Monday, January 31, 2005

209 Bars: 14th Street & Below 

Like Tennessee Whiskey, I'm totally jealous of the 1000 Bars guy. What a great idea! A few years ago I was trying to sell some people on a documentary which would follow my attempt to go to every bar in New York City. The project never got off the ground, unfortunately.

I was curious about how many bars I've been to in this fair city. Quite a lot, it turns out. Off the top of my head I dashed off a list of 203 210 240 bars, none of which is north of 14th street. For now it's just a list, but when I get around to it, I'll try to tell some story involving each place. (Also, if you've been somewhere with me that I left off the list, drop me a reminder email or comment and I'll tack it on.)

The list runs in geographic clusters, more or less, with some room for free association on my part. To preserve the focus on bars, I've excluded places I went to principally for food, comedy or music. When I went to these places, I went to drink.

1. Ulysses
2. White Horse Tavern
3. Blarney Inn
4. John Street Bar and Grill
5. Jeremy’s Ale House
6. Rosie O’Grady’s
7. Orange Bear Bar
8. Milk & Honey
9. Patriot
10. Puffy’s Tavern
11. Winnies
12. Grace
13. Church Lounge @ Tribecca Grand
14. Bubble Lounge
15. Another Room
16. Tribeca Tavern
17. Bulgarian Bar
18. Nancy Whiskey
19. Good World
20. Toad Hall
21. Naked Lunch
22. Double Happiness
23. Odea
24. Happy Ending
25. Circa Tabac
26. The Falls
27. Spring Lounge
28. Thom’s Bar
29. A60
30. Barrio Chino
31. Gatsby’s
32. Sweet & Vicious
33. Anartcia
34. Loreley
35. Eight Mile Creek
36. Ear inn
37. Fanellis
38. Kenny's Castaways
39. Motor City
40. Miladys
41. Boss Tweeds
42. Merc Bar
43. Verlaine
44. The Delancey
45. Local 138
46. The Magician
47. Slipper Room
48. SX138
49. Milano’s
50. Epstein’s BAR
51. Pianos
52. Dark Room
53. Barramundi
54. Luna Lounge
55. Temple Bar
56. Max Fish
57. Mars Bar
58. 12”
59. Von
60. Sutra
61. Peculiar Pub
62. Red Lion
63. Sin-e
64. The Library
65. 1849
66. J.P. Wardes
67. Acme Underground
68. Lion’s Den
69. d.b.a.
70. The Dove
71. Parkside Lounge
72. The Slide
73. Fez
74. 2A
75. Odeon
76. Bowery Bar
77. 2X4
78. Café Wha
79. Baggot Inn
80. Serafina
81. KGB
82. Knitting Factory
83. Mercury Lounge
84. Guernica
85. Kettle of Fish
86. Chumley's
87. Scratcher
88. Lit
89. Three of Cups
90. Joe’s Pub
91. Ike
92. Sophie's
93. Phebes
94. Cherry Tavern
95. McSorley’s
96. Stoned Crow
97. Anatomy
98. Big Bar
99. Pyramid Club
100. Blue & Gold
101. Title Bar (WCOU Radio)
102. Grass Roots Tavern
103. Niagara
104. International Bar
105. Down the Hatch
106. Bull McCabes
107. Continental
108. Tribe
109. 7B
110. Holiday Cocktail Lounge
111. 55 Bar
112. Solas
113. Decibel
114. Angel’s Share
115. Central Bar
116. Open Air
117. Lucy’s
118. Black & White
119. The Otherroom
120. Doc Holidays
121. Coyote Ugly
122. Pioneer
123. Company
124. Vig Bar
125. WXOU Radio
126. Fiddlesticks
127. Nevada Smiths
128. Cedar Tavern
129. Automatic Slims
130. Lakeside Lounge
131. Bar None
132. Bowlmor
133. Pressure
134. Mickey’s Blue Room
135. Art Bar
136. Swift’s Hibernian
137. Nightingale
138. Keybar
139. Parlay
140. Zum Schneider
141. Johnny’s Bar
142. Mona’s
143. Blarney Cove
144. Village Idiot (RIP)
145. Music Box
146. Otto’s Shrunken Head
147. Nell’s (now NA)
148. Mission
149. Hogs & Heifers
150. Gaslight
151. The Cellar
152. Beauty Bar
153. On the C
154. Save the Robots
155. Pravda
156. Tom & Jerry’s
157. Bar Marche
158. Public
159. Puck Fair
160. Odessa
161. Julep
162. Barrow Street
163. Blind Tiger
164. Five Points
165. Opium Den (RIP?)
166. Tavern on Jane
167. Corner Bistro
168. Village Tavern
169. Bar Across from Village Tavern
170. Luke & Leroy's (Misshapes)
171. Lansky Lounge
172. Whiskey Ward
173. Welcome to the Johnsons
174. Arlene’s Grocery
175. Nice Guy Eddy’s
176. Sapphire Lounge
177. Bob
178. One on One
179. Sin sin
180. Ace Bar
181. Route 85A
182. Opaline
183. Sidewalk
184. Dempsey’s
185. CBGB
186. Astoria Lounge
187. Forbidden City
188. Mexican Radio
189. Great Jones Café
190. Baraza
191. Hi-Fi
192. Telephone
193. Xunta
194. Thirsty Scholar
195. Korova Milk Bar
196. Bar Veloce
197. Lucky Strike
198. Cupping Room
199. Café Noir
200. Kingshead Tavern
201. No Moore
202. Mudville 9
203. Raccoon Lodge
204. Cheap Shots
205. Grange Hall (RIP)
206. Black Star (RIP)
207. Corner Bistro
208. Nowhere
209. No Malice Palace
210. O'Hanlon's
211. Marion's
212. Sunburnt Cow
213. Lion's Head
214. Reservoir
215. Greenwich Brewing Company
216. Void
217. Don Hills
218. Mekka
219. Flat
220. Alchemy
221. C Note
222. 11th Street Bar
223. Bar 81
224. Manitoba's
225. Raven Cafe
226. Crime Scene
227. The Hanger
228. Old Homestead
229. Orange Valve
229. Elephant
230. Le Souk
231. Remote Lounge
232. Waikiki Wallys
233. Reade Street Pub
234. Nassau Bar
235. Suspenders
236. Off the Wagon
237. Slaughtered Lamb
238. Chetty Red
239. Lush
240. Croxely Ales

