Thursday, December 30, 2004

Christmas in Vienna 

Everyone does lists this time of year. Best this, worst that. Only Mitch McCabe brings us the the five best things about Vienna.

New Year's Resolution You Can Keep 

I was wondering if I would get around to making a list of resolutions for the new year when I decided that it might be a good idea to review how well I kept to 2004's resolutions.

1. Forget about last year. 2003 is so 2003.

Well that was easy. Drink to forget.

2. Throw out your Uggs. What the fuck did you buy them for anyway? Ugly is out this year.

This was a resolution for the rest of you. And it didn't work. You just went out and got even uglier and more ridiculous arctic boots.

What's worse, I finally saw a girl who made them look hot. I was in Chicago in November. It was freezing fucking cold. She had on a tiny denim skirt that was completely ridiculous in that weather. On her feet were these enormous furry things. She was so hot that it me believe in God.

3. Get better drugs. That shit you've been doing is totally over. You need to rotate into something new. Also, see a dentist because you've fucked up your molars with all that grinding.

Nope. Same old drugs. Oh, except smoking. I started smoking a year ago and that's been going along really well.

4. Get a better drug dealer. Your guy sucks. He's late, his gear is crap and he's becoming a bit too familiar with your habits.

Same drugs, same drug dealer.

5. No more fucking the Strokes. Their new cd sounds just like their old cd, and that started sounding so last year like three years ago. They're not famous anymore, okay?

I can barely remember who these guys were? Doesn't one of them date a Charlie's Angel?

6. Drink more. This is going to be the year of the bender. Trust me. Start practicing now.

In spades. I think I just about won the pony with this one.

7. Stop using hip-hop slang, yo. Okay, you're not going to do this but I had to try.

Damn, yo. People still talking like they cutting a albumn with Hova.

8. Adopt the seven habits of highly successful New Yorkers: not giving a shit about anyone else, cocaine, repeating yourself, cocaine, cocaine, brunch, cocaine.

Definitely succeeded in the every signle one of these. Especially the part about being more selfish. Es.Peci.Ally.

9. Watch more television. You are going to do this anyway, so I want credit for it.

Forgot this one. Only really watching Lost and the Wire. There's always next year.

10. Don't quit anything. We love you just as you are.

Ah. Bless. I love you all too.

Win An Evening With Manhattan Transfer 

Well, okay. Not a whole evening. But perhaps a brief tryst in which you will buy me whiskey and I'll tell you lies that will make you feel pretty and smart.

What's everyone doing for New Year's? I've got some action lined up if anyone wants to tag along but I'm looking for more. Post a comment or send me an email with your plans. The reader with the bestest plans wins. The opportunity of a lifetime! A major award!

Important Update: I wrote this over at Brother Lawrence's Funeral and when I read it this morning I couldn't help but be impressed at the wit and wisdom I had displayed in his comments. It seemed unfair to deprive the readers of Manhattan Transfer of this stuff. Also, it might help some lucky reader out there Win (Part of) An Evening With Manhattan Transfer!
I usually spend the New Year's eve moving between parties, sipping whiskey from a flask because I'm stuck trying to hail cabs in the freezing cold, crashing parties I'm not invited to, drinking altogether too much and waking up in/with places/people that I shouldn't never have been in/with, much less slept in/with.

My usual rules for life apply to New Year's Eve: avoid anything that costs so much you feel you need to stay to get your money's worth even if it sucks; avoid crowded open bars because it's impossible to get a drink, the drinks will be weak, you'll end up paying for the good stuff anyway and you'll tip heavily trying to impress pissed-off bartenders who will nonetheless forget you; avoid anywhere you are tempted to go to because you think there will be lots of attractive members of the sex you to which you are attracted because you'll always be disappointed and everyone else there will be desperate also; and stay away from anything in a neighborhood that you cannot easily get out of.

On my tentative To Do List for NYE2005:

Gogol Bordello is playing at North Six. Hutz is spinning afterwards. Expect everything noisy, sweaty, drunken and incomprensible. Things will get broken.

Oh, and that Motherfucker thing is happening. Bravery playing at 3 a.m. Expect long lines of fidgetty hipsters.

After that I the lowdowntown people are doing their thing at their place. Re-live your early nineties raver period. Party like it's 1992! Runs until 9 am.

Will Someone Please Turn On The Interwebs 

It's been very quiet around here lately. Too quiet. I think Andrew Krucoff broke the internets when he took over Gawker.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Christmas Night at the Manhattan Transfer Family Compound 

After Christmas dinner, the Manhattan Transfer family retires to the cards and games room. Smokes are passed around, and the good scotch is poured. Let us listen in to the holiday merrymaking.

Questioner: "What was the name of the Bush family cat that led to protests at the U.S. Embassy in Bombay?"

Teammate 1: "Dude, I've got this. It's got to be something that would offend Indians!"

Teammate 2: "Wow. You are good. I cannot believe that I am so lucky to have you as my teammate."

Teammate 3: "Or maybe it's something to do with the word 'family.' Like the Bush girls got to name him?"

Teammate 2: "Oh, great. Now we're fucked. Have you ever played this game before? You're fired."

Teammate 1: "I think it's Vishnu! Or Ghandi! Wait. Wait. Curry!"

Teammate 3: "No. The Bush girls. I think it was tequilla shots!"

Teammate 2: "Argh! Shut the fuck up. Both of you. It's got to be Ghandi. That's our answer."

Questioner: "Sorry. The answer is 'India.'"

Teammate 3: "Those fuckers. I'd be totally happy if the President named his cat after my country. Here Ooo-Sa. Here Ooo-sa."

[Last Year: Manhattan Transfer's Merry Christmas]

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Merry Christmas 

I'm off to spend Christmas with the Manhattan Transfer family up in the MT Family Estate, where we keep Christmas with an almost comic level of tradition. If you're a friend and need a place to stay or have no-one with whom to spend Christmas, please give me a ring or send an email. There's plenty of room.

Needless to say, there won't be any of this blogging business until sometime after Christmas day. But I'll go out Terry Teachout style, with a wonderful little quote you've never read before:
"If a man called Christmas Day a mere hypocritical excuse for drunkeness and gluttony, that would be false, but it would have a fact hidden in it somewhere. But when Bernard Shaw says that Christmas Day is only a conspiracy kept up by Poulterers and wine merchants from strictly business motives, then he says something which is not so much false as startling and arrestingly foolish. He might as well say that the two sexes were invented by jewellers who wanted to sell wedding rings." - GK Chesterton.
Oh yeah, and as the kid says, "God bless us, everyone!"

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Through A Whiskey Glass, Darkly 

“What the fuck? This is why I put ten dollars at a time into the jukebox—to prevent the fuckwads from playing shit like this!”

It was half-past midnight and the jukebox was filling the air of the Village Tavern with a mournful ballad. I didn't need mournful music that night because I was mournful enough. It was only Tuesday and it had been a tough week. The temperature had spiked down to the single digits. There had been trouble with my boss. My dog had an appointment to be put down by the vet later in the week. The world seemed a colder, darker and less friendly place than it had just a few weeks ago.

It wasn't just me. You could see the song’s down-tempo and sadness working its way into the hearts of the bar attenders. Glasses were lifted with a bit of hesitation. Glances shot toward the door to the street. Women remembered that they had power point presentations early in the morning. The hunger in the eyes of the men as they watched the women lost a bit of its ferocity.

Danny got up from where we were sitting at the end of the bar. He walked through the crowded room to the juke box, passing through groups of men and women and some mixed groups. The exclusively female groups were the easiest to pass through, the exclusively male groups the most difficult. The women made way and watched as Danny passed. The men needed to be tapped on the shoulder and asked to move aside, which they did so only after a grudging pause.

“People used to get killed a lot more in bars,” Sully said to me. “I’m not sure why but killing people in bars is out of fashion. You can see why it happens though. Interactions between unacquainted males always have the potential for trouble. I think it’s the presence of women that has helped calm things down.”

I wasn’t listening closely because now that Danny had made it to the juke box without incident, my attention was focused on the pretty Irish bartender who should have been refilling my glass with whiskey but was flirting with a guy near the beer taps. After a moment what Sully had said sunk in and I replied, “Shouldn’t the presence of women make it worse? Sexual competition and all that.”

“I’m not sure why, but it doesn’t. Maybe women don’t want overtly violent males. Or maybe nature has selected for women who favor men who don’t commit violence around women because guys who don’t hit each other around women are less likely to hit the women also,” Sully said.

“Good point.” I had the bartender’s attention now. She smiled at me a smile that made me feel like I was the most charming drunk in the western world. “Three glasses of Jamesons, please. Two on the rocks. One neat. Thanks.”

Danny got back. His songs hadn’t hit the jukebox yet. Now we were listening to someone inquire why a desperado won’t come down from his fences. “Tough fucking crowd. I thought I was going to have to throw down on that guy in the Abercrombie hat. It’s anarchy out there.”

“Not anarchy,” Sully said. “It’s just a reversion to a primitive state of organization.”

“Fucking Hobbesian war of all against all, alright,” Danny said.

“Not that either. Not such thing as a Hobbesian state of individuals. People organize in packs, groups. It’s a war of groups of friends against groups of strangers. Help your friends, hurt your enemies,” Sully said.

The bartender reached our corner with the whiskeys. I slid the money across the bar. I knew I was tipping her too much. I knew that it wouldn’t make her fall in love with me or loosen the grip of Christian morals and good taste that were likely preventing her from bunking with me for the night. But she was a good bartender and she made us feel welcome, and feeling welcome is something I’m willing to pay extra for these days.

Sully and Danny were still discussing the politics of small groups. They had moved from warring bands to the formation of state while I was paying for our drinks. I forget which represented the state—the bartenders or the bouncers. I thought I should get in on the conversation.

“According to libertarian theory, the state is imposed by outsiders who come in to exploit the stateless, peaceful folks. Like a fucking extortionist hitting up this bar for ‘protection money.’ Or that’s what Alfred Crock says,” I said. I’m pretty sure I meant Albert Jay Nock.

“That’s bullshit. If it was purely exploitative, purely imposed from the outside, how the hell would it become so prevalent? There’s got to be an efficiency operating here,” Danny said. When he isn’t drunk, Danny is an economist at an investment bank.

“There is. And I’ll tell you what it is,” Sully said. He took a large swig from his neat whiskey. “In primitive, stateless groups, every male has to fight. All are warriors. This makes the death in war rate very, very high. It also retards progress because everyone needs to be a warrior as well as whatever else they do.”

“Right. No proper division of labor,” Danny said.

I took out my little moleskin notepad and started taking notes. This was getting good and with six or seven whiskeys already down my throat I doubted that my memory would operate at full power. A few minutes earlier I had caught myself admiring how handsome I was in the mirror behind the bar. I knew I was drunk. I’m always better looking when I’m drunk.

“So at some point the guys who are good at fighting, who might even like it, make a deal with the rest of their tribe. Look, we’ll fight if you feed us," Sully said.

"You work; I'll eat. Sounds like great deal to me."

"Shut up a minute. Because it turns out this is a very good deal for the tribe. It lowers their mortality rate and allows for increased productivity from specialization in non-warrior skills,"Sully said.

"Three more of these," Danny called out to the bartender. And then to Sully, "Don't tell me to shut up, yo."

"So if this productivity increase is great enough, the warrior tax almost pays for itself. So tribes that are inclined to specialize out populate those that insist on the ‘everyone fights’ rule,” Sully said.

I noticed two girls standing behind me glance over my shoulder at my notepad. They were slender and had bright eyes. One was blonde and wore wireless glasses. The other had brown hair and a short, woven sweater skirt. Both pulled their hair back from their faces in tight pony-tails. “Is that your little black book?” the girl with wireless glasses asked.

“Sort of,” I told her. I turned to face her and held out the notepad. I had just written ‘Sully’s is Platonic theory of the state—guardians organized internally to ward off outside aggressors.’ They passed the notepad back and forth. Sully and Danny were still talking but I wasn’t listening anymore. I was concentrating on being a very good looking drunk.

“I see. Instead of writing down numbers of girls you pick-up, you use your little black book to pick-up girls,” the girl with the glasses said.

“Only the sort of girls who are impressed by esoteric, whiskey soaked political philosophy spruced up with references to ancient Greece,” I said.

She smiled. Danny's songs kicked in on the jukebox. "Breaking my back just to know your name," the Killers sang. Through the dim lighting of seven glasses of whiskey I thought I detected the possibility that she was exactly that kind of girl.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Damned if You Do, Damned if You Don't 

In a bar on a Monday night a lovely young woman asks, "Hey, how come you put something my sister said in your weekend quotes but nothing from me?"

"I would have but you only said sensible things," I say

"Bullshit. I make as little sense as anyone in this bar."

Over IM, Kiki reassures me that I should be pleased at this reaction:"It's always a good sign when people are trying to dumb themselves down around you."

Performance Enhancing Drugs 

Not steroids and not viagra. I'm too perfectly at ease with my whiskey built physique to seek the former and too, uhm, excitable to have any of the problems requiring the latter (even under the extreme chemical condition that I all too often find myself in these days).

No. What I need is something to cure my chronic inattentiveness. I'm constantly distracted from things like girlfriends, dates, keys and my job. Pretty much everything except whiskey. If we all work together, I'm pretty sure we can build a better me throug ritalin.

If anyone knows any doctors or head-shrinkers who are, uhm, not too shy about prescribing the stuff, please drop me a line.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Bernie goes from talking about taking his date out to MoMA to explaining how he ended up the target of teenagers taunting "Fat boy shit his pants, fat boy shit his pants."

It's pretty much work safe unless you can get fired for laughing too hard.

Things People Said To Me Over the Weekend 

"There's no way I'm going to that party. I haven't been on the Upper East Side in eight years."

"I broke up with my girlfriend because of my frozen pipes."

"They won't serve you here anymore. Let's go to a bar where they aren't prejudiced against drunk people."

"I don't even want to talk to you about Thursday night. You looked more sober last Saturday in your Santa costume."

"Dude, fuck them. They were all too blacked-out on Thursday to even remember what you were like. You were fine."

"I hope when I'm a drunk, I'm you're kind of drunk. The falling down kind."

"Oh, you don't want me using the phone when I'm driving you huh? Then no radio for you. It's quiet cab time. Enjoy."

"I forgot how charming you are, MT. You make it so easy to forget."

"I'm too hungover to be a rockstar tonight, MT. How about I just be the roadie?"

"How long do I have to be drunk in this party before you decide to show up?"

"I think she wants to lick my Santa beard. Ho. Ho. Ho. Don't tell her I found it in a puddle on the roof."

"You have a list of eight parties in your pocket? You wrote it down? This is excellent. Let's get blackout drunk and just hand the list to the cab driver."

"Lester Bangs used to live here. You know, the music writer. Now it's just a bunch of fucked up kids on meth."

"You called me at 4 a.m. I didn't wake up but your message was awesome. You said, 'I remember when you used to rock. Click.'"

"It's Sunday and you're not out? People are going to start a rumor you're in rehab. Actually, I'm starting that rumor right now."

After two weeks of non-stop Christmas parties, I'm now crumpled up behind my desk like the last few dollars I have left in my pocket. Thanks to all the fellow drunks and enablers for a fantastic Christmas season.

Also, check out Where have all the Wingmen Gone???? [via The Cow Monkey]

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

A Dissent 

I’m taking a risk by writing this because it is just about the least cool thing for a blogger to write. I’m willing to risk it however because I feel need to rethink what has become a stifling conformity about blogging. Now bloggers come in all shapes and sizes but nearly everyone agrees that blogging is not a proper topic for literature. Today’s New York Times article about bloggers writing novels quotes all the usual suspects but everyone insists on making it clear that not only are they not writing about bloggers, they find the very idea revolting.

The Time's quotes Wonkette saying: "I don't know how interesting a book just about the blogosphere would be. It'd just be people sitting in front of their computers."

Hold on a minute. Sure bloggers do their blogging in front of a computer but that is hardly all they do. They also fall in love, betray friends, muddle through family crises, get in fights, work in day jobs, fall when they will and rise when they must.

What’s more, bloggers are hardly the only ones who spend a good part of the day in front of a computer. Take people who work in finance—they also spend their days working largely in front of computers. Actually, they often spend their nights there as well. I would wager that the average blogger spends far less time with their fingers on a keyboard than the average financial professional. So are we to have no literature with finance professionals? What about novels about people who work for magazines or writers? No more of these? Are all the bloggers writing about people who don’t spend their time around computers? What do these people do? Are only cops and adventurers and bartenders and blue collar workers and fashion models the proper subjects of novels?

Hasn’t something gone wrong when something as ubiquitous in contemporary life as spending one’s before a computer is a disqualifier for inclusion in literature? Perhaps I am taking the remarks too literally. Maybe the problem is that people think blogging is unimportant or uninteresting. Now I don’t think that this can really be true because the people who are saying these things either are or were bloggers. They might say it in a self-deprecating way but their activities betray their words.

I suppose what they could mean is that blogging might be interesting to a narrow set of people but not to a broader audience. I like this kind of answer because it almost conforms with my own elitism. Unfortunately, it is a half-way elitism because it assumes we should only be writing for a broader audience. If blogging is for the few, why cannot the few have their novels? But to be perfectly honest, I think this is still only two-thirds elitist enough. I think the truth is that bloggers are on to something interesting, and that much of what goes on in the lives of the bloggers I know is interesting enough to be appealing to readers.

Think for a moment about historical precedents. Suppose we were living in the roaring twenties, drinking illicit gin and dancing with girls with short hair. Now suppose all the writers were announcing that they wouldn’t write about this stuff because while it was how they spent their time, it wasn’t important, interesting or likely to be widely appreciated. They all want to write about the British Empire. Luckily, we’ve got this guy named Scott Fitzgerald who is willing to risk writing The Great Gatsby. (Incidentally, the narrator of Gatsby spends his days studying to be a bond trader—not exactly thrilling stuff.)

Or suppose we were ex-pats living in Paris. Maybe there was a war recently. Everyone wants to write about the war, certainly not our alcohol soaked fishing trips to Spain, right? I mean, who cares about a bunch of sauced journalists picking up Parisian whores or beating up bullfighters? We’re real writers, right? Not some self-promotional gits trying to make a buck of some short-lived trend. Luckily, Hemingway didn’t feel this way.

Of course, it’s suicidal for anyone engaged in writing to compare themselves or their contemporaries with literary giants. It’s like comparing your enemies to Hitler. You automatically lose the argument. So I will surrender. I’ve lost this argument but I don’t care. Sometimes literature requires a bit of careless hubris. Sometimes we need writers who will admit (to quote a questionable source who was quoted in year-old issue of the Believer) that “We are important and our lives are important, magnificent really, and their details are worthy to be recorded. This is how writers must think, this is how we must sit down with pen in hand. We were here; we are human beings; this is how we lived.”

So I’ll confess. I’m writing a novel with characters who blog. It’s a dirty job but someone’s got to do it. I apologize in advance for breaking the rules.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

It Happened This Year: New York Magazine—Blogosphere Mash-Up 

I’m going to leave the personal retrospective for another time. There’s no use crying over spilled whiskey, and even less use bringing tears to others by spilling it in their eyes over and over again. The people I have hurt, betrayed and owe money to know who they are. Luckily I know who they are also, and I’ve done a good job of laying low.

Nonetheless, when one finds oneself as fascinating as, to be honest, we all find me, it’s hard to write about anything else without the proper inspiration. Thankfully, we have the year-end issue of New York Magazine. It’s got some superb pieces, by writers I love to read—Jay McInerney, Vanessa Grigordiadis, Chris Lehmann, Kurt Andersen, David Amsden, Hugo Lindgren. But I don’t know any of these people—unless you count the awkward moments with Vanessa at last New Year’s Eve party, full-on bourbon induced black-out conversations with Chris in Union Square dive bars or the recent whiskey-in-the-ear incident at the twentieth anniversary of Jay McInerney’s Bright Lights, Big City. And I’m far more interested in people I know, if simply because, by virtue of their proximity to me, they remind me of myself.

This got me thinking, don’t we need a blogster year-end wrap up? What if New York Magazine had asked blogsters (and a few writers who just drink with bloggers) to cover their year end stories? Well, they probably would have got a lot of notes about how all the pieces were going to be late because everyone was too hungover to write anything. In a last ditch effort to save the issue, however, the editors could have just complied the earlier blog writings on the assigned stories. It would have looked something like this.
Introduction—By Manhattan Transfer

The Republicans Got Us Drunk—by Swamp Citizens Meghan and Will.

