Friday, December 23, 2005

Merry Christmas 

There won't be much posting around here until after Christmas. If this saddens you, you are spending way to much time on the interwebs. It's Christmas--go celebrate with friends and family. Or at least go get drunk.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Manhattan Transfer Doll 

MT Doll

Someone emailed me this picture earlier. Not a bad likeness, especially if you imagine that the doll mumbles reactionary politics when you pull the string on his back and smells like whiskey.

Doll Maker

Monday, December 19, 2005

Gnome in Chief 

Close observers of president George Bush are saying that last night's Oval Office speech marked a major shift in the way the administration is talking about Iraq. But then I am not a closer observer of the president, and neither are you; so we won't dwell on that. To us, it sounded pretty much the same. Which is to say, it still sounds like the Underpants Gnomes are running our Iraq policy.

You remember the Underpants Gnomes, right? They were a community of gnmoes who steal underpants in accordance with their three-phase business plan.

Step 1: Collect underpants
Step 2: ?
Step 3: Profit!

Of course, none of the gnomes know what the second phase is, and all of them assume that someone else within the gnome community does. Even when the lack of an intermediate step is made clear to them, they persist on pointing to the last step. Look, if you aren't against making a profit why are you trying trying to mess with our business plan?

Unfortunately, the gnomes probably never figured about how to turn underpants into profits because they have been drafted into the Bush administration and put in charge of Iraq.

Step 1: Spill American blood, treasure and national presige in a desperate battle against "an enemy that is determined and brutal, unconstrained by conscience or the rules of war."

Step 2: ?

Step 3: Victory!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Office Party Tonight 

The No Data Office Party is the main event tonight but I also may stop by this party earlier (as long as I can get my way past the door without paying the cover).

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Christmas Classics with Manhattan Transfer 

Between Christmas parties, Santacon, hangovers and the mad year-end rush at work, blogging has become nearly impossible. Instead of any original content, I've put together this Christmas version of a greatest hits list.

The Holiday Guides
Guide to Holiday Parties.

The Guide to Gifts.

The Emotionally Unavailable Alcoholic's Guide to Holiday Romance: Women to Avoid.

Guide to New Year's Resolutions.

Other Fun.

It Happened This Year: New York Magazine-Blog Mash-Up.

Christmas with Manhattan Transfer 2004.

Christmas with Manhattan Transfer 2003.

Overheard at Holiday Parties.

Friday, December 09, 2005

The Best Thing About the Worst Things 

Second Snowfall, December 10, 2005

The best thing about leaving my office at six am this morning was walking through a city lit only by street lamps reflecting off the just fallen snow. I walked for a bit along the Hudson River, watching the snow melt into the darkness of the river, and then turnedtoward the inner island when the wind started to make my eyes water too much. The worst thing about working all night was not having to ignore the phone calls and dodgeballs and text messages from all my friends out on the town last night. No. The worst thing about being in the office until 6 am was that I had been in the office until 6 am.

At least, that was the worst until 9 am this morning. I was sitting in a cab that was slowly swimming through slush when one of my bosses called to criticize me for not being in the office yet. That was the worst. Well, it was the worst until later this morning when he started screaming at me for being sluggish. I'm pretty sure that was the worst.

The best thing about the worst things is that they're over. It's Friday. I'm leaving the office now. My eyes are already flashing like an Achean fighter catching site of the Trojans marching out of their city gates. I need trouble, laughs and whiskey.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

We Go Where Eagles Dare 

You would think that after Saturday all-day and all-night debauchery, the Go! Team would need a few days to recover. Maybe a few weeks. But then you would be wrong.

Monday nights have long been one of my many weaknesses. Karaoke is another. So when I got the invitation to come celebrate Brother Lawrence's birthday on Monday night at Village Karaoke, of course I told him I would be there. And I warned him I'd probably bring my cronies along also.

Village Karaoke is on the Bowery, just north of East Sixth Street. It's one of those places with a small bar up front and hallways leading back to dozens of private rooms. You'd think it was a brothel if you were the type who knew what brothels look like. I showed up with Southern Gent. He was dressed like a civilian. I had my usual corporate costume on. Ted Baker suit. Charles Tyrwhitt shirt. The now beat up Guccis. We walked right past the bar because we'd brought our own six-packs of Miller-Lite Tall Boys. It's the national beer of Texas.

Lawrence's private room was in the basement. Must have been the largest room in the place. The place was packed. Everyone was dressed in standard east village fare: t-shirts (hand-decorated or self-damaged), jeans and boots. They stared at me in my suit like I might have been the police.