Man, I need a drink.


Andrew Krucoff, the long-time Nick Denton cleaner (you know--the guy who brings in the hack-saws and bleach and gets rid of the bodies), has settled down into a regular gig at Gridskipper, an urban travel blog. It's been live for a couple of hours now, and I'm already poaching links--like this one to a guy who has set out to visit 1000 New York bars in 2005. I'm pretty sure me and Mr. One Thousand are going to become good friends.

Also: Media Bistro relaunched today for the fourth time, now featuring blogs by Elizabeth Spiers and Claire Zulkey.

Finally, is there some rule that the New York Times has to cover blogging each Sunday? Don't get us wrong, the idea of a battle royale between Elizabeth and Jessica is totally hot.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Last Night 

Wow. The little leprechauns really got out of the bottle last night. I guess this is what happens when I quit drinking for a week. Nothing is clear at all but I'm pretty sure I didn't make it to No Data or the after-party karaoke at Winnies. I have some memory of being nearly concious in the Bulgarian bar. If I harmed you in anyway last night, I hope you'll join me in taking La'D's advice to adopt shriving this lenten season.

Update: Kill the Bird blogs about our Saturday night here. And you can read about the earlier, more sober part of the evening, here.

Saturday, January 29, 2005


Last night Blondie took me out to dinner at BLT Fish for my birthday. There was an hour and a forty minute wait for tables but we weren't eating at the tables. We were going to eat at the bar.

I love eating at restaurant bars and have a mental list of the best places for bar dining. The bar at Bar Marche has become my regular brunch spot. Perching at the Mesa Grill's bar for tequilla and southwestern fare is a wonderful way to spend an evening. Otto and Marco New York are also favorites. Bar dining, or barning as my friends call it, allows you to enjoy some of New York City's best food in a less formal and more social setting. There is no wait for a table, the informality of leaning against a bar encourages more relaxed conversation, and you can get to know your bartender in a way you'll never know a waiter. At one place I used to frequent, the pretty blonde bartender made a practice of always buying me my first glass of Jamesons.

We ordered the Sancere and settled into a couple of Lobster Rolls. The rolls were a surpise. Unlike the traditionally mayonaise-soaked shredded lobster, these were nearly unadorned chunks of lobster tail. They were served with an enormous portion of crispy, string-thin fries, which we ate with the tart vinegar the bartender set before us. We stayed for three more glasses of Sancere but skipped desert in favor of more drinks.

Somehow we wound our way down to Luna Lounge. After arriving in the city from Iowa a few years ago, Blondie and her sister regularly dominated the fooseball table at Luna, one of the most competitive in the city. The lager-lads and frat boys would invariably underestimate the table top soccer skills of these two gorgeous blonde girls who had obviously had a few too many vodka tonics. This didn't last long, and by the time the girls sunk the winning goal, the guys had been taught a lesson in what a couple of girls can learn in the midwest, where the weather is frequently too cold for outdoor entertainment. The freakishly tall bouncer, Valentino, still recognized Blondie when we arrived, and the two of them traded old stories about Luna for a bit. The bouncer told us that the bar is scheduled to close in February.

After a couple of cocktails we walked up to the Library, where bartenders Erin and Elizabeth were serving out their last shift. The place was more crowded than usual for a Friday night. I suppose a lot of drinkers had come to say their farewells. All the drinking had put me in a sentimental mood. As we left, I told Blondie I felt like New York City was shutting down all our old boozing haunts because it was trying to forget us.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

A Brief Respite 

There will likely be very little posting through the end of the week as I attempt to celebrate my birthday and complete some complex financial transactions the likes of which the world has never seen and will likely never understand. If I get a chance to come up for air, I'll try to post something. Perhaps on Friday afternoon, when no-one reads blogs anyway.

Plenty of stuff through the blogrolls, so have fun there. Back next week.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

New Mobile Phone 

Alright. I've got Sprint and my contract is up. I'm considering switching to a new service and I'm definitely getting a new phone. Anyone have any suggestions? Who's the best? What phone is the best?

It's Okay Because Stupid Men Can Just Date In Prison 

The New York Post's David Kane discovers that men and women disagree about how important it is to date someone smart.
I did some investigating, and asked a sampling of men and women if they preferred to date people who were A. a bit smarter than them; or B. a bit less intelligent.

Interestingly, all of the women responded smarter, while most men said they'd go for a girl who was just slightly dim(mer) witted.

Smarts are attractive, said the women, believing it to be an indicator of general ambition and direction in life.

Guys tended to favor women who were less intelligent, mainly because they didn't want their decisions second-guessed.

So, unless you're an ultra-brainy hetero woman, that works out just fine.
Look. I know we're not supposed to care very much about men on the left-side of the bell-curve, but here isn't it glaringly obvious that that this doesn't "work out fine" for dimmer men?

The Tuesday Contest 

We're continuing to add new features to Manhattan Transfer. In addition to regular features such as "Hot Chick on Thursday" and "I'm Too Hungover to Blog Friday," MT will now be offering a contest every Tuesday. The winner of each week's contest will receive something from the ManhattanTransfer treasury, which is stocked full of excess booze, wine, music, books and tickets.

The inaugural contest is connected with my first venture in photoblogging--the somewhat abstract snowblog picture I posted on Sunday. Through the blur of the snow, you should be able to make out a glowing neon sign. The first person to correctly identify the establishment attached to that sign via comments or email wins. And, since we don't like to distinguish between dreams and reality too strongly around here, there will be a consolation prize for the most interesting wrong answer. Good luck.

Update: The answer was Fanelli's Cafe, and the winner was TMFTML.

Monday, January 24, 2005


Dodgeball founders Dennis Crowley and Alex Rainert are interveiwed over at Corante. Money quote:
Some of the most interesting things we’re seeing are the ways in which people are using the service in ways we never intended. I’ve been out with friends who use dodgeball as a way to avoid people ("Rachel is moving north. Let’s head east!") or as a way to when is the perfect time to show up at a party ("Everyone’s already checked-in at Hi-Fi, might as well head over now"). My favorite new use (and something I’m also guilty of) is seeing people adding strangers to their friends list as a way of saying "You’re cute, come find me at Luna Lounge."
You've got to love how Dennis sneaks that last one in there, as if the whole purpose of Dodgeball wasn't to get girls to give him their phone numbers.

Seriously, though, if you aren't on Dodgeball, why not? Sign up. Drop me an email, I'll add you to my buddy list. It's like a mobile myspace or something.

Cellar Makes It Big 

Uh-oh. Could this be the end? Someone's submitted a celebrity sighting at Cellar to Gawker. Only the good die young.
Saw little frodo, er Elijah Wood, at the dim mak/iheart comiks party at beauty bar saturday night where steve aoki and a curiously blonde James Iha were dj-ing. Bearded frodo was going up to everyone and spazzing out. He was one of the last people to leave. Sad. dude should have never lost his Precious. Next day went to the Cellar where 15 LA dudes were getting wasted, and Ben Lee looked on in thinly veiled disgust slash mild amusement. Desperate Housewives, being way more worth my time, forced me to leave by nine.

Blogging For You Is the Best 

Manhattan Transfer is a Bloggie finalist in the category of "Best Kept Secret" which we figure means "Best Blog No-One We Know Reads." I guess that's fair enough since I hadn't heard of the bloggies until a couple of people pointed out my nomination.

Don't get me wrong. It's an honor just to be nominated. Go over and vote for me. Tonight Cappones for karaoke with the Cellar gang, I'm going to dedicate my fourth glass of Jamesons to the Bloggywood Foreign Press or whoever is in charge of these things.

