"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Monthly Archives: December 2012

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Happy New Year

Be Safe. Be Merry.

A Happy New Year to you all.



Yeah, so the wife is off from work today so we’re headed downtown to hang. Today and tomorrow gives a light schedule round these parts.

Be back later with something to ring in the New Year.

[Photo Via: Mr. Freakz]

Sundazed Soul

Last day of the NFL season. Cold. Chillin’.

“Angela”–Bob James

Saturdazed Soul

A cooled-out record for a lazy Saturday.

“Moon Dreams” Miles Davis

[Photo Via: Sleepless]

Top of the Heap


Don’t need much of an excuse to check out the cool Yankee blog 161st and River, but this picture of Don Zimmer is a good one. So is this list of the 15 Worst Transactions in Yankee History.

New York Minute

From the always excellent site Eye Heart New York.

Taster’s Cherce

From the Lemon Fire Brigade comes this beet, fennel and orange salad.

Beat of the Day


That’ll Be the Day

Dig this New Yorker “Talk of the Town” item (May 1, 1943) by Joseph Mitchell.

It’s a perfect miniature of his work–a poem, really–his book of revelations:

An air-raid warden we know, a young woman who holds down the desk in her sector headquarters in Greenwich Village twice a week from nine to midnight, is occasionally visited by the policeman on the beat. This policeman, who is elderly and talkative, dropped in the other night, sat down, grunted, placed his cap and nightstick on the desk, and said, “I’m a man that believes in looking ahead, and I been walking around tonight thinking over the biggest police problem this great city will ever have; namely, the day the war ends. I got it all figured out. I know exactly what’ll happen. Half an hour after the news gets out there won’t be a thing left in the saloons but the bare walls. Then the people will tear down the doors on the liquor stores and take what they want, a bottle of this, a bottle of that. Then they’ll go to work on the breweries; they’ll be swimming in the vats. Old ladies will be howling drunk that day. Preachers won’t even bother to drink in secret; they’ll be climbing lampposts and quoting the Bible on the way up. And some young fellow will trot up to the Central Park Zoo and break the locks. The elephants will be marching down Fifth Avenue, and the lions and the tigers, two by two; we’ll be six weeks getting the monkeys out of the trees. And they’ll ring all the church bells until they crack; they’ll jerk the bells right out of the steeples. And you know that big sireen in Rockefeller Center; somebody will get hold of that, and he won’t be torn loose until they shoot him loose. And they’ll unscrew the hydrants all over town; the water will be knee-deep. And people will be running around with their shoes off, wading in the water and singing songs. I can see the whole scene. And the ferryboat captains will give one toot on their whistles and run the ferryboats right up on dry land, and the bus drivers will run the buses right into the water. And the passengers will take charge of the subway trains, and they’ll run them right up into the open air. You’ll hear a racket and a roar, and you’ll look around, and here’ll come a subway train shooting right through the pavement. And husbands will be so happy they’ll beat their wives, and wives will beat their husbands, and the tellers in banks will gang up and beat the bank presidents, and and the ordinary citizens will tear down big buildings just so they’ll have some bricks to throw.” The policeman laughed and slapped his knee. “What a day of rejoicing!” he said. “What a police problem! I hope to God I live to see it!”

Million Dollar Movie


I saw Moonstruck for the first time in years the other day and it holds up. Sure, I like it because it was filmed in and around Carroll Cardens where I lived from 1994-2000 (when I first moved there Cammareri bakery was still around). But it also because it makes me laugh. The script is occasionally too cute–repeating lines in a predictable theatrical rhythm like when Cher’s parents both react to the news of her getting married: “Again?”–but it never becomes painful.

And I love the actors (Danny Aiello, Vincent Gardenia, and the great Julie Bovasso), with the exception of Olympia Dukakis, whose performance I don’t buy. But still, she doesn’t ruin anything and the leads are great–man, wasn’t Nic Cage good at one time? And Cher, was beautiful and funny.

Morning Art

“Scissors” by Richard Diebenkorn (1959)

Day Tripper

Godzilla Matsui is retiring. Great ball player, memorable Yankee.

He’ll be remembered with fondness around these parts.

Who Shot Ya?

Making shots like this will only encourage him to take more. But yeah, Knicks win. Oh, and John Starks is alive and well. And his name is J.R. Smith.

[Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images]

Beat of the Day

“I Can’t Give You Anything But Love”–Louis

[Photo Via: Yann Fauchier]

Morning Art

“Montmartre” by Luigi Loir (1945)

Taster’s Cherce

Barbara Kafka’s simplest roast chicken.

New York Minute

Yesterday it snowed and that turned into rain. Today, it’s foggy and grey and it’s still raining.

Good day to stay at home and read a book. I just finished a biography of the great columnist George Frazier and am half-way through Rich Cohen’s entertaining family memoir, Sweet and Low.

If you have to be out, nice time to go to the movies. Bunch that I’d like to see, including Amour and Zero Dark Thirty.

[Picture by german.vladimir]

Her Thing

Belated, I know, but: Rest in Peace, Marva Whitney.

Just Right

There was a long profile by Jonah Weiner on Jerry Seinfeld in the Times Magazine over the weekend.

I never liked Seinfeld’s TV show but I admire how hard he works at his job:

Seinfeld’s shows last a little over an hour, but he has about two hours of material in active rotation, so he’s able to swap in different bits on different nights. 
There is a contemporary vogue for turning over an entire act rapidly: tossing out jokes wholesale, starting again from zero to avoid creative stasis. Louis C.K. has made this practice nearly synonymous with black-belt stand-up. Seinfeld wants no part of it. “This ‘new hour’ nonsense — I can’t do it,” he said. “I wanna see your best work. I’m not interested in your new work.” C.K., who used to open for Seinfeld, has called him “a virtuoso — he plays it like a violin,” and the two are friendly. I asked Seinfeld if he thought C.K.’s stand-up hours, widely praised, would improve if he spent more than a year honing each one. “It’s not really fair for me to judge the way somebody else approaches it,” Seinfeld replied. “I care about a certain level of detail, but it’s personal. He would get bored of it. It’s not his way. It’s a different sensibility.” There was another big difference between the two, Seinfeld noted: “Working clean.” Almost from the beginning, Seinfeld has forsworn graphic language in his bits, dismissing it as a crutch. “Guys that can use any word they want — if I had that weapon, I’ll give you a new hour in a week,” he said.

Developing jokes as glacially as he does, Seinfeld says, allows for breakthroughs he wouldn’t reach otherwise. He gave me an example. “I had a joke: ‘Marriage is a bit of a chess game, except the board is made of flowing water and the pieces are made of smoke,’ ” he said. “This is a good joke, I love it, I’ve spent years on it. There’s a little hitch: ‘The board is made of flowing water.’ I’d always lose the audience there. Flowing water? What does he mean? And repeating ‘made of’ was hurting things. So how can I say ‘the board is made of flowing water’ without saying ‘made of’? A very small problem, but I could hear the confusion. A laugh to me is not a laugh. I see it, like at Caltech when they look at the tectonic plates. If I’m in the dark up there and I can just listen, I know exactly what’s going on. I know exactly when their attention has moved off me a little.

“So,” he continued, “I was obsessed with figuring that out. The way I figure it out is I try different things, night after night, and I’ll stumble into it at some point, or not. If I love the joke, I’ll wait. If it takes me three years, I’ll wait.” Finally, in late August, during a performance, the cricket cage snapped into place. “The breakthrough was doing this”— Seinfeld traced a square in the air with his fingers, drawing the board. “Now I can just say, ‘The board is flowing water,’ and do this, and they get it. A board that was made of flowing water was too much data. Here, I’m doing some of the work for you. So now I’m starting to get applause on it, after years of work. They don’t think about it. They just laugh.”

And you’ll like this:

I met him later in his dressing room at the Riverside, where he was about to take the stage for a 10 p.m. performance. His jacket hung from a rack in the corner, and he was on a couch in shirt sleeves, dipping pretzels into a Skippy jar, watching the Yankees game, feeling good. Schiff, his opener, was there, too. A car commercial featuring Shaquille O’Neal came on. “Look at this horrible sweater they put him in,” Seinfeld said. “You can see how his knees are hurting him when he comes down those stairs.” O’Neal called the car stylish. “ ‘Stylish?’ ” Seinfeld repeated. “With your sweater vest on?” The game resumed, and Ichiro Suzuki, the lean Yankees outfielder, approached the plate. “This is the guy I relate to more than any athlete,” Seinfeld said. “His precision, incredible precision. Look at his body type — he’s made the most of what he has. He’s the hardest guy to get out. He’s fast. And he’s old.”

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver