Thursday, December 27, 2007

Ani DiFranco, "Self Evident"

While I was doing the dishes, listening to podcasts, I had to stop and turn off the water as I heard a chilling poem being read. It was recorded earlier this month at the 92nd Street Y. While the audio link is here [Right-click and select "Save Target As:" or equivalent to download], I discovered the video, below.

There is a strong liberal viewpoint here, so Conservatives be warned. I normally stay away from politics here, but I am posting this not for the political, but for the artistic.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Mustache Scissors

This piece of found detritus has all sorts of weird wonderfulness to enjoy.

First of all, the great philosophical question: "Celebrate Xmas?"

Regardless of whether to celebrate the holiday, he definitely needs a "SonaPillow from Brookstone (for snoring)". Curious? The product is here.

He (or she) needs pajamas (loose) and mustache scissors.

Then, taxes.

Next we have the stream of consciousness fragment: "Something as I enter office - yellow plastic bag ???"

And we wrap up with the three items listed perpendicular to the majority of the text, written on the left side of the paper:

Sofa? Tape measure? Wheelie

And I love how the "l" in "Wheelie" looks like a little heart.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Buzzwords 2007

Check out this article in Sunday's New York Times, listing some of the new and interesting "buzzwords" from the past year. One of my faves is:

global weirding n.

An increase in severe or unusual environmental activity often attributed to global warming. This includes freakish weather and new animal migration patterns.

Check the article for more of the same fun stuff (like, what is an "earmarxist"?).

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Happy Holidays, Hawaiian-Style

Click here for a Hawaiian holiday greeting card, referred to me by my Mom, who was sent the link by a friend of hers who works for the Company that designed it. In the words of my mother: "A little non-Jewish, but the photos are great--and there's a gecko!".

Friday, December 21, 2007

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Season's Greetings from BillyBlog and Valerie Lamboy

Happy Holidays to all!

To warm your heart this holiday season, and to see why blogging can be so fulfilling, refresh your memory with this post from 2006. Last night I received comments on it from Valerie Lamboy, a fellow Brooklynite, and one of the subjects of the post.

Please be sure to read Valerie's comments at the end of the post. They brought a smile to my face.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Gratuitous Indoor Soccer Dad Post (GISDP) #1 for the 2007-2008

Shayna's indoor soccer season got under way on Sunday and the Gold Team played the Green to a 3-3 tie.

Shayna, the only girl on her team, scored the first two goals, while her classmate and arch-rival Raphael, scored all three of his team's points.

Below is footage from the first goal. Stay with the action until the last few seconds, at which point Shayna just drills the ball into the net.

Of course, half the fun is the audio, listening to the Soccer Dad cheering on the players.

If you like what you see and want goal #2, go here.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I'm Surprised it Took This Long....

First, I've always been skeeved out by people who clip their finger nails on the train. Maybe 2 or 3 times a year, it happens. And I am annoyed. I've seen plenty of people applying makeup, but the act of removing slivers of one's own body seems too personal for public transportation.

But I kid you not, as I type these words, the guy sitting across from me on the R train is doing something I have never seen on the New York City subways.

He is shaving.

Now, he is holding his miniature (or small, I guess) electric razor surreptitiously, so it's not completely obvious. But the buzzing I thought initially was an audio problem with the iPod was, actually, the zazzing of the razor across his face.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Rambling Commute

Eight six seven five three oh ni-ine.

That's on the BilliPod shuffle this morning.

On the 6:19 R out of 95th Street.

This Sunday brought out the 7th annual issue of The New York Times Magazine's "Year in Ideas" issue. Always fascinating, I recommend heading over there to check out the issue online to read about interesting developments in ideas in 2007, such as the Braille tattoo.

Now playing:

"Halloween" by Mudhoney.

It's a balmy 51 degrees this morning in Brooklyn.

No express train at 59th Street.

I had a one dollar bill the other day, on which was stamped a speech balloon, forcing George Washington to proclaim "I Grew Hemp". That made me smile.

Now playing: an untitled live "Jam" by Pearl Jam from June 18, 1992, which includes a partial cover of Brass in Pocket (I'm Special) by the Pretenders.

In case you hadn't realized, this post is blackberried (and subsequently spell-checked and linked at a later date).

Switched at 36th Street, waiting for a D or an N express.

Jam just switched to Cheap Trick's "That 70's Song (In the Street)". We're all all right! We're all all right. Still waiting at 36th Street. I gave up a seat for this? Ah, here comes a D.