More Brain Book Reading 

I had a completely snowed-in weekend, and for once 'snowed-in' isn't a euphemism. Curled up on the couch, playing board games, ordering-in chinese and pizza, drinking red wine. Blondie played loving companion all weekend. As FYPM would say, we're building a life together, totes. We only emerged from the Manhattan Transfer Penthouse in the Sky for the traditional Saturday brunch at Bar Marche, which we had to order off the dinner menu since it was already 6 P.M.

I also got some more cognitive science reading done. Most of the books in this area seem to be thoroughly attached to a universalist, biophobic perspective. But among books that are either not universalist or biophobic I've discovered a pattern. A book that discusses cognitive diversity is likely to downplay biology, while a book that discusses the biology of cognitive processes is likely to downplay diversity.

This makes reading the congitive science books fun, because you can only read them with half of your mind. The other half is busy thinking about the things they leave out.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

White-Out, New York City 

White Out NYC, originally uploaded by ManhattanTransfer.

Looking for a warm place on a cold night.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Always Like This 

My fake band is called Always Like This. Last night I went all the way to Greenpoint so we could practice our new song, "Krucoff's Mom." It is nothing short of amazing. So punk it hurts. Since we recorded our first two songs in the basement of a boarded up shop that is now Chinese-Polish restaurant, we're looking for a new recording space. If anyone has any hints, drop me a line.

Also, at some point I'm going to put up the first two songs, or talk someone with bandwidth to host them for me.

Update: Why am I in a fake band? A few months ago I was crashing some big music to-do here in NYC with some friends. When security tried to put me in a headlock, I told them that we were one of the bands playing that night. Somehow that worked.

Afterwards one of the new members of our brand new fake band said, "Tonight's been fucking crazy, huh?" "It's always like this," I told him.

Hot or Not: The Academic Version 

With whom would you have a one night stand? A UCLA professor wants to know.

Update: Over at Gene Expression a commenter reacts:
I am a heterosexual white male of 62. The pictures were of young women. Of course I would be happy to have sex with them, no questions asked.

What the ****, is the point of the questionaire?

(via Gene Expression)

The King and I 

Having a holiday in the middle of January is probably not a good idea. It’s too cold for parades. Everyone is more interested in shedding the weight gained during November and December’s holiday feasts than inviting friends and family over for yet another shared meal. Most private employers aren’t eager to give another day off work to employees who have just had holidays over Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, especially since January is one of the busiest months for many businesses.

Most employees aren’t even that interested in the holiday—and it’s not because they are just too racist to take the day off from work. The real purpose of most official holidays is to create the four day work week; and the real purpose of the four day work week is to allow employees to take nine-day holidays while using only four vacation days. If you get thirteen days paid vacation each year (the American average), this holiday conservation can earn you up to thirty-one days to each year. But what are you going to do when the temperatures have snapped down below freezing and you’re financially tapped from gifts and vacation travel in December? We’d all be a lot better off if they moved the holiday out to August, when the good doctor gave his most famous speech, as Steve Sailer has argued. Doesn’t everyone agree that the long stretch of weeks without holidays from the Fourth of July to Labor Day could use an interruption?

At some distant point in the past, the country was divided over Martin Luther King. The progressives applauded King’s marches and movement. The conservatives had reservations about King and his movement. Many states held out for a time against adopting MLK day as a holiday. These days, however, everyone loves Martin Luther King, and I haven’t heard of anyone calling for the abolition of the holiday. Yet we are still divided over his legacy. The liberals remember MLK as a great American, but also as a great African American. They celebrate not just his support for equality but for his accomplishments in the advancement of African Americans. Conservatives claim that the modern civil rights movement has turned its back on equality in favor of special treatment for favored minorities. Affirmative action, for instance, seems to violate the principle that we judge folks by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin.

In college I somehow got mixed-up in the conservative movement. I attended conferences, edited feisty magazines and tutored myself in the library with conservative journals and books. The main targets of campus conservatism were political correctness. relativism and multiculturalism. Nowadays everyone has some idea what these are but in the early nineties we were still discovering them.

The conservatives countered political correctness with a vigorous support for academic freedom, free speech and free press. The best argument of the proponents of political correctness was that political correctness didn’t exist, that it was a figment of right-wing paranoia. This was defeated through endless anecdote—it’s hard to maintain something doesn’t exist when every few weeks a new example became a national scandal. The latest uproar at Harvard is as good an example as any of the censorious mentality that infects so many college campuses.

The conservatives countered relativism with what the left called “ethnocentrism” but the right considered moral universalism. The proposition was that the values of the West might have arisen historically in the Europe but were universally applicable to humans because the Creator or Nature had endowed all men with certain rights and obligations. You can see the appeal of this way of thinking for a conservative—it combines patriotism with a certain kind of high-mindedness. Our ways are the best but not because they are ours but because they are everybody’s.

This was related to the fight against multiculturalism, with it’s emphasis on the rights of minority groups. In various ways, the Left’s emphasis on valuing the perspectives and protecting or advancing the status of minorities was presented as a rejection of the American tradition of moral universalism, equality before the law and individualism. The left wanted a society keenly attuned to the differences and diversity of our people; the right wanted color-blindness, merit-based promotion and an emphasis on both our national unity and individual accomplishments. In the mind of a campus conservative, we wanted a society of character while the multiculturalists wanted a society of race and gender.

If they had issued conservative movement cards, I certainly would have been a card-carrying member. Nonetheless, I could not persuade myself that there wasn’t something wrong with the conservative ideology. It insisted that diversity wasn’t an important fact about our country or the world, when all my life’s experiences taught me the opposite. When they did speak up for diversity, conservatives insisted that they stood for a different kind of diversity—diversity of ideology rather than ethnic or sex diversity. But this is one of the least interesting kinds of diversity in the world. Which three women would you rather be stuck in an elevator with: A Stalinist, a neoconservative and a feminist or a Brazillian, a Norwegian and a Thai? What’s worse, no-one mentioned religious diversity, although this has since proven to be extremely salient.

I graduated from college six years after I started. I was an itinerant student, attending seven different college, and indifferent to the continuity of my studies, taking time off the spend three boozy months hitch-hiking around Ireland at one point and wandering my way through post-Communist Eastern Europe at another. At some point I started to look at the campus wars of the nineties with a jaded eye. The rhetoric of both sides seemed to conceal what was really going on. The left was engaged in a strategy of subversion in which political correctness, relativism, multiculturalism and feminism were tactics to undermine traditional rules and modes of behavior in American life. The right had adopted what was essentially leftist rhetoric of the early twentieth century—equality and universalism—in an effort ameliorate the effects of the subversion. In other words, the right was trying to use moderate leftist rhetoric to combat extreme leftism. What's worse is that the right hadn't persuaded many leftists but had persuaded themselves--they had adopted their own rhetoric as an ideology.

I wasn’t any sort of leftist. In fact, I was well on my way to becoming a decadent reactionary. The pursuit of whiskey, women and wealth seemed to me honorable ways of stooping below the struggle between the forces of leftism past and leftism future. The country may be divided over the meaning of MLK day—I just want it moved to August so I can better manage my time away from work.

I spent the long weekend over MLK studiously avoiding doing either the conservative thing—celebrating our country’s dedication to equality and color-blindness—or the progressive thing—celebrating the accomplishments of African Americans. Instead, I read a book called The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differntly…and Why.

Psychologist Richard E. Nisbett started out as a universalist concerning the nature of human thought, convinced that all populations perceive and reason in the same way. Apparently, this is (or was) a very common assumption among psychologists. Prompted by a Chinese student, however, Nisbett began to read more broadly and discovered evidence that Westerners and East Asians have maintained very different systems of thought for thousands of years.

Nisbett writes that the Greeks developed a system of thought based upon individual agency, categorization of objects, open debate and logic. The East Asian thinkers developed a system of though based on harmony, awareness of context and cooperation. According to Nisbett, westerners have always looked at the world as made up of individualized atoms whereas the East sees the world as made up of a continuous substance. These ways of thinking persist today. In one striking example, American and Japanese students were shown a pyramid-like object made from a reflective plastic and told that this was called a “Jax.” When shown a number of other objects and asked which one was a Jax, the American overwhelmingly chose a pyramid regardless of what it was made of while the Japanese chose the objects made from the reflective plastic regardless of the shape.

I tried a version of this experiment in a bar over the weekend. I was having some off-the-record drinks in the Mars Bar with some gossip columnists from a foreign-owned yet surprisingly xenophobic New York tabloid. This is possibly one of the dirtiest bars in New York now that the Village Idiot has closed. I grabbed a couple of my friends and drew a pyramid on a napkin, telling them it was a Jax. Then I grabbed another napkin and drew a large circle with a smaller circle. Next I broke off a piece of the crumbling walls and drew a pyramid.

“Which one is the Jax?” I asked.

They chose the pyramid.

“That’s interesting because the Japanese would have chosen the napkin.”

“No wonder we went to war with those fuckers. That’s clearly not a Jax. It’s a fucking bagel.”

To prove Nisbett’s point we planned on stopping at a Sushi joint and conducting the experiment with the chefs. First, we took a cab up to the Cellar because it was the bartender party. Instead of giving the bartender’s year-end bonuses, the bar lets them split the till for the night. I felt I pretty much had a moral obligation to go. After a couple of glasses of Jameson’s Irish Whiskey, we made our way uptown to Bungalow 8. The gossip columnists love the place because it is always packed with improbably good looking women, and the columnists tend to pull above their weight class with would-be models who hope to get their career started with an appearance in the pages of the tabloid.