My Own Personal Onion Editorial

I stared back. The women at Lawrence's birthday party were improbably gorgeous. Don't take my word for it. Check out these photos. Or these. I'd met his sister Sarah before, and Lawrence had introduced Christie to me outside of Lolita a few months ago. I half-recognized Ellen of Social Cavity, Gurj and Kristin from the interwebs.


The party was well underway. Karaoke Party = Miller Time.

Karaoke = Miller Time

Southern Gent got to singing.

Still Bustin' Moves

Lawrence took to the microphone.


Which caused a spontaneous dance party eruption.


Too much drinking on a Monday = time to pay a visit to Cellar!

You Better Think About It Baby

That's bartender Betsy Mittens. It's about here, right at the door to Cellar, that my pictures stop making sense, and the night goes dark and smells like whiskey.

Happy birthday Lawrence!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Another Saturday In the Drunk Tank With the Go Team 

The plan for Saturday morning was to wake up early and join Dynatrite (no updates ever) and Southern Gent for the UNC-Kentucky basketball game somewhere on the Upper East Side. Mostly I cannot be bothered to travel anywhere north of Union Square Park for drinks. The only exceptions are certain holidays and sporting events, when dodging the spilt beer and regurgitated liquor of fraternity-brothers-cum-investment-bankers is part of the fun. The night before I sent a text message out to Time Out's Jane Borden, a UNC graduate, letting her know her presence would be required uptown.

Southern Gent sent me a text at half-past eleven instructing me to rise and shine. My head was still full of Friday night's fun, though, so I rolled over and told myself I'd try to make it uptown for the second half of the game. When I openned my eyes a few minutes later three hours had gone past. The game was over. UNC won. No need to go to the UES. Brunch was happening down in Soho.


When I got to the brunch spot the food was mostly gone. Except for British Jess, who was so upset that it was her last day in New York City that she was having trouble keeping her food in her mouth. The only thing left to do was order two more bottles of champagne and try to catch up with the gang.


Stumbling around half-drunk after the liquid brunch we came across a four foot tall turkey monster in the window of Ted Baker.

(Let's take a parenthecial Time Out. Ted Baker is the official clothier of Manhattan Transfer ever since I discovered their Endurance line of business suits. You can wake-up on the floor of the Cellar in these things, brush yourself off and head straight to you. Well, I'm not sure you can do this, but I can. Okay. Time In.)

The monster was marked "Turkeyoke Turkey" or some such. Notice the microphone. Jess and Lisa E. decided that they needed to get down with the monster. At first the Ted Baker employees tried to stop them but later relented on the condition that if the girls broke the turkey they would have to buy it. (What is the going rate for a Karaoke Turkey Monster these days?)

Clearly this was a sign from the gods of Saturday (Saturn?). We needed to get our song on. So we bundled ourselves against the cold wind and headed up to Sing-Sing on St. Marks to begin what will hopefully be a regular event: bruncheoke (apologies to Janelle, from whom I think I stole that word).


A couple of Tall Boys of Miller Lite later and it was on.


Southern Gent shows us how to Bust a Move.

The Shit is Bananas

The shit was bananas.


Finally it was time for Jess to say her last goodbyes and head back home to Jolly Ole. She tried to use her trademark photo face to convince us that JFK was totally happening at five thirty on a Saturday afternoon and that we should all go there with her. A few more Tall Boys and that might have made sense. Fortunatley, the beer had run out before my sense of reality.

Next up was Double J's holiday party in the Village. Swampcity (less updates than Dynatrite!) was there, practicing giving men the evil eye.

The Evil Eye of the Greek Goddess

As you can tell, everyone was having a really good time at this party.


The next party was in another apartment in the Village. Only two blocks away but about ten years more grown-up than Double-J's. Think people standing around drinking very slowly and chatting about their mortgages and admiring the art work hanging on the twenty foot high walls.


Blondie made nice with this guy, who claimed to be a friend of Dynatrite. (I cannot find the pictures in Flickr even though I swear I uploaded them last night.)


I'm not sure what time it was when we finally headed down to the Lower East Side's Loreley for yet another No Data. Actually, I know exactly when it was: too early. We got there and the place was empty. A few people were sitting at tables eating dinner.


This girl was as confused as we were. Where was everyone? Or maybe she was just wondering where her hips had gone and why she had forgotten to eat for the last two years.


Even DJs Dennis and Randeez were worried.

Randeez Elbows Symbolize Something

Blondie hit the bar and found another guy to chat with.


That was a good idea. Let's let the magic of booze and beer do its trick.

This Is The Way The World Ends


It worked. When I lifted my face out of the stein of Jever, kids were dancing everywhere.

Disco Inferno

The skinny girl still hadn't found her hips but she had stolen someone's shirt.

