put wolf parade twice because i had practically forgotten about them before i got into them again.