I hadn’t been in Bungalow for a couple of years, so it felt a bit like we were doing the time warp again back to 2001. It’s still as ridiculous as ever. One guy who I talked with was about to leave for a cannon-ball run style race across Europe in either a classic Cadillac El Dorado or a new Bentley. Apparently he has both in a private garage in Manhattan. Somewhere along the way I lost my scarf, my copy of Nisbett’s book and forgot to stop in the Sushi joint for the other half of the experiment.

The “why” part of Nisbett’s book is disappointing. He claims that differences in ecology created the economic circumstances that led to different ways of thinking. I cannot say whether Nisbett is accurate in claiming that the ecology of China encouraged rice-based agriculture which required a communal and context oriented mind-set. But I know his description of the ancient Greeks is wrong. To Nisbett the Greeks were urban dwelling traders and pirates, when in fact ancient Greece was a highly agrarian society.

But if it wasn’t ecology or economics, what could have caused the Greeks and Chinese to develop such different ways of thinking? Nisbett’s book exhibits an annoying bio-phobia, never considering that the differences in cognitive process may rooted in physiological differences. I’ve never understood why it is considered better that differences in behavior or ability are caused by ecology rather than biology, but this is a prejudice in a lot of recent books about the diversity of peoples on our planet.

How could physiology cause the different ways of thinking? Nisbett’s book avoids mentioning IQ but the different cognitive processes he discovers also correlate with differences in IQ. The contextual-communal thinkers have higher average IQ’s than the object-logic thinkers. Could logic, then, be an adaptation to counter the handicap of having a lower IQ? That is, could the dimmer Westerners have developed a way of thinking that the bright Chinese didn’t need? It certainly seems to me that the tools of logic and categorization are very useful but perhaps they are unnecessary for very bright people. If so, there would have been selective pressure in favor of logical thinkers in the West that would not have had as much influence in the East. Even the Western emphasis on individual liberty could be the result of Westerners not being quite smart enough to be collectivists.

I mentioned this theory to the pretty girl who had come into Bungalow with the race-car driver. He had evacuated the bar in favor of the bathroom, presumably to revive his spirits with powdered medications. She had blonde curls that fell in front of her eyes when she talked. It was hard to pay attention to what she said because the long legs stretching out from her a tiny sweater-skirt demanded so much attention. I think she replied that my hypothesis was surprising because it would indicate that so many good things in the world—logic, individual liberty, philosophy and science—were the result of the West being a bit thick in the head.

I told her that this was not so surprising. We don’t necessarily think that the best civilization is the tallest or the one with the best eyesight. Why would being smarter necessarily make you better? Perhaps it’s more desirable to not have the average intelligence of your society be quite so high.

The music had gotten louder, and she had to lean in close to hear me. Her knees were pressed against my legs, and she was propping herself up with a hand on my thigh. Her hair smelled like rosemary and mint.

“What are you two on about?” the race-car driver asked.

“Oh, well, MT here was just telling me how you don’t have to be the biggest to be the best.”

He smiled and stretched out his hand to her. They were off to dance and I was left with my whiskey and heretical thoughts about biodiversity on Martin Luther King Day.

Update: Razib of Gene Expression shares his thoughts on The Geography of Thought.

More Updates: I recovered my copy of the book!

Update Mania: In the comments, Greg Cochran helpfully points out that we have a good candidate for the genetic basis of the different ways of thinking. If only I had known that at Bungalow 8. Maybe I could have impressed the leggy blonde with talk of the seven repeats on an allele. Here's the article Cochran did with Henry Harpending on the subject.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

How to Kill a Mockingbird 

A few minutes of pure awesome.

Think Napoleon Dynamite and Real Ultimate Power explain why why Harper Lee won the Pulitzer.

M to the Tizzo Hits the Bizzaddy 

Just to be totes effin clear, the birthday bash described below was not mine. It was my brother, Overserved, who is living in D.C. for his sins.

My birthday is at the end of this month. There will be a massive, booze-soaked party on Saturday, February 5th. If I know you, you are invited. Even if you are my arch-enemy. Mark your mutha effin calendars.

And, since I've been neglecting the blog lately, I'm going to have to do this hizzy up hit and run style.

They Don't Make Jews Like Jesus Anymore: But somehow they made one like Kinky Friedman. Kinkster is a man, a myth and a Texan. Also an old friend of the Manhattan Transfer tribe. He's running to become the governator of Texas. Someone call Neil Pollack and get Neil to be to be Kink's running-mate. Bernie get your Texans out working for Kink, STAT.