McGreevey Covers His Ass—by Rob Sterling.

Overdone Meatpacking District—by Andrew Krucoff

Continuing Internet Fantasies—by Nick Denton

We Still Cousins? Why Iraq Won’t Work—by Steve Sailer

You’re Apartment Sucks—by Curbed

The Malling of New York—Gothamist

One Generation of Iconic Bars Makes Way for the Next—by NYCBP

Sex and the City—by Paul Frankenstein

Shhhhh…It Girls—by The Superficial

Martha Stewart’s Book Cooking—by Elizabeth Spiers

How the POD People Killed the DJ—by Stereogum

FreshDirect’s War Against the LES—by Lockhart Steele

Banking: It’s Not All Coke & Hookers Anymore, Except When It Is—by DNasty

Satellite Radio—by BuzzMachine

Poor Baby High Line—by Choire Sicha

Firefighters—by Maccers

Let’s Kill All the Architects—Curbed

Anarchy in Hell’s Kitchen, Or the Plot Against the GOP That Didn’t Really Work Out–by Hereitype

They Tore Brooklyn Down, And Put Up a Basketball Court—by Tennessee Whiskey

We’re In Charge of the Party That Isn’t In Charge of Anything—by Swamp City

The Yankees Go Down—by Lockhart Steele

Memories of Ice Rinks and Blood Feuds—by Ben McGrath

Poker? I Just Met Her—by La D

Cupcakes Take New York—by Standard Deviance

Step on a Crack, Get Electrocuted—by Gothamist

Old People's Clothes Against Young People's Clothes-by Meghan Stier

Get your hair did—by Maccers and Eurotrash

Slice of Life—by Slice

Getting Brazilian—by Ali-Z

When We Say Food, We Mean Sushi—by Night In the Big City

Honey I Blew Up the Museum—by Manhattan Transfer

My Own Private Art Museum (Or How I Got Maud, Maccers and Sarah Into My Apartment)—by Terry Teachout

Movies That Don’t Suck—by Cinetrix

The Most Important Women Playwrights I Have Known—by Manhattan Transfer

Does Anyone Remember Laughter?—by Nichelle’s Newsletter

How to Score Drugs and Influence People—by Uch

Art As a Bad Idea-by TMFTML

I Heart Jon Stewart—by Lindsay Robertson

[Ed. Did you really just go through every single one of the stories in the year-end section of New York Magazine and replace it with stories by bloggers? Uhm, yeah. Sorry about that. Sometimes I changed the titles of the stories but they are all thematically linked to the stories from New York. Ed. Did you forget your meds today? Does it show? Ed.A wee bit, laddy. Well, I actually would have liked to link to individual posts for each one rather than just the entire lbog but I couldn't find all the pieces I wanted. You can help if you want by finding individual permalinks? Ed. Oh, no. You're on your fucking own with this one. Maybe one of the nutters who read this will help, though. I doubt it. They're always drunk.]

Monday, December 13, 2004

Blogging on Monday is Hard 

We'll have all sorts of love and crime and Bowery midnight seemesstery up tomorrow.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

I Knew It Was Only A Matter of Time Before the Word Got Out 

I think my ex-girlfriends must all work for Google. What other explanation could there be for my number one ranking in the category of Manhattan Men to Avoid?

How To Survive Your Holiday Party: A Manhattan Transfer Classic 

The hardest thing about writing so well is that once I have touched upon a subject there really is nothing much left to say. My perfect command of the language combined with my keen social observation and sharp wit render superfluous every further word on the subjects of my blogging. The only alternative is repetition. Fortunately, the pitch of my writing is so perfect that it only gets better the second time around.

There are enough of you out there who are stuck once again drinking your way through holiday parties that I thought it miserly to hold back from you the yuletide joys of last year's guide to suriving the holiday party season. Thus I give you:

How to Survive the Season: Let's be honest. The holiday party season is horrific. You have to go to lots of parties thrown by people who have no business having parties—people like your boss. It's perfectly natural to invoke the powers of booze and drugs to help cope with the season.

And the New York Post's guide to surviving holiday parties doesn't cut it, does it? I mean, look at number eight—"You're not drinking and everyone else is." What the fuck are they talking about? Here's an alternate guide to seasonal survival.

Scenario 1: You can't remember the name of the co-worker you are making out with in the supply cabinet.
Try to keep her mouth occupied in ways other than talking. If necessary, call her "baby" and "beautiful." In my experience you should never resort to "mami" unless you are of the Latin persuasion. The fact is she probably doesn't remember your name either. Unless you are her boss. Then you're fucked.

Scenario 2: You are trapped in conversation with somebody boring. (The David Eggers Syndrome).
Retreat to the bar. He'll follow you but the point isn't to lose him. It's to drink him away. Grab something strong enough to be irresponsible and make it a double. Drink for as long as he talks. Eventually you'll develop the super-power of time travel and won't remember a thing he said.

If this fails, try asking him lots of questions. Like who would win in a fight--cocaine or crystal meth? Or, who's the scarier alien--ET, Spock or Paris Hilton?

Scenario 3: The person you are talking to wants to escape. (The Vendela Vida Sydrome)
I cornered a very famous actress at a party thrown by a Big Bad Rapper. She was a wee-thing and absolutely terrified because I had just been through Scenario 2 and had my super powers on. She ended up convincing her hot friend to make out with me in order to provide an opportunity for her escape. That rocked.

