Monthly Archives: July 2008

Yelling at a Blind Guy

When I’m at day job, I have a tendency to sit out in front of the building and smoke a cigar or my pipe while I write. It helps me clear my head, and I get a lot done. Generally, nobody bothers me. It’s a pretty good way to work. From time to time, though, there’s an asshole who tries to spoil it for me. On Friday, that asshole was a blind guy.

When he walked out of the building, his seeing-eye dog got a bit squirrelly, as if to tell him, “Hey, you can’t stand here. There’s something in the way.” Too busy on his cell phone, yelling at a customer service rep about a late fee for a credit card, the blind guy disregarded his companion. He told the dog to stop it. So, the guy was standing right next to me, and he kept creeping closer. He didn’t pay attention to anything else, because he was so wrapped up in his conversation.

Let’s reflect on this for a sec. I don’t want to seem like the uncaring prick that I am, but shouldn’t a blind guy pay a bit more attention when he’s outside? I routinely hear people bitch about those with sight not paying attention when walking the streets, and cell phones are usually the problem. So, shouldn’t a blind guy be at least a bit more attentive than someone who can see?

Well, this dumbass didn’t seem to think the rules of common courtesy applied to him. He kept invading my personal space. I tried to blow smoke upward, to signal that someone was nearby. Maybe a guy sitting down, maybe a midget. Whatever. There was someone who soon would be under foot. He didn’t notice. I tried tapping his leg several times. Hey, I didn’t want to interrupt his bullshit conversation. Still nothing. He kept coming.

Then, he kicked my blackberry.

From the noise, he realized that he did something. The guy reached down to pick it up. It would have been a nice gesture if he hadn’t kept going with his conversation. But, nothing would deter this Very Important Person. I told him to fuck off and back up, that I’d take care of my blackberry. He didn’t hear me. So, I yelled, “I got it. Just back up!” He finally moved away.

Fortunately, there wasn’t anybody standing in the smoking area. Otherwise, I would have seemed heartless. Maybe not, though. This guy was an asshole. anyone would have seen that. I still felt like a scumbag, though, yelling at a blind guy.

The Brit gets it right

I hate it when people fuck with my work. Don’t get me wrong; I am quite open to criticism. There are a lot of editors who have messed with my copy, and I have learned a lot from them. But, there are some who do so without any real reason. That pisses me off. I would say more, but there’s an outside shot that the folks who have tried (and failed) will stumble upon the Migrant Blogger. The moral of the story: I’m a reasonable guy, and I expect that from those around me.

My father sent me the rant of some restaurant reviewer from the Manchester Guardian. This guy is fucking nuts– much crazier than I am. Giles Coren, the reviewer in question, publicly flew off the handle at the people who took the word “a” out of the last sentence of his review. Honestly, I get his point, and I agree with him. But, he’s is out of his fucking mind.

Oh, and don’t ask anyone for a “nosh” unless you mean it.

Diaz Offers 10th and Final

The auctions for Self-Portrait with Pipe, 2008 #7, 8, 9 closed last night with a flurry of last minute activity on the last of them (which I lost). All but #9 sold for less than $100. So, it looks as though the action has been tapering off. Early bids don’t matter, and buyers come in at the last minute, willing to go as high as the proces will take them in a very short period of time. It’s a prudent approach. I think I know who bought these three, and I’m glad he won. I know that the paintings will make them happy.

Now, the 10th paintings is under the virtual gavel, and it’s probably the best of the series. You can see the detail that typically characterizes Nelson Diaz’s larger portraits. I love this painting, and I know that another collector does, too. So, I put in my now ceremonial first bid and plan to back away. I got my painting earlier in the process (#2), and I don’t want to interfere with the story any more.

This will be the last painting in this experiment, so get ready to bid! After #10, Nelson will go back to selling his work for higher, much more appropriate prices.

Bid on Self-Portrait with Pipe, 2008 #10 >>

“Step Up Time” Is Working

Civil liberties champion and Manhattan Neighborhood Network talking head Jeremy Taylor is making a difference. Founder of non-profit Step Up, Taylor has lobbied endlessly for U.S. involvement in Darfur. On his MNN television show, Taylor has called for the International Criminal Court to indict Sudanese dictator Omar Hassan al-Bashir. Bashir also holds the distinction of being one of Taylor’s “Pricks of Planet Earth.