What are the odds? Another Mudhoney song? ("In n Out of Grace")

Here's them performing the song:

Next, check out the Foxboro Hot Tubs. The blogosphere (and subsequently wikipedia) started buzzing about them last weekend when a website popped up where you could listen to/stream/download 6 songs by the unknown band.

However, people quickly came to the conclusion that they were a side project by the members of Green Day. Even if that were untrue, the songs are pretty good and worth an audio taste.

Metallica's "2 x 4" from their album Load ushers me in and out of Pacific Street.

I think it's safe to say I've written fewer poems in 2007 than any year since 1992. Here's one I wrote a few months ago on the train. The title may be the best part. It's called "Sipping Red Bull Through a Straw".

On the Manhattan Bridge now, to the tune of "Double Talkin' Jive" by Guns N' Roses. Switching to "Goodbye Blue Sky" by Pink Floyd.

The ground is wet like it has been just hosed down by Hollywood prop men.

Guess I won't be napping on this subway ride. This is the sort of blog fodder that is loathsome to so many people. Yet you keep reading in case I drop a nugget of brilliance.

A schoolteacher behind me is talking about her job. Loudly. Intruded upon Floyd and now on U2's awesome "Running to Stand Still".

Cry without weeping, talk without speaking, scream without raising your voice.....

West 4th, the train empties....the loud woman says "Oh gosh, my bones hurt!" A woman sits next to me. She is reading the third different Spanish-language paper I have seen this morning.

And the Who's "Doctor Jimmy" from Quadrophenia carries me into 34th Street.

Have a happy Wednesday....

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Last Night of Chanukah, Let's Celebrate with the Beatles!

Look Who's Back: The Return of the Loneliest Lamp Post in Bay Ridge!

After a month or two hiatus (yes, I periodically checked), the Loneliest Lamp Post in Bay Ridge decided to once again begin expressing itself. It's a Chanukah miracle!

On the way to Shayna's first indoor soccer game last Sunday, we were thrilled to see that the Lamp Post had decided to end its silence and, apparently, it is still lonely.

Links to parts I-XIV here.

Can You Use it in a Sentence Please?

New York Sports Club is opening a location on 86th Street in our neighborhood.

Last month, union members were picketing the site, as the NYSC was apparently using non-union labor to finish construction.

Many of the picketers, I recall, held up signs accusing NYSC of exploiting its workers.

Several days later, I walked by the site and noticed that the non-union labor had responded:

Whether they are exploited, however, still remains to be seen.

35,000th visit!

At 10:58 EST on December 7, 2007, BillyBlog registered its 35,000th hit. The visit cam from the United Technologies Research Center in Hartford, Connecticut. From what I can tell, the individual googled Pearl Jam and Philadelphia (I think) and got this poster image which then linked to BillyBlog.

Something happened, by the way, on or around December 1. My visits spiked both on BillyBlog and on Tattoosday, and from what I can tell, the hits came via google images. It's nice to have the extra traffic!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Blogging in a Post 11/9 World

So, since I've been "back" from my November hiatus, I've been taking it
relatively easy. I've decided that I will do a little more remote blogging
from the BillyBlackBerry.

Here are some random thoughts for this morning's commute:

I think I saw the actress/comedienne Sandra Bernhard yesterday in the
Chelsea Whole Foods.

Now, before you think I'm a "Whole Foods-y" type, let me proclaim that I am
not. I'm a strict Trader Joe's guy, even in the barren, nearly-TJ-less
landscape of NYC.

Anyway, this is the second time in the last few months I believe I've
spotted Ms. B. (or her doppelganger). The other time was a few blocks away,
on 8th and 23rd, so I'm guessing she resides in the area. Both times I was
with my lunchtime walking buddy, Steve (who buys his tea at Whole Foods),
and both times Steve missed her.

The BilliPod, providing tunes on this morning's commute, is playing the
latest version of "The Contrast Podcast," one of the handful I regularly
download. This week's theme is "Title Tracks". For example, currently
rolling is "Love Gun" from the KISS album, you guessed it, LOVE GUN.

I have nearly completed reading Joshua Henkin's novel Matrimony (see Amazon
link on sidebar). Mr. Henkin will be joining our book club to discuss the
novel next week. Looking forward to that. I will post a review after I
finish the last 50 pages.

By the way, Happy Chanukah to all!

Bookpeeping alert: someone near me reading Cormac McCarthy's The Road.

And how about that trade the Detroit Tigers finalized yesterday with the
Florida Marlins? Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera will make nice
additions to the Tiger lineup. I'm a little surprised that Dear Old Dad
hasn't swooned about it yet on his blog. Yet.