Scenario 4: You are wearing the same outfit for three days straight because you haven't made it home.
If you're a male of the species, you should be wearing a suit. No one will notice. Just buy a clean shirt if necessary. If you're a female, you need to make some adjustments. I suggest progressive slutiness. Try shortening the skirt with scissors, or adding a slit. Plunge your neckline. Extra-skin always helps distract from your dissolute lifestyle.

Scenario 5: You run into your current significant other.
You're supposedly working late, and instead you run into your S.O. at a party. Retreat to the bar. Have two or three strong drinks. These will help you lie more effectively. Sneak into bedroom and steal a piece of jewelry. Tell S.O. you came here to surprise her with this fabulous gift. Insist you can only give it to her in private. Make out on the cab ride home to keep her mind off the utter implausibility of this scenario.

Scenario 6: You want to introduce yourself to someone.
Retreat to the bar. Have two or seven strong drinks. Insist on buying the person a drink even though its an open bar. Bonus hint: while a few drinks will make you boldly social, try not to fall down on people the first time you meet them.

Scenario 7: You suspect your drugs suck.
There's nothing worse than being on the verge of making loads of new friends, only to find yourself ostracized because you have dodgy drugs. The only way to know for sure is to sneak off somewhere private and do your own stuff alone. If it sucks, you haven't made any new enemies. If it's good, you haven't wasted good stuff on those people you barely know anyway.

Scenario 8: You are undressed.
You never, ever want to be undressed in the office. Try to keep your clothes nearby, and don't let that hot assistant from the thirty-ninth floor snuggle up in your shirt after conference room sex. She will take it. And you will have to march back through the party sans one shirt.

Scenario 9: You are drinking more than everyone else is.
That's okay. You don't have a problem. Everyone else does. It's only a problem if the reason they aren't drinking so much is because they have really good drugs they aren't sharing.

Scenario 10: Someone throws up.
Someone? Please. We're talking about you here. Plants are good places to throw up. Avoid bathrooms and other places people are likely to be doing drugs. Windows can be spectacular but the danger of defenestrating yourself is too great. If you are in a cab, you are going to make a mess. Try to jump out when the cab is stopped at a light. Jumping out while it is moving is almost as dangerous as the window thing. Always try to have a drink immediately after throwing-up—it helps get rid of the stench and the taste. Also, take a couple of KGB pills.

When Life Serves You Lemons, Make Bourbon 

A friend of Brooklyn blogger Tennessee Whiskey gets laid off.
What he took with him:

Swingline Stapler

100 Sheets Cotton Bond Cream Paper (for resumes)

10 pens (some Pilot model that has been discontinued)

One of those spikes that you put messages on

5,000 Staples

What he left behind:

The plant his ex-girlfriend gave him after commenting that his cube lacked a "homey" feeling

The picture of his exgirlfriend which he had never bothered to toss and was now covered by numerous post-its and emails tacked to the wall

That day's lunch (Tuna sandwich, a banana and a yogurt, in a locked drawer)

His cell phone number with the receptionist, along with a note which read "I don't work here anymore so its okay, call me" (he figured it was worth a try)
And, of course, TW comes up with a plan to convert his friend's pink-slip into free drink tickets.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

You Sound Like You Need Some Cheering Up 

And so I bring you the definition of a Bar Stool Slut.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Lower East Side Web Presence 

Oh, look. The Lockhart Steele New Englander insurgency has returned to the lower east side. Expect retaliation from his mid-atlantic originating arch-enemy Andrew Krucoff soon.

Update: In a desperate plea for attention, Lockhart makes himself completely stalkable.

SAC We Hardly Knew Ye 

It's hard to believe that it's been just over eleven months since the interwebs first felt the wrath of that lanky man eating breakfast in a very small car. Actually, we had detected his presence before that when, like a trout rising to the bait, he linked to a few of our New York City blogs.

And now it is over. I was going prepare a lengthy exposition of the history of SAC, with links to his greatest hits. It would have been a masterpiece. You would have cried and perhaps cursed your cruel gods. But last night I lost the battle not to drink on Mondays so I cannot be bothered. Besides, SAC had already put together the Portable SITNNY, which I have preserved for your reading pleasure.

The Portable SITTNY

Rise of the Machines
Keeping Up With the Jones Mechanism
They Live!
Deliberately Deforming Nature
The Uncanny Valley
Ghost Visits the Ocean
The Long and Winding Road
Weegee Bored
Fish in a Barrel
Something Wonderful
Portrait of the Blogger as a Young Man
An Honor to be Nominated
You, Robot
Baby's on Fire

Good News: More Pills for the Modern Drunk 

I love the science section of the New York Times. Usually I read whatever it's running on human evolution and genetics, and then the math and physics articles. The environmental cannot hold my interest and the health articles are even worse.

Today was the exception. I skipped directly to the health article because for once it wasn't about obscure diseases or afflictions that afflict the elderly. It was about something really, really fucking important--The Cure for the Hangovers.
Last summer, a group of doctors reported in The Archives of Internal Medicine that an extract from the fruit of the prickly pear cactus, taken in capsule form, was effective in staving off hangover symptoms like dry mouth and nausea.