Well, Jeremy’s efforts have paid off. Bashir has been indicted. I’ve been listening to Jeremy pull for this for a year. The clip below first aired a year ago on MNN.

Okay, so maybe you don’t believe that Jeremy was the driving force behind the International Criminal Court’s decision. I challenge you to prove otherwise!

Street Performances

I see this guy usually once or twice a year. He walks up Sixth Ave– past De La Concha– with his spirit on display. Usually, I see him earlier in the year, so this was a pleasant surprise. In the past, he used to walk by when my friend was in town. It was just a strange coincidence. He was at De La Concha today, but missed the guy-in-the-dress by mere hours.

The bird on his head, I think, is real, but he doesn’t move. I don’t know how the situation works; it just does. Also, the dress changes from year to year. Once it was a wedding dress, but clearly, the guy has become much more festive.

I am glad this guy walked by today. I was pissed that I hadn’t had my fill for this year. It’s almost like missing a season. What would you say if Spring didn’t happen? That’s how I was starting to feel. Well, my itch has been scratched.

Shithead and the Job-Hunter

This is from another wall on that same corner where the retailer is setting up shop. Apparently, it’s fertile ground for graffiti. Sexy, Hungry and the True Believer have two other friends: Shithead and the Job-Hunter.

I don’t know what Shithead’s story is, but the message is blunt. She is a shithead. It says so right on her, so it must be true. I saw it in person, and you’re reading it on the internet. What’s not to believe?

Job-Hunter’s situation is a bit more complex. It’s hard to see the writing on the picture in the blog posting, but you can get a closer look by clicking on the image. The young lady uses her forehead to tell us, “This is just a job.” How true …

But, for a different passer-by, this wasn’t good enough. So, he wrote, “Get one if you don’t like it.” I suppose that means, “Get a job if you don’t like starving yourself and giving everyone who walks by a complex.”

I do wonder if the models in any of these pictures ever cruise through the Upper West Side and see themselves defaced. If they do, they have my sympathy. After all, once you have worked hard for a living, it must be difficult to see your efforts defaced and in an extremely personal way.

However you cut it, though, it was thought-provoking. But, I always stop and read graffiti anyway.

This is my fault

Before some asshole stole my bike last year, I used to lock it on the 57th Street subway station entrance before going into De La Concha for a cigar. But, my bike was pinched, and I no longer had something to lock to the subway station entrance.

Well, sometime since then, the city decided that it didn’t want anybody locking their bikes to the station entrance thing. I’d like to think that it doesn’t want anybody locking their bikes there now that I don’t have a way to participate. I’d like to thank the City of New York for caring.

Sexy, Hungry and the True Believer

I saw some cool graffiti in my neighborhood today. There’s some new retail joint going into the buildingon the northwest corner of W 71st St and Columbus Ave. It used to be a Penang (restaurant), but the restaurant moved around the corner to W 72nd St between Columbus and Amsterdam. But, that’s not really the point here. The point is that I saw some interesting graffiti.

As you know, I am fascinated with graffiti. I don’t like it as art. In fact, I think “graffiti art” is bullshit. But, I like graffiti that makes you think. I won’t bore you with all this again, so if you haven’t read my other piece on this, check out this post first.

Well, on the corner of W 71st and Columbus, some disgruntled wanderer defaced the advertisement that is supposed to keep you satisfied until you actually get to shop at the store that is coming in. While this stuff is mean-spirited, truly, it also does make you think. The sheer brutality of the “commentary” was enough to stop me in my tracks. Then, when I thought about it, I realized that I had to do some blogging.

Let me tell you about Sexy, Hungry and the True Believer.

Sexy really is. You take a look at the thigh on which the label is written, and it doesn’t take much to see that she lives up to it. Her face being marred is probably an attempt to counteract her apparent sexiness, a rejection of her implict claim (made explicit by the tagger).

“I’m so sexy,” now comes across as conceited and damaged, thanks to the work of an angry person who probably doesn’t live in my neighborhood. After all, we’re all nice people here.

But, it would be a shame simply to focus all my efforts on Sexy. You know, Hungry deserves some attention, too. Her story even has a bit of depth to it, which I bet surprises the shit out of you.