Do They Know It's Christmas Time At All?

Southern Gent was still going after many hours under the tyranny of booze, song and women.

Let There Be Drunks

And pretty girls were there too.

And the beautiful shall feed from their own flesh

I'm not sure how long I stayed. Dennis reports that the party went on until five in the morning. Youngna reports she captured me saying incriminating things on her dangerous ipod voice recorder. When we left the city was blanketed with snow and quiet. At home I slept the sleep that only the the Gods of Saturday night can grant you.

(Apologies to TeenDrama, from whom I totally stole this style of blog. Consider it a tribute in gratitude for a great Saturday night.)

Friday, December 02, 2005

Weekend Lineup 

Everyone's a Photographer

Last night I missed the Steven Pinker lecture on the controversial article "The Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence" by Jason Hardy, Henry Harpending and (occassional MT commenter) Greg Cochran. This was doubly disappointing because it meant I missed a chance to meet one of my favorite new bloggers, Lying Eyes.

I spent a good part of last Saturday's brunch discussing the "Natural History" paper with a friend of mine who is an instructor in the Department of Radiology at Harvard and one of the leading lights in using those fancy magnetic resonance machines to study how the brain works. He was impressed with the paper and told me he was going to think about some ways to test some of its ideas using the big magnet machines they've got over in Massachusetts General Hospital.

I did manage to make the tail-end of Essexy at 12" , which is like No Data but with girls like Funlap and Youngna DJing. What does it mean to be like "No Data"? Take two parts tiny bar, one part the usual crowd of miscreants, two parts music and stir with plenty of alcohol.

Younga was weilding a polaroid camera. Still no replacement for the one stolen in Barcelona. Come on people, break open those paypal accounts and help a pretty girl out!

British Jess (pictured above) made a special guest appearance on the turntables (err, well, the CD disk changers). Afterwards we cut-out of 12" to check out thekthnxbye at Sapphire Lounge. What's that? Think No Data but populated by Cornbelt Ex-Pats like Red Chardonnay. Unforts, it was dead by the time we rolled in there. Next week I'm going by early.

This was suppossed to be a quiet weekend, especially after the debauchery of the five day Thanksgiving weekend. Not shaping up that way. Christmas party season looks set to launch. Here's the tentative agenda:

--Fairwell Ice-Skating Party for British Jess.
--Welcome Back whiskey session for Sully, who has been holed up in San Francisco for way too long.
--Crash random corporate holiday party. (Any suggestions? Leave a comment.)
--Another invasion of the Bulgarian Bar?

--College sports starting at noon with Soutern Gent.
--Cocktail party at Double J's apartment.
--Cocktail party down the street from Double J's with Blondie's coworkers (Invite: "This is not the party of the year. It's the party you go to before the party of the year.")
--No Data returns to Loreley. (Is this a weekly event now?)
--Crunked in the Cellar. Might as well admit I'll end up here marinated in Jamesons while the youngsters dance to the musical selections of DJ Matt Eller. Isn't that what Saturdays are for?

--Sleep past noon and swear I'll never touch whiskey again.

Gay Culture: An Invention of Your Lying Eyes? 

I have managed to avoid most of the commentary on the Vatican instruction on homosexuality and the priesthood. I'm sure nearly everyone drinking in bars on the lower east side regards any type of discrimination against homosexuals by any institution as atavistic and hateful, so there isn't much to talk about. In any case, I'm not really sure I want to get involved in arguing about ordinations with a twenty-something hipster agnostic drinking Pabst between bathroom bumps at Welcome to the Johnsons.

William Saletan's article in Slate caught my attention. Or rather, one paragraph caught my attention.
Notice two things. First, deep-rooted "tendencies" are now independent and automatic grounds for dismissal, regardless of whether you "practice" homosexuality or "support" gay culture (whatever that is). Second, even if these tendencies are merely a "situation" in which you "find yourself," they "gravely obstruct" you from relating properly to men and women. Through no fault of your own, you're doomed. The Catechism's paths to perfection—self-mastery, chastity, prayer, and grace—no longer suffice. The church won't settle for your self-restraint, even with God's help.
Emphasis, of course, is mine, all mine.

What is Saletan trying to say with that "whatever that is?" Is he saying that "gay culture" is a figment of the Vatican's feverish anti-gay imagination? Where does Saletan live anyhow? I mean, it's hard to believe anyone who has ever set foot in lower Manhattan not believing in gay culture.

Fearing maybe my lying eyes had deceived me into believing in gay culture, I decided to do some research on the topic (read: I went to google). And yep, Saletan's right. There's clearly no such thing as gay culture.