Perfect Equation of Vista, Calif., financed the research and has patented the extract, which it says is derived from the skin of the prickly pear, Opuntia ficus.
Of course, I have instructed my smoking hot assistant to get the prickly pear on order stat.

The Times article also discusses a product called Chaser, a pill made from charcoal and calcium carbonate that works by absorbing congeners, impurities in alcohol that are said to cause the worst hangovers. Since there are more congeners in dark alcohols, such as Jameson's Irish Whiskey, this is something I should have picked up a long time ago.

Actually, I read about this in the Village Voice back in July. At the time I decided not to link to it because I was pretty sure that one of the anecdotes was about me. The shame was too fresh. I've since forgotten the entire mess so I don't mind reprinting it here:
Esquire's cocktail writer, David Wondrich, was presented with a package of RU-21 by a "guy who was shockingly hammered" at a Bon Appétit party earlier this year. Wondrich has yet to take the pills. "He didn't exactly inspire me," explains the professional barfly.

You remember RU-21 right? It was the miracle hangover cure that I was pushing last year around this time. The stuff really works well, even if it slowly dissolves your soul.

It's shocking to me that people think they can still get away with this kind of paternalistic logic:
Most popular remedies, including those sold over the counter, have no peer-reviewed research to back up their assertions. Some experts argue that even conducting such research raises ethical issues.

The development of a foolproof hangover cure, for example, might encourage people to drink more, knowing they could take a pill to avoid suffering the next day.
Uhm, fuck you. No, really, fuck off.

One of these days I'm going to get around to writing out the full Manhattan Transfer hangover prevention system. And I hope it does encourage you to drink more. Because drinking more is really nice. Maybe after I've had a chance to try the prickly pear and the Chaser.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Gawker Drinks in the Meatpacking District So You Don't Have To 

Excellent excursion to the meatpacking district's worst hell-holes, undertaken by the intrepid Andrew Krucoff and photographer Nikola Tamindzic.

I hope they poured a bit of drink out of the cobblestones in memory of the Village Idiot.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

The Emotionally Unavailable Alcoholic’s Guide to Holiday Romance 

It’s that time of year when even the most independent of lads can get a little desperate for more companionship than one can find in the bottom of a bottle of Jameson’s Irish Whiskey. If I thought it would make any difference, I’d tell you that you should avoid becoming involved with the lasses during this season. It’s just too dangerous, and will almost certainly lead to disaster. But it wouldn’t make a difference. These winter nights are too long and too cold to avoid the urge to spend them with someone shorter and warmer.

Instead I offer you this guide to holiday romance, with one type of girl to avoid for each day of December.

1. Avoid any girl you meet in the bar where you and your
friends are watching a game. She thinks she’s figured out guys. She hasn’t. She’ll fuck everything up all the while thinking she’s very clever about men.

2. Avoid any girl who wears jewelry given to her by her ex-boyfriend on your first date. She is still in love with him, and only him, and will still be wondering why no-one else ever gives her anything nice when she’s living with six cats and getting her meals on wheels.

3. Avoid any girl who tells you she hates her ex-boyfriend. She hates herself.

4. Avoid any girl with a bad haircut. She spends enormous amounts of time and money on her hair and if it is still fucked, she’s incurable.

5. Avoid any girl with poor hygiene or too much hair where too much hair doesn’t belong on women. If you ever attempt to help her out on this score, she’ll hate you for it. And then she’ll take all your advice and look great for the next guy she sleeps with.

6. Avoid any girl who has lots of overly-enthusiastic male testimonials on Myspace. She’s an attention whore.

7. Avoid any girl who is dating on match.com, yahoo personals or j-date. She’s got commitment issues, and since you’re an emotionally unavailable alcoholic, neither of you will ever call each other.

8. Avoid any girl on anti-psychotics. She’ll go off her meds one day and plant a corkscrew in your ribcage.

9. Avoid any girl with more tattoos than you. She’ll never respect you.

10. Avoid any girl who has rules or tests for men she dates. She should be on anti-psychotics.

11. Avoid any girl who doesn’t drink. Do I need to say anything else here?

12. Avoid dating a girl just because she is your favorite bartender. Where are you going to drink when you want to forget her?

13. Avoid any girl who won’t make out with you in a taxi. She lacks a properly functioning sexual instinct.

14. Avoid any girl whose best friend just got dumped by her boyfriend. Together they are a committee of manhaters and you are the next target for hate.

15. Avoid any girl who tells you she thinks she feels a spark between the two of you. Her mind is trapped in a Sweet Valley High novel.

16. Avoid any girl who talks about her father on her first date. She’ll demand you spend the night at her place but will only want to cuddle.

17. Avoid any girl who won’t kiss you if your breath smells like whiskey. She has oral-purity issues that are undesirable.

18. Avoid any girl who wants to monopolize your time on New Year’s Eve. The night is too wrought with emotions and memories. Spend time with as many different people as possible or else stay home and alternate heroin and absinthe until you pass out at twenty till midnight. Also, she's probably on ritalin and won't share it.

19. Avoid any girl who won’t wear a skirt in winter. The winter is too long as it is without having to do without legs. You'll end up in the stairwell of a Christmas party making out with a girl in skirt.