Arranged Marriage Blogging is the New Black: My favorite arranged marriage blogger is back as Bridal Beer. Not sure why she abandoned her old blog. But the new one is hot. Check it.
When I was a child, I imagined death as being a collective experience. As the lion roared for one last time and the monsoon clouds ripped their chests for the last July shower, we would suddenly drop to the ground, hands extended, tongues out. Dead.

As a young adult, death seems too trivial an encounter. What casts shadows of fear is life. Especially if you are on the verge of an impending engagement with a guy you don't particularly want to kiss-and never have. (Assuming you are a woman. Or a man.)

He was "26 yrs computer professional, Brahmin, 5' 10'', Ivy-educated looking for family values working girl bride of reputed North Indian family, no dowry, willing to settle in US". Soon he will father my children and be the financer of my groceries. We will share toothpaste and possibly memories.

In an arranged marriage, the premise is that you kiss a frog on the first night(and for the first time)- to convert him into a notional prince.

Which reminds me of a video about illegal activities between a woman and two frogs. Can I bring my ex-boyfriend's porn collection as dowry? I stole them when we broke up and I'm too sentimental to E-bay away those romantic Tuesday nights.

We're Totes Crushing Out on Writers Bloc: I'm not even sure I can explain this one. I know what you're thinking--girl, dating misadventures, loneliness--been there, done that. But the WB is different. Uhm, read her misfortunes on this date and see if you agree. Unfortes, fellas, she's on a dating hiatus so we'll have to move along, nothing to see here.

The Bestest Thing That Could Ever Happen: Scroll backadaeffup to Thursday's Gratuitous Hot Woman. We have Brother Lawrence to thank for repeatedly posting pictures of his friend Kristin. And as if the pic-a-boos weren't enough, he tells the story of how she managed to accidentally climb naked into be with a middle-aged neighbor. When he woke up in the morning and found this beautiful stranger beside him, he threatened to call the cops. Not so bright.

Too Much, Too Little: I've got a backlog of tales of woe and wonder I need to get out soon. The big day at the village Tavern. Mistakes at Misshapes. Dinner at Porcupine. Revelry in the Beauty Bar. Bar fights at Mars Bar. I swear I'm going to get around to this stuff soon. Stay tuned. Same MT Time, Same MT Channel.

Friday, January 14, 2005


What were the Germans thinking when they invented this monstrosity? The good folks over at the Realist Party get the the, uhm, bottom of things.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Overserved in 2005 

Overserved sends an email about his upcoming birthday.
This Saturday is My Birthday (yes that deserves caps). I’ll be 28, which makes me almost as old as Keiffer and old enough to be Schattner’s father. To celebrate/mourn this occasion I’ll be at Fado drinking. I invite you all to come and buy me a drink or two. Bring your hot, trashy desperate (female) friends so I don’t have to enter yet another year of my life as a virgin.

I’ll get there around 9pm to start the festivities and I’ll stay as long as there are people there who will pretend they like me. Depending upon how the night progresses we may change venues, but I figured Fado was a decent starting point because everyone can find it. When we all get a little loaded we can move on to dodgier places.

No need to RSVP or anything, although a little feedback would be nice, so I know whether or not to bother showing up myself. Please don’t make me celebrate another birthday alone with a bottle of Wild Turkey.

For those who aren’t familiar, here’s the WP online listing for Fado.

I hope that works, I’m having trouble with hyperlinks in using Outlook.

Spread the word. Even if nobody cares about my birthday it may be fun. And it’s also Martin Luther King’s real birthday.

There are lots of people whose email addresses I don’t have so please, do tell all your little friends.

Thanks an I hope to see you all there before I blackout.
I'm pretty sure that last line means you have to get there early.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Scooping Business Week By approximately 10 Months! 

Everything's so much easier when you make it shit up. But it's especially nice when you make stuff up that then comes true.

The interwebs are abuzz with speculation that the New York Times might start charging for its content, presumably to emulate the practices of the of the New York Sun. The story that supposedly started it all was this Business Week piece.

Of course, readers of Manhattan Transfer had this story back in March 2004. See what wisdom whiskey, cigarettes and a habit of lying can produce?

We're Pretty Sure 'Moving a Couch in the Rain' is A Hipster Metaphor for Drugs But We're Too Old To Get the Joke 

Why Tennessee Whiskey didn't make it to the Village Tavern Saturday.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Get Thee To The Distillery 

There are some bands that are so good that they make you hate music. After listening to a few songs you realize that everything else you’ve been listen to is trash. You feel cheated, humiliated and angry. Why have they wasted your time and damaged your taste with this shit when music can be so good?