Just switched from a local R train to an N express at Pacific Street.

Standing and typing one-handedly is a little slow-going. Not sure how much
more quality cybertext you will be experiencing.

My fantasy football season ends this weekend. Despite winning the title in
my league last year, I will finish, at best, 7-6 and out of the playoffs.
Bit of a bummer. This week I will have Drew Brees at QB, Ryan Grant and
Adrian "AD" Peterson in the backfield, Chris Cooley at tight end, Lavernues
and T.J. Houshmandzadeh as my two most-misspelled wide recievers,
Shayne Graham kicking, and the Packers' defense.

Looks like Brett Favre will be extending his record of consecutive starts
with his 250th on Sunday. What a guy!

Speaking of quarterbacks, University of Hawai'i's Colt Brennan should be in
NYC this weekend for the Heisman Trophy ceremony. He most likely won't win,
but he could probably unseat Linda Lingle as governor of Hawai'i right now,
if he wanted to (and if it was constitutionally viable). BillyBlog will be
pulling for the Rainbow Warriors against the Georgia Bulldogs on New Year's
Day in the Cotton Bowl.

Someone near me is reading the New Yorker. This makes me sad, as I let my
subscription lapse for the first time in over 10 years. I have dozens of
back issues, unread, at home, and I just could not justify the expense,
considering how seldom I read them like I used to. Despite not reading them
as much, I will still miss their ceremonious arrival at our place. Thank
goodness I can still appreciate huge chunks of each issue on line.

The 23rd Street station on the Broadway line is one of the coolest in the
whole system.

Well, here we are at 34th Street. Time to send this into the ether.

Do let me know if you've found this post even remotely interesting.

(Links and editing to appear at a later time).

Time to Fire the Awning Maker

A new store opened up on 86th Street in Bay Ridge last month, replacing our beloved Tasti-D-Lite.

Great! Just what we needed!! Another perfume store. Something about their awning seems a little bit off. Spell-check, anyone?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Gabi Wilson, "Boogie Oogie Oogie," on the Today Show

A little past and present.....

first the present, from yesterday's Today Show

And then the original from A Taste of Honey:

Monday, December 03, 2007

Women in Art, Morphing

I saw this on the New York Times Papercuts blog. Dwight Garner, the blog author, saw it somewhere else. And so it goes.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

First Snow of the Season

Well , it's officially December....we had our first snow this morning in Brooklyn. Happy Twelfth Month! Photo by Jolee Cohen.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Self-Imposed Blog Exile

In the month of November, I posted three times at BillyBlog. Three times. There had been days in the past when I posted thrice in a single day.

The posts were all sent remotely via my BlackBerry, two were reports of new poems appearing on New York City's Poetry in Motion transit program, and the third was a Thanksgiving greeting.

A far cry from last November (55 posts) and the November before (26 posts).

And now, for a bit of an explanation.

Even though this drought concurred with a program called WebSense, cruelly imposed by Big Brother on the employees of my company, eradicating 90% of un-work-related web activity, I can't give the Man credit for silencing me.

It has been quite a year, and BillyBlog was its most successful. However, one could argue that it was taking over my life, usurping my identity.

Posting was no longer a luxury, but a priority, when other priorities in my life needed attention. I became increasingly self-conscious of my relying solely on blog fodder as my social conversational repertoire. Son of BillyBlog, Tattoosday, also contributed to this deterioration of my social make-up. Tattoosday has also gone dark in the month of November (despite some tattoo-spotting success).

I watched myself from outside of my body, conversing with people, seeing how long before "the blog" entered the discussion. Dishearteningly, it happened sooner rather than later. I am Bill Cohen, not BillyBlog. The lines blurred and it didn't feel healthy.

The Ancient One, Blessed Be He, called me a week into my self-imposed blog exile, just to make sure that I was okay. I was, and I am.

There are people in this world who find enlightenment through fasting, and November was my mental fast. I am hoping it will be for the better. I think that it will.

I appreciate the messages of support from my scattering of readers. November was still a big month for BillyBlog, as we surpassed the 33,333 hit and, on the last day of the month, registered #35,000.

I am back for December, although I may not be as prolific as I had been in the past. I'm not sure. I regret that I may have missed some good blogrotunities last month (a trip to the NYC Transit Museum, dinner at Junior's, and a disappointing Thanksgiving dinner at First Oasis, to name a few). But I needed the break.

Thank you for sticking by, checking in, and keeping the faith! Onward, ho!