20. Avoid any girl who cries when she’s drunk. Her self-pity will destroy you.

21. Avoid any girl who you think looks even hotter when she is miserable. You will destroy each other.

22. Avoid any girl who tries to come off as more emotionally unavailable and cavalier about relationships than you are. She’s secretly a tightly wound bundle of need.

23. Avoid any girl you’ve dated before. Pace Friedrich, if the first time is tragedy, the second time will just be worse.

24. Avoid any girl in a poncho. She’s a slave to fashion and will try to make you use expensive hair-products.

25. Avoid any girl you meet at Cocaine Anonymous. She won’t do drugs with you.

26. Avoid any girl who you never found attractive before but suddenly looks hot. You’re drunk.

27. Avoid any girl who tells you she wasn’t interested in you when you first met but has now developed feelings for you. She’s just been dumped and is desperate.

28. Avoid any girl who buys you shoes for Christmas. You will return them for ones you like and she’ll hate you forever.

29. Avoid any girl you meet at an office party. She is your boss's wife and wants to hurt him.

30. Avoid any girl who knows the names of all the bartenders in more than four bars. She’s out of your league.

31. Avoid any girl you meet near the Conde Nast building. She’s writing a book and you are going to be in it if you don’t watch out.

Bonus Round: Avoid any girl who tells you that you are emotionally unavailable. She’s got your number.

[Apologies to the obvious candidates. You know who you are.]

Update: Stephanie Klein strikes back--Men to Avoid.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

The Museum of Modern Art in Bits and Bites 

I walked over to the MoMA during my lunch break this afternoon. Because it’s only a few blocks away from the Manhattan Transfer midtown offices and has three different restaurants, I’ve signed up for a membership with hopes to eat lunch and take in some art at least once a week. Membership eliminates the need to stand on the tickets line or pay the twenty-dollar fee with each visit, which makes the MoMA much more inviting.

It was my second to the newly re-opened space. The first was during one of the many opening parties. I ran into Felix Salmon that night and he walked our small party around the second floor of the museum, making what sounded to my untutored ear very informed comments about the art. I was overserved scotch that night, however, so I cannot recall much of what we saw or what Felix told us.

I didn’t really have a plan for this visit. Or rather my plan was just to go and see what happens. I ate lunch in the Barr Room, sitting at long marble bar. The food is served in very small, tapas style portions at not so small prices. Since I think the typical New York lunch involves too much food, even from my local salad place, the portions were a relief. More importantly, they serve wine by the half glass, which is ideal if you are pressed for time and need to show up at a client meeting with your wits about you. (I know, I know: what happened to the three pinot grigio lunches? There’s a time and place for everything, even sobriety; sometimes it just doesn’t make sense to turn your blood into wine too early in the day.)

After lunch I went up to the fifth floor gallery labeled Painting and Sculpture I, which holds the earliest works in the MoMA’s collection. Immediately to your left as you enter there are three oil on canvas paintings by Cezanne. The first, against the backwall and so behind you as you enter, is “Still Life with Ginger Jar, Sugar Bowl and Oranges”

Actually this picture of the painting makes it look much brighter than it is. The oranges are muted, almost blending with the browns of the background the way they do in his paintings of card players. The table-cloth or rug looks about right in this picture, though. If you’ve seen the “Basket of Apples” in Chicago or “Still Life” in Cambridge, you might have the wrong impression of this painting. It lacks the powerful color those of those paintings. It is a more subdued, stiller still life.

“Chateau Noir”--a painting of an oranged, perhaps stucco Mediterranean house with foliage in the foreground--is more dynamic and surprisingly full. The colors of this landscape are actually very similar to the Still Life, with the blues of the sky replacing the background browns. The painting is off-center—all of the action is on the left--and its deep sky space is a bit unbalancing. The brush-strokes leave thick globs of paint that protrude from the surface, a stark contrast from the smooth texture of the painting that follows, “Pines and Rocks.”

The last Cezanne in this sequence is vertically oriented, the trunks of the pine trees slicing the painting lengthwise. Like “Chateau Noir” greens, blues and browns dominate. There is an effect of movement created by the unsteady edges where the greens of the pines meet the blues of the sky, as if there were wind in the trees. Oddly, I find now that I cannot recall anything at all about the rocks, as if the tall trees and sky had distracted my attention away from the other half of the painting.

After the three Cezannes I decided I had seen enough. And I realized I had formulated a plan for visiting the MoMA in bits. It’s wonderful to know that there’s no need to rush through an exhibit. A few paintings at a time, a tapas-sized portion of art, taken either before or after a few bites to eat, please.

News from the Interwebs 

Rick Bruner blogs about the Real Gilligan's Island. MT Value Added: Rachel Hunter comes across as a really, really nice woman. Nicole Eggert has lost at least 50% of her hottnizzy. Must be all those sexed up movies she did with Corey's Feldman and, uhm, that other one.

Page Six produces a gossip item entirely based on something from Lindsayism. MT Value Added: Can we all agree that Lindsay is famous now and will someone make her rich already?

Why Does Music Suck? asks Steve Sailer. Mostly it seems to be the fault of the girls, who used to have really good taste but lost it at some point. MT Value Added: Musical taste in New York City is still totally under control of women, so whether Sailer's analysis of popular music applies to the NYC scene depends, I guess, on what you think of the NYC scene.