The Distillers are a band that make you hate. If you’re not listening to them and you want to live your life with a smile and an oh-so-positicore attitude, you better not listen to Beat Your Heart Out. By the time lead signer Brody Dalle screams, “there’s nothing left so take the rest” your fists will be clenched, you’ll have knots in your neck and you’ll be on your way to a bar to get drunk on whiskey and hate-fuck hipsters. Try not to smash too many windshields on your way there.

[More Distillers music and videos]

ManhattanTransfer: The Internship 

A rare opportunity has come knocking on your internet door! Manhattan Transfer is currently seeking an intern. Job duties include writing one Manhattan Transfer blog post each week; setting my Tivo; re-upping when we’re low on product; calling the office when I’m too hungover to make it into work; fixing my busted template; updating the blogroll; getting drunk frequently; returning calls from people I will not speak to any longer; leaving anonymous comments on blogs I despise; introducing the editor to your cutest, wittiest, drunkest, sluttiest and wealthiest friends; calling me from No Data and telling me if it is one of the good ones or the bad ones; putting me back on my barstool at Cellar; and day to day administration of whiskey and pharmaceuticals. Intern’s pseudonym will appear on the masthead (hey, another duty: you get to make a masthead).

It’s an amazing experience for anyone who wants to get his foot in the door of the blogging and drinking world of New York City. Looking for prospective bloggers who are enthusiastic about, uhm, blogging. Prospective interns should be bright, witty, good looking and have credit cards that are not maxed-out. Experience with mdma a plus. As the Manhattan Transfer internship is not only unpaid but can become quite expensive due to our new reverse expense account policy (we drink on your dime), applicants MUST have some independent source of wealth. Email your resumes, headshots, measurements and list of club memberships to manhattantransfer@gmail.com.

Qualified applicants will be invited to interview on the afternoon of Saturday, January 8th at a downtown location to be disclosed.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

If it were Vogue or Vanity Fair we'd totally understand. 

It's an AMAZING experience for anyone who wants to get his/her foot in the door in the magazine world. Looking for students who are enthusiastic about a career in magazines. As internships are unpaid, applicants MUST be able to receive academic credit for the semester (okay if it's post-graduate credit).
It's the parenthetical at the end that makes it. Post-graduate credit? What the fuck are you getting a post-grad degree in that leaves you taking an unpaid job at CosmoGirl?

Monday, January 03, 2005

ManhattanTransfer v. 2004: The Rematch 

The Line Up.
2004: a lowdown, dirty, fast moving, evil and deceitful year. In his corner: capitalism, compassionate conservatism, Ohio, natural disasters, Michael Bloomberg, the Red Sox, and a world full of angry Muslims.
Manhattan Transfer: a dissolute reactionary on a downward spiral. In his corner: whiskey, decadence, tobacco, the Cellar and a crew of dangerous louts, brawlers and drunks.

Round 1.
2004 Explodes the financial economy in another ridiculously unsustainable boom with absurd sector-specific price increases and vast amounts of public and private debt.
Manhattan Transfer refuses to engage in any economically productive activity at all, won't pay taxes or do anything resembling work.
2004: 2
Manhattan Transfer: 1

Round 2.
2004 hands George W. Bush re-election despite the enormous fuck-up in Iraq by having a bunch of Massachusetts judges and San Francisco municpals make Ohio suburban Christians worry about "marriage" in the abstract when they should be focusing on their own particular marriages.
Manhattan Transfer responds by refusing to give a fuck about politics ever again. Again.
2004: 1.
MT: 1.

Round 3.
MT writes ridiculous book reviews for serious magazines.
2004 reminds MT that he carries way too much debt to survive as a freelancer.
MT Counterpunches with the Novel.
2004: 1
MT: 2

Round 4.
2004 Sends more and more of MT's friends away to jail, jobs, marriage and hateful.
Manhattan Transfer finds even more dangerous friends, with worse habits, who seem even less likely to succeed their way out of friendship.
2004: 1.
MT: 1.

Round 5.
2004 Shuts Down the Village Idiot.
Manhattan Transfer discover the Cellar.
2004: 1.
MT: 1.

Round 6.
2004 Crushes Every New York Sports Team. The Red Sox Win the World Series.
Manhattan Transfer responds by refusing to give a fuck about sports ever again. Again.
2004: 1.
MT: 1.

Round 7.
2004 exposes the darkness at the heart of, uhm, MT's heart.
Manhattan Transfer gets blindsided, knocked-down but not out.
2004: 3.
MT: 0.

Round 8.
2004 gets drunk and dies on December 31.
Manhattan Transfer gets drunk and survives to fight another year.
2004: 0
MT: 4

Final Score
2004: 10
MT: 11. The Champion!