It’s hard to see in this picture, but a crude word bubble is coming from blondie’s mouth, “I’m so hungry.” Hell, I bet she is. I’d be hungry all the time, too, if I had to live like she does. I’m much happier eatng than not, so I’ll never be able to understand Hungry’s lifestyle.

 As I mentioned, Hungry has some depth. “Look” is written right across her chest. Normally, I would be happy to do so, but without the lettering, there is no reason to turn your gaze there. Hey, the chick doesn’t eat. She’s a fucking model. That means she has no body fat, and her chest reflects this reality. Nonetheless, she’s tagged as a sex object, and the word “Look” drives the point home. You are participating in objectification, and it’s all the tagger’s fault!

And, finally, we get to the True Believer.

She has “Love” tattooed across her forehead and a longing look on her face. She doesn’t reveal much of her body and is at the bottom of the image.

How did she get off so easy?

I guess the tagger couldn’t fit “Desperate” or “Lonely” across her face. Or, maybe there’s some latent optimism fighting to get out. Either way, this chick got lucky compared to the others.

There’s some guy in the picture (which you can see back at the top of the article). I don’t know why he didn’t get any abuse. Maybe, it’s because he’s a retard or simply is not important because everyone’s looking at the ladies. I don’t know if that’s true, but it sure makes sense to me.

Some of my favorite graffiti displays

I like graffiti that sends a message. There’s one wall decoration that I still wish I’d captured, but I never got around to it. I used to go to the Peace Club, a dive bar outside Camp Casey in South Korea– back when we still had troops that far north. In the bathroom, they had a piss-trough instead of urinals. I remember it well. The wall over the trough was littered with graffiti; there was barely room for anything new. After all the time I spent there, removing consumed beer from my body, I read most of it. One “exchange” is still crystal clear.

“I used to believe in the common decency of man”

“I still do”

They were written by two people, the second below the first. After a while, I used to pick the spot at the trough that would put these two lines at eye-level. In some ways, I still miss that wall and these two comments. I doubt it’s there any more. Last I heard, the Peace Club was no more. I do hope that management kept that wall intact.

Ever since then, I’ve been extremely interested in graffiti. The first, up top, is from a small covered walkway in Old Quebec. Yeah, some people still aren’t crazy about being French-speakers in an English-speaking country.

Iceland is such a sanitary country, but they are developing a graffiti problem. This wall just struck me as the antithesis of what one expects to see in Iceland.

Tallin, Estonia had some good material as well. The tagger below, it seems, was hungry. I guess he (or she) likes Italian.

The next one, though, is my favorite from Estonia. It sends a pretty powerful political message, and indicates the importance of open dialogue in a free society.

There was clearly a taggers’ debate going on here. First, someone wrote “Fuck Fascism!” I happen to concur. Next, someone put “anti” in front. Since I’m not a fascist, “Fuck AntiFascism!” doesn’t exactly resonate. But, a third person joined the conversation and crossed out “anti,” and then a fourth person crossed out “Fuck”. So, we wind up with the message, “Fascism!” Of course, I could have the order of events a bit screwed up, but we can see clearly where the discussion ends. Such a shame.

Also political was a bit of graffiti I saw in  Paris metro station. This was during the Sarkozy/Segoline election, which got pretty nasty.

Wow, I guess this guy doesn’t watch Fox News!

A man can still enjoy Alice’s Teacup

When I go to Alice’s Teacup for breakfast with my wife, I have an excuse. She’s the reason I’m there. One of my friends described the place as “girlie,” and she’s probably right. I don’t care. I like it. With my wife out of town this weekend, I had to summon all the courage I have in my masculinity to go there alone; somehow, I was able to do it. I was rewarded for my efforts with small, tea-type sandwiches, warm scones, and a tea with the name “African Dew.” I liked it. Every bit of it.

What really blows me away about Alice’s Teacup is the waitstaff. The waitresses not only wear fairy wings while doing their jobs (and doing them well), they seem comfortable dressed that way. You get the sense that the young lady bringing you your roasted cumin carrot sandwich dreamed of wearing fairy wings to work as a little girl and is now living the dream. They seem happy, and I’m happy for that. I want to wear a cape to work and just can’t get away with it. Sure, their chosen (or required) attire seems a bit odd to me, but they are happy. That’s what matters.

Check